An Eagle’s Point of View

“Why be an eagle that won’t spread its wings?”

(Gloria Gaither)

That lyric has been glued to my brain and itching itself into my thinking. Eagles are the creature most quoted in songs, and preachers/teachers vigilantly remind us that we are eagles. Raises questions.

John Eldredge writes and speaks on the need for boys to adventure and to have fathers who shepherd them in that adventuring. If a boy does not learn to adventure, as a man he may find risking difficult. If adventure is not shepherded, the maturing young man may risk foolishly.

I have just finished reading Unified by Trey Gowdy and Tim Scott. (2018 Tyndale) This account of two men serving South Carolina constituents in the Senate and House—Scott, a Black man and Gowdy, a White man, took me into a fairly unknown landscape. A unique kind of friendship. There were times, as I read and considered, when I found my breathing very shallow. They are both Baptists and born again believers and their worldview is informed more by following Jesus than their political positions. It is from what they have seen and learned in Washington, D.C. that underscored their conclusions:

“We will change the nation only by changing the condition of the human heart. And that can only happen through love. True friendship is born out of acceptance and unconditional love—a love that is consistent and intentional.” (page 28)

Gowdy says about the difficult days of the Benghazi hearings,

“Far greater than any piece of advice Tim could have offered was the sacred gift of presence and his friendship…. To provide a sanctuary or a safe harbor to a friend in need is the greatest gift you can give.” (p 78)

If I quoted every sentence and paragraph that gripped me, this would cease to a blog and a reprint of Unified.

“Let’s see if we can fix it. Let’s see if we can build a justice system that is fully respected and fully worthy of respect. Let’s see if we can move toward that simple dichotomy between people who are of good conscience and people who aren’t” (Trey Gowdy—p 139)

I consulted with a church over a two-year period. They wanted a solution to their decline. Someone I was reading at the time said about the chaos and division in our country that the Church was probably the only source of solution and healing. That phrase seemed to be the one critical element in the equation.

I don’t know if it came in a dream or a wide-awake awareness. I saw that church’s new building spread across two blocks in response to the “solutions and healings.” Whenever we are in that city, I “see” that image. I envisioned them hosting four churches. Each with its own pastor and worship time. A Korean or Chinese church, an African-American church, a “contemporary” church. With the regular individual weekly gatherings, all four would gather for celebration once a month. A monthly meal together and small groups combining folks from the 4 churches. This meta-church would give us a platform to get to know people and become friends with Jesus Followers and Seekers beyond our tribe and travel routes. We would hear life-experiences thereby come to understand actions and attitudes and emotions that bewilder us.

Carole and I agree that we miss hummingbirds and wish them well as they make their southern tour. Outside our window this morning were five male cardinals and three females. Two pair of blue jays, a mourning dove, red-headed woodpecker and an assortment of colors and sizes, plus several dozen sparrows.

Eagles never accept our invitation. Turkey vultures drop in occasionally. We are half-a-mile from the river where the eagles hang out. I’ve never been able to coax an eagle to join me on the parking next to the river. But all I need to gather a crowd of seagulls is a crust of old bread.

I am not an ornithologist or a serious bird watcher, but Miss Gloria captured my soul with the line, “Why be an eagle that won’t spread its wings.” What are eagles best known for? Spreading their wings and soaring majestically.

It is difficult to spread your wings if they are broken or confined.

©2018 D. Dean Benton   https://www.deanbenton.org/

writer, wonderer, witness

 

Guiding Umbrellas

We’ve been to Thanksgiving 2018. It’s good. Ten around our table for food and conversation. The food got cold, but the conversation was warm. Three hours of talk, laughter and contemplation. I carried away about 4 new pounds and a ton of inspiration and instruction.

Two of my teachers and models, Donald Miller and Andy Stanley, sat at a studio table for podcast conversation. Miller interviewed Andy and then Andy interviewed Miller for his podcast.

Miller and Stanley’s podcasts are about leadership, but they are much broader and this one for sure.

Donald Miller tells about leaving Nashville after a heated discussion with his fiancé to lead a conference in Oregon. During his prep time before the conference he determined the umbrella guiding purpose of their marriage was to be restorative. When his wife came home from work, his assignment was to be an agent of restoration—a facilitator of what she needed to be restored.

They have no children. They are now building a home with 18 beds to house people who need to be restored.

