I have the privilege of coaching some newly ordained pastors through issues around leadership, mission, and personal spiritual health. In one recent coaching call one of the young pastors told of an encounter he had with two of the staff members at his church. He came into the office and commented on the “awesome A/V system” they had at their church. “That’s really well done. Excellent.”
“Well, well,” said one of the staff members. “He actually likes something about our church.” He was stunned. He had no idea that he was conveying any significant amount of criticism or negativity toward the church. He was just constantly thinking out loud. He would see something and comment, “I wonder whether it would be better to do it that way.” Or he might muse to himself about some issue he was facing, only forget that he was actually thinking out loud. That was just the way he worked things out.
I can identify with this young man. I like to think out loud. I process things in public. I don’t get all my thoughts in order, or think of all the implications of my ideas before I speak them. That can get me into trouble.
Years ago, I had what I thought was a great idea about a new ministry opportunity at the church I was serving. Linda, our Director of Discipleship came in to my office at just that time and I shared the idea with her. “Hey Linda, what if we started a new ministry that…” I don’t remember the idea, but I do remember her reaction. “Do you think that might be confusing for people to…” Again, I don’t remember what she said, but I do remember the following exchange.
Me: “Well I hadn’t thought about that yet.”
Linda: “That does it! When I come back, I’m coming back as an idea person!” She was not really angry with me, but she was frustrated. Besides being the one who would have to put all the pieces together to make my idea work, she just didn’t need my half-baked ideas at that particular time.
Having said all that, I’m going to think out loud for a few sentences. These are possible themes or titles for these series of blog posts that I hope someday will become a book. I need to get them out there to see if something comes from them that actually unifies the stories and ideas, engages a potential reader, and will let chapters flow from that theme in meaningful ways.
- Don’t Feel Bad About Feeling Bad
- Grace and Truth in the Age of Easy Answers
- When Real Faith Appears
- Grace and Truth in the Flesh: How to Stop Pretending and Start Being Real With God and Others
- It’s OK to Lament. It’s OK to Rejoice
- Permission to Be Real and to be Faithful
- Peace Happens Between Happy Faces and the Defeatist Funk
- Better than a Defeatist Funk or a Plastic Smile: Getting Real with God and Your Neighbor
- Real. Non-Pretentious. Faithful
- Hopeful Yet Honest
- Broken and Hope-Filled
- Hope-Filled Brokenness
- Sadness in Due Season, Hope in Every Moment
- Learning to Lament – the Key to True Joy
- No Plastic Smiles Here, Yet Hope Abounds
- Brokenness is Prerequisite to Redemptive Joy
- Redemptive Sorrow, Abounding Hope
- Redemptive Brokenness, Abounding Joy
- The Faithfulness of God for every Season and Sinner
- The Hope of God for every Season and Sinner
- The Joy of Jesus for every Season and Sinner
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:29-32