Archives For October 2012

I was out of town for much of this week, arriving home late this afternoon.  Tonight I had the opportunity to hang out with my son.  He loves football, so we were watching a game on the tele tonight.  Just before bed I decided we should watch the Wildcat 16 Goals for Success.  Not only do I benefit from watching these, but I am also “indoctrinating” my son, hoping to drive home to him the importance of how our core values effect the outcomes of our lives.  I  have mentioned these before in a post I called Leadership Lessons, but they are so great I wanted to bring them to your attention one more time.

Bill Snyder has been a constant to the Kansas State football program, from 1989 through 2005, and again from 2009 to the present. But within that constant have come 16 others that have formed the foundation of the K-State football family, and the life beyond those years of eligibility.

The 16 goals form the foundation for success, and create the work ethic and discipline that goes with them. With players and coaches from all backgrounds, having a single set of core values unifies them under one vision. If each adheres to the goals as individuals, then team success will follow.

Snyder believes the 16 goals are not only critical to success on the field, but also in everyday life. Once someone has dedicated themselves to doing things the right way, their chance of success in any field is dramatically increased.

 

Stages on the Journey

Pilgrim in Progress —  October 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

A lot is going in life right now (not bad, mind you) that is impinging on my ability to create content for this blog.  I have not abandoned this project.  In fact my mind continues to churn, creating fodder for the future.  I appreciate your patience during this time.  I assure you that when things “normalize” a bit, I will be posting more frequently.

In the meantime, I will be sharing some quotes from a book I recently began reading.  I am looking forward to spending some time wrestling with the ideas in The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith.

The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition

When pursued it become clear that this separation between one’s self and the Church usually stems from deep unresolved pain or dissatisfaction rooted in early religious upbringing.  Sometimes it arises from a contemporary  image of the Church as authoritarian, chauvinistic, hypocritical, or unforgiving in nature.  Though thirsting spiritually for a relationship, some find it too threatening or the prospect too unsatisfying to have to return to a painful image or experience associated with God and the religious realm.  .  .

A point comes on the spiritual journey, however, when a healing of one’s early religious experience must occur in order for wholeness to be realized.  This healing requires a transformation of the person and of the traditional religious images, symbols and words.  Such transformation allows for a new way to experience these traditions and, therefore, a whole new appreciation of spirituality.  It’s coming full circle to wholeness.  .  .

.  .  .  we have chosen to speak of spirituality ultimately as the way in which we live out our response to God.  Unless we find this personal, transformational meaning in its fullest sense, the struggle for wholeness will remain unresolved.  As Augustine put in int the first paragraph of his Confessions, “God created us for a relationship with him and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God.”

I know that I have entered into a new phase, or stage on my own spiritual journey.  Without a doubt I am asking tougher questions about what I believe and why than I ever have in my life.  I am digging down and inspecting foundations that were laid during my youth.  Foundations that were built not by my own hands, but built by the words, actions, ideas and beliefs of others.  By teachers, preachers, parents, neighbors and friends.  But now I find myself questioning the expertise of those who engineered that foundation of my youth.  I’m sure that their motives were good, but I suspect that they were merely passing on what had been passed on to them.  Did they also have questions?  Did they ever pause to think deeply about the things that they believed and why?  Were they afraid to question the prevailing doctrine and tenets of the faith?  I wrote a bit about the crisis that comes when one asks these foundational questions in Thomas Kuhn, Paradigms, Flannel Graphs and Fundamentalists.

If you are up to it, get a copy of the book and read along with me!  That’s a journey we can take together!

As we walk along life’s journey, we will meet fellow travelers along the way.  Each one has varying impact upon our lives, but each will likely leave some legacy in our lives.  If we are fortunate, we will meet some giants along the way who will model what it means to live “a life well lived.”  If we are doubly fortunate, we will be prepared to drink deeply from the well of experience, wisdom and genuine Christan love that is contained within their souls.  But even if we are not at that point, we are still able to reflect backwards upon that time.  We can still glean wisdom and understanding from our cherished interactions.  We can still reflect upon how their life was lived and seek to emulate that same spirit of love, charity, grace and truth.

At this point on my journey I have found myself reflecting upon my experiences with one of the giants that I met along the way.  Today I dearly wish that I could have just a few moments of his time.  In those days I knew that this kind soul possessed wisdom and grace far deeper than I could ever know.  And I was not yet at the point where I could plumb those depths with appreciation or understanding.  Sadly, now that I have reached a point where I could begin to drink deeply, that time is gone.  For he has gone home.  Gone to be with Jesus.  And I miss him.  But as I reflect upon our time together, he has left me with many gifts.  And he has left me with a wonderful example of what it means to live a truly Christlike life.  A life that I fall devastatingly short of each and every day.  But I will get up and I will persevere.  And I’m sure that is exactly what Vernon would tell me to do.

 

Vernon Grounds

Dr. Vernon Grounds was my thesis mentor while I was at Denver Seminary.  He guided and encouraged me through some difficult days.  His focus was always upon me as a person, upon encouraging me as a human being.  The academic portion, though important, was not his chief concern.  (That is what I had my second reader for.)  From Dr. Grounds I learned that the pursuit of academics and the pursuit of people are not mutually exclusive categories, but rather they are complimentary disciplines.  After I had finished the didactic portion of my education, I took a job a considerable distance away from the Seminary.  We continued to work on my thesis via the U.S. Mail.  At one point I found myself in a similar position to where I have been this year.  During that time Dr. Grounds sent me a prayer with a personal note scrawled on the back.  I have kept it close at hand for more than a decade now, taped up where I can see it.  Just this past week I was again reminded of this prayer when I learned that the mother of a friend of mine had passed away.  While I was praying that God would grant me the words to write to her, He brought this prayer to my mind.  And so I made a copy, enclosed it in the card and in some very small, and very humble way, I passed along a gift that a giant once gave me.

A Prayer for Difficult Days

God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage.  Flood the path with light, we beseech Thee; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road to life, to Thy honor and glory.

(Augustine)