Category Archives: experience

2nd annual Christmas Reading

Years ago a colleague did this reading to this music in a faculty meeting. I immediately read it to my classes and then, in Charlottesville, it became a Christmas Chapel tradition and then at the annual Live Nativity. Those days are past so here it is for those who remember or for those who have not heard it before.

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pastors and leaders: important article for you and your team to read and discuss

This is a pretty long article that describes causes of and lessons from the failure of Mark Driscoll and the demise of Mars Hill.

It will take you a few minutes to read but there are so many important lessons to be learned that I urge you to read it and discuss with your team/elders/staff/mentor/fellow-disciple/or whomever. (If you’re out there all by yourself and have none of these, get a’hold of me.)

Click Here to read The Painful Lessons…

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The story of the UVA rape storyteller

This Washington Post article gives a bit of background to the UVA rape story and its author. Click here.

Scroll down 2 or 4 posts to see my thoughts.

My next post on the subject will be thinking about what leaders can learn from this tragedy.

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Filed under crisis at UVa, culture, experience, seeking understanding, shifts

Learning from the UVA rape saga: part 1

UVa was chosen as the focal point of an article about rape culture that exists in universities across America. There are a number of things that should be learned.

I thought that I should preface my thoughts by saying a perfunctory ‘this is not about blame.’ And I mean that, it’s not about blame, that’s not my job, but it is about learning. From UVa’s President and Board of Visitors (who have their own troubled past as a group back in June of 2012) all the way down to RAs and lower level assistant deans, there needs to be learning and change of policies to facilitate the well being of the university’s youngest community members. University policies must be changed to facilitate the victim’s willingness to reporting these crimes. Focus groups are not even a beginning. Action is required. Suspending the Greek societies yesterday at UVa is a good first step. But this is just one step on a long journey.

There are lessons to be learned by federal and state legislators who have enacted laws that are protecting perpetrators of these heinous crimes. When it became known that the accused abductor of Hannah Graham had a history of sexual assault at CNU and Liberty, those schools told us they had to protect student’s privacy. These laws need to be reevaluated and changed appropriately. Now. But neither of us, you, my dear reader, nor I can do anything about any of that.

But there is one area that we can do something about and that is the area that I focus upon here. I have a question that comes from what I call ‘the dad paragraph.’ Here is that paragraph from the Rolling Stone article.

“Before Jackie left for college, her parents – a Vietnam vet and retired military contractor, and a stay-at-home mom – had lectured her about avoiding the perils of the social scene, stressing the importance of her studies, since Jackie hoped to get into medical school. Jackie had a strained relationship with her father, in whose eyes she’d never felt good enough, and always responded by exceeding expectations – honor roll, swim team, first-chair violin – becoming the role model for her two younger brothers. Jackie had been looking forward to college as an escape – a place to, even, defy her parents’ wishes and go to a frat party. “And I guess they were right,” she says bitterly.”[1]

Let me zoom in on one phrase “…she’d never felt good enough….”

Let that sink in.

Of course, I don’t know Jackie’s dad. I cannot pretend to imagine how He feels. I have great sympathy for him as a dad. This is not about him. It’s about us. We who are dads of girls and younger women, I have one question:

What have you said or done today to help your daughter know that, in your eyes, she not only good enough, but is amazing. No matter her flaws, her rebellion, the fights she has with her mother, you make damn sure she knows that in your eyes she is an amazing young woman who is unconditionally loved. That is your most important job with her. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have received this unconditional love, the love of the Father who gave His ONLY son, for you.

If she knows that she is amazing in your sight and is loved unconditionally, you may very well have a voice into other areas of her life.

And you can do that even when you can’t give her all the rest of it: clothes, expensive education, etc. Give her that foundation of unconditional love that will cause her to actually hear your counsel and warnings.

Not a dad? Encourage one who is. Maybe even send them these words or give him yours.

Culture is not changed by university presidents, protesters or legislators; culture is changed one life at time. YOU have the ability to affect a life and change culture. When they talk about a culture of this and that, remember, you can affect lives.



[1] Read more:

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Veterans Day

I am proud to have invested 4 years of my life in the Air Force in the years right after the Viet Nam war. I was trained in Okinawa as a F-4 crew chief by guys who had just left Southeast Asia. They were a trip. The 70s in that context was a trip.

Those years were full of turmoil, like now, that was often the result of uncertainty by politicians. The Carter administration was apologetic in a situation where the Ford administration had previously used us in a show of force against Kim Il Sung’s antics at the Korean DMZ, under Ford N. Korea backed off. Under Carter, not so much.

I was fortunate that in my four years there were not more than two dozen deaths that I recall. Some from training accidents, some killed near our base by N. Korean spies, several in two incidents on the DMZ.

The uncertainty was the biggest cause of anxiety. When we were not sure how the politicians would react to the testings of our enemies.

I guess some things remain the same.

Pray for those who suffer today and will do so for the rest of their lives as a result of their service. Pray for the Veterans Administration and the clean up that is ongoing there. I know from my own experience with my dad, a WW2 veteran who spent the last months of his life in a V.A. Hospital, how crucial the V.A. is to veterans. I will always be thankful for those doctors and nurses.

If you know a veteran, thank him or her for serving, whatever their capacity.

The measure of a country is not the political faces we hold our noses and vote for, the real measure is the men and women who choose to join to protect this country.

God bless America. God help and bless her veterans.

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tech distracts us

Technology can really help us and be a great tool for our spiritual development. It can also be a huge stumbling block to it.

Tim Keller is an astute cultural analyst and knows how to apply ancient practices of Bible reading and prayer today.

Last week I posted a conversation with Tim Keller on prayer. This week there is a longer interview in which 10 questions are answered about prayer, READ HERE.

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Filed under being a disciple, culture, definitions, disciple making, experience, seeking understanding, shifts, spiritual questions/musings/wonderings