Bias From the Bottom

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Compassion, Courage, Culture, Leadership | 0 comments

Author Richard Rohr makes an intriguing observation about the uniqueness of biblical authors versus most authors:

“The vast majority of people throughout history has been poor, disabled, or oppressed in some way (i.e., “on the bottom”) and would have experienced history in terms of a need for change. The people who wrote the books and controlled the social institutions, however, have almost always been the comfortable people on the top. Much of history has been recorded from the side of the winners, except for the unique revelation of the Bible, which is an alternative history from the bottom: from the side of the enslaved, the dominated, the oppressed, and the poor, culminating in the scapegoat figure of Jesus himself.

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A Spirit of Sadness

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Compassion, God, Hope, Redemption, Transcendence | 46 comments

img_3554Today I’m filled with sadness.

This doesn’t often happen to me. I try to go about life with a spirit of gratitude and joy. Yet, I have known for several years now that the tragedies we encounter on almost a daily basis—whether personal, related to family or friends, or on a global scale—pierce me on an increasingly deeper level with each passing year.

I first noticed this deeper piercing a few years ago when I read of two local college girls, home on a brief break, gassing up a father’s SUV for a trip into the mountains, whose vehicle was hit by another car pulling into the adjacent gas pump. One of the girls was in the gas station buying snacks; the other pumped the gas, standing between her SUV and the gas pump. The collision caused a spark which became a conflagration that burned the girl alive. Paralyzed bystanders could only watch in stunned horror.

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Get Home Safely

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Community, Compassion, Courage, Culture | 0 comments

3039844-inline-i-1-the-talk-in-americaI never knew this before, but apparently many African American families do.

Some parents of black kids have this talk in order to increase the odds that their kids will get home safely if they encounter the police when they are away from home: “10 Rules of Survival if Stopped By Police.”

I never had this talk with my kids; it never crossed my mind. I’m pretty sure none of my grandchildren will ever hear this talk from their parents. But it’s considered crucial parenting wisdom for black families. I had no idea; perhaps that’s the case for others of you who are white.

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Black Lives Matter; Blue Lives Matter; All Lives Matter

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Community, Compassion, Courage, Culture, Forgiveness, Hope, Redemption, Transcendence | 19 comments

Once again, I’m stunned at the video footage that confronts all of us:

BLACK LIVES MATTER

  • 49 patrons of an Orlando dance club are brutally slaughtered by a man who apparently hates gays, non-Muslims or both
  • A black man in Louisiana shot twice in the chest as he’s wrestled to the ground by two officers
  • A black man in Minnesota is shot four times after getting pulled over by an officer for a broken taillight, as his wife and 4 year-old daughter watch in horror
  • A protest in Minneapolis turns into a virtual riot as firecrackers, Molotov Cocktails and bricks are thrown at police, who then response with smoke and tear-gas. Dozens on both sides are injured
  • A peaceful protest in Dallas, in response to these shootings, turns into a sniper attack where a black man kills five police officers and wounds several others

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Are You Constrained or Unleashed?

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Character, Compassion, Courage, Leadership, Legacy, Significance, Transcendence | 0 comments

Not long ago I heard a speaker, sadly I don’t remember his name, say, “Don’t just give people rules to follow; give them values to believe in.” I think that is remarkably perceptive advice. Rules constrain people into obedience due to another person’s position of authority or ability to punish non-compliance. Values unleash a person to action based on what he or she believes in; they form a powerful connection with ideas or principles that matter on a heart level. At Peregrine Ministries, we guide and inspire men on their life journey, to help them leave a life-giving legacy. In doing so, we are compelled by the following values: Legacy Legacy is the part of us that lives in others after we’re gone. We receive an inheritance we didn’t choose. Transformation determines the legacy we will pass on. Transformation Every word we write and every action we take as a ministry is to see the hearts of men increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ. Authenticity We aspire to conduct our relationships with a commitment to being truthful about ourselves, so that the man others see is increasingly consistent with the man we are beneath the surface. Community We pursue the “Third Place”- not home, and not work, it’s a setting where we know others deeply, reveal ourselves genuinely, and simply enjoy each other’s presence. Integrity The commitment to make every decision with honesty, even when it hurts. We willingly speaking the truth in love; bringing both courage and compassion. Compassion The conscious choice to feel what others feel, and to act on their behalf. It comes from our own wounds that are healed and redeemed. Redemption When God takes a part of our story that is broken, and turns it around 180 degrees to make it a powerful source of healing for others. Mission Being compelled to act, speak and live from the deepest part of our hearts for the benefit of others. The unique combination of God-given talents, gifts and values that create God’s calling in our lives. We can’t not do it. Adventure We embrace the risk, challenge and exhilaration of regularly engaging with Creation. Significance Reminding ourselves, and teaching men, that our significance is not based on our Power, Possessions and Prestige, but on the foundation of who our Creator is. Transcendence Though we live in a broken world, we intentionally anticipate, plan for and celebrate the periodic glimpses of overflowing joy, jaw-dropping beauty and staggering glory we encounter in nature, music, art, writing, sports and relationships. These are all clues of an eternal, transcendent hunger in our hearts. These values inspire us at Peregrine to do what we do. Have you ever identified your deepest values? What do your actions, your priorities and your emotions reveal about your values? I’d love to hear what they...

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Prison Redemption

Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 in Anger, Character, Compassion, Forgiveness, Redemption, Transformation | 3 comments

I haven’t spent a lot of time in prison. But I vividly remember each visit. Last weekend I joined my friend, Ron, in a visit to the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, about 2 hours southeast of Colorado Springs. It wasn’t my first visit to a jail or prison, and just to be clear, none of them had anything to do with my misbehavior. When I was in high school my dad and I joined a pastor on a visit to Cook County Jail in Chicago, one of the largest and notoriously violent jails in the U.S. In 1998 I explored the possibility of involving men from Willow Creek Church in regular prison ministry in Latin America. I’ll never forget the awful conditions of the nearly 100 men living in a filthy holding cell designed for 30, in Quito, Ecuador. They were angry and violent; waiting endlessly for the trial that would determine their future fate. The conditions at Arkansas Valley were far cleaner, organized and peaceful by comparison. The men I met at a large group Bible study were still facing a similar open-ended future of managed lock-up, but there was a pervasive sense of peace and hope. It was a shocking contrast to me. I was welcomed at the classroom door by Deon, a kind-faced, friendly, eloquent inmate who helps lead the study. My friend Ron has a special place in his heart for Deon. Years ago Deon got into a heated argument with his best friend, also named Ron. In the heat of the moment, Deon was overcome by rage and beat his friend so severely that he was hospitalized suffering from trauma that will probably never heal. Deon nearly killed him, and now lives out a years-long sentence. It was hard to connect this story of violence and rage with the kind man who greeted me at the door. On the way home Ron told me the incident that brought transformation and peace to Deon. He will most likely never see his friend Ron again, so his opportunity for any face-to-face repentance or reconciliation is virtually nil. But on one of their first meetings with each other Deon turned to my friend Ron, and asked him, since he shared the name of his friend, if he would personally “stand-in” for the Ron he nearly murdered. What followed were intimate words of confession, apology, repentance; tears and weeping. Deon was looking at my friend, Ron; but he was speaking to his friend Ron. That day Deon embraced spiritual and emotional freedom. It’s a tangible story of redemption. God takes awful brokenness and transforms it into power and compassion. That’s the only way the Deon, who nearly killed his best friend, could become the Deon of grace who leads others into deeper knowledge of God. When we confess, apologize and repent, God can do the same for all of...

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