Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reflections on watching the Waldo Canyon Fire descend

06/26/12
I spent the day soaking in the insane heat of the Colorado sun today. I worked in the yard picking out of the rocks every little weed I could find, watering the flowers I bought and planted on Saturday—the day the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out—and labeling things in the garage. I was in denial. Certainly this danger would be like the hurricanes we dodged in Ft. Lauderdale, FL or the tornadoes that skirted past us in Aurora, IL. We would scurry around preparing things only to find that we piled all our stuff in the middle of the floor for a false alarm or huddled in the basement with wide eyes only for our vegetable garden to get rained on.

I decided a couple days ago that if I saw the flames come up over the ridge that it would be time to go. But when I saw the first glimpse of flames…not coming from behind, but already an inch down the mountain, I couldn’t believe it. Is it really time? Could this be happening? I was, well, what is the word? Dumbstruck, amazed, entranced…the power of the flames was like watching a storm approach and I could barely take my eyes off “my” perfectly triangular mountain outlined in burning trees. “My” mountain. How many other people look out their window at breakfast and consider it their own mountain?

I looked around the house. Sure I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this place. Many times I wanted to escape the walls, the endless stairs, the million little things that need to be fixed, cleaned and replaced. But I certainly didn’t want anything bad to happen to it. So many memories and experiences happened here. So much pain—and growth—came with it as a backdrop. I know the sounds, the smells and the light of this house and it’s become a comfort to me. Seven years ago I moved in one person, and today I escaped another.

As I drove away, I checked the garage door a second time as is required when you have my personality. It didn’t matter that the door is broken and only closes when you override the sensor from inside the house. There’s no way it could have been open, but I wanted it to be safe—checking was all I could do.

And now checking is what I can’t do. I don’t want to see our neighborhood swallowed up by that mighty flame. So here I am on the floor with my computer—procrastinating. I just don’t want to check anymore.

We are all settled at Jon's parents' house in Palmer Lake. Sky is chirping on her swing, Cheerio is sleeping on a yellow towel and the kids are in the next room dreaming (I hope) of Phineas and Ferb. I kissed their clean little heads (we had to wash all the smoke smell off of us. I don't think I am going to enjoy a campfire for a long while!) I am so thankful that we’re all here. It will be even better when Jon and our oldest daughter come back to Colorado from Illinois on Thursday and we are ALL together.

I can't believe how blessed we are. We had to leave our home today, but God provided a place where we can shower, go to Walmart to buy our son new sandals (he got in the van without shoes!), have dinner, and watch a beautiful sky at dusk as the crushing heat seeps away. It's hard to believe there is a fire at all with the clear air and the nice conversation we had. I am glad.

The news was on when I came upstairs after talking to Jon on the phone. I saw a snippet of the houses in the neighborhood across from ours burning and I could barely stand it. Oh, God. Please provide…you always do. So why do we doubt? Because we think we have a better way? Because we want it our way? Yes, that is it for me. So God, if you choose to allow our house to burn, I thank you that you will provide in the way that you see fit. Perhaps it is that you show me a way to cope—and grow—through this. Perhaps it is the peace you have given me this whole day—the peace that passes understanding. Whatever your provision, I want to accept it because you know what is best, and I trust you. Amen.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Publishing Tweets from the MAI Board Retreat

I'm writing from the MAI Board Retreat. MAI is a author/publisher training ministry that goes to the hardest places and equips local voices to write for their countries. This morning we had Dan Balow, publisher from eChristian.com, come and share about some key trends in publishing. Here are some of the tweets I shared this morning.

The message is the message rather than the medium being the message. Format is becoming less critical.

