Today’s blog feature is a special request of mine of my colleague and faithful leader in The Collaborative, Crosland Stuart. I was honored to attend the funeral of her father, Bill Stuart, this past week in Bartow, Florida, at the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Her well written, carefully constructed reflection on her father’s life moved me, and I know will do the same for you.
Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Drucker’s insight applies equally well to contemporary American culture grappling with issues of human life and death. Legal strategies seeking to influence our practices around life and its beginning, death and its end, and the many gray complexities in between, will always be eaten for breakfast by the American culture.
Any time a new initiative is started there can be confusion as to how it fits in with the whole, especially if the initiative is multi-faceted, and The Collaborative is no exception. While our branding, communication efforts, and public events have been helpful, understanding each aspect can still be a bit fuzzy, particularly in these early years and given the large constituency that is First Presbyterian Church Orlando. This week’s blog is designed to provide some clarity with regards to The Heart of the City Fellows Program. We were featured in this blog that was written by the The Fellows Institute, which is the governing entity for Fellows programs nationwide.
Some people dread this day, others are depressed by it, and still others feel burdened by the obligation to get it right. One trend I am loving is this idea that Valentines is no longer necessarily an evening in a dark corner of a restaurant with the love of your life. Rather many are broadening the circle and seeing it is an opportunity to celebrate friends and family.
I’m generally not one for new years resolutions. If, however, any of my evangelical friends were to ask what I’d recommend, I’d suggest three. 1) Recognize an important milestone likely to happen in 2019. 2) Recognize what this milestone means. 3) Recognize that doing more of what we’re already doing is not a solution.
At the beginning of this week we, as a nation, celebrated MLK Day. While not everyone received a day off, it would be hard to miss that much of our country was moving to a different rhythm this past Monday. It is curious to me how a variation, even a seemingly insignificant one (like a day off), can prove to be a positive disruptor. These positive disruptors can manifest themselves in a myriad of ways, something out of the ordinary.
We should ask ourselves several questions and among them should be: 1) Does my company/department/policies/work habits promote the well-being of the family? And 2) Does my management style devalue humans or bolster one’s worth? There are other questions that could surface, but these are places to start.
As we re-emerge from the Christmas haze, it is a good time to remember the point of Christ’s birth. He came so that we might be redeemed, and as a redeemed people we are called to live in a manner that strives to recover that which has been lost through the Fall. Asking ourselves how our jobs, families, friendships, etc. can be redeemed helps to shape our goals for 2019. Understanding what the idols in our lives are can also shape our resolutions. So much of what needs to be redeemed is tied to our destructive idols. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Atheism was not introduced in the garden, but idolatry was.” So, these two questions about redemption and idolatry serve to minimize how distracted we are by our feelings, our personal definitions of truth, and our own sins—filters that keep us focused on those things that are truly significant.