Should I Stay or Should I Go?


This is not about church … that’s just the context for a leadership coaching question.

Some of you know I am a member of a specific Christian Protestant denomination. Like many, our mainline small band has experienced change over the years and it’s not always pleasant.  One of the primary issues is the conflict between older members who bewail the lack of engagement of younger members and younger members who bewail the lack of energy and opportunity combined with envious eyes toward “the way it used to be.”

This particularly affects our newer ordained ministers. To read about the struggles of one articulate and very passionate young leader who is leaving our denomination, go to “SO LONG”  Here’s my response to Ryan’s announcement:

First, thank you for your contributions. They have not been ignored or missed, but our denomination will be lesser for your leaving.

Next, a word to those who see things differently.

Well, yeah … we all have our personal realities, shaped by our experiences, our backgrounds, and our psychological and emotional make-ups. Where some see death, others see growth. It’s not about deciding which is right, it’s about deciding which is your vision and acting on that.

I feel regret because I’m afraid you are just one of many, ordained and lay, who see their future serving God in other ways than through the Disciples. I have served in lay leadership positions with several congregations, worked for a national ministry for 10 years, and have a deep affection for the Disciples. I also see what I name as “warts” in our denomination.

Bottom line: we each have to do what we see as the best earthly manifestation of God’s will for us and trust that we are doing and being close to what he wants and asks of us.

Godspeed, friend, and you aren’t really moving that far. God appears to be pretty popular in OKC and unlike us humans, he does not have a denominational preference:)

My questions on this early Spring Sunday morning (yes, I know it’s technically still winter and I don’t care):

What would you say to a young and somewhat frustrated person who wants to serve and cannot find a way to do so in their current environment?

How would you advise them on whether they should stay or go?

Eagerly awaiting the blooming of flowers, growing of grass, and your responses in the Heartland.

John

Christmas Does Not Have to Be This Way …


Christmas does not have to be the perfect holiday …

You just have to let the spirit of the season move you …

Christmas gifts do not have to be perfect …

Gifts come, gifts go, and gifts get returned …

Christmas gatherings and interactions do not have to be perfect …

People are still people, with all their warts and imperfections …

Christmas traditions do not have to be perfect …

Traditions emerge, disappear, and change …

Christmas does not have to be perfect …

… because none of us are perfect.  We just have to treat each other with respect and love.

So relax and enjoy the holiday without trying to make it perfect … … and this Christmas just might turn out to be the most perfect one since the original:)

Wishing everyone happy holidays while chilling out in the festive Heartland ….

John

Occupy Christmas …


Well, SOMEONE has to recapture the Christmas Spirit from the clutches of the commercial world:)

Think about it … don’t 99% of us want to just have a peaceful and happy holiday?

Spend happy time with family and friends …

Do nice things for others …

Share what we have with those who do not have …

Worship in whatever way we see fit … or not worship if that is our belief …

The Christmas spirit is not about getting OR giving expensive things, or about braving the elements and other people to get the best deals, or even making a big show of going to church.  Even Jesus would say that’s not the point and it’s His party.

In my view, it’s about Community, Connection, and Compassion.  If you find these things at the mall, it’s because you brought them with you, not because that’s where you buy them. Continue reading

More About “That Picture” …


Sigh … I was not going to jump into this one.

The image above, which I just call “That Picture”, has been repeated, subverted, derived, and satirized to the point of boredom … almost.  Forget the silly parodied masterpieces where the cop’s image is imposed on other scenes.  This actually happened right here, right now … and some powerful words are being written about what this image shows us.

“But if Christians are ever going to establish credibility with anyone besides themselves, they’re going to have to start reading the bible through the same eyes as the people with whom Jesus spent most of his time. The Gospels refer to them as the poor, the sick, as prostitutes, tax collectors, and slaves. Some quarters of the Republican party refer to them as “lazy whiners.”

 I like to think of them as the 99%.”

Derek Penwell writes with spirit-filled passion about recent events.  Click on the image or on his name to read the rest of his powerful post.

Feeling a little sad in the Heartland ….

John

It’s The End of the World As We Know It ….


October 21, 2011

An open message to Rev. Harold Camping:

1)  If you and I are both still here , sorry about that ~ better luck next time.

2)  If you are not here and I am, hmmm … guess I lost.

3)  If you are here and I am not … Nyah, nyah, nyah.

4)  If you are not here and neither am I, who cares?

One last question: Continue reading