I’ve spent many days worrying about burning bridges. All good things come to an end is another important idea that I embrace. The reality is that In the last two years a ton of people chose to burn bridges to me and my cohort with their authoritarian behaviors, condemnation, and disregard of my and my fellow citizens agency. From speech, to firearms, to respect and even singing… and music making.
The wounds were frequent personal and sometimes vicious and even as I chose to suck It up buttercup, the indignant behaviors continued. I guess It wasn’t always malevolent intent. Often the outcomes were rooted in immaturity and pure incompetence. The results of those two realities are often identical.
So Many chose to embrace only their ways and treated me and mine with rank disrespect. Perhaps I’m just older and crotchety now. Maybe I’m wiser, maybe I’m foolish. The truth is… I’m not really interested in spending the time and energy required to rebuild most of those bridges.
Perhaps this is a character flaw. Perhaps it isn’t. There is a peace in personal liberty and morality. When I put aside what you think of my choices I am free to look to brighter choices, new bridges and spectacular new lands. I’m have some clarity now. More will come.
The fog will clear and it is my goal that those who chose to burn ties will find new ones elsewhere. Not sure mine can even be rebuilt. Grief cycle is real. Exploration is ways off but coming.
Assigning blame and convicting a leader is a weekly reality in most churches. Punishment is death. This is how the majority of the world of “church politics” acts in response to a message of hope, plans of action, and accountability for results and better choices. This is a story we all know and relate to viscerally. Apologies and reconciliations are rare indeed but they are a foundation for healing.
Couple of weeks ago I was attacked by friends in public, in my church. It is true that I was to blame for many results over the past year. It is also true that I deserve credit for inspiring, desiring more, and delivering when most did nothing and continue to do exactly that even today.
My choice as a leader was to stay and fight on terms of men or withdraw and let God work in hearts and minds. I and family made a hard choice based on principles, plans, and hope for a future for everyone involved. The pain is still real. The grief is stifling. This is the life we are provided. Every day is an opportunity to be. Love. Serve. Repeat. Some years go better than others.
Results can’t be determined one day at a time but my decisions over time will show that I’m proud to say. Look at what I did when I stand for judgement.
I’m pretty sure that I retired from vocational music ministry this morning officially. 25 years of doing the job, fitting in, and going along for the greater good with notes, rhythms, and service design are over in my mind.
I actually resigned from First Baptist Ridgeway for any that don’t know. No hard feelings but plenty of anxiety.
Ministry is guaranteed to always be part of my future. I’m a musician so there is that, but I can’t see a job for me which forces me to fit into a box anymore. The old Jeff, the tenor, the performer, the passionate powerful presenter has been in a chrysalis for a long time. Maybe I stay in there. Maybe I come out a moth. Maybe I come out a glorious butterfly. Who know? Only God knows.
I hope that I’ll be afforded and opportunity to lead again in the future. I adore choirs. I revel in live music making with passionate and skilled collaborators. I also love preaching and teaching scripture and leadership and using technology.
the future is bright but the one thing I know for sure is that it won’t be like it was. I’m grieving that loss. I’m a change champion but even for me it is exhausting and the cost is high.
What you do when someone says “I am not okay.” Says a lot about you.
Most people will never answer that way because they don’t trust. They expect judgement, condemnation, fixing, and controlling behaviors to follow such a personal admission. Fear is in charge.
What do they most often need?
Acceptance, attention, time... relationship and connection. LISTENING and Sitting/serving, maybe studying, eating or just silence.
Are you okay? Don’t ask the question if you aren’t prepared to put in the time, sacrificially, to love and serve.
Local churches too often thrive on a culture of control. We set a standard of fear and condemnation based on an unachievable standard and spend our precious relationship cycles telling people what they can’t do. Our control choice inhibits the mission of spreading good news.
We should be focusing our leadership and congregations on what they CAN do. That is GOOD News of great joy. God is love. We the people are charged to live in that example. The entire garden of Eden is ours and yet we focus on control and the one tree. That power choice controls us.
In order to proceed differently, we must accept what went well and what is failing. Changing nothing is accepting a likely outcome.
All we really know is that happened based on the actions in the past and even those facts are often interpreted differently. How do we define success and what are we able to actually do to make a difference? There is a judgement and the accountability for how we spend our time, money, and precious ability. We choose and we are thus accountable for our choices. Too many desire to be subjects to avoid accountability.
What is the job? What is the goal? What is success?
for your church? Your family? Your job? Your freedom? Your example? Your writing? Happiness?
The title of FAMILY comes with great privilege AND great responsibility. if you give away or minimize the responsibility and accountability you minimize the title and privilege.
That is a tragedy in most cases as we are made to be connected not isolated. Their is no real excuse for abandonment in any direction.
