Posts in Effort
Man's Great Dream of Himself.

Resurrection Day. A Day when we are reminded of how far the ego in us will go to destroy the life we are made for.  A day when our roles as both crucifiers and crucified is liberated in the vacant womb of an empty burial grave.  A day when we are to recognize the liberation from a lost life and awakened to a new, unformed and perhaps even unwelcome life.  

Resurrection Day. Old and tired identities die. New, unformed and humble ones emerge in their wake. Because He Lives.

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The Sacred and the Profane

In my normal day life, I do an unconventional mix of marketing management, corporate training, project development, vendor relations and unofficial spiritual direction, all under the heading of Chief Operating Officer.  I rarely use THIRTYSIXWORDS to talk about my professional life, not because they aren’t interrelated, but because I struggle in the same war as so many of you: the fight to compartmentalize and put things in boxes. It is my instinct, like yours, to separate life into (seemingly) controllable frames. And from those frames keep my mashed potatoes from getting gussied up by my peas and carrots. I seek to divide good and evil and in controlling the categories of the sacred and the profane I, like you, seem to keep the edges from getting too loose. And isn’t control what it’s all about after all?

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Liberating a Rich Man

Below, we address one of the most controversial of New Testament passages (Mark 10:17-31), a story used to justify class warfare, to establish power differentials between paid church staff and laity and all-too-often as a lever for guilt and shame as people haven't "Let go" of enough to earn their way to the Kingdom.  As you can see from the retelling below, this modern day frame on an ancient text couldn't be farther from the rich meaning cased within.

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Landmarks of a Transforming Life

The Self-Help section is one of the largest at Barnes and Noble, and without a doubt high on the profitability scale.  The idea of an accessible and simple formula for lifetime success has now even seeped into the biography section.  There was a time when one read biographies to view from the long end of history how a life had been formed by experience, choice and belief.  Not today.  Today, the majority of “biographies” more accurately stand as mid-life memoirs (some earlier than that) and they don’t intent to map out the story of life so far, but instead to manipulate the events of an unfinished life into the few short platitudes which can create tips for a ravenous public. 

Our new ways of defining human thriving have so denigrated our ability to stand in our own skin and to relate to each other with love and respect that anyone with an objective view would jettison these views in an instant.  But without a meaningful alternative, an attainable counter-narrative to the way to life, the deep and addictive rut of the status-quo will continue to hold us in its sway. Thankfully this counter-narrative is not far off.  There are signs for optimism.

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The 100 Years' Game

My first memories as a child are of my dad at church. He was the volunteer youth leader in the late 70s and early 80s at a small rural church in the unrecognized corner of the world in which I grew up.  In my mind, he is dressed in tube socks, all-too-short shorts and a T-shirt, playing basketball, sitting around a campfire, caring for teenagers. Telling them about Jesus.  

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Man's Great Dream of Himself

The problem with our conceptions of identity is that they have been too closely tied our felt need to “make life work.” The Truly Human in each one of us, the Image of God crying out, has neither desire nor intent to “make life work.” It is constantly and holistically aware that because of the incursive and ever-present love of God, it is life that makes us work and that life must spring from within us. When we equate salvation and therefore the resurrection of our True identities with this framework of civilized compartmentalization, we not only lose ourselves, but we lose Jesus in the mix.

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