Having too much to do in too little time is normal. Leighton Ford, my wise mentor for over 30 years, once told me: “Pete, the problem is that if you are faithful to Christ over the long-haul, the demands on your time and energy will only increase as you get older. This problem of having too much to do in too little time is never going away.” The great challenge is to lead yourself first. Consider the following reflections (written to myself) from my journal: Be calm and clear about yourself. You can only be clear about where you are and your own “true self in Christ.” Your inner tensions today are a call from God for additional time for prayer and reflection to wrestle with your “inner demons” so that you can to listen to His will and priorities (See Matthew 4:1-11). Hold onto what God has given you to do and do. Read more.
Leaders have a number of key tasks if we are to operate out of high level of integrity. These include: 1. Confronting myself. Am I calm and clear about what God has given me to do? Where am I doing the easy thing, not the best thing for those around me? Where am I abandoning my own values? How am I allowing fear to cause me to ignore problems? 2. Mastering myself in the face of anxiety. When we don’t, we end up looking for validation from other people. We end up using the people we aim to serve. 3. Tolerating discomfort. There is never a good time to change things. In fact, it is impossible to create change while maintaining stability. To kindly bring up hard things others want is one of our critical tasks. 4. Getting clear on my goals and steps. This is hard work.The alternative, however, is much worse. Once. Read more.
We (Geri and Pete) recently watched a movie that we have talked about for days – Temple Grandin. The movie describes her life as an autistic young girl who courageously overcomes the limitations and severe challenges of life with autism in the 1960’s when so little was understood about it. She goes on to high school and college, and today is a professor at Colorado State University. Through the telling of her life with autism, Temple gives to the world numerous gifts. Two of those gifts, in particular, resonated deeply with two of our foundational spiritual practices. 1.We Each Need a “Squeeze Machine.” Temple created this “hug box” or “squeeze machine” to help calm her down as a hypersensitive, autistic person when overwhelmed. We too know what it is like to have our nervous system overloaded by the crisis of life. Every one of us needs a means to calm us down and to. Read more.
As I was reading Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, by Peter Steinke (an excellent read), I began to wonder. Are we being honest about the depth nor extent of the fundamental illness afflicting our leadership of the church in the 21st century? Maybe better said, am I being honest with myself? As we work with denominations and pastors, many of whom are now doing the church-wide initiative in emotionally healthy spirituality, it is becoming increasingly clear that the call to slow down our lives so we have integrity, is much more comprehensive and far-reaching than we initially realized. Our faulty training and models for church leadership have so negatively shaped us that, to sustain long-term change, we need an enormous inward passion from within and external support for a new direction. Steinke cites an illustration out of the medical field. For thousands of years, women were dying of fever at childbirth. This. Read more.
This was my fifth retreat with the 70+ monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Massachusetts. Maybe since it was the end of my 6 weeks away from the responsibility of leading New Life, but I entered into a deep calm, silence and rhythm with their life almost immediately. One of the highlights of the weekend was a conversation with Father Kizito Kwame, a West Indian who has been with them for 49 years. He joined at the age of 17 when the monastery was at its height (1958-1960) of 200 monks. He recently returned from 10 years of serving among the 25 Trappist monasteries in Africa. A part of me so longed to remain on the mountaintop with God and not leave return to checkbooks, house, problems, needs, noise and traffic of NYC, that I complained to him for a while, shared with him this inner compulsion I often feel to be a monk, etc.. Read more.