Now books can be continually updated so that each #book is a living product rather than something that's finished & done. @danbalow #MAI

"Minimum Viable Product" means creating creating products based on the need rather than print standards or industry expectations. #MAI

What is agile #publishing? Teams of editors, sales, marketing, design etc working together to produce products. @danbalow #MAI

"Publishers need to develop direct relationships with their consumers." Dan Balow #MAI #publishing #author #books

Hearing @danbalow talk about O'Reilly tools to help authors/editors work together. Very interesting.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Tools for a New Age

"Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's jobs with yesterday's tools." Marshall Mcluhan

We are surrounded by anxiety. Have you ever seen a time so full of worry and concern? We are struggling with the changes in the economy, global geopolitical changes, shifts in morals and family and the list goes on.

But while we are questioning so many things, strangely we are not questioning the tools we use to deal with our daily reality. We are experiencing a major paradigm shift but we are assuming that the tools that served us well in modernity will still do the job today.

The reality is that they won’t. One example of this is found in our book Through the River. We talk through the “truth lens” of modernity, post modernity and the next age and challenge people to consider the way they are viewing truth.

But the same can be said of many areas of life. We have an unquestioningly accepted the idea that our old tools will continue to serve us in this new time. And when they don’t work, we throw up our hands in frustration.

Well, since that isn’t working so well we need a new plan. Let’s start building new tools based on the rules of this new age. Let’s start asking some of the hard questions about the rules that define this new time and then build tools that affirm our values and help us to lead effectively.

What are some examples of tools for today?
  • Empathy: The ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others will be a critical tool for an age where we are engaging with the world at so many different levels and about countless causes and activities. Take our course on Empathy by clicking here.
  • Mutuality: I got this phrase from Fritz Kling’s book “Meeting of the Waters.” (See his book for more examples of new tools.) This idea of humble engagement where we learn from each other and grow in our own abilities as we see God working in the lives of people who are very different than we are.
  • Global Community: The ability to harness global communities of people around causes and speak to them in the language of the effort will be a powerful tool for mobilization. No longer are we limited to those who stand next to us in the harvest field.
  • Civil Conviction: This phrase coined by Richard Mouw is a great tool that allows us to hold on to core truths but do it in a way that shows humility and grace. We talk about this in our book Through the River related to the truth lens of Critical Realism which says “there is truth we know and truth we are learning together.”
This is in no way an exhaustive list of tools. Instead it is a few examples of new mental tools that we will need in order to be effective in this new age. What other tools do you see as critical to today?

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Organic Look at Our Book

Recently we partnered with YWAM Organic, a video magazine presenting videos about what God is doing around the world. They asked Jon to talk about our recent book, Through the River. Our book helps you understand the three main ways people view truth in today's culture. Then it gives you practical insights into how to relate with people who have each of these truth lenses.

While we believe this book is very important to the evangelical discussion of our day, it isn't a quick read. We based it off an academic work by a mentor of ours - Dr. Paul Hiebert. So it has some deep ideas in it and you have to be willing to do some serious thinking.

That's why we love this video. The interviewer, Jon Matas, did a great job asking the core questions and pulling together a great overview of the book. Watch this video and then if the topic is something you just have to explore in more detail, you will know the book is for you!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Where Generous People Spend Their Time

"Marketers need to spend less time making promises and more time keeping them." - Seth Godin

Our world is filled with people who spend their time making promises, claims, and boasts. Very few spend their time delivering. And I can see why. We reward those with audacious promises and we get bored with everyday diligence.

So whether you are a marketer, a project manager, a baker or a housewife, there is something to learn here. When you look at your day, what percentage of the time are you making promises about what you will do and what percentage are you delivering on those promises?

Sometimes we get addicted to making promises. We get a rush from the connection, the potential, the power of what might be. It is so thrilling that we immediately seek out the next rush. The problem of course is that we have now left that old promise in the dust and have extended ourselves so much that we are unlikely to be able to fulfill it.

Generous people learn to be generous with their promises and with the follow through. It would not be true generosity if they didn't, right? If I only promise to give a donation, I am not generous. It takes follow through to call it generosity.

The same is true in every other area (including our minds). Being generous requires more than promising to share your thoughts. You have to actually share them in a meaningful way!

What areas have you made promises but failed to follow through? What can you do today to make a change and begin to show true generosity?