You may want to engage the entire podcast: Donald Miller Building A Story Brand Podcast 123

Type into the search engine. It will open to podcast page. Number five of options is this podcast. Click on that and you’re in.

How about building a franchise of restorative houses? A meta-approach to church.

With fork and journal in hand.

©2018 D. Dean Benton          http://www.deanbenton.org/

The Spirit Told Me

My book Meandering is about hearing the voice of God. Dr. Mark Chironna has been instrumental in our faith journey so his following words felt brutal to me. Of course they are true:

@markchironna

“Far too much is ascribed to “the Spirit told me” when subjective inner impressions are loaded with unmet needs that drive those who make such claims. Failure to discern psychological denial , self-deception, and disassociation make room for tons of false ‘leadings'”.

1 Kings 19:11-13 fascinates me.

11Then the LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Behold, the LORD is about to pass by.” And a great and mighty wind tore into the mountains and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”…

So many people try to make a case that only the “still small voice” is God’s tone and method of communication. I’ve learned God has an outdoor voice and He is not afraid to use it. This passage is an encounter between God and Elijah. I question whether it is to be generalized to all.

“Oh, that’s not God!”

To settle on the limited vocabulary and communication gifts puts us in a terrible bind. Usually when I need to hear from God, there are many loud voices screaming at me. A “whisper” can get decibled into oblivion. God has used His outdoor voice to capture my attention so He could whisper something personal into my spirit.

There has to be one more step, a skill to determine if what I’m hearing through the filter of self-deception, disassociation, and psychological or I will dismiss every inner impression with a blast—”Oh that’s not God!”

Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice….” God wants, desires and longs to talk to His people. That understanding and listening skill is more important than still small whisperings. After being confronted with the self-deception traits, unless I have tools to determine how to discern those traits I will ignore the voice of God: Oh, that’s not God. It is just my deluded and bent self.

“Lord, could you speak up. I missed your words.”

“The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I’m about to do?'” (Genesis 18)

A couple of months ago, a tow truck deposited a GMC 4106 bus across the street from our house. It was so close to the vision I had about the bus God was going to provide our ministry. The bus showing up on our street was like a tornado alert. It is still there. There is no For Sale sign on it. It is just there. For weeks it tormented me. It led me through that long ago process when I tried to figure out who I was really hearing. It sits there and I wonder what inner impressions were loaded with unmet needs, what undiscerned psychological denial, self-deception, and disassociation made room for my mishearing.

When God’s voice becomes discounted, we tend to seek shelter under our own juniper tree; When we no longer believe that we are one of God’s Facebook friends; when we assume that God no longer has anything to say to us, the soul begins to shrivel—the blossoms fall off the previously luxurious plant.

It is a curious question God asks Elijah. Twice, He asks, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” That’s what the small still voice said. Who do we ask for counsel and insight when confronted by that question?

Listening

©2018 D. Dean Benton

Sample Meandering at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889323

Finding Your Flair

We sponsor two Compassion children. A 20- year old Ethiopian with whom I would enjoy a long conversation and a 12-year old girl from Honduras. I don’t know how much a 12 year old knows about the caravan, but I would like to get her family’s perspective.

The 20-year old asked us to pray for his country. I wrote to him yesterday promising to do that. It seems my family has been praying for Ethiopia my entire life. My grandmother listened to missionaries and radio preachers who evangelized and served in that country. I ran across a news photo of Emperor Haile Salassie in my grandmother’s scrapbook. I was stunned when I Googled him and read that today is the 88th anniversary of his coronation! He served Ethiopia 1930-1974.

We bought a share in a chicken farm in Ethiopia several years ago to enable a town to be self-supporting. I’m a little nervous that we will receive a notice informing us it is our turn to clean the coop.

During the latter weeks of the Midterms, I have reappraised the objectives of our ministries—books and blogs. Being a pundit is not my calling, but standing for truth and being prophetic is. Our ministry Mission is to embrace, encourage, equip and engage people. I talk about culture and society when they defy reality and truth or when history indicates a certain path leads to destruction. A female news commentator says, “White men are violent and a problem.” Is that our new assignment? How do we offset that prophesy over the not yet initiated boy?

The computer in your smart phone is more powerful than the computers that drove the space modules in the early editions of space travel. So, I ask, how do I utilize the increase in power to embrace, encourage, equip and engage people? More specifically, how do I encourage my 20-year old Ethiopian who is committed to Jesus to be positioned to engage his world?

