Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Efficiency or Freedom?

Last week I listened to a CBC Ideas episode called The Truth about "Post-Truth". As I listened, I thought about church.  The host was interviewing Jason Stanley, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. The whole 54:00 is worth hearing but in case you don't have time, here's what grabbed my attention:

(Around 22:50) "A liberal democratic society values liberty and equal respect. Because if you value liberty you value you fellow citizens' liberty. You want them all to have liberty. So you need to give them all equal respect so they can tell you when their liberty is being impinged upon. And truth is the guarantee for equal respect. Because if you want to give those with less power equal respect. Then you have to listen to them. You have to make sure your views about them aren't false. So truth is the sort of leveller between those with less power and those with more power..."

(Around 23:45) "In an authoritarian society (a monarchy for instance)... the main principle is not truth. But the main principle is power... In an authoritarian society people learn to respect power. So in an authoritarian society an authoritarian leader will demonstrate their power by defining reality. So they will be free to define reality so it accords with the ideology that they want you to have... They have a monopoly on truth..."

(Around 33:44) "No one should be running for president of the United States saying that they are a good businessman. Because a business is not run like a democracy. In a democracy, everyone rules.  And that's going to mean that there are inefficiencies. Efficiency is a virtue. But it's not a democratic virtue. Autonomy is a democratic virtue... Freedom and efficiency are often at odds. Business is run to minimize freedom and maximize efficiency."

So, what about the church? If we take Jason Stanley's comments about 'business' and 'liberal democracy' and place them on a spectrum, with efficiency and freedom at opposite ends, where would you place church? Is it a community that celebrates individual freedom and autonomy or seeks to maximize efficiency? What's your experience?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Trust your gut

When I'm functioning at my best I trust my gut. That means having a sense about something that others might not understand.

It's helpful when I'm in places where I have to make choices. By far, the most difficult context of gut-wrenching and gut-testing, is in the wilderness.

I've spent my fair share of time wandering around in the wilderness. The worst part about wandering in the wilderness is when people are following. Why? Because human beings don't like the wilderness.  And, coupled with a distaste for the wilderness, people don't like a wandering leader. When the two are combined, it no fun being out front.

Full disclosure: I've never really struggled with the wilderness part. I'm fine to be led to difficult places by the Spirit. But when I'm led there, and I have people following me. It's downright hard.

The hard part is that people start wondering if I know where I'm leading. It doesn't happen right away. But as time goes by and the wilderness closes in. The voice of the Spirit starts getting drown out by the questions of well meaning people: "why are we still in the wilderness?" "where are we going?" "who can we blame for this?"

And then it starts to happen. My confidence melts. I question my instincts. I second guess my calling. I replace the God who led me into the wilderness with the people that have followed me there. That's when it happens. I stop trusting my gut.

Lately, I've started trusting my gut again.  And I've found peace. And home really.  In the wilderness.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Just Start & Stay Faithful

I listened to a Carey Nieuwhof podcast today.  He interviewed an entrepreneur named Jared Hogue.

Jared uttered five small words that moved me:

Just Start and Stay Faithful.

This blog post is the fruit of that statement.  So, if anyone is out there.  And interested.

This is my start.  Pray that I stay faithful.

Here's a link to the podcast if you're interested (CNLP 120). 
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