Apr 11 2012
Two Awesome Tips for Relating to Humans

I don't "get" non-verbal communication. It doesn't make "sense" to me. 

That said, it clearly makes sense to the humans around me, so I am willing to learn and adapt.  Here are two pointers for human-relating.

As a bonus, I've apparently made one of these videos vertical, and the other horizontal. You're welcome for this, as well.

 

 

 

 

Apr 10 2012
The Myth of Private Sin

A friend of mine did smething really, really bad a couple years ago.  Real bad.  Not illegal bad, but...bad enough it's followed him, years later. It showed up on page two of a metro newspaper, a thousand miles away from where he did it.

I love this guy. He's fun, smart, and fairly new to Christian belief.  He's accepted responsibility for what he did, and he's had to live with it every day.  He told me the other day he was sorry even I was having to deal with it now. "I'm amazed how many people this has affected.  One stupid, wrong decision I made and it keeps affecting so many people.  My wife, my kids...it just keeps going."

And so it does.

We marveled at that, and, just stood there, quietly, just shaking our heads.  Amazing?  Yes.  But not really surprising.

The older I get, the more convinced I am there is no private sin.  They don't all wind up on page two, but the surface of the pond is never undisturbed by the pebble. The ripples move well beyond ourselves, and, in many cases they radiate through generations. 

Or, another recent example:  One day, you're a minister getting in a quick ego-stroking flirt, thinking you're in some kind of private soap opera...and soon, there are 300 people in a flourescent-lit room, on metal folding chairs, discussing what you did.  And they're cautioning each other not to judge you, and then they talk some more about what you did.

And then, some little kid, one you don't even know, has to hear some stranger talking in church about how the pastor-guy won't be back, he did something called "sexual misconduct."  

Yeah, your soap opera?  It wasn't private.

Sins on the computer aren't private.  Larry Ellison, from Oracle, said years ago: If you think he doesn't know what's on your hard drive, you're kidding yourself. Like the Huffington Post wrote recently: "Google knows you better than you know yourself." Don't kid yourself. 

But even if they didn't know, the sins in your head aren't private.  Mine affect my attitude.  They keep me from being concerned about other people.  They make me a jerk, in seemingly unrelated ways.  ("Why's Brant a jerk?"  "Probably something seemingly unrelated.")

There is no "private sin". Turns out few things have done more harm than the "do no harm" ethic.  The as-long-as-it-doesn't-hurt-anyone-else construction of morality is built atop the swamp of affluence. We afford this lie, because affluence loves not only privacy, but the fantasy of it. But like the 77's said, "The lust, the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life -- drain the life right out of me."

And then, when the life is drained out of me... I'm not the person I'm supposed to be. I'm less creative. I'm less joyful. I have less social energy. My patience is gone. I care less about my neighbors. Let me make this clear: There is no sin that affects only you.

Private rebellion.  Public consequence.  And if it seems unfair that what my friend did was so horrible, but what you or I do in our minds is somehow not so horrible -- well, you agree with Jesus. There IS no difference.

The ripple metaphor works.  There's a better one, really, for what our "private" sins do to one another, but I don't want to gross you out with a picture of a fan being hit by organic material. I have higher standards than that. Plus, I googled for a full five minutes and couldn't find one.

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Apr 03 2012
If Jesus Had a Blog: Big-Time Leaders

 

(From Brant, an explainer, for those new to the series: The "comments", directly below, are NOT real. They're just my best guesses, if Jesus had a blog, what the comments would look like.)

If Jesus Had a Blog

Man, this has been a tough week. Things are winding down. Good thing, as far as this borrowed Gateway laptop is concerned.  I think it's got about four days left, too.  Everyone else here at this coffee place in Jerusalem has a Mac. I feel kinda retro-cool.

Anyway, there was this crowd today, and all these big-time religious leader fellers.  These guys LOVE being recognized, being significant, being "The Man" and all that.  And people give them the accolades, too:  "Ooh, it's my teacher!  MY leader!" -- that kind of stuff.  So I says (and I'm quoting myself from the New Living Translation, owned by Tyndale):

Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.  And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant.

Were they cool with that?  (Snort.)  Uh...no, they weren't cool with that.  I told them that the people who thought they were "all that" now, with titles and what-not, would get humbled, and the humble would wind up being "all that".  That didn't fly, either.

Truth is, these guys get accolades, but you know what?  They just make life harder for people.  I told them that.  

Big news, coming later this week: I'm about to make life a LOT easier for people...

Posted:  Today at 6:32 p.m.

--------------------------

Comments (13)

Well, this doesn't surprise me.  You've been anti-clerical for a long time, ignoring thousands of years of tradition.  This kind of caps it for me.  Not fair.

-- BigBob209

I guess I see where you're coming from, but really:  They're ALL bad?  You've apparently had some bad experiences in the past, and I'm sorry for that, but you don't need to make big blanket statements.

A lot of good comes from these guys, and you can't argue with how big their followings have gotten.  Maybe a jealousy issue...?  I don't know.

-- davec3410

I was there and all I heard was, "Blessed are the cheesemakers"...?

[Edit from J:  Don't take me literally.  I meant ALL makers of dairy products.  BTW, Peter, we've got to rent "Holy Grail" next time.]

-- pete_the_rock

You sure like rocking the boat.  I think you're throwing some good people overboard. 

Some of these guys are our top experts on scripture, and I can't see how calling one my teacher is such a bad thing.  Yes, there are a few bad apples, but what are we supposed to do, stop learning?

You say you, Jesus, are they only real teacher? 

Uh...are you going to personally be in every religious building? 

I bet you won't.

-- vision4life2020

Yeah, I gotta piggyback on vision4life up there.  I usually get where you're going, but we need people in the offices of the teacher or the leader or, in some traditions, "father". 

You've got to delegate, and have somebody have some kind of stand-in status.

 Fact is, you're one dude, and you can't be there every time two or three people get together.

-- terpsfan98

My Pastor has seven books.  I don't see any of yours in our church BookTime CoffeeCenter. 

-- luv_n_grace

This post made me cry.  How dare you.

My husband is our church Teacher.  He is a man of The Word, and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that he is Anointed to be the Leader.   It's not like this is a glamorous position -- he's had to put up with jerks in every church he's led.  Now, he's being called to be the Leader of a different place, we think, and so we're going there, and if they want to act like he's their official Teacher, I don't see the problem with that, and they offer a better health package.

Point is, you're really judgmental.  The real leaders are the servants?  Who's going to be on the church stage?  Why don't you put the volunteer custodian up there, then?  See how many people come to THAT church!

-- deb4213

Why did you say, "You're all equal as brothers and sisters"?  We knew that.  No one believes otherwise.  What's your point?

-- someguyscaredtousehisownname

I think you guys aren't being fair.  Chill.

I think Jesus is only saying here that we shouldn't be Catholic or Jewish.

-- intheword4ever

So teaching the scriptures makes life "harder" for people?  Good.

Studying IS hard.  Keeping the Word IS hard.  Keeping track of the right stuff to do IS hard.

No one said the yoke would be easy.  No one said the burden would be light.

-- cubbies1908

Gee, nice post.  Real well thought-out.

I can see why your Technorati rank is like, twenty-millionth.

-- lifecenterworshipguy

You need to spend some time reading the epistles, apparently.   What Bible College did you go to...?  Are they really accredited?

-- DTS_09

hi jesus i like it when you sai d if i love you then you will take care of me :)

-- horsegurl9