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Showing posts from May, 2005

Faith based perspective

How is faith related to perspective? I think that faith becomes the foundation which allows you to have multiple perspectives. Yes, there is always more than one. Faith allows me to accept different views, find common ground with others, and have relationships.. I don't have to worry about being right or wrong, black or white, or good or evil for anyone except myself. Dealing with other's actions is something best left to the epic struggle of the Empire. The institution began as good, but was corrupted into something perverted and evil... but through it all, the Force was still there guiding all of it.. The people almost all changed roles, or were led astray. Again, your perspective determines your views their. Has today's church become the empire? Are even the good churches largely hiding from the truth regarding their minimal impact on their world? Are we connected enough to even understand that "control" and comprehension of the impact of the ecumenical…

Perspective

Right or Wrong, Black or White, Good or Evil... I saw the new Star Wars movie this weekend and I was struck by two quotes.. Late in the movie, Anakin(Darth Vader) says to Obi Wan: " From my perspective the Jedi are evil" and when you think about it... the only thing that differentiates the two sides was faith in the future. Both believe they are doing the right thing. Who am I to judge? The hinge point is not solely based on actions, it was based on what you believe the intent for the future is about coupled with an "instinctive" view of what is right. Is that instinct coupled with our desire to reach out to God? I think so...

The other quote that jumped out at me was Yoda speaking to Anakin Skywalker earlier in the movie.. and the "master jedi" said: "you should not be afraid of death, death is only a part of life... you should be happy when your loved ones pass on and join the force".... I know, I know.. Here I go again, trying to groun…

Books, Busyness, Buddies and Bo Bice

Books -- I have done a lot of reading in the last couple of months... and I think that every "modern" Christian should read all of these books. They are not just for seminary, theology types.. I think they are expertly written and address teh real issues of living in our world today.

everyone should read, I recommend this order.. if you want some good thought provoking, but easy reading for the Summer.
---A new kind of Christian : Brian Mclaren
---The story we find ourselves in : Brian Mclaren
---The last word and the word after that : Brian Mclaren
---Waking the Dead : John Eldredge
---The Present Future, Six tough questions for the church : Reggie Neal

Trust me.. buy them.. and read them in order I listed them..... it will put you on a roller coaster ride and enliven your heart as well as your mind. I am going to reread all of them.. just so I am sure that I understand what I think about them..

Busy business
My schedule has been too busy this week to allow me to think and write…

Just being..

Life is about just being, and loving, and doing, and watching. It is largely a human invention that we much make or accomplish something..Nike says "just do it" but as powerful as doing is...I think I can accomplish very little without help. Even the great man that ever lived.. spent most of his time loving... Even then, people wanted him to do.. Jesus mostly just loved people and taught, yet his every statement changed his world. from John 15 "apart from me you can do nothing"... so if you believe that it doesn't really matter what Nike says... :)

Psa. 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My essence, my soul, is unique. I am special.. but I am not better than others. I am here to love and be loved. I thank God for that tremendous gift. Christ redeems me, and allows me to be his. My music, my skill is all a gift that I am bound to use to help towards the ultimate salvation of the en…

Not Rocket science...

For some strange reason, this week has been going badly.. at least in my mind... The "commencement" on Sunday afternoon at Branch's, where all of the children's choirs sang seemed to put me into a psychological tailspin. Things at work are actually going well, yet I couldn't get "happy"

And then, I spent the last couple of hours doing what I love to do.. singing.. this was not world class art by any means. I simply went to choir practice and sang with other people who like to sing... I feel better all around. My spirit is renewed. I miss the choir and folks from Branch's fiercely... but somehow, simply making music lifted me up.

My thought for the day is that we all need to find the thing that "renews" our spirit. I think I am a pretty good singer but tonight was not about being good. It was simply about doing/being what I am.. what God made me. Giving up my personal judgement and feelings and just doing what I do seems to have been the key.…

The Fixer

I have come to understand that I am mostly a fixer... I am not an expert on sociological/psychological profiles, but a recent conversation with a good friend.. has polarized my view of my activities.. People split into two types in my thinking.. fixers, and improvers.

