Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Learn to Speak Up

July 13, 2016

I am such a coward.

I have a certain talent for writing–at least that what people tell me. I appreciate the comments, especially from the ones who pay me to write.

Arguing is emotional. Sometimes emotions can run away from your control. Way over. It’s the way over that’s bad. Been there in my life. Once, a long time ago, I was quite argumentative. But it was always an emotional response. I don’t handle confrontation well. Always regretted it in the end.

I care about two things in the political realm (carries over into personal)–peace and justice. There was once a stream in the Democrat Party that was focused on peace and justice. Now, to me at least, it seems like they all are just out to see what they can get from the government. Different things for different people (whoever they think will vote for them, of course).

But, peace and justice come from within. If there are enough of us, then we’ll begin to see Shalom–that deep peace that we read about in the Bible.

Some of that starts from speaking up. In a forceful, but peaceful, way.

There have been many conversations I’ve witnessed over the past few months where I’ve heard some of the worst racial comments. And violent comments. Comments such as, “Maybe we would be better off to kill all the (name your hated group–gay people, people with different colored skin, people from different cultures).”

So far as I know, all the people would self-identify as Christian. Some were in church–that is a hint.

And, did I speak up as the lone dissenter and ask, “What would Jesus think of the state of your heart this moment?”

Jesus could stare down an angry group with rocks in their hands. And me? I whiffed.

Unfortunately, I’m sure there will be another time at bat.

Only God Can Label You

May 13, 2015

He was a quiet kid. Kept to himself. Freshman trumpet player in the university marching band. Away at band camp before school even started. Probably his first college experience.

We were in the same cabin. I was also a freshman, first experience away like that, percussionist. We shared the cabin with the drum major. Head guy.

He sensed a weakness, I guess. I only thanked God that it was the trumpeter he picked on. Labeled him a nerd. I guess that’s worse than geek. He was merciless the entire week. 

The trumpeter? He kept his head down and never said a word.

Labels that others give us can really hurt. They can also misdirect our lives.

Label someone as fat early in their life, and even though they may get fit as an adult, chances are they’ll always feel fat. It’s really hard to outgrow the hurts of adolescence.

I think it was third grade when they gave us some kind of intelligence test. I was clueless. All I know is that my parents got called to visit the teacher. When they came back, I had a label–smart. I’m still clueless. I’ve been trying to disprove that my entire life. <smiles> But that resulted in lectures every time I didn’t get straight As until dad gave up on me while I was in college. I never played the game to get a grade. I’d learn enough from the class and then go off and  study what I wanted to study. (And, yes, I did get a degree. The department shut down the graduate program before I finished my master’s work, and I never finished that. No need to have a paper.)

Yesterday I listened to Andy Stanley talk to a group of 8th graders about labels. He warned them about letting other people label you. What great advice!

We are children of God. That is the label God puts on us. We don’t need another. It’s hard to overcome a label that someone in authority puts on you–even if it’s just the drum major. 

By the way, I recommend listening to Stanley every week. I listen to Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, Gene Appel (when they load his talks into iTunes), Stanley every week. I also listen to technology news and other podcasts that broaden my experience. I recommend finding your favorites and listen to something daily for your growth.

A Call To Men To Be Clear

May 12, 2015

first published April 9, 2015

Adam should have spoken. He didn’t. We’re all screwed.

That is the problem statement of “Men of Courage” by Larry Crabb and others. Men are too often silent when they should speak up.

I had the privilege of working as part of a small team of local men who had an idea for a men’s conference. Call to Convergence was held this past weekend. We had no clue how many men would show, but we picked 75 as a good target number. 70 registered. It was a good weekend.

Our principle speaker used that book as the starting point of his talks. Men are called to speak up, to share. Maybe not sharing every emotion like women seem to be wired to do. But, as one person said after the Friday night talks, it’s all about transparency. Not hiding.

The solution part of the book calls men to mentoring. We are called to intentionally find someone who could use a mentor and take action. Invite someone for breakfast or lunch. Ask. Listen. Guide. Help them on their journey.

By the way, we live in a small county. Population of about 56,000. To have 70 people come out in the snow was a great blessing. We all felt that the event wasn’t about us, but about God. And God blessed the gathering. 

Men asked about what to do during the year until we have the second one. Always a great sign when people ask for action steps.

Reading the Bible

By the way, you might want to re-read the story of Adam, Eve, the serpent, and the metaphorical tree. 

When we read the Bible (or anything, really), often we let past memory guide us and fill in the blanks, so to speak. Did you realize that Adam was present during the whole episode? Not my memory either. When I read it later after learning about the story, my memory took over and I didn’t read the passage clearly.

The passage clearly implies that Adam was right there. It doesn’t say that Eve went to him sometime later. It says she turned to him and offered him the fruit. Adam heard the whole conversation. Surely he knew better. But he didn’t speak up.

Two lessons:

Speak up when you see someone going off the path.

When you read the Bible, clear your mind and read what it really says.