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Showing posts from March, 2014

book review: 58 to 0

Book Review: 58 to 0: How Christ Leads Through the One Anothers. Jon Zens and Graham Wood, editors. Ekklesia Press, 2013. 202 pages. (ebook version used for review)

John Zens and Graham Wood have collected an eclectic mix of 27 articles on leadership within the church, 12 of them bearing Zens' name. The basic premise is that the emphasis in the New Testament is on body life (one another's) and not on hierarchical leadership. So how has the church wandered so far from this? Zens (and others) takes issue with the solo pastor model, suggesting that there is no analog for this in scripture. What has happened, Zens suggests, is that for much of its history, the church has merely reflected the leadership models of society (business and government) instead of the ministry of service as exemplified by Jesus and confirmed in the early church. Many of the authors also suggest that this tendency towards authoritarian leadership has diverted attention away from the Church's one true …

bad bosses

Ever worked for a bad boss? There are some horror stories out there about the crazy things people in positions of power do to those who are working for them. Here is one example: "My boss had his 80+ mother-in-law working for him as his accounts payable employee so that he wouldn't have to just give her money to live on...she had no income! His mother-in-law was in his office upstairs from mine, he calls my name very loudly and I ran up stairs. He was talking to his wife on his cell phone. Without hanging up from his wife he says to me, 'Would you mind giving her the Heimlich maneuver, she can't breathe.'" [1]

Daniel, one of the young Hebrew nobles carried off to Babylonian captivity around 600 BCE, knew all about working for a bad boss. The subtitle for Daniel chapter 2 could well be: "When the Boss Wants Your Head."  In the book of Daniel we find that king Nebuchadnezzar has conquered Israel and dragged their best people to Babylon so that they c…

Let it go

We are now in the season of Lent, a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) when followers of Jesus focus on themes of prayer, repentance, and preparation, and many engage in practices of fasting, abstinence, and devotion. The culmination of Lent is Holy Week which commemorates the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. After he rose from the dead, in fact another forty days later, Jesus ascended into heaven, an event we commemorate on Ascension Sunday (six weeks after Easter).

Last week, I came across a story in Ronald Rolheiser's book, The Holy Longing, that shifted my focus from the highly visible first 40 days (Lent) to the second 40 days which fall between Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Rolheiser tells about a man who dreamed of being a professional hockey player and got pretty close (tier-one junior hockey) but was never quite good enough to make it to the National Hockey League. When he realised he was never going to make it professionally, he moved back home…

where is God?

There are some books that I take a long time to read. One of those is The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin S.J. It is filled with stories, advice, quotes, and wisdom on a wide range of spiritual topics, all offered within an Ignatian framework. Though it is a very accessible read, I find myself not rushing through it; I want to stop and think, stop and pray, stop and work out the things I read about.

This morning I read something in Martin's book which hit very close to home. The author has a condition which has been diagnosed as repetitive strain injury. Since his theological study days, he has suffered shooting pains in his hands and wrists which affect how much he can type and write. While working at a magazine, he became increasingly frustrated at the situation. He asked: "Why would God do this? What was the sense of a writer who couldn't write? What was the point? ... Why would God prevent the work that I was missioned to do?" He tried everyt…