Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Myth of Mutual Exclusivity:

The Myth of Mutual Exclusivity:

It seems that the myth of mutual exclusivity is such a driving force behind nearly all divisiveness. In churches, in the workplace, in families, racism, law enforcement, ministers, denominations, gender issues, sexual assault.... the myth is so pervasive it feels like no topic can escape the devolution to that end.

(consider the antithesis of each statement as assumed)

  • If you are pro BLM then you must hate cops.
  • If you are pro LE then you must hate black people.
  • If you believe a sexual assault complaint then you have to be a liberal.
  • If you are a Christian than you Must be a Republican.
  • If you minister to women who have had an abortion than you are pro murder.
  • If you are a liberal church then you don't believe the Bible (but if you make up 1,000's of laws that Jesus never imposed then you are somehow deemed "conservative")
  • If you love trump than you must hate all minorities
  • If you don't believe Christians should be involved in politics then you must hate America.
  • If you believe that God loves the LGBTQ community then you don't believe in God.
  • If one thing in the Bible is inaccurate/mistaken/contextual/allegory then NONE of the Bible is true.
  • If you don't believe in a physical Hell then you can not believe in a physical Heaven.
  • If you want to reach millennials then you must want to abandon, discount, and even (probably) hate the older people.
On and on and on and on we go....

These Us vs Them, Right vs Wrong, You vs Me, black and white lines in the sand creep in, infest, and take over every conversation we have. It makes us fearful of our own beliefs, first, which then makes us fearful of everyone else's beliefs.


I realize that's a lot of rambling without a defined "point" but know we all encounter these every day if not every hour.

We must combat these in ourselves and then learn (genuinely... I don't know the answer....)
how to combat them all around us.

The myth of mutual exclusivity is tearing our relationships, our churches, our country, our world, our very souls apart.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

An Open Letter to ALL Women, On Mother’s day:

Dear women,

I hear you. I hear you when some of you say that Mother’s Day is the hardest Sunday of the year. I hear you when you speak of the insensitivity and mishandling of this day by churches around the country that cause you pain and make faithful women stay home from Church on Mother’s Day.  

This day, for me, is always held in tension, joy-pride-thankfulness butted up against sorrow-loss-pain. 

For some, Mother’s Day is looked forward to all year, with joyful anticipation, for others the status of Mother’s Day is painfully elusive, for some it is met with dread and terrible sorrow. 

We have women who are single, women who choose not to be mothers, women who don’t feel called to have children, mothers, step mothers, adopted mothers, foster mothers, surrogate mothers, stand-in mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-waiting, women who know the unbelievable joy of watching their children faithfully grow, those who know the deep pain of having wayward children walk away, those who gave children for adoption, those who experience the heartbreak of infertility, those who carry the weight of an abortion, those who have faced the darkness of failed adoptions, and those who know the unfathomable pain of losing a child, as well as those children who never knew their mothers, people who have lost their mothers, and people who owe their very lives to their wonderful mothers. 

We love you all. God loves you all. 
God values you all, cheers for you all, and weeps with you all. 

We are a family of many parts, a family of many joys, and a family of many pains. We are here for you, this day, and every day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

For those who teach/work with children:

I spend most of my writing time on sermons and lessons these days, short (and sometimes too long...) Facebook posts, and the occasional (should be more) letter. 

It has been nearly a year since I lasted posted on this blog.  

That said, something has been greatly on my heart as of late and it concerns all of us who work with kids.  Whether you are a school teacher, a Scout leader, a coach, a Sunday school teacher, or a youth minister, how we interact with kids (and WHY) is something that touches me to the core.

This has been on my heart a lot and what I have learned from teaching high school, teaching reading intervention, coaching kids sports, coaching high school sports, teaching children's classes, AWANA, youth group, and Being one of those kids myself....

As teachers of children, first and foremost we are here to support, build up, inspire, and encourage kids by showing them LOVE. For many of kids, the love they get from us may be the only love (patience, compassion, encouragement, etc) that they are ever shown at all.

Now, believe me, I know kids can be very difficult sometimes. It is NOT always bliss and this is not a kumbaya-parent-shaming post. 

Kids can be rowdy, crazy, disrespectful, rude, lethargic, uninterested, and obstinate. That's on the good days 

What I pray we can all remember is that they may be rowdy because, perhaps, they are over-medicated the other part of their day, or perhaps they don't have access to medication they actually need, or maybe they have no tools to get a piece of your coveted adult attention any other way.
They may act crazy because your place doesn't make sense. They may live in a home where attention isn't given, where adults aren't present (either physically or emotionally) and they are pulling and pushing on all the guardrails to see what's real.
Perhaps they seem disrespectful because that is the only behavior they have ever been modeled? I would argue, however, that even more likely is that (like how your own children act worse for you than they do for others) they actually feel safe here with you and perhaps they don't other places, so here is where they feel like they can "cut lose".
Don't teach them they are wrong about that.
The appearance of being rude can be a misinterpretation of social cues that simply don't translate from how one person lives and what environment another must live in.
We must remember that they may not have grow up in our home, our socioeconomic status, our religion, or our culture.
They may, at times, seem lethargic because they (even at elementary school age) may be putting themselves to bed at night, alone. They may not have a safe and comfortable place to sleep well, or may even be working at night to help with the family, either at a job, around the house, or caring for other siblings (or caring for incapacitated parents that are supposed to be caring for them).
Often times a child that seems uninterested may be feigning disinterest to protect them-self from being "found out" - typically this is because they can't read or can't read on grade level. This can also be because they cognitively can't understand the questions but have been ridiculed to the point of developing a fear of asking for help. This can also be because they simply don't know your organizational words and lingo (higher education, churchie, etc.).

We all need to look for opportunities for every child to have their moments to shine. Most children will not shine in all areas and we want to praise them in the areas they do - meet them where they are. We want to love, respect, encourage, and take pride in the child who comes for game time as we do the child that finishes all their book work early, as the child that hangs on every word of the lesson, as the child that constantly talks and acts out during the lesson to deflect their level of discomfort.

We certainly can not let bad behavior simply go or allow kids to treat each other (or adults) poorly.

There will be times that we yell, times that we cry, times that we do this well, and times that we do this horribly (for we are as human as the kids).

I just want to encourage all of us to take a moment and consider that a child might be acting like a kid with "no raising" because they are, in fact, a kid who has never had anyone to truly raise them. Until us.

We want to be a soft place, a safe landing - we want to be Jesus. Jesus with open arms, warm smiles, loads of patience, and grace-Filled love. We will fail at that. All of it. When we do, we want to admit the shortcoming, get back up, and try again. Love more.

We have to remember that children don't try to push us away to actually push us away.... they try to push us away to see if they are really worth it for us to actually stay.