Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Health Care Politics

Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 in culture, leadership, life, people, society, thoughts

So with one decision by an unexpected source we now have mandated health care.  My point is not to add another voice to the goodness or badness of that decision (there are far more brilliant minds than mine who can’t figure it all out), but something else all together.

Conservatives are up in arms over this decision and have tried to blame Chief Justice Roberts’ vote on everything from epileptic seizure medications to putting the perception of the court on a higher pedestal than his principals.

Other conservatives are praising Roberts’ in a back-handed sort of way saying that he has now paved the way for a Romney victory in November.

Hasn’t Roberts’ done exactly what conservatives have always said should be done within the courts (and especially within the highest court in the United States)?  But it is funny how by Robert’s doing exactly the thing conservatives want they have casted him as someone who does the complete opposite of what he should be doing and the only reasons they have to say this is because he didn’t vote the way they think he should have voted.

Isn’t it possible that Roberts’ voted in favor of the health care law not because he liked the law himself, personally.  But maybe, just maybe, he voted for it because he didn’t see it as unconstitutional.  He heard the arguments, he weighed the evidence, he consulted law books, and drew from his vast knowledge of law and history and came to the conclusion he did with a sound mind and rational thinking…is this possible?

Would it have been in our best interest, as a nation from what we expect from our courts, for Roberts’ to simply vote along party lines?  Why would I want a Supreme Court judge to vote along party lines?

Roberts’ did the unthinkable…he thought.  He pondered.  He weighed.  And in the end, contrary to the voices that I hear around me, he didn’t play in the legislative arena.  He stayed well within the bounds of judicial prudence.  He voted whether a law was constitutional or not.

Roberts’ is not perfect.  So was his decision (or any of the other judges) completely neutral?  It is impossible to know for sure.  When it comes down to it….only he knows what and how much outside influence, or party politics, or whatever goes into any of his decisions.

Some liked his vote.  Other did not.  I am not saying I like the ruling.  I am not saying I am completely opposed to the ruling.  But I think one judge did what he was appointed to do and I think for that he needs to be commended.  It gives me hope that people can see beyond their own agenda’s, their own interest, or the interests of those that “got them there”.

So thank you Judge Roberts’ for thinking deeply, coming to your conclusion and then voting how you did even though you must have known the reaction that would come by way of your decision to do what you were called to do for our country.


This is Good?

Posted: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 in faith, leadership, politics, society, theology, thoughts

Listening to my daily humor/information show: The Dennis Miller Show.  On his program today he had editor-at-large of National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg.  He was “promoting” his new book, Proud to Be Right.  It was an interesting interview (at least what i was able to catch of it).  But there was a part that severely concerned me.

During the interview he was talking about the “secret” assassination list of President Obama (though most presidents have a list like this of some sort).  He referenced some Al-Qaeda leader whom he would not lose any sleep over if this guy was “taken care of”.

But his, Jonah’s, concern was this: the guy is an american citizen.  And in the same breath made mention that the concern he had with assassinating people did not stem from some moral or theological considerations (which is odd especially from a publication that definitely ‘leans’ right and, therefore, would be comfortable with “family values”) or that a list like this even existed….but, rather, he was concerned that this assassination list included americans.  So his point is that if non-us citizens are on this list…that is okay, but the moment american citizens are listed…then there is a problem.

Now, he did say that there are both republicans/conservatives and liberals/democrats that like and dislike the idea of americans (who are out of favor with the government (terrorists, etc) being on this list…but, again, it stemmed from the concept that americans are what the conversation revolves around rather than, in my opinion what it should be concerned with….killing people who are made in the image of God and for a “moral” “godly” “christian” nation even to have these lists in the first place (and then beyond that, how christ-followers, could be supportive of something like this).

Yes and No

Posted: Saturday, July 25, 2009 in culture, faith, leadership, Others' Thoughts, politics, society

Some very good friends (whom we value, respect and miss tremendously) asked us the other day, “do you still like Obama?…yes or no.”  The question could have been fueled by this post.

