Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: January 2007

Sometimes I think about why I stopped coaching, other than the fact that I wasn’t very good at it and didn’t enjoy the long hours away from home. I think about why people coach, what makes them want to do what they do, what makes them tick. I have friends still in the business that are just born to coach. They love the work, the relationships, the power, the responsibilities, and the kids. But, when I read about a guy like Joe Ehrmann, I wish there were more coaches like him. And, I imagine if I’d had role models like him, I might still be coaching.

Larry James has a great post about Joe here. He quotes an exchange between Joe and the players…

The coach, Joe Ehrmann, is a former NFL star, now 55 and hobbled, with white hair and gold-rimmed glasses. Still, he is a mountain of a man. Standing before the Greyhounds of Gilman School in Baltimore, Ehrmann does not need a whistle.

“What is our job as coaches?” Ehrmann asks.

“To love us!” the Gilman boys yell back in unison.

“What is your job?” Ehrmann shouts back.

“To love each other!” the boys respond.

This is not how your typical coach interacts with kids. I remember an interview for a job I had and one of the questions was about what I believe is most important in a classroom, and when I stated that the most important thing is for the kids to know that they are loved by that teacher, I received blank stares and the sound of crickets chirping.

I think Joe is a lot like God, and that those kids fear his wrath, but know that any discipline is given within the context of a father’s love.

Thomas Merton: “Why should I desire anything that cannot give me God, and why should I fear anything that cannot take God away from me?”

—–

Advertisements

What if a church located a few blocks from the finish line of the 3M marathon in Austin closed the doors on Sunday morning and joined in the volunteer call for one of the job descriptions below? How would that reflect upon the people of that body? What would Jesus say? Where would Jesus be that morning? What if that community decided to sign up for every opportunity to serve in these downtown events that happened right outside it’s doors all year long? Just asking…

Finish Line Setup (set up/tear down/clean up)
Location: Finish line at Waterloo Park
Time: Approximately 2-6 hours
Activity: Oversee the set up, tear down and cleanup of the Finish Line Venue. Volunteers help set up tables and tents on Saturday before the race, and help tear them down after the race.

Race Day Volunteer Opportunities
Finish Line Timing Chip Collection, Medal Distribution, Results
Location: Finish line at Waterloo Park
Time: 4-6 hours
Activity: Volunteers will attend a short training session on their duties prior to the beginning of their shift. Orientation will include information on:
Bus transportation location
Restroom location
Water and food location
Medical tent location
Kids Fun Run location
Results board location
Awards table location and ceremony timing

Volunteers will be instructed by finish line staff for specific duties. In general, volunteers will keep finishers in order along the length of the finish chute, take race tags from the first 50 runners and keep tags in order, assist any runners with medical needs, voice encouragement and congratulations to all finishers, clip the chips from runners’ shoes, and hand out finisher medals at the end of the chute.

Kids’ Fun Run
Location: Finish line at Waterloo Park
Time: 4-6 hours
Activities:
Set up tables and chairs & all supplies for activities
Register kids and hand out packets
Face painting, balloon art, and spin art
Overseeing the moon walk
Gather kids by age group
Hand out medals to kids as they finish the race
Clean up – gather all supplies.

—–

You must read the following manifesto “How To Be Creative” from Hugh MacLeod, a guy who doodles on the back of business cards. Let me give you a taste…

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

Then when you hit puberty they take the
crayons away and replace them with books
on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years
later with the creative bug is just a wee
voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back,
please.”

So you’ve got the itch to do something. Write a screenplay, start a painting, write a book, turn
your recipe for fudge brownies into a proper business, whatever. You don’t know where the
itch came from; it’s almost like it just arrived on your doorstep, uninvited. Until now you were
quite happy holding down a real job, being a regular person…Until now.

