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December 27, 2006

Chaos or Control?

No, this is not a reflection on Get Smart... I was reading The Forgotten Ways, and was taken by this reflection...

Seth Godin, marketing guru and generally creative dude, posted this blog recently...

Sitting behind the pilot on a tiny plane today, I was reminded how important, difficult and tedious this job is.

Pilots have to get it right every time. They have to follow a myriad of procedures. They must be calm and focused and consistent, and yes, boring. No one wants to notice the pilot.

Good pilots probably do very well in job interviews - and not just for pilot jobs. They have many of the traits that hiring managers look for. They follow instructions with an eye on detail. They don't fail (if they did, they probably wouldn't be at the interview). They show up on time.

I'm grateful there are pilots. I'm also glad I'm not one.

Here's the thing: I think (outside of the airline business, of course) that our need for pilots is diminishing, and rapidly. I think the value add of a person who carefully follows instructions and procedures keeps going down. I think the fact that pilots would do well in a job interview at your organization means your organization probably should change the way interviews get done.
We don't need pilots. We need instigators and navigators, rabble rousers and innovators. People who can't follow a checklist to save their life, but invent the future every day.
original post here.

Alan's response?
Now here is an apt comment for the church of our day if ever there was one. For far too long we have tried to over-legislate, control, stifle chaos, predict outcomes, steer decisions, etc. Church history is quite simply full of the activity of passive aggresive clerical engineers (popes, canons, rule books, denominational heavies, inquisitions, etc) and control freaks. Little wonder missional creativity and genuine innovation in modes of ecclesia have gone out the window.

It is time for the chaos freak to arise. Take your place instigators, rabble rowsers, innovators, holy rebels. This is your time to shine.

It is romantic to jump on the bandwagon and scream "Yes! We don't need pilots any more... Roll on the chaos freaks..." but we ought to be prepared to move past this dualistic notion of life where one approach is right and others wrong. We still need procedural people. I'd hate to jump into a plane piloted by a rabble rouser following random patterns. I'd probably end up jumping out of one! And I think it is foolish to consider such discipline to be the enemy of creativity and innovation. Some of the most creative artists and sportspeople spend hours in the disciplines which allow them that spontaneous creativity which we marvel on the sports court or field. They use both procedure AND creativity. The skill which makes them the greatest is knowing when to take the risks, when to try something innovative. And far from being those who don't fear failure, they are more likely to be those who fear not maximising their potential more.

Perhaps we need to shift the balance somewhat, but let's not throw out the joystick with the navigator's map.

Posted by gary at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2006

The Geographical Centre of the Christmas Story

Here's an interesting perspective on the course of Middle-East history. A shockwave flash presentation of the empires which have ruled the Middle East over the past 5000 years. It takes about 90 seconds.

Posted by gary at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2006

Christmas Quiz

OK, so I only managed to get 3/10 on this Christmas Quiz. Good luck!

Posted by gary at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2006

Poverty at Christmas - a practical step

There are times when we wonder what we can do to fight some of the major global trends which envelop marginal people in catastrophic ways. World Vision has offered an opportunity to keep your voice before Australia's political leaders in the fight against poverty. Their message is one we would do well to heed:

We have seen previous generations overcome slavery and apartheid. Be part of the generation to put an end to global poverty and help save tens of thousands of lives everyday.

Take 2 minutes now to send a Christmas greeting to your politicians asking them to consider the world's poorest people in the New Year. Let them know that you want solutions to poverty. Our easy email tool allows you to send a message we've prepared, or you can write your own.

Click the following link to take action:

Go on... take the time. Two minutes for you might mean years for another person.

Posted by gary at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2006

Giving at Christmas

A powerful yet simple message on the place of giving at Christmas... what do you give to the person who has everything?

Posted by gary at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2006

Jesus and our needs

Wonderful quote I read today from an interview panel of four pastors on consumerism and church culture.

Jesus doesn't meet our needs; he rearranges them. He cares very little about most things that I assume are my needs, and he gives me needs that I would've never had if I hadn't met Jesus - Will Willimon

Posted by gary at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2006

Feeling Under Pressure?

"In 2005, a psychiatrist at King's College London did a study in which one group was asked to take an IQ test while doing nothing, and a second group to take an IQ test while distracted by e-mails and ringing telephones. The uninterrupted group did better by an average of ten points, which wasn't much of a surprise. What was a surprise is that the e-mailers also did worse, by an average of six points, than a group in a similar study that had been tested while stoned. That's right. Stoned. Those people were literally burned out, and they did better."

