Like People, Like Priest

I am a western English speaking Christian worker in Cambodia. I administrate a Christian elementary school. This position is a good fit for me for both general and specific reasons. It is generally a good fit because I like kids (usually), I care about kids being discipled for Christ, and I care about education. It is specifically a good fit for me because, as the administrator, I am able to work from behind the scenes and let much of the forefront decision-making be done by local people. Why is that important to me? Because I want my work to reach and be effective to Cambodians, and that best happens, in my opinion, when Cambodians work with Cambodians. As the old Khmer proverb says: Only the spider can repair its own web.

bbbAnd such is the principle of Like People, Like Priest; people will follow those they can relate to. If you’re an English speaking expat starting up a church in an Asian city with a high population of English speaking expats, don’t be surprised when the people coming to your church are all English speaking expats. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are honest with yourself and admit that you are the pastor of an expat church and not the pastor of a Cambodian/Thai/Burmese, or whatever nation you happen to be in, church. If you wanted to be the pastor of a church of nationals, there are some major steps that need to be taken to do that, mastering the language for example, and you might find you are unwilling/unable, for various reasons, to take those steps.

Being honest with yourself about what you are truly capable of doing is the first step to finding the right fit for your life and being an effective participant in the building of Christ’s kingdom. Who can you connect to? Who can connect to you?

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Were You Duped by the Gillette Ad?

Were you, like myself and thousands of others, duped by the Gillette ad?

How do you know if you were duped?

You took sides.

And if you took sides, and defended the ad, I’m guessing you are liberal leaning. And if you hated the ad, you’re probably conservative leaning.

Here is the problem with that: Does a liberal’s definition of a good man and a conservative’s definition of a good man differ a whole lot? I’m guessing not. If you asked a conservative to write a list of ten things describing what a good man is, and asked a liberal to do likewise, I’m pretty sure those lists would be nearly exact.

Then why did the Gillette ad cause so much division?

Because it was designed to.

If Gillette truly cared about encouraging men to act as good men, could they not have created an ad which would offend no one and create no division? Of course they could. It’s not hard. Simply portray a variety of men acting in a variety of good ways in a variety of situations: A man holding a door open for a woman; a man defending someone against bullying; a man working with inner city kids; etc…. Create an ad like that, but do not infuse into it any accusatory or preachy tone. That ad would encourage men to act well and it would offend no one.

gillette women blue suits

Gillette does not care about men behaving well. Like an arms dealer making millions selling weapons to both sides of a war, Gillette is playing the culture war hoping to increase its profits. If, in ten years, Gillette believes it can increase profits by appealing to conservative men, you can be sure it will create the appropriate ads to do that. With this latest ad, Gillette seems to be targeting progressive liberals.

So lets all agree that there are both good men and bad men out there, on both the left and the right, and that most men are trying to be good men. And also, lets all agree that a multi-billion dollar corporation, like Gillette, is not the best place to look to for our moral standards.

Related reading

PS… Why are men buying Gillette razors anyway? They’re a rip off! Go and get yourself a Merkur safety razor, along with a box of a hundred blades, and you’re set for decades.

Where do You Fit?

fit in“So there‚Äôs this terrible tension in organizations, and I think what generally happens is all the creative people are there at the beginning. They get chased out until you have nothing but managers and administrators. Then the environment shifts, then the company dies.”

I’ve written some articles (see list below) about how a movement, at its beginning, will be run by visionaries and see rapid growth. But, once that growth tapers off, a new kind of leader needs to take control, one who knows how to manage the resources gained in the rapid growth phase. But, as Jordan Peterson talks about in the video below, you don’t want to get rid of the visionaries altogether. New creative ideas will always be needed in order for the organization to survive.

Do you know where you fit in?

Related reading…

Leaders of Movements

Men of Words

Visionary Leaders Vs Masters

 

Passive Aggressive Poison

passive aggressive ninja“I don’t worry, if they have a problem with me, they will preach about me!”

That’s what a friend told me when describing the leadership at a bible college he was attending. He had discovered that when and if the leadership was unhappy with what he was doing, rather than confronting him directly, they would come at him indirectly through passive aggressive tactics. And a great way to destroy relationships is to act passive aggressively.

What is passive aggressiveness? It is simply an avoidance of direct confrontation due to cowardliness. If passive aggressiveness takes root in your group it becomes a poison killing the tree. You have to deal with it quickly.

I’ve been guilty of this behaviour myself in the past, but I’ve made a rule to avoid it. It takes time to recognize it in yourself, but gets easier to stop over time.

passive-agressive-infographic1-copy

Through New Eyes by James B. Jordan

Probably the most influential biblical scholar who has shaped my understanding of the bible and of Christianity itself is James B. Jordan.

I always like to read Christian thinkers who try to define life as God wants us to. Jordan does this through his extremely detailed study of the Bible.

Below is a link to his book Through New Eyes. In this book Jordan explains the symbols of the Bible and how, through these symbols, we can understand who God is and what His plan is for this world. The book is originally available from Gary North’s website.

Here is the PDF book: through new eyes

Enjoy