You don’t know if you’re any good or not, but you’d think you could be. And the idea terrifies
you. The problem is, even if you are good, you know nothing about this kind of business.
You don’t know any publishers or agents or all these fancy-shmancy kind of folk. You have a
friend who’s got a cousin in California who’s into this kind of stuff, but you haven’t talked to
your friend for over two years…

Besides, if you write a book, what if you can’t find a publisher? If you write a screenplay, what
if you can’t find a producer? And what if the producer turns out to be a crook? You’ve always
worked hard your whole life; you’ll be damned if you’ll put all thathere ain’t no pot of gold at the end of this dumb-ass rainbow…

Heh. That’s not your wee voice asking for the crayons back. That’s your outer voice, your
adult voice, your boring and tedious voice trying to find a way to get the wee crayon voice to
shut the hell up.

Your wee voice doesn’t want you to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make
something. There’s a big difference. Your wee voice doesn’t give a damn about publishers or
Hollywood producers.

—–

I work with teens, which is enough to send shivers down your spine. They are a tough crowd EVERY day, not some days, not most of the time, but all the time. It’s very hard, almost impossible to get them excited about anything…even stuff they admit to liking.

For example, I teach a film production class and the kids get to use really cool equipment to make movies. I’m not kidding…they really get to make movies and learn about making movies. They had to apply to get into the class. So, you would think they would come running to the door for each class, asking what can we do today!

The reality is that I have to push many of them to work. Granted some just do more than you ask and are truly passionate, and those are the students I love. But, I think most about those that lose that passion, or at least that desire that made them interview for admission to the course. Or, those that worked hard on the first couple of films.

I wonder how much of this attitude has been part of their socialization. Have we taught our kids how to be complacent, lazy, and boring people? Have we given them everything they want without challenging them to live a life of passion and joy for life?

Shane Claiborne in “The Irresistible Revolution” tells the story of a kid in his youth group that gets busted for drugs because he was bored.

“Bored? God forgive us for all those we have lost because we made the gospel boring. I am convinced that if we lose kids to the culture of drugs and materialism, of violence and war, it’s because we don’t dare them, not because we don’t entertain them. It’s because we make the gospel too easy, not because we make it too difficult. Kids want to do something heroic with their lives….But what are they to do with a church that teaches them to tiptoe through life so they can arrive safely at death?”

I think about the kids I work with and my own kids who will be teens all too soon, and it scares me to think about what we’ve prevented them from doing because we wanted to protect them. I think my kids have been blessed by our adventures, but I’m afraid if I let them settle into a nice comfortable existence that is all about them and what they want, then I’ll lose them.

Claiborne continues, “Sometimes people ask me if I am scared, living in the inner city. I usually reply, ‘I’m more scared of the suburbs.’ The Scriptures say that we should not fear those things which can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matthew 10:28). While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of the more subtle demonic forces—-numbnes, complacency, comfort—-it is these that can eat away at our souls.”

I want to challenge my kids to live for others, to give their lives away…that they may live.

—–

The only purpose of the gospel is to reconcile people to God and to each other. A gospel that doesn’t reconcile is not a Christian gospel at all. But in America, it seems as if we don’t believe that. We don’t really believe that the proof of our discipleship is that we love one another (see John 13:35). No, we think the proof is in numbers … Even if our “converts” continue to hate each other, even if they will not worship with their brothers and sisters in Christ, we point to their “conversion” as evidence of the gospel’s success. We have substituted a gospel of church growth for a gospel of reconciliation.

– John Perkins, from “With Justice for All”

If you don’t know the story of John Perkins, start here, although this bio doesn’t do his story justice.

—–

I’m scared. I always used to tell my players (fyi…I used to be a baseball/football coach) that if they were scared, they should admit it and by admission could begin to face those fears. This week I had to face my fears, and I’m trying to work through it with a little help.

Why am I scared?

We took the family and visited some homes in a neighborhood on the east side of Austin to explore the possibilities of moving there. As we research more about the Mueller development, we’re afraid the cost of housing is going to be much more than we can afford. And, our hearts are warming to a little area between Hwy 290 and Hwy 183 shaped like a pie extending to IH 35. We have some great friends who already live in this area which is a major reason we’re looking to move in the first place, so we can begin “doing life” together. But, this is also an area of “high needs” with a large immigrant population and traditionally lower socio-economics.

