Conversation Like Ships in the Night

Does each and every slant, lean or concept of the emerging/emergent movement line up with the Bible or long-respected Christian tradition? Of course not.

There are traditions, some long-held, we largely now find to be less core to solid biblical exegesis than formerly thought.

There was a time few Protestants thought dancing was kosher, ditto playing cards, seeing a movie, that sort of thing.

In my view one of the very best values of the emerging church movement is a foundational concept of "the conversation".

Several in our Christian community discovered a powerful phrase some years ago in a book on conflict resolution where the author rightly stated: "the conversation IS the relationship."

My conclusion over many years of stumbling around trying to communicate and receive communication from others in all and any mode is that at times we don't really want a relationship, rather, we want to win an argument!

It's not a mutual-respect thing at times -nor even close to trying to figure out if there is good reason TO respect one another. Sometimes it boils down to control and domination, and the justification of MY attitude as being the correct one, period.

At times it indeed gets ridiculous, becomes about my or the other party's win or lose a stake in something we deem important. Sometimes it's only about winning or losing an argument- a sort of debate-team situation where either or both of us try to score points.

As most reading this realize, the end of such discussions is often worse than the beginning. We begin to just blow the other person off considering them warped, ignorant, or just irrelevant and not worthy of having a conversation with.

Arrogance? Pride? Fear? Insecurity? Some or all of the above? Information or theory without real fact and practice to back it up? Plenty of experience but merely in one's own province where a number of the points simply don't apply to the other's actual situation?

There are many varied reasons why communication breaks down and the people involved split apart, especially in the more extreme and passionate "no-compromise" issues of life.

Sometimes separation is best for one or both.

Then again, no communication, no relationship.

How can I, via my Lord's command love my "neighbor as" myself when I don't value any sort of communication with the person?

Trust me, I'm hearing all the possible exits in my head even as I write but in the end it's about love and respect because God loves and tells us to treat others with both.

Is everyone "due" respect, honor and agreement? No. Including me. Including you. Sometimes…

But what a different church and world it would be (and will be for the redeemed one day, thank God!) if we worked harder at gracious communication.

I have often been the king of "in-your-face" and admit it can really be difficult to NOT simply "talk over" and eventually just write someone off, just consider them unworthy of a chat about much of anything.

But I am not convinced that is the way of Christ!

Finally, when discussing matters of deep concern to you or I, we often aren't even slightly open to listen to another viewpoint.

I am a Bible-centric, church-history-centric, human-history loving person who loves to research and find factual, verifiable information that lands rock solid in the middle of my personal views.

That does not mean I know all, understand all, far less that I can at every moment in life properly communicate by both listening and reasoning and with humility, give-and-take.

We must all admit sometimes our conversations are rather "one-way", me-to-you and more of a preach than an exchange or dialogue.

I have recently gotten some of this from others and realized the core issues I raised were not going to be addressed. That is, a position was taken, ultimatums and dictims (and dogma) were simply stated and my words and the other's words passed one another, rarely if ever engaged together.

Well, I tried to point out a few places where I agreed… but the other individual was, it seems, disinterested in anything of the sort. So it was a bit like having a conversation in a mirror where there is no actual connection being made one with the other.

And I wonder how many ersatz "conversations…" like this take place, in particular among Christians who have the same heavenly Father and will share eternity together?

God help us… and begin please with maturing me!!

And- thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

What About Backup?

I do have geek tendencies, and therefore love reading about open source, cloud computing and on occasion, the varied and connected businesses having to do with the tech. industry.

Tonight in reading through a lot of info. online, a thought caught me up regarding a longtime issue that I expect to this very day many reading this don't much bother with… but should!!

In a word, "backup".

I was reading an industry blog about server failure (these particular servers are the main, large computers that hold/host files and make them available via the Internet) at a company who works for and with Amazon.

Imagine what happens when a number of these machines crash all at once! Mayhem!

I have mixed feelings about cloud computing- the concept of keeping some, most or all of your files on a server and working via the Internet as opposed to storage on your home and/or work computers.

I do a lot via the Web, but the fact is that like anything else, failures happen and sometimes your data gets wiped out or so compromised that you can no longer retrieve and use it.

Back to backup- each of us who use some form of computing, be it pc's, laptops, netbooks, cellphones or pdas (and in most of the Western world, it's getting rarer to find someone who doesn't daily use these) it is more important than most of us want to realize to BACK UP YOUR DATA AND DO IT REGULARLY!

Sooner or later, failure of machines happens. No matter how wonderful the design and technology, no matter the cost, sooner or later they will indeed crash. Imperfect humans using less-than-eternally-perfect elements assembled these machines and they will fail. Therefore your writing, photos, music, films and data stored on them can and will be compromised, possibly lost.

My files are spread out over several computers, hard drives, usb and sd drives and also in several online "cloud" locations.

Some of my older data sits on cds.

I back information up a number of ways, but in the end, I choose to remember to DO backups.

I've lost track of the number of times friends and associates have lamented their loss of information due to having not backed it up… and their laptop, etc., becomes toast. SERIOUS bummer. And not all that difficult to take care of IF one thinks ahead and takes preventative safety measures on the -front end-, prior to the fail.

As a new computer user, my tech gurus drilled into me the importance of backing up.

If you get my feeble brain on this- I consider honest confession, accountability partners and soul-friends in Christ my spiritual backup system.

They know the things that are important to me and why. Several of them have my login and passwords, literally and spiritually.

Are you prepared for potential, even likely crashes?

