hot topic: racism & Donald Sterling

In the last several days, there’s been a massive uproar about the recent racial slurs from the owner of the NBA Clippers,  Donald Sterling .  There is national outrage at Mr Sterling’s comments & he has been banned for life from the NBA.  What Mr Sterling said was totally unacceptable, despite his comments being made in a private setting.

The idea of a private setting is very relevant for those of us who follow Jesus, based on what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.  Our external actions and words reflect what’s happening in our thoughts & heart.  What we allow our mind to think about & our emotions to dwell on is very important – these are the parts that Jesus totally attacked the religious leaders of His day.  What Mr Sterling said was totally wrong, but let’s be careful about the thoughts & emotions that we allow in our daily living.  Let’s keep our hearts full of Jesus’ love so there’s no place for unforgiveness, bigotry, apathy nor passive hatred.  As a follower of Jesus, our defining characteristic from John 13:35  is our love for one another, so please don’t forget to pray for Mr Sterling   🙂

honesty

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this morning who expressed some observations about me that could be kind of scratchy.  If you’re like me, sometimes when I hear things about me that I don’t like, I want to blow it off & pretend that these things aren’t true.  But just because we may not like certain things that we hear or see about ourselves doesn’t mean that they’re not true – in fact, sometimes the truth hurts, even if a person is trying to be gentle, kind & gracious.

So just because something hurts, does that give us the permission to ignore or lash back?  Nope.

When I step back & pause, what I really want in my life is for The Helper, aka Spirit of Truth, to be comfortable to speak with me and to engage in my daily living – even when it costs me some rough spots and scabs 🙂

So here’s to listening, growing & learning, with band-aids, neosporin & Help 😀

Disconcerting thoughts

In less than a week, I’m going back to Angola w www.savingmoses.org & I have some mixed thoughts about this visit. Of course, I love the people with whom we work & I have nothing but massive respect for the daily work they do. I’m also eager to see some old friends since this will be my 4th visit & I’m getting to make some nice friendships. These are nice things but there are some not very nice things that I experience on these trips. It’s not pleasant to hold a baby who is malnourished & is struggling to survive. It’s difficult to see frenzied moms who are doing everything in their power to keep their baby alive. It’s hard for me sometimes to try & explain the needs I see to an audience that can occasionally be apathetic & cold. But when everything is said & done, despite the tremendous privation I see & the gut wrenching feelings that I experience, on these trips I sense Jesus is very real ways that I’m often unable to explain & because of Jesus’ presence, the disconcerting thoughts are not as severe. Traveling with Jesus helps me to have peace in my mind & heart

lessons from intense conversations

 Yesterday, I had several very intense conversations on a variety of topics.  Why they all compiled onto one day, I don’t know.  But thankfully, they all turned out very constructively. Here are a few things I learned from these discussions:

  • be clear: about what the issues are:  make sure that everyone involved knows what is being discussed
  • keep the main point, the main point:  avoid rabbit trails – take each issue & work on it until its resolved as best as possible
  • avoid emotional escalation:  it’s ok to feel strongly about something, but be careful that your emotions don’t become the central concern of the discussion
  • timing:  rather than rush into a discussion, wait for the right timing – let God give you the green light for the conversation
  • listen carefully: to what the other person is saying, even repeating back in your own words what you think has been said;  this lets the other person know that you’re paying attention & want to understand their point of view
  • focus:  keep your eyes on God as your source of value, significance & direction

My conversations turned out super well – having these kinds of discussions are vital not only for their resolution, but more importantly, for our maturation.  Grow well my friend 😀

ever had any challenges with communication???

 We have had access to massive communication improvements over the past few decades.  If you think about it, did you ever pull the phone cord out of the wall?  In the ’80s, a tweet  would have been “twit” mis-pronounced.  And my idea of “wifi” in the ’70s was more like “hi-fi” in our house with speakers in every room so I could play records throughout the house at maximum volume.  Communication has certainly improved, but we can all stand to make some improvements in our inter-personal communication, especially as it relates to conflict 🙂

Here are some tips that you might find useful in resolving conflict:

  • Understand the issue:  get on the same page about what you’re discussing because often the center of the conflict comes from not discussing the same content
  • Separate what was said from what was heard  (that’s not what I said, but that’s what was heard)
  • Consider the emotions & expectations associated w the conversation – these items can make communication hazy & ineffective if they’re not identified
  • Be patient & listen without asserting your opinion
  • Own your part of the communication challenge – blame sabotages communications & does nothing constructive
  • Be clear by removing subtleties, nuances & emotional telepathy;  these efforts will only leave you frustrated