Cautious Judgement

I’ll be the first to admit I’m far from up to speed on current events. I typically don’t follow the news, watch movies while they’re in theaters, or know the latest gossip. After all, I’m a parent of a 4-year old, and unless it’s happening on Sesame  Street, I don’t typically know about it. I have however caught enough news reel to know a bit of the Penn State going-on’s.

Today while out and about at the store, I over heard a couple of guys talking about what’s been happening at Penn State, and while I don’t intend to comment on the story itself (after all I’m not that caught up on things), I was struck by the comment I happened to over hear. One of the men commented, “The entire athletic program should be shut down!”

Wow, that seems maybe a bit harsh. Then again maybe it isn’t. But what really struck me was how easy it was to lay down a end-all-be-all judgment. Really, what did this guy have to loose if the entire Penn State athletic program was shut down.

I think we must be careful not to judge too quickly or harshly, especially when we are little more than bystanders. I would imagine this guy would feel quite differently should the same sort of harsh judgment ever be directed his way.

I’m not saying what happened is right, all I’m saying is, we ought to give a moments pause before passing out judgment. Besides, my understanding is, judgment isn’t up to us in the end anyway. It’s reserved for only One.

The Power of Authority

Recently, I was sent this video by a family member who figured I’d find a bit of humor in it all. Instead, I had a thought. Before I share however,  take a moment and watch the video.

As I watched the video, I thought about the degree of power that comes with a position of authority. Obviously authority can be miss used and even abused (the video proves that), but when properly utilized authority can be a powerful tool which can be put to positive uses.

What I find interesting is often times people don’t perceive themselves in a position of authority. The fact of the matter is however, most all of us are in a position of authority over at least one other person. While you’re position may be minimal compared to what you’d prefer, it is nonetheless a position of authority and therefore a position of power.

It’s a rather sobering thought when we really allow ourselves to ponder the amount of authority we possess and over whom we possess it. When we stop and consider, honestly, how we use our authority it can be a bit unsettling or encouraging.

My hope would be that regardless of the degree of your authority, you are using well the power afforded you by it. May you put your authority to good use. May you find that when you do you are given more in return which only leads to more good for those around you.

When Expectations Are Low

You’ve likely seen this most recent internet video pass-around of Adora Svitak speaking at TED‘s; if not I’d invite you to take a moment and watch.

While there is quite a bit to unpack and digest, one nugget caught my strict attention. Adora said, “when expectations are low, trust me, we [kids] will sink to them.” I’m sure her words here caught my attention simply because as a youth pastor I can so easily fall into this trap of underestimating, devaluing, and holding the youth to low expectations. I also think however, this idea caught my attention because it doesn’t only apply to youth or children; but also relates to the broader  pastor/congregate relationship.

If as a pastor I don’t require, hold to, encourage, promote (pick your adjective) those I serve to rise higher than they currently are, I’m failing in my role as a shepherd and leader. What I find unfortunate is I believe far too many pastors would, at this point, try and explain away why they don’t do this for their people, as “it’s tricky.” But it’s not really; it’s not tricky at all. “It’s tricky” is a covert way of saying I don’t want to stick my [i.e. the pastor’s] neck out there too far, for fear of offending someone and possibly suffering negative [to me] repercussions. I know we are to speak the truth in love, but love shouldn’t be misconstrued to mean soft. Love hurts [as the song tells us] sometimes. Thus the term “tough love.”

I find it intriguing that so many pastors have low expectations for their people but high expectations for their pay checks [oh, did I just say that…?]

Here’s the bottom line, as I see it. If we as leaders of the Church don’t begin to raise the bar of expectation we ought to reexamine our call. There is no excuse for why we shouldn’t hold our people and ourselves to such a high expectation that when we aim for it and miss we look down and realize we’re higher than we’ve ever been before. I have to believe that when we find ourselves in that position, we’ll also find God saying to us, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

I welcome your thoughts and push back…

Amazing on 2-Wheels

It amazes me what some people learn to do that goes above and beyond what most people do with the same object, instrument, or “thing.”  Take this guy for example.  I recall learning to ride a bike in a relatively straight line down the center of the road to be a several week long, arduous adventure.  And this guy, Danny MacAskill not only does that, but jumps and hops and flips and spins and makes me sick with jealousy.  Check it out, it’s something amazing on 2-wheels, that’s for certain!

HT: Bart S.