Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Passion Fatigue

What follows is an adaptation of an article by Sheri Ferguson that I read in The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s March/April 2006 periodical. The article, titled ‘Compassion Fatigue’, is dealing specifically with natural disaster trauma and recovery from such events as hurricane Katrina but has many other avenues of application. We will choose the avenue where many pastors have either run out of gas, left skid marks lining the street, or drew a crowd with break stands and smoke shows. Welcome to Burnout Avenue.

Pastoring actually is not really that hard of a job. In fact, when it comes to schedules and workload it may seem to some outside observers to be pretty slack. However, any of us who have spent any time at all working as ‘professional clergy’ could tell countless stories of the huge emotional toll and output that a pastor must endure. Though one of our greatest assets may be our passion for people and the local church it also very well may be one of our greatest liabilities. Passion may be the very thing that destroys a ministry.

Passion Fatigue, as defined by postalpedia, is what happens to our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual states of being after prolonged exposure to intensity. We, like that pretty girl who smiled the bright and happy smile of someone who long ago learned not to show what she was feeling, allow the world to see passionate ministry while our own lives are slowly and surely decomposing in the compost heap of ‘blah’.

Symptoms of blah include depression, anxiety, grief, dread, fear, rage, shame, avoidance, numbing, suspiciousness, cynicism, poor self-esteem, sleep difficulties, muscle tensions, headaches, cognitive shifts in how one views the world, family and relationship problems, increases in addictive behavior, and more time spent reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. Mark Driscol, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seatte, offers some of his research and idea's here. Worth the read.

Passion fatigue changes who you are.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

the best breakfast ever

So here I am - I'm Alyne - and I'm very excited about having somewhere else to share my love for writing.

I was doing some thinking the other night, (which can be a frightening process, but this time it seemed to go relatively well), and somehow my mind stumbled across the saying, "You can't make an omelet without breaking an egg". I'm sure, for most people, this is not an unknown saying. I am also sure we all believe we know what it means. Or do we?

I am going to challenge you to throw away any preconceived notions you may have as to the meaning of that saying, and simply consider the one I am going to place before you.

The subject of 'dreams' has been a pressing one in my circle of friends lately. Especially the prospect of surrendering them to God with faith that, if they are truly from Him and in correspondence with His plan for our lives, that He can bring them back to us in His time.

You can't make an omelet without breaking an egg.

What is the omelet? Well, let's view the omelet as our Dreams, having been reached and fulfilled by God. What does the egg represent then? How about our plans, opportunities presented to us, jobs we could have had, relationships we may be in, friends we love, or even other dreams?

With this in mind, could it be said that, in order to "make an omelet", to see our Dreams fulfilled, created, given life by God, there may come a time where we have to "break an egg", to put our plans, opportunities, jobs, relationships, etc. to rest for the benefit of the greater good, which is God's ultimate plan for our lives and our Dreams?

You can't make an omelet without breaking an egg.
I don't know...what do you think?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pleased to Introduce!

Eclectivity is certainly more fun. More fun then active eclectivism. More fun then being a raging eclectomaniac. More fun then studious eclectiversity. Today marks a holiday and a celebration of epic proportions so, in honor of eclectivity, please feel free to mark yourself. I would recomend a jiffy marker, a blank arm, and a word. Choose any word you like....but wear it proudly!

Some of the faithful readers of this little cornor of internerd-world have noticed that there are now three contributors to this blog. I think that by now you will have gotten to know myself and the pomo-antics of Mark deHooh. Today, I would like to introduce to you a good friend, incredible youth worker, professional writer, and someone who has been a real inspiration in my life. She is loads of fun to be around, passionate, loves to laugh, and works hard at what she does. Her favorite word is 'hub'. Her name is Alyne....make sure you introduce yourself and make her feel welcome!

AlYne....I am stoked that you are is very good to have a little estrogen around! Looking forward to reading more of your work!

Friday, May 19, 2006

...the Present Before

There are days when I seriously wonder if my grip on sanity is only slightly tentative. Have you noticed how a single day takes ages and ages to complete while the plural of day, days, races by like a stampede of cats! There seems to be endless days going by way too quickly. Doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe you’ve also noticed that there is no time but the present? There was, of course, a present before the present now, but that was also the present. An older one.