Selfishness. Self centered. Never want to actually help. Too much of a hassle.
I will not continue to beg. It is toxic. God forbid that you should be inconvenienced to help someone else. Or that you might actually have to spend money or time solely for another's benefit. I see you.
I won't tell you what to do. I won't address "it" directly. I will simply set a different example through my actions and choices. Some will be to minimize my exposure.
Every day is an opportunity. Words and deeds both matter. Some good some bad. Honesty is best policy but sometimes it is best to just shut up.
The choice to look down on others is a public health crisis. It is far more deadly than most would even consider as it robs us of the ability to respect and serve. As we destroy social links, relationships fail, dependency soars, and the elect elite emerge as morality police enforcing their world view on those without power.
Opportunity and elevation arise from a helping hand and sometimes a shove at just the right time. In individual achievement and liberty the spark of inspiration is fanned into a flame. Virtue and respect flow from results not signals. It is a choice and a profound signal to include but the virtue lies in the acceptance and love not the signaling and public affirmation.
The public choice to demean and demagogue, with its associated escalating division, destroys by planting and then nourishing insidious pride above all.
Authentic community (family) is what we all seek. A faith community must above all be authentic and honest. It’s focus must be on Jesus Christ and the great commission. Social services are not optional but neither are they the goal. If the seeker sees men first and foremost it is difficult, nearly impossible, to see the good news clearly. We must not be obstacles.
To voluntarily show respect for another person is a powerful testimony. It is essential to civility and community.
To force respect may be an oxymoron. Compliance can be forced. Respect is earned. Choosing to show disrespect erodes all respect sadly.
When a parent, mentor, teacher or elder sacrifices the wellbeing of their child, family, and student for their own well-being a tragic betrayal occurs. It is a blasphemy to the natural and ordained order. The wound created is deep and persistent.
When society exercises this same power collectively terrible things transpire. Terrible terrible things.
#musing on the importance of family and responsibility and sacrifice for the future. Leaders lead by example at home first and foremost.
You choose whether you focus on what you can do... or what you can't do. Words have power. Are you so tired, so sore, or so sleepy... or are you focused on how you can be less tired, less sore... less sleepy. Be better. Don't seek affirmation for failing in others. Be inspired by achievements of others. Be more than you are. Choose what you tell yourself and others.
For the Record... Black Lives Matter. I stand with my black, brown and other friends against hatred and bigotry...
as to BLM... -- that organization is a seditious, disaster area, Petri dish for violence and victimization culture...that is dead wrong in its view of family and community. The communist and utopian idealism driving insane ideas such as #defundthepolice MUST be opposed in principle... peacefully, with honor and dignity. This is very hard to do when mob rule reigns and groups of activists allow themselves to be corrupted into violence against property AND fellow citizens by agitators... It is impossible to discuss honestly even in principle when so many black Americans are being killed by other non-white Americans... It must stop.
Everyone agrees that Black lives matter. BLM should NOT matter. It is a virus that is destroying lives, families, and communities everywhere that it rises. That is a fact.
Even as a 50 year old white man... I AM allowed to oppose the BLM organization and its actions... AND still support the statement that black lives matter. I am millions like me am not the enemy but I will fight you if you threaten me, my family or friends. That is an issue at our core.
This is a free country, and it will stay that way, unless the BLM organization gets its way... Then, all bets are off...
Raising a child to be happy and productive and to not take for granted all of the advantages provided them. How? My children benefit from my decisions and support but they make their own. If they become entitled and poorly educated with little understanding of where they come from then the fault lies with me as the elder and senior.
Blame and shame is pathetic and useless. The young and uninformed do not know. The obligation to model, share, and teach values and principles while upholding standards AND maintaining relationships is on the elder/parent/mentor. The apprentice journeyman must understand and embrace their role under the authority and experience of the elder but they must be left free to question and innovate. This balance is the essential spark of success.
When we choose to blame and shame, or claim credit and crow as we inevitably do we must remember the balance and dependency.
Failure brings a fault line just as success does. We must release the pressure a little at a time and manage the explosion of energy to capture and evolve.
Every group, family, and relationship has cracks. Here is the thing. When that foundation stone is under intense pressure, it is NOT possible to repair the cracks. If nothing is done, then cracks will widen and eventually the foundations will crumble completely leaving a disaster zone for everything, and everyone connected. The problem to manage is repair, without driving wedges into the cracks and making the problem worse.
In our world today, our families, our churches, our institutions are under immense pressure. Cracks which have been present forever, are being stressed and widened. Many of these “institutions” will suffer catastrophic failures. As a leader in my family, in my church, it is my job to care for the entire system. I seek to repair the cracks, or at least fill them. HOW?
