,

Flying Like the Giggling Kid

I was on a plane not too long ago.  It was a small plane flying out of West Virginia (most planes flying out of West Virginia are small).  So, on this cloudy day as we came down through the clouds prepping for landing it was quite bumpy.

I hate bumpy on a plane.

But in these bumpy moments as I was pushing away waves of nausea I heard this growing decibel of a giggle.  It slowly got louder and louder until it took over the drone of this plane’s engines and the silence of its passengers.

Giggles.

All the way down through the clouds building to a crescendo as the wheels touched down and the clicking seat belts ended the flight.

And you know what happened?

Others began to laugh.
Passengers became participants.
Strangers became community.

And we all made it through the bumps.

May we lead like the giggling kid on the plane.

,

You Should Be Cheating Part 1

Andy Stanley wrote a great book called Choosing to Cheat.  In it, he makes the assumption that we all cheat certain things in life to achieve other things.  We don’t necessarily think of it as cheating, but we do.  For instance, when we avoid desert in order to lose weight we are cheating our appetite.  When we choose to not spend money on something we want, we are cheating our desires for the sake of our budget.  In his estimation, the large majority of people are often cheating their families by giving more to work than it deserves.  We are overworked, tired, and often completely out of balance.

Another writer says it this way:

“Workaholism is the most rewarded addiction in our society.”

Not long ago, I heard someone make the following statement:

“Often, if things are good at work we feel like they’re not at home.  And if they’re good at home we feel like they’re not at work.  We always feel like we could do better somewhere.”

For leaders today, a great tension exists in finding a balance between work life and home life.  It can be taxing to try to keep everything moving, achieve success, drive an organization forward, and still be home for family dinner.  Believe me, I get it.  I love the work I do; the problem is, there’s just often too much of it.  Leading a church, coaching and consulting, writing and studying, and working with a Community Development organization are just a few of the things that I pour into and that give me life.

The problem is, sometimes I allow the things of work to become my life.  And so I come home at night too tired to fully engage my family.  I start to shut down when I hit the couch instead of the bed.  I may be in one place, but my mind is in another.  And the result?  I cheat those around me that shouldn’t be cheated.

So, we all feel this right?  We all recognize the need for balance and health and time management?  But what do we do about it?  I want to take a few posts to spell out five things that I believe can help us learn to cheat in better ways.

1 – BE, don’t DO.

Simply put, the first way we learn to cheat in healthy ways is to recognize that we are human beings, not human doings.

This is perhaps the most difficult element of bringing healthy balance to our time and energy, because we live in a culture that bases our worth on what we do and not always on who we are.  I constantly fight the pressure and feelings of inadequacy based on my own performance and status.  Here are just a few of the lies that build a “DO” mentality in me rather than a “BE” mentality:

  • If my church is bigger, I’m better.
  • If I make more money, I’m worth more.
  • If my kids don’t have any problems, I’m a successful dad.
  • If I work more, I’ll produce more.
  • If I hold it all together, I’m building a legacy.

The reality is these are just what I said–LIES.

We are made, created, and designed to BE.  God never in Scripture says He judges the worth of his creation on its ability to do stuff.  Instead, he calls us children, sons and daughters adopted and loved… embraced and healed to embrace and heal.  And we cannot DO these things as long as we’re caught up in our own doing.

The thing is, none of this is probably new thinking for you.  Most of us have heard this conversation before.  The question though, is how do we do it?  How do we rest in our being and not our doing?  Here are a few ideas I’m trying to build into my own life…

  • Let Sabbath become a rhythm and a discipline.  I’ll say more about this in coming posts, but the discipline of rest is a reminder that this world will go on without you.  You can’t learn to BE if you don’t learn to REST.
  • Play well.  Right in line with the idea of rest is an idea of play.  Find things you love, things that bring you joy, things that you can laugh at with your family, and make time for those things.  Yesterday I wandered the woods hunting for deer with a gun in my hand.  I didn’t stress, I didn’t plan, and I didn’t worry.  Because I was playing just like I did when I was 8 years old with a toy rifle in my hand.
  • Turn things off.  Disconnect.  Turn off your e-mail, your texts, your calls, etc.  I set my phone on do not disturb from 10 pm to 8 am, and the simple knowledge of that allows me to rest more than I usually do.
  • Invest in relationships.  Spend time and money with people.  Find ways to share meals with friends.  Learn to slow the pace of life by inviting others into it.  When you do this, you’ll be allowing other messy people to mess up your schedule and slow down your production, and while it may be stressful at first, somewhere in that journey you’ll realize you were made for mess and life is more full because of this slower pace.

