Seth Godin on Faith, Religion, & Heretics

sgtribes.jpg Today I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s latest book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. I began over breakfast in a local hotel restaurant, where I’ve been known to show up for breakfast with no companion other than a book. (Today it was also a prelude to an oil change.) As I read along quite enjoying myself, I arrived at page 79.

Fear, Faith, and Religion

People who challenge and then change the status quo, do something that’s quite difficult. They overcome the resistance of people they trust, people they work for, people in their community. Every step along the way, it’s far easier to stop and accept the thanks of the balloon factory workers than it is to persist and risk the humiliation of failure.

So why do it?

Quotable, and Quoted


  • Grace: “Hype: Myth-telling that manipulates herd mentality that desperately needs a metanarrative to indulge its gross egocentrism.”
  • Bono: “It’s extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.” … “‘Bankruptcy is a serious business and we all know people who have lost their jobs,'” Bono said, referring to the bankruptcy declared by Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. ‘But this is moral bankruptcy.'”
  • Julian, the last Roman Emperor: “Nothing has contributed to the progress of the superstition of these Christians as their charity to strangers, the impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor but for ours as well.” — Tim Keller: “The early Christians were promiscuous with their charity.”

Jesus & Leadership: A Study in Failure?

the_king.jpg Last summer, I asked if Jesus was a failure as a visionary Leader. I think I mostly made my point, but there will remain some who are unconvinced, I’m sure. To suggest anything wrong with the way our Lord did things is a serious breach of Christian etiquette, perhaps enough to get one run out of town on a rail. But there it is. I left it alone for a while, thinking maybe I’d write further on it at some point, but never did. This spring, Ruth Tucker posted a “provocative” piece on Acknowledging Jesus as a Failed Leader, which received a fair bit of blogosphere linkage. I had hoped to resume this dialogue sooner, but Tucker’s post disappeared for some time, reappearing online just recently. She may be even more provocative than I was:

3 Leadership Lessons from John 3

popeye.jpg I’ve actually been meaning to post this for quite some time now, but I’ve been reminded of it again and am finally getting around to it. I have in my 20-year-old NIV Study Bible on page 1599 a 3″x4″ Post-it Note affixed overtop of the notes on the bottom of the page. It contains three bullet-points referring to a text on that page, with a few brief notes about each one. The note represents advice at-the-ready that I could share with a group for anywhere from 5 minutes perhaps up to full sermon length. It always seemed a good idea to have something at the ready, and it is a bit of advice that I shared with leaders and leaders-in-training and people in ministry training or prophetic ministry. And now here it is on the blog. I say there are three lessons, but really it’s a single lesson in three points, designed to remind us who we are and put us in our place.

Lifelong Learning: The Story of a Passionate Life

The TED site is a fantastic source of inspiring videos. I must say that I’m not exactly taken with all of them, but when you hit one that stands out, you generally have the urge to share it. Yup, that’s what’s coming. In this TedTalk, Ben Dunlap tells the story of Sandor Teszler, a Hungarian man he met at Wofford College. Teszler’s story covers the Holocaust through the American Deep South of the 1950s, confronting racism and oppression on both ends as he builds a successful career in textiles — not once, but twice. After all he had seen, Teszler still considered people to be basically good. His escape after being arrested by the Nazis produced a jaw-dropping moment for me, but the talk is inspiring throughout, including powerful ideas about justice and lifelong learning.

Nice to be Back… with Thoughts on the Grant of Authority

goodshepherd_glass.jpg Every now and then, there are times when you show up someplace after some period of time and discover that your interim absence had been noted. You know, in places where you didn’t think you were that much a part of things. Such was my visit to St. Ben’s last night. Owing to circumstances upon which I have not yet commented here (but will eventually), I’ve not made it out to St. Ben’s on Sunday evening since Christmas, so there’s been a 3½-month interval since my last appearance. It was good to reconnect with folks and to discover that perhaps we’ve become more a part of the community there than we’d realized. I also had a good conversation with someone I’d not met before. Turns out yesterday was “Good Shepherd Sunday” — there are all kinds of things in the church calendar and in the Anglican tradition that I’m still finding out for the first time, but I was reminded again how rich the liturgy is and how much I’d missed it.

Philip Zimbardo on Bad Barrels — Authors@Google

philipzimbardo.gif Maybe everyone else already knew, but I “discovered” a treasure trove of addresses on YouTube, a series of archived Google Talks. Almost as much fun as TED. I mentioned the work of Philip Zimbardo (Or “Dr. Z”) a couple of months back, discussing The Lucifer Effect: Why Good People do Evil, which is pretty much the title of his new book. Yesterday, I referred to bad apples being the creation of bad barrels as a metaphor for the way in which bad systems can corrupt good leaders, resulting in the abuse of the people within those systems. The metaphor comes from Dr. Z’s talk at Google.

Untitled Post on Spiritual Abuse Recovery

toxic_waste_barrel.jpg Brad “futuristguy” Sargent is on a tear with his series on spiritual abuse recovery. His latest is no exception to the quality of the series. He writes,

I’m in the process of figuring out a new church fellowship/home these days. Unless God clearly leads otherwise, I expect it will be more of a connection point where all participants already engage in some kind of ministry outside the time of gathering, or are exploring while they receive mentoring to help them find a fit. And so the getting together focuses on mutual sharing and worship, and support and fellowship and learning for the journey. Not pragmatic and programmatic, nor weekly performance by The Few, nor holding to an appearance of discipleship but that denies the necessary relationships thereof.