Okay, so wanted to share some more sound bytes from the CCDA Conference i am currently attending in New Orleans…

highlights of day 2 so far was really just connection with people before and after sessions – old friends, new friends and even old friends of new friends… someone spoke out on the leadership panel this morning against the idea of people being called “human resources” but whatever the word or phrase they would like to use to describe the phenomenon, there is certainly an abundance of great resource contained in a lot of the humans i have met here… so just a wealth of experience and understanding and creativity and really trying to connect with a bunch of quality folks this week and hoping something will rub off somewhere.

after preaching about God being hot a few weeks ago [not really] i am learning to contextualise my speak now that i am among local foreigners and especially after lunch when i was telling the story of how i once took a third class train from Cape Town to Johannesburg in South Africa and it was so hectic that at one point this drug dealer in my cabin offered me protection… i meant that he would protect me from danger [not that he was offering me a condom, Erin!] and so always good to make sure people get what you’re offering them.

so fun times, good food, dangerously placed Starbucks, but it has good wi-fi so think of all the “money i am saving”

this morning’s worship time was again a powerful time – a very diverse crowd makes for diverse expressions of worship and although i’m sure we’d all love a lot more, it has been great to at least sing one song per session in a different language… this morning was Spanish and it was stunning.

DEVOTIONS WITH JOHN PERKINS AND COACH GORDON 

Looking at the message to the church in Ephesus from Revelations 2 the message was pretty simple but powerful.

Mark 1.35 – Jesus got up early to go and pray – and as much as all the pastory and leadery types [myself included] nod vigorously when this is spoken, we can not hear enough cos i will bet you there is a considerable number of people in that hall [me included] who could do with ‘being still and knowing’ a lot more regularly and intently. So encouragement and gentle challenge to deepen your walk with God by spending time with Him. Help me, God.

The idea that Jesus had no Lone Ranger mentality – the interesting note that the only time we see Jesus alone once He has started His ministry is when He went off to spend time with His Father. Rest of the time He surrounded Himself with people. The idea that ministry is done in the context of community. And if you are out there doing it on your own, you are more that likely doing it wrong [easy clues are when you refer to what you are doing as “my ministry” or “my church” or perhaps when the ministry website is your name dot com?]

The idea that WORD plus DEED is the theological understanding [building on last night – PROCLAMATION plus DEMONSTRATION]

# be close to God

# be in community with others

# know your mission [proclaim the word of God. demonstrate it]

Powerful statement by John Perkins that “This is the first generation that values diversity” and I suspect that for the most part he is probably right [to a much greater extent than previous generations at least]

LEADERSHIP PANEL OF LEADERY TYPES

Calling this ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ might sound offensive towards those participating on the panel, but i am not talking looks here – just that that phrase does justice to the overall of how i felt about the panel this morning being asked a bunch of questions relating to community development and then interacting on their answers. Some really good stuff, some random in-between stuff and a little bit of “uh-uh you didn’t.” But for the most part medium to good, with some gems.

# Someone reminded me of the Jewish proverb “May the dust of the rabbi be upon you,” the idea that you are following so close behind your teacher and mentor that you literally wear their dust. Reminded me of Paul’s “Follow me as I follow Christ.” 

# A call to anglo-white leaders that we need to be know this – that God does not show up when i show up. He is already working in all these neighborhoods. i don’t “bring God”

 [Maybe we can add to that the knowledge that God loves these people way more than i ever will and He is more amped about His Kingdom than i will ever be!]

# In an answer dealing with how various culture groups view other culture groups a one liner that someone one lined was ‘The demon of superiority is there. We need to overcome it’ which is as self-explanatory as you need.

# Building on last night again we heard that the purpose of you moving into a community [one of the big pillars of CCDA is RELOCATION] is not to change it. It is to find a person and to pour yourself into them and watch as they change the community. [Isaiah 61]

# This was an interesting point which i don’t think i have considered before. As the dominant culture [white people] we don’t need to learn other cultures [that is the reality that is, not the one that should be] whereas the minority cultures always have to learn the predominant culture [one example is westernised time and the idea that a meeting has to start on time which you don’t find so much in the Latino and African communities – we come in with the assumption that our idea of time is right and the minority culture has to learn that or be left behind or severely judged or corrected]. And this was accompanied by the idea that there are a bunch of assumptions to challenge. One of them would be the question of ‘What is success?’ and another one that came out quite a bit through different questions and answers was ‘What is a leader?’

The importance of asking, ‘What did you learn from your family and from your community about leadership?’ And a bunch of other important questions we need to give time to.

# The idea of needing to course correct. Not 180 degrees which is what it often sounds like people want. Realisation that as with the church in Ephesus [Revelations 2] there is a bunch of stuff we are doing right or have gotten right… but we definitely need to slightly alter the direction of this ship in certain ways. The assumptions of one cultures superiority over another being a huge one. The question of who mentors you and the need for non-white mentors. So ask yourself this: Who were the authors of the last ten books you read? Who were the last ten speakers you listened to sermons from? Who is shaping your worldview? And if you are serious about desiring diversity then that is a good and probably quite easy place to begin.

Just some snippets, but hopefully you managed to find some gems in there that spark something in you.

[For even more from evening 2 of the conference, click here]

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