If we seriously consider this move, it means a huge change in our lives. My son would have to change schools, and he loves his school. We would leave a really cool house in a great area. Some would consider us odd or strange to move into the inner city when we’ve got it good in the ‘burbs. I could go on and on…

I’m working my way through Shane Claiborne’s “The Irrestible Revolution…Living As An Ordinary Radical” and I do mean working. It is not pleasant, it is not fun, it is challenging and confrontational to my worldview and way of life.

Shane and a group of friends had to decide what to do with their lives after college. “My friends and I had a hunch that there is more to life than what we had been told to pursue….We looked to the early church and to the Scriptures and to the poor to find it.”

And here is what they came up with…

“Poet Henry David Thoreau went to the woods because he wanted to live deliberately, to breathe deeply, and to suck out the marrow of life. We went to the ghetto. We narrowed our vision to this: love God, love people, and follow Jesus. And we began calling our little experiment the Simple Way. In January 1997, six of us moved into a little row house in Kensington, one of Pennsylvania’s poorest neighborhoods….We had no idea what we were getting into. We had no big vision for programs or community development. We wanted only to be passionate lovers of God and people and to take the gospel way of life seriously.”

My first reaction to most of what I’m reading is, “That’s easy…no kids, no responsibilities, no financial obligations. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing great. You’re doing the best you can. Stay where it’s safe and secure.”

And the Spirit keeps nagging me, keeps prompting me to carefully consider this decision. “Of course you’re scared, you should be. Everything is on the line. But, consider the options not only out of fear, but in light of what I’ve done and will continue to do for you. And, be careful to follow the vocation for which you were made. And consider the future for your family. Do you trust me with the lives of your family?”

We do NOT propose to solve all the issues of that neighborhood. We do NOT propose to be the voice for the voiceless. We do NOT propose to bring our way of life to that area. Instead, we want to explore what it is like to do life in community, to begin to listen to others, and to help when we can.

Claiborne continues, “We are not a voice for the voiceless. The truth is that there is a lot of noise out there drowning out quiet voices, and many people have stopped listening to the cries of their neighbors.”

—–

With the ice storm I have lots of time to think and read, so excuse the long and numerous posts…

I’m trying to process where the church in Austin, Texas can best join God as he moves in and among the people of the city. The city is transforming so quickly with an influx of people from all over the country moving for jobs, lower cost of living, and better way of life. But, it is also being transformed as Katrina evacuees become citizens and it is being transformed as the real estate boom displaces people with a long history in Austin. I read the following quote this morning from OnMovements.com

“Christianity served as a revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world… Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cites filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachment. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fire, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services… For what they brought was not simply an urban movement, but a new culture capable of making life in Greco-Roman cities tolerable.” (The Rise of Christianity, Princetion University Press, 1996, pg 161)

I went to the MLK day of service at UnitedWay this past weekend and the area president said the decision people are trying to make about Austin is summed up in the question, “Is this home?” When a city experiences the growth and the changes that Austin is, the culture is going to be changed by these people coming to the city. And, these new people must decide if they can call this place home, or if it is just a place to live. Just as important, the people who have lived here for a long time must decide if this is still home. Or, is Austin no longer what we want it be?

For example, looking at a report “A Profile of the Capital Area Community” I read the African American population in Travis county is now below 10% and falling and that in 1970 8 of 10 African Americans lived in East Austin and 30 years later it was 3 of 10. These numbers indicate that no longer do they call Austin home. The causes of these are complex and numerous, but as our group looks to move into east Austin, we have to ask the hard question. “Are we pushing people out? Are we adding to the problem?” I don’t know the answers, but I do know that the change is inevitable. East Austin is changing and will continue to change. The question I’m asking is, “Since Christ is already there, should we join Him on the east side? Or, is our presence not wanted and not needed?” Perhaps the answer can be more discernable in the “signposts of Heaven.”

