Influence = Bobby Clinton

July 23rd, 2009

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I met Bobby and Marilyn Clinton in 1979.

I was taking the first course that Fuller Seminary had ever offered on Church Planting, taught by Peter Wagner, and Bobby was the teaching assistant. Having served as a missionary in Latin America, he was now at Fuller and beginning his teaching career. We later connected in a course on Homogeneous Units and Church Growth where he also helped in the instruction.

When Bobby was added to the faculty in the early 80s, I was privileged to be part of a pilot group that Bobby pulled together to begin testing some of his “leadership emergence” concepts and resources and the next summer, enrolled in his “Implementing Change” course, the content of which I still use and refer to today. These were the first of many courses, both formal and non-formal, where I worked to get as much of Clinton as I could. I felt I had struck gold!

In 1985, Bobby assumed a seat on the CRM Board of Directors and over the next two decades, as a member of the board and with several stints as chair, he made an invaluable contribution to CRM as an apostolic movement. His influence was enormous. Over the years we have drawn deeply from his work, applying it personally as well as to our calling to empower leaders for the church around the world.

And throughout it all, Bobby and Marilyn have remained dear friends and mentors, one of those life-long relationships for which Patty and I are immensely grateful.

Bobby’s capacity for cranking out material is renowned. He is amazingly prolific in what he writes and creates. His reputation for being a leadership “guru” in the contemporary religious context is well deserved when one gets into his stuff and experiences the sagacity of his insights.

The best introduction to Clinton for many years has been The Making of a Leader (Navpress). While most of us had to learn a whole new vocabulary to wade through the book, Bobby thinks it’s actually too watered down and popularize to a fault. That perspective speaks volumes as to the depth and voluminous nature of his work.

Thanks Bobby! Your contribution to our personal lives, our ministry, and our contribution to God’s kingdom purposes around the world has been immeasurable. It is an honor to be considered a friend and a small part of your legacy.

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Business for Mission

June 27th, 2009

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Wholesome Bakery is a business for mission project that Enterprise International - the CRM business for mission arm – has sponsored in a township outside of Pretoria, South Africa.

The benefits reaped from such a local, for-profit venture are substantial.  Not only do profits go toward sustainable ministry in the context, but people are employed.  A valuable, life-sustaining, and quality  product is produced.  And the entire community is served.  There are also a multitude of intangible ministry and relational results from the presence of such a business.

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Suffering in the Townships

June 26th, 2009

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I just returned from a far ranging trip overseas that included South Africa.

Most sobering was our time in one of the townships outside of Pretoria where CRM staff live and minister.  Being with those who cope with HIV-AIDS every day and the devastating effect the epidemic inflicts on a society where one in every three people are infected is emotionally numbing. Add to that the grinding poverty and the social inequities that remains from aparteid.

Yet the people we were with – who in word, deed and power represent the living Christ amidst such loss and suffering – are incredible individuals.   May God reward their faithfulness, grant them endurance and resilience, and add to their numbers.

Influence = Caroline Montgomery

June 11th, 2009

caroline-montgomeryI met her in 1975.  Patty, my wife, was the one who actually had the relationship and I tagged along.

Caroline was in her 70s and was a widow.  She was the epitome of a gracious, Southern lady.   Under the genteel surface was a life that had been difficult with personal and family challenges and the accompanying pain.

But from it all and through it all, God had taken this women and drawn her deep into a life of prayer.  She knew Jesus in a depth that few attain.  Praying with her was like being ushered into the presence of the holy.

She prayed for us.  She prayed for CRM in our formative years.  In the picture above, David, our oldest, sits on her lap, a product in no small way from her prayers.  We had difficulty having kids and I believe Caroline was an integral part of that process through her intercession as much as doctors and infertility meds.

She was ushered into glory and the presence of the Jesus she loved in 1988.  But like Elijah, her mantle fell not to just one Elisha, but to many who stepped into the gap to pray.   However, heaven only knows what role she played behind the scenes in so many lives, so much ministry, and in so much supernatural change.

