My Life

Transcending the Places that Hold You

12 December 2014

Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?
Eowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

“It is very important to transcend the places that hold you.” – Rubin Carter, in The Hurricane

There are only a few things that have ever really scared me.

  • The selfishness of my heart.
  • That I might not be worth loving.
  • That my love for others was fraudulent.
  • That I might disappoint God.
  • Injustice towards my children.

These have each taken turns possessing my attention, consuming my spirit. I have been, and though my spiritual muscle has been beefed up through use, continue to be vulnerable to them.

They come and go, in decreasing intensity, as my days go by. I hate them, but they have also become my friends, my most faithful allies in ushering me to my place, on my knees, before God.

But there is one fear that is ever-present. It eats at me consistently, and it is my best of friends, my most loyal ally in keeping the fire of love burning between me and my Maker. It stirs me to belief and action when I look it in the eyes, and it stares at me awaiting my attention when I momentarily ignore it to settle in and watch TV.

It is my fear of contentment.

There is a good kind of contentment. It is other-worldly, and captured by a verse in a book that chose me long ago, written by a man who has been dead over 2000 years, but is still teaching me: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Paul, in Philippians 4:13

That contentment does not scare me. That is the kind I crave. A capacity to be and live the same wherever I am, with whoever I am with, in whatever circumstance, doing everything that I should do, no matter what, because of His strength.

It is the bad kind of contentment that I fear. It is captured by another verse in that book: “We do not want you to become lazy , but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. We want you to show diligence to the very end.” – Heb 6:11-12

I can see it so clearly, even as I sense most others around can’t, or won’t, mostly because they don’t have or make the time to acknowledge it. I feels a bit like Neo and his crew in the Matrix, surrounded by people living busy, hurried, even good lives, but oblivious that they are mindlessly subscribing to a system that is designed to keep them asleep… or content.

I fear being content with that system. The system woos me. It courts me. It invites me to submit, to comply, even offering to slap some Christian labels on me that I might enjoy, and just enough difficulty to feel like I’m a martyr for Christ, without really being one. It’s like it knows me.

But my fear of contentment keeps me going. It keeps me believing. It keeps me dreaming. It keeps me rebelling, creating, insisting, and moving. It keeps me loving.

I do NOT want to lose that fear, and I am in more danger of it than I have ever been, because I have the choice to make my current spot very comfortable, and that is seductive. But if I drop nicely into this system, and I allow use or old age to make me accept them, I would be dead already without even knowing it.

And ignorance would be “bliss”. That is why it is tempting.

But it would not be life. That is why I’m grateful for my friend… my fear of it.

It is very important to transcend the places that hold you. The only perk that I can think of that an actual prison has is that it is clearly visible, and its dangers overt and obvious. The invisible one that all of us live in, not so much.

I have no bow to tie this piece up with, even though it is Christmas. I write it as a warning, and it is not for you.

It is for me.

Writing Down a More Beautiful Life

14 April 2014

“Write down the revelation.” – Habakkuk 2:2

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the crazy outgoing guts to do it, and the vivid imagination to improvise as you go.  The worst enemy to creativity and excellence is ‘stuck-ness’ caused by self-consciousness and self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

I have not taken the time to write much as of late. And the quote above from Sylvia confronts me in this. I have just not had the “crazy outgoing guts to do it,” having allowed myself to settle into a “stuck-ness” caused by an unhealthy self-consciousness (cleverly disguised as a healthy self-awareness) and an debilitating self-doubt (cleverly disguised as humility).

I have some very good excuses for not writing much, all of which are unarguable and easily defendable, but I will spare you them, because, if you go but one thin layer underneath, this is not about that.

If my writing is about a selfless sharing of my life, and about the raw need to keep it real, and about my desire to improve on the truth that I have found in order to adopt what is truer, then there is no excuse that can satisfy my own spirit.

No one can “hold me accountable” to writing. There is no moral imperative they can appeal to, no literal life and death that they can point towards, nothing so detrimental about “not writing” that they can show me, no “job description” that I was hired to do that can be threatened. Not to mention that any effort at offering accountability for anything is more than easily dismissed by the one being “held.”