I wonder what the shortest-living creatures on our little planet think about? I suppose some 24-hour-living brand of water fly speaks nostalgically to the fresh evening hatch of water fly about the good old hours; the hours when the sun was in the middle of the sky and it was much warmer. Maybe they recount stories of near death experiences from their youth of flying too close to the water and narrow escapes of the great silver water creatures. I wonder what trout think about? Infinite in life compared to the wee water fly no doubt.

There is a grove of Huron trees on a Tasmanian mountainside thought to be 10,500 years old which somehow places them alive and well with unicorns. Baby Noah didn’t even have great-grandparents yet! That is a lot of birthday candles, cake, and calories (not that a tree that old would want that much fire around it). I wonder what they would speak of? “The winters aren’t what they used to be. I remember proper glaciers and real ice – none of this ‘snow is here and gone before you know it’ ice. You call this winter?! I remember when I was a sapling…” At which point the young trees would look embarrassingly at each others feet and shuffle off.

Have you ever sat on the hood of your Volvo and stared at the stars? What you are seeing now is a piece of the present before; a cosmological event that took place much further back then long winters and unicorns. Close to a star’s supernova is not the safest place in our expando-verse to have lunch, (though lunch at the edge of a blackhole wouldn’t be much more dangerous – just a little more painful), however, lunch in the flickering light of that supernova hundreds of thousands of light years away may get your significant other in the mood. According to Canadian pollsters ISPO-REID, fully 5% of Canadians (roughly 1.5 million Canadians), say that 70’s rock band KISS gets them in the mood. 2% say that dinner and a movie do it for them.

There is something about the present before that makes the present now seems so much more significant. My grip is tightening.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

txen si tahw

I am wondering what the next church leadership trend will be.


I suppose it will be another question.


It might even make a point this time.


God-blogs seems as though they are going to have more impact on the direction of Christianity then a particular thesis tacked defiantly to some door in some far-away town. Thousands of people, some of whom are even brilliant, are spotting, observing, thinking, innovating, and putting their findings online for all to see. Some of these discovery’s we would do well to absorb and some, like that chemical waste found in microwave dinners, we should not.

Still, the question remains, what is the next big church leadership trend? To discover it now would likely mean notoriety, fame, money, and a 1000 hits per day on this blog.

Too bad the trend seems to be pseudo obscurity. Ironic? I think so. For now I will be content to observe what is currently happening and only occasionally light candles, wear clip-on-nails, and charge $1 to peer into my crystal ball.

Friday, May 12, 2006

21st Century Christianity and Jesus

After an intriguing converstaion with a few friends [Jeff/Blake/Korrin] in an 'unnamed location' in the PEG... and spending some time reflecting on the movie Kingdom of Heaven. I have a nagging question... Is there a distinction between 21st Century Chrsitianity and Jesus Christ? In my dialogues with those who are not 'christian' I have discovered that people seem to say there is a very remarkable difference. Thoughts???

Saturday, May 06, 2006

>>familiar stories<<

It is your choice.
It is your story.

Every inspiring story develops out of mundane details of simple day to day living. It’s not extravagance complexity or heroism that tell the story and miracle of life so much as it is the ordinary everyday moments that add up to something. The sound a humming bird makes when it hovers almost silently in front of a flower, the feel that the first drop of rain hitting your forehead makes after a hard day of rockclimbing, a word or phrase heard in an unknown song from an unknown source, an old friend emailing to say hi. These are the things life is made of; these are the ordinary translated into the extra-ordinary.

Of course every story has its own hidden and subversive story – the skeleton in the closet, the secret hopes, the deep wounds, embarrassing passion. Every beautiful narrative is coupled with risk victory and failure that, if unleashed, has potential to ruin or succeed even the wildest dreams.


Where are our stories?

Why do we chose to hide them?

Maybe because nobody is listening. Does it seem that maybe the only stories people are interested in are the ones that are about themselves? The great and lasting stories simply tell the same story over and over and over and over……again. These are the recognizable and deeply personal stories. These are the stories where we sense something significant is happening but are more caught in the story then in the significance. These are the great stories.

This is our story.