Category Archives: identity

how do you know?

“You keep telling yourself what you know. But what do you believe? What do you feel?” said Mal to her husband Cobb.

There are many layers to the movie Inception and on my second viewing with new friends from my new doctoral cohort, I was captivated by the questions surrounding how we know, believe, feel and experience reality.

As a part of an earlier conversation in the day, Len Sweet shared that we can recognize reality by it pushing back. This is the future story we will live with holograms and avatars. Inception poses the solution of knowing reality by the physical marker of a totem–a physical item with specific characteristics and weight unique to every person. This makes a great deal of sense to me when I think about the Reality of God.

What are your totems that bring you back to the Reality of God?


the curiosity of a “man of the cloth”

I’ve had some experiences lately where I’ve been addressed or introduced as a “man of the cloth.” Up until this morning, I had no idea what this phrase meant but through the wisdom of the internet, I was brought up to speed.

Here is the article that set me straight.

How about you, are there odd ways that you are addressed or introduced?

wonder woman versus batgirl

(posted by my wife Amy)

Our boys are obsessed with Superheroes. Most days they are several different incarnations – Mr. Incredible, Superman, Batman, and Luke Skywalker are perennial favorites. Recently, they received matching Wolverine costumes from their Nana and Gramps, which they are wild about, even though they have never seen X-Men (and won’t for a long time). We spend time discussing at length Syndrome, the bad guy from the Incredibles, who likes to create gadgets that make him seem like a Superhero, even though he is not. The main problem with Syndrome, of course, is that if gadgets make everyone super, no one really is.

As the only woman in our household, I always get to be the girl Super (as we call them) in our stories – Elastigirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, or even Princess Leia – and I love it. Last weekend, however, I had my eyes opened to a new perspective. I’ve been blessed to spend this weekend at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Convention in Nashville with three friends from our church, along with 4,000 moms from around the country.

In a general session today, we had the great gift of hearing from Efrem Smith, a leader and speaker who can bring it like few others I’ve heard. After he shared with us from the gospel of Matthew about Tamar, a descendant of cursed people who was also in the bloodline of Jesus, he challenged the moms in the room to love the unlovable mom – to find them, love them, connect them, and show them Christ’s love.

How in the world can we – who are possibly very busy with crazy situations inside walls of our own homes – do that? Luckily we have Jesus living on the inside of those crazy situations with us, giving us special powers. But like Syndrome, Batgirl is not a real Superhero. She is simply mimicking a guy, Batman, who is also not a real Super. Batman is a very rich man who spends his life creating gadgets that make him seem like he has super powers, and even though he uses the powers for good and not evil – he is hiding behind the mask and gadgets. And instead of living into her own identity, Batgirl assumes a false mask.

On the other hand, Wonder Woman was born with real power – it is her true identity. If you get close to her, you know where her power comes from. She can go higher than the average human woman, and does not hide behind a mask. She lives in her true identity – and if we do this, live in our true identity in Christ, we also have real power from the one who created us in his image.

As you think about your life, is there a super that you relate to?

one beautiful mess

Yesterday, I was in a conversation with some friends and local pastors that I have been journeying with for the past year and I realized something new about myself.

In the last few weeks, there are two books that I have found myself frequently carrying around with me. The first is a book called The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linsky, and Alexander Grashow.

The second is a book that the leadership of our church will be reading together during the last part of 2009 called Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by Robert Mulholland.

In one hand a business book about “the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive.” And in the other hand a book about our spiritual journey with God and how God transforms us to his image of his Son Jesus in order that we would lay down our lives for others. My question is, how can anybody in their right mind carry around these two books and be reading them at the same time?

My genius answer, “Me.” I love this stuff and more and more so see how a business book and a spiritual journey book relate to one another in God’s Kingdom or God’s Economy. When we see and hear the world with the perspective of God’s Kingdom, we begin to realize that “everything is spiritual” as Rob Bell says. We begin to see how God wants to make all things new, whole and right; a place and experience of the world that is centered in God and is encompassed by God.

As I read and reflect more on these two books, there are surprising similarities because as I have discovered leadership comes from the core of who we are. As God transforms my identity so that I lay down my life for others, leading people through difficult challenges becomes more natural to who I am and more rooted in my inward life that no one else sees on the outside.

So, I guess I can walk around proudly with both books, set them on my table in Starbuck’s, pick up my coffee and not wonder what the person across from me is thinking as they see the jacket covers of my two intriguing books.