I dreamed last night that I bought a structure resembling a school and a warehouse. An elderly woman said, “This will cost a million dollars to get it running.” I thanked her for giving the first million toward the mission. Baby pigs, chickens and kids ill-equipped to engage their world lived in the badly cared for huge building. And more came as the darkness gathered.

In my self-appraisal, I have been nudged to re-read “Genius of Guinness” and to read “Grace” who was one of the Guinness women. The Guinness dreams and work captured me in the first reading. One line…

“…Old Arthur’s second son, Arthur, had inherited what would become the quintessential Guinness flair for business.”

It is that entrepreneurial insight and gifting that Paul called, Apostleship, that is called for as we face the next season. “..flair for business.” The ability to assess needs accurately, provide solutions and the skills to sell to the multitudes.

The plants are indoors for the winter. One blossomed all summer. The blossom is big, orchid-like and ravishing. Now that it is inside it is still producing beautiful colors. It erupts with color and design which lasts one day. We had not expected it to continue the blooming. When I walk past it, it whispers, “I’m not finished, yet.” It has a flair for flowering.

Trey Gowdy received this counsel from Paul Ryan:

“Find what you’re good at it and do more of it. Find what you’re bad at, and stop doing it.”

Gowdy crafted his own mantra:

“Find what you’re good at, and be a decent person in the process.”

(Unified, Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy, Tyndale ©2018)

It is with a cramp in my gut that I encourage you to find your flair.

©2018 D. Dean Benton–writer, wonderer, witness

The View From Rahab’s Window

“By His (Holy Spirit) the disciples were promised the very ability to do the works of their Lord (John 14:12). In this light, evangelism was not interpreted as a human undertaking, but as a divine project which has been going on from the beginning and would continue until God’s purpose was fulfilled. It was altogether the Spirit’s work. All the disciples were asked to do was to let the Holy Spirit have complete charge of their lives.

(Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism.)    page 57

I’m wondering. How does one “let the Holy Spirit have complete charge” of our life?

“This present darkness” has never in my lifetime felt more present over this land. It feels horrifically, hauntingly determined. The people of God must, if we’re to withstand it at all, become exceedingly determined in taking the shades off our lamps and wiping away the soot.”  Beth Moore.

Wondering…Miss Beth, how do we “take shades off our lamps and wipe away the soot?” How do we do that in ways that makes a difference in 2018 America? I agree, but what are the mechanics?

I’m paying attention to the Caravans coming from Central America. Some are saying 14,000 are traveling in the first with three groups following. Christian Broadcasting Network has an embedded reporter. The “facts” of funding and purpose depends on who you believe. I saw an interview with a young man who seemed straight-forward honest. He said,

“Oh! There are criminals in this! But we are not all criminals. Some of us are looking for work—a better life….”

I’m trying to understand what Jesus would do if He were on the USA side of the Rio Grande. How would He instruct His followers to prepare for 4000-14,000 people? Some immigrants admit to having been here and deported. There are multiple nations represented apparently from every continent. Our country is The Promised Land the people are seeking. How do we live out “light on the hill” vision?

I think I have read all the “open borders” comments. Twitter is rife with anti-Trump and anti-government plans to repel what seems to be an assault to overwhelm our borders and then all of our institutions.

I have yet to hear a plan for processing these thousands into society, neighborhoods, jobs, schools, health care. “Just let them in” is national suicide—even if there are no planners of evil or lawlessness in the caravan. An alternative workable plan must accompany each criticism or protest!

I’m fascinated with the story of Rahab as she looks out her infamous window and sees the dust raised by hundreds of thousands of Israelites headed toward Canaan. Right past her hotel. At some point, Rahab had to say, “There is not enough room in my hostel to house that crowd!”

In an Illinois town, skateboarders gathered around the drugstore on Main street. The police chased them off. They weren’t doing anything illegal, they just made customers nervous. After they were chased away from several businesses, they flocked in front of the Methodist Church. The youth leader didn’t want cops to ask them to move on—he saw the youth sent by God to his front door.

Several months ago, a tentative “vision” began to form. What if God is sending those pilgrims to us? (I don’t know what to call them. Refugees? Immigrants? Illegal immigrants? Revolutionaries?) If we saw them in that light and became proactive to teach them what the American Dream is and how it is embraced—what if this is “giving every part of our lives to the Holy Spirit?”

What if we guard our borders with a plan to invest in these pilgrims?