The difficulty I have with the question with the way it is phrased is this: It leaves very little room for dialogue.  And it puts the person answering the question in a catch-22.  If i simply say “yes” then i am ignoring some very troubling things that Obama has said or done (and i have written about those things here).  And i would be fairly or unfairly, rightly or wrongly condemned for voting for him.  If i say, “no” then it would be remarked something along the lines of “why did you vote for him in the first place?”, or “see?” or, even, though not from our friends, “I told you so.”

Our answer was simply, “it hasn’t been long enough to determine things”.  Bush took several years before ultimately showing how incompetent he was.  And we had to deal with him for 8 years , so i am willing to grant someone 6 months into office a little slack.  Obama may turn out to be as bad (or even worse) than Bush but six months into office is not a long enough time to determine that.  For other people in our lives (not referring to our friends) who are extremely conservative on every issue  the first day in office was enough to show how bad Obama was/is.  But that was their mindset going in.

I am willing to let things play out a little and see where things head before making a judgment on someone’s ability.  I think most people recognize that 4 years in office really isn’t a long enough time anyway.  The first year they seem to be learning their way around.  The second year is down to work (for good or bad).  But the next 2 years are about campaigning again.  Not much is seemingly done.  I heard someone suggest, give them one 6 year term.  Period.  No more.  If you can’t accomplish things in 6 years, you aren’t going to do it in 8.

So.  To the original question:  “Do you still like Obama?  Yes or No.”  Here is my answer:

Right (yes AND no).  Maybe a more productive question could be:  “What do you think of Obama so far?  Is he meeting your expectations?”

I used to go to a church, while in seminary, that at the time my wife and I started to attend was really beginning to take off. While we were there it grew and long after we have left it continues to grow and the Sr. Pastor has become more and more nationally known.

Couple of years ago he did a piece for a major Christian magazine asking him to write his appraisal about the Emerging Church (movement). He was taken to task by a professor from Northpark who is part of the Emerging Church and had some issues with what this pastor was saying. Trust me, the professor is much more knowledgeable in this area than the pastor.

Anyway, just about a month ago this pastor on his blog put up his original piece and stated that he was at the same conclusions now as two years ago. Fine, that is his right if he has truly and honestly evaluated both sides and not just the fringe people. His final post was his “final thoughts” about the whole emerging thing. Most of the people who post comments on his blog tend to kiss his backside as much as possible. The comments are character limited and have to be approved by him. Hmmmm.

This is one person’s comment in the “final thoughts” post:

It seems to me pride is the hidden sin underlying most sins. What condition is likely present in the hearts of those who have decided the Bible was simply a book by men? The emergent is re-packaged New Age fluff. Please stay with the true Word of God from a reliable translation of the Bible and feed those who have been left to starve by men who have abandoned the wisdom of God in favor of pursuing their own.

Here is another:

Pastor _______, I am so happy to know you are not part of the emerging movement. You are correct that the church today needs an overhaul but not at the expense of watering down the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am shocked and appalled that some of the well known Christian leaders in our world today believe the message of salvation found in Jesus Christ alone is too exclusive. The Bible says there will be false teachers among us. Thank you for being committed to teaching what God’s Word REALLY says.

These posts were dated Feb 16 and Feb 17 respectively.

Here are the last two comments by the same person on the same date (so I am combining them into one paragraph) FEB. 19th:

From someone who was raised in the evangelical church and disgusted with it I dove in quickly to the emerging ideas. Funny thing is that I’m already feeling empty and disgusted with most of what is called emerging. I am ecstatic about fresh, new approaches to church but not at the expense of demoting the Leader. Too much “overthought” seems to be leading to heretical ideas. I pray for some of the leaders who seem to be drifting farther away from Truth than closer to it. wanted to add that I am approaching this from a perspective of humility and not holier than thou. My opinions are no better than Rob Bell’s or Brian McLaren’s but Rob Bell and Brian McLaren are not the final authority…God is. And God has spoken and has allowed us to know a fraction of who God is through the Word. We cannot trash the Word by saying it is old fashioned and therefore irrelevant. Truth never turns into untruth and it remains relevant forever!

Now, I won’t even touch this last comment though I would love to… point is this – tucked away on Feb. 18th was my comment on “Final Thoughts” post and here it is:

______, could you please define what you mean when you say: “…it is repackaged New Age fluff”…what are you specifically thinking of? Besides the bible being written by men, which is true in one very real sense. And which “reliable” translation are you meaning exactly?

