Month: May 2012
A Lousy Tool for a Good Story
I’ve been thinking a lot about this article this past week. Twitter is such a great source of information, but when we start to think of our life as a series of tweets the question really becomes: does twitter help me tell a good story? Ed Cyzewski says no!
“Twitter is great for quickly spreading a good idea. I use it every day. It’s the Big Bird of networking tools. However, Twitter is a lousy living tool. In fact, Twitter can become a distracting obstacle to deep thought, art, or relationships…
It would seem to me that the first step in living a good story is to stop telling everyone about the mundane details of life and to focus on real life.”
Amy and I enjoyed our first, true three-day weekend in a long, long time. Actually, we can’t remember having such a relaxing weekend, which is pretty bad. Because of our schedules, this past semester we had an afternoon off here, and a couple of hours there. We were bad.
One of the definitions of decompress is: “ To bring (a person exposed to conditions of increased pressure) gradually back to normal atmospheric pressure.” Yes, that is exactly what this weekend felt like.
Here are some of the synonyms for compress: squeeze, crush, press, crowd, squash, constrict, shorten, abbreviate. Unfortunately, those are all words that I can relate to. This last semester did something to me that feels a lot like being squeezed, and I will not let it happen again.
So, for us, this three-day weekend was a gift. A time to recalibrate back to normal atmospheric pressure. We hung out with close friends, slept in, made breakfast, read books, worked on some fun projects, went on walks, exercised, and watched baseball. My soul feels bigger than its felt in a long while. And for this I am very grateful.
Summer is a slower time for campus ministry and that is a beautiful thing. Campus ministry types like to say we cram 12 months of work into 9, so slowing down during the summer is healthy and needed. But, there are still a number of students who are around Boston, so we are initiating a gathering called DIG. I can’t give away what it stands for (there’s a contest), but it’s to do with Matt 13:44.
The idea this summer is to create community among students from different schools who might not otherwise connect, to explore the “virtuous circle” of scripture/stories/examples/community/practices, and to have fun. And since we are focusing our efforts on this one gathering we get to use the strengths of most of our staff which helps with things like vacation and sharing the work. I’m excited to see how this summer experiment works out!
Our Baby’s First Present
We took a field trip to IKEA last weekend to do some furniture reconnaissance work. (Side note: I had never been to an IKEA before. Wow. Place is crazy.) For some reason this swedish furniture giant sells a number of adorable, super soft, “pets”. When I saw this one, I said, “Our child needs this awesome thing.” At some point, while wandering around the vast, endless displays of furniture, it hit me: this is the first present we have bought for our child. Another milestone on the journey to parenthood. Hopefully, as parents, we will provide many good gifts, gifts that far surpass stuffed animals, but for now I’m pretty stoked about this puppy.
Leadership, Stories, Imagination, and Truth (week links)
No Locked Doors
Continuing the Acts theme this week:
“There are no locked doors in the kingdom of God.”
From NT Wright’s commentary on Acts 5:17-26
Acts, Church, Tension, Beauty, etc
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Acts recently (see yesterday’s post). A common reaction to Acts is to look at all the exciting and crazy things that happen (3000 people joining the movement, healings in Jesus’ name, angels letting people out of jail) and to ask: “Why doesn’t the church look more like this today?”
I can sympathize with that a bit. But, I also am overwhelmed with how little has changed. People fight, disagree over little things, lie, criticize, and quit. The mission is always in danger of getting derailed by something that, in the grand scheme of things, is not all that important.
When I look around today and hear some of the criticisms about the church, I hear, at times, the “We just need to go back to Acts” sentiment. To people who say that, I ask: “Have you been involved in a church lately?”
When you are deeply involved in a community, and when you are a healthy person, you should see both sides of the Acts coin…the good and the bad…the beautiful and the ugly. Churches can be amazing: people finding their way back to God, great stories of transformation, miracles, serving the community, and on and on. But church can also be agonizing: fights, losing the mission, distractions, criticisms, and on and on.
Acts makes it clear that both of these realities are true of the church in a broken world. The challenge for me, as Acts has reminded me, is not to let idealism or cynicism win the day. The beauty is in holding the tension of these two realities. Church is where the miraculous happens and it can break your heart. God help me to live in to that truth.
One of the big projects for the summer is to help REUNION write another round of community group curriculum. I do like this process a lot, and I am especially grateful for the partnership that will be involved in this summer’s effort.
The first time we did this I didn’t do much writing (mostly picking and pulling from other sources); the results we called “The Story of Scripture.” Last year I helped write “The Story of Jesus” (a much more original effort). We are using that method again this year for “The Story of the Church”. I am excited to see what comes from this and how it will be used in groups to help people grow and act more like Jesus in their neighborhoods in Boston.