Category Archives: books

Every Monday Matters

no-cat

As we begin this new year, many of us are making resolutions. And here, on January 7, my guess is that many of us have already broken those resolutions. There are any number of reasons why we’ve already given up – lack of discipline, lack of motivation, abundance of distractions and temptations. However, there is a simple component which, when missing, makes room for all these other roadblocks…and, when present, levels the field tremendously.

So very often, for whatever reason, we make our resolutions in isolation rather than in community. We may tell others what we “want” to do and hope that the accountability will keep us on track. But the kicker is, we don’t really expect to do well…and the prospect of having to tell others we didn’t follow through simply isn’t that much of a motivator.

There’s a reason “strength in numbers” is a saying we all know. Whether we’re talking new year’s resolutions, a Rule of Life, or walking through the woods at night, stuff just works out better when there is someone(s) else along for the journey.

The accountability structure, where we tell others what we’re going to do so that they can later check-up on our progress, tries to distill the benefit of community for use in our hyper-individual society…without having to actually do things together. It is better than nothing, but pales in comparison to actual shared experience. Accountability is often based on fear – fear of looking like a failure, fear of breaking faith, fear of mutually agreed upon consequences. And that can be effective. To a certain degree.

But the actual shared experience is different. It isn’t about avoiding, it is about embracing. Avoiding fear and consequences becomes embracing hope and adventure.

To be sure, in situations where shared experience isn’t possible, we’re certainly better off having others who can at least encourage us in word, if not deed. In coaching, my primary task is to help the client determine their goals, form a plan with concrete action steps, and then evaluate the effectiveness after the fact. It isn’t my job to make people feel guilty when they don’t follow through. It IS my job to help them understand why they didn’t and address the barriers. Often what we determine is that, for whatever reason, they just aren’t going to complete this task on their own. “Should” and “ought” are pointless when combined with “but don’t.” In that case there are a couple logical responses.

The first is the goal isn’t really that important. Perhaps in this case, what they “should” do is stop stressing about it and move on. Of course, we often resist this option. But here’s the deal – if we aren’t going to complete this task, the consequences will be the same whether it remains on our “to do” list or not. So we have to ask, how important is this task? Is the stress of an incomplete task greater than the actual consequence of not completing?

Many times the stuff we’re stressing over isn’t that important. Letting it go can open the door to more effectiveness in other areas – and often we’ll find ourselves circling back to this issue down the road.

But when the goal is important, and we realize we are not going to get it done on our own, then it makes sense to find someone to work with us. Maybe its asking a spouse, sibling, coworker, neighbor or group of friends to join us. Or it could mean hiring an assistant, consultant or contractor.

I didn’t make any individual resolutions this year. I’m not very good with them and I decided to pass on the personal guilt trip this time around the sun. However, Rachel came across this book, Every Monday Matters. The book is part of a growing movement of people choosing to reclaim the least desirable day of the week as a time for shared experience and positive change. Check out the introductory video below.

So yesterday The Gathering decided that we would take up this challenge together as families. We won’t all do the activities together as a large group – the basic unit of “we” in this shared experience is the household. However, we’ll discuss our activities as a community, encourage one another and from time-to-time orchestrate larger joint efforts.

I encourage you and your family to join us. You can order a print copy of the book HERE or download the Kindle version HERE. Check out the EMM facebook page and website for updates.

If you’d like to join The Gathering in participating and discussing, just use the “contact us” form in the right hand column and put Every Monday Matters in the comments section. We’ll send out reminders each Monday and provide opportunities to dialog about experiences and team up for group activities. We’d love to have you join us.

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Where I’ve Been…

A couple people have asked when I was going to post again…many many other people have not asked.

Recently I’ve been loaded down with extra work to pay the bills, reading books, writing papers that aren’t very bloggy (translation: too long) and trying to learn how to live missionally in my community with the new overly full schedule.

But I have plans to post some stuff soon – several things that have had plenty of time to incubate, a few papers that can be whittled down to manageable lengths and some new stuff that is just starting to simmer. For those who are interested, I’d like to provide a list of books I’ve read over the past few months and a few that I’ll be reading over the next couple. Some of these have already had an enormous impact on my thinking. I plan to write a short blurb about each of them (some very short, some more lengthy) The titles on this page will become links to those posts as they become available.

Longing For Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Community by Elaine Heath

The Mystic Way of Evangelism by Elaine Heath

Organic Church by Neil Cole (I was supposed to read this one a long time ago…)

Introducing the Missional Church by Alan Roxburgh

New Monasticism by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Becoming an Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism edited by Rutba House

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder

The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

The Shaping of Things to Come by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost

ReJesus by Hirsch and Frost

The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch (another one I’ve had for a while but hadn’t gotten around to)

How (Not) To Speak of God by Peter Rollins

TO BE READ VERY SOON:

With Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development by John Perkins

God’s Economy: Redefining the Health and Wealth Gospel by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

No Rising Tide: Theology, Economics and the Future by Joerg Rieger

The New Friars by Scott Bessenecker

Inhabiting the Church: Biblical Wisdom for a New Monasticism by Jon Stock, Tim Otto and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Evangelism After Christendom by Bryan Stone

Organic Leadership by Neil Cole

A Million Miles…

Here’s a preview of Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles In a Thousand Years, which is scheduled for release towards the end of September. I found the code on this site if you’d like to embed it – it’ll also post to twitter and facebook.
I received a few strange looks when I laughed out loud in the library while reading it. Donald Miller you have humiliated me again…but I like it.

A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=19148891&access_key=key-27ejvcf46eri632qgis1&page=1&version=1&viewMode=

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