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Ruling from the Heart

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Flight into Egypt by He Qi

I’ve decided to cross post the following series on DouglasFloyd.com and at Doug Watching.

Last fall I spoke to several groups on the theme of leadership, power and authority in business, civics, church and family. Instead of using sociology or other social sciences models for leadership, I attempted to think within the framework of Biblica revelation. Starting with a study on Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of Torah, I noticed patterns of contrasting leadership models in the Old and New Testament. For simplification, I focused on the contrast between two Semitic words used for leaders: adon and baal. (For a more complex set of comparison, check out Eugene Peterson’s “Follow the Leader“)  In Hosea 2:16-17, the Lord rejects the name of baal for himself:

16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. (Hos 2:16-17)

Why does he reject that name? And what might we learn about lordship, rule and authority by contrasting the two words for lord: adon and baal? That’s what I explored in the talks and what I hope to explore in these blog entries. I am also attempting to record each entry, so you can listen along if you choose (provided I figure out the audio upload part).

As you think about the contrast between adon and baal, look at the picture above by He Qi. Jesus, the Lord Supreme of the Universe, is seen as an infant, relying on frail human parents to escape from the threat of the power-mania of Herod. In the background of the same picture, we see the symbol of Egyptian power and rule, a Great Pyramid. This contrast of Jesus, power in embodied in human form, with Egypt, power embodied in overwhelming images, might help us begin to think about adon and baal in our own realms of power relating to family, business, church and civic spheres.

Mp3 Audio of Adon vs Baal part 1

2009 Retreat Schedule

January 22, 2009 1 comment

Below are a list of retreats I am planning for 2009. If you are interested, please email me (doug (at) springoflight.org). I am making immediate plans for the first retreat on the last weekend of February (27-29). On this weekend, we’ll discuss vision, hope and the power to change the world with the message of the gospel.

In some ways, this retreat will inform every other retreat I do this year. I believe it is timely and important. Much of my writing and meditation over the last year has related to what I hope to explore during this retreat.

Also note, we have a one day seminar on business coming up on March 21. This should be a provocative conversation about the kingdom of God and the market.

Here are the list of retreats and plans. If you plan to come to the February retreat or would like more information, please email. (doug (at) springoflight.org)

2009 Retreats Schedule

Hope in the Midst of the Hopeless (weekend retreat) – February 27-28, 2009
Reforming Business (seminar) – March 21
Relationships and the Commandments – April/May
Holy Creativity – Summer 2009
St. Patrick and the Evangelism of the World – Fall 2009

Hope in the Midst of the Hopeless
February 27-28, 2009
How do you still hope when it feels like your whole world is coming to an end? Worse yet, what happens when everyone else’s world seems to be coming to an end? As I’ve reflected on the fear of personal and cultural suffering, I’ve seen a Biblical response in the beginning and ending the world.

Drawing from Scripture and Church History, we’ll look at how we respond when it feels like the world is coming to an end. Better yet, we’ll consider how the prophets, Jesus, and the New Testament writers can translate faith, hope and love into words of vision that inspire themselves and those around them walk in the joy and power of the kingdom.

Now more than ever, Christians must know how to speak a vision of hope to the world around us. If we look at the Augustine writing while Rome was burning, Luther writing while his life was being threatened, or the early American settlers writing and speaking while facing an uncertain future, we will see how Christians in every age have learned how to speak the word of faith that changed the world around them.

From proclaiming peace and joy to our own souls to speaking the word of faith to the world, this weekend will help each person draw from Biblical wisdom to face the threats around us with an unyielding hope, an undying faith and an unfaltering love.

Brad Getz and Rick Doughty will join me in this conversation. I invite you to join us as well for a weekend of fellowship, reflection and visioning for the future.

Reforming the World Seminars
March 21
This year I plan several one day seminars focused on reforming our world. The first seminar will focus on our role in “Reforming Business.” This is not a theoretical seminar but a practical seminar born from the struggle of Christians in business. While I’ve invited a few folks to share their stories and lead the way, I invite all Christians in business from entrepreneurs to managers to employees, each of us face the challenge of translating our faith into environments and situations that may not be conducive to faith. Drawing from personal stories and the wisdom of the commandments, we will look at the hard questions and challenges of living out the kingdom of God in the mist of the business world.

Relationships and the Commandments
April/May
For many years I’ve resisted a “marriage retreat.” One reason is that many churches and ministries already focus on this area of need, so I’ve concentrated my ministry efforts in other places. But I believe the Lord showed me a way of discussing relationships through the wisdom of the 10 commandments that I think will offer a fresh perspective on marriage, parenthood, friendship, employer-employee relationships and more.

Instead of isolating marriage as the focal point, I would suggest the Bible offers a vision of family relationships that introduces a way of understanding all human relationships. Kelly, my wife of 20 years, and I will lead this retreat together through discussion and exercises.

Holy Creativity
Summer 2009
Come discover the delightful, wondrous creative gifts God placed in each person. Paul often exhorts his brothers and sisters to offer their gifts on behalf of one another. But if you look at his lists in Romans, Corinthians and other letters, you see a wide range of gifts and callings.

Instead of trying to classify and group human gifting into a neat Aristotelian chart, I invite you to join us for a weekend of discovering the riches and surprising and unexpected ways each of us are gifted to bless those around us. If you think you know all about your gifts, you’ll be surprised by what you discover this weekend.