You can’t make an elephant move by saying it must, or should. The elephant must want to move.

And we are all elephants.

So I must do the work of wanting to write. I must be about the journey of attributing it some sort of value, if there is indeed any to be had. Any use that it has for others is nice, and sometimes encouraging. But that is not enough. Having a witness or two to my life interested just enough to read about it is important to most. But it’s not enough to keep writing either.

Ultimately, I have some lonely work to do that can only be done by myself and God.

He and I alone must wrestle about meaning. About life. About ease and suffering, and when each is called for. About potential vs. kinetic energy within me. He and I alone must wrestle. He against me, and me against me. I’m grateful that He and I are on the same side, because it will take both to subdue the part of me that is growing old enough to not care anymore. To not try anymore.

I don’t want to not care. And I don’t want to not try. But the gravity toward it is so strong. And I’m scared to mess something up, at this point, by acting too boldly.

You all get that this is not about writing, yes? I do. I totally get it.

But for me, today, it is the useful prop that God is using as a heart-excavating probe. You have one, too, if you’ll just have the guts to see it.

So I cannot speak for tomorrow… but today, when I didn’t feel like writing, I wrote. This is God and I warring against the part of me that would just as soon go about life doing the bare minimum, or just hurriedly meet the many demands coming my way so that I can justify myself from any sort of higher calling, or just do the house chores while watching TV and call it being a good husband while getting others to agree with me, and then calling it a day.

This is personal. It always is. I can write about it, but there is a part of it that cannot be shared. It can only be known, and explored, and exploited by me and God. It is our work to do. It is our battle against not caring. Against not trying. Against not dying before I actually die.

It is a battle against not loving.

May God help us.

My Plan for 2013

3 January 2013

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life ? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” – James, the brother of Jesus

My plan for ending 2012 and launching 2013 is pretty comical in light of how I actually spent them.

December 30 and 31 I spent with a 17 year old girl and her 21 year old brother. These two lost their dad to cancer on Christmas Day, and they “needed a preacher” to do his funeral on New Years Eve day.

January 1 and 2 I spent in my bed. I was coughing, and sneezing, and blowing, and aching, pouring all kinds of fluids and pills into my body to try to stop it all.

It’s not my plan was bad. My plan was to spend the last two days very intentionally with my family (some of which I still got to do), and the first two days planning my year (none of which I got to do). It was good and God-centered plan, I thought. With good and God-centered intentions.

But it wasn’t God’s plan. And there is a difference.

Now I’m not knocking God-centered planning. This was just my crystal-clear reminder that I shouldn’t ever get so committed to my God-centered plans that they take the place of my commitment to God’s plans.

I woke up this morning, the 3rd day of the New Year, already completely behind is my plans are the benchmarks. But if I’m dying daily, listening for God daily, hearing Him and simply obeying, I’m right on time.

I ended up on the phone with a friend over my lunch hour, sharing my deepest thoughts and heart, and from within this trusted friendship, this space-making listening, and Christ-centered brotherhood – I heard God’s plan for me for this year quite clearly.

He said, “Spend more time with Me. More time listening. Then do what I say.”

What a beautiful way to end 2012, loving on and serving two newly orphaned “kids” who don’t have a “minister”. And what a beautiful way to begin 2013, flat on back helpless to do anything but submit to the healing that my body was so desperately dependent on God for.

May my whole year go so well. And yours, too.

How Will I Best Impact People

29 August 2012

I admit it. I want to impact people. I want to impact people for good. I want to impact people for a particular kind of good. I want to impact people with Christ. With his life, his message, his example, and his ways.

But…how?

Should I write? Should I write books? Should I write blogs? Would this be how I could best impact people?

Should I talk? Should I preach at a local church? Should I teach at a local church? Should I accept speaking engagements? Should I do training seminars? Should I be the guest speaker at retreats? Should I host my own retreats based on a variety of meaningful themes? Should I continue my education and become a professor at a college? Would this be how I could best impact people?

