Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An espresso for me and these gentlemen...

Current Pastor, if you have not read anything by Daniel Pink, I suggest you put him on the top of your list. He has something to say that I believe is prophetic. If the Men of Issachar were alive today, I would bet they would have had coffee with Pink by now.

What does it mean to be prophetic? Is it some kind of psychic, fortune telling, future predicting ability that the odd men possessed in the Old Testament? I guess we could get lost in a discussion six ways to Sunday on that, but the point I want to address is how do we pay attention to the clues in front of us in order to make adjustments for tomorrow?

According to the Gallup Strength Finder, I have Futurist in my core set of five strengths. The consultant explained to me that there might be one in a group of fifty that possess this, and that’s because you don’t really need very many of them if they are exercising it fully.

As a Futurist, I realize I don’t need a whole lot of other futurists around me. A few, maybe, but like the ancient night watchman patrolling out on the city wall, watching through the night for anything of danger that might approach and attack his city, everyone inside the wall didn’t need to be awake at three in the morning while the watchman was out on patrol. If the watchman was doing his job, everyone else could sleep soundly, knowing that if in the event that watchman saw anything of concern, he’d sound the alarm at the appropriate time and the city would stand at attention, ready to respond to the oncoming movement.

Pink has noticed something on his watch, and it is causing me to take a further look.

I have been consuming two of his books in the past month, A Whole New Mind and Drive, and believe he has something to say to the Church as We Know It and to the pastors of the Church of the Future. My next few posts will outline in brief the importance of what he is saying, and what we as pastors might need to consider.

There have been plenty of books written about why people, especially men, are leaving the Church As We Know It. George Barna’s statistic-heavy Revolution and David Murrow’s Why Men Hate Going to Church are interesting reads, but neither gets as close to the core of what I believe is happening before our eyes, and Pink is articulating it about as clear as anyone right now about our culture and how it is shifting toward a new understanding of motivation.

Insight is always helpful, and wisdom is to be desired above gold, but without the ability to translate it into action, it becomes a dead study. The watchman can tend to his guard, but if no one hears and responds to the signal, the watchman’s effort is in vain.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Angry Politics

Since I’ve not been a part of the Church as We Know It for several years, I find that not being exposed to such an excessive amount of teaching about the bible on a near daily basis has actually helped me be more in tune with matters that I believe are really important and worthy of transformational consideration. I used to think that “more is better” when it came to Bible knowledge and exposure to Bible teaching. But instead what I think it led me to experience was excessive consumption, and hence I became fat on the Bread of Life. I never met anyone who actually believed you could actually spend too much time reading the Bible, but I now suppose that even such a practice can have a detrimental effect if expressed improperly.

I would never say reading the Bible is wrong, or that one should never study or memorize it. The practice of preaching is a good one, and I have a handful of memorable messages that have altered my thinking for the better. I just think it’s simpler than we have made it out to be.

For example, I have been camped out at the gates of the Sermon on the Mount for quite some time now, and specifically, at the first point in the sermon after the introduction of the Beatitudes. And since we don’t have a whole lot of Jesus’ sayings written down, it interests me to pay close attention to the very first formal message. I don’t take Jesus as one who minced words, nor wasted them. I believe he said things for a reason, and I want follow up and ask “why did he say that?”

Why did he make his first point about anger?

Your Bible notes might title the heading Murder, but I really don’t think that he’s talking about Thou Shalt Not Kill in the literal sense of pulling out a gun and blowing someone’s head off. Back up a little further as ask yourself what leads a person to pull the trigger? Is there any other answer than anger?

We don’t kill out of sadness, or poverty, or even pride. Bottom line is this: we kill because we are angry, and we are angry because we cannot have what we want.

This explains in my mind the state of politics today.

I will admit my conservative bent when it comes to matters of fiscal responsibility, limited government, belief in free markets, blah, blah, blah. But I find very few who I feel speak for me in the way I would like to be represented. It seems every voice out there is angry, regardless if you lean left or right. What the hell? What are we so pissed off about?

Next time you listen to a pundit, watch for their anger, especially if it is someone who defends your point of view. Bill Maher or Mark Levin, Keith Olbermann or Laura Ingram. I have a hard time listening to any of them. They are all far too angry.

I don’t think we will get anywhere in this country until we figure out what Jesus was teaching about anger. Anger is neither left or right, liberal or conservative. Both sides are plagued by it. Neither are justified in it.

With one point of his sermon, I’ve had enough to think about for a while.