What Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. tells us about the heart of God

What Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. tells us about the heart of God

This post includes massive spoilers for the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. I'm not talking about minor plot details, I'm talking BIG SPOILERY SPOILERS... secrets will be revealed. So don't read on if you haven't seen the film or don't want it to be ruined. Ready? Dive in.

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The best and worst years of your life are ahead of you

The best and worst years of your life are ahead of you

Hurt, and the avoidance of future hurt, can be the biggest factor that challenges our growth to maturity. The more we shy away from pain, the more we insulate ourselves from the chance to grow and expand our personhood.  When my grandfather died last year I had to face this challenge head on.

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Sailboats and Marriage and Self Sacrifice

Sailboats and Marriage and Self Sacrifice

My wife and I travel in different circles, and are usually headed in different directions. She is a natural planner and strategizer, I am naturally empathic and sensitive. I feel first, she plans first. I work in a Christian ministry, she works at a University. When we got married, I had no idea what my dreams were, what my life’s goals were, or what calling God had placed on my life (whether or not you believe in such things). When we got married, Maija was already working the plan for her life. We’re very different to one another. We’re best friends, we’re lovers, we’re mom and dad to the same kids, but in many ways we’re poles apart.

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Nuance and Abstraction: The World Vision Hiring Fiasco

Nuance and Abstraction: The World Vision Hiring Fiasco

I want to make abundantly clear that the following are my own personal thoughts, and are not in way representative of the views of my employer. It's not often that I have a strong desire to express my thoughts publicly about current events, but the recent furore surrounding World Vision America and their very public tangle with homosexual hiring policy has captured my interest. As someone who facilitates donor relationships for a large charity, someone who has gay Christians in their family, and someone who is generally disturbed by the state of American Christianity(™), I suppose it's the perfect bait.

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When God tests us

When God tests us

My preference would be to just come out and say "God doesn't test us." I considered that as the title for this piece because it's more incendiary, but it's not entirely accurate. Institutional education has given us a definition of "test" that is hard to shake, one whereby we are measured to a standard and we either fail or pass the test based on our performance against said standard. In some cases the standard is not predetermined, but is that of our highest performing peer, and it is against them that we are directly measured and our status of pass/fail is judged. As children, we heard that God was a just and righteous Judge, and we became familiar with his standards. I think bad theology, ill-equipped parents[1], and over-simplified children's Bibles[2] all combined to give us a view of a testing God that we were never meant to have. Because when God tests us, and test us he will, he is not measuring us against his righteous standards. That is not and never has been, the definition of his testing, and it's time that we all got past this.

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God's Own Image

God's Own Image

The scripture in Genesis 1:27 has always fascinated me. It's well known, the first half reading "So God created man in his own image". This concept of man being made in God's image is one of the oldest pieces of theology in my memory, so it's a concept that I suppose strongly impacted my early childhood understanding of God and humanity. I can imagine a conversation taking place between mother and child…

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Stack ranking to gain team insight

Stack ranking to gain team insight

Stack ranking is controversial. It destroyed Microsoft from the inside out, yet it helps make Valve the incredible company it is. Put simply, stack ranking is the practice of rating employees directly against one another, rather than against their job descriptions or some other standard. You're ranking your employees... stacking them on top of one another based on whatever criteria you find helpful. At Microsoft, it looks like stack ranking was the supervisor's responsibility, which over time led to a culture of intense competition between employees that destroyed moral and the team environment. At Valve, stack ranking is performed by your peers (as is almost everything), so it appears to contribute to the sense of ownership that each person has with each other. That's a very cursory analysis and it's likely flawed... but it's helpful to examine as a means of gaining team insight. Stack ranking, as with any other form of management and evaluation, is only going to cause damage or success in direct relation to how to use the results.

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The ministry machine of the last era has sunk

The ministry machine of the last era has sunk

God is in the business of upsetting church cultural tradition. We have permission to explore a new world with Christ, and anyone who ventures outside the four walls of traditional church will find that they are far from alone.

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The New Missional Paradigm - Part 3: Church as Community, Work as Church

The New Missional Paradigm - Part 3: Church as Community, Work as Church

This post is the final in a 3-part series called "The New Missional Paradigm"; it's something of a manifesto on the intersection of church, community and business management. Please see the first part for a thorough introduction, and for an introduction to the concept of spiritual community: what it is, and why it's God's plan.

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The New Missional Paradigm - Part 2: Rethinking Business Management

The New Missional Paradigm - Part 2: Rethinking Business Management

This is the second in a 3-part article called "The New Missional Paradigm"; it's something of a manifesto on the intersection of church, community and business management. Please see the first part for a thorough introduction.

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The New Missional Paradigm - Part 1: The Promised Land

The New Missional Paradigm - Part 1: The Promised Land

This is the first in a 3-part article called "The New Missional Paradigm"; it's something of a manifesto on the intersection of church, community and business management.

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