Should I lead? Should I organize a church family in a way that impacts them and others through them? Should I spearhead a ministry program or push and initiative among people, getting them to buy in for their good and others that they end up serving? Would this be how I could best impact people?

Should I counsel? Should I walk into the mess of people’s lives and help them navigate it? Should I create and multiply support groups for the wide range of specialized needs that I encounter? Should I continue my education and counsel professionally? Would this be how I could best impact people?

Should I mentor? Should I clear my schedule for nothing but one on one relationships? Should I proactively and lovingly pursue people who need mentoring? Should I reactively and lovingly respond to people who pursue me for mentoring? Should I create mentoring groups? Would this be how I could best impact people?

Whatever I do, do I do it here in my current hometown? Do I do it in my old hometown? Do it find a new hometown? A new country? Would this be how I could best impact people?

“Just pick one!” I hear myself say to me. Okay. But how?

“Just do whichever one you like the most!” I hear myself say to me. Okay, but that just seems either selfish, or hard to discern. I “like” them all.

“Do them all!” I hear myself say to me. Okay. But I know for a fact that a yes to anything is a no to something else, and the doing of everything is the choice to do nothing really, really well.

“Just stop thinking about it so hard!” I hear myself say to me. Okay. And on this one, I really mean, okay. Because the possibilities seem so vast and weighty and overwhelming that it certainly is just easier to flip on the TV and forget about it.

But it just keeps coming back. Nagging. Inviting. Pushing.

And for this I am grateful. It means I still care. It means I still love.

And above all else, no matter what I do, no matter what I choose, no matter where I land, live, or linger – I want to keep loving.

How should you make your difference?

Tired of Hearing Myself Talk

27 August 2012

“When you begin to feel like you know nothing, you may finally be learning something.” – Yours Truly

“I am unworthy-how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer- twice, but I will say no more.” – Job, after saying far too much, when he found himself before God

What is a preacher to do when he is tired of hearing himself talk?

Lately, I’ve felt a desire to not speak in situations where I usually must (and willingly do). It has been refreshingly good.

I’m not sure where this is coming from. But I’m not panicked about it. I’m actually excited. It feels like a transition is happening inside of me. Some more growing up that has been a long time coming. More revolution. More transformation.

While excited, I am a bit nervous. It seems when I get a feeling like this, no matter what the subject is and where it comes from, it is always followed by a tsunami of conviction into a new landscape of truth that I have no choice but to redesign my life around. I never know how small or large the implications may end up being, so… I am a bit nervous.

But still, excited. I have found my life to be much more abundant, clear, peaceful, prioritized, and impactful when I willingly submit to the tsunami as it comes exploding from the invisible depths and into the surface of my life, obliterating and then washing away all the well established routines of my life that I’ve created, killing them (hear: killing me), and then requiring a massive rebuilding effort in the sunshine of the aftermath of the storm (hear: resurrecting me with new life).

What does it mean? Well, I could guess, and throw out several predictions based on my experiences from the past, or based on the trajectory of my life, or based on the deepest desires of my heart…

…but I’m tired of hearing myself talk. I’m tired of being like Job, who though he is in the midst of a powerful drama involving himself, his family, his God, and his friends – a drama that truly does matter to him and to those around him – I’m tired of being like him, who “opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.” (Job 35:16)

So I’ll just wait and see.

If

7 August 2012

“Get your rest. It’s vital to life. But don’t use ‘rest’ as a cover up for fear, cowardice, irresponsibility, laziness, wastefulness, or indulgence.” – Yours Truly

 

Below is a piece entitle “IF.”

A friend and mentor of mine introduced it to me years ago, and he brings it up periodically – just enough to allow me to use it to gauge my progress into manhood.

 

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, 

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling

 

The last “IF” is what is haunting me currently.

Can I fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run?

I’m training for Tough Mudder right now, which will take place in Austin on October 6th. It is serving me as a living analogy for this question. As I train, I am in a constant state of deciding whether or not I will give 100% or not, whether I will push through some element of the training and feel the victory of having done so, or collapse into “rest” and feel the ease and comfort of compromise.