Influence – Steve Addison

June 3rd, 2009

One of the most effective and critical components of a strategy whereby the Christian movement can have a transformational effect on the world is through the multiplication of local churches, ie., groups of people wholehearted committed to following Jesus and together living out the presence of his kingdom in a given locale.

steve-addisonI know of no one today who is a greater, more persistent champion for such church multiplication than Steve Addison.

I’ve known Steve and Michelle for over 20 years.  Throughout that time, through thick and thin, the planting of churches and developing leaders who can do such work has been the consuming passion of Steve’s life.

He’s doggedly overcome considerable obstacles to stay this course.  What has resulted is that Steve has evolved into one of the leading authorities anywhere on the planet – well at least in Australia, which means the whole world to an Aussie – on movements, particularly church planting movements, and how they have repeatedly been God’s vehicle for winning back his lost creation.

It’s all finally getting into print in Steve’s new book:  Movements that Can Change the World published by Missional Press.  There is also a plethora of great resources on Steve’s blog:  www.steveaddison.net/

Influence = Derek and ChrisTiana Rice

May 31st, 2009

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“I am not ashamed to confess publicly that next to theology there is no art which is the equal of music, for she alone, after theology, can do what otherwise only theology can accomplish, namely, quiet and cheer up the soul of man, which is clear evidence that the devil, the originator of depressing worries and troubled thoughts, flees from the voice of music just as he flees from the words of theology.  For this very reason the prophets cultivated no art so much as music …

-  Martin Luther, 1530


To lead worship, as expressed in music, obviously requires some natural abilities and acquired skills.  But those alone, do not make good worship leaders.

All of us have been subjected to people who lead “worship” who are more intent on performance and listening to the sound of their own words and voices rather than knowing how to usher participants into the presence of God.

Derek and ChrisTiana Rice are two of my favorites when it comes to the use of music in worship.  And it is not because of their talent – which is considerable – but because of the source of their leadership.  Worship, and leading others in this pursuit, emanates out of their own intimacy with Jesus.  It flows from the depth of their souls and is grounded in their awe of the holy.

I’d like to clone them.  And this actually what will happen in the years ahead as they mentor, coach and develop others with their same sensitivities and passion.

Derek and ChrisTiana serve with NieuCommunities in San Diego, CA.



Influence = Nadim

May 29th, 2009

It’s a region of the world where everything seems to collide.

Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Druze, Syrians, Palestinians, Iranians, Maronite Catholics, Orthodox, and Evangelical Protestants, all mixed together with the ever-present incendiary threat of Israeli bombs.  It’s an emotional pressure-cooker where the Christian movement is marginalized and routinely on the defensive.

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It is easy to want to flee.  To get out.  Any sane person would do whatever they could to insure the safety of their family and the opportunity to pursue a life free from war, devastation and persecution.

But as those who are serious followers of Jesus know, the call of God is not a call to safety, personal peace or prosperity.  It’s a call to sacrifice and sometimes to suffering.

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That’s why Nadim is one of my heroes.  He could take his wife, Julie, their son, and their two twin girls waiting to be born, and he could leave.  But he’s staying.  And more than that, he is committed to being, in word and deed, the presence of Jesus in this strategic region.  He is committed to giving his life to mentor, coach, train and multiply a new generation of leaders for the Christian movement in a region that is unquestionably the most critical flash point on the global scene.

cross-in-conflictThis month, the cover story on National Geographic magazine, entitled The Christian Exodus from the Holy Land, soberly describes how the beleaguered Christian population of the Middle East is shrinking.  In that part of the world where Christianity has its roots, the Church is fast becoming an endangered species.

May God multiply many times over more men and women with the courage, fortitude, and commitment of Nadim who will be the key to steming the tide this article describes.

Influence = Ardath Smith

May 27th, 2009

ardath-smithChurch history is full of those unsung heroes who behind the scenes wield enormous influence because they have been connected to God in deep and profound ways.  They hear his voice.  And they are able to take others by the hand and help lead them into such a relationship with the holy.

