Archive for November, 2009

While considering the prospect of reaching into the lives of others in the attempt to help people generate positive change in their lives, there is a need for some self reflection.  Who do I think I am to offer such advice – is it sage?  Does one need to be perfect in a sphere to offer opinion, counsel, or guidance?

I would like to share a concept I call the Bennett Syndrome.  It’s named after author and commentator Bill Bennett who wrote the book “The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories.”  After having this book publish and after speaking about about immorality and growing amorality within our so called modern society, it was uncovered that Mr. Bennett was a gambler.

This discovery lead many to question the concept of morality itself.  Could somebody espouse morals and not be morally pure?  Many would say no.  You can’t preach about anything you can’t do.

I couldn’t disagree more.

This is the same line of reasoning that says you can’t have a say in foreign affairs or military matters unless you’ve served yourself.  Unfortunately this line of reason is rather circular.  So would you say that I couldn’t speak on drug use unless I was a user myself?  In fact following this same logic – only those who are immoral could have any clout whatsoever to speak on morality – since they’re the only ones who have “lived on the other side.”  That’s absurd.

So all that just to say this.  I am on a journey in life.  I’m striving to improve, to change, to navigate my way through the waters I find myself in, to weather the storms of life.  Can I only speak to situations I’ve been in myself?  Must I finish my life before I can say anything about it?  I say no.  There are insights gained through synthesis that we don’t have to live through ourselves.  Can’t you look an someone’s situation and say, “Hmm, it would seem to me that their next step should be ______.”  Some would call that perspective.

So do I struggle to be organized?  Yes.  Do I suffer from acute and chronic bouts of procrastination?  I most certainly do.

Does this mean that I do not (or cannot) advocate vociferous action to be take by charting a course and setting sail?

As a financial mentor that I admire has said, “God makes me teach this stuff because I struggle with it every day.”

You can teach from a position of “been there, done that.”  And that is a very valid and valuable position to instruct from.  But there is also the “brother in arms,” struggle along side, I’m in there with you, “I feel your pain,” kind of teaching that has a respectable place and insights to offer as well.

That’s my opinion.

Do you have an opinion?  Why don’t you share it in the comments?

What causes you to move?  What spurs you into action?

  • Is it the ticking clock or the day on the calendar with the red circle around it?  Is the deadline looming before you?
  • Is it the dread of missed opportunities in the past, or disappointment you’ve cause others by your unwillingness to get going?
  • Is it a hunger or deep seated desire that burns from within that drives you on?
  • Is it a transcendent moment of inspiration that causes you to look up and away from your circumstance and see something higher and more beautiful, and you don’t even notice that your feet have begun to move of their own volition?

There may be others as well, but I have to stop at this last one.  It’s what brought me here to share this with you.

At the end of September I attended the annual Peacemakers’ Conference.  It was in Dallas, TX this year.  This was my sixth one and each year I come away inspired and full of intentions to blaze a new path for the next year.

This year was special because I was able to graduate – here we are graduating (source)

2009 Annual Conference Graduation

That’s my big head popping up all the way over on the left.  The other tall, lanky bookend on the right is Ken Sande, the founder of the ministry and author of The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict (note this is an affiliate link to Amazon, I’ll receive two nickles if you buy this book! And it’s worth buying, I’ll vouch for that.)

At the conference a video short was shown and I was one of many who asked if a copy could be made available for sharing or even using to make a point during presentations.  They are a responsive bunch out there at the Billings, MT headquarters.  They offered it up in a way I can share it here.

And it was this video that knocked me off center and got me to blog about it!  And that, in turn, will cause me to share the super secret location of this blog with you because I want you to see this little video.  And now that you know I’m here, you can come back and visit and hold me accountable to launch out and press ahead. (You can get an e-mail to tell you I’ve posted something here if you will share your e-mail address with me in the little box over on the right.

This video is kind of a mind trip, so get your headphones on and turn up your brain’s neurons – you only have to pay attention for less than two minutes.  I know you can do it.

You must comment below and tell me your impression. I was really impacted and I want to hear from you about how it touches you.

Just getting started.
We are headed into the month of November, the seasons are in full display.  Our tree in the back yard that runs right up against the house was so confused that it was budding, while the huge burning bush we have in the front went in two days from a gigantic fireball of crimson to a tangly mass of twigs.  The year is winding down.

As the winds pick up and the temperature drops, it almost seems natural to pull your coat a little tighter and turn in on yourself philosophically as much as physically.  This year is almost spent, where did it go?  By that I mean, what did you do with it?  More personally what did I do with it?  It is a natural time to ask those type of questions.  Recounting and tracking the past are good and worthy exercises.

However, this becomes little more than reminiscing if we don’t take what we gather and direct that knowledge towards plans for the future.  Now is the time to begin planning.  It is time to maneuver our thoughts to be in position to launch out into the new year.

I keep looking for the ideal place to chronicle my steps.  I want a place that I can access online, because it makes it easy for me to get to.  I also have determined to keep it public so that I can be held accountable for my determinations and so that my mistakes can be learned from by more than just me.  I’ve tried a number of things, but blogging just seems to be such a natural fit for this kind of activity.

In keeping with the nautical theme that I’ve found to help express many of the things I’ve learned or am learning, we’re going to call these types of posts the Captain’s Log.  I started by getting this site up – this is probably the 4th incarnation of setofsail.com and the theme was just found off the Internet, it’s nothing specialized.  But it gives me a visual of where I’m headed.  Setting sail.  Launching out.  In motion.  It’s a start. And as you can see from the picture, it could well be a rocky start!

I invite you to come along with me.  See how things grow and change and be encouraged.  What I want you to see is that I’m not perfect, but I’m on the move.  I especially want you to get the sense that I have nothing that you yourself can’t have.  You can launch out on your own journey.  We can be fellow travelers.  I invite you to come along with me and let’s see what we can see.