In the long run, the Tough Mudder matters very little. But what it represents for me right now matters very much.

We’ve all been given about 75 years (give or take) of 60 second runs. I’m 44.

Join me in developing a massive distaste for collapsing into ease. May God Himself make us all uncomfortable with comfort.

Moving in to Elderhood

22 May 2012

I’m making up a word for this piece. My automatic spellcheck has it underlined in red each time I type it, but I need it.

One of the tragedies of youth is that we receive truckloads and truckloads of good advice, truth, and wisdom that never makes it into our character. It seems that in our energetic youthfulness (most of which has come to us naturally) and our lack of attentiveness (most of which has been developed in us culturally), much of it is lost.

But more tragic is when these youthful qualities are never overcome, unlearned, and transcended as we age. I know far too many grown men and women who move far too frantically, ever-running after that elusive ‘something’ that is considered worthwhile, absolutely necessary, or required.

Now I admit that a big part (the biggest, I think) of growing up from childhood to adulthood is learning how to ‘take responsibility,’ and this quite rightly leads us in pursuits that are genuinely worthwhile, necessary, or required.

But should there not be another growing up? Should there not be a move from adulthood to, let’s say, elderhood?

In our culture these days, there seems to be a powerful lack of adulthood. Oh, there are plenty of folks who have passed their teenage years chronologically, but not socially or personally. I know plenty of chronological adults who have lived off their parents well into their 30s and only stopped once they could move on to living of their spouses, or their government, or the charity of good people.

But worse still, and I think far more problematic, is the powerful lack of elderhood. True elders seem to move more slowly, speak less often, control fewer things, and instead, contemplate more, notice people more deeply, and only walk into things if invited (and are not shy about letting others know that they are willing to be invited).

This lack of elderhood may actually be the real problem behind the lack of adulthood. Adults aren’t really that focused on the patient and painstaking formation of children into adults, and simply can not be in the business of forming adults into elders. It takes a unique depth of character, deliberation of thought, and real experiences of transitioning from “hood” to “hood” to focus on any kind of people development. And these skills and abilities are earned, and uniquely present in true elders. 

And there just are not that many. And the ones there are, we adults don’t have or make time to access, and we children don’t even know that we need to.

I was late to the game, but sometime in my 20s I think I finally made the full move, taking my child hood off and putting on my adult hood. I can look back and see clearly this lack of mentors. I remember as a youth minister in Houston, sitting in the shade at Astroworld between rides with a student that I was mentoring and pouring into, sharing about and eventually tearing up at my own lack of mentors pouring into me.

But looking back, I can also see clearly how God fathered me through all this, filling the gaps in my life with multitudes of unfinished men and women, all with different pieces of the puzzle, offered to me by God without most of them even knowing it.

But now I’m eager and hungry to fully and definitely, even if fearfully, lay down my adult hood and pick up the hood of an elder.

I mean nothing magnificent or honor-bringing about this. As a matter of fact, by all the worlds standards, this seems to be a “step down” in the social and institutional hierarchy of who we deem important these days. Less (but more powerfully) seen, fewer (but more intimate) relationships, smaller (but more impactful) work.

I want to move into a reality where I know the peaceful depths of what Jesus called the Gospel, living within what Jesus called the Kingdom of God, and proclaim it all to those who invite me into their lives as the Truth that will set them free.

Would it not be great if you were as surrounded by these interested and wise “elders” as you are by older people? Wouldn’t it be neat if, whenever you see anyone older than you, could could assume that they are more mature than you in every human way? Would it not be cool to have these kinds of sage-like “elders” to choose between for President and other offices?

I think that this “elderhood” is such a lost art, and goes so unacknowledged by our culture, that those few among us who find themselves in it don’t even know that they are. And don’t know how to enjoy it, let alone share it with others.

We need childhood. And we need adulthood. But, God please, bring to us elderhood.

The Life I Want Most for Myself

1 February 2012

Some friends of mine and I were given the powerful assignment of sitting down and writing a letter to God explaining to Him the life we want most for ourselves. In my humble opinion, it is an exercise that everyone should do often. Here is mine:

Dear God:

The life I want most for myself is Christ’s.

