Archive for September, 2015

Analysis Paralysis

This is a condition that often occurs in business when board members are too afraid to make a decision. Its cause is a total breakdown of leadership and the leaders inability to convey vision. It nearly exclusively occurs in a toxic work environment where people are staunchly afraid to make a decision, out of fear of rebuke or perhaps bruising their ego in case it doesn’t work out. At this point a committee is formed to insulate the decision makers and essentially pass the responsibility to someone else. The committee will often insulate themselves from responsibility by hiring a consultant. At the very least, this will significantly postpone any decision being made and perhaps the issue at hand will simply go away and not have to be dealt with anyway.

When you see a successful business doing this, sell your stock. No business has ever risen from indecision. Most businesses can survive a few bad calls, but committee’s and consultants are the kiss of death. Mind you, I”m not talking about market research and product testing and the like, I’m talking about having the facts in hand and passing the buck.

Can this occur in the church? I don’t mean the church as a whole, but an individual church? I believe it can. The signs are essentially the same. The board appoints a committee and the committee brings in a consultant. No deadline is set for a resolution. Church members see this as weak leadership and go looking for a church with leaders that they can follow. After all, could there really be followers without leaders? Now church membership dwindles and finance become tight, further limiting board options, essentially narrowing down the options available. A bad decision is sustainable, indecision is not survivable. Indecision is the antithesis of leadership.

A church has one more card in its deck than a business does, prayer. Now listen very carefully to exactly what I’m saying, prayer is integral to making any decision in church or in any aspect of the Christians life, however, it can be used as another “committee” tool. Using prayer as a pious tool for postponing a decision is sin. There are decisions that need to be made in a timely fashion and by claiming that a committee is waiting for “Gods direction” is likely full of bunk. That is suggesting that God is limited and weak and can only work in the lives of His people if one singular perfect choice is made. That in turn makes committee God , now doesn’t it? Quite a high view of ourselves, I’d say. If its Gods will, a raccoon can preach the greatest sermon ever heard and polar bear can run the greatest childrens ministry!  Mind you those aren’t suggestions, but we don’t have the power to limit God one bit, that’s all His business. Pray, absolutely, but lead with vision. Inspire people with the unapologetic strength that Jesus had, after all, can Jesus do it or not?

Leading isn’t easy and we often make things challenging for them. If you have good strong leaders in your church, in your family, or at your work, thank them and treat them with respect. We need to always keep them in our prayers so when the time comes, THEY WILL MAKE the best decisions. We often neglect them and assume they will always do the right thing, but when they make a mistake we need to be supportive as well. That’s what a good follower should do. So pray with me friends, Lord, through our leaders, bring it on. Bring us closer to you, in good times or bad, give us strength through our weakness and bravery through our cowardice. Never let us forget that you are God and we are not. Amen

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Who’s crazy now?

Remember the stereotype of a crazy person in sitcoms through the 1980’s? Among his(nearly always a man) acquired characteristics were extreme paranoia( shhh, they’re listening!), the belief that they were  Napoleon Bonaparte, and a belief that aluminum foil will protect them. Insensitive perhaps, but we  thought it was pretty funny. Looking back, time has proved them more right than wrong.

While I do know that 5 layers of aluminum foil will protect most of your electronics in case of a solar storm or EMP, I cant really explain the Napoleon thing.  Consider the paranoia aspect, you can’t really go anywhere without being recorded. This is certainly a celebrated thing when its used to catch crooks, but its a little unnerving for others of us. There are traffic cameras at most intersections, security cameras at all public buildings and parks, and public servants flying helicopters and drones to keep an eye on what you’re doing in your backyard.  Most stores and work places use them for security, inside and out, and places like Walmart use them to track your movements in their store for research. Yes, you are an unwilling, unpaid participant in their market research. Your cellphone keeps track of where you are and where you were, where and when you took a photo, who you spoke to and what you said, who you texted and what was said, and anything you’ve ever done a search for. Your home computer is monitored as well, providing researchers and government with a complete history of what  you’ve looked at and purchased online. Certainly any crook that is interested in you or your accounts now has access to all that info as well. Our federal, state and local government can track us, but is helpless to find the people stealing our money( Hmmm?) or the emails of the former head of our state department or IRS(again, Hmmm?). The government can force you to be drug tested, fingerprinted and your DNA put on file for any purpose they see fit, without just cause. All this if you haven’t committed a single crime. Just don’t let anyone catch you in public with a Bible or using any of that Jesus talk. We have allowed ourselves to become prisoners in an incredibly brief period of time. We have become quickly convinced that all of this is needed and good. 20 years ago this was crazy, now we aren’t even bothered by it and we all know what’s happening.

To be clear, I’m not anti-government. I’m just kicking back observing how life has changed. It seems like we have lost a bit of innocence and relaxation. Now we are hurried to buy more till we’re dead or in a nursing home, and at that point the government cashes in again. People are so quick to anger, and only express compassion in front of the judge. I don’t have the answers, but I know people weren’t meant to live this way. Its crazy and we can’t sustain this.

There is an observer more important than everything I listed above. God is watching too. Not for market research or waiting for you to stumble so He can catch you. He is on your side, Watching with love and encouragement, advice and redemption, always trying to lead you to peace. Peace isn’t always sedentary, it can be in jail for your faith, it can be speaking loudly for the weak, and it can be wiping butts in an old folks home. No matter what crazy things happen around us, our experience here is like a vapor. It doesn’t last and this isn’t our home. We may observe things around us that are unimaginable, rumors of war, things that human eyes have never seen, but don’t lose faith. We are not in a position of weakness. We have a Savior that isn’t slowed or surprised by all these things. If we don’t meet Him first, He’s coming to get us. I’m peacefully waiting for that day and you can check the monitors to prove it. Choose peace, friends.

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