Friday, October 28, 2005


Leadership? Yeah right! More like power. Why are we as Christians so obsessed with leadership? Everyone wants to be the king of their little empire – nobody wants to be the subjects. Walk into any Christian bookstore across the nation, you will find loads of books, tapes, dvds, and seminar posters on the topic of leadership. This very column fits the description. Believe it or not, there is even a leadership Bible. Whatever happened to the followers, servanthood, and Jesus’ revelation of the “greatest being the least” etc.? Maybe we as Christian leaders need to re-think what the traditional/modern view of church leadership is.

We need leadership in the church – that is not the question. The real question is asked when it is realized that we are not the same generation of our parents…our worldview and mindset is radically different. The future is changing so rapidly. To quote a line U2, “We are on a journey and have all packed our bags for a place none of us have been” – so we’re not even sure the direction. Our world has changed. So must the church and its leadership. Welcome to a new time…the beginnings of a different kind of leadership. Leadership that is practical, relational, decentralized, fresh and changing, servant based, and (continues to be) lead by God’s spirit. This is not revolutionary in thought but possibly is a lost practice that gets buried with our busyness.

Here are some Biblical and apparently effective steps to leadership:
-Be a chicken and thresh wheat in a winepress while waiting for a celestial being to offer advice.
- Build a giant boat in the middle of nowhere; try to round up all the animals on the earth to put inside of it, get stupid drunk afterwards.
- Get a job as a shepherd when you’re 40, do that for 40 years. Experience some kind of mystical conversation with a burning bush.
- Kill a giant with a sling shot.
- Be completely obnoxious. Sleep by a fire of dung and cook your food on it, wear a bondage device and claim it has spiritual overtones.
- Run from positions of leadership – such as being made king – as often as possible.
- Tell your friends riddles and then be executed by the government.

It seems as though the current model of successful church leadership was not always the case – perhaps it has come about out of the American dream work ethic that has altered our version of Christianity. Historically, “the church” has done well by focusing on spiritual disciplines - things like sacrifice, integrity, and the mystery of God’s presence and voice. While these are mentioned in current leadership models, I’m not sure they are fully understood by the majority of leaders whose success is based on how quickly their goals are met. I believe God has called us to faithfulness before leadership.

Throughout the Bible, God has seemed to play favorites to those in the less/weaker positions to raise them to leadership. In my mind, this is both perplexing as well as it is encouraging. These Biblical models of leadership are not perfect leaders – they often are not very slick, usually short tempered, and the least likely. What they do have is authentic actions and mindsets…this means that at times they/we may be broken. We are indeed called to be examples of a “higher standard” yet the reality is that we still struggle and life situations can completely consume us.

My thought then is this: maybe it is time that we put down the megaphone of control and pick up a walking stick and join the journey of those we are leading. Beyond your call as a person to be close to God; your call to leadership is to be faithful, honest, and authentic. This transition for some of us as megaphone wielding leaders to traveler might be extremely hard; for others it may be a welcomed change in order to stretch our legs and fine tune our walking sticks. Being a part of the journey allows us to love people for real….and be loved in return. It allows us to make steps in the “wrong” direction or let other’s pass quickly by you as they journey in the same direction. What we do is not who we are. Who we are, my sense of worth and life fulfillment comes from my destination and the travelers I can help on the way. Maybe this is real leadership.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Faith Can Not Exist Without Doubt.

Marinating in my head for the last couple of years is the whole idea of faith and doubt; more specifically that they cannot exist without each other. A column is in the works presently, however, until then I would like to submit two quotes to think about.

"There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking."
- Alfred Korzybski

"The first key to wisdom is assiduous questioning; for by doubting we come to inquiry and by inquiry we come to truth."
- Peter Abelard

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

::Preaching:: A Response.