I’m praying for you this week.  And I’m praying for me.  Praying that we all may learn to BE a little more than we DO.

 

When Delicious Sits Right in Front of You

There’s this moment in this wedding I performed a few weeks ago.  I’m sitting at the reception, at a dinner table with the family of the bride, waiting for one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten.  I didn’t know it was going to be an amazing steak, I just knew my duties in the wedding were over and as with most people who go solo to a wedding I was wishing my wife or kids were there, because then I’d at least have someone to sip wine or dance with in these long silent moments waiting on food.

But then this moment happened.

Truth be told I was kind of at the family table and kind of at the kids’ table.  To my left and right were each seated a four-year old.  One boy, one girl.  Both four.  Me in the middle.  Then, a couple grandparents and the bride’s mom and dad.

And this moment.

It happened to my left.  The four-year old boy.  I caught him out of the corner of my eye.  He was staring down the plastic-wrapped gourmet candy apple that the family had decorated each place setting with.  And I’m not kidding, it was gourmet.  Big and round and drizzled in three kinds of chocolate with nuts and goodness.  This kid was licking his chops like Jaws at the Golden Corral.  And he had no idea what was happening around him.

He missed the first dance.
And the clinking glasses calling for romantic kisses.
And the epic city lights sparkling down over the mountain as these friends and families shared a magical celebration in the life of this young couple.

He saw none of it.

But he saw the deliciousness right in front of him and he knew his grandma had told him he wasn’t allowed it to eat it until tomorrow and he realized the sun was no longer out and it felt later than he’d ever stayed up and the city was bright and the night was dark and so he uttered these words that no one but me heard…

“Is it tomorrow yet?”  

Is it tomorrow yet?  What a brilliant question.  This little guy with the ruffled shirt and loosened tie had had a long day and lost the concept of time as he knew it, but he never lost sight of the deliciousness in front of him.  And it kept him going.

The great tensions of leadership we all face can cause us to drift away from the deliciousness in front of us.  The wrestling against time, pressure, conflict, team struggles, burnout, balance, and more can pull our eyes off our plate and into the sweeping city of tension around us.

But the deliciousness is still there.

The vision, the momentum, the next steps… they never disappear, we just lose sight of them.

So what about you?  What’s the deliciousness you see?  Or the deliciousness you used to see?  What would it mean to forget what’s happening around you and reconnect with that big, juicy apple that’s already on your plate?

Because guess what, it’s almost tomorrow.

The Power to Suffer

Power allows us to find our way through suffering.

At least that’s what Paul seems to believe.  It’s not what I believe.  I see power as the opportunity for self-achievement, status-advancement, and notoriety.  I wrestled with it in getting ready to launch this blog.  In my own eagerness, as this website took shape and I thought about the potential ahead, I thought about branding and “likes” and people reading what I put out and in the most arrogant core of my being I thought about power.

I wouldn’t tell anyone that, but it’s what I was thinking.

And it’s what you think about every day.

You think about advancing your own career, about becoming known or impressing those around you or being retweeted or being called the best coach in your kiddo’s pre-school soccer league (okay, maybe that’s me again).  Power, for each of us, tends to mean influence and admiration and a whole lot of social media followers.

And if I slice apart the Scriptures I could convince myself that’s true:

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

That sounds like platform building, doesn’t it?  A Spirit that gives us power while also offering love and self-discipline.  In my mind, that sounds like the best of every personality I’ve known and admired–power for influence, love for relationships, and self-discipline for productivity.  But that’s not where it ends.

