Your Journey Starts Here

Whether you have already read the book "Through the River" or are interested in the topic of truth and how it impacts your faith and relationships, we welcome you and look forward to interacting with you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Foundations Are Important

"We recognize that the taller and more expansive a leader's dream,
the deeper the foundation must be."
- Kouzes and Posner in "Credibility"
In a world that lives from minute to minute on cable news, your appearance and ability to act like you are in control are of huge value. But as Kouze and Posner so powerfully share in their book on credibility, the true measure of your impact and effectiveness does not come from your ability to put on a good performance. It comes from deep within.
The problem with "deep within" is that it is messy, complicated and hard to sell in a 5 minute news segment. But that doesn't really matter does it? In the end the foundational things in your life are much more critical to your faith, relationships and outreach than your ability to put on a good show.
Our book "Through the River" is about some of those deeper things. It is about a part of your worldview that defines how you understand truth. It is not easy to put in a box and you can't explain it in a 50 second elevator speech, but it changes everything about how you view the world. These assumptions about truth are called your epistemology - we use the term "truth lens" to bring it down to earth.
Your truth lens is what you use to define truth in every part of your life. It is foundational. How you view truth will shape your faith, the way you view other people and the way that you act out your faith in evangelism and service.
Now your truth lens isn't the only foundational thing you need to be finding out about . . . but it is a very important one. As you explore your truth lens, you will begin to understand why you struggle to get along with Uncle Joe, why you believe the way you do about a certain social issue and why you approach outreach a certain way.
Our effort in this book is to help you be aware of the truth lenses that are most prevalent in the Western world today and to help you decide which one will help you serve God most effectively.
I know you are too busy to learn about your truth lens . . . that's ok. Take time anyway. You will find that as you invest in the foundations, other things make much more sense. Your life can be lived much more on purpose and your impact is exponentially increased. Lets build some foundations together!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dumb Outreach

What a silly name . . . there is no dumb outreach from the perspective of the people being helped. But if you think about the quality of the encounter, dumb outreach is pretty common. Why is the quality of our outreach so poor when we have so many resources/materials and helps?

Most of the time we focus on tools and strategies for outreach and not on relationships. In the end our outreach teams are all about relationships and a tool might help. And in those relationships we tend to spend little or no time understanding how each other thinks about what we are doing.

Thinking about what you think with sounds obscure and confusing, but all it means is that we understand the assumptions that drive our actions. Do you understand the assumptions held by the people you minister with? In our upcoming book we equip you with the three core assumptions about truth that are prevelant today. At first pass it is easy to think that all Christians view truth the same - but they don't.

And how you view truth changes everything about how you reach out to others. In the coming weeks we will be telling you more, but take a moment and think about those you minister with in church, school, work, etc. Think about how they view the world and the assumptions they have.

Now you are on the track to trading in that dumb outreach for some smart strategic ministry.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Now What?

So now that you understand the three most prevalent truth lenses being used today (Positivism, Instrumentalism and Critical Realism), what do you do with this information? You suddenly understand why your co-worker in the next cubicle always wants to argue with you about politics; she is using the positivist truth lens and is trying to get you to understand the right way to view things. But how does having this knowledge help you relate to her in a better way?

So let’s say that you are using the critical realist truth lens and your co-worker is using, like we said, the positivist truth lens. The first thing to ask is what you have in common in your view of truth. You can start there.

The critical realist truth lens and the positivist truth lens both value knowable truth. This is the starting point. You and your co-worker both believe that truth can be discovered and there is a right and wrong. You can spend a lot of time talking about the truth that is known and appreciating the world we live in. But what about when you disagree?

It helps to understand where you differ in what you believe. The divergence is in the knowing of truth. You will disagree about the degree to which something can be known. The critical realist will believe that things in our finiteness cannot be known fully on this earth. We are always on a journey of discovery, filling in a montage that gives us more and more information about the world but which is never complete. The positivist will be on a quest to fully know that truth in the here and now, putting together a picture puzzle where one missing piece ruins the whole.

One strength of the critical realist truth lens is the humble position from which it comes at the problem of truth. This humility is hard to argue with, though it may be seen as a weakness to some. It naturally changes a debate into a discussion.

Aside from the humble position, it is also important to come from a loving perspective. Love is a great healer, and can solve many relationship problems. Keeping love at a high level in your interactions with others will help in the development of your relationships.