Archive for June, 2008

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Hammocks are from Heaven

June 25, 2008

Where else could hammocks come from? My kids bought me this freestanding hammockMy hammock for my birthday yesterday. It can be brought anywhere and you are suspended above the earth in free-floating ecstacy. Even the dog leaves me alone up there. This is the exact hammock they got me (minus the woman in it of course) and I have already logged my first two hours of reading time in it. Actually, I was asleep in about five minutes, but the book stayed with me, so it still counts as reading time.

There are few inventions that combine peace, comfort, portability, sunshine and godliness into one package. This might be the perfect invention of man. We have reached the pinnacle.

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Friendly Fire: Many Faces of Gossip

June 17, 2008

A reader asked me why I hadn’t dealt with gossip yet in this series on “Friendly Fire”. I just assumed everyone would know that gossip is on the ‘verboten’ list and we could deal with subtler nuances of how we hurt each other. But it occurs to me that gossip itself can have 31 flavors and some of those are just too yummy to pass by sometimes. For the record, all gossip is damaging to relationships and working functions. There are no exceptions. But gossip likes to play dress-up and here is what it looks like when it doesn’t wear the ugly badge.

  1. Personal Warnings: We let people know they are in trouble, being lied to or are in any way going to be used by others because we care about them. But sometimes we use that warning as an opportunity to take a shot at someone else as well. “Do you know what so-and-so is saying about you?” If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan as I am Read the rest of this entry ?
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Very Mixed Golf Results

June 17, 2008

How great is a blog? I can brag, whine and moan all within its confines.

Yesterday, I hit a 38 on the front nine, the best score this year. That included 3 birdies, two of them coming on par 5s. However, Don and I had to play with two of the biggest jerks we have yet encountered. The one guy wandered in front of our putts, talked while we hit, swore continually for no reason and made fun of us when they thought we couldn’t hear. We could.

The other guy is now in my Hall of Fame for Sanctification testers: A guy who hits a better shot than mine to a par 3 green and swears like he shanked it. I don’t even know what to call him.

When I got up to tee off on ten, I took a humongous swing and threw out my back. Considering it saved me from these two missing links, and considering my back doesn’t hurt this morning, I think God was doing me a favor.

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Friendly Fire: Captains Who Shoot at the Crew as they Leave

June 13, 2008

There is so much I could say about this video. The only thing I will say is this. As you watch what Ed Young says (if you don’t know Ed Young, he is the Pastor of one of the country’s largest churches) notice that his comparisons to the business world reveal how he feels other churches. Other churches are the competition. That is what is hurting so many with Friendly Fire: Pastors who grab hold of their congregation and take shots at them if they want to leave to serve God in a different setting. Instead of seeing a single unified church in Dallas with many flavors, Ed Young sees all other congregations as the competition. So he hoards his people and sees some who would plant churches as pirates.

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My Brother Dealing with Death

June 12, 2008

As many of you who read this know, my brother Dave lost his son last year in a horrific car crash up in Canada. In this first of two interviews on a Canadian news show, Dave tells how he and his wife Adele have dealt with the tragedy.

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A Government with Guts!

June 11, 2008

During the early 70s, a host of native Canadian kids were bussed into the schools of our British Columbia towns. They were leaving the Residential School System, a decadent system which tortured and manipulated these poor kids. The Government of Canada today issued an apology. It is very significant. It is a significant step toward healing that nation.

The prepared text of the apology Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered Read the rest of this entry ?

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Friendly Fire: Silence Without Love

June 10, 2008

Two guys, Joe and Harry, figured out that most of us are ignorant of many aspects of our personality. When I say they “figured this out”, what I mean is they quantified it into an axiom and a graphic way of looking at this problem. Here is a picture of the Johari Window:Johari Window

As you look at the picture, notice that there are two areas of our lives that are functionally invisible to us. There are also two areas which are functionally invisible to others. For others to see the deeper parts of ourselves, we have to be willing to allow them to see through that pane of glass, so to speak. For us to learn about the blind areas of our lives, we must be willing to have others speak into our lives and evaluate the consequences. Only then does the “unknown” pane of our lives begin to become more clear as well.

How does this relate to Friendly Fire? Let me illustrate. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Friendly Fire: Curse Prayers

June 7, 2008

I was invited to help guide this one church after it had lost a great number of its members and was floundering in almost every way. People were discouraged, personal finances and health of the members was tanking, and it didn’t look like the fellowship would hold together. I sought for answers as soon as I got there. I spent hours talking to individual members and couldn’t put anything together. But inside, God assured me He would bring out the reasons for the tragedy.

I questioned people for more than a month when a young mother of two came and told me that she and her husband wanted desperately to tell me something. The husband, Ed, didn’t look like he wanted to talk at all, so Arlene took the lead.

“We were in a prayer group. That’s when it all started to go down hill”

I was skeptical at first – at least until they described the prayer group. It was comprised of a pastor, several leaders and their wives and one or two “prayer warriors”. There was one focus of the group: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Friendly Fire – Introduction

June 7, 2008

After the horror of September 11 set in, professional football player, Pat Tillman, decided he wanted to make his life count for something. Apparently, playing football didn’t quite complete that equation. So he joined the United States Army and was sent as part of the force to Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004, he and his platoon were ordered to a town in the hills to secure one site. A few hours later, reports came back that Pat Tillman was killed as part of the operation. Over the next few weeks, his family heard several conflicting accounts of exactly what happened. In the midst of this, they held an emotionally charged funeral service where he posthumously received the Silver Star. A few weeks after that, they were hit with the stark reality of the events: Pat was killed by bullets from American guns. He was shot down by “friendly fire”.

His family, especially his mother and brother, got involved with what has now become a four-year ordeal to find out the complete truth. It still has not happened. Mary Tillman recounts all of this ordeal in a tribute book to Pat titled, “Boots on the Ground by Dusk”. I have not read it yet, but both interviews I heard with her make me believe it will be balanced and revealing.

What there is no mistake about is that the Army messed up big time on this one. Even Senator McCain, who helped to launch the investigation, says that this cover-up is inexcusable and involves many of the Army’s senior officers. That is the biggest tragedy of it all; that they would cover up the mistakes that were made and the real truth of what happened. He was killed by “friendly fire” – well, that happens. But what shouldn’t happen is a cover-up of this magnitude. It is not fair to his family and the other soldiers in the Army who need to learn from this.

In that spirit, I will begin today a series of articles on the subject of “Friendly Fire in the Church”. By “the church”, I don’t mean the church I help to lead or ones I have lead in the past or even churches with whom I have an ax to grind. I just mean all churches. I have counseled pastors, been one, and participated in so many grievance councils and reconciliation meetings that I could write entire books on this subject.

No one should be surprised that friendly fire happens. What we shouldn’t tolerate is the cover-up. And we have all done it; even me. Join me in the next few weeks, as we explore the types of friendly fire and gather together the ideas of myself and others (even you the readers) as to what we can do to cut down on some of these injuries.

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Dare You?

June 4, 2008

The present Administration has vilified Al Jazeera news services as basically an arm of Al Qaeda. But I have been reading their English edition for about two months now and I find that it has a very balanced view of all nations of the Southern Hemisphere. In all that time, I have not read more than one article that had a negative slant to the American scene.

Dare you go against the President and his advisors and read about the Southern half of the world? You can read it here.

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