Monday, September 28, 2015

The code of "pushback"

Inevitably, in a world full of ideas, meetings and political correctness, you'll hear someone "pushback."

Whenever someone throws an idea into the ether, another will pop up their hand and ask if they can offer "pushback."

But, is "pushback" just PC for I-think-your-idea-sucks or I-actually-think-your-a-bit-of-dick?

I would like to say that this isn't the case, but when the sugar-coating is removed, is this all that you're left with?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The four options of advice

I just read a really good article about advice on which you can read here.

In part, it noted that there are four primary types of advice... (If the options are A, B or C)

1 - What they should do (Do A).
2 - What they shouldn't do (Don't do B. Anything, but B).
3 - Giving the person more information (Here's everything significant that I could find about A, B and C).
4 - Pointing the person towards someone wiser (I'm not the best person you can talk to, have a chat with x). Opposed to what I wrote earlier, this can be the starting point for advice, even if it shouldn't be the ending.

I find that when people ask for advice, most often, they're actually seeking clarity of thought, not nessesarily an answer regurgitated at them. In fact, there are many occasions when the decision of what to do has already been made in their mind.

What they really want is the later two options, either additional information or someone to run them through a system of checks to confirm that they're going to be heading in the wisest direction.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Treadmill stoppers

Right now I'm on holidays and life is... Relaxed boring.

But, in truth, I needed a break. Last term, by the end, was pretty draining and the rest of the year holds some significant changes and challenges.

But, I needed to be talked into taking, what upon reflection, will be an adequate amount of time off.

For life, especially in ministry, can feel like a continuous treadmill of events, activities, meetings, admin, church services and preparation.

And, there needs to be people who can tell you to jump off the treadmill and stop.

People who you trust...
People who care for you...
People who care about what you're doing...
People who you'll actually listen to.

For, once you've been stuck on the treadmill too long, you can get ground down.

And, it's at these times when your treadmill-stopper needs to step in and remind you that hitting the off switch is ok.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gnosticism and sexting

I wrote about Gnosticism and how it can be seen in modern times here.

But the other day I stumbled over this article about sexting, and while I might not leap as far as the author does, it makes a connection I didn't identify earlier.

In short, sexting is another modern extension once you stumble into the quagmire of Gnostic thought.


Because they both see a false separation from the physical.

In historical Gnostic thought, the division is between the spiritual from the corporeal.

Nowadays, far too many people fool themselves into thinking that there's a false division between the digital and the physical.

This is most evident when it comes to social media and sexting. You don't need to look far to find examples of people spewing bemoan which they would never dare do in person. Furthermore, far too many young people, predominatly female, send pictures digitally which they don't envisage could have a very connection to their physical life.

And, if these posts or pictures are dug up, ill-used or "hacked," then their very "real" consequences can see the light of day.

And here an old heresy can claim another victim.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


The poor.
The needy.
The homeless.
The abandoned.
The depressed.
The losers.
The hurting.
The outsider.
The refugee.
The widow.

These are the people, especially, whom the church exists for and, frankly, the people whom give the church its greatest opportunity to make a massive difference and show that the gospel can change lives.

It's a tragedy when those with the church don't see the human need which crosses their path.

And, if meeting the needs of those-whom-the-church-is-for causes discomfort or inconvenience, then that's more than ok and, I believe, is a cost that Jesus would want us to pay.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Supporters with little skin in the game

Those in ministry need support. Lots of it. Professional. Pastoral. Laity.

Over the weekend I hear a retiring minister thank a lot of people.

Somewhat surprisingly, someone he was grateful towards was a person who supported his family, but was relatively unconnected to much of the ministry he provided.

And, ideally, everyone in ministry needs someone who is willing to support then with minimal skin in the game.

They're on no committees...
They're on no rosters...
They aren't a gatekeeper of the church...

To most, they just appear as someone who faithfully fills a pew every Sunday.

Due to their distance, they're able to provide a relatively clean slate and removed perspective with thef minimal possibility of an agenda.

And this is their greatest strength.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The next step of helping

This is who you can call...
This book might be good to check out...
This professional would be helpful to chat with...
This person has gone through a similar thing, ask them for advice...

The above is, often, not the start of an offer to help.

Far and away, the best response to a request for help, is a listening ear. Even Job's mates knew that.

But, in time, the offer of help should, ideally, be accompanied with some useful knowledge, or at least the offer to journey with person while, together, you try to unearth the next useful step.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Announcements need a large percentage

Yesterday, after church, we had a really good breakfast for all the dads for Father's Day.

But, in the weeks leading up to the event, it never got announced from the front of the church.

Sure, there were posters advertising the event and I sent around emails to the church families, but nothing spoken during the announcements segment of church.


Because the event didn't hit enough people sitting in the pews.

Honestly, a Father's Day breakfast only immediately affects a few dozen people.

So, why would I use valuable time at the start of a church service to speak about something that didn't connect with the majority of people listening?

Unless an activity effects almost everyone, or you would like it to reach the vast majority, why would you choc up time in the church service with miss-aimed information?

In reality, when it comes to most events, there are far better ways to advertise, starting with a personal conversation.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Verse forgetting

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

When asked a question, this was the verse I was desperately trying to remember during the week.

But I couldn't do it.

Armed with just my memory and a physical bible, I couldn't track it down.

And I felt like a complete failure and a total idiot.

If I lived a few decades ago, I would have had to wade through the bible, which is what I would've been prepared to do, in order to unearth my verse.

But now, when I was within a biblical search function, I was able to find my verse (and another dozen verses that were arguably applicable) in short time.

The whole episode, firstly, makes me extremely thankful that I live in a time when I can have such information at my fingertips, secondly, it reminds me of the importance of biblical memorisation (like of these verses that I mentioned here) and, thirdly, it humbles me once I consider the ability of previous generations to recall the bible without the ability to punch in a key word or topic into a search box.