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« Author Renee Altson, Here Tomorrow | Main | Bowing to the Altar of Relevance »

September 16, 2004

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beautiful, chris. thank you. i love the pictures you chose and how you put them into our interview text.

i'm home from work sick today so i don't know how much i'll be at the computer, but i'll definitely try to stop by again throughout the day.

thanks again.

The photography is a new facet of you, renee, that I did not know. thanks Chris, for putting that together. Chris, you put words to an incomplete sense of mien - this is not a 'testimony' book. renee, i see you called it a memior, a journal, a book of musings. what would you call the juxtaposition of darkness and light in the book?

hey anj, you can see some more of my photos here:

http://www.ianua.org/prayers/retreat/

user name: family
password: miracle

it's really interesting about the light and darkness thing, too, because the original title i had for the book, and what is actually on my contract as the 'working title' is musings in light and darkness. heh.

as for what i would call that juxtaposition -- i don't really know. i do know that my book feels really honest.

ok, i'm really going to bed now!

I haven't read your book Renee, but I would like to. Thanks for sharing your story with everyone.

I appreciate your thoughts on the life within being the changing force -- not a "movement" per se.

I'm wondering how you see that being brought about. I see it in individual lives here and there, but have yet to see it in a larger sense -- a community of people sharing that vulnerability.

Especially in leadership. It seems (sadly) so difficult for those "up front" to let down their guard. There's so much involved in that. How do we move beyond the masks and just "be" the church together?

Thank you for that conversation. This is such important stuff. I wonder...maybe that kind of vulnerable community could become a movement, but it's nothing anyone's going to plan or give a brand name or something. I think the only way it's going to happen is if brave people like Renee just start doing it--leading the way. We're not talking about purpose-driven-vulnerability! We're talking about real Christians who will decide to get real with their brothers and sisters.

maybe honesty is it. hope you rest well.

"purpose-driven-vulnerability"

Bill, that's hilarious! (and a good warning, too)

And I think Keith is dead-on about those "up-front" letting down their guard.

Anj -- including some of Renee's photos was always something I wanted to do -- she has a unique sense of "vision." Glad you (and others) enjoyed it.

when i think of those "up-front" letting down their guard, i almost wonder if many of them have created the inability to do that. i think we have to be the example, somehow.... the change that comes from inside.

Renee -- when it comes to those "up-front" letting down their guard, it may well be they created this reality for themselves, or... -they accepted what was being imposed upon them. Either way, I think you're dead-on about the change coming "from inside." This reminds me of how important I think it is for us to pray "from the inside, out" -- focusing on the condition of our own souls rather than practicing a type of prayer that is preoccupied with giving God a "To-Do List."

So many people are afraid of what's "inside" -- but that's where I think books like Stumbling Toward Faith can really help.

A paraphrased John Maxwell quote: the 5 Leadership Perspectives.

(1) I have nothing to hide.
(2) I have nothing to prove.
(3) I have nothing to lose (i.e. it was not 'mine' to begin with).
(4) I don't have to survive (i.e. if I go away the church will continue -- I am not inexpendable)
(5) I don't care who gets the credit.

The first time I heard these was was from a nearby pastor, speaking to our small group leaders. He said it seemed to him, sometimes, that he did more confessing from the pulpit than he did preaching -- and yet the people always seemed so drawn to him and would encourage him with how much they loved and honored and supported him as a leader.

Keeping these 5 perspectives in mind (along with the memory of him as he said them!) has helped me as I lead.

Jacob -- leading with a limp, and all that.

But sometimes I've been given grief over it -- that I'm "too vulnerable".

i want a multilayered god.
i want a god of art, of music,
of old icons, of ancient prayers.

i want a god who is able to be
bigger than i can imagine,
a god beyond my comprehensions
and limited definitions.

i want a home.
a place to feel at home,
a safe place,
a refuge
to work out my salvation
with fear and trembling.

a safe place
to be able to risk everything
to surrender everything,
to find that i'm not alone
when those i let go of
crumble in pieces
around me.

(from "stumbling toward faith," p. 166)

i totally believe that you're given grief over being too vulnerable. that is so wrong and so sad. pat answers and jesus hits don't just come from pulpits. they come from pretty much anybody who doesn't want to face their pain... and i think we do impose that "more than human" stuff on our leaders, out of our fear that we see their feet of clay.

i love the image of jacob with a limp. wow. that is cool.

i wonder if it comes down to the fact that so many of us are just so scared. and we cover it up with big words and ways of pretending and we are afraid to let anybody see behind our masks, and we perpetuate it, in our leadership, with each other, we have to protect the illusion that we are in control.

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