All Means All ….


Point of Personal Privilege:

As they do every two years somewhere, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly met this week in Orlando, Florida to conduct business, network, and worship.

Today, they adopted GA resolution 1327- summary follows:

“Becoming a People of Grace and Welcome to All

The General Assembly calls upon the Church to recognize itself as striving to become a people of welcome and grace to all God’s children though differing in sexual orientation or gender identity, affirming that neither are grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, and calling upon all expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as a people of grace and welcome, to acknowledge their support for the welcome of and hospitality to all.”

We are a congregationally based denomination and our resolutions do not bind any person or congregation to comply.  Some individuals and congregations were on the other side of this decision.  Some of those on the winning side are already praying for them, and thus it almost always with when Disciples disagree … and they do often disagree on the details.

The neat thing about Disciples is that we continue to worship and work together, even as we disagree.

As a public message about who we think we are, this is a big step toward a new and much more inclusive future.

Feeling pretty good about being a Disciple in the Heartland  ….

John

“Fake” Truth . . .?


“IF A FAKE PERSON SAYS SOMETHING REALLY TRUE, DOES IT COUNT?”

Recently Rebecca Bowman Woods published a very interesting article about the influence of a Fake Twitter Character on the proceedings around our denomination’s biannual gatherings.  Someone posing as our organizational leader posted a series of wickedly funny tweets leading up to and during this major meeting time.

Click on the link above for a very good commentary and further details on this event.

Part spoof, part satire, and part pointed commentary, FakeSharon provided an ongoing commentary on the foibles and contradictions that live in this church and its people, especially with regard to organizational stuff.  FakeSharon was not like the real Sharon in many ways and, being not real, had the luxury of being bluntly honest, direct, and not politically correct.  The real Sharon is a graceful, spirit-filled leader whom I admire greatly.

Some have done the same thing with other well-known people, celebrities, politicians, and such.   Great fun for everyone involved, except possibly the REAL person on whom the fake Twitterer is based.

Oh, well, if you can’t laugh at yourself, everyone else will eventually do it for you.

The more serious question asked was whether that fake person can speak the truth.  This is an interesting and more complex question than I originally thought.

Here are some questions that arose for me and my thinking to date on them:

Does using a fake personality alter the basic message?  Are people who do not show you who they are worth listening to?

I have some friends who delight in finding literate and articulate quotes from outrageous historical characters and sharing these gems without identifying the origin at first. 

People  judge the words and are then have to correlate a possibly distasteful source with something they are already on record as agreeing with.  Awfully fun, especially when alcohol is involved.

A separate issue is the identification itself.  Does the source of a truth really matter, if that truth is solid?   Some would say words without ascription are not valid and others would say that the source is immaterial if the message is valid.

How is this different from acting?  How is this different from politics?

Both acting and politics are examples of career choices where the basic job is to portray an image of something other than who the person really is.   The most well-meaning office-holder or candidate will still have to grapple with whether their mandate is to do what they think best or to do what their constituents think is best.

In acting, we know we are being deceived and enjoy the performance all the more for that.  A really gifted thespian can make us forget the reality of what we are witnessing and believe . . . in magic, in true love, in glory, in heroism.

When the politician deceives us, we tend to either sink into a funk over the crooked state of things or break out the pitchforks and feathers, while a nice pot of tar heats up.

How is this different from life in general?

We all hide behind something, whether it be a title, or a job description, a code of ethics, or a public opinion poll.    Living without a little theatrics is possibly not doable.  We need a veneer.

Do we always know the source of the information that we act upon and to which we react?  We receive information in any number of channels every day.    We do not always take the time to identify where that information comes from or on what it is based.

Here’s a bonus question:  We knew from the start that the fake account was, well, fake:)   With a Twitter name like FakeSharon, this was not difficult to determine.

Does it matter that the fake nature of the source was known all the way through? 

Does this make a posoitve or negative difference in your attitude toward doing this? 

If I say “Just Kidding” right off the bat, does this change how you perceive the words that follow?

Lots of questions, so I’ll stop here.  Chew on this a bit and let me know what you think.

Trying to be truthful and stay real in the Heartland . . .

John

Honor, Live, Build . . .


“Honor the past”

“Live in the present”

Build for the future”

Dr. Charisse K. Gillett, First Lady  
East Second Street Christian Church, Lexington,Kentucky
 

Inspiring and intelligent words . . . necessary for a group to survive, move forward, and thrive.

Also darned difficult to do all at the same time.

The speaker is part of a ministerial team which has done some very cool things which have enabled their faith community to grow and thrive.  We need to learn from such folks.

Just sat through a sometimes uncomfortable church group meeting where everyone is trying to do the right thing . . . the problem is that “the right thing” is not always the SAME thing for each person.

As so many things do, the discussion centered around possible Big Change, involving lots of money, time, and upheaval for the congregation and our aging building.   To some, the changes seem inevitable or worth enduring for what might come next.   To others, the change threatens past promises made and current understandings. Continue reading

Road Trip Redux . . .


Today is a travel day . . .

I usually enjoy long drives from one place to another.

No, not the traffic, the stiff knee, the cost of gas, or the inching along past unexpected construction in the “middle of nowhere.”   I don’t particularly care for the billboards and other signs of our commercialized society.  The food is often bland, overpriced, and pretty much what I can get at home.

. . .  However, I do so enjoy the feeling of movement and the opportunity to reflect.  When I am driving, I have only two jobs:  keep everyone safe and get to our destination reasonably close to when we are expected.

As long as I do that, my time is my own.  This is a luxury to be treasured and used.

I will have the luxury of being able to reflex on a great, if furiously paced week.  Here are some of the themes I have lined up for my drive: Continue reading

Listening to a Storytelling Great . . .


Fred Craddock is the great storyteller of our denomination  . . .

His homespun and comfortable delivery affirms his rural Tennessee roots.  Fred is from what was the heartland before our country grew from one sea to the next and you can hear that rich resiliency and simple approach to life in every word.

“A word is the biggest deed we can perform.”

His words are simple, with a deep and lovely Tennessee lilt to them.  Continue reading