November 18, 2017

The Gospel is Sustainable

Colin Maynard on Unsplash
If you listened to this week's podcast, you heard audio of me talking about my transition into the Episcopal Church. I did not grow up in this tradition and I have spent time with several denominations. Over and over again, when it comes to change and missional efforts I hear the same thing, no matter the tribe:

"That's great but that's not how our tradition does things."

Knowing who you are, your culture is paramount. But here's the truth, every Christian tradition on the face of the globe is no more than a beta test attempt at creating a container for the one thing. The gospel. As Bishop Andy Doyle has been fond of saying recently in so many words: for over two thousand years the one thing that's proved sustainable is the gospel. Not your tradition. Not your buildings. The gospel.

Churches Paul planted? Gone. Ancient parishes of Europe? Housing a pub now or gone.

What's still around? The gospel.

Be grateful for the traditions, the institutions that been handed down from generation to generation to you but hold them loosely. They are not the thing that has stuck throughout this two millennia experiment.

The good news of Christ's kingdom is what you should be investing your energy in.

That's your tradition.

November 17, 2017

Am I Doing This Right?

Many years ago, I met with a wise mentor. I was incredibly anxious about my ability to parent my young child. Was I doing this right? That mentor told me something that I've never forgotten and believe applies to a lot of life.

He assured me that if I was asking that question of whether or not I was doing it right exposed two things: if I wasn't doing it right, I was humble enough to get there someday and that in all likelihood I was in fact doing it right. "Crazy people don't wonder if they're crazy," he said to me, "It's sane people that wonder if their crazy from time to time."

Chances are there is an aspect of your life, your passion, your work that you ask yourself this question. Am I doing this right? We are bombarded with images and narratives of glossy perfection; of others doing it right. It can lead you to a silent state of inner panic as you compare yourself to a fabricated story line and a photo-shopped picture.

If this is you, here is what I know: If you are asking the question then, yes, you are doing it right and you are on your way to doing it better. But do not ask this question in the solitary experience of your thoughts, share this question with people you trust. Don't let it echo around in your own skull. Be brave enough to share this question with a trusted friend. Because if they say you are not doing it right, the fact that you are brave enough to ask ensures that you are on your way to getting it right.

November 16, 2017

Body of Christ as Rube Goldberg Machine



In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about how the Christian community functions as a body, a human body. The implication is that, in Christ, we are all connected to each other. Our work impacts each other and every part is necessary even the seemingly inconsequential. Today, the entire staff of the Diocese of Texas gathered for an all day vision casting retreat, a chance to look at what we've accomplished and where we're headed. This morning, Bishop Dena Harrison tied this imagery together with the Rube Goldberg machine. If you aren't familiar with them, these machines, on appearance seem nonsensical and haphazard. Yet, this odd assortment of bits and pieces, when strung together accomplish something surprisingly fantastic.

Indeed, the Church is quite like this. As much as we would like to do things well and present something nice and shiny for the world, at the end of the day we are most often a clumsy, motley group of Jesus followers as surprised by the miraculous outcomes we get to participate in as those observing this around us. And it's only when each ridiculous and laughable part comes together with its counterparts that something works as intended. That may just be the grace in all of it.

I love this image and am so grateful to Bp. Harrison for sharing it.

If you're not familiar with Rube Goldberg machines, my favorite example is the one in the OK Go video above. Enjoy.

November 15, 2017

Numbers tell stories

Whatever you measure tells a story. It tells others what you value. So, decide what story you are telling and collect that data.

Here's the tricky bit about this: if you don't decide what's important, what story needs to be told, what is valued and therefore measured others will do this for you. They will decide what needs to be measured and what story this tells.

Again, decide what story you are telling and collect that data.

Speaking of metrics, Church Metrics is a fantastic app for new communities. You should try it out so that you can adapt it's preset features to measure what matters to your community.

November 14, 2017

Ep. 10 Jacob Breeze


My conversation with Jacob Breeze, a United Methodist pastor and planter of the new faith community, Holy Family here in Houston. You can follow Jacob on Twitter and Instagram.

Holy Family was first mentioned in my conversation with Lanecia Rouse Tinsley in episode 5.

April Stace also got a mention in our conversation. You can listen to my conversation with April in episode 8.

Go check those out!

Here's a list of other resources mentioned during our conversation:

 "Traditioned Innovation" article by L. Gregory Jones

The Vindication of Tradition by Jaroslav Pelikan

Recapturing the Wesleys' Vision by Paul Wesley Chilcote

Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

GroupMuse

Samuel Wells of St. Martin in the Fields

4:44 by Jay-Z

The Autobiography by Vic Mensa

Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers

A Goofy Movie Soundtrack

A Sailor's Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson

All We Need by Raury

Turn Out the Lights by Julien Baker

Damn. by Kendrick Lamar

The Boy Who Cried Freedom by Jacob Banks

Music created by Adam Powell of Best Friends Creative.

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