It has been interesting to read the number of different responses to the previous blog; some via email and others through the comment section of the blog. If you haven't yet read the previous blog...go do that and then come back and read this one. The following is an email sent to me from my friend Patrick who I know from Seymour. Not only is Pat an all around rad guy (who happens to be moving to Japan to keep the snowboard bum lifestyle alive) but he has some pretty good insights into preaching. is the unedited version of a view of preaching from outside the church....enjoy! Thanks Pat!

jeremy! hey dude i loved your write up and stoked that you included me! and i agree full heartedly with your views on this topic! to me preaching is a HUGE topic that should be adressed beacause it is a reason alot of young ppl / youth get turned away from church...its a reason i did...well one of thoughts on it are mostly just that i feel that preachers are sooo seperated from the ppl they are preaching to.....they smile on their polpets and never really show human fear....i know preachers are human! ive seen the human preachers...the preachers that have impacted huge congregations are preachers that stoop down to the congregations level...let them know that they are human for example my parents pastor went on in a service one sunday and admitted his coming to christ was while throwing a bottle of beer at a phone youth conventions the favourite speakers are the ones who show that they are at the same level or have been there....but alot of preachers (like mine) wear there suits and a smile to match and promise that everything will be alright....either they have lived completely sheltered lives or are afraid to explose themselves.....i dont know if any of that makes sense...reading over it im kinda all over the place...but all in all preaching is preaching...i dont know if theres any way of doing it to a congregation so everyone can talk and share opinion as conversation and still get done in an hour....but i think that a preacher can still conect and make the congregation feel more involved if they expose there human qualities let them know that they are not perfect and above them make more sense? goodness gracious my fingers are tired please reply back to this if i have said sumthin contradictory or said anything wrongish...i would love to keep this question burning with me too....but i must i will fo sho ttyl

patrick grey

Friday, October 14, 2005


When is the last time you had a really good conversation? I am not necessarily talking about a one-time conversation that had a definite start and an end; but rather, a conversation that lasted over days, weeks, months, or even years. The kind of conversation that continues to walk through life with you - sometimes making you cry, other times invoking anger, while other times comforting, and still other times inspiring great excitement and motivation? It is the kind of dialogue where we ask questions of many people, we listen to others, we sometimes offer our own perspectives, and we ruthlessly try to come to some kind of discovery of truth. Even now as I sit here in my kitchen – hungry, unshaven, and likely smelly – I am thinking through some of the major conversations that I am involved in currently and wondering how these have been infected, impacted, and eclipsed by previous, parallel, or even future (presupposed) conversations. It seems to me that the more and more open-ended conversations I have the more and more I will be able to integrate a consistent worldview that spans through all area’s of my life. What does this mean? It means that learning is slower. It means that our teachers are all around us. It means that we might be surprised, shocked, intimidated, and even offended by where, from who, or how we discover some new bit of truth.

If there is one thing that really bugs me (and there certainly are more), it is when I am “talking” with someone and they talk so fast and furious that they completely dominate the “conversation” – leaving no room for anyone else to engage. It is kind of like the annoying girlfriend that answers all the questions for her boyfriend and then answers all of her own questions too! Boring, irrelevant, annoying. Come to think of it – this sounds a lot like what preaching has become.

Could you imagine if all of your conversations followed the same method as preaching?! I would rather be trapped in a small elevator with two old people making out! It just does not work; it is not right, it feels weird, and can get very awkward for the outsiders! What would happen if every day my wife had to listen to me share a thesis with supported evidence, witty rhetoric, cute little antidotes, and application to her life? I have a suspicion that she would accuse me of not knowing or caring about who she really is and that I am on a bit of a power trip. Yet we, as preachers, consider this form of communicating God’s word to be foundational to the community of believers? How can this be? It seems like we are in some way doing an injustice to our church communities to not allow them into the communication and conversation of God’s word. I learn best in dialogue – not monologue. I think most people are the same; it is a mystery to me as to why anyone has put up with this for so long!

So what does this mean for our church communities? To be honest, I am not that sure. I would not suggest that we abandon preaching but I would suggest that maybe there are better ways to preach. The whole point and idea of preaching is to help people become more and more like Jesus, right? I am starting to formulate some ideas and thoughts of how we can be a spiritual learning community together; it involves risk, it involves involving other people, it involves macro-evolution, it involves dialogue. I am just trying to continue the conversation…

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Truth Interviews

The following is from a short paper I had complete for a TWU philosophy class I am taking. The assignment was simply to go interview people regarding truth and then write a short reponse as to what happened. Anyhow.....

Walking on to the University Campus of the Fraser Valley with the intent of engaging people in significant and meaningful conversation regarding truth and morality was an exciting and thought provoking venture. I am often amazed, if that is not too strong a word, at the highest common denominators of thought, idea, and opinion among the vastly different cross-section of students found in a learning environment. On that note, in reflection on my eight dialogues, I was amazed but not surprised by the common thread that ran and weaved its way through the conversations. Please find attached my progression of questioning and my written short hand recording of the response given.

