Saturday, February 9, 2008

4 nice finds on the blogroll today

Brian is pondering Joel Osteen's recent 60 minutes interview and contemplating the prosperity gospel's lack of authenticity.

Matt, a lifelong Republican, is listening to Obama very closely, and making careful deliberations in his voting choice. (I posted this link this week because i think Brian is modeling something important for all of us to witness...the willingness to listen and think...beyond party lines and divisions.)

Chris Folmsbee is thinking about leading change.

Tony is celebrating the release of his new book The New Christians.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm obsessive

This weekend I met with a group of leaders from our congregation as we shared in a visit from another pastor we wanted to learn from. During our conversation I was discussing some current plans and activities and the visiting pastor responded in a way that made it clear he understood what I said in a very different light than I intended. My choice of words communicated a completely different picture of something than I was trying to communicate. I wound up having to backtrack and completely re-explain myself. As I was doing so I sat there wondering to myself, "Is that what I really said? That's not what I meant!" And he didn't hear me incorrectly, either. I truly misspoke.

It's been two days and I've slept little...up thinking about how I communicated something so inaccurately without even realizing it. And I've wondered, how often have I done this? Does it happen when I preach? I need to start recording.

I know it seems a bit obsessive...to labor on for two days about a miscommunication but I've come to realize the power that words have. They are released out into the atmosphere sometimes so quickly we don't realize what we're saying. They are non-returnable. We can't release them from our mouths, study them for a while, then suck them back in before they are heard.

When we teach or preach people are really listening. And what they hear causes them to interpret their faith and the world around them. When we speak, even if it doesn't seem so at the time, people are listening. And what they hear causes them to interpret us and possibly even more.

I'm reminded of something my preaching professor in seminary constantly harped on students about...using an "economy of words." It's about carefully measuring the things we say. It's about not miscommunicating. It's about being clear. It's about saying the right amount, not too much, not too little. And it's something I'm not sure I've ever been good at (something my elementary school teachers always said I was horrible at). It's the reason I preach from a manuscript, not an outline.

Although I had an opportunity to correct myself this time, we're not always so fortunate to have that opportunity.

Word of God Incarnate,
may my own utterings be honorable in your sight

and may the ears they fall upon gain understanding.
May my tongue be guarded

and my intentions well-stated

and may my mouth be patient enough to wait upon my brain.

Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2008

10 things I learned this weekend...

1. When Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn commercials went retro and began re-airing their 30+ year old commercials I realized that ol' Orville is a lot creepier than I remember.

2. New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick is an even worse sportsman than I thought. Videotaping opponents is one thing...walking off early when you finally lose is another.

3. There Will Be Blood was a fantastic movie! Young American audiences may not completely understand the concept of a tragedy, as evidenced by the comments I heard from various 20-somethings walking out of the movie, but this movie, based on the Upton Sinclair novel Oil! was a tragedy to which Titus was no rival.

4. It took K-State 24 years to finally win on their home court versus KU. Their current facility was built 22 years ago & until this week KU had a perfect record there. Though I am a die-hard KU fan, I surprisingly found myself rather congratulatory of the purple kitties. Remembering how it felt in 2005 when KU finally beat Nebraska in football after 35 years of futility, I couldn't really deny them that same feeling. But Beasley & Walker will go pro next year, and will be the last blue-chippers to grace Manhattan for another few decades. So here's to the next 24 years of KU dominance!

5. It has now been 3 months since I last saw a blade of grass. The things you take for granted...

6. The only thing more unintelligent than watching Sylvester "Sly" Stallone star in a low-grade, poorly written action movie is seeing him remake the same lousy movie in his fifties. I won't be seeing this one any time soon. Tell me, someone, who finances garbage like this?

7. Cormac McCarthy is evidence that are still some fine American literary works yet to be produced.

8. I hate my dog. Anyone want a Pembroke Welsh Corgi? He's really a good dog most of the time, he just won't shut up at night and is immune to every bark collar on the market.

9. Some older houses, such as the one I live in, have old fashioned boiler heating systems. Every once in a while you have to use the manual water inlet valve to re-balance the water pressure so there's enough water in the system to heat the entire house. I didn't know that before. Now I know. And knowing is half the battle.

10. Though I've been addicted to Canada Dry Ginger Ale for years, I may just have a new favorite soda (that's right, I said soda, not pop). At first I was hesitant to try the Diet Rite Pure Zero Red Raspberry. I was afraid it would taste just like every other Diet Soda I've ever tried...gross and pointless. But I tried it anyway and was pleasantly surprised.