I am reading Crucial Conversations–moving very slowly through it and it is excellent. They provide video links to illustrate what they are saying in the text (a bit awkward if you are reading on a kindle) and have even sent me other articles to read. I just finished their Eliminating Cultures of Silence, a position paper by Crucial Conversations and have clipped a number of sections out of it into Evernote. Following are some four reasons they suggest in this paper as to why a culture of silence may exist in your (or in my own) organization.
1. You observe a potential problem, but you figure the possible calamity isn’t a sure thing. It’s not like death or bankruptcy is imminent; they’re just possibilities.
2. Nobody else seems concerned and you don’t want to sound like an alarmist.
3. You figure even if you do speak up, nobody will actually change anything—the organization is too mired in bureaucracy.
4. Finally, it seems like a sure bet that saying something will damage your career. You would be delivering a really unpopular message (“I think you need to re-examine the launch—at the cost of fifty million dollars.” “I think we need to confront the senior execs and maybe send them to jail.” “I think the doctor is wrong and needs to follow my ideas.”). And messengers get shot.
This inability to bring up touchy, controversial, or unpopular issues lies at the heart of every culture of silence.
Which of these is most problematic for you and your organization.
My reading for today was 2 Timothy 1:1-14.
I ended up focusing on verse 14, “By the Holy Spirit who dwells in you, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV) I think I enjoy reading Timothy more than Romans because Timothy needs lots of reassurance and encouragement from Paul, especially in this passage and I do as well. I sometimes wonder if God has made a mistake in trusting such a good deposit to me!
Here is what I wrote in my journal this morning, “I need not doubt God’s power and ability to transform a life–including my own. I need not doubt the goodness of the gospel. Does the good news need to be defended? When questioned, Christ Jesus guards the gospel and me (12), the Holy Spirit guards and protects the good news–keeping it from being defiled, trampled upon. The good news when believed releases the power of God in a person’s life.” Yes, yes God!
Can anything good come from impatience? I imagine someone saying, “yes, when you are impatient with mediocrity.” Even if that is true, does not patience still needs to saturate our words and actions since we all know that patience is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22)?
As I reflected this morning about my own habitual cultivation of impatience, I yearn to see patient people distinguishing themselves as counter cultural beacons.
“And the people became impatient on the way” is the phrase from Numbers 21:4 that started my thinking this morning. A few of my own conclusions about impatience.
Why am I impatient? I am often impatient because I am discontented, ungrateful, proud (thinking my self and my time as more important than others), and because I am not led by the Spirit.
What are the consequences of my impatience The short answer: sin. Yes, when I am impatient, I sin; I sin against others; I cause others to sin (when they get impatient with my own impatient–you know how that goes).
How can I avoid impatience? Go slow (driving, walking, eating, talking). Practice simplicity (see Richard Foster for more on this). Be alert (to the Spirit’s leading, to what is happening around me and within me). Consider others (as more important than myself from Philippians 2).
And finally, how wonderful to mull over, What happens when I am patience? Four words come to mind. Joy. Contentment. Compassion. Humility.
Lord, I do not know if I can pray for patience but I do long that others would see me to be a truly patient man.
Your thoughts on impatience are welcome.
What does hell have that the church needs? I heard the answer to this question this morning from our presenter Curtis. As we looked at the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, Curtis pointed out what the rich man did when he realized that there was a great chasm between him and heaven that could not be crossed (26). The rich man asked in verse 27 that someone be sent to his family to warn them, “for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
What does hell have that the church needs?
Compassion for the lost!
As I sat stunned in the room by these words, Curtis then said, “Often, there is more compassion in hell for the lost than there is in the church.”
We had been challenged to make a list of 100 people that we knew. Again Curtis spoke, “The only way to bring relief for your families is for you to share the life-giving and life-transforming good news about Jesus!” What a challenge for me to be persistent and bold in sharing the good new with those I love and care about.
Updated: May 23 2013 (originally published in 2010)
I am a survivor of suicide–this means that someone close to me completed suicide– was successful in their suicide attempt. So, I am a survivor, the one left behind. In my case the first time I was put into the survivor category was over forty years ago when my mother completed suicide.
A number of years ago, I began to explore how suicide affected my own life. I attended a Survivors of Suicide meeting for a few months and found it helpful. Equipped with a little understanding about these type of meetings, I then led a SOS meeting overseas where I was living–we met for over a year. We lost a colleague to suicide in the last few years and the topic came up again and led me to write about my journey once again. I am grateful my sharing led to conversations with a few people. I attempted to be a safe place for people to process their pain by listening to them tell the story of a past suicide in their life. I guess that is the best we can do for anyone who is a survivor of suicide.