I wonder! What if USA & Mexico draw up a covenant to vet these people on both sides of the border? Find 1000-1500 people with heart for their people, education, and willingness to learn. Let them tell us what the needs are from which they ran. Perhaps we can hire them—pay them—they say they are looking for work. If we are going to pay for their medical care, education, housing, anyway, then let it be an investment and not a dead-end cost. Equip them and then send them to their home lands to teach and live out “the dream.”

We will be charged with “colonialism.” Remember the caravan chose to come to United States of America, not Venezuela or Guatemala. These pilgrims have made a choice—they want capitalism—the American Dream!

Why should we give preference—either by the assault upon our borders or a choice to embrace the newcomers—to other nationalities while Native Americans live in terrible conditions? And veterans? The mentality on this subject has gotten crazy—this present darkness!

This may be America’s 4th or 5th Great Awakening—with the Kingdom of God experiencing great growth through evangelism and Kingdom life.

These suggestions may be cheesy, idealistic and naïve—perhaps ignorant, but they are plans. A proactive alternative to an aimless crisis.

I want to give my life to the Holy Spirit. I want Him to use my expertise and passion—whatever it is—so I can be solution provider as a member of God’s Kingdom. The view from Rahab’s window is staggering. Who will lead us? Who are the Joshuas and Calebs?

©2018 D. Dean Benton—a wonderer

The Back Story

A May Sunday afternoon. It was Mother’s Day and my wife’s birthday. Sunday church had disappointed us. Jesus didn’t show up and the congregation was sorry we had. When the preacher says, “Lock up when you leave,” I evaluate how much he valued the morning and me.

Half-way to our son’s house, the van quit running. The auxiliary battery was discharging and in the process drained the main battery. It’s quiet on a highway next to corn and an abandoned farm house on Mother’s Day. Before cell phones. We were 25 miles to the closest gas station.

I could see a farm house north of us about quarter of a mile. I could hear dogs barking. I assumed a patrolman would come by—patrol cars are thick on that highway when I am speeding. I sure didn’t want to walk to the farm house to use the phone.

Carole went to her bunk. I talked to myself about it being a terrible way to celebrate Mother’s Day and her birthday. After an hour or two, I determined that no cop was going to drop by and Jesus probably wasn’t either. I started to the farm house.

There were two dogs. Big dogs and they were on chains—log chains. A tall woman came out onto the porch with a shotgun under her right arm.

“What do you want?”

“May I use your phone? Vehicle is broke down.”

“I don’t have a pay phone.”

“I’ve got a phone credit card. Won’t cost you anything.”

It took her several minutes to decide. I think she first decided on “NO!” I told her that Carole was in the van—being her birthday and all…. I played the pathetic card. I had played the “I’m a pastor” card earlier which didn’t mean anything to her. The woman reluctantly said I could use the phone, but with warnings.

The dogs were not just unfriendly; they had vicious down in spades.

“You try anything and I’ll unhook those dogs…..”

I tried to reassure her I just wanted to use her phone. I never did figure out what she thought I was going to “try.” She was bigger than me and could have taken me out. Only a suicidal fool would go up against that cannon under arm, let alone subject himself to being mauled by the faux grizzlies just outside the door.

Doug didn’t answer on my first try. The delay was only proof that I was trying something funny. Doug picked up the second or third try. I explained where we were—just head west on 30 until you find us. Quick.

I had to decide my strategy to get past the dogs and get far enough away that I was out of shotgun and beast range without running. I offered to leave $5 for her trouble. I laid $10 on the table—which was half the morning offering—and told her I appreciated her help. She reminded me unhooking the dogs was also still on the table.

I have spent years feeling bad about Carole’s birthday and slim Mother’s Day festivities. I’m not sure she ever believed my story of the death-defying visit to that house.  It is true.

What terrifies a person to that degree? Was she an early feminist who hated all men and trusted no man?  There is a story behind that lady. I’m sorry that the women who have been publicly vitriolic in recent weeks and used the broad brush about all men. Those ladies have stories.  What do they require to feel justice has been served? To siphon the venom? To heal the hurt?

We were visiting in the home of a single friend. Carole mentioned to her it wouldn’t be long before she could put away the wasp spray.

“I keep it close to the door in case someone comes to the door.”

Note to self: Keep cellphone charged!

(c) 2018 D. Dean Benton    Have you checked out my new ebook? Meandering–https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889323 or at Goodreads.

