Monday, October 23, 2006


Recently I have had several conversations - face to face, phone to phone, or keyboard to keyboard - in which I heard the insecurity of very wonderful people. For some reason we seem very reluctant to share our views, thinking that in doing so we...
a) Will have nothing intelligent to offer, and we don't want to look stupid.
b) Will be rebuked for half-baked ideas, and we don't want to be put in our place.
c) Will be seen as the opposition, and we don't want to create conflict.

I want to emphasize how incredibly beautiful the diversity of the body of Christ is. Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41) worked through their differences, stood by their personal convictions and multiplied their effectiveness (perhaps this is a generous reading of the text, but I personally believe that they parted on good terms given later references to Barnabas by Paul in his letters).

People - we're all different! And this is a profoundly good thing! Unity is not found in uniformity, but in the diversity of God's gifts planted in a diversity of individuals who in their own unique way offer themselves in humble servie to one another and to their King.

We ought never be ashamed for speaking what we see or sense. Yes, we ought to remain teachable and willing to adjust our sails, but we need never feel like we're stepping on toes by "calling it as we see it" when we're willing to welcome the other's view as well. It is in this way that we begin to realize the presense of the Spirit who leads us into truth and a unity of heart and mind. It is in this way that we will rediscover the discipline of living in Christian community.

So, be you and let others be too - we may just become more whole in this beautiful dance of the redeemed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


How's your embrace of people? How's mine?

Our culture is ultra social and ultra lonely. This saddens me deeply and is causing me to ache for genuine community - for the Church to be about the embrace of people for Jesus' sake. I've got a long way to go.

Copy, paste and go here...

Friday, October 06, 2006


Laugh. I think I'm forgetting how.

Today my son ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. He's asked me this before, but this morning at the kitchen table it struck me in a new way that I am none of those things my child-heart was captured by. As I reflected on his question throughout the day I came to the conclusion that I have grown up to be a leader. I didn't choose this vocation, it chose me. And along with this vocation that chooses you can sinisterly arrive the laughter thief.

You see, as a leader, I think about people. I think about problems. I think about possibilities. I think about change. I think about the status quo and then think about how to remove the static. And, as a leader, the dilemma is that you don't just think about these things, you act on them. At least you better, because that's what people need and expect and at the same time what they don't want. A leader is there to take people, whom they deeply care about, through problems to possibilities. A leader is there to create a culture where a better life is shared. And, a leader is very often lonely on the journey to a promised land that can be only a speck on the horizon and as a result you can forget to laugh.

Why? Because you can't accept life as it is and life as you live it as the leader is still life as everyone else experiences it - with its pain, disappointments, frustrations, and of course joys. But, since you're not free to live solely in the now it can mean a heavy heart which does a laugh no good.

Laugh. I want this reborn in me again. Not at the expense of my vocation, but in order to make it alive. American artist Ralph Kozak beautifully captures what this can be like for one who bore more than I'll ever have to and has transformed more than I can every dream.

So it is possible. Lord, teach me your laugh.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


In light of the evil that invaded an Amish school room in Pennsylvania what does it mean to love your enemies? How is it that we are to live as Jesus' apprentices when you just want to scream and dish out vengeance?

Without doubt we will soon here the Amish community in Lancaster County verbalize forgiveness and the media will marvel at the wonder of such grace, which of course is entirely "pie in the sky" for those of us in the real world. Which camp will you be in?

Justice in this tragedy will never truly be served. Not here. The killer is gone and his family remains to bear the shame. Children died, reminding us once again that something is terribly out of sorts in this world. Sin is. Evil cannot be glossed over. Hell sends postcards. How ought Christians respond? Will we respond as a desparate world expects or as they hunger and thirst for? Will we be windows to a world not made by hands?

If you love those who love you what reward will you get, even pagans and child-executioners do that. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you. These be hard words, but they point to a way of life that is not bound by evil and will shine like a lighthouse in a world of eye for eye.