Friday, May 25, 2007

Family Correlation

This is not related to the last post. ;-D

This morning at CC we talked about the passage in 1 Timothy that qualifies leadership in the church based on leadership at home (within the family). Here are the verses - chapter 3, verse 4 & 5.

He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)

Tall order! I am now looking back since my 3 children are adults. But I can see where I've been and what I've gained. The rigorous dynamics within the family are useful in leadership settings - especially in a multi-leadership context. You learn the virtues mentioned in the other verses preceding these verses (especially in the rearing and upbringing of the various mutations revealed in offspring).

It occured to me that before I became a husband and a father, I thought I had keen insight that qualified me for effective leadership. I didn't know how sophmoric I was until I began to work with other young developing leaders. I realized they didn't have the needed domestic resource that is critical in honing the virtues of "temperance, self-control, respectability, hospitality, teachability, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money" (vv 2 & 3).

What a valuable staple spouse and children are. No wonder God said to be fruitful and multiply. Survival of humanity has much broader benefits than merely occupying the earth.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Guys and Godfather

Less than a week ago, one of my umpire friends tagged a Godfather trivia question at the end of one of his multi recipient posts (he's the secretary of our high school group and the assignor for our summer games). There were about half a dozen responses to the question.

Out of that, he lumps together a small group of guys to swap GF trivia. It is beginning to network to others. I added my brother, and he added one of his friends. There is some talk about trying to get a group together to watch the movies with food and beverages (almost like a bunch of girls watching a Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts genre flick).

What is it about this story that grabs so many men? Is it the combination of conquest with rivalry and family-on-the-side mixed in?

Such a curiosity.


Jeffy "Big Ears" Stewartini

Friday, May 11, 2007

Non-Fiction TV

This morning at Cholesterol Cafe, we talked about what the concept of "survivor" is and discussed the meaning of Jesus' words about giving us life "to the full."

The conversation began by talking about the popular television program "Survivor." I would have loved to contribute to the banter, but I just can't watch that show. I watched it once and thought - "I see the formula and it looks like broken and redemptive humanity on display." I can't get past the knowledge that the show has a producer, and a crew influencing every "spontaneous" event that unfolds before millions of viewers. No thanks - it bores me! Same thing with all the fuss about "Lost." I heard someone I work with state that they "tivo" every episode and sit down to watch it later in the week "and please don't tell me what happened."

Whatever floats your boat, but that ain't me!

As you can see by the title of this blog, I don't quite blend in with the particular and contextual "mainstream" on this. I seem to be in the minority.

If I try to converse with others about the shows I watch (like Mythbusters, Forensic Files, North Mission Road, Dirty Jobs, The Investigators and other real "reality" shows), it usually results in a polite and ignorant nod - or the third-eye look. I feel like I'm in a very small minority when it comes to TV entertainment.

Let's see if I can explain my wiring - which is subject to scrutiny and correction or resonation and understanding. I've tried to do a self-analysis on this quirkiness of mine - and this is what I have concluded. This is me...

Non-fiction is not subject to manipulation or conniving. It simply displays things they way they happen or are. Long-held notions can be dispelled and insights gained by passive observation. This is more consistent with how we live our lives. We can plan to decide certain things, but our decisions are most often reshaped so that we navigate according to conditions before us.

"Survivor" and "Lost" are productions that simulate reality. Viewers find themselves drawn in to the drama of adaptive human behavior, but forget that the people are there based on recruitment and audition. The settings are chosen dependent on advance research and those involved have to be monitored (especially in our litigate-happy culture).

It's artificial humanity. Recent history has shown that those who gain fame (or infamy) on how they adapt and thrive through difficult challenges on the small screen, fall flat on their faces with mundane challenges away from cameras and selected remote locations.

I guess I'm much more entertained with the latter. Case in point: I'm actually enjoying the current situation with Paris Hilton's jail sentence. There is much more intrigue for me to hear she and her mother cry "foul" - for this petition to the Governator to pardon her and commute here sentence - to hear Rosie O’Donnell slough off the irresponsibility of driving under the influence. I'm actually gaining more insight and pleasure from this, than any production which requires my time and attention for several minutes when networks schedule its "airing."

Enough rambling (I love the freedom of blogging for this reason. It's up to you to make sense of what you read). It is my belief that salt and light become more intensified by looking at what we do and who we are from the perspective of the One who "emptied himself."

Make any sense?



Friday, May 4, 2007

dialogismos with myself

His fictitious name is Patrick Morris. I met him when he and his fiancée came to seek premarital counseling. She had been attending our church for a few years. She became a follower of Christ within those years. Both had been married before.

I enjoyed our times together. We talked about our mutual trust in Christ and other mundane things that we enjoyed in life (he liked archery).

About a month before the scheduled wedding, they decided they could not wait and hold off on their affections for each other - so they went to Reno and eloped. They informed me at our next session. I told them that it was virtuous of them to do so, since biblically it is stated that it is better for them to marry, than to have an intense fire of physical expression held in check.

So we opted for a ceremony that would be a "blessing of a civil marriage." It was a very festive event. They even treated my wife and me to a night at a fru-fru hotel in CA wine country with body massage included.

I have no idea what happened to Patrick after that!

He became a pharisaical zealot. He would constantly lambaste other followers for not living up to what he thought was an appropriate expression of obedience to Christ.

At one point, his wife consulted me and expressed concern about his demeanor. She lamented that she felt he misrepresented himself while they were dating. That the true Patrick was hiding and only showed up after the wedding.

Others from our fellowship have had negative encounters with Patrick. This tempted me to be reciprocally antagonistic toward him. But I held off, knowing it was not in the interest of Christ's Spirit within me.

This morning, I am at the "Cholesterol Cafe" Men's breakfast. Each week we meet, go over a biblical principle and discuss how it is applied in our lives. Then we engage in mundane matters and mutual interest. About an hour and 20 minutes after the start of our time together, I see Patrick getting out of his car in the parking lot. He has his usual carry-on of KJV bible and some other black leather book. My first temptation is to say something negative to the others about him. God's Spirit screams "NO!" in my heart. I hear "speak to one another..." and so as he sits down adjacent to us, I look to him, wave and say "Hi Patrick." He waves back.

We continue our light conversations, when out of the blue, he pops his head over the lattice work atop the divider and asks: "How come you guys never talk about Jesus?" Looking up to see his face to determine if he means it in jest, I ask: "What did you say?" He repeats the question with even more consternation about his countenance.

"Out of the blue!" I'm discerning, as I see the downcast spirit ripple with the other men there. So I simply and confidently said: "Lighten up Patrick. Read Romans 14."

He sits back down and eventually asks the waitress to move to another table.

The brother next to me asks: "Why is it that some who believe are accounting for others and not themselves?" I explained, as best as I could, the history of Patrick's rantings with other Christians.

Now - the dialogue. Is this God speaking to us? Is this the adversary disguising as an angel of light? Is this a person who loves Christ, but has some kind of dysfunctional issue? I am hanging my hat on I Cor. 13 which emphasizes faith, hope and love and downplays knowledge.

I cannot figure this one out.