Monthly Archives: June 2010

a subversive thought by Dallas Willard

maybe, just maybe – we are at this point in the state of our churches not ‘in spite’ of what we are doing, but exactly ‘because of’ what we are doing…

“But now let us try on a subversive thought. Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it. Suppose, to illustrate, that the educators who guide our school systems seriously considered the possibility that the low attainments of American schoolchildren are not in spite of what is done with them in school, but largely because of what they are taught and how they are taught.

Or suppose that our national legislature began to think that our failure to come to grips with the national debt or violence in the streets is not in spite of what the legislature does, but because of it.

It may be hard to take such a suggestion seriously, but to do so might well provide a basis for genuine solutions to problems that now seem unsolvable.

A leading American pastor laments, “Why is today’s church so weak… have less and less impact on our culture? Why are Christians indistinguishable from the world?” Should we not at least consider the possibility that this poor result is not in spite of what we teach and how we teach, but precisely because of it?” –Dallas Willard

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closing thoughts on- end of the run for U.S. World Cup

5 reasons U.S. crashed out of World Cup

Jamie Trecker’s thoughts…

& a more humorous take…
apparently, God does not answer my prayers for soccer…


prayers for the week…

My Lord and my God,
Listening is hard for me.
I do not exactly mean hard,
for I understand that this is a matter of receiving rather than trying.
What I mean is that I am so action oriented,
so production driven,
that doing is easier for me than being.
I need your help if I am to be still and listen.
I would like to try.
I would like to learn how to sink down into the light of your presence
until I can become comfortable in that posture.
Help me try now.
Thank you. – Amen.
From Prayer by Richard Foster

HT: JR

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Stanley Fish on teaching

…read this – this morning & it made me stop in my tracks & think about the messages that we give at Kairos. It is easy to want to want to ‘satisfy’ the community somehow so that they will ‘enjoy, approve, or like’ what is said. I would say that almost all of the time – this is not a conscious thought – just somewhere in the background. Here is a different take on the role of a ‘teacher’ :

From Stanley Fish

“The relationship between present action and the judgment of value is different in other contexts. If a waiter asks me, “Was everything to your taste, sir?”, I am in a position to answer him authoritatively (if I choose to). When I pick up my shirt from the dry cleaner, I immediately know whether the offending spot has been removed. But when, as a student, I exit from a class or even from an entire course, it may be years before I know whether I got my money’s worth, and that goes both ways. A course I absolutely loved may turn out be worthless because the instructor substituted wit and showmanship for an explanation of basic concepts. And a course that left me feeling confused and convinced I had learned very little might turn out to have planted seeds that later grew into mighty trees of understanding.

And that is why student evaluations (against which I have inveighed since I first saw them in the ’60s) are all wrong as a way of assessing teaching performance: they measure present satisfaction in relation to a set of expectations that may have little to do with the deep efficacy of learning. Students tend to like everything neatly laid out; they want to know exactly where they are; they don’t welcome the introduction of multiple perspectives, especially when no master perspective reconciles them; they want the answers.
But sometimes (although not always) effective teaching involves the deliberate inducing of confusion, the withholding of clarity, the refusal to provide answers; sometimes a class or an entire semester is spent being taken down various garden paths leading to dead ends that require inquiry to begin all over again, with the same discombobulating result; sometimes your expectations have been systematically disappointed. And sometimes that disappointment, while extremely annoying at the moment, is the sign that you’ve just been the beneficiary of a great course, although you may not realize it for decades.”

HT: Jesus Creed


the scholars, or the sinners ?

“Yesterday I preached myself, and the scholars came and praised me. Today I preached Christ, and the sinners came and thanked me.”- Bernard of Clairvaux


how he loves

good song – that we have been singing lately at Kairos…


some thoughts on the World Cup so far…

“For some the Cup thus far has been a disappointment. There have been costly mistakes made by usually sure-handed goalkeepers, there have been controversial calls made be referees affecting the outcomes of matches (and the future tournament fate of teams), there has been a general low level of play, there has been the sputtering of traditional soccer greats France, Italy, and England (all of whom face the real possibility of being eliminated in short order). And especially for the French there has been national embarrassment as their team not only fails to perform on the pitch but has matched that with a complete internal meltdown culminating in the players simply leaving their practice field and refusing to train.

For U.S. fans specifically, there continues the usual World Cup emotional roller-coaster of not knowing which U.S. team will show up on the pitch. The Yanks, too, are on the brink of elimination. And of course there is sadness in South Africa (though in truth, not completely unexpected) in the woeful record of the six African nations, with only Ghana in a strong position to go through to the round of sixteen. And then there are the vuvuzelas, those incessantly blowing horns customary in Africa and nettlesome to non-African players, coaches and commentators. With their sound likened to a swarm of angry wasps, though at jet airplane decibel levels, the buzz is omnipresent at every stadium and during ESPN’s coverage. There was talk early that FIFA, world soccer’s governing board, would ban the instruments, but they didn’t and so the wasps swarm on.

But in fact, one’s response to the vuvzuelas may be a good Rorschach test for responding to the Cup so far. While for some the vuvuzelas represent all that’s been wrong with the Cup, for others they capture the spirit of this Cup and its host continent. It’s all part of the narrative. So while the Cup has been a disappointment for some, for others it has been dramatic. There have been several David-Goliath matches in which minor soccer powers (Switzerland! New Zealand! Algeria!) have tied or even defeated their mighty opponents (Spain! Italy! England!). There has been the joy of African goals and especially host South Africa’s goal in the opening match that set the vuvuzelas blaring and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to dancing in his VIP box. There have been glimpses of brilliant play from Germany, Argentina, and, on Saturday, from Brazil. And there has been the magic of Argentina’s striker Lionel Messi, who turns 23 this Thursday. He has not scored a goal at this Cup, but through his sheer brilliance in ball-control and passing and his threatening presence, Messi is clearly this tournament’s most valuable player to date. While some bemoan the fate of the major European powers, there has also been pleasure in watching the rise of tiny Slovenia, perhaps best known to readers of B&C as home to philosopher Slavoj Zizek. This nation, so small that it has been estimated that 248 Slovenias could fit into the U.S., also has a prime minister who promised to clean the boots of the Slovenian team if they qualified for the World Cup. They did, and he did. At the moment they sit atop Group C. To watch the success of Slovenia (and other minor powers like New Zealand, and South America’s Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay) is to imbibe the beauty of the Cup. To dance with them following a goal, a dance described as a slow-footed circling of happy trees in the Slovenian Alps, is to enter into the joy of the Cup.

Has the Cup been a disappointment? Yes, surely it has. Has it also had its moments of joy? To be sure. So sound the vuvuzelas, and let’s get ready for more. It’s a beautiful day.” –Ashley Woodiwiss