Archive for February, 2010

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Fantastible Elements of Christian Community – Part 2

February 25, 2010

Two years ago, one of our church community’s home groups had a family where both husband and wife were laid off within seven days of each other. They have several kids, a mortgage and faced an impossible battle against their bills. Two months later and all their savings were gone. Their home group met at Starbucks one Thursday evening to decide what to do. A number of ideas came up, but they finally settled on one. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Fantastible Reasons to Be in Christian Community- Part 1

February 22, 2010

I love inventing words, and this one says it all: Fantastible. It is a combination of the words “fantastic” and “horrible”. As a word, it mixes both meanings into one collective, emotional blend.

I use this word, because there is nothing fantastic about Christian community that isn’t, at the very same time, horrible. Depending on how last week went, most people reading this are going to agree with one word or the other – but few will agree with both. It is like looking at this drawing of the old woman/young woman. Some see the old woman, some see the young one. It is impossible to see both at the same time. When your experience of other Christians is “fantastic” it is hard to believe it is horrible. When it is “horrible”, nothing is going to convince you any time soon that it is fantastic. Let me give an example from my own life. Read the rest of this entry ?

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“I have an idea for a book” he said.

February 17, 2010

I can honestly say I have heard the phrase “I have an idea for a book…” at least 100 times. Probably more. Most people think that writers love that phrase. Truth? It is one of the most loathsome phrases in existence.

When people say this, they usually mean one of three things:

1. I can’t write well, but this is what I would write about if I could.

2. I would love to start writing this some day when everything works together perfectly.

3. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could just skip all the work of writing and get to the part where it is published and I make money and people think I’m interesting and have ideas (well, at least one idea).

Don’t imagine that only non-writers utter “I have an idea…etc.”. When a writer says this, it usually means they have become emotionally constipated and may never write anything. You never hear a painter say they have an idea for a painting or a sculptor say they can visualize what they want to sculpt. They just paint or sculpt and it comes as it comes.

In her pithy book “Chapter after Chapter” Heather Sellers tells the story of the Perfect Rose. A man finds a perfect rose and he steals home with it to smell and admire it as long as he can. But as soon as he gets home, he realizes the rose will soon whither and he will lose its fragrance forever. So he sticks it in a vault and hides it away. A year later, he comes to the rose in the vault. As he opens the door, he doesn’t see a rose, but ashes that used to be his perfect flower. According to Sellers, this is a picture of a writer who has an idea and loves the idea but does not write.

Stop making endless outlines and write; give up on endless pining and write; stop wanting the book to be done and enjoy writing it instead. Just sit down and write. Write on napkins and in journals and with word processors. After you have written, don’t edit – just write some more. When the project is done, there will be time to edit. Stop saving the book for another day. Write down the bones and flesh out the meat later. You’ll never get it perfect, but you will have the opportunity to smell the fragrance of real words instead of wishing on them and creating ashes instead.

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What To Do When You Can’t Trust

February 2, 2010

I am asked regularly why trust isn’t all that crucial to a healthy relationship. I usually qualify that at some point and say that “trust is crucial to a healthy, rewarding and fun relationship…but not necessarily to a healthy relationship”. Let me give a quick example. Read the rest of this entry ?

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