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What Are You For?

How great is it to be known by what we are for versus what we are against

I tell my grown children constantly that I am for them. I am for many things. I am for the Chicago Blackhawks; in fact, I have two jerseys. I am for the Seattle Mariners and have my brother’s jersey. I am for the Seahawks with a Russell Wilson jersey in my closet. Afterall, It is not every day that I can have a jersey with my “name” on the back. I apparently have a thing for jerseys. 

Currently, I am for the Angels, the Dodgers, the Ducks, when they are not playing the Blackhawks, and the Kings when they are not playing the Blackhawks. I have said more times than I can count that I am for people, PPC, Placentia and Brea. I am a die-hard for these people, places and teams. I cry when teams win the World Series, the Superbowl, the Stanley Cup and all of golf’s majors. Not to mention good Hallmark movies and almost every sports movie ever made.

These are the teams and people I root for. When I talk about them there is something very peculiar that takes place, my pronoun changes, it becomes a we. We have a good team this year or we are rebuilding, etc. The two become a we. Being for something, or someone, is demonstrated to the extent to which the distance between us is diminished and even erased from an I and them, or as us and them, to form a very strong we

This is important to life and ministry; it seems to me. As long as the language that we use reflects any kind of relational distance, our level of commitment has lots of room to grow. If we ever catch ourselves using us and them language about anyone in the church or the neighborhood, then we have room to grow. For PPC to continue to lean into our place in the neighborhood we need to be aware of us versus them language. When it appears, there is room to grow. 

When I say I am for my own children, we are the same. Their struggle becomes mine; their joy becomes mine; their confusion becomes mine. Why? Because we are for one another. Our success, our ability to thrive and flourish are intimately bound together. When my children flourish so do I, for we are one we.

To say that we are for the neighborhood means that the struggle of the neighborhood becomes ours; the joy in the neighborhood becomes ours; their confusion becomes ours. Why? Because we are for each other. Our success, our ability to thrive and flourish to the extent that we all experience these at the same time. 

I have noticed an us versus them mentality both within the church and when talking about the neighborhood. I need your help to grow together, to transform that into a “we are for each other.”

What I hope for my own children, I hope for the children of this church and I hope for the children of the neighborhood. Why Because We are for all of them. 

The prophet Jeremiah writes to an immigrant group, called the Israelites, who were carried off into exile by Babylon stating:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Can we all commit to erasing the us versus them thinking in order to be for an ever-increasing number of people for this is the way God is. Remember, God exists as one in a peopled form, three who are one. Nothing is missing and nothing is broken. It is called shalom. God is for one another and opens up to be for Adam and Eve and for ever-increasing peoples. If God is peopled and for us, then how great to be the same. 

How great is it to be known by what we are for versus what we are against.

 Let’s grow there together,

Tobin

p.s. I am also for the Cubs. Ha!

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Leaders Are Readers

It is increasingly difficult to stay grounded in a super fst-pcd (not a typo, I intentionally left out the vowels to make a point) world that we live in. I speak from experience on that statement. I find that the best way for me to stay grounded and centered in a world of breaking news is to breathe, read the Word and read a good book and integrate through prayerful contemplation. 

Recently, I have held out two books that might be able to help you discern the times and find your place in it with social commentary and a plea to develop deeper commitments. Two things that I am interested in. So here is an unusual post about two highly recommended books for the pool or your vacation reading. I have always held up the notion, “that leaders are readers.”

The first is a book by NY Times op-ed writer, David Brooks. In his newly released The Two Mountains: The Quest for a Moral Life, you will be encouraged to sip a cup of your favorite summertime beverage and savor the moment of what is really worth your time and efforts for the short years you have on the earth. Is it career, success, to make your mark or to pursue personal happiness or a life that is other-centered and the embrace of a life that is interdependent verses independent?

This book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives by surrendering our lives to four basic commitments: a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, social solidarity and love. This is a new year book in the middle of the summer. It is a take stock and recommit or surrender for the first time to four primal commitments. Take the Second Mountain Challenge, this summer and Dare to Wonder.

The second book is another barrier breaking seminal work by San Diego State professor of psychology Jean Twenge. In her iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and completely Unprepared for Adulthood and What That Means for the Rest of Us, (that’s a mouthful) you will receive kudos and a new type of challenge that we have never encountered before in child-rearing. This is the first book that takes all of the available research on those born after 1995 and puts them together in a very readable and accessible format that will inspire, provoke and challenge all of us who are paying attention and really care about the common good.

This generation grew up with cell phones, had an Instagram page before they started high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. They are iGen. Dr Twenge drawing from over 11 million respondents over multiple decades delivers surprising attitudes toward religion, sexuality and ethics as well as unprecedented levels of anxiety and loneliness. As this new group of young people enter adulthood, parents, educators, leaders of organizations and employers have an urgent need to understand them (just when we thought we were starting to get a handle on Millennials-Yikes!). Because where iGen goes, so does the nation—and the world.

Have a great summer and enjoy the reading.

Tobin

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