Organic Leadership quote-a-thon

Looking over the last page of blog posts, I’ve noticed that only 30% of them are God-related (as opposed to 40% Lady Freaking Gaga), so by way of breaking the theology dry-spell I’ve decided to blog a few of my favourite quotes from the book Organic Leadership by Neil Cole. I borrowed the book off my friend Tom a while back and should probably give it back soon, so I want to drink its blogging potential dry before I do! The following is an anecdote he uses to back up the idea that the two most important skills for leaders are listening and asking good questions:

An organic-church planter in the Denver area decided to test these princples…Tim Pynes went to a popular coffeehouse in the Boulder area with a sign that read: “I will buy you a free cup of coffee if you will listen to my story about God.”

Tim sat at a table for hours with this sign, and never did anyone stop to listen to his story and receive a free cup of joe. Occasionally someone, who was sure he was just another obnoxious evangelist wanting an audience, jeered at him.

The next day Tim went to another coffee shop, very much like the previous one, but this time he brought a difference sign. It read: “I will buy you a cup of coffee if you will tell me your story about God.”

That day Tim’s time was consumed with people who were glad to just sit and share their story of God. Tim listened to people. He listened carefully. He never intentionally interrupted or shared his own point of view. He was there only to listen and would only share if asked. And he was asked, repeatedly. As people told him their stories, they were struck by his rapt attention and became curious about this man. Each asked him to tell his story, which he promptly did. Some left and told their friends that they needed to go to the coffeehouse and hear that guy’s story.

Tim remarks that he rarely had to buy anyone coffee; many times others would insist on buying him coffee.

This experiment reveals something that Jesus already knew at a young age, but most of us go through life never learning: people respond better to those who will listen to them first…Asking questions is not an admission that you are ignorant or lacking in knowledge. On the contrary, it can often mean that you are more advanced in learning.

House churches, virgin births and cancelling Christmas…

housechurch

This made me chuckle. Via TallSkinnyKiwi.

And I found this gem of a post by Jeremy at Hacking Christianity about the virgin birth. Jeremy claims the debate on whether Mary was really a virgin or not is irrelevant:

It is true that the Creedal writers were affirming the Virgin Birth by calling Mary the Virgin Mary. But their belief that it happened mattered much less than that it happened to one particular person. It’s identifying that Jesus was born of this Mary, this woman, Mary the Virgin.

In the gnostic Gospel of James, it reads that when Mary was in the manger, there was a bright flash of light, and Jesus appeared next to her. Really.

Why? These heretics couldn’t stand the idea that Jesus was born of a woman.
Birth, it’s a messy time. Blood and water, pain and joy.
The real messiness of human life begins in the messiness of birth.

Jesus must have just appeared, wrapped in white cloths next to Mary, already potty-trained and never woke up crying at 4am.

To which the Creed says otherwise….Jesus is found in the messiness of life.

And for the Gnostics, with their soul/body dualism, birth was too messy a way for a dignified son of God to come into the world.Β  There’s no way Jesus, son of God, could be born of a woman.

Finally, I recently rediscovered a great post by Feminary about churches skimping on Christmas celebrations:

According to the closing churches, they are giving people the “day off” to be with their families, where, and I swear I’m not making this up, the real celebration of Christmas takes place. Christmas, if you didn’t realize, is about being around a tree (opening gifts and stuffing our faces) with family and loved ones.

Oh, shit, I thought it was about God becoming human. I must be so confused. Is that Hannukah, then?

This is one more way the Evangelical subculture has supplanted Christianity with American values. How on earth can one believe that our faith is about spending time with family rather than with God?

This makes me think. For me, I usually pay lipservice to the fact that Christmas is about Jesus, but in reality it’s more about family, board games, presents and bad TV. I wonder what I can do within my own context to refocus the day?

[EDIT] PS: Go read this article by Nadia Boltz-Webber. Now