I want a life of peaceful intensity. Intense because of a missionary spirit that relentlessly takes me into difficult circumstances in the name of love. Peaceful because of an intimacy with you so stable and real that those difficult circumstances can’t shake it.

I want every decision of my life to be motivated and explained by love, healing, and freedom, and every action to help inspire those things in others. I want to be a man of harnessed passion, who walks gratefully and confidently with God and people, creating true transforming community wherever I go.

I want this life with Christ to be so authentic that those closest to me, Carrie, Shade, Callie, and Jakin know it to be real and weighty. And I want its abundance to be so obvious that they are effortlessly drawn to it, constantly challenged to believe it, emboldened to give it a try, and naturally disgusted by anything the world offers, with all of it’s glitter, that is less.

While living inwardly for an eternal Kingdom, I want to be a good steward of my body while I live for that Kingdom here, maintaining the health and fitness required to live this adventurous life over the long haul, using as my target and goal the physical and mental ability to keep up with grandkids, should I be so blessed.

I want what I love about Carrie to always dictate how I see and treat her. I love her fire and vulnerability, her commitment to godly and thoughtful motherhood, and her non-stop energy for God and people. I want a partnership with her that is alive, connected, fun, open, passionate, raw, real, and respectful. I want us to take and be mutually supportive of our adventurous and faith-testing experiments – and I want us to take them often, sometimes independent of each other, sometimes in partnership. I want us to be unafraid of what makes each of us unique and challenging to the other, eagerly receiving those things from each other for our own growth in Christ, gratefully and joyfully embracing the mess of it all. Above all, I want Carrie to experience that hers is simply and unquestionably the most important human relationship in my life because I act accordingly at all times.

I want to be an embracing, exalting, playful, teaching, and uplifting Dad for my kids. I love Shade’s passion and zeal, his inclination towards truth and people, and want to partner with him to channel his energy as he creates a life of meaning and purpose. I love Callie’s competence and strength, her sense of creativity and laughter, and I want to give her both her space and my presence, within which she can have both her freedom and my guidance, to be and become the force of beauty that God has created her to be. And I love Jakin’s depth and humor, his light playfulness and deep inquiries, and I want to listen closely for his soul as he continues to show up and coach me on how to best serve him as he grows into his greatness.

I want to be an invitation to family for my Dad, Mom, and brothers and their families, and allow them to be that invitation to me. I want us all to be thankful and proud from where we have come from, and with whom we have come, a family of true believers in forgiveness, redemption, and the intentional, designing hand of God.

I want my life to be a model of the God-centered, Christ-like, Spirit-enabled way of living. I want it to be counter-cultural enough to be both noticeable and tempting for anyone in the world who is hungry, hurting, burned, or just plain sick-and-tired of mediocrity. I want my words, my work, my relationships, my dreams, my plans, my commitments, my decisions, my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, my reactions, my demeanor, my devotions, my prayers, my spaces, my priorities, my travels – and anything else that can appropriately go after the word “my” – to live in perfect harmony with one another, never competing with each other because they all humbly serve and exalt the same irresistible master.

I want a life that finds happiness only in you and in the loving relationships that are from you. And I want a life that is an invitation to, an inspiration for, and a catalyst of this abundant way of life for anyone who volunteers into any little piece of mine.

I want Christ’s life.

My Calling Clarified

7 June 2011

“We Christians are such rookies at knowing how to love as Christ loved, that we must come up with complicated plans to do what Christ did.” – Yours Truly

I just finished a three week sabbatical – a break from my normal duties with, for, and among the church family that I am a part of. I’ve been being with, looking for, and listening to God each day. I’ve done this in special environments (with a mentor, in silence and solitude, reading books) and in my natural ones (with my family, my friends, in my busy house, running errands).

And this morning, in my regular morning routine, getting ready to enter back into my normal duties, I heard with crystal clarity His voice commissioning me (once again) with my current assignment:

“When I send people to you, you are to love them, ask them questions, and tell them stories. When I send ideas to you, you are to listen to them, contemplate them, and share them.”