Ardath is contemporary example of one of these.  As part of the CRM-US Staff Development and Care Team, she serves people all over the globe as a spiritual director.  Through her presence, she helps men and women discern the voice of God and see more clearly his fingerprints on their lives.  She does it quietly.  She does it gently.  She does it with remarkable discernment.  And she does it with class.

Ardath used to be a top drawer musician – cello was her instrument.  But she had to give it up because of physical limitations.  But God has compensated.  She now makes beautiful music with people’s lives that will last much longer than the momentary sounds that please the human ear.  And in that Spirit-empowered process, I am convinced she gives God great pleasure.

Influence = Jeri Little

May 25th, 2009

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I met him in 1988.  He was a run n’ gun businessman from Orange Co, California who decided to go taste and see, in a 2 week trip, what life and ministry was like in communist Romania.  That experience turned his world upside down.

20 years later, Jeri Little has left a profound mark on Romania, 16 of those years having lived with his family in the city of Iasi in the northeast corner of the country, about 10 kilometers from the boarder of the former Soviet Union.

What Jeri and his wife Gloria have accomplished is nothing less than the remarkable.  It is one of the stellar success stories today of what business for mission is all about.  Today, the “Little Texas” complex – a 200 seat Tex-Mex restaurant, 4 star hotel, business and event center – is a testimony to Jeri’s skill, perseverance,  and obedience to God’s clear call.   Not only is it a model business demonstrating to Romanians customers and all who visit that business can be successful and run with Christian values and intent, but the profits from the complex are a major source of funding for an array of ministry initiatives in Romania and nearby Moldova.

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It’s all been captured in a recently published volume, Merchant to Romania that’s available on Amazon.   It is a gripping story.   Through it all, I’ve been honored to walk with Jeri as a fan and most importantly, as a friend.

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As Jeri turns his sights toward other business for mission projects in the Middle East and other places around the world, my hope is that God will use this story to inspire a legion of young entrepreneurs to follow in Jeri’s footsteps.

Jeri proves again, that all it really takes for God to use a life in extraordinary ways is a willingnss to simply “show up.”

Influence = Dave Everitt

May 23rd, 2009

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Dave Everitt is one of my heroes.

•    He is an unconventional “missionary.”  He breaks the stereotypes.
•    He puts flesh and blood to the concept of being apostolic.
•    Dave just “shows up” and God seems to do the rest.  No presumption.  No ego.  Just a willingness to be there and then trust God to do the supernatural.
•    The guy oozes passion.
•    He’s larger than life and is a mutation between a cross-cultural Rambo and a big, cuddly teddy-bear.
•    His legacy and influence in Cambodia will be legendary.  The lives he’s touched will affect the Christian movement in that nation for generations to come.

Dave and Lisa Everitt have lived and minister  in Cambodia with InnerCHANGE, CRM’s order among the poor.  For more information, go to www.innerchange.org

everitt-sf1I was with Dave in San Francisco last month and let him loose on a group of younger men – one in particular who may may have similar  potential to Dave but it’s latent – and Dave held court for four straight hours.   I was in tears at least three times as he recounted stories of God’s presence and faithfulness in Asia.  It was gripping.

There are places all over the world in need of people like Dave Everitt.  God, give us new generations of people willing to just “show up” and see the supernatural presence of God flow through them in word and deed.

Influence =

May 22nd, 2009

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“The word influence is derived from an ancient astrological term describing the power of the stars to affect the destiny of human beings.  The definition has changed over the centuries, but influence remains a mysterious force and a difficult one to measure …

We look for people whose ideas, discoveries, talent and yes, power shape and transform our world.  These are our modern stars who shape our destiny.”

TIME Magazine, May 11, 2009, page 4


I get to rub shoulders every day with people of enormous influence, people who are indeed modern stars who are shaping the destiny of our world.

