Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't jump ship!

I ran across this recent blog post "Do it as the church" by David Gunner Gunderson (try saying that 3 times fast!) over at Raw Christianity. Everything written in this post resonated with me and David articulates so much better than I ever could the idea of doing things for Christ as a collective body, not as "individual mavericks." In his words (but I highly encourage you to read David's entire post

Sometimes we join together with like-minded individualists, and become a group of malcontents. We gather with our like-minded friends, brashly engage in all those grey-area activities that were unaccepted in our previous subcultures, rehearse our common hurts and revile others’ hypocrisies, condemn all the traditionalists, and verbally tear down the establishment (usually without erecting anything in its place). We reflect on our new priorities as so many imitations of Jesus the revolutionary, and we glory in our holy rebellions.

But this is not the answer. We don’t need just another individualistic maverick. We don’t need more Christians failing the church because the church has failed (and see the irony?). We don’t need more reverse hypocrites hypocritically condemning the original hypocrites. We need to bail water, lighten the ship, patch the sails, check the compass, strengthen the sailors, and take courage — not jump overboard.

Yes, we need men and women who will stand in the gap, and this will sometimes take unusual faith and unconventional wisdom. We need modern-day prophets to proclaim the sharp words that the Lord would have us hear. We need to re-examine the grey areas, deconstruct some traditions, pursue fresh obediences, and call each other to an increased faith, hope, love, and mission. But not out of self-seeking ambition and self-righteous reactionism......

Yes, wrestle through the issues. Ask the hard questions. Engage the culture, seek reformation, and act on the holiest of your ambitions. But when you do all of these things, do it as the church. Evangelize as the church, not as the self-representing cool missional guy that’s trying to distance himself from the gathered people of God. Show mercy as a member of the body, not as a young woman trying to prove a point. Protest a political agenda because it stands against the values of the kingdom of God and the gospel of Christ, not mainly because you want to go against the politicized grain of evangelicalism. And be sincere and authentic because you are the purified bride of Jesus Christ, not because you hope to lay the charge of hypocrisy at someone else’s feet. We — we — are the community of faith, those who have been baptized together into the corporate life and power of the Holy Spirit.....

The church is deeply fragmented, and the fragmentation is only increasing. There are times to separate, yes, but there are also times to stand together, even when some to your left are a bit grimy, and some to your right have overdone the make-up....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Life Lessons

I'm sure you all may have seen this list at one time or another, but I thought it worth posting as a reminder! Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, "To celebrate growing older, I wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. My odometer rolled over to 90 , so here is the column once more":

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.
Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Innovator's R different!

Research indicates that true innovator's brains are actually different from other people's brains. The big difference is that original thinkers - iconoclasts - innovators - whatever you want to call them, see the world differently than everyone else. Too many of us think "automatically" - in other words, we assume the way things should be, take a lot for granted, and don't challenge our perceptions. But innovators don't make those assumptions, and generally see the world the way it is. The secret of being an innovator? Bombard the brain with new experiences. Force yourself to see the world in different ways. Travel. Meet new people. Think from different experiences. Live a life of novelty.

It's no surprise many of our most innovative writers, artists, actors, filmmakers and more were a bit eccentric. They didn't live their lives the way everyone else thought they should. Jesus was a great example of someone who lived outside other people's expectations. As a result, these unusual people produce far more creative work because they refused to see "normal" as normal.

What's your experience? Is there a routine you can break out of? What behavior can you shatter that would give you a new perspective on living?

~ Insightful words from Phil Cooke