Tag Archives: relationships

A Bit of a Restructure

It figures – life gets exceptionally busy, yet my mind finds that it is exceptionally quiet as of late. Well, mostly quiet. One of the hazards of the chaos that goes with being a new homeowner is that it leaves me very little time with which to stay in touch with current events. As a result there hasn’t been much for me to think and ponder on the last couple of weeks, hence the dearth of writing here lately. Of course, that doesn’t mean that my brain is actually inactive. It just means that I’m focusing on a number of _other_ things right now.

I recently read a book called For Women Only at my wife’s request. The book had been loaned to her by one of our friends, and it became a great conversation point for us in clarifying some areas of miscommunication in our relationship. ((You know, a lot of the usual male/female misunderstandings with which we are all familiar.)) Well, I’ve been working on the counterpart to that book, For Men Only and finding quite a lot of useful information there, as well. Once I’m done reading it, then my wife will read it, and we will sit down and compare notes. I also have the opportunity to read through Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon cycle, so what little free time I have will probably go toward that.

As always, there are _lots_ of stories percolating in my brain demanding my attention. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do anything more than scribble some quick notes about each, just so I don’t forget the basic storyline, and hope that I will be able to get back to them at some point in the near future and put them down on paper.

I’m also doing a little bit of a restructure on my website. I’ve added a wiki in order to catalogue some hard-to-find bits of information, and I am eventually going to replace the portal on my “main page”:http://www.open-dialogue.com with something else that will make it much easier to access my forum, wiki, and blogs. This all takes time to set up, of course, and what little free time I get at work has been going toward that endeavor.

Just Like Family

The place where I’m currently working is in the midst of some major transitions. The guy they’ve hired to effect the changes has placed a huge emphasis on improving the quality and quantity of communication within the organization. Since I’m a temporary contractor and since my work consists of doing nothing but data entry and since the terminal at which I sit is right in the middle of the workplace, I have the opportunity to witness more than most individuals might. What I’ve noticed is that this guy is striving to build the employees of this company into a family, in part by improving their overall communication. It has been a fascinating process to
watch, and I have found myself laughing a number of times while I work. (One of the managers has repeatedly been brought out to the floor, bringing all work in the place to a screeching halt, so he can practice his communication skills while his boss, the fellow effecting all these changes, watches and ‘grades’ him. The results have been often amusing.) In effect, the ultimate goal is that, by improving the level of communication in the company, costs will go down and the business will grow.

The application of this readily transfers to the church and the Body of Christ. How often do churches break and split because communication breaks down? How often do Christians hurt one another, not to mention unbelievers, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically because clear communication could not be accomplished? To some extent, I think we can take some lessons from this guy — good communication is absolutely essential in order for any organization to grow and thrive. This is no less true within the Body. They call it good business sense. We call it fellowship. Either way, the end product is the same — efficiency increases, individuals function as a single unit, and growth and prosperity are nearly guaranteed. In order for this work, though, everyone has to
participate, which means everyone has to have a good attitude and a spirit of mutual cooperation. Honesty really is the best policy. Temper it with openness, understanding, grace, and humility, and positive results are nearly inevitable. So, practice your communication skills, and don’t be surprised when others response positively toward you.

Is It Wrong to Be Right?

“Everyone who is consumed with being right and a little too uptight about being exact and so on shoudl take heed of my little girl’s quote: “‘R’ is for ‘Bunny'” was her response when we were doing flashcards the other night. The letter R was on one side and a picture of a rabbit on
the other.”

In this postmodern society, it is less important for an individual to be right than it is to make sure that no one’s feelings get hurt, that the social relationship is preserved and without conflict. It is more important to avoid offending anyone, to avoid telling anyone that they are wrong, than it is to make sure that the information you have and believe is true and accurate. The unspoken rule now is that it might just be wrong to be right because it might hurt someone’s ego or damage their self-esteem.

The trouble is that this approach is dangerous. I think it may be a part of why so many of our generation are unable to articulate what they believe, why their worldviews and values and standards waffle and waver so much. No one is allowed to be right, at least not obviously so, because of the effect that being right might have on others. There are countless examples in our society where what is right and true and correct is passed over in favor of what looks and
feels best. In the end the final result is shallow and meaningless, leaving everyone without guidance and direction.

Biblically, I believe we are called to seek out that which is right and true, to know what you believe and to know it so well that you can defend it to any who would attack it. Certainty and confidence are powerful allies and can set your course straight and honest. All things have a right and a wrong, but often it requires experience and wisdom to discern the difference, and wisdom is so dearly lacking in our society. How can there be wisdom when one is not allowed
to be right? How can there be wisdom when one is not allowed to speak his mind and give voice to truth and discernment? So, we must try everything, sifting it carefully, using wisdom and the
guidance of the Holy Spirit to determine that which is right, setting it in a place of prominence so that it may gleam forth and draw others toward God.

Love Is More Than A Feeling

There is a common misconception in our culture that love is a feeling, that it happens automatically, and that the lover has no control over its coming and its going. This is readily apparent in the high divorce rate, in the apathy and carelessness of ‘casual sex’, and in the shamelessness of the media (probably the loudest promoter of this myth). Part of this is probably due to the fact that physical and romantic attractions do encompass a great deal of feeling and emotion, both of which tend to be very salient and thus more easily recognized and, to an extent, more easily defined and demonstrated. And so long as these feelings and emotions continue, love is easy to extend.

The trouble is that love, while inherently very emotional, is really a decision made by the lover on behalf of the loved. It is a definitive commitment, made at a specific point, by the lover that says, “No matter what happens and no matter how my feelings may fluctuate and change, I will love this individual.” Because feelings do shift and change over time, across every topic and issue. That is part of human nature. But what should not change is the commitment to go on loving someone once that love has been extended.

Christ tells His people to love with heart, mind, soul, and strength. Paul encourages husbands to love their wives as themselves and as Christ loved the Church. Conscious decisions. And you know Christ didn’t perform his most magnificent work of love because of feeling. No, indeed, He made a conscious decision, submitting his will to the Father, even though His own emotions were encouraging him otherwise.

So, while you may feel an attraction toward someone, even have a ‘crush’ on them, you cannot say that you are ‘in love’ until you have made that decision to do so. Feelings are tremendous facilitators to love, but all too often they deceive and betray, leaving a trail of broken hearts and broken relationships, when they are placed in the driver’s seat of love and relationships.

Feelings make better servants than masters.