 

Razor Wire at my Office Door

I don’t remember many rules when our children were young. They have permission to remind me. Of course there were some:

  1. Don’t play marbles on the freeway.
  2. Don’t sleep in the subway
  3. Wear your seatbelt
  4. Lock the doors

There were rules about interpersonal behavior.

  1. Don’t disrespect your mother
  2. Dad can be instructed, “Stay out of this. I’ve got it!”
  3. Children can appeal verdicts to explain extenuating circumstances.
  4. Each of us let the other three know where we were going, with whom and when to expect to return. That led to announcements we still honor: “I’m headed for the bathroom….”
  5. We were to alert the household, “I’m really angry, but it has nothing to do with you.”
  6. Flatulence is to be expressed privately and “never say the word fart within hearing of your sibling or parent.”

There was one rule that domineered all others. No one was to say to sibling, child or parent, “Shut up.” We used a lot of words, but “Just shut up,” was an invitation to an invasion of your space.

I didn’t smile when the Senator Hirona from Hawaii said to “All men…”

“Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up! And step up. Do the right thing for a change.”

She does not represent my state or district! I am not her constituent or husband. She has no jurisdiction on our street, district, state or home. How rude! She doesn’t get to write on my permanent record. How has she come to the conclusion the men in Iowa are all rutting antelope?

I believe that sexual assault happened to Ms. Ford. Based upon our study of child abuse and multiple personalities, I think the assault happened years before she was 15. Above all else, I want her to find healing and peace. To me, there does not appear to be any concrete evidence that her memories about Kavanaugh are accurate. But I believe she has “memories” about him. Where did they come from?

I take seriously every statement when someone says they’ve been assaulted. My concern is that this “guilty until proven innocent” insurrection will make it tougher for women or men who have indeed been accosted.

The last person I would have reached out to in Ms. Ford’s situation would be a politician and then plead that I have no political motives. I would have called the cops! I wouldn’t have written to the WoPo unless that publication would help me with my agenda.

ANGER ABOUNDS

Speaking of rules, when I was studying the literature on anger for my book, Turn Back the Tirade, an anger researcher said to ask, “What would satisfy your anger? What do you need to feel that justice has been served?” A lady asked to talk to me after a seminar. She told me a story that makes Swetnick’s story pale. I asked her what would make her feel justice had been served. She described in graphic detail a 457 magnum pistol and close range shot to a male forehead.

One of three women will be sexually abused, assaulted or harassed (some say before age 18 while others say during their lifetime). You do the math. How many in our country? My first editions of “Tirade” and the seminar was titled, “Stop Being So Damned Mad!” Anger not dealt with can, according to the scripture, lead us into damnation. Public castration or lynching of Kavanaugh will not satisfy their hurt. He may be a scape goat, but he cannot be the healing Lamb.

I have placed razor wire at the entrance of my office in case a female or Democrat attempts to enter. From this point, I will frisk my wife for hidden recording wires.

Of course that is not true, but that is where this is leading, if not there already. I have no data. I’m wondering how many watching this drama have changed the way they view or interact with the opposite sex.

There is a loud scream that we Americans do not value women. That accusation has made me ask if I value women, how I express that and what do I do that makes women question whether I do? Can you help me?

I am praying for the Kavenaugh family, Dr. Ford and USA.

©2018 D. Dean Benton—

writer

wonderer

witness

white guy—old white guy

deplorable.

Six Things God Hates–if anyone cares.

Number two is “a lying tongue.”  Proverbs 6

The Ten Commandments are not only personal they are guard rails for human gatherings. Families, cities, nations. God gave them to Israel as a template for His People to show the world.

#9—you shall not bear false witness…(Exodus 20:16).

There are several ways in which false witness can be borne. A person can help spread a rumor and thus join hands with a perpetrator. One can indulge false witness by turning a blind eye when truth is known. Someone can determine to bear false witness and therefore be guilty of premeditation. A person can simply fail to come forward with the truth or insinuate falsehood without actually saying it is so. And, perhaps worst of all, a person can spread gossip about another, thus engaging in some of the worst forms of character assassination. The Bible Hub—Internet)

The Commandments as a whole are about the only way a community can survive. These ten specifics carry their own consequence when followed and when they are ignored or broken. We have witnessed the world disregard all ten. When the FBI came by to vet me for a high ranking government job, they found strong evidence I had broken several. I’ve been trying to figure out the inevitable consequences of bearing false witness.