______, i am not sure that anyone who claims salvation outside of Christ would or should be called a “well-known Christian”…beyond this, what specific examples of watering down do you mean in regards to the emerging church?

Now, i say “tucked away” because my comment was never approved! That’s right, the pastor wouldn’t let my comments be posted. Why? Who knows. Maybe b/c i actually challenged his loyal followers to say something specific rather than just speak in generalities, he didn’t like that. Maybe he thought i was being unfair to make them defend something they had written rather than just allowing them to spew out easy, cheap phrases that sound good but in the end really don’t say much. Maybe he thought that once some of his “fan” base is challenged to think and talk beyond just phrases that they have heard from this pastor that they may not do so good. Who knows.

It’s sad and disappointing.

Cover Image

Joseph Myers is the author behind this book and his previous bestseller: The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups.

I was a little hestitant to get this book, not because his other book was bad (in fact, it was good)…but as I was flipping through it I found myself thinking….”his last book was good, but how does one begin to incorporate his insights and wisdom”. And while his latest book starts to answer that question it remains purposefully slim on “here is what you do.” Rather it makes you flip the questions over and over in your mind and in your context and begin to ask “what does what he is talking about look like in our situation” rather than taking examples that he may give and just apply them haphazardly.

The whole books turns on the idea of Master Planning (MP) versus Organic Order (OO). He then chapter by chapter shows how most churches operate under the concept of MP but find themselves not really doing much or accomplishing much by focusing on what their plans are for people’s lives. This really challenged my thinking. Is the church all about making people plug in to fit their (the church’s) agenda? And should the church perhaps be more about finding ways to incorporate itself into people’s lives? The concept was (and still is) hard to get my mind wrapped around, but I think the implications are huge.

MP promotes place or point thinking “we’re headed there!” by asking the question: “where are we going (headed)?” OO asks the question: “what are we hoping for?” is more substance oriented and filled with journey language that promotes flexibility.

To keep this review short(er) I will comment only on some of the 9 areas that he talks about in regards to organic community.

1. Patterns: Presecriptive vs. Descriptive. Many ways to use to connect to God and others. Small groups (however good or helpful they may be…are not the end all be all).

2. Participation – lots of time trying to get people to participate, little time figuring out how. Churches tend to want people to plug into what they are doing. We must, as a church, answer the real question of “why me?” that people ask, rather than the organizational focused question we assume people are asking of “what’s in it for me?”

3. Measurement – This is not a neutral tool. This was a mindblowing section for me. We measure what we perceive and tell others is important, or that will become important. People’s stories are a universal measurement of life.

4. Growth – Piecemeal vs. Incremental. Churches tend to choose incremental because there are bigger upfront “growth” reports. It is quicker and faster. Yet it can exhaust a lot, or most of our resources because we are just wanting one or two things done, right now, to get see and experience growth.

5. Power – MP: power through position. OO: sees people who take on roles during the life of a project. Project holds the power, not the position.

6. Cordination – MP: cordination through cooperation. OO is about collaboration. Organic community, he writes, “is not a product or end result, but rather it is a process.” It is a different kind of ‘intentional’. “We have some control over environments but not on actual community emerging.”

7. Partners – Edit-ability vs. Accountability. Perhaps to simplistic but grace vs. keeping track of wrongs.

8. Language – Language is living. Moving from noun-centric to verb-centric world. I would ask though, is there room for both?

9. Resources – OO celebrates possibilities not options. A spirit of scarcity but not be truth but a personal view of resources available. He states that the church promotes scarcity world view through trying to get people to buy into their (church) MP. Example – bulletins are filled with ministry stuff inside the walls of the church or members home. He asks a vaild question: What can the church do to assimilate into people’s lives?

This book is part of the new line of books from emersion. Which is the Emergent Village’s resource arm for leaders and the church. To be honest I ended up liking this book more than The Search to Belong. They both are good, ask great questions and make leaders delve a little deeper into our minds, hearts, and motives of why are we doing what we are doing. You may or may not agree with his conclusions – but he gets the conversation started. By the way, he isn’t some whack job saying whatever. He owns a consulting firm that helps churches, businesses, and other organizations promote and develop community.