Issue No. 238 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a hot-off-the-press book from the authors of TrueFaced and Bo’s Café. It’s a powerful book to share with your staff in 2012. Merry Christmas! And this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
The Room of Good Intentions
Ruth Haley Barton says that “the best thing you bring to leadership is your own transforming self.”
But…what if you or the people you work with are stuck, plateaued or going south in their walk with God? What if you can smell the dysfunction, but can’t quite label it? What if working harder and smarter still doesn’t cut it? What if sin (big sins and little sins—prioritized within your precise theology) is the perpetual obstacle to personal health and corporate health?
What if (and here’s the kicker)…God isn’t who you think He is and neither are you?
As you reflect on your own spiritual journey—and the spiritual journey of your colleagues, your boss, your board members, your volunteers, your spouse and/or family members—sometimes defining reality is the first big step. Trust me—this hot-off-the-press book defines reality, perhaps like no book you have ever read.
The Cure gently describes (in story and commentary) two profound fork-in-the-road choices. One fork: a “Pleasing God” sign points me to a giant building labeled “Striving Hard to Be All God Wants Me to Be.” The door has a title, “Self-Effort.” Inside, I’m drawn to the Room of Good Intentions. It’s downhill from there as the co-authors invite us into the richness of the story—and the futility of this choice.
The wicked hoax, as John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall describe it, is the hopeless equation: “More Right Behavior + Less Wrong Behavior = Godliness.” (Not!)
The clarity of the Good News jumps off the pages in all seven fork-in-the-road chapters: Two Roads, Two Faces, Two Gods, Two Solutions, Two Healings, Two Friends, and Two Destinies. Down the other path, gratefully, is the Room of Grace.
They write: “You’re in the Room of Grace! Grace! That word appears 122 times in the New Testament. The Judaizers in the Apostle Paul’s day hated it. They feared what it would do if it got loose. ‘Paul, you can’t tell them this!’ they said. ‘These people are immature, lazy and have little religious background. They’ll abuse as soon as they can. They’ll live Christianity-lite. These people are weak and want to do whatever they want. And believe me, what they want is not good.’”
We’ve been suspicious of cheap grace all our lives—so many of us hustle back to the Room of Good Intentions where we’re more comfortable with a book of rules, disciplined striving and serious sin management. Eventually though, some of us—because of Jesus—strip off our masks. “No one told me that when I wear a mask, only my mask receives love.” Wow.
The Two Healings chapter oozes with fresh insight and descriptive markers. “If you haven’t been here yet, you will. You’ll be wronged, hurt, then feel left for dead in an environment promoting just the opposite. It’s a dangerous moment, because it causes us to wonder whether a place of safety, authenticity, grace, and love is actually possible this side of heaven. It’s here that many of us make the choice to return to our self-preserving ways.”
Reflect on a recent relational conflict and maybe you will identify with this: “Suddenly, in a fight you never wanted, you discover you’re not only the victim but the issue.” Then notice how the 11 escalating responses (what…not 10?) are uncomfortably too familiar. Example: “You become intent on telling ‘your side of things’ to as many as possible.” (How did they hack my emails? Yikes.)
Some readers trust me way too much when I pontificate, “Read this book!” One size (one book) doesn’t fit all. Except this one. This one is waaaaay different and way too important. You must read this book—and share it widely.
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol and Bill Thrall.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) The Cure’s fictional character complains, “Soon, I was back to trying to impress a God I imagined was growing more and more impatient with me.” Can you relate?
2) The authors write, “Believers in Christ additionally are tempted to wear a mask when we think we’re in competition with others, graded on a spiritual curve.” Do you have colleagues, or family members, who grade themselves?
Eliminate the Fog Factor! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Printing Bucket, Chapter 19, in Mastering the Management Buckets is to combat the fog factor in your written materials. Does your audience understand what you’ve written? There is an objective way to measure the fog factor.
Run your newsletter—or a story on your website—through the “Readability Statistics” in your spellcheck software. For example, the Flesch-Kincaid grade level for this eNews issue is 7.1. And the Flesch reading level is 68.3 on a scale of 100. What are your fog factor scores?
For more resources, visit the Printing Bucket webpage.