None, however, were included in TIME’s recent listing of the World’s Most Influential 100 People. That’s really TIME’s problem.  Those who would make it on my list are not the visible movers and shaker that the world would recognize or honor.  They are the unseen people, often deep in the incarnational woodwork, whose lives are playing to an otherworldly audience.

On my list are those whom we will become quite familiar  when we gather for movie night in heaven and look at the video reruns of God’s heroes throughout redemptive history.   They are the people who are really making a difference and whom, as the writer of the book of Hebrews puts it in the New Testament,  ” ...the world is not worthy.”

I’ll be writing about these individuals in the weeks ahead.

Leadership Mentoring Groups

May 20th, 2009

Few things I do are as enjoyable or as energizing as the Leadership Mentoring Groups that I occasionally get to pull together for younger leaders.  I’ve done these for about ten years.  It’s refreshing to be able to get my head out of the clouds of organizational leadership and all the demands of CRM around the world and engage in a meaningful way with men and women of this caliber.

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These groups use some of our reFocusing processes, a good dose of spiritual formation and mentoring concepts, and address issues of being a bible-centered leader.  (Bobby Clinton often joins us for an evening on this topic).   The result is that these younger leaders move toward clarity regarding God’s leading and calling in their lives.  That is significant as most are making decisions now that will affect the future trajectories of their lives and ministry.  I suspect almost all of these men and women will end up in some form of vocational ministry and many will be with CRM somewhere around the world.

Women's Group

What is also remarkable is the % in each group that have pronounced apostolic and leadership calling.  For many, the level of frustration has been high as they have thrashed around searching for their “niche” in God’s kingdom purposes.  As a result of the weeks they invest together, most begin to hit stride in finding the groove that God has for them.  For some, my role with CRM means I can help sponsor them into contexts where their calling can be lived out to the max.

I hope to do such groups a couple times each year.  While I am pleased at the gender diversity represented in this past cycle, I would like to see more cultural diversity that would better reflect the changing face of the Church in North America.  Nevertheless, these two groups above were exceptional, and the destinies these individuals will walk into will contribute profoundly to Jesus and his Kingdom.

Resurrection

April 12th, 2009

“O earth, where is your sting?  O Hell, where is your victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the Angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and there is none dead in the tomb!
For Christ is raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those that sleep

To him be glory and power, forever and ever, Amen!”

-  John Chrysostom 400 A.D.

Christmas 08

December 26th, 2008

From our family to all of our friends, wherever you are around the world, we wish you a joyous Christmas and blessed new year.

Seatless in Seattle

December 21st, 2008

Four of us were on our way back from Vancouver, Canada when we got caught in the worst snow storm to hit the Seattle area in many decades.  Flights cancelled, hotels booked, taxis not running, and over 10,000 people stranded at the Seattle airport.  Not the way we intended to spend these days right before Christmas.  But humor has prevailed with Travis, Patty, C’havala and me as we faced this unexpected adventure.

Fortunately, we found a room and hope to rebook on a flight to So. Cal sometime before Christmas.  More later on Vancouver and the NieuCommunities ministry in that city.

A Point in History

November 7th, 2008

It just so happened that the morning after the U.S. presidential election, I found myself standing outside the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.  I was with ten others who comprise CRM-US’s leadership who are meeting this week in this city beside the Mississippi and we spent the morning at this landmark.

This museum is built around the Lorraine Motel, the spot where Martin Luther King was assassinated.  The facade and that actual area of the building remains as it was that fateful day in 1963 on the balcony pictured above.

The poignancy of the moment was gripping.  Here I was at the site of perhaps the most tragic event of the American Civil Rights movement the day after the first person of African descent has ascended to the highest office in the land.

The feelings were multiple and even conflicting.  On one hand, it is remarkable to see how far the nation has come in these intervening years.  Regardless of one’s politics, the election of Barak Obama is a landmark in the long struggle for racial justice and equality.  On the other hand, it’s sad to see how long it has taken to reach such a milestone and to be reminded once again of the appalling price paid by so many over the years in this journey.