First, I use time to remove pressure and then I find the strong pieces, and use them to carry the load for the weaker sections as we add strength.
The mortar is love, but the solution requires more than simply loving and accepting. It is a balancing act of stress and relief, communication and care and accountability for change. Understanding the true pillars of the foundation is a required step. For me, that is faith and commitment to God.
As a family comes apart, there are flex points.. fulcrums and pressure points. The process is the same for bring one together. We must accept the cracks, and seek to fill them so that we can lift one another and shore up the foundation.
Disagreements must not be allowed to move to contempt.
Actions and decisions affecting the “whole” must take into account the needs of the individuals.
People are equal. Ideas and solutions are not. Decisions and actions separate but they also unite when connected to a shared purpose. Unity of purpose does not require uniformity of action, but it does require a shared understanding and direction.
FAMILY. FAITH. These are flawed and cracked… but the foundations rooted in stone, rather than sand will stand the pressure… and by working together, we can find a way to avoid collapse. IF… we choose to do so.
For me, it is unacceptable to see the coming failure and do nothing, but doing something must not spread divide and weaken the whole. We must agree on the definition of the whole.
When you have had Covid19... as a family... AND you recognize that fear is more deadly than the virus itself, but noone in the media is talking about it with any fair and balanced perspective.
THX to Luis and BTW 21 for this interview and honest discussion.
How we make decisions is in crisis. My version of the US culture has become dependent on the national media and its anecdotal, limited context, ratings driven sensationalism. We hear about isolated instances of tragedies and emotional, gut wrenching stories and we the people begin to extrapolate and apply those outliers to the entire population, to our local world. This WRONG.
One size does not fit all. It never has. It never will. The divisions and natural biases of our world views is bubbling up and exploding. The guidance and governance for large populations is radically different from families and households and neighborhoods in a free country. We as Americans are allied to do things differently, succeeding and failing, even moving from region to region when necessary to find better decisions makers and conditions for living. We are connected but separate.
Reopening America is a state by state, locality by locality decision at this point. We will see good stories, and we will see tragic examples of outliers. When we gravitate towards the Covid19 anecdotal deaths and hot spot stories, and the appropriate grief we are missing that overall, the risk and mortality rates are low.
When we ignore the inconvenient truths that millions are in devastating home situations now because of our collective shutdown choices. Jobs gone. Lives in chaos. Families struggling with depression, hunger, and the basics of life.
When we ignore the overwhelming evidence that our medical system is safe and instead looks to politicians and bureaucrats and MEDIA for medical and health guidance we FAIL . Our doctors and nurses are amazing, and our system is built on individual, local responsibility, and day to day decisions. Doctors get their expertise from their expert organizations. They are trained to discern between anecdotal data and true guiding medical science.
When we ignore the experts in front of us for the personas and stories on the TV and internet we fail. Good decisions are hard. One size does not fit all. Americans must stand and be counted. We must succeed and fail. We can help one another by connecting to those around us. Doctors. Pastors. Teachers. Farmers. Neighbors. Our individual experience is not automatically relevant to the world. It IS relevant to US. Here. And Now.
I take this time to celebrate mothers everywhere.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother Brenda.
Happy Mother’s Day to my wife, Tracee.
Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters. Lisa, Heather, Tara and Heidi!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers that I know.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers that I don’t know.
O happy day today and every day in the future. May they be filled with faith, hope, and love. Especially Love!!
5 IMPORTANT THOUGHTS!
1. CHOOSE now to lock down and isolate yourself and your family. (if you do not, the government WILL do it for you) The USA is a free country, but those freedoms are subject to restriction in times of crisis. This is why your Votes matter so much...
2. HELP others... money, skills, perspective.. If you can, you should. PERIOD. If we all step up, it WILL matter.. reliance on the government will fail... as systems always do.
3. Pray, Connect, Engage GOD in your daily life... connect to a church family virtually NOW... It is an ESSENTIAL service from you and to you.
4. Stop listening only to politicians and news media... Make decisions for yourself... based on a set of experts that you trust.
5. BE ACTIVE physically... every day... walk, build, sing, play. If you choose to sit on your butt in front of the TV you are weakening your body and increasing your likelihood of bad outcomes in every way.
BE. LOVE. SERVE. REPEAT. and share this advice if it inspires you..
I have a deep seated animosity directed at “disablers”
- those so willing to make things harder, point out their concerns, fixate on semantics and process points ... make every point about what they want
—- yet unwilling to step up and lead and create and build.
Complaining, whining, and disabling undermine the very foundation of group progress. #fighty.
- church, government, choirs, families...
the disabler list is easy to find inside dying organizations/institutions all around.
Intersection of principles and practices...