A comment on a post about suicide that I made in 2007 got me thinking again. SOS used to have a helpful website. They still have a website with some information and a link to survivor of suicide groups on the suicidology.org website Unfortunately, there are not many meetings around–I counted half a dozen in the Dallas area and one in San Antonio for Texas where I live–none in Houston, the largest city where I used to attend my SOS meetings. Perhaps they still exist in another form or by another name. If anyone has information on that, I would appreciate them making a comment for others.
I wonder if college students are any more uncomfortable talking about these topics but if they are survivors, talking seems to be a requirement to move on to healing in my opinion. Anyway, I found the following that may be helpful to some. It is designed more for those who lost someone recently to suicide but I think it may be helpful even if the suicide happened a long time ago. Here is another post I made about why not to commit suicide.
Suggestions for Survivors
by Iris M. Bolton
- Know you can survive. You may not think so, but you can.
- Struggle with “why” it happened until you no longer need to know, or until you are satisfied with partial answers.
- Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings, but know that all your feelings are normal.
- Anger, guilt, confusion, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not crazy, you are in mourning.
- Be aware you may feel appropriate anger at the person, at the world, at God, at yourself. It is okay to express it.
- You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do. Guilt can turn into regret, through forgiveness.
- Having suicidal thoughts is common. It does not mean that you will act on those thoughts.
- Remember to take one moment or one day at a time.
- Find a good listener with whom to share. Call someone if you need to talk.
- Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears are healing. Give yourself time to heal.
- Remember the choice was not yours. No one is the sole influence in another life.
- Expect setbacks. If emotions return like a tidal wave, you may only be experiencing a remnant of grief, an unfinished piece.
- Try to put off major decisions.
- Give yourself permission to get professional help.
- Be aware of the pain of your family and friends.
- Be patient with yourself and with others who may not understand.
- Set your own limits and learn to say no.
- Steer clear of people who want to tell you what or how to feel.
- Know that there are support groups that can be helpful, such as Compassionate Friends or Survivors of Suicide groups. If not, ask a professional to help start one.
- Call on your personal faith to help you through.
- It is common to experience physical reactions to your grief, e.g., headaches, loss of appetite, inability to sleep.
- The willingness to laugh with others and at yourself is healing.
- Explore your questions, anger, guilt, or other feelings until you can let them go.
- Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting.
Know that you will never be the same again, but that you can survive and even thrive.
I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about learning what it means to live locally. This followed after I began to read Zack Eswine’s book, Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being. Eswine writes, that we are “merely human and only local.” We forget that only “Jesus is human, but not merely. Jesus is local, but not only” What then are the implications for me (us) if we admit that we are merely human?
This requires a choice. To be merely human means, in contrast to Jesus, that we are not God. Most, if not all of us know this theologically but many of us resist this practically. To be human means that we accept that we have limits. It means we cannot do it all, we cannot know it all and we cannot be everywhere. Eswine’s writing should liberate us, “Being human does not mar greatness; it informs it and sets its noble boundaries.” 351
Sadly for ourselves and for those we live with and minister to, our refusal to accept and live within these limits only creates insurmountable problems, “Trying to be an exception to the human race encourages arrogance among most of us and burnout among many of us.” 246 We have bought into the serpent’s lie in the Garden, “You will be like God” (Gen. 3:5). Our grasp for attributes that only belong to God gets us into trouble and in the end prevents us from loving others. Again Eswine nails it, “As ministry leaders we endeavor to give of our lives in such a way that every neighbor we minister to will know that we are not God. The Serpent’s invitation to celebrity, immediate gratification, and using people to advance ourselves as if we are God poisons the air.” 652
We can only be at one place at one time. “We will resist and want to act like we are omnipresent. But he will patiently teach us that as human beings we cannot be, and this admission will glorify God. Others will likewise resist Jesus and want you to be omnipresent. They will use his name to praise or critique you accordingly, but they too will have to learn that only Jesus can be with them wherever they are at all times. This fact is actually good news for them and for us.” 766
We cannot do everything that needs to be done. “Jesus will teach us to live with the things that we can neither control nor fix. We will want to resist Jesus and act as if we are omnipotent, but we will harm others and ourselves when we try. Others will also resist Jesus. Using his name, they will praise or critique us according to their desire that we fix everything for them and that we do it immediately. But they will have to learn too that only Jesus can fix everything and that there are some things Jesus leaves unfixed for his glory.” 771
We are unable to know everyone or everything. “Jesus will teach us to live with ignorance, our own and others’. In other words, we are not omniscient. Jesus will require us to stop pretending that we are. Others will resist Jesus and in his name praise us or critique us on the basis of their estimation of what we should know. They will have to learn that only Jesus knows everything they need; his invitation to faith and to trust in his knowing is a good one.” 777
In what way are you most tempted? Thinking you can do it all? Thinking you can know it all? Thinking you can be everywhere? Eswine asks us, “What do you feel you will lose if you stop pretending in these ways and entrust yourself to Jesus?” 782