Sep 282012
 

Attended the Mosaix Global Network members retreat in Chicago this week for the first time. So sweet to be with a wide variety of multiethnic church and ministry leaders who took the time and energy to invest in relationships that will no doubt bear long-term fruit and impact, though it may not quite look like what people tend took for in so-called measurable results.

There could be many pages written about those 2 days together, as the conversations delved into a handful of big issues that seem to hinder the American church from breaking free from being the most segregated hour in society. One study found that only 8% of Christian congregations in the U.S. are considered racially or ethnically “mixed,” meaning no one group makes up more than 80% of the congregation. One of the things about diversifying is how much work it takes, and how much time it takes, to really understand being in someone else’s shoes.

Active listening takes that extra effort and time. People can use the same words and mean different things. People could use different words and mean the same thing. It’s not so much about the words that people say, it’s what people mean by the words they say. And in so doing, becoming more sensitive to others, and being less sensitive about ourselves — thinking others more highly than yourself.

Listening is long, hard, ardouous work.. it’s slow and inefficient. If I were to take a stopwatch and time, a majority of the time was necessary to sort through definition of terms (like multiethnic or multicultural or multiracial or something else) and hearing stories and back stories, leaving a minority of the time to work on takeaways and so-called practical next steps. I love how Krista Tippett (host of On Being podcast)  poses a listening posture through her question, “what does that word hold for you?”

Yes, it can feel like we’re inching our way alon, and the metaphor that comes to mind is a turtle running a marathon. Rather than making everyone train for and run a marathon, we can all finish if we walk together. More concisely, the African proverb: “Alone, we go faster. Together, we go further.”

And aren’t long-term relationships more important than short-term results? People are far more important than tasks. Getting it right rather than (only) getting it done. And it is the church that should be the one safe place on earth where people can find rest for their soul, in a world surrounded by ruthless expectations for performance and results.

[also] Tricia Johnson’s blog post, A High Privilege, about this retreat

Sep 232012
 

There are so many other ways to name a church than to use a generic Anytown Church, Christian Fellowship, or First Congregational Church. And I don’t mean the cool and/or hipster way. There are some unique church names that might raise an eyebrow or garner the attention of a second glance. For example, who says there’s no perfect church because there’s no perfect people? There is! Here’s some of the top ones I’ve found, listed in no particular order:

cf. some other lists – Humorous Church Names (ministrybestpractices.com), comments @ Fellowship Church Names12 Bizarre Church NamesA Church by Any Other Name: 129 cool new church names @ Out of UrChurches get creative with their names (Winnipeg Free Press 5/1/2010)

Know some others? Add a comment!

Sep 152012
 

What’s up with this crazy wild viral popularity of PSY and Gangnam style? Are millions being entertained because they’re laughing at Psy or laughing withPsy? What’s struck the nerve?

First on YouTube, then appearances on mainstream media on the likes of Saturday Night Live (9/15), TODAY show (9/14), The Ellen Show (9/10), MTV Video Music Awards (9/6), has fanned the flame, and extended the bandwagon for other coat-tailing trend-followers. There’s a surge of color commentaries all over social media and traditional mainstream media speculating as to why:

My take: check the “all of the above” box. Yes, Gangnam style has become viral because it’s silly, fun, easy, satirical, edgy, novel & unexpected, unconventional, surprising, innovative. It’s also the confluence of traditional mainstream media and social media, and the economic engine driving the industries of music, entertainment, and news, all need the attention of masses of people, so popularity feeds popularity.

And I have to wonder how much truth is under the radar, too; just heard a podcast episode about media manipulation on Triangulation episode 67 with Leo Laporte and Ryan Holiday, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, a media strategist with keen insights about the manipulation of mass media. With both social media and traditional media being funded by advertisers that pay for eyeballs from the attention of readers & watchers of news & entertainment, they’ve got a vested interest to appeal to whatever might trigger the masses to click-through. To reach millions, what’s popular by default goes to the lowest-common-denominator, dumb-down, and keep the cookies on the bottom shelf, our basest instincts. (Or maybe I’m just overthinking this.) Even the best of fact-checkers may not be able to unveil the rumored secret conspiracy theory of covert operations that drove its popularity Gangnam style.
Sep 062012
 

The power of perception. Your perception shapes your reality. More than that, really, for most people. Your perception becomes your reality; your perception IS your reality. Me too. My perception is my reality. And here’s how I see and perceive myself, who I think I am.

I’m really just an ordinary average guy.

I won’t use the word normal, I know I’m not that. I was today described as “an interesting guy” by an old friend. I can live with that. I like to keep myself available and accessible to ordinary people. (I don’t need to be protecting my time or be shrewdly strategic to maximize my effectiveness and impact.) My phone number is here for you to call 949-243-7260 and when you call I will answer. If I’m not able to answer right away, I’ll call you back, and we’ll chat about whatever.

Labor Day weekend marked the end of summer, and here’s how ordinary it was. We made it mostly family time, mostly unplanned, it unfolded as ideas spontaneously surfaced.

Saturday. Took a lunch road trip to downtown Orange for the Internatioanal Street Fair. I wound up having a $5 gyro. My wife and 15yo son were with me. 2 hours or so of sauntering. Did a load of laundry. Afternoon nap. Went to Saturday night church worship at Saddleback Rancho Capistrano, and the bonus was a pizza dinner afterward. Met a retired doctor named Bill, and got him super-quickly signed up on Twitter on his cell phone — you can too, just send a text to 40404 with a message: follow rickwarren

Sunday. Breakfasted at Bagels & Brew, father & son style. Ran errand with son for a church tech team meeting. Light grocery shopping. Washed the car (Prius c) by hand, father & son teamwork. Went to hardware store twice to get shelving brackets, and then the screws. Cheeseburger macaroni mix for a leftover lunch. Built 2 wall shelves in my son’s bedroom. Watched documentary about The Gates (a controversial 2-week outdoor art installation in New York City’s Central Park back in February 2005) on hulu.com
beach foam
Monday. Road trip to Laguna Beach with family for 3 hours, which included breakfasting at C’est La Vie overlooking the beach, walked along the beach, stopped by a grocery store and picked up 1 Hatch green chile for 27 cents. Sloppy joe sandwich and leftovers for lunch. Afternoon nap. Chili for dinner with a movie, the 3rd sequel of that Back to the Future franchise. Bummed I forgot to make cornbread. Bedtime.

See, pretty ordinary, yes? What did you do for this last weekend to end out the summer of 2012?