Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cappadocia - early church

Focus on Strength H.E./R.O.

White Board adapted from Rabbi Edwin H. Friedman DD and his keynote presentation for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in 1992. (AAMFT)

"In a society oriented towards pathology rather than strength, it tends to measure the toxicity of any condition (physical illness, economic situation, race, gender, aging, boss, board of trustees, any statistical study emphasizing 'risk' factors) as equal to the strength x the number of pathogenic factors in the environment. With H.E. standing for the hostile environment we then get: H.E. = S.N. The hostility of an environment equals the strength x the number of toxic factors in the environment. But that is really not an accurate view of life, for the most part.

It is certainly accurate for radiation, falling out of an airplane or being held under water. Those situations are critically linear. But for most of the problems human beings face, a more accurate equation is a fraction which states that the potential hostility of any condition is proportional to the response of the organism, H.E./R.O., with R.O. embracing such factors as the organism's stamina, resiliency, self regulation, hope, etc. Now, as you all know from the simplest algebra, even a slight increase in a denominator (R.O.) has great power to reduce the value of any numerator (H.E.). More important, when the denominator (R.O.) heads toward zero (which occurs in a passive, victim stance or its opposite, a highly reactive non self-regulatory attitude), then no matter how small the numerator (H.E. i.e. the potentially toxic condition), it takes on infinite proportions.

In a society that is oriented towards pathology, the tendency is to focus only on the horizontal axis. The growth of human beings, however, the maturing of relationships, the evolution of our species, and perhaps all healing that endures, depends more on the qualities that can be measured by the vertical axis.

Obviously, if your major goal is social action and the direct modification of toxic factors in the environment, then the horizontal axis is, and should be, your focus. But I am speaking from a clinical point of view, and in that context, orientation towards the horizontal axis rather than the vertical is counter-evolutionary. Indeed, unless the strengths of family members are supported and promoted, then all efforts to improve the environment will be eroded from within. In other words, improvements in the external condition of families will not last where there is not a corresponding strengthening of our species' assets. Another way of saying this is all healing that endures is self-regenerative, meaning not only that the healing process must be located in the organism to be healed, rather than the healer, but also because then the very act of healing creates more self, i.e. movement up the vertical scale."

The Challenge of Change and the Spirit of Adventure by Rabbi Edwin H. Friedman DD

Mana Deschisa Romania

Check out their new blog, ManaDeschisaRomania.blogspot.com ! Great updates on what's happening in Campina....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The End of Theology

"Christian truth is such that it is not lost or distorted upon uniting itself with the concrete, the limited, and the transitory. On the contrary, the truth - or at least that truth which is given to men - is given precisely there when the eternal unites with the historical; where God became flesh; where a specific man, in a specific situation, is able to say: 'I am the truth." Justo L. Gonzalez

"Christian truth is not, never was, and never will be propositional truth. Propositional, or purely philosophical, truth is conditional truth, even if it claims to be about what is unconditional. It can never be made into the touchstone of Christian truth, which is always personal and relational. The Bible is not a system of arguable and debatable propositions. As Kierkegaard says, the paradox of the Incarnation demands faith more than assent. For faith is the total surrender of one's heart, mind, and body to the infinite and Almighty God, who calls us into relation. Scripture is the voice that calls us into that relation." The Next Reformation by Carl Raschke

Monday, September 21, 2009

Open Hand Schedule of Events

GATHERINGS — monthly pitch-in at The Reynolds Home
  • Sunday February 21st
  • Sunday March 7th
  • Sunday April 11th
  • All Gatherings at 5:30pm

WORSHIP - monthly locations to be announced
  • Sunday February 7th (Starkey Home 6:00pm)
  • Sunday March 21st
  • Sunday April 25th
  • Worship at 5:30pm

PRAYER - Crash Chapel (3174 N. Delaware Street)
  • every Friday morning
  • 6:45 - 8:45 am

  • Ash Wednesday - February 17th - Crash Chapel 6:45am - 8:45am
  • St. Patrick's Day - March 17th - Crash Pub - 12pm - 12am

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Found Respect for the BMV

Around the first of this month I received a notice from the Indiana BMV. It was letting me know that the two speeding tickets that I earned over the last twelve months had afforded me unique status among my fellow drivers. I was being invited to join the "Indiana Driver Safety Program"! For only $50.00, four hours of online study, fourteen quizzes, and one "final" to ensure that I had mastered the material; get this - I would be allowed to keep my Driver's License! Of course I couldn't say no to such an honor as this.

Actually, once I recovered from my driven sense of personal violation (NPI), I paid the fifty and logged on to indianadriver.com. The first image to greet me was a dozen Indy cars racing around a track, "OK BMV... rub it in". The next image made up for that one. The beautiful woman relaxing with her laptop and enjoying the coursework made me think, "I can do this" and I dove into the purpose statement.

The purpose of Indiana Online Driver Improvement is to remind you of many factors related to safe driving on the roads and highways of Indiana. Over time, drivers often forget many of the vital ingredients necessary for survival on the roads in our state. This safe driving program will reinforce many concepts you may have learned when first taught to drive, while also teaching you new methods and laws to practice forever.

It already seemed pedantic and overbearing... "teach ME new methods & laws to practice forever, right."

It took about four days to complete the fourteen chapters and review. Somewhere around chapter five I had to admit that this was really some good stuff. I actually found myself trying to be a better driver. The "rules of the road" that before had seemed so arbitrary were beginning to make sense.