At lunch today, an African American pastor from Memphis summed it up well:

“It is mind blowing to think in my lifetime this country would ever live up to its creeds.  I have always told African American children they could be whatever they wanted to be.  However, now I no longer have to qualify it with “but …”

As We Vote …

November 4th, 2008

I was impressed with this prayer posted on John Piper’s his Desiring God website.

Father in heaven, as we approach this election on Tuesday, I pray

1) that your people will vote,

2) and that they will vote with a sense of thankfulness for a democratic system that at least partially holds in check the folly and evil in all our hearts so that power which corrupts so readily is not given to one group or person too easily;

3) that we would know and live the meaning of being in the world, but not of it, doing politics as though not doing them, being on the earth, yet having our lives hidden with Christ in God, rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s;

4) that we would discern what truths and values should advance by being made law and which should advance only by the leavening of honest influence;

5) that your people would see what love and justice and far-seeing wisdom demand in regard to the issues of education, business and industry, health care, marriage and family, abortion, welfare, energy, government and taxes, military, terrorism, international relations, and every challenge that we will face in the years to come;

6) and above all, that we will treasure Jesus Christ, and tell everyone of his sovereignty and supremacy over all nations, and that long after America is a footnote to the future world, he will reign with his people from every tribe and tongue and nation.

Keep us faithful to Christ’s all important Word, and may we turn to it every day for light in these dark times.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Religious Freedom and Islam

October 21st, 2008

Thomas F. Farr is associate professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University.  An excerpt from his new book, World of Faith and Freedom, appeared in this months issue of the journal, First Things. It is a thoughtful, constructive analysis of a way forward to defuse Islamic radicalism.  Highlights include:

The threats [of Islamic radicalism] are unlikely to be defeated by U.S. military power alone, even when that power is combined with good intelligence, efficient law enforcement, and creative diplomacy.  What American foreign policy needs, as well, is a new religious realism….

Evidence suggests that democracies mature when they possess a “bundled commodity” of core rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly, equality under the law, and religious freedom.  The absence of religious liberty can yield democracy-killing religious conflict, religious persecution, and religious extremism.  The presence of religious freedom is highly correlated with political, social and economic good.  As Brian Grim [Pew Forum] puts it:  “Most advanced statistical tests suggest there is indeed a critical independent contribution that religious freedom is making.”

Among other things, such findings tell us that if we want democracy to grow in Muslim lands – especially as a means of draining the swamps of the pathologies that nurture extremism – we must figure out how to advance religious freedom.  We must encourage nascent liberal Islamic political and social movements to put religious freedom at the core of their political theologies.  This is a tall order.  So daunting, in fact, that few outsiders would even consider it.”

If we are to defeat Islamic radicals, we must supplement sound military strategy, good intelligence, vigorous law enforcement, and state-to-state diplomacy with what has, until now, been the missing link.  Ordered liberty demands realism about human nature.  If democracies are to succeed in highly religious societies, they must be grounded in religious freedom.


I think Farr’s thesis is astute and his argument persuasive.  Only, I don’t think he goes far enough.

For religious freedom to have the leavening affect on an Islamic society as he proposes, there has to be more powerful forces at work than statecraft and foreign policy to produce the tolerance of such diversity.  And the very nature of Islam—theologically and politically—makes it difficult.

Rather, I would argue that history proves that the presence of vibrant, authentic Christian faith can be the most effective catalyst to provoke such change. That stimulus can be generated from outside the respective cultures or it can emerge from within.  When both sources work synergistically (effective sodalic efforts from without and vibrant local, modalic efforts from within), then we may actually have a chance to see the type of transformational change that Farr advocates.

I believe both can be accomplished.  It is going to require committed, skilled men and women willing to cross geographical, cultural, and language barriers, give their lives to live incarnationally within Islamic cultures,  and be—in word and in deed—the presence of Jesus.  It also means that they work hand-in-glove with those whom God has already set aside as his people within such settings.

It’s possible.  Is is happening.  It isn’t fast.  And it isn’t glamorous.  It won’t attract those with the money and resources who want quick fixes and triumphalistic results.

