Posts Tagged: "honesty"

Lent Day 22… If you want to give anything worthwhile of yourself, you have to feel completely exposed

On Wednesday of this week, we had an all-staff meeting at the church. This wasn’t one of those business, strategy, or calendar-planning types of meetings. Instead, it was going over a chapter in a book we have been reading together (Discovering Our Spiritual Identity: Practices for God’s Beloved by Trevor Hudson). As part of the discussion at the end of the chapter, each of us had to answer one of the following questions:

1. What has been one of your most significant spiritual experiences?

2. How have you experienced the presence of God in tough times?

As we went around the table sharing from our lives, there was a tenderness —a sense of reverence, maybe even a holy hush. Most cried as they shared. Others cried as they listened to a co-worker share.

This wasn’t a quick meeting. Opening up takes time. Sharing deeply personal stories cannot be rushed. In fact, there was little time left for anything else in staff meeting.

A few hours after the meeting had finished, I received the following e-mail from one of our pastors… Read More

Questions For Team Members

- - Life With God, Uncategorized

Good questions outrank easy answers. —Paul Samuelson

We did something new today. Our core team met – not for business or administrative reasons – but to give some time and space for us to open up together. I wrote a list of 9 questions. I shared those questions with our team and asked them to each pick one to answer in our meeting.

It was a breath of fresh air for me. There were honest answers. There were tears. And we spent some time praying for each other.

Here are the 9 questions…

What made you… Read More

Open Wounds

picture above: balloons being released by the grandkids after my mom’s memorial service this past August – yellow is my mom’s favorite color.

Note—this post is by Debie Thomas, originally posted on the Journey with Jesus blog.

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A few days ago, my daughter and I were looking at the websites of colleges she’ll apply to next year, noticing the buzzwords admissions committees use to highlight qualities they value.  “High achievement.”  “Determination.”  “Initiative.”  After a few minutes, my daughter frowned and moved away from the computer.

“They want battle scars,” she said bitterly.  “Not open wounds.”

Her sentence stopped me cold.  I don’t know if it’s an accurate assessment of college admissions in the U.S right now — I suspect it is.  But what struck me about her remark is how painfully relevant it is to the Church.  In my experience, Christians put a lot of stock in triumph and victory.  We value the race won, the mountain scaled, the enemy defeated,  the obstacle overcome.  Sure, we welcome stories of sin and struggle, but only when those stories are shared in retrospect, long after the sordid worst is over.  Sin that has surrendered to righteousness?  That’s a Christian story.  But sin that clings?  Challenges that won’t ease up?  A wound — physical, psychological, or relational — that festers?  We squirm.  We turn our eyes away.  We worry.  Battle scars, not open wounds.

I’d like to understand better why we do this.  I’m sure there are several reasons, but here are a few I’ve been thinking about… Read More

Shadow Work

First, let me start with something light and funny.

I received the following e-mail from Andy Jones the other day:

“Working on some Celebrate Recovery stuff and came across these self evaluation questions…

Have you exaggerated yourself to make yourself look better?  In what areas of your past have you used false humility?


All pastors.”

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Richard Rohr, in his book Falling Upward, talks about the need to do “shadow work.” The following are quotes from chapter 11 – The Shadowlands…

Your shadow self… gradually detaches you from your not-so-bright persona (meaning “stage mask” in Greek) that you so diligently constructed in the first half of life.

Your stage mask is not bad, evil, or necessarily egocentric; it is just not “true.”

It is manufactured and sustained unconsciously by your mind; but it can and will die, as all fictions must die.

Persona and shadow are correlative terms.

Your shadow is what you refuse to see about yourself, and what you do not want others to see.

The more you have cultivated and protected a chosen persona, the more shadow… Read More

Your Twitter Bio Makes Me Feel Like A Total Loser

Because I’m a pastor, I pretty regularly get followed on Twitter by other Christian leaders (that I don’t know) from all over the place. And for some reason, I receive a weekly e-mail from Twitter showing me these new followers – along with their profile picture and Twitter bio.

These Twitter bios make me feel like a total loser.

Let me explain. They say things like…

“NY Times Best Selling author of 14 books, senior pastor of the 23,000-member Hope of the World Church, international speaker and business consultant, entrepreneur, recording artist, fashion designer, coach, mentor, mogul, part-time professor of theology, cultural architect, health & fitness guru, Christian radio host, father of 4 beautiful children, husband, man of God, ultra-marathon runner.”

Dang. That’s incredible. How do you do all that stuff?

And thanks for reminding me that I suck.

Even this “Twitter Bio Generator” comes up with bios that sound better than I actually am… Read More

The Honesty And BS Graph

- - Life With God

Shari and I have these friends, let’s just call them Jackie and Dave, who we keep talking about wanting to drop in on or invite ourselves over to stay with them for a night or two.

We’ve been friends for years. Dave even sang in our wedding.

Jackie and Dave hold this unique position in our lives – they are the safest people we know.

By safe, I mean they love us unconditionally. We can tell them anything and it won’t change how they treat us. They’re not threatened by questions or doubts or tangents or whatever latest-greatest idea I’ve bought in to. They are safe. Safe to talk to, safe to open up with and share what’s really going on. Safe to be real with.

We don’t have to pretend around them. Our conversations are honest and there’s no BS. Because we can speak honestly and vulnerably, there’s no need for clichés.

This is why we keep talking about wanting to visit them. They live a couple hours away now, but the drive is worth the reward: a safe place with safe people. I think it’s time to plan a trip… Read More

I Want To Be Honest, But Not Really

- - Life With God

honest image

A lesson I learned early on as a young leader was this: “Be honest, but not really.”

The truth is, I was naive. I hadn’t learned the ropes yet. And I certainly didn’t know all the written and unwritten rules.

So when my pastor, who was visibly thrilled about a ministry event that had just taken place asked me, “Wasn’t that THE BEST EVER Brian?” I didn’t know only one answer would be acceptable… Read More

Honest People Scare Me (And I Think I’m Starting To Like It)

- - Life With God

honest image

Honest people scare me.

Maybe it’s because I believe that famous Jack Nicholson line from A Few Good Men, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

Or maybe it’s because I’m a control freak and allowing someone to say what they really think is handing over the controls to them. And who knows what they might say? Scary!

Speaking of honest people… Read More