Rick McKinley writes in “This Beautiful Mess” about the inbreaking reign of God’s kingdom and the already, but not yet aspect in our lives. In chapter 7 “Signposts of Heaven” he explains that as the light sent into the world it is all summed up in the call to “Go”. But, we’ve turned “Go” into a complicated set of programs for the missionaries and the preachers. But, he asks “Isn’t there more?” “….followers of Jesus are sent out to be signposts pointing to the reality of his eternal kingdom. People who are signposts are ‘sent ones’ who go to show the world the truth about how God feels about them.”

He continues, “Going implies that we go somewhere new, to someone not like us, to some culture or subculture where we might not feel comfortable or knowledgeable or welcome….We need to understand what it means to be relevant.”

And, then he tells the story of a young lady who decided to play music at an AIDS hospice and how over time the people became her friends, not her projects. “She didn’t have to work at being relevant because love given without any other agenda is always relevant. Relevance comes from relationship—-it means we matter to someone, he or she matters to us, and we both know it.”

This story reminds us that, “answering the call of Jesus to go actually requires so little of me. It’s un-American really. I don’t need an organization in order to go with love….All I need is to say yes. Yes to being a signpost of the kingdom somewhere in my town with a particular people God is sending me to.”

“And when I arrive wherever I am sent, I know what to do—-I will love people until they can feel it, I will proclaim Jesus’ reign with words and actions and love.”

Check out this article from ABC News on House Churches. They interviewed strictly house churches with no formal leadership structure (like the early churches and the Chinese churches of this century) as well as Willow Creek and Saddleback churches who are incorporating house churches into their structures.

I’m reading “The Forgotten Ways” from Alan Hirsch and tend to agree that the return to a “network” of house churches will help the church recapture the movement that started it all back in Jerusalem. Only in small groups of disciples can true discipleship be encountered focused on God in the incarnation that is Jesus. Consequently, the mission of the church can be revealed as we become more Christlike and begin to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.

—–

You have one of those friends that is so unassuming, so humble, so nice, that you just kind of smile when you see him/her? Floyd Lloyd is that guy for me. He’s just cool…kind of like Clint Eastwood cool. No pretense about him, just a genuine, quiet guys guy.

But, I just found out a secret about Floyd. I’ve always known Floyd Lloyd Rocks, but apparently the world is getting to know him. Take a look at his web site and see all his celebrity friends at www.floydlloydrocks.com You can also check him out at YouTube and I think soon on Dateline. And, don’t be surprised (if you’re famous) if some guy with a video camera asks you to say, “Floyd Lloyd Rocks!”

For hats and t-shirts, I’ll get back to you soon to see when his store opens.

Floyd Lloyd Rocks!

—–

I went with a friend (Dean to those who know him) to a meeting of the committee working with the developers and the city of Austin on the Mueller project. It is comprised of people who live near the area that are interested in shaping what comes up out of the ground. It was an eye-opening experience to see people of various backgrounds and interests coming together to create a neighborhood. I look forward to the process over the next few years.

I did learn a few things about how the public works with corporations and was surprised by the sincere and open dialog. I also found out where Phase I of the residential will be. If you look on the attached design guidelines you’ll see “neighborhood 2” on one of the maps. This is where the initial 380 homes will go, but I don’t know any details on what types of houses, etc. A remark was made during the meeting about why Catellus had not announced the builders as of yet, but nothing was said. These meetings are more about planning and policy.

Also, Lane did receive the following email from the PR firm for the developers.

“We are currently in the process of finalizing all the details for the first
phase of residential and are planning to have the process for purchasing a
home and other specific information on homes at Mueller available to the
public within the next couple of months.”

So, we still really don’t know any timelines for when housing will go on sale, or when construction will begin. It seems from my last drive-by there is alot of infrastructure left to work on before houses can start going up.

Having said all this, what I’m most encouraged about is the diversity of people in that room and the desires to see this neighborhood develop so that it can blend with the surrounding areas. This is the main reason we want to be at Mueller, so that we can live in the city and serve those most in need.

More to come as we find out…

—–