Friday, June 28, 2013

For Such A Time as This... Facebook?

Most of us churchy folk live in a social bubble where nearly everyone we know is churchy. So going out to where the unchurchified people are is a common challenge.

For such a time as this... has God created Facebook?

As an "out" exercise, one could intentionally wander around their FB social space in search of people outside the shrinking sphere of Christendom.... see what's up in their lives.... pray for them... and even consider messaging them to share a simple word.  

"Sorry to see that you're . I'll be keeping you in my prayers."

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Shameless" Sermon Series, Part Three: "Brene, to the Therapist!"

Here's the third in my four-week series on shame.  I share a lot about my own interior life this week to show the multiple ways I see the Lord at work to heal and bless me, and to help destigmatize the very valuable things God provides through counseling and medication!

To watch the clip of Brene I refer to, go to and watch the segment from 10:50 to 14:40.

Also, if you want to see the Powerpoint slides directly, as they are hard to see on the video, you can find them here

These sermons are being done at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Maplewood, MN.  It concludes on Sunday, June 30th, 2013.

Sermon from June 23rd, 2013 from Gethsemane on Vimeo.

"Shameless" Sermon Series, Part Two: "The Shame Game"

Here's the second of my four week series on shame.  We get a look at the core of Brene's insights on shame, and then I make the connection to faith.  In a nutshell, I modify her wise words:
"Let yourself be seen, and believe that you are enough."
to link them to the spiritual reality of the loving God in this way:
"Let yourself be seen by God,  and believe your Father when He tells you that you are enough."
To watch the clip of Brene I refer to, go to and watch the segment from 6:06 to 11:20.

Also, if you want to see the Powerpoint slides directly, as they are hard to see on the video, you can find them here

This series is being done at Gethsemane Church in Maplewood, Minnesota.

Sermon from June 16th, 2013 from Gethsemane on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Can the Big Church Fish See the Water?

A friend offered this question in a pastor's forum:

"How robust of an institution does a local congregation really need? A side conversation... got me thinking about church organized in a manner of an AA group, or perhaps the Scouts, or little league sports teams - few if any staff at the local level, oversight and organization at a regional level, nimble, and gathering in homes and other community spaces. What think you? Could the church thrive with a much more stripped down, streamlined, loose association?"

To which I replied:

"I think what your describing is similar to both the early church and the church under persecution in China - both cases of explosive growth. If we weren't already *in* such a hugely different paradigm, we might be asking the question from the other side: "How robust could the church be if it tried to operate with a minimum size that was so large you were required to add layers of organization and find special buildings just to even have a meeting?""

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Shameless" Sermon Series, Part One: "Brene to the Rescue!"

Here's the first in my Shameless sermon series.  (Every time I write "shameless sermon series" I feel like I'm apologizing for something.)  ;)

In this first sermon, entitled Brené to the Rescue!, researcher/storyteller Brené Brown sets out to solve the mystery of human connection and comes face-to-face with the great connection killer: Shame.  As a part of the sermon, the congregation undertakes an activity to challenge the shame of struggling with shame, seeing visually that this is a very common challenge among us.

(Early in the sermon we watched a 6 minute segment of Brené's TED Talk.  To respect the copyright on that talk, it is not included in the video below.  So I suggest you pause at that point and watch the first 6 minutes here.)

Sermon from June 9th, 2013 from Gethsemane on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Insights for Public Speakers

Anyone doing public speaking, preachers especially, will really appreciate these four great observations on what makes an effective presentation.  Based on Brene Brown's TED Talk on vulnerability.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Asteroid Field Navigation

A clergy friend posted a nice thought this morning that got me pontificating about the Asteroid Field again. (Not that it takes much to get me to pontificate.)

He wrote:

"When you are organizing a new kind of community you will make mistakes. Admitting when you are wrong is essential to successful organizing. Self awareness is healthy. But like any community the main thing is to have fun together and git 'r done. For my money this means foster creativity, celebrate liminality, open source crowd source strong networks, and grow this frickin' church. Spirit willing that is."

I replied:

"Count me in. And FWIW, I suggest pushing back even harder on the assumption that we shouldn't make "mistakes." Embedded in the notion of mistakes is the idea that a correct path exists that you cold, theoretically, follow correctly. Like a trail map through the mountains that you could deviate from by a mistake in navigation. Much of our context no longer even allows for the possibility of a map, because there is no terrain. We navigate the asteroid field now. There can be no map, and if you try to write one you'll get hit because you sat still too long while drafting it. In fact, I'd say that the most common "mistake" in our context is just that: sitting still too long. The only chance at survival (not to mention progress) is *constant movement and course correction.* Orient, Act, Repeat.

"As a side note... OAR navigation works much better with very small teams, I think. Taking a Star Destroyer into the asteroid field is lunacy. Going in with a TIE fighter or the Falcon is pretty darn risky... but survivable!"