Thursday, June 24, 2010
I'm reading On Writing by Stephen King. I'm still waiting for a green glow and the evil clown to show up, but it isn't that sort of book. I've chuckled out loud several times while reading it but also doubted myself as a true writer more than a few. I want to go back and read some of my books and realize what I could have done better (now that would be a true horror story).
Someone asked Stephen King how he writes. His answer was, "One word at a time." I guess that is also how we get better as writers...one word at a time.
It is fascinating to read how other people write. I have much to learn. I need to find a steady balance between my travel, ministry, home and writing. I am not a very methodical person, so my balance will be different from others. So far, my writing pattern seems to be seasonal: summer and winter for writing, fall and spring for travel.
One of the strange things I have noticed is that I can't seem to write another book in the same place that I have already written one. I can tell you each place that my books were predominantly written and no two share the same space. It is like I draw a creative energy from the environment and it begins to reflect that book's unique personality, so when I try to write there again it doesn't work. I am just now discovering this, but of course that is something you wouldn't learn until you'd written a few books. I've written six so far (three other resources I've created are more like curriculum--those I can do anywhere). Imagine the difficulty of finding a new place if I wrote books as often as Stephen King! Considering my wife redesigned my eldest daughter's bedroom into a home office for me to write in after she moved out, this is a problem for even a writer with my own output. After Church 3.0 was done I haven't been able to write in the office again (save for blog posts and emails). Maybe I need to get over this idiosyncrasy and force myself to write in the same place. Perhaps this is just a rookie issue that can be overcome as a more seasoned writer. I wonder, does anyone else have this same little challenge? Any other theories about it?
Other books I am reading are: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (a classic all should read several times over), The Elements of Story by Flaherty (which I think I will turn to often as a resource) and The Art and Craft of Storytelling by Lamb.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wow, it was a real blessing to be in a room full of people who have looked down the barrel of a gun or taken a blade in the side for Jesus and that are still preaching His word. I felt humbled. I had much more to learn from them then they did from me.
I carry in my Bible pictures of brothers who have lost their lives in this region for the sake of the Gospel. My favorite coffee in the world is grown by organic church planters in Ethiopia! I think about them daily when I have my morning brew. Join me in praying for their work as you sip the fruit of their labor as both organic farmers and organic church planters.
There was at least one way that I think I may have been able to help this movement, and in so doing may actually also have helped the rest of the world. Painted in bold letters on the wall in the room we met in was the purpose statement of the movement: To fulfill the great commission in the horn of Africa in this generation.
Admirable as that is, it is not correct, and can never be fulfilled. Why? because the great commission goes to "all the nations (Matt. 28:18-20)" and "to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)." You cannot fulfill the great commission in just one place of the earth. This was the problem the Jerusalem church struggled with until the persecution spurred on by Paul in Acts 8:1 pressed them out (amazing as it is, Paul is responsible for planting churches even before he followed Christ!). I actually wanted these noble apostolic church planters to raise their vision higher than the horn of Africa. The whole world could be blessed by their passion, faith and love, not just the horn of Africa.
This is something we all need to learn. Having a true Great Commission vision will affect all you do. For instance, when we evaluate our tools and methods, we ask if what we are doing will work in Calcutta as much as California. Will our methods work in Athens Greece as much as Athens Georgia? If it will only work in a US context we shelve it no matter how much we spent developing it (Note: TruthQuest is the one exception, we realize it is limited in where it will work, but encompasses enough of the world that it merits being produced).
A global perspective alters your view of what you are doing like nothing else. If what you are doing will reach the suburbs of South Orange County but will not work in the Sudan than you are not going to fulfill the Great Commission with what you are doing. This is why we scrutinize our materials so much and why we celebrate our "Shelf of Shame" where we place methods and resources we have created that will not multiply to the ends of the earth.
Is the Great Commission altering the way you do ministry? Perhaps it should.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Lightening struck this 6 story statue of Jesus, often called "Touchdown Jesus" because of his outstretched arms, last night (June 14, 2010). It was erected at the Solid Rock church in Ohio between Cincinnati and Dayton. It burned to the ground because it was made of styro foam, and fiberglass with a metal skeletal structure. I guess "Solid Rock" church is not as solid as advertised, nor made of Rock.
One article said the statue cost $500,000 to make and was shipped from Florida. The church has said it intends to rebuild it (resurrect?).
I have to think that there are better ways to let the neighborhood see the body of Christ. One must assume there are also better uses of kingdom resources.
We are left wondering if it is mere coincidence that lightening struck or is it from God? That is a question that the leadership of the church should probably spend some time asking before they rebuild it. What are some ways we can tangibly let people see the true beauty of Christ's body in our neighborhoods and nations?
Thursday, June 3, 2010
It seems like I have hated them since I was a child. Perhaps that is because I watched them beat my team, the Lakers (with Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich) so many times while I was growing up (6xs!). I got a little revenge in the 1980's when Magic, Kareem and Worthy beat them twice, even though they also lost once to them. Then two years ago the the luck of the Irish struck again.
Some classy players I have always admired have played for them, like Jojo White, Dennis Johnson, Nate Archibald, Paul Westphal, John Havlicek, even Bill Russel. Nevertheless I still don't like them. As cliché as it is, my two favorite teams are the Lakers and anyone else that is playing against the Celtics.
I am 50% Irish but I hate the Celtics with 100% of my being. I can't stand the green uniform, the parquet floor or the smoke from Red Auerbach's cigar. The smug look on Paul Pierce's face turns my stomach.
I just watched the first game of another NBA finals with the Lakers against the Celtics. I am nervous about it as I do not want to see my team lose again to the dreaded green leprechaun.
I found an important stat that has me encouraged a bit after watching the Lakers win the first game: Phil Jackson coached teams have won 100% of the 47 playoff series they have played in when 1st game is a victory. 47 wins...0 loses! Wow, that is an intimidating stat if your favorite color is green. Of course that is the kind of stat that is easy to slough off as fabricated by the media.
Yeah, but ten NBA championships for Jackson (one more than Auerbach BTW) and 47 series is a lot, and not once has Jackson lost a series after winning the first game.
A coincidence? Bill Plaschke, Times Sports writer, wrote:
“Smarter people than us say it is not. I thought about Boston, and thought about MIT, and decided that, yes, I should consult with someone from the brainiest university in the country. So I called the folks from Caltech (ouch). A couple of grad students in applied and computational mathematics —Stephen Becker and Mike McCoy — figured that the odds of going 47-0 by coincidence were less than three in a billion.”
Less than 3:1,000,000,000 I like those odds!
Nevertheless, I will be at the edge of my seat for every game. I seriously doubt that Kevin Garnett cares much about such a number. One win does not win a series.
Okay, don't comment that I am being overly passionate about a frivolous thing. I know its only basketball, but it is the Lakers!