What about backup?

Thanks for stopping by,
-Glenn

The New South Africa, Zimbabwe

I have gotten several emails from a bro. re. my songwriting ("Afrikaans", Rez Band) re. South Africa. He brought out sensible points re. current black on white bloodshed there and in Zim, and I thought it good to post my response to him here.

Hello,

In essence, you are asking "What is your theory now that black on white crime and full-on murder is taking place in SA and Zim.?"

White OR black OR Asian despotism, genocide is partly based at core on fear, dominion over people "not like us" and when it comes to state-sponsored and worse (speaking now as a Christian pastor which I am) an error-laden sense you are God's chosen, anointed to rule and reign in a given land over "the others", such "manifest destiny" is in my view a total contrast to all Jesus taught and lived.

I have been praying for peace in both lands for many years and count all races my friends, all in need of justice. Then again, all sin and certainly when in power, regardless of race or tribe or other elements.

History (both re. the U.S. and other nations) regarding racism and domination is?? not a matter of theory, as you say, it's about sick, desperate people who want control and who brutalize and at times kill innocents. Yes, it's filth in Zimbabwe as it was and is in S. Africa.

By the way, I grew up studying our own Civil War and other wars from my 8th birthday and knowing and living in a nation that is to this day still racist on a number of levels. That's why I've written and likely shall write again on these issues. Further, I've been on independent Zim. news sites for several years and last week commented that Mugabe is (in my view) a worse louse than the idiot who refuses to yield power in Libya.

Lastly, you may have missed the 2nd song I also wrote re. SA, titled Zuid Afrikaan. I pray for mercy and sanity, not domination. You sow- you reap. In fact, it is the power of my own beloved country that has too often caused misery in the world (both our business interests and at times government-deployed military) which disturbs me greatly. So there you go.

Injustice (Micah 6.8) is injustice no matter who's wielding power. We most often deduce it's THEM, not US when we're not wielding it, don't you think? I leave you with Z.A. lyrics here below, which I sought to write from God's perspective. Consider it Jesus speaking, for I think it is indeed His reality that is essential.

ZUID AFRIKAAN

You cannot ban me
The walls, the bars, they cannot hold me in
I am no prisoner not to your policies,
Your prejudice, your sin
You cannot silence me
There is no respect for persons in my eyes
But I tell you this
If you live by the sword, by the sword you shall die

Lion, lion you lay down with the lamb
Or you lie on, lie on and the end will be at hand

You sow mercy and mercy you shall reap
You sow pain and pain you will receive
In the rubble of shanties in your land
Zuid Afrikaan

You look for justice
Then you will seek for me
To know compassion you must know my name
For forgiveness you must face your shame
Die to live again

You sow mercy and mercy you shall reap
You sow love then love you shall receive
Fear me greatest
For I fear no man
Zuid Afrikaan

-Glenn Kaiser

Missional Truth?

Alistair Begg is a great speaker who often gets me thinking in a most solid direction.

A friend on occasion sends me A.B.'s online devos., some great stuff.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to truly be "missional" in life, in our thinking and daily interaction with others. I do not mean (though it includes) verbal sharing of the Good News, rather an "all-in" life that reflects Jesus to whomever is around us, whether we speak or not in that particular moment.

In any case, this morning we had a fine guest speaker who again used the term.

In a devo. from A.B. a few days ago the concept leapt out.

Last night as I lay in bed considering calling and life's-work for people in general (not merely my own life), the following popped into my head and here on Sun. afternoon the thought returned.

Can missions at times be quite fun, even giving the missionary great comfort? Of course.

On this occasion I won't unpack it further except to say that God the Holy Spirit is (according to Jesus) The Comforter, and there is nothing automatically evil about receiving and giving comfort- please don't mis-understand me on that point!

But here is my thought, and I stand by it:

"If it's not missional, it's probably about comfort."

Something to think about.
-Glenn

Norway, Amy Winehouse Tragedies

Sad, sick, miserable, shared pain and sorrow. What can I say?

I pray for the people of Norway, a nation I have toured many times and truly love.

What a sick, demonized -and pay attention- right-wing maniac!!

How many true Christians cringe throughout the world and of course in Norway when this sad, sick man refers to himself by the name of the Son of God? This man no more represents Christians than do the Muslim fanatics of 9-11 and other atrocities represent Muslims.

Fear, bigotry and neo-fascism all bring menace to our world- regardless of spiritual (or zero spiritual) position.

At times like these we must pray, learn once again to forgive and of course recognize that no nation, no group of people are ever completely "safe" nor can be.

It is faith in Jesus and genuine surrender to Him that alone makes sense. There is no security force on earth who can do what He alone can.

Apparently He allows humans the ability to make horrible choices and at times such as this, that is quite apparent.

Then I think of a gifted singer who shared the addictions so many of us have, past or present. What a tragic, wasted life, what a rotten end to a tortured soul! And the misery (like that of a Norwegian gunman) is now being spread around, shared with family, friends and co-workers, many who were in this case not so shocked at the end.

And people wonder why I sing blues??!

Jesus was "a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief." God "stores up our tears in a bottle" as it were… understands and grieves with us. Entering His immediate presence, given those who seek Him- this is where we must go.

There simply is no better place to find comfort when looking into the face of such evil and such misery in the lives of those He loves.

"For God so loved THE WORLD [meaning ALL people] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in HIM will inherit eternal life." -John 3.16

Nothing makes more sense in the face of these senseless deaths.

Praying,
-Glenn