We do not know if Dr. Ford is bearing false witness. In a setting where the innocent must prove their innocence, the accusation is adequate. There is no reason for her to say anymore. The damage is done.

Sexual misconduct is wrong and has consequences. My issue is the timing is conveniently timely for one world view. The whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test. The process is polluted and skewed.  Dr. Ford should testify.

This Kavanaugh vs. Ford issue is almost the perfect storm. It is turning upside down the very basis of a Constitutional government. “Innocence until proven guilty.” In what world does that still hold true?

The driving force behind this affirmation block is what has become America’s # 1 value. The delay is to force the President to put up someone who will protect Roe v Wade. Judge Brett Kavenaugh is inconsequential, collateral damage. I have yet to hear the Judge give any indication he was on any such mission to take down that law.

For many days I have been burdened that this may change the way we do government. It may be a soft coup where only a few lives are ruined. Nonconsequential collateral damage. And the decision making power will rest in the hands of accusers, delayers and the loudest and most vicious.

Before you decide about the upheaval, I would like for you to list to a Malcom Gladwell conversation about the workings of the mind. It added to what I’ve learned from brain specialists. The primary example in the podcast is Brian Williams of NBC.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/revisionist-history/id1119389968

Click on #7 “Free Brian Williams.” It opens to another list. Click on #28—”Free Brian Williams.” It is audio.

This doesn’t prove anything. It does open a possible explanation of what happened.

I am praying for Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh and the Government of the USA.

Thank you

©2018 D. Dean Benton

One Strategy

 

“…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

(Matthew 6:9-13).

That prayer has been assumed to mean “some day” or “after Jesus comes.” Let’s see if it works in context. “Give us…our daily bread—some day.” “And forgive us our sins—someday.”  Doesn’t work, does it? Jesus was teaching us to pray in “this day” context.

Pastor Paula White said in a sermon last weekend, “Culture is not changed; it is created.”

Nothing I’ve heard recently has so motivated me. It is absolutely true whether we are talking about an office culture, church culture, personal culture or a national culture. The reason God chose and commissioned Abraham was that he would lay the groundwork for all the nations of the earth to live in a righteous culture and the Hebrews would show the template.

Paint me a word picture of what a righteous culture looks like to you. Old Testament prophets had a clear picture and the New Testament gave us tools for the picture to be activated. Amos said, “Let justice roll down like waters….”

“But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.”

I believe in the Second Coming, but it is not an escape clause. God is not content with passivity.

Before a righteous culture can be created, we have to know what it looks like, or what we perceive it to be. It surely doesn’t mean church twice on Sunday and six other times a week and all songs in the same key and beat.

Carole and I watched the movie, “Woman Walks Ahead.” It is the story of a female artist from Brooklyn going west to paint the portrait of Sitting Bull. The movie is not 100% historically accurate in all details, but in the details that matter it is grisly accurate. Say Sitting Bull, General Custer, Wounded Knee or any current reservation and you realize the words do not describe justice rolling down like water.

I’m not too keen on Colin Kaepernick being rewarded for his behavior. He offered no positive, workable alternatives to what seemed to many to be disrespect for authority, police, military and symbols of American heritage. I applaud him for what he protests because the alleged injustice contradicts a righteous culture in a righteous nation.

Let’s stop saying “Social justice,” and call it “justice” or “injustice.” A qualifier is not needed.

A couple of things serve as foundation and umbrella: 1. God loves every person. 2. Every ethnicity and nation has peculiar qualities and treasures to be celebrated.

God’s Kingdom People had a choice when the NFL started taking a knee. We were so outraged, however, that kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest was seen by some of the population as a good thing with no repercussions, but a coach could lose his job if he knelt to pray with his team. While Colin Kaepernick was celebrated, Tim Tebow was ridiculed for kneeling to pray. That adds up to craziness for some of us. The solution is not to protest just to do more protesting.

The Kingdom—those who have a platform/influence—could recognize the injustice and make some noise about searching for healing and solutions. I don’t think I can explain to you what I was feeling about the injustice toward Native Americans as I watched Sitting Bull be assassinated, or hundreds of his kin murdered. There is no way to fix—change—what happened at Wounded Knee or the Trail of Tears. There is no way to change World (not just Civil War variety) slavery. We can express regret, repentance for whatever our circle of relationships of those whose forbearers suffered. The Kingdom—empowered by the Holy Spirit should be able to find God’s way to create a culture where protests are not needed. Why did we wait until Kaepernick was needed—for whatever his real reasons were? God’s people of specific callings and anointing should have seen the injustice—and found ways to deal with it. What kind of national culture do we need so that kind of righteousness is the norm? More people are in slavery today than were in the 1800s.

