Category Archives: community

Some Wisdom Amidst the Noise, Part 4

Over the years, I have been labeled, “Messenger to the Thoughtful.” This is not, “messenger to the academic elites or people that are rich and smart.” Thoughtfulness is the privilege of every person, regardless of class or race, economics or education. If we approach God and the world with humility and wonder and treat people, with love and respect, we will enjoy a lifetime of learning and grow in wisdom. Here are a few more reflections – please help me keep learning!

Courage is loving instead of hating, responding instead of reacting and serving while others compete for power.

When possible, look for “both/and” instead of the “either/or” limitations. This does not work for moral absolutes, but is desperately needed in practical decisions, public policy and community flourishing.

There will always be others smarter and stronger than us; but we can reach the full measure of the divine intention for our lives.

Thank you, friends, for the good you bring to the world every day.

Thank you to every parent rushing to your kid’s cultural and sporting events today. Yes, it is worth it as you nourish their bodies and minds. Some of you are single, some married, some in blended situations…thank you for caring deeply for your children and nurturing the next generation.

Three Monday thoughts:
Decide ahead of time to make the right ethical choices;
Think deeply and prayerfully;
Act decisively for God’s glory and the good of others.
And inner peace and positive impact will follow.

May today bring tears of intercession, shouts of grateful joy, profound reflection on important matters, delightful laughter as we watch people and a chance to serve someone who cannot return the favor.

Lord, give me a critical mind and tender heart, evaluating ideas and principles without passing sentence on persons. Amen.

Some Wisdom Amidst the Noise, Part 3

Not all opinions are equal. Just because we feel something does not make it right. May we humbly (re)discover critical thinking and tender hearts, without fear of where our learning may take us.

We need more beauty in our lives, from a child’s smile to magnificent sunsets. Please pause and never lose the wonder.

Lord, help us to enter the mystery of your holy love and humility, seeking ways to bless those that curse us and do good for those that desire our demise.

Lord, help us become active contemplatives and contemplative activists, seeking your glory and the good of others, worshiping in our gathered communities and our scattered domains of work.

Lord, help us navigate between fear and foolishness, learning courage bathed in love and wisdom.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Amen.

One test of (all) leadership is principled compromise leading to proximate justice.

At the heart of being human are the deepest desires for God and meaningful work.

Be countercultural tonight: invite friends over for a potluck…with food all of you have cooked from scratch.

Boys can dance and girls can hunt…and they are still different.
How did three such different people come from the same parents?
God delights in uniqueness.

Fostering Positive Relationships

If we are at peace with God and ourselves, we have a great foundation for fostering healthy relationships. The principles here apply to every type of relationship, from family dynamics with our spouses and children to lifelong and new friendships, colleagues at work and all other social dynamics.

Before enumerating positive insights, there are three boundaries that will help ensure that sacrificial love does not become self-destructive.

  • One: Serving those that cannot return the favor is the height of agape of love; however, such service must never be at the expense of the dignity and integrity of our God-designed being and purpose. Put another way, biblical self-denial (good when we surrender our selfishness) is not personal self-destruction.
  • Two: We must forgive readily without excusing real transgressions or pretending the traumas did not occur. Forgiveness is powerful because we are desiring the best for another who sinned against God, us and others. We must not keep a “rap sheet” of grievances against others or ourselves.
  • Three: There is no merit in unwise vulnerability that leads to abuse and co-dependence. Psalm 16:6 declares that God puts boundaries in pleasant places. This reference to property lines works for our souls as well. Minor irritations are one thing; constant emotional rejection and subjugation is not something we must willfully engage.

Four positive insights will help guide healthy relationships – and love wisely expressed is the mark of the followers of Jesus.

  • One: Release unhealthy expectations and learn to receive whatever others can give. When we stop our “emotional accounting” and choose the good of others over our own momentary feelings, life becomes richer.
  • If married, enjoy God together and discover the shared mission/purpose of your marriage and your family (when and if children are part of household). If you cultivate a rich inner life and can connect your daily activities with divine callings, then issues of communication, romance and economics are faced and conquered together.
  • In the world of work, decide ahead of time that your advancement will never come at the expense of integrity and fair treatment of others. Diligence, honesty, teamwork and genuine concern for others may cost you occasional promotions, but your opportunities for influence will grow and sleeping at night is a good thing!
  • Self-care is not selfish. Proper diet and exercise, time for solitude, boundaries with hurting and selfish folks (while serving them) and replenishment in the presence of God and his Creation help us serve others. There is no glory in unnecessary burnout.

Integrating the spiritual, emotional and relational dimensions of life requires clarity and focus, some emotional discipline and, above all, love and humility. Adulthood is more about discipline than income and maturity is expressed in the unselfish quality of our interactions more than information acquisition or positional attainment. Let enjoy growing up!