Wow. What priceless simplicity. What an uncomplicated assignment.

What a precious answer from my Father who I am always asking with such urgency, “How do you want me to go about loving you and loving others in a way that makes disciples of Jesus?”

And I guess therein lies the problem. It is so simple. Surely it can’t be so simple?

I have spent much of my life longing for a simple life with God and people. Over and over God has said, “Certainly!” and given the same instructions to me in one form or another (the above being His latest effort). And what do I do?

I end up saying, “Certainly not!”

“It can’t be that simple!” I think. “It can’t be that narrow!” I argue. “It can’t all be fit into those few words of commission!” I surmise.

Why not, you may ask? Well…it’s complicated.

Only it’s not.

By hiding behind the mystery of how “complicated” we think loving God and people is, we hide from the simple assignment God is trying to give each one of us. And it stems from some deep down, in-bred, hard-to-escape lie that tells us that we must do more than we must do, or be somewhere other than where we are, or attain a life beyond what we’ve been given.

Enough.

If you get sent to me, what you can expect from me, no more and no less, is my faithfulness to my assignment from God. I will love you. I will ask questions. And I will tell stories.

And if an idea comes to me (like this one that you are reading now), I will listen to it, contemplate it, and share it.

If I do less, then I’m being an unfaithful son, and I will be unsatisfied, anxious, and defensive.

If I do more, then I’m playing God, and I will be tired, overspent, and resentful.

But if I do what I’m told…I will play the peace-making role that God has for me. It’s a minor part in the story of God, but it is mine, and that God, my Father, has given me one is the honor and identity of my life.

The way my brother Jesus said it was, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

The Basement Boyz

13 April 2011

This week, a friend of mine asked me about my men’s group and whether or not we had room for another.

I told him yes and then gave this brief description (or warning!) of the atmosphere we co-create with God and with each other so that he could see what he thought of it. I thought I’d throw it out to you, my friends, to see what you think, too.

Our group is sort of unique. There are a core of about 5-6 guys currently that are pretty much gonna show up every time.

There are another 5-6 guys that are going to show up regularly.

There are another 10-12 guys that might show up at anytime.

We’ve probably had about 70-90 guys experience our group over the years, all for varied reasons and amounts of time.

And we have first time guests come and check us out quite regularly. Some stick, some don’t.

The real unique quality about this group is the commitment to be very honest. To dig deep and go beneath the “surfacy” stuff that we present to the rest of the world. To co-create some space where vulnerable confession is regular and loving confrontation is acceptable.

It is all centered around the idea that Christ claims to have the best possible life available to man. So ultimately, we are checking out his life, teachings, mission, and priorities and looking to apply them to our own lives and see if it is true.

Everyone leads in the basement. It is self-leadership. We don’t send out reminder emails and you may or may not get a call if you miss. The basement is always there, 8:30pm every Tuesday, for those who are searching deeply, looking to connect with a few other guys who are too, and have agreed to go through the search together.

Different guys take the hot seat each week and have “the floor”. When you have the floor, there are two rules.

  1. Bring it. -We are not here to talk about the weather or sports or superficial religious subjects…what you bring needs to be raw and real, courageous and probing. As long as it is that, you get to have us do whatever you want.)
  2. No monologuing. – You need to bring it in a way that invites everyone to participate. The sky is the limit when you have the floor…share a relevant topic, ask a probing question, bring up a theological discussion, share a confession, ask for advice, invite group prayer…anything…except monologue. Everyone there is there to participate in what is being created (if not, they can just go sit in another pew at a church).

The only exception to rule #2 is your first time to take the hot seat. This is when you “tell your story.” Yes, the whole, gory, God-honest thing. We always challenge the person about to tell us their story to go all the way with it. To “make us your friends”.

Everyone you’ll meet there has done it. It gives us context for each other’s lives and everyone who does it finds it quite liberating and friendship building.

Whatyathink?

So, my blog-reading friends. What do you think?

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