We need better narratives
Starting with our citizenship
I am in China working for Caltech
Like I did in the early 1990s
[at the Beijing Electron Positron Collider that built the first Internet link there]
I think I am still a student
But it feels like modern times
We are working in some major industrial plant
Or perhaps a city
Maybe even a Muniversity [hypothetical Learning City]
I was sent there to help our professor
Who oversees their sanitation systems
He has done some amazing work
He added, like, a second trash dropoff line
Inside an existing building
Nearly doubling throughput
At virtually no cost
But he hasn’t been communicating
The top brass is worried
It may be time to pull him back
He never wanted this job
But now he seems to be clinging to power
It doesn’t make any sense
So I really have three assignments:
- On the surface, I am there to help him
- My bosses primarily just want to know what the heck is going on
- And I am wondering if I should replace him
He has been avoiding me for days
Finally I manage to corner him
On his way to the cafeteria
Another person seems to have had the same Idea
A Chinese woman
Probably a local
Her bosses probably have similar concerns
I wonder if she has the same triple assignment
We buttonhole the professor
Pleading with him to let us help him
He’s unfailingly polite
But strangely evasive
I finally realize
He is at war with himself
At one level
He is surprised to discover
He loves this job
The chance to make a concrete difference
The power and authority
Living abroad, free from distractions
At another level
He hates himself for getting sucked in
He is supposed to be a science professor
Not a sanitation executive
He is neglecting his research
And graduate students
Not to mention his family!
Yet he somehow got addicted to this crap job
During what was supposed to be
A short term assignment
Of just a few months
I finally ask him point blank
“Don’t you want to get back to your research?”
We are in the enormous cafeteria now
He is so flustered
He throws scalding hot coffee
All over me
It is probably an accident
But he and I both know
It doesn’t look good
I could easily spin it
As him physically assaulting me
And have him called back
I don’t want to do that
I just want to understand
What the heck is going on
What he truly wants
How I can help
Please pray for me
Our tiny little church
is going through a massive transition
The risks and opportunity
God seems to be opening
for me to speak into leadership
The spiritual warfare is intense
So pray carefully
Pilate wanted us to behold Jesus
Perhaps hoping he could free Jesus
Or free himself
Of the responsibility
Of seeing more
Than he wanted
Than he could handle
Than he was free to believe
Historically, the Body of Christ has relied on three interdependent roles:
• Infants, who receive what they are taught
• Mystics, who seek their own truth
• Paternalists, who create the context for Infants
Thesis Club Submission to Jeff Hubing
Draft 2 (previous version)
Making Disciples of Jesus
is about spreading His Kingdom
by manifesting the Fruit of the Spirit
for others to enjoy
via the deliberate practice of submitting every thought, emotion, and reaction
Anyone who wants to become a disciple of Jesus
Our current understanding of discipleship is primarily built around human role models: e.g., Pharisees, Philosophers, Pietists.
- God’s purpose is to love us into becoming like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29)
- The best measure of our Christ-likeness is how consistently we manifest the Fruit of the Spirit for others to enjoy (Galatians 5:22-23)
- This requires a community that helps us graciously recognize when and where we fall short (1 John 1:7)
- Only the cross of Christ — through repentance, grieving, and forgiving — can heal the deep wounds that most hinder the flow of His Spirit (tbd)
I am on a people-mover
Like a train of roller-coaster cars
But we are stopped on level ground
At least for a moment
Each car represents a different level of leadership
I am in the third or fourth
Perhaps moving from third to fourth Continue reading
“We have forgotten — or perhaps never really understood — what it means to trust that God is in control.
But we have forgotten that good political leaders were supposed to be our gift to the world.
Now we think they are something the world has to give us, so we can truly practice our faith — or feel good about ourselves.
So whenever we see a leader — inside or outside the church — who doesn’t seem to honor our truth, we are filled with anguish; and act like God has abandoned us… ”
It is dangerous to judge others.
It is irresponsible not to.
Question: How can the Body of Christ come together to heal relationships, when the authority structures we rely on to resolve conflict are themselves part of the brokenness?
Perspective: By mutually submitting ourselves to the Word, the Spirt, the Body, and Christ’s Blood.Continue reading
TGR Friends, we have discussed how the Christian Church is often the worse example of demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ. This article is an opinion piece that echoes that sentiment and offers some interesting insight to why Christians may be making more atheists than disciples.
This week on The Great Reset, Ernie argues that his apparent incompetence and immaturity is actually part of a brilliant plan to demonstrate the need for more Christ-like models of authority.
In this document, Ernie:
- Claims the authority structures he grew up with were built around the Law
- Acknowledges that they were (and are) necessary
- Believes those same structures hinder us from becoming mature in Christ
- Redefines The Great Reset in terms of searching for more robust authority structures built around Grace,
- Hopes that Season 5 shows us what that should look like
- Welcomes pointers, examples, suggestions, and corrections
- Apologizes to anyone he has confused, misled, or offended along the way
Draft 1, 14 Nov 2020Continue reading
Right now, most churches devote at least six-sevenths of their budget, staff, and attention to what happens on Sundays, and at most one-seventh to helping the congregation follow Jesus the other six days.
Can you imagine what we might accomplish if we flipped that on its head, and invested 85% of our treasure into the rest of the week?
[Update: see my background thinking in Draft 2]
Christianity Beyond is a movement of ordinary people who are learning how to make the same kind of extraordinary impact as the Jesus they love. We honor all the ways people have sought to follow Jesus in the past and present, but dare to go beyond that in order to demonstrate to a watching world just how good and worthy Jesus is.
Spirituality for the Complexity of Adam
Hat tip to St. Benedict
The Three Imperatives
Glorify GodMake the Cross attractive by loving God, our Selves, and our Others as Jesus does
- Cultivate self-differentiating Relationships, Metrics, and Practices that help us further the First Imperative
- Write up your own Rule
It may be too late to have a happy childhood, but it is never too late to have a turbulent adolescence!
We as a society have lost sight of what it means to grow up. And that’s a good thing!
The gift (and curse) of the Enlightenment is that each of us must answer the question: who do I want to be when I grow up? It is tempting to envy our ancestors and traditional cultures who had well-defined “markers of maturity”, e.g., marriage, mortgage, and making money. There is enormous security, stability, and support in having society validate who you are supposed to be.
But there is also enormous danger, especially for Christians.
To the tune of Titanium (by David Guetta)
I may have flaws, but not the ones you’re calling out
You’re talking lots, not saying much
I’m criticized, so you can cover up your pain
You tear me down, I don’t fight back
Protect yourself, shifting the blame
Lie away, Lie away
I’m sacrificed, to take your shame
Lie away, Lie away
Until my twenties, I was almost never consciously aware of my anger. Over the last few decades, learning to identify and process my anger — especially towards God and people I love — has been a critical skill in enabling to break through spiritual strongholds and grow in maturity.
I still (and always will) have further to go, but at least I’ve started developing healthier habits for dealing with my anger. I am writing this down to remind myself, and hopefully help others who may have similar struggles.
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface…” — Genesis 1:2
At first, it seemed there was no sound or light of any kind. But as my senses adjusted, I heard a faint tinkling of bells. Straining my eyes, I saw tiny patches of light scattered around the walls of the cavern, flickering in and out.
I walked closer. I saw a rainbow of light erupt accompanied by a marvelous chorus of music. I watched breathlessly as the singing lights — perhaps fireflies or pixies — became caught up in some sort of eternal dance. I was speechless, wondering if the dance would become strong enough to finally push back the darkness…