Saturday, March 24, 2007

Social Intelligence

Best-selling author Daniel Goleman's newest book Social Intelligence has, so far, been absolutely brilliant! I started reading this book this morning and have only just picked my way through the prologue and first couple of chapters. I may be jumping the gun a wee bit, however, I already would like to recommend this book to every leader, pastor, or person whose job it is to relate well with other people.
The premise of this book is simple: We are wired to connect. From this thesis Goleman goes on to open up the science of relationships (social neuroscience) with convincing research, interesting stories, and easy to understand writing to show us how relational intelligence impacts every area of life. You may be very surprised by some of the findings!
Daniel Goleman has also authored the best-selling Emotional Intelligence and recommended Primal Leadership.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Something Starts an Explosion

Supposedly our brain works with surprising efficiency. Not that I ever would have believed that in high school math, but that’s not the point – nobody likes math – it’s too predictable. The electricity firing in the space between our ears is neatly sorting and filing every experience just waiting for the chance to be re-opened. When we face challenges that are similar to past experience our brain already has a tried and tested solution just waiting to bulldoze the competition. We are so predictable.

Like math.

One of the greatest challenges of creative thinking is to not think from our default setting. While defaults are useful for getting the job done they don’t make the job very fun. We do because we have done.

And what gets done is nothing new, creative, or in many cases, very fulfilling.

I have found that getting stuck in default thinking causes me great anxiety and a trigger happy finger just itching to shoot the boredom. In these times I have realized that I need thought igniters to help spark ideas and creativity. Here are a few igniters that get things going for me:

- provocative reading outside my field

- great music

- connecting randomness/free association of words and idea’s (freestyle rappers are among the best in the world at this)

- looking for loopholes in systems

- metaphors about pretty much anything

- bouldering and rest days

- a great story

I believe that pastors and church leaders should be among the most creative bunch of people in the world simply because we have the most predictable job in the world. Our job hasn’t changed in 2000 years…we point people to Jesus. Maybe if we had a few more thought igniters in our lives we wouldn’t have to resort to math.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Time for Sabbatical

Often the soul simply needs some rest, a glass of water, and a massage.

As some of you have already heard, Candace and I will be living in a van for 4-months while we travel and climb through the western half of the United States. Our goal of the trip is to spend some restful time together climbing, reading, writing, and studying Scripture. We will be caravanning through high alpine desert, old growth forest, and surfside towns with names like Las Lagoon or something equally un-Canadian.

Our church, Christian Life Community Church, has given us the time away in what is often referred to as a ‘sabbatical’. A Sabbath, which is where we get the word sabbatical from, may describe a certain day of our week where we produce nothing, where the machine stops and our only job is to enjoy life. This may describe the day of our week where we stop to consider that the planet will still wobble around its axis, the sun will still flicker, possums will still never quite reach the other side of the road, rabbits will still look cute, and life will go on. A weekly Sabbath is a day of our week where we remember God for who God is; a day where we remember that when God finished creating he looked at life and said that it was very good.

While a Sabbath speaks of a day, a sabbatical speaks of a time. A sabbatical describes a time, like in ancient Israel, where crops were not put in the ground for a season for two reasons: (a) to give the land a period of rest so that it would regenerate itself, and (b) to restore the people’s dependency on God. This is a time where life, which God proclaimed as very good, pauses among the clutter of culture to be regenerated and restored to a better place…a place of dependency on the ‘very-good-life-giving-God.’ This is a significant time where livelihoods slow considerably, not in negligence, but to allow for once fertile soil, such as the soul, to rest.

Candace and I are looking forward to our time of rest and regeneration as we travel. In addition to climbing and finding music on my guitar, I am in process of working on a pretty big writing project that requires some extra time devoted specifically to it. We do covet your prayer and thoughts as we travel and study. We will be away April, May, June, and July.

If you do have any questions, thoughts, or encouragement please use the comment section below.
Grace and Peace,
-Jeremy and Candace.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reality and Memory

The truest statement I have read all day.
"Life is rarely about what happened; it's mostly about what we think happened."
-Chuck Klosterman

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Worship is Empty?

The last show of the two-year-43-country-tour of rockers from another era came to a close in Vancouver’s BC Place only weeks before the roof blew off. The Rolling Stones played an amazing show complete with songs from their newest album along with re-makes of all of the old classics. The show, while absolutely amazing and heightened by a weird and colorful acid trip, raised some pretty serious questions about God and church worship music. Like, for example, why is it that worship music seems to be so similar to every other kind of music but its words are so empty? Or, why is it that when we find ourselves at a show the expectation is that we are moved with our emotions to some sort of response while at church we are told to be wary of emotive response to music?

That is, at least, what my tripped out friend on acid asked me the other day.

Friday, March 02, 2007

French Love Songs

Last night I found myself sitting in an old English pub in downtown Abbotsford waiting for a friend of mine who is helping me with a writing project that I am working on. I showed myself in and found a table near the back of the pub where I sat down, pulled out my skinny Mexican pen, my journal, and a book I am reading. I was alone.


In fact, it was an eerie alone feeling that you get when you are all by yourself but instinctively know that someone or something is watching you. My instincts, though not surprising in any way, were completely bang on. A skinny bohemian looking guy walks onto the small stage in front of the smaller dance floor and turns on a karaoke machine to which he begins to wiggle his hips, tap his toes, sing, and play lead guitar solo’s to 80’s pop music. All of this wasn’t weird at all except for one small thing which I think is important for you the reader to know, bohemian-karaoke-lead-guitar guy was singing love songs. And for the record, it’s pretty hard to concentrate on anything at all when a skinny bohemian is singing love songs to you.

Thankfully, later on in the evening my world began to make sense again…I found out that he was French and it explained everything.