My intent within my first couple of questions was to simply feel out the individual’s general view of truth; was it an objective absolutist view of truth or a relativistic view of truth? From this initial general conclusion, the line of questioning would follow down one of two paths; 1) questions directed at bringing contradictive conclusions of truth, or 2) questions directed at establishing how integrated ones view of truth was. Though the initial response from person to person was either objective or relative the final conclusion with every person was that truth is up to the individual – or that it is relative.

A specific that we often camped out on for a while was the whole discussion of morality, right and wrong, and the concept of intrinsically good or bad. The transition from truth to morality left every single person that I talked with trying to hold to their intellectual integrity while trying to rationalize away no objective moral code. All but one respondent had no problem asserting that two opposing truths can equally be true and co-exist and then go on to suggest that there are, indeed, moral absolutes. It was interesting (and at times comical to watch) as each person then tried to explain their earlier belief of relative truth and how that applies to morality. Contradiction, so it seems, may be easy for the general population of university students to by-pass in theory, but becomes a much more daunting task when forced to consider the implication of opposing morality on our society.

Awareness of their inconsistencies left varying bits of room for us to discover together what some possible solutions to these inconsistencies may be. It is very interesting to note that every person I shared this discovery process with made the jump and connection from truth/morality to God, religion, or spirituality within moments. Though a very small number of students were interviewed, it may be safe to assert that generally, when people think of truth and morality, their minds begin to think in some kind of meta-power beyond themselves. From my experience, as soon as people begin on this journey of wondering about the supernatural, God, or spirituality – they begin to ask the questions and search for the answers that satisfy. It was invigorating to be able to openly share the Christian idea of truth and faith with complete strangers who were somewhere along this journey. I would further attribute this openness in dialogue to the establishment of credibility before hand in the soliciting of the other individual’s opinions on life. The by-product was that they asked my opinion and beliefs. The spread of the Christian faith is not rocket-science!

One particular good conversation was with a girl named Carissa. Once completing the questionnaire she began to talk about her brother (who is a youth pastor) and how he always tries to force his beliefs on her. It was very obvious that this was really annoying and hurting her as well as moving her further away from Jesus. Too many people see religion and run from God – and this is what was happening with this girl. Anyhow, I made a comment about her name, how its root is from the Greek charis meaning grace. From that point on we got to work through the whole reality of God’s grace vs. man-made religion and how that impacts authentic Bible-believing Christ-centered spirituality. She was moved to a point of tears and is now, at least, re-oriented in the direction of Jesus. She made the comment as we parted that, “I will never be able to get away from grace because that is my name.”

I would like to submit that real education is being put in the position where ones only escape is to think. I am a learner and I am teacher. Every person I interviewed was a learner and a teacher. Life is not an autonomous event of biological interactions between organisms, but rather, a communal process of living, loving, learning, and growing together. My prayer is that those people I interviewed, Karen, Savinder, Dana, Carissa, Randy, Sarjinder, and Rose, would be plagued by the search for truth, discover truth, and discover Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Holy Immaturity.

I was reminded of something about immaturity and maturity as I was reading through some old writting today - and really, what I was reminded of is quite obvious; every person must be immature before they are ever mature! Immaturity brings a sense of recklessness, fearlessness, danger, adventure, humiliating failure, accidents, risk-taking, new ways of thinking, new ways of believing, new ways of being, and a life full of surpries! If maturity is a sense of experience, confidence, and cool, calm, calcualted, logical steps... then I don't want too much to do with it - yet! Right now, I want to be just tripping over the edge of newness, wounded on the front lines of change, and in the delivery room of the unexpected.

Jesus walked this earth followed by a group of immature, hot tempered, argumentative, not too bright, nobody important, deserters who Jesus called his disciples... and they changed the world. It was during those immature years of walking step-by-step with Jesus that the disciples did the most, learned the most, made mistakes, and put their lives in the most danger.

Someday, when I'm old... with only slightly less hair... I want to be able to look back and say, "Wow! Life was good! We made a lot of mistakes and we tried a lot of new and risky things... some things worked and other's definitly needed Febreeze... but whatever the outcome; I loved my God, my family, and my friends with every reckless, fearless, adventuress, risk-taking, expressive, accident-prone, brittle old bone in my body. Maybe by then, I will have followed my Jesus step-by-step into maturity...

That will be a good day.