This confronting piece of information comes from an article in New Yorker Magazine, evidence which suggests that we need to place a greater emphasis and broader understanding on what it means to abuse our bodies.

Any thoughts?

Posted by gary at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2006

Reclaiming Christmas

santa_jesus210.jpgA Canadian artist has made a confronting statement on his front lawn which has set neighbours in a tizz. According to The Times, Jimmy Wright, a Metchosin artist, has put an effigy of Santa Claus on a cross on his front lawn to make a statement about the orgy of consumption in the modern world.

Above Santa's head, Wright has inscribed the words 'Sumptum Fac Donec Consumptus Sis.' Roughly translated, Wright said, it means 'Shop till you drop.'

"Santa represents frivolous consumption," Wright said yesterday, standing at the foot of the cross beneath the outstretched red-suited figure. "That's all he is. He shot Jesus right out of the saddle. He's the focus of Christmas."

The idea for the work started brewing about eight months ago, said the artist. Wright started looking for wood. In early August, he bought a Santa costume. Then he called a friend who works with fabric and traded a painting for her help.

"But the final straw was looking at a report on CNN which said we will have effectively fished out the ocean. And I thought 'Oh Jesus. We're suffocating the goose that lays the natural egg. We have to stop the orgy of consumption."

Natural egg or not -- some of Wright's neighbours are deeply upset.

At the mailbox near his home, Jennifer Blair said she thought the 'statement' wasn't fair to children. Some of them catch a school bus on that corner.

"They think Santa's at the North Pole getting their toys ready, not on a pole in Metchosin," said Blair.

A family that doesn't want to spoil the magic of their seven-year-old daughter's Christmas dropped off a letter in which they called the work tasteless and gruesome.

"We drive by your house daily with our child and have been dreading the questions," wrote Dominique Lejour and Dave Harvey. "Please have some respect for others and remove your lawn ornament."

A neighbour complained to the municipality and but was told Metchosin couldn't do anything because the cross is on Wright's property.

Earlier in the afternoon, Wright had a visit from the pastor of St. Mary's Anglican Church.

"He said he had some parishioners who are concerned about it and don't know what to make of it."

Wright, who was raised a Catholic, said Christmas is very important to him, but he stopped buying presents years ago.

"I used to love Christmas, but when you think about it, I loved it for the wrong reason," laughed the 69-year-old artist. "But you learn with age."

Another thing he has learned is honesty.

"It's a funny feeling when I'm sitting in my hot tub, looking out this way, and I'm trying to make a statement to everybody to slow down on what they can consume, and I'm in a 6,400-square-foot home."
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

Posted by gary at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2006

A Halal-bulloo

There has been quite a kerfuffle over revelations that a local McDonalds outlet has been using halal meat in its hamburgers. The outlet, situated in perhaps the most concentrated Islamic area in Melbourne, made a low-profile announcement in-store, which was picked up by the local press from where it gained more notoriety. Typical responses have ranged the gamut of expectations, from those who find it irrelevant, through to Christians who argue that it is offensive. I wonder how many people know what words are uttered over non-halal meat? Or who know what the process is by which meat is prepared to make it halal? I suspect there are those who see it in the same light as vegetarian hamburgers - that it is not, in some way, 'real' meat.
Need we be concerned about this? As one who rarely frequents The Golden Arches, I would not hesitate to eat burgers containing meat prepared in this way. The process includes stunning the animal so it feels no/less pain, and prayers being offered over it as it dies. It seems to at least offer some respect for the life of the animal which is providing food, more than I suspect would take place in conventional abbatoirs.
A deeper question it raises concerns the Westernasation of Muslims, who are being introduced to fast-food culture as a result. One chicken chain seemed to jump on the bandwagon a week later announcing that all its chickens would be halal... which can only be seen as a crude attempt to gain market share and publicity. A major critique of the West by Islam is its slavish addiction to consumption and commercialisation. The Islamic market will likely be a growing one, which seems to be part of the marketing strategy. If I were Muslim, I'd be deeply suspicious of motives.
As a Christian, does it concern me? Not in the least. As the apostle Paul wrote: "Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience' sake; for the earth is the Lord's, and all it contains." (1 Cor 10:24-25)

Posted by gary at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2006

A New Take...

Removing the blog

With thanks to Matt Glover

Posted by gary at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2006

Advent Virus

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.
Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
* A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
* An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
* A loss of interest in judging other people.
* A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
* A loss of interest in conflict.
* A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
* Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
* Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
* Frequent attacks of smiling.
* An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
* An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

Posted by gary at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

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