Old friends and former professors, Darlene and Michael Graves will join me this weekend for an eclectic, playful and worship-filled weekend of creativity.

St. Patrick and the Evangelism of the World
Fall 2009
Every year America celebrates his birthday and a few people actually realize the amazing story behind this man. The story of St. Patrick is the story of a man who loved his enemies into the kingdom of God. He loved them so much, we think of him as Irish. But he wasn’t. Come hear more about the story of Patrick, the Biblical and Historical use of power evangelism, and the wonder of a nation that was converted without one martyr.

Political Science instead of MBA

December 17, 2008 1 comment

I wonder if a “political science” degree might be more helpful than some of the MBAs I’ve encountered. I know some MBA programs connect and support Drucker’s original vision of how business play an integrating role of social stability. But many MBAs seem to be nothing more than glorified Excel degrees.

Political science is the study of the art and science of the body politic. I think many businesses function much like a body politic. They deal with issues of governance, war (internal and external), human relations, social stability, and so on. Plus, their decisions often have ramifications that reach far beyond the business.

If you think about businesses, you might also see that some are run more like a democracy (some like a rambunctious Athenian democracy), some are totalitarian tyrannies, some some are republics and so on.

I wonder if have some sernior executive with a political science background might helpful bring a helpful accentuation into the managing and visioning process.

Scrooge Living in Business Time

November 30, 2008 1 comment

In my last post, I did not mean to suggest that business time is bad. The problem comes when we treat business time as exclusive time. We must earn an income as a part of supporting our families, but earning an income must not be understood as the exclusive means of supporting our families.

We support our families and our friends in ways that exceed and go far beyond money. We actually spend time with them. Business time might be understood as a way to spend time on them. When people go out and buy lots of gifts, they are spending time on the ones who will receive the gifts. This is not bad. But it cannot substitute for spending time with someone.

Scrooge is a great example of someone who lives under business time. The keeping of books and earning of money becomes the exclusive time for him. All his time is occupied by measuring accounts and keeping the books. He takes the virtue of thrift to the heresy of miserliness. His preoccupation with business time has left him impoverished. He is wealthy and poor.

Sounds like many Americans.

The Crachetts reveal another time. Relational time. Bob works and lives in business time but not under it. He is not defined by the hourly wage and by the occupation. Rather, he invests his life into the family around him. While he has little money and his family may struggle, he is wealthy.

This makes me think. I drove the neighborhood of homes that were under 1500 square feet. Some of the homes were under 1000 square feet. People were in the yards laughing and playing. People were walking in the neighborhood. I was surrounded by life.

The same week I drove through a neighborhood of homes 4000 square feet and above. No one was to be seen anywhere. These big houses looked more like giant mausoleums, housing dead people.

I would suggest that business time so prevails in our culture that we think having bigger and better and more equals having successful lives. Business time can produce amazing rewards. But it cannot be exclusive.

I would suggest that some people may try to compensate for their poverty in relationships at “Christmas time” by spending time/money on friends and family. The gift buying is not wrong, but it cannot substitute for the absence of investing these relationships in other ways. Stuff does not equal relationships. And stuff can not recreate the wonder we long for.

That wonder may be found in another time: liturgical time.

Christmas Time vs Business Time

November 30, 2008 1 comment

Some “times” we think that all time is the same time. This is one of the illusions of living “under” the rule of business time. What is business time?  We may speak of the normal business “hours” to indicate a 9 to 5 workday Monday through Friday. These “hours” and “days” are designated for business. But business time extends far beyond these hours.

Living under the rule of business time becomes a way of thinking that defines each moment of our existence as either billable or non-billable time. We are either “earning” money or not “earning” money. We reduce time to pursuit of the dollar. We reduce economics to money as opposed to relationship.

In this way of understanding our time, we think that we don’t own our time while we are working for someone else. They’ve purchased that our of our time. And when we aren’t working, it is “free time.” Time that is free because we earn no money but it is also free because we are free to do what we want.

By living under this time, day after day, year after year, we attach personal value to the “business time.” The more money we earn, the more bonuses, the more successful we perform in “business time,” the greater sense of worth we have. Our personal worth is attached to performance.

If we live under business time, we may lose some of our humanness, our wonder, our capacity to love and our need to be loved. We may lose our power to choose, to define the times. We may lose our power to say, “No!”

I would suggest that we can move between times. We don’t have to live “under business time.” We can move between business time and other times such as Christmas time.

More later.

Multitasking may cost U.S. $650 billion a year

March 25, 2007 1 comment

With cell phones, email, ipods, treos and laptops, we’re multitasking more than ever. NY Times points to research suggesting it is an illusion that we can really multitask like we think we can.  Not only is  it causing more accidents, it may actually be slowing down (not speeding up) productivity at work.  Interesting  research. Seems our studies are pointing to an ancient sin the church fathers warned about: sloth (acedia).

Sloth sounds like laziness but it may actually be the result of busyness. If we get too busy, we lose diligence both in work and in spiritual practice. I fear many of us our guilty of sloth. Lord have mercy!

For a more nuanced explanation of sloth, Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung offers a thoughtful reflection on sloth.

The Google March Continues

February 22, 2007 1 comment

In another step toward the tower of Redmond, Google launched the Google Apps Premier Edition for businesses.

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