But in the long run, if we want to see genuine transformation in what is the greatest challenge to the Western world in the 21st century, such a missiological commitment is an absolute necessity.

The Ideal Pick

October 17th, 2008

I just came across the following comment from Russell Riley of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia  about the ideal combination of qualities necessary for one to be President of the United States.  The perfect temperament should include:

“Gerald Ford’s fundamental decency.  Jimmy Carter’s discipline.  Ronald Reagan’s sunny optimism.  George H. W. Bush’s diplomatic instincts.  Bill Clinton’s intellectual curiosity.  And George W. Bush’s dogged determination.”

Rather tall order.  The delimma for the voters is to find someone who fits it.

Bewildered in Europe

October 16th, 2008

Bodies of Water is the indie-rock band that David, our son, and his wife, Meredith (above) lead.  This month, they are on tour in Europe.

We just received the following email update:

“Hey mom …we’re in London playing at The Forum tonight.  We just drove here from Cologne, Germany, today. Things have been going well, but it’s pretty rough;  long trips in between each city.Paris was a really good show, but Cologne was strange.  We opened for a bigger band that is more normal than us, so there were a thousand middle-aged Germans looking at us with bewilderment while we played.”

Anyone in Europe who wants to catch a show, the schedule is on the the Bodies of Water web site.

We just received another email from friends who saw them perform in East London.  Deanna Hayes wrote:

“We had a FANTASTIC evening in Shoreditch hearing the amazing talents of Bodies of Water.  WOW! David is one talented guy!  I couldn’t help remembering him as a young boy and then seeing him on stage as a musician with people asking him for his autograph.  It was a bit surreal.  It was an amazing performance.  John has played their CD’s non-stop since we returned home.  We are both very impressed with their music.”

Independently wealthy …?

October 13th, 2008

While I’m at it about the absurdity of “retirement,” I have some energy on another related topic.  Might as well spit it all out.

Frequently I encounter people (particularly those who are successful in business, or younger men and women who want to be successful) who are contemplating what God would have them do with the latter half of their lives, and the line I hear runs something like this:

“I would love to serve God with more of my time and talent in the coming years.  But I want to have made enough money to be independently wealthy.  I really don’t think it is right to ask other people to support me when I could pay my own way.   So I want to wait until my nest egg is secure and then Jesus can have all my time and attention.”

I have rarely seen it work out this way, where independent wealth becomes an essential stepping stone for future ministry.  Rather, it can become a curse for several reasons:

1.  Behind such a desire can be an unwillingness to live a life of dependency, either dependency on God or other people.  The need for financial security trumps one’s ability to step out and trust God for the most basic of economic necessities.

2.  There is a subtle, unhealthy independence that such wealth can engender.  I’ve seen it several times when we’ve accepted folks to minister with CRM who didn’t need to raise money.  They had it all.  Inevitably, when times got tough in the crucible of ministry, or there was conflict, or things didn’t go their way, they could pack it up and leave.  Having one’s own resources makes it a lot easier to cut and run.

3.  When I’m independently wealthy, it can put me at odds with those in the apostolic community or team with whom I minister.  I have options they do not have.  I have resources they do not have.  No wonder historically in the missionary orders of the Catholic and Orthodox tradition, one would divest themselves of such material attachments so that all would be laboring together on level ground.

4.  Unfortunately, needing to make my fortune can become an excuse for never responding to what may be God’s clear calling on my life.  It’s a smoke screen.  It’s a way to rationalize away the voice of God.  Movement toward that calling can be inhibited because the nest egg is never considered by the individual to be sufficient enough.

Let me be clear.  I’m not dissing anyone who is doing well financially and particularly those who have learned the grace of giving and sacrificial stewardship and are called to the marketplace.  Rather, I am calling into question when the drive to attain such financial “freedom” is used as the justification for delayed obedience to God’s leading.

