My life has been pretty hectic lately….and so I haven’t had a chance to actually sit down and write anything substantial for awhile. I guess that’s life when you’ve got your foot in so many places…..I was at our regular Conference Pastors’ Meeting and someone said, “that’s like you Aaron…the whole bi-vocational thing.” My reply, “Dude, I’m like 5-vocational these days.” And that’s totally true: two churches, Navy Chaplaincy, Wrestling Coaching, being a husband, a friend, brother, financial analyst, technology guru, and thinking about another graduate degree (since the classes will be free!).
That’s my way of saying: there’s too much crap floating around in my head. But hey, that’s everyone, right?
But I wanted to share a couple things with ya, just some short snippets of things that I’ve found pretty insightful lately.
1. Dinosaurs. I hate dinosaurs. Dinosaurs represent those people who feel the need to impose on you their ideas, their way of doing things. They’ll talk forever about how they think things “ought to be,” but when it’s your turn, they check out. Dinosaurs can tend to be older, imposing on the younger, but it’s really about people who show a general lack of respect and resistance to other people and ideas, especially new and different ones. (Case in point this week: one “dinosaur” fell asleep during our conversation….yeah, that happened) What I hate about dinosaurs most, is that everyone seems to cater to them because of this status they have seemed to achieve, which just enables the behavior.
I guess though, I don’t let the dinosaurs take over. Because the fact is, they become extinct….because they’re unable to adapt and change, they’ll eventually die out. And so, I can’t let myself become one either. We always need to be adapting and evolving, especially as leaders, which brings me to my next snippet……
2. Coaching is super important. I’m reading this book called “InSideOut Coaching” by Joe Ehrmann. The book focuses on being transformational coaches who seek to develop character through athletics rather than transactional coaches who use athletes for personal fulfillment, often to the emotional and psychological detriment of the athlete. But this quote in the book struck me most of all:
“As an ordained minister, I have preached in churches for decades. That morning at the diner, I wondered how often the members of my congregation will remember a sermon of mine thirty or forty years from now. But I have coached hundreds of plays by now and I am certain of this: 100 percent of them will remember my name, the words I spoke to them, and the emotions generated by our conversations and interactions. Forever! That is part of the awesome power and responsibility of coaching. You give your players memories, for better or for worse, that stay with them until the day they die.”
I have a lot to say about this, but for the sake of brevity: I’m thinking hard about what I spend my time doing, and what I focus on as a pastor. This is true of my life – dead on. I know the impact I’ve had on the wrestlers I’ve coached over the years……but not so much with people in the parish. You just never achieve the same level of honesty…..but I wonder, if I approach my role in the congregation as I do in the mats, will the same result come up?
3. Memorial Day. I realize that Memorial Day goes well beyond military sacrifice….it is honoring and remembering all who gave their lives in service to this country, and in the name of equality and freedom for all people, regardless of race, creed, socio-economic status, sexual orientation…..under our constitution, the principle this country was built on, all have equal freedom and right to a life of being afforded the same opportunities. Yet, that doesn’t equate to guarentee of outcomes, which sadly I believe most in this country believe: outcomes/success is an entitlement.
I ask you watch the post to this video. It’s worth the 20 minutes of time it take to watch it. It’s wise and inspiring words from a man who silently and humbly serves in the most chaotic, complex, and challenging environment of all: U.S. Special Forces. ADM Bill McRaven is Commander of Navy Special Forces Command, and gave this commencement address to the class of 2014 at his alma mater, the University of Texas. It was his first public speaking engagement.