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Speak for yourself

Next time you try to tell someone something, but dress it in “some people have told me…” or “everyone is saying…,” we know you speak only for yourself.

Own it! Your opinion is worth something.  Really; everyone’s opinion is worth something,

I mean it.  I’m not just bloviating generalities.  Your opinion matters.

In fact, it matters more when you can actually express your opinion.  When you pretend you speak on behalf of others because you think it will carry more weight. Ok, it may not carry more weight, but it will be honest, and honesty carries more weight.

I care what you think, but when you throw down the intimidation factor of trying to convince me there is a groundswell of support behind you, I am more than likely going to blow you off.

I mean all this especially in the context of church work.  The church has not always been good at being honest with one another.  In fact, we’ve got some pretty horrific time-honored practices of putting people in their place and keeping them there. Of silencing minorities we don’t want to hear from.

But we are Jesus’ people.  We claim him as our Savior, and say we want to follow him. We believe Jesus listened to individuals; if we follow him, it is a good practice for us to develop as well.

So, from now on, if I have something to tell you, I won’t try to crowdsource it.  I hope you’ll do the same for me.


Not every conversation belongs to you.

Less than a mile

Rachel has been away at the annual Board of Ordained Ministry meeting.  These are, perhaps, the only 2 days of the year that I have sole responsibility for our children all day.

A couple of hours into this, I am confronted with this: I do not show her enough appreciation for all she does.  In addition to working at Euless First UMC, and her various Conference responsibilities, she does an excellent job of taking care of our kids and our home.

Sure, I help, and I do more than the stereotypical dad.  Still, when I try to do for 2 days what she does for most of the other 363 each year, I am humbled.

The saying goes that to understand someone, one ought to “walk a mile in their shoes.”

I walk less than a mile and realize how much respect my wife deserves for all that she does daily.

But this got me thinking about all the other people whose lives and situations I presume to understand.  I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes either.

Am I willing?  Would it take a whole mile?


Book review: The Story Lives

Here is my latest review of a book for the Speakeasy Blogger Network.  I’ve just finished Henriet Schapelhouman’s The Story Lives.The Story Lives

This is a good, straightforward read. She had me at “Story,” actually; the more I work as a pastor, the more I meet people and seek to hear their stories. Though the seeds of the power of story were sown in me in seminary, they have only really taken root recently.

I appreciate Schapelhouman’s passion and her ability to weave stories from scripture with stories from contemporary lives. This is the primary strength of this book, in my opinion.  Connecting our story to God’s story is essential, and The Story Lives helps us do this.

But it offers more, as well.  Schapelhouman invites Jesus’ followers, and indeed any reader, into the missional life.  Where some today might seem to pit missional living against traditional church membership, Schapelhouman offers what I take to be a healthy corrective without dualizing.

Being ‘missional’ is, after all, about actually following Jesus and thereby becoming part of the Kingdom of God present in the world.  It is not an alternative to being a member of a congregation. It is, rather, the healthy living out of being a member.

On the other hand, the text sometimes felt platitudinous to me – as though a truckload of “Christian Lifestyle Slogan-Art” had driven too close to a scanner.  Even here, though, I must admit; the triteness of so many of those sayings derives from our historical refusal to have our lives transformed as God has offered.

The subtitle, “Leading a Missional Revolution” lead me to expect a more confrontational approach. To me, The Story Lives reads more like “Leading a Missional Transition.”

I’ve read plenty of ‘missional’ stuff; this book fits well within that context, but I found nothing earth-shatteringly new here. If you have not yet read of a missional understanding or perspective on following Jesus, this is a good place to start.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Get watered, then water

A little change here, a little change there…

…and soon you might be looking at something substantial.

Suvir Mirchandani is a 14 year old boy from near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He has found a way for the US Government to save $136 million a year.  By changing fonts.

Mirchandani found that if the Government Printing Office changed to the Garamond font for all their printing, they would save this amount of money.

$136 million is a lot of money to you and me, but, admittedly, it is chump change on the scale of the dollars the Federal Government deals with.

I am less interested in entering a debate about government spending than I am in you and I grasping the value of available for our lives.  What may seem like a small change can actually add up to something rather significant.

During this season of Lent, what small change are you willing to make in your life that might become a significant improvement in your following of Jesus?

If it is a small change you are willing to share, please share it here: I an quite sure someone else can learn from your introspection.

Changing Your Mind

Are you at the mercy of whatever happens to enter your mind?  Sometimes this becomes an excuse we make.  It is one tool we use to justify a lack of transformation in our lives.

Now, you may (or may not) want any transformation in your life, but people of God are promised, offered, commanded it.

So here we go. Can we, indeed, change our minds?

I did so last night.  I am still surprised that it happened, and the degree to which it succeeded.

You see, I had a particular song in my head.  It doesn’t matter what song it was, but you know how this works.  Sometimes you get a song in your head and it just stays.  (I once had the theme from the A-Team in my head for over a year, but don’t hold that against me)

I was tired of this particular song, whatever it was, so I set to thinking of a different song.  I hoped to replace one song with another.

It worked.  I don’t mind telling you, either, that, for whatever reason, the new song, that I now cannot get out of my head is Shine, by the Newsboys. (Thank you, Glen Lake Camp, for making sure that song was in my recall files.)

Changing what is in one’s mind is not always this easy, but it IS possible.  More than that, perhaps it will help you to know that God is interested in changing our minds (Romans 12:2 & 2 Corinthians 10:5, for example).

Give it a try.  Start with something little, like a song in your head.

God’s it for it. Are you?


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