“Shhh” is the Prevailing Wisdom & You Should Question It

“Shhh…” might be the most powerful word in the English language.

“Shhh…don’t rock the boat.”

Shhh…hold your tongue.”

“Shhh…people aren’t ready for that.”

Shhh…some people don’t like what you’re saying.”

“Shhh…you don’t want to cause people trouble.”

Don’t Upset Anyone

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The Fine Art of Slowing

I’m taking a few weeks away from work to study and rest. And I think you should too.

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Jesus got a lot done without ever seeming like he was in a hurry. I find this thought both refreshing and frustrating.

Maybe you’re like me and find yourself suffocating under the pressure of accomplishments, deadlines, goals, and generally trying to reap the consumerist marrow out of life. If you know me, you know that I’m all for goals. The goals aren’t the problem. The way we oftentimes go about them is.

Maybe you want to live “the good life.” You keep chasing it but never know when you’ve found it. If so, you know that if the pursuit of having it all produces anything, it produces busy people.

But I don’t think we enjoy being busy as much as we like to pretend we do.

When I finger my way through the pages of the New Testament, I witness Jesus challenging contemporary notions of leadership and productivity. Our culture wants to get farther faster, but Jesus wanted something different. Jesus seems intent on creating wholeness and peace. He was less centered on volume of activities but meaning and purpose.

The Lord choose to be on mission rather than on pace. Sometimes events happened quickly – think the time period between the last supper to crucifixion. Sometimes they happened slowly – Lazarus died while Jesus was taking His time.

Repeatedly, Jesus shows us how to be present rather than productive. Admittedly, I’m terrible at this! But I don’t want to be. As a remedy for me – and for you – I suggest we embrace the lost spiritual discipline of slowing.

What is slowing?

Slowing is the prolonged space between and during activities.

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Get My New Book, Agenda Music: A Conversation on Faith & Art w/ Derek Webb & Friends

“I‘d listen to more Christian radio, if the DJ’s didn’t talk.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Christians – both inside and outside my own community of faith – share this sentiment. Add to that the growing number of Christian people who tell me they grow weary of the saccharin, seemingly-departed-from-real-life, sentiments of Christian music, and it’s easy to see that something is going on in “Christian Art” which some believers find frustrating.

While there are bright spots (for me: Gungor, Hillsong United, Third Day, Derek Webb, Robbie Seay and others), much of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is designed for the sensibilities of the children and the most easily offended corners of the American Evangelical subculture.

But there is hope. Enter “Agenda Music: A Conversation on Faith and Art With Derek Webb, Seth Tower Hurd, Sean Palmer, and Friends (like me),” a book you won’t hear about on the radio, yet calling Christian creatives to embrace the larger marketplace and see all beauty as God’s beauty. If you found “Killing Becky” useful or attended my sessions, Designing Wonder, on creativity in worship at Pepperdine Bible Lectures, you must read “Agenda Music.”

You can get it today and PAY WHAT YOU WANT. All proceeds go to charity. Go get it NOW!

**Also available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon**

 

What Are YOU Reading This Summer?

Summer is the absolute best time to catch-up or get ahead on your reading.

There’s simply no way around it, the greatest tool for your personal development and growth is reading. Plus, it’s one of the few aspects of life you can actually control. As a pastor, writer, and leader, I have to read in order to fund my imagination, shape my vision, and develop as a person.

The same is true for you. If you want to take the next step in life, you have to read…and you have to read a lot. Reading will advance and educate you beyond your present capabilities, but books also help us mark life. I can point to particular books that I happened upon at just the right time. Those books changed my life. If you don’t have your summer reading list set, you need to get on it.

Here’s What I’m Reading:

Spiritual Formation-ish / Churchy:

Business-ish / Start-Upy:

Fiction-ish:

There you have it. I know it looks like a lot, but here’s my process for reading through difficult books. I hope you pick-out one or two books and give them a go.

Happy Reading.

You’re Too Old For VeggieTales

My daughters are in full rebellion — against VeggieTales!

Monday afternoon my girls found themselves looking for a movie to watch as a reward for hard work completed. My suggestion was Veggietales. I love Veggietales and our girls were raised watching the movies. They loved them. So, imagine my surprise when my 8-year-old looked at me, with incredulity, and said, “We’re too old for Veggietales.”

I didn’t think at 5 and 8 they could be too old for Veggietales, but what do I know?

This was her position and like a political party falling in line, she was quickly joined in agreement by her younger sisters. “Yeah. We’re too old for Veggietales!”  I didn’t fight it. We kept digging, finally discovering “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe”  – a story I’m certain no one could be too old for.

I understand why they thought they were too old for Veggietales. It has all the trappings of early childhood and is marketed to children and the parents of young children. It’s not that the stories aren’t good and useful, it’s that there’s a basic childishness about them. And not childish in the child-like sense — pure, innocent, open to experience. Rather, they’re childish in the sanitized, not-quite-true, sheltered sense.

For instance, when Veggietales tells the story of Esther, Queen Vashti is dismissed for her failure to make King Xerxes a sandwich. In reality, she refused to give Xerxes and his friends a lapdance.

My oldest daughter on her way to VeggieTales Live in 2006. Good times.

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