Jack’s Buzz

Assumption of the Month
March 21, 2014, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Networking

You’re the best expert of you.

Based on that assumption, I would not tell, manage, or parent, and I’d advise only when asked for advice. Instead, I might spend more time listening, asking great questions, and offering accountability should my (wife, child, friend, colleague) desire it. As a result, I believe that people with whom I interact would see more good with me around than without me.


What changes for you if others (significant other, parent, boss, workmate, roommate, annoying bragger-parent at your kid’s T-ball game) assume you’re the best expert of you? Happier? Lonelier? Less or more stressed?

What if you assume others are their own best experts?

Corporate Citizenship
February 17, 2014, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Networking

We all see the new move by corporations to be in it for more than the money. We all see that companies chasing nothing more than shareholder profit lack soul. Don’t get me wrong, I like profit and hate loss. I also hate the soulless, near sociopathic corporate boss who sees people as machine parts.
Fact is, companies do a lot of good. Anytime a group of people get together and decide to clean a beach, read to children, offer college scholarships, or support the local theater, I applaud them. I believe they are closer to the kingdom of heaven.
This is good too. This is what we’re doing. http://www.gofundme.com/HelpRwandaRefugees

Emotional dissonance
February 11, 2014, 5:34 am
Filed under: Networking

In Rwanda, like USAmerica (and everywhere I’m guessing), people struggle to reconcile faith with emotion. People here tell me they think President Obama is outstanding and in the next breath they make statements aligned to the rightist wing of Christian conservatism. One does not hear it told that way in the USA.
“I’m glad you love our President. Tell me more.”
“He is for the people. He is an African.”
“Wait, what?”
My liberal friends will cringe at the polemics brought against homosexuality, alcohol, movies, and especially the theater by my African students. My conservative friends will screw up their faces on hearing the same students rant in favor of our President’s policies. OK, “rant” may be a bit strong. A Rwandan rant is rather like something one might hear at a ladies tea in Texas. Very polite and emotionally charged.
My Texas conservative buddies have emailed me with grand encouragement to, “Set them straight!” My liberal amigos send their confident assurance that I’ll, “Help them see the truth!”
An unbiased coach would help both sides. When I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, I see a political liberal who knew that injustice happens as a result of too much human engineering and a theological conservative who blew the lid off tradition, elevated women, and remained oddly silent about a lot of things. You and I let our emotions rule which facet of Jesus’ brilliance we brighten to and which we dull from–we let our biases rule our theology.
Going other places and listening to other people helps me unpack my biases. They look like old coffee filters, dark and dry. I’d like to read the Bible without a cultural filter skewing the text. That’s hard to do. A coach really helps. I’ve said that, haven’t I?
So, what’re you doing?

Two kinds of poison
February 7, 2014, 12:48 am
Filed under: Life Choices

Rick Barnes coaches basketball. A few years ago, his teams consistently ranked among the elite. Last year, they hit bottom and Rick slept in the doghouse. The media and fan feedback was so bad that players doubted they could ever win a game. This year, the same players shower under buckets of love after beating a school record four ranked teams in a row. Rick knows they face a new danger.
“We’re a good team,” coach Rick Barnes said. “But it’s such a fine line between winning and losing, if you start drinking the poison and think that you are there, it all gets away.” Wait, what? Positive feedback can poison a team? Yep.
Poison results from an overdose of positive or negative feedback!
One has a winning year, the fans love him, he slacks off the following year. Riches to rags stories fill the news.
On the other end, a bad year brings somebody down, she starts thinking she can’t get back up and pretty soon she can’t. Rags to rags stories also litter the city.
What winners crave is constructive feedback. Tell people where they’re doing great, and guide them toward excellence. When someone has a great year, celebrate, but don’t rest too long. Help them dissect how they got to the top and develop systems to stay there.
Most important, let them develop the plan to get to the top. Guidance means helping your (player, direct report, child, friend) see a reasonable goal, empowering them by letting them develop a plan they can own, and developing a constructive feedback system to keep them on course.
Can I help you get to the top? What would you like to focus on?

Turned Down. Evidence of Exile?
January 13, 2014, 8:33 am
Filed under: Inspiring Spirituality

There was a time not long ago when asking someone to visit the church I attended yielded a visit. Not so much anymore. I’ve wondered about this, and come to the conclusion that it may well take seventy to one hundred years for the culture to change back to one that finds Jesus and his churches relevant to their lives. So I feel like I’m in exile.

Just as I’m coming to this strange and somewhat wobbling conclusion, a better thinker than me wrote something coherent about it. Occasionally, I find an article that makes me long for a venue allowing a deeper conversation. We’re all too busy for seated interaction – have you tried to schedule a meeting lately? – but Michael Metzger offers a very interesting proposition worth at least a little time. I’ll let you consider how you might answer him.

One caution against getting trapped into thinking that if your church is growing, it’s indicative of the entire culture. I learned last month, that mine is not growing and has not been growing for some time. This has never been brought up from the front, which surprised me. A friend said, “Mine’s growing; you should come to (church name).” I gently reminded him that we attend the gathering to which we think God sent us.
As for church-in-exile, an important conclusion might focus less on church growth and more on what is our role as ambassadors for Christ assigned to the marketplace? If we believe we’re in exile, we will answer differently that if we believe we control the culture, politics, and economy.
Enjoy Metzger’s 5-minute article here. If you have another 5-minutes, here’s the previous post that uses Pope Francis’s comments on homosexuality as a jumping off point.

2013 in review
December 31, 2013, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Networking

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Gradual Meanness
December 31, 2013, 6:01 am
Filed under: Networking

I’m sitting in one of our stores. A man at the next table is griping at his wife for not eating her food in the way he thinks is proper. His tone is mean–it’s sucking the joy right out of the air in a 10-foot radius. I cannot imagine how terribly sad she feels.

It probably did not start out that way between those two. I imagine he once shaved and put on cologne. She once looked forward to hearing his voice.

Meanness does not arrive as a windfall. It’s a gradual hardening. Disappointments come, money or health goes, attitudes harden.

Sometimes it’s caused by dementia that breaks down brain functions and leaves only the bad filters. Usually, meanness results from giving in to negative thoughts.

Don’t give in. Scientists tell us that we can change our thoughts and rekindle niceness.

Happy! Joyful! Beautiful! New! Year.


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