Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Inner Island

Last night was one of those fun nights for a parent, when, after you put your child to bed, it's hours and hours of waiting for your child to fall to sleep. On such evenings, the ritual saga usually begins this way: 30 minutes of "Goodnight Daddy", 27 minutes of crying, 15 more minutes of tirade with bottle being thrown, 20 minutes more of singing and talking, 15 minutes of taking off pajamas and sitting in crib naked, 20 minutes of silence before sleep. It's a lot of alone time.

Over the past year, though, I have thought about how this time that my daughter Haley spends by herself in bed is an essential tool in helping her develop. It in helping her to find and moor her soul upon something other than outside stimuli. It is helping her to find and develop what I like to call her - "INNER ISLAND".

And I know that as Haley grows older - that this inner island will be an important piece of her soul. It will be an important PEACE of her soul. Because life will sometimes be often a storm of wild waves, a tempestuous tsunami of difficulty, a myasm of unmet expectation, a bundle of of frustration and challenge. Life will not always be easy.

Here's my question for you for the week? Where is your inner island? Do you have one? When was the last time you visited?

Because Haley is not alone. We all need an inner island - a place to moor our boats. In my experience, the island in our souls is best when it is cultivated at an early age - in a crib, a sandbox, on a school yard playground, at a grandparent's house during long summer holidays, sitting in a Sunday pew in a church where the pastor has no apparent understanding of preaching limits (gulp:-). But it there we find our inner island.

Most important, God should be there. Jesus spent many hours and days by himself, in prayer, searching for an ineffable mooring on the roiling cultural and religious seas of first century Israel - with the small community of fishermen in Galilee.

Jesus said; "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt 11:29-30)

Where is your Inner Island?

All for Now,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Outliers" is Outstanding

Every once in a while I come across a book that is written for a secular audience, but which is more Christian than anything I am reading in the religious sphere.  The current book I am reading is more Presbyterian than anything John Knox himself could have written.  The book I am reading now is called; Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

The main premise of "Outliers" is that success is not a solo event.  Success is not just about an individual, but it is a about a composition of factors that contribute to the individual's success. Success is the result of the right people in our lives at the right time.  Success is about certain conditions being right for change.  Success is not really about intelligence or IQ.  In fact, those with the highest IQ's are statistically often the least successful.  Success, to coin a political cliche, on this election Tuesday in which I am writing this blog post, "takes a village".

Gladwell describes a tall red wood tree in a forest.  Why is it the tallest tree?  Well, it had a good pine cone (genetic code).  Several other factors contributed to the tree's success, however. No other tree around the red wood tree is crowding out it's sunlight.  The tree had just enough rain, sun, space.  A lumberjack did not come along and cut the tree down as it was in it's infancy.  The tallest redwood tree in the forest required an entire set of factors.

Reformed Theology (Presbyterian Theology), is founded on the same principle.  Our two main sacraments, Baptism and Communion, must be done in a group setting (congregation).  It is the power of the group, in addition to the presence of God, we believe, that makes communion holy.  At Highlands, when we baptize people, we ask anyone who wants to support the person being baptized to stand.  It is the group, community, which helps to make the baptism a success.  

So, three cheers for Gladwell.  

Now, I will send this blog out to the "group" for your comments or contributions,

All for now,