Solid and ofttimes sobering statistics lay behind the boundaries placed on our driving freedoms. Road rage in one driver has the potential to set off a chain of destruction affecting numbers of other drivers and their families. Alcohol is involved in over one-third of all driving fatalities and teenage drivers account for well over fifty percent of all accidents. Aggressive driving increases the likelihood of serious accident exponentially, not to mention the death toll, the permanent injuries, the financial cost of driver self-indulgence etc., these gruesome numbers are beginning to awaken me to the importance of this stuff.

OK... now here is the segue.

At times for me and possibly many others the Bible seems to be a sort of spiritual rules of the road. Arbitrary rules from a bored sovereign who has nothing better to do than make life miserable. "Put off this... put on that... never let this be named among you... don't steal, don't lie, don't worship other gods or commit adultery, don't covet and always forgive... even your enemies" - the list goes on and on it seems. But what if we could see the "numbers & statistics" that God sees? What if the cost (to ourselves & others) of ignoring this wisdom far exceeds the temporal benefit we might personally receive from indulging ourselves by "breaking the rules"? What if our actions or inaction have the power to set off a chain of events that bring blessing or curse? What if we could, like Ashton Kutcher in the movie The Butterfly Effect, actually see the long-term consequences of our choices? Would obeying God make more sense? Would the signposts of scripture make more sense?

Thank-you BMV.

Humbled & Challenged,
scott rieger

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just Go for It ! "I don't believe in punting...."

With these simple words, Coach Kelley of the Pulaski Academy Bruins has found a profound and paradoxical scheme for winning high school football games. His team hasn't punted since 1997 (when it did so as an act of sportsmanship) and they have over 100 wins this decade including the Arkansas 5A championship last year.

Do the math (according to this weeks Sports Illustrated magazine article) and you can begin to imagine the systemic motivational force field that empowers this team with the mind set of four downs on each possession - instead of the traditional three and punt mentality. They actually morph into more of a rugby team as they effectively throw the ball on most plays that include shuffle passes, end arounds, reverses and multiple laterals.

Talking about imaginative faith in action, tested in the rough and tumble world of Friday night lights across the USA, and you have another expample of what is happening worldwide as emerging faith communities scrimmage the more traditional and inherited institutional church structures that were built around the time of "3 yards and a cloud of dust" mentality.

As we emergent's give up punting, and enjoy playing a wide open game (regardless of the outcome) we might just end up at the local pub buying pints for the other team. I say cheers!
Enjoy the challenge,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boundaries with kids

After rummaging through the hords of boxes full of books in our basement I hit the jackpot. Clutched in my hand I held "Boundaries with kids" by Cloud and Townsend. Yes I need reminding of how to set limits with my two year old in a loving way. How do I balance healthy attachment and discipline? How do I build up a positive sense of self worth in my children and let them know they are not the center of the universe but part of it?

This book does not provide the answers to all your parenting dilemma's but it does provide practical ways to help parents implement boundaries in the lives of their children to help produce healthy and mature adults in the future. I need to have an eye on the future when parenting. I am not Isabel and Ariana's friend, I am their mother and, while friendship will develop, it is love, freedom and limits which they need.

One of the most poignant points the authors make is that children need reality based consequences. In other words, do not rescue your child when she makes a bad choice but let her deal with the consequences now. This will teach her. It is very easy to get pulled back into the way your family or origin functioned when parenting your own children. The emotional pull of the system is incredibly strong. Give reality consequences to your children, not negative relational consequences. Don't scream and shout, emotionally react or distance yourself. When dealing with a behavioral issue give them a simple consequence that you can carry out consistently. How I have noticed this in my own life is that sometimes I can feel overwhelmed with the demands of Isabel. I need to understand that I can say "no" to playing barbies or telling stories or whatever it is. It is not her fault for being demanding, it is my responsibility to provide a boundary for her.

Give your child freedom, give them choices, then if they make bad decisions the parent is the only person who can implement reality consequences. Make it easier for the child to choose well, and praise them for it. As Cloud and Townsend say "You are an oak tree that your children will bump up against." Children are not born with boundaries. Parents provide them with external boundaries and children learn to internalize them. This is one of the ways that children build character, can learn to respect all people and have a healthy sense of their limits., nut are not restricted in their development.

I am still figuring out how to do this well. Some days I do very well giving freedom, love and limits and other days I don't. I have realized that I need to continue to get what I need in terms of time away, building my own career and spending time with other adults to get renewed and that way I am a much better mother to my two girls.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Open Hand welcomes Carson R. Crane 09/09/09

Carson Robert is the newest member of our Open Hand international community. He is a robust little guy ready to challenge Hugo, Simeon, Jordan and all the other kids. Well done Jeff and Leah.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy 8th Anniversary - Marshall & Larisa

Iconic Table Fellowship

Another 'icon' by Derek Powell

In his book, How (Not) To Speak of God, Peter Rollins reminds us that iconic God-talk..."unlike idolatry, which claims to make manifest the very essence of God, or the humanistic approach, which claims that God, if God exists, is utterly irrelevant, the iconic approach offers a different way of understanding. To treat something as an icon is to view particular words, images or experiences as aids in contemplation of that which cannot be reduced to words, images or experience. Not only this, but the icon represents a place where God touches humanity. Consequently, icons are not only the place where we contempate God; they also act as the place that God uses in order to communicate with us. "


Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation