So I’m supposed to be working on my new book today. But….well, here’s the story….
I dropped my wife and daughter off at The Corner Store in Denver (Chris’ brother’s store/cafe) where they are painting a full wall mural of the city of Denver on the outside of his place, and left to write at a Starbucks (where I now sit). The problem is, I got sidetracked. When I pulled into this Starbucks (off Alemeda and something) I saw two very Arab looking men smoking the Hookah (Hubbly Bubbly – water pipe thingy) outside of a place called “The Mecca Grill.”
I said that to someone just this morning. Sort of a knee-jerk reaction. They asked about what’s going on in Egypt and out it came – “Religion makes people stupid.” I said it. I stand by it.
I typically prefer more nuance. Maybe saying something like “Being overly religious makes people do stupid things sometimes.” Or how about, “The religiosity of the Pharisees is what Jesus spoke so clearly against.” But I’m sick of it. Religion. Okay, I know there’s ONE time in the Scriptures that the word “religion” is used positively. James says that “the true religion the Father accepts is looking after orphans and widows.” So we all know THAT religion is a good one. But what actual earthly religion honestly promotes that as its main theme? Exactly.
This November 7-9 a unique group of people will gather here in Denver. Jesus-followers. Jesus-Lovers. Some just intrigued by Jesus. A few who signed up to follow him many years ago but have lost their way. But all seeking to find the One who brings life, freedom, adventure and a new way of living. We will simply focus on Jesus.
Is Peace Possible?
Those of us who aspire to follow Jesus know that we are blessed when we become peacemakers. Not simply people who keep the peace (that’s the United Nations’ job) but making peace. Ultimately we realize that only the King can truly make peace, and as his envoys, we work together with Him to achieve that ultimate dream.
In the meantime (as we work to reconcile hearts to God through Christ) we also seek the peace of the nations through any means available. Israelis and Palestinians are longing for that peace.
Here are the issues on the table in order for a solution to be reached:
Two weekends ago, my son Jon and I (and one of his friends) flew down to Austin, Texas to see a Mumford and Sons concert. Well, actually we went to see my friend Ted Dekker and stay at his house – and…we all went to the concert.
Ted and I had a little deal. I’d get us free tickets and backstage passes to hang out with Marcus Mumford (since I know him) and Ted would pay for our whole trip. It worked brilliantly.
I’m tired. Pooped. Not quite in the “drained” or “exhausted” category. Definitely not burned out. Just really tired.
Here’s the deal – I LOVE what I do. I love my wife and kids. (They even seem to love me). I love my neighbors and my friends and the Middle East and speaking at churches, and conferences and writing and developing a website, and hosting conferences and developing six University courses, and….Okay. You got the picture. And that’s my problem.
One of the most surprising models of leadership I’ve ever encountered is that of Doug Coe. He leads from the Third Chair. From behind. At the National Prayer Breakfast in DC each year – he’s unseen. Literally, unless you have an appointment with him, you will not see him. He’s never on stage. He’ll sometimes slip in the back quietly and leave quietly. But he’s been the prime mover of this event (and much of what happens from it) for 40 years or more.
I’m not sure what it was like being a “leader” in a Christian setting before the 1980’s, since I hadn’t led anything before then. But I clearly remember the 80’s and 90’s being full of teaching on “the business of leadership.” Most of my pastor and ministry friends were constantly reading books by businessmen. “From Good to Great” by Jim Collins or anything by Tom Peters, Jack Welch or other successful business leaders was held in the highest regard by my Christian ministry friends – and, therefore, by me.
That was a John Maxwell-ism that I, and everyone else I know, has bought into. Quotes like “You’ll know when you’re a leader, when you look behind you and people are following.” Sounds right. But is it?
When peace is simplistically defined as “tranquility” one could conclude that it’s attainable through displays of power.
Here’s what I mean…