When I look for people who are grappling with the calling of God toward ministry that is apostolic in nature, one of the true tests of that calling is that money and financial security are the last and least issues to be considered.  What’s healthy is when these issues are the stubby little tail and not the dog.  When it is the other way around, it’s a portent for trouble.

Retirement and the Financial Crash

October 10th, 2008

I was listening to NPR today and the commentator was interviewing people regarding their responses to the recent Wall Street crash.  What adjustments would they have to make in their lives and expectations as a result?

The primary theme in their responses went something like this:  “The life of leisure I am anticipating in retirement may be delayed or may not happen.  My ability to quit my job, play golf, travel, lay on the beach and finally enjoy life is in jeopardy.”

I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What’s wrong with this picture?”  Plenty:

  1. Where do we get this idea of “retiring?”  While it is deeply ingrained in the culture, I can’t find any biblical rational for such a concept.

  2. Play golf, travel, and enjoy life?   What a prescription for self-absorbed misery!  Rather than giving oneself to significance in the latter half of life, such responses reflect a selfish sense of entitlement that pervades our society.

  3. It is a sad commentary on work that so many people simply can’t wait to quit.  Rather than investing a lifetime of wisdom, time and talent in ways uniquely suited to one’s gifts and calling, way too many people endure jobs that suck the very life out of them.  They only stick it out in an 8-5 for the sake of a paycheck.  Tragic.

In Clinton’s leadership emergence theory, the end of life should be characterized by one’s “ultimate contribution.”  This is lived out in “convergence” and ultimately what he describes as “after-glow.”  Neither remotely resembles the culture’s concept of retirement.

Contrary to retirement—which is a stifling, dehumanizing and killing concept—I want to go out with my boots on and with my foot on the accelerator.  I think that’s the way God designed us as beings made in the imago dei rather than sliding into irrelevance with a life that does not finish well.

Christian Spirituality

October 9th, 2008

Christian spirituality has been coming into its own in the Protestant world in the last several decades.   Historically, the richness of this focus has been cultivated more ardently in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.  While Protestants have been cautious to drink at this well (and for good reasons), it behooves us to remember that before the 1500s, we can make legitimate claims on this tradition as ours also.

A new, comprehensive volume has just come out that helps paint the big picture regarding spirituality.  It is a treatment of the topic that is palatable across some of the historical divides and reclaims some of the ground for the Protestant tradition that has been lost.

Perhaps I am excited about Christian Spirituality by Evan Howard because I know the author and am grateful for his long contribution to CRM, particularly his influence and affection for InnerCHANGE, our order among the poor.

He has also given us more than his prayer and counsel over the years.  His daughter, Claire, serves with InnerCHANGE on the streets of San Francisco.

This is a book for everyone’s library.

A Marie Antoinette Moment

October 8th, 2008

The economy is in a tailspin, unemployment is skyrocketing, and homes are in foreclosure.

How appropriate for an appeal to be made at the recent USC-Oregon football game at the LA Colosseum for folks to contribute further to the 2 million dollar endowment for Traveler, the white horse that is the mascot for the USC Trojans.  Let’s insure, the announcer said, that Traveler can get to all the games and do so in style.

Hey, nothing but the best for that horse!   Such a “let them eat cake” comment would have made Marie Antoinette smile.

Applying the “Informal Theorem”

October 4th, 2008

Much of the leadership development theory that emanates out of J. Robert Clinton is a confirmation of the obvious if we reflect long enough to recognize it.  His “Informal Theorem” is a good example of such an intuitive truth:

“The more informal the training medium the more potential for in-depth impact in the life of the trainee.”

One of the most powerful venues I have for such in-depth impact in the lives of younger leaders is an annual week-long boat trip on Lake Powell in the Arizona desert.  It’s an unparalleled opportunity for guys to play hard, share deeply, and relate profoundly.

The group this year – 18 CRM staff or potential staff – will be scattered to the nations in the coming months:  Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.  But what has transpired in their lives, and the relationships they have built during this one week in September 08, will stay with them the rest of their lives.  Deo Gratias!