Paul goes on to say this:

“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8)

This is where it all flips.
Power, for Paul, allows us to find our way through suffering.

In Paul’s estimation, the tension of power is that as followers of Christ it doesn’t actually equal influence or status, but instead equates to the fire that fuels us through suffering.  In fact, the driving force for disciples is never simply about status or power; rather, the heartbeat of the Gospel is a knowledge of Jesus expanding further into the world.  And because of that, Paul knows we will suffer.

Because the world doesn’t always respond well to people who could care less about power.

In fact, the world tends to make those crazy people suffer.  And that’s where we find true power.  When we’re suffering for the sake of Christ, not for the sake of ourselves.

I wonder if we could at least experiment with letting power be deconstructed in our lives as leaders.  I wonder if we could potentially drop our own self-promotions and redefine what it means to be powerful.  I wonder if we could walk through suffering and see that as the great opportunity for a Savior with a better platform than we’ll ever build to become more well known in our world.

Country Music and the Danger of Success

I read an interview with country singer Eric Church recently.  One of the things I love about him is that he seems to be maintain a focus on writing and independence in a musical genre that has become mechanistic in churning out pop-country hits that could all be on the same record.  In the interview, Church was asked simply, “What’s the best part about success?”  His response is a lesson in tension:

“The freedom to do what I want musically. The mistake a lot of people make is the more success they have, the safer they play it. That’s wrong: I think the more success you have, the more dangerous you should play it.”

The success of leadership is no different.  I remember, almost five years ago, as my wife and I decided we would take the leap of planting our own church.  From the ground up.  Just a dream and good intentions.  I remember saying to her, “I’m terrified of failure, and I’m terrified of success.”

In a world where success for leaders is often a legendary unicorn, when we feel like we’ve achieved something good, or even great, the tendency is to back off.

But what if success is the opportunity to jump into more danger?  What if these moments where we finally feel satisfied as leaders with the performance of our team or the movement of our organization are actually moments to press harder into uncharted territory?  What if success is the fuselage of risk?  Could it be that in those moments the greatest thing we can do is leaders is say thank you to whoever or whatever got us there and then invite them to the next adventure?

I wonder, for you, where’s the danger zone you need to step into today?

, ,

WE the People

“’The other’ need not be negatively different from us but could be a friend, one who shares our views, our life, but who is an “other” nonetheless. The other does not exist only in the opposite camp but is found within any given group be it religious (Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist) or political (conservatives, liberals, independent). THE OTHER IS AN INESCAPABLE REALITY OF LIFE.” –Theresa Okure

 
I’ve been thinking… listening this week. Clearly many are hurt, angry, fearful. Others are joyful and celebratory. Some are lashing out. Others are arrogantly reacting. It has reminded me in many ways of what I see on my children’s playground at recess. Emotions and energy run high because it is a time of day when freedom is exercised.
 
And yet these words… “We the people…”
“WE the people…”
“WE…”
 
WE are this country.
 
Some don’t feel as though they are right now. And to my friends experiencing that deep sorrow and fear right now… to the Muslim, the immigrant, the transgender, the African-American… please know that you are still WE.
 
And WE need you.
 
WE need YOU to be America.
 
To those who feel safer because Trump was elected… who feel like we will regain the glory that once was our country… who feel like things will finally be okay…
 
Please be cautious, because no man is a Savior save the One Man who defeated more than a political opponent but rather the hands of hell and death itself. Please be cautious because hope deserves to be pointed to the right things.
 
But WE need YOU too.
 
All of us experiences “the Other” every single day. We drive on our roads with people who are different than us. People who think differently, vote differently, pray differently, and even love differently. We all have “the Other”. And to others, we are “the Other.”
 
Some need to become a voice of humility in these next four years, quietly listening and learning.
 
Some need to become a voice of prophecy in these next four years, speaking out against injustice and calling the body of Christ to be hope rather than false governments.
 
But WE have to continue to be a WE.
 
