Archive for January, 2006

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Brian McLaren on Homosexuality

January 24, 2006

Brian McLaren, one of the many prominent thinkers in the “Emerging Church” movement, has never shied away from difficult church issues. He likes to challenge the thinking of the day, especially the Conservative “radio-orthodoxy” propounded by preachers and teachers on the radio.

In a recent article in Leadership Magazine, a journal for Pastors, he comments on a situation where a young couple asked him some intriguing questions. Here is a sampling from the article:

The couple approached me immediately after the service. This was their first time visiting, and they really enjoyed the service, they said, but they had one question. You can guess what the question was about: not transubstantiation, not speaking in tongues, not inerrancy or eschatology, but where our church stood on homosexuality.

You can read the entire article here:

UPDATE: It seems that hundreds of people had some powerful things to say about McLaren’s opinions about how we should act toward the homosexual community. Some big surprise? Well, he has his detractors (most of whom didn’t really understand what he was saying) and his supporters (many of whom didn’t really understand what he was saying) so he has issued this rejoinder to the discussion that he started. You can read it here

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The Triggers of Lie-based Thinking

January 14, 2006

     I have written many times about lie-based thinking, not the least in this blog. In counseling, it is the primary means of therapy I employ, and it is the most important concept I teach. Let me take one paragraph to redefine what I mean by “lie-based thinking” and then draw out one point for this entry.
     Lie-based thinking is any train of thought not grounded in truth or reality. There are hundreds of manifestations of it, and everyone has a certain measure of it. The most mature among us have the least lie-based thinking. Conversely, the most childish and destructive people have the most. Lie-based thinking can have several different variations, even with the same thought pattern. One typical lie is that we will be rejected. There are a number of breakaways from this theme as well. We may have a Universal Variation. This is based upon rejection we suffered in the past and our lie-based conclusion is that we will “always” be rejected. We may have Regional Variations. This is based upon rejection of the past as well, but applied only to certain groups: ie. All men will reject me, my spouses will always reject me, God will always reject me. The regional aspect is lie-based because there can never be absolute predictability when we look at people. Then there are Contingent Variations. This is a lie based upon some contingency. “I will always be rejected when I express my love”, “I will be rejected when I really care about someone”, “I will be rejected if I try too hard”, “I will be rejected if I start to succeed in life.” There are certainly other variations of lie-based thinking, but these are some of the primary variations.
     Lie-based thinking comes out by a series of ‘triggers’. Triggers are automatic, knee-jerk reactions that are not expected or planned. From the perspective of the person experiencing them, they do not usually make a lot of sense. They are emotional reactions that seem out of place with what we should or could choose. Let me illustrate.
     Jim is a very good systems analyst for a large company. He is always the first one at work and rarely leaves work on time. They get their money’s worth out of him. Just recently, his boss came to him and praised his performance on a particular project. At the end of her praise, she casually mentioned that he would be considered for a new job that was being created, a job that meant more money and prestige. At that, she left to go into her office.
     For the next three days, Jim fights depression. He tells his wife about the possible promotion, how it will mean more money and less hours, and she cannot stop planning how they will spend the extra money and time. She has waited for this forever and is delighted at the prospects. But she notices that Jim does not share her joy. In fact, as the weekend wears away, he starts fights with her and the kids and begins drinking heavier than she has ever seen him drink. By Sunday night, he has gone to bed by 6:30 and does not wake up even when the alarm rings. As the week goes by, Jim is later and later at work. Because of his diminished performance, Jim does not get the promotion, the raise or the better working hours. As this realization happens, he sees the depression lift considerably and is now in a position to help his wife deal with her mounting depression, brought on by the thought that Jim will never work less hours.
     The thought of getting what he wanted “triggers” something in Jim. If you asked him point blank about the promotion he would tell you that this was the reason he was working long hours and brought work home. It was what he wanted. When I asked him about his depression, he honestly didn’t know why he reacted that way. As I met with both him and his wife, she made a startling statement. “He gets this way every time something good is about to happen.”
     Here was Jim’s lie. He believed most of his life that any time something good was about to happen, as soon as he got his hopes up it would be taken away from him. When I asked him if that lie felt true, he unhesitatingly said “Absolutely.” The force of his answer shocked even him. His head would have said, “I want good things to happen”, but his heart said “Don’t even hope for good things…in fact, expect that good things will not happen.”
     The trigger was the casual comment by the boss. She didn’t do anything wrong, and neither did his wife who began to make plans concerning their future good fortune. They were reacting normally. Jim was the one out of sync with reality. A ‘trigger’ is something which causes us to return to a lie we have believed for most of our lives. Husbands and wives trigger each other more than anyone else. Parents and children (especially grown children) trigger each other, as do co-workers, friends, fellow students and neighbors. In fact, we are triggered the most by those we spend the most time with and by those with whom we are emotionally vested.
     In the next post, I will explore how these lies are formed in us and how they take shape over the years.

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Can it Get funnier than this

January 13, 2006

This blonde joke may be the funniest that I have ever read. It is worth reading. Tell me what you think about it. Some jokes just go over the top and others have that subtle “je ne sais quoi” that make the best humor worthy of top billing.

Go to this blog and see if this isn’t the most uproaringly funny joke you’ve read in a long time.

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A Heavy Drop

January 12, 2006

     My son and I were being passed by car after car…and I was going about 10 mph over the speed limit. “Aren’t they worried about getting a ticket” I asked him. “The MPs don’t come all this way out on the base to the jump zones. I’ve seen some of the guys go over 100 on this stretch”. So soldier after soldier in their hot cars streamed by me. I was driving a rental and had no inclination to keep up with them, so the parade went by.
     My favorite soldier had invited me to go out and observe a night jump, where over 100 of the Army’s finest paratroopers would test their mettle against the wind and darkness to land in one of Fort Bragg’s four jump sites. He told me we would have to walk a mile or so into the “Village”; the official observation area of the jump. As we walked the well-beaten path, I asked how well we would be able to see them coming down. He looked at the moon and said, “Unbelievably well Dad. We’ll see it all.” At that, I had that same anticipation I used to get before big football games as a kid. I was loving the action.
     We came up one flank of a small knoll and saw two soldiers coming down to meet us. The big night jump was supposed to happen at 6:30: we had arrived a little early. He asked what we were doing and we told him we were just coming to watch. At that, he told us we would have to back up 100 yards. He informed us there was a “heavy drop” before the paratrooper jump. As we walked back, my son told me the details. They were going to drop heavy equipment out of the back of a C-130 plane and I would witness tanks and jeeps cascading down with multiple parachutes.
     I wondered aloud why we couldn’t watch it from the knoll like the other soliders.
     “Dad, they all have the required equipment for close observation of a heavy drop.”
     “And what equipment would that be?”
     “Helmets” he said. I couldn’t see his face in the dark, but I could tell from his tone he was smiling. That must be some helmet. It can stop a tank when it lands on your head. They will find your body, smashed like a bug on a sidewalk and your head remains perfectly round. Makes sense to me.
     We did watch the heavy drop from another 100 yards away and it truly took my breath away. The object looked small as it descended from 700 feet. But it grew much larger as it came down, streaming four parachutes above it. My admiration for these men grew as the equipment got closer. They really do know what they’re doing.
     I put my hand on his shoulder as we watched together. A gentle squeeze was all I needed to say.

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