Fixer: someone who is driven to complete, fix a given problem.. they derive their personal happiness and worth from getting stuff done.. showing results.
Improvers: someone who is happy to make things better, able to put aside the larger focus of the problem of world peace/world hunger and simply feed people and save as many as you can.

In ministry, particularly in institutional churches, I think maybe my approach is difficult to deal with.. I want to get involved, encourage the people, evolve the institution and FIX stuff. I think maybe I am assuming a responsibility, goal that is beyond me. I think maybe I need to develop a more balanced approach to my world.. I need to embrace improvements with more of a view of su…

Textbook vs Storybook

I have so much to say about this... Institution v. People, here is a starter course.. much more to say about this in coming months..

My approach to the world.. is really this simple..

Get good people...Tell them what you want the end state to be... Support them.. They will succeed in the end... Most important thing is to focus on the people...

The old approach... build a "system" machine, and the people are expendable.. Build it good enough and the results will come out... I think this is a proven failure.. just look at history..

Which approach do you use, at your job, in your church, in your family...?

Question for the world, why does my generation seem to take this approach.. why does almost everyone over 50 take the latter approach.. Are we really that different?

Is the Bible a textbook for living(completed 1500 years ago), or a storybook that is still being written even today.. ?

Institutional Wraith

What in the world do you mean with that .. my wife says.. I told her to look up the definition of wraith, and then think about my favorite TV shows.. She still didn't get it, so I figure readers don't get it either. Definition of Wraith: a ghost or image of a person often seen just before or after death... The context I am using comes from Stargate:Atlantis, where an evil alien race is attacking.. This race is solely dependant on humans as their food source. They consume the life force of those humans unlucky enough to fall into their grasp, becoming stronger and stronger. Almost impossible to kill.

Institutions in today's world are effectively wraiths in this jeffish definition/interpretation. Some actually achieve good things with the "life" we give them. Most use and abuse the precious resource in such short supply. Our time on this world is not unlimited. We live and we die. How we use the time granted us here in this place is entirely up to us...not the …

Source - Shame

Tonight I feel decidedly unspiritual. I am angry, not that my feelings really matter. My best friend here in Richmond was "out-sourced" yesterday. Honestly, there is nothing very elegant or appropriate about that. He was good, his management was not good. Decisions were made above his and my paygrade. Funny, I am more irritated at the people that somehow survived in that group than I am about the ones that are lost. How can managers who are providing basically no value remain, when the star performers are somehow considered expendable. We all know the answer of course. Politics and alliances. Macchiavellian alliances rule the day when people begin trying to "not get voted off of the island".

Decisions are not really made based upon value. In the end, it comes down to who knows you and who will protect you.. and maybe even more importantly.. Can they protect themselves long enough to protect you. Management in the 21st century. Is it ultimately about stayin…

Visitors

Mother's Day weekend was a blast. Literally, figuratively, any way you want to call it.. Let me break it down for you all. 4 kids, 2 "grown" nephews, wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, my mother, and my father. Missed my sister in all of this craziness, though I am not at all certain that she missed us. We ate a ton of food, and caught up on a year of "quality time" in just about 24 hours. It was like trying to drink from a fire hose. Moderately insane doesn't really do it justice, but interesting thing... it just felt right.

Life at our house is about activity, doing things, talking, just being... Adding more people to the mix seems strangely normal. Our priorities are in place so bringing others into our world doesn't upset it. (at least not usually) This was our first set of concrete, definable memories in our new home and they were great ones. Images of "gram" meeting Clara for the first time are now indelibly scribed …

Take Five

Went to a Dave Brubeck concert tonight at the Catholic church.. It opened with a 45 minute set of classic Brubeck, and then the second half was a classical work for orchestra, baritone, chorus and jazz quartet. Only words that come to mind: Stunningly Alive with spirit, energy and love for the music and the privilege of playing.

Those players were inspiring.. Old men, but they played with such joy, pure abandon, and love. Their integrity and their souls, magnified by there skill, shown brightly through the sanctuary. Dave spoke eloquently of how music "bridges the gaps, and speaks to all people" ALL of US. His art and his experience spoke to me on a level beyond just entertainment. He helped change the world in the 60s.. Music can do it again today..

