Friday, June 29, 2007
Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, is about these kinds of decisions. It is about "the power of thinking without thinking." He reasons that we can make great decisions using our 'gut'.
In the first chapter Malcolm argues that we can (and do) make decisions based on very little information. He calls this "thin slicing". We can ignore the useless information and just focus on what is important. In fact he states that sometimes the more information the worse our decisions are. He tells a story about 80 college students. Their friends are asked to take a test and describe the students. A group of strangers are also given 15 minutes in the college student's room and then given the same test (so these people actually never meet the students). The strangers actually do better in describing the students. Amazing.
Malcolm is a great writer and story teller. It is an enjoyable book to read.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Just read this book if you have ever experienced unanswered prayer. If you have every been crying out to God and he seems distant, uncaring (even cruel), powerless...
Monday, June 18, 2007
The thing that keeps God out of our lives is not our sin. It is our compulsion to pretend, to cover up our nakedness with fig leaves, to climb sycamore trees in order to see without being seen. (Chapter 4, page 78)
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Shane claims to be an ordinary radical. He says that he is just an ordinary person (there is nothing magical or extra-ordinary about him) who is living a radical life. Shane has taken the call of Jesus to follow him seriously. Within this book Shane tells stories and talks about what it means to give everything to God. It really gets a person to think.
Community is a very important aspect to this book (and to Shane's life). There is a realness when it comes to discussing community. Shane clearly states that it is hard to live in community. However he also states that it is natural and normal. I know this. Many times my wife and I have thought about how natural and normal it would be to share garden tools with other people (like lawn mowers). But the problem is that sharing means that I cannot have it whenever I want. I may feel like mowing my lawn but someone else is using it. Or what happens when it breaks? Especially if one person seems to be harder on it than another. Community is natural and hard. Through out the book Shane notes that community is the best way to live though. To live without community is to not really live at all. He states that he grieves for the rich because they are so lonely.
Another statement that really got me thinking was Shane's response when people would ask him what issues they should be involved in. Instead of listing the issues Shane states choose people and the issues will chose you. We are to be passionate about people not issues.
Shane deffinetly lives out his faith. I do have questions about some the things that he does. Not sure about all the protesting that he does. I wonder about his refusal to receive help because other people did not get the same help.
This is a good book.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This vision is really about how do we empower people to live Jesus in their communities. Which means things like how do empower people to be better friends, neighbours, parents, workers, leaders, etc? How do we bless the people who are around us? How do we do this organizationally?
This vision also joins our spiritual world (church) with the secular world (everything else). What I mean is this. At church we speak about God and Jesus and pray. Often everywhere else we don't bring God into the conversation and pray with one another. This vision seeks to bring the two together - talking about God and praying with people outside of our church. And this needs to be done in a way that sensitive and blesses people (not condemning people). There are times within our church where we have not really engaged in what is happening in the world (we act as if church is all that there is). An an example would the AIDS crisis. What are doing about this as church (or conference)?
Further this vision pushes us into missions. How do we support our missionaries? How do we raise up new missionaries (ones who will go for life)? How do we get involved with the changing face of missions (with people from third world becoming involved in sending missionaries)?
What do you think?
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
June 5 is World Environment Day. This year's theme is climate change, which happens to be the hot topic of the day. It seems that every where I look people are talking about global warming. This is really good because I believe talking about global warming naturally leads people to discuss what does it mean to take care of our world. And this is something that the church needs to really address. There have been some really good things happening - but there are some really appalling things also happening. For example the other day I was reading in a "Christian" newspaper and there was an article on theology. Within in this article caring for the environment was not seen as a God given responsibility but as just a fad (with the impression that it should be resisted). So I am happy that climate change is being talked about - with enough noise even the church cannot ignore what is happening. We may be even worse than the government when it comes to denying reality.
However there is one concern that I have. It does seem that climate change is the latest fad. There have been many other issues that have been talked about: AIDS, poverty, sex trade, slavery (yes this still is happening today), child labour, etc. Each seems to have its time and then fades into the back ground. I wonder has anything changed? Climate change sometimes feels like a smoke screen. We can talk a lot about it but what can we do? Will it actually be effective? It feels a lot safer talking about climate change than about justice - for to live justly will call us to change. Climate change calls for the industry to change.