09 February 2009

i tawt i taw a puddy tat

the friday session of the human event included some more reflections on leadership from eric bryant, on voxtropolis from eric sweiven, on accents and translation from alex mcmanus, and an impromptu presentation on missional leadership from the 7-day immersion participants. this is how we sent everyone off:

  • [looking at Romans 12] – the church tends to lead not with the soft skin and the sensitive touch, but tend to lead with what should be on the inside – the skeleton (a hard, concussive force) of Christ
  • the church often operates like a corporation … the only people who have anything to contribute are the ones who are paid, and the rest of us are stakeholders (judging those who get paid to ‘do the work’)
  • church leaders need to trust their people more – they won’t do it as well as we do, and may even do it differently
  • we often give up on people too easily
  • it’s important to create a climate where people have the freedom to not serve just because they feel obliged to
  • God is actively working to remove xenophobia from the earth 
  • we are all immigrants with an incredible accent
  • being together in relationship is what facilitates comprehension – but we often look to take shortcuts in translation
  • the Gospel is never more true than when it is being translated
  • voxtropolis is a means to an end – the same end that the church is a means to: making the world human again
i hope that in sharing the thoughts of this week, you have experienced the invitation to participate in ushering in a brazenly hopeful new future. for more on the international mentoring network, please go to theimn.com, and for more on voxtropolis culture pubs, please visit myvox.org.

if you want to peer into the movement that i’m helping to provoke, please visit wearetherepublic.org. join the resistance – heroes are still wanted, and safe return is still doubtful.


05 February 2009

the human event begins

the fight for humanity begins again today.  about 25 other would-be heroes descended on downtown Orlando to explore the possibilities of a more human future with us, including my friend Lorenzo from River's Edge Community Church in Montreal.  

here are some extractions from presentations by Alex McManus, Brian Russell, Eric Sweiven and Mike Harris (as well as the group discussions that resulted):
  • the West is losing about 5000 Christians a day ... compared to China that is gaining about 16000 Christians each day
  • what kind of Christianity have we been promoting that atheists want to market the idea that people can "stop worrying and enjoy your life"?
  • in a centered set (see feb. 2 entry), we also have to be aware that Jesus is not a motionless centre
  • the human creature is the only one in the natural world who has the power to intentionally destroy the worlds of other
  • from the original betrayal (adam, eve, the garden of eden) there resulted a deep shift out of alignment with the Creator, the cosmos and with other creatures - so there is looming in our future a great re-connection
  • i'm not about making the heathen like me ... i'm about making the heathen in me human again
  • the call to repentance in the Scriptures doesn't say what to be repentent of
  • what would it be like for us to present a Gospel that people can access before opening up the Scriptures?


04 February 2009

where does following Jesus take people?

today ben (DeLand, Florida) joined our intrepid core of world-changers.  we're getting ready for The Human Event tomorrow, when many others will descend on downtown Orlando to join us for the full-out conference.  

as far as day three goes, we covered some ground on the the nature of restored human community, the church, and the culture pub movement.  here are some of the thoughts that are still self-expanding:
  • the church exists in two structures:  modality (a 1st commitment community - e.g. the local church) and sodality (a 2nd commitment community, which holds a more radical minimum standard - e.g. mission agencies, apostolic teams) ... but just about everyone wants to participate in the energy of a sodality ~ so why not construct the local manifestation of a Christ-following community as a sodality?
  • Jesus is a projection of the human future, should we choose to embrace Him
  • we will not reach the fulness of our individual human powers until we become fully human as a species - the whole must become healthy
  • "redemption and lift" - when the Gospel enters a community/culture, there is a measurable economic lift as it takes root
  • fallen humanity is like a broken or corrupted hyperlink - looking to human beings should point people to God and the Kingdom, but as a broken link we point to and create a dark yet potentially beautiful world
  • human history is the record of inhumanity
  • the concepts/precepts of the Gospel follow after the concrete activity of the vibrant human community
  • "zen evangelism" - it would be great to be able to convert people from apathy to passion 
  • culture pubs help make a community human again by commissioning art
  • the culture pub promoter interprets what God is saying to the world through the world - s/he is listening to unredeemed prophets


03 February 2009

i am maximus ... or am i?

defining leadership is an incredibly easy task ... as long as you like multiple answers.  you can find a different definition at every turn, and everybody feels that their definition pretty much captures the essence of 'true leadership'.  with that in view, we dove in as well:
  • we each spent time reflecting on the leaders from films - ones that we admired, and others that we felt that resembled.  here are some of the films mentioned:  Chicken Run; Dave; Entertaining Angels; Saving Private Ryan; Blackhawk Down; Gladiator; and my own selection, 12 Angry Men.
  • there are two elemental leadership abilities:  (1)  the ability to harness human energy - examples of people who can create a group by their charisma or talent include Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte (not Dynamite ... although he's got some serious skillz), Adolf Hitler, and Josef Stalin; and (2)  the ability to energize human community - these are people who create a culture where others can discover and exercise their leadership.
  • it is more important to understand the strengths of others than to understand your own
  • the key to working with other strong leaders who are not inclined to play with the team is to consistently bring them into the conversation - do not allow them to sit back until the zenith point, when their input can derail the work of the team
  • [StrengthsFinder] - BELIEF is at its core a momentum generator
  • [StrengthsFinder] - the genius of COMMAND is that it arises in crisis ("it is the horse that you need not ride" - Chip Anderson)
  • King David's skill as a sling-shotter was transferred from the sheep pen to the battlefield - what if we allowed/encouraged people to bring their talents 'from the field' into the church, instead of determining for them where they are capable of serving
  • social entrepreneurs are not fatalists - they see the future as open (plural options and uneven impact) rather than closed (singular and monolithic)
tomorrow ... what form will the human community of the future (have to) take?


02 February 2009

why do i feel like these guys are serious about saving the world?

i'm here in orlando, florida with the guys from the international mentoring network - alex (orlando, FL), eric (sacramento, CA), kevin (miami, FL), ryan (sheffield, UK), debbie (tampa, FL) and geoffrey (edinburgh, UK).  this is going to be an intense but incredibly spirit-awakening time.  i'm going to try to post some resonating thoughts each day as part of my 'session extractions', as this is going to be huge fuel for the work and trajectory of The Republic.

so here goes ... day one:

- if God is in a conversation with the world (not just the church, not just the religious, but with the entire world) ... what would it look like if we sought Him out wherever he was found? 

- many of the pastors and leaders that the church needs are right here - they're just not 'saved' yet.  what if we became talent scouts for God?

- most evangelicals argue for the authority of Scripture, and based on that move on to prove the resurrection of Jesus and the existence of God.  that's backwards - the Bible exists because Jesus was raised from the dead.

- closed sets are people groups defined by a particular criteria.  centered sets are people groups defined by individuated motion paths relative to the center (towards, or away?).  many many churches can be described as closed sets - but is that going to promote the expansion of the kingdom?

- Q:  in terms of your position in the universe, are you an orphan or adopted?

- the uniqueness of slavery in the west is its abolition (not out of some inherent character superiority, but the effect of the Gospel - it moves us toward a more human future)

- we can evaluate the quality of cultures not by comparing against each other, but against the Scriptures

- people can be wholehearted believers in God and attempt to obey the Scriptures but still not participate in creating the Kingdom come / human future

... more to follow tomorrow ...