Chris Vallotten, one of the pastors at Bethel Church in Redding, California, reported that Bethel raised and gave away $1.2 million to those who lost homes in the summer fires. Bethel’s culture is miracles, signs, wonders, worship and generosity.

I’m wrestling with who we are and where we are in our ministry and how to create a culture. I’ve recently listened to a conversation with the head of Coke Consolidated—17,000 employees—and how they create and maintain. At the same time I heard Tyler Perry say, “Climb and maintain.” Here’s where I am. I’m studying two books with some conversation with authors. They teach how Jesus built culture, disciples and prepared the first Followers.

The Master’s Plan of Evangelism,  Robert E. Coleman, 1963, (Revell)

Mentoring Like Jesus, Reggie Campbell, 2017

The next step is to build interactive, groups. The words Small Groups have lost their meaning. “True North” groups is a widely used terms for effective secular groups. Coke Consolidated adopted Radical Mentoring material (Reggie Campbell) for groups of eight that last a year. Four people from the company and four from the community. (Enter Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. “Accelerating Culture Parts” 1 & 2)

I am re-examining Ralph Neighbour Jr.’s book, “Where Do We Go From Here?” (Touch Publications-1990) How to build a church on cell groups, not just being a church that has small groups.  A new culture offers a welcoming alternative that is seen as beneficial and makes senses.

I would emphasize Kingdom groups.

  1. Groups to learn about Jesus’ person, work and character.
  2. Then train how to effectively mentor.
  3. What is the culture you seek to create?
  4. The target of culture creation begins with who God has called you to and those for whom you have a vision. Single-parenting to 4th graders.

I want to be in that community. It involves some academics. It also lays ground work to create the culture that will heal social divides, expands personal capabilities and ultimately reinforce a righteous western civilization.

THY KINGDOM COME.

©2018 D. Dean Benton        dean@deanbenton.org

 

Creating Inner Culture

I’ve been studying, thinking and writing about American culture. The culture wars are important. As American culture goes, so goes Western Civilization. On my dark days, it looks like Western Civilization has been overtaken by barbarians.

Okay, come on back. Unglaze your eyes. Solving that is put off to another blog. What about personal culture? Constructing “the inner person”.

Culture is not changed; culture is created.

A solid barrier reef against mental illness at worst and the continuum of depression is self-awareness. Beware and be careful of the agreements you make. An agreement depends upon a prior suggestion or accusation. Suggestions and accusations come from all directions. Joel Osteen describes agreements in almost every sermon:

“I’ll never marry.”

“I’ll always be stuck in this subsistence job.”

“No one will ever see value in my abilities.”

“I’m going to turn out just like…no matter what I do.”

That’s a few possible agreement statements that determine response, then action/lack thereof and the guides for decisions that follow. This is such a pervasive assault that your relationship with Jesus is often determined by agreements than repelled. I’m tempted to say your destiny is determined by the agreements you make and are unwilling or incapable of breaking, refuting.

After breaking agreements, Holy Spirit can help us create a healthy, productive inner culture.

John Eldredge has been talking about agreements in recent podcasts. He has been very helpful for my understanding. I list a link below that will take you to podcasts which you can listen to on your mobile device or on your computer.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/john-eldredge-and-ransomed-heart-audio/id260843816

Click on “Agreements, Part l” from the list. Part 2 is reached in the same manner.

John Eldredge will lead to ways to break the agreements. Then you can begin to create an inner culture that will produce Kingdom intents and God’s will. I’m thinking lately that barriers to hearing God’s voice and doing His will, thereby fulfilling His call or current assignment are tied up with agreements.

If you were to excavate your history around every disappointment, trauma, defeat and judgments made of you by peers, parents, teachers and/or your important people, you will find agreements that are blocking your advancement. Some agreements work positively, like forgiveness.

If inner culture is also created, part of my personal culture must be intentional  encouragement that inspires positive agreement in family, peers, people who need God’s touch.  “I will….”

Talking to someone you trust or a “tribe” is the best tool in the box.

Let me know how it goes.

©2018 D. Dean Benton—–writer, wonderer, witness—— https://www.deanbenton.org/