The music was alive, the room was alive, the audience was intent on hearing the next note.. and then strangely, in the middle of the second half, people begain to shut down.. some even left.. On the stage was one of the …

People need people

Been on conference calls all morning.. and a recurring theme comes up.. The people factor is the most important thing. Success is predicated on getting people to work together and finding and engaging the right people... For a technology team it is about engaging the real "subject matter experts" along with the right decision makers. For singers, it is about having access to the right coaches, accompanists and collaborators. For parents, it is about surrounding your family with a "village" of support for raising the kids. For a church, it is about community, and a shared purpose.. The important work all occurs one on one in those relationships, but the individuals are never really separate from their organizational context. The individuals do matter...

I think this is what Jesus was talking about when he talked about the shepherd focusing on the one lost sheep even when their are ninety-nine in front of him.. The exponential impact of guiding, teaching and …

Institution

Sorry for the length of my post last night.. I will begin making them shorter and more on point immediately..
When I woke up this morning, the "summary" of what I think of the institutional church came to mind.

The Institution of the church(today's modern church) which sets itself up as a machine that saves people is dying or dead. The Modern church, even the big ones that have come about in the last 20-30 years are not necessarily successful... Purpose driven life is successful because it provides a system for churches to redefine their purpose... That is fine and good, but the purpose of the church hasn't really changed that much in the past 2000 years, and won't change that much in the future..The purpose of the church wasn't to get big, have more members, and build more and more buildings.. We tried that already.. look at the fantastic cathedrals in Europe from the middle ages.. That way won't last... Using a few corporate approach words: new wo…

Institutional Wrath

A friend asked that I comment on the conservative Baptist culture that recently dealt me and my family a pretty big blow... Tough to be impartial where that is concerned... but I will try. For general readers..here is a little background. I am a bivocational minister of music, have been for 13 years.. was in the mentioned job for just under 5 years, and recently resigned at the request of the personnel committee of the church.. I was totally ambushed and surprised by this request..Their reasons are hollow to me, but I trust that God is working through this.. I am growing, being refined, and strengthened. The church seems to be struggling, but I trust in God to do a great work there if it is in his plan..

A job at a church, any church, is still just a job helping to lead others to Christ, but leading in worship and presenting God's word, is a higher calling... I am upset at the the leaders of the church body for dealing with me so insensitively, but at the same time I commend the…

Mobility - yeah right...

I realized I am getting a bit heavy, so here is some humor for you.

I am the tech mobility guru for my company. Yesterday, my cell phone stopped working properly, and now it is difficult to even call me. Irony: I am mr mobility, yet you can't even call me easily right now, because of a simple hardware failure. Fixing the phone is not really an option...since it is my primary telephone.. I am feeling my own pain.. AAAHHHHH... Maybe the tech guy(me) should have had a better support plan for this failure..

If we can't laugh at ourselves, where are we?

Identity vs Outcome

Returning to the grind of the corporate machine today, it dawned on me
that I am a very different person from the perception of those around
me... Only this year, have I begun to be honest about my thoughts and
ideas, and yes my "identity". In the past, I was afraid that allowing
my musical career to become public at work would somehow undermine my
credibility as a technologist. Focusing on my relationship with God
and the importance of church and ministry is another thing, very
difficult to deal with in the secular "corporate" world. I don't
always act in the same manner at work that I would have in other
environments.. I have to believe that I am not alone here... Am I
simply searching for an excuse, maybe.. but I think I am pretty much
right down the middle with this being honest to myself and others idea.When we deny our self ... Is this the problem? Is there a way to share
more of who we are without compromising who people think we are? People
as a w…

Auditions

When a singer auditions for another
person a lot of things go through the mind. How important am I, How good am I? What do I have to offer this person(conductor, listener, judge)? What do I expect to gain from this? best case... worst case...How good is good enough? The answers to these questions are central to a professional singer's
life. The most interesting thing for me today, is that the answers
apply no matter a a person's role. When we are certain in who we are
and what our role/position is.. all of the difficult things in life,
become so much easier... We have a reason to get up in the morning, we
are able to plan and actually execute/accomplish things in our earthly
domain. I sang today for a conductor in whom I now have a lot of
respect. He listened, was warm and courteous, and no matter what he
actually thought of my "performance", he was appreciative of my time,
as I was of his. We each audition for everyone around us, all day,
every day. The best part of m…