Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When conflict get heated, try the SCUM way

As I write this post, we are in the middle of an 8-week series at Journey of Life ( on Resolving Everyday Conflict. The material we are using is primarily from a group called Peacemaker Ministries. ( It is really excellent stuff, but I thought that perhaps some people might like a different approach. So I offer you, here, the SCUM process when conflicts get heated:

S — Stop. Be aware that as emotions rise, things happen to human beings. Our judgment gets skewed. Our creativity narrows. Our temper takes us places we don't want to go. The fight or flight reflex kicks in. Stop and then...

C — Calm down. Do what you need to do to calm down. This is often not just a five minute breather if the conflict has gotten heated. Studies suggest you need at least twenty minutes to move your physiology (your chemicals, arousal state, etc.) to a calmer place. So really do something different for a half hour instead of just taking five minutes to cool off a bit. After you have calmed down, make sure you...

U — Understand. Steve Covey says in "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," to "seek first to understand then to be understood." So often people talk across each other and they haven't taken the time to understand what's really underneath the conflict. Person A should get an amount of time without interruption to share his or her position, including the motivations and emotions behind it, Then person B should ask questions and restate person A's position, including motivations and emotions until person A agrees that person B understands what's going on. Then reverse the process so that person A understands person B's position, including motivations and emotions. Finally, once you understand each other...

M — Move with love. Creatively seek to find ways that both of your interests can be met. The Bible tells us to look out for not only our own interests but the interests of others. (Phil 2:4)

Sometimes sweet phrases fill the air with lovely fragrance as we walk together gently resolving our disagreements. But sometimes not so much. :)

SCUM might help you when things get heated. Maybe you and those around you can even agree to call "scum" on a heated argument. When someone calls "scum!" everyone agrees to stop, calm down for at least 30 minutes, work hard to understand the other's interests and then move forward with love.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Homeless Jesus? Not really...

This "Jesus was a homeless man" thing needs to be straightened out. Not because we shouldn't care about homelessness. It's a horrible problem that many people only understand through cliches. Furthermore, Jesus identifies with the lowly and outcast, saying whatever we do to them we are doing it to him.

So this blog is not about homelessness. It's not about caring for the homeless. It's not even about serving Jesus by serving the homeless. It's just about historical accuracy. Because truth is important.

Jesus was not a homeless man in the way of homelessness today in "developed" nations.

First, Jesus had a home to go to. Many people don't realize this. There is a Bible verse that tells us that Jesus went to his hometown. Mark 6:1 (ESV) "[Jesus] went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him."

Second, Jesus was an itinerant preacher. Jesus traveled around on purpose. He went from city to city teaching and preaching (and healing the sick and casting out demons). When he would stay with people, it was an honor for the host to offer hospitality to the wandering rabbi. This is what was going on in the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector. He climbed a tree to see the famous itinerant preacher, Jesus, and — unbelievably! — Jesus wanted to stay at his house! (see Luke 19) What an honor for an outcast like a tax collector.

Third, Jesus even had some nice clothes. What? How do we know that? Isn't that going a bit too far? Nope. Read the crucifixion account closely. The soldier divided up his his outer garment into pieces, but his undergarment was nice. It was one woven in one piece from top to bottom. So the soldier cast lots for this valuable piece of clothing rather than tearing it up into smaller pieces of cloth. (see John 19:22-23)

So, let's be historically clear. Jesus was not a homeless man like the homeless man you see sleeping on the park bench. Of course we have to care about the homeless. But let's keep history accurate because truth is important.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Today I officiated at the funeral for a 27 year old woman who was killed in a car accident. This puts two things into my mind.

First, as our church goes through a series on Resolving Everyday Conflict at Journey of Life, I am reminded of how important it is to not let conflicts go. This could be anyone at any time. If you are estranged from someone, don't wait to reconcile. Do it. If you aren't sure how, click here to go to the "Resolving Everyday Conflict" portion of the Journey of Life web site and follow (or watch the whole, depending on when you read this) series of messages. Peacemaker ministries has many great resources for helping you work through conflict. Click here to go their "help for yourself or others in conflict" page.

Any day may be too late. It might not be easy. It may be a long process. But pick up the phone, call the person, and just say, "Can we talk?" Then start to work it out. Unresolved conflict with someone who dies can be a heavy weight to bear and I would spare you that. So go and be reconciled.

Second, please slow down and drive carefully when it's raining.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hello, world. I decided to reactivate my blog. This guy on the trombone is just amazing. Watch this:

Now, for all of you who hate discipline, this guy is the one you need to watch. Why? Because freedom doesn't come through doing whatever you want. Freedom comes through discipline. This guy had to be disciplined for years to be free to rock this piece on his trombone with looping software on his computer. Think about it. What do you really want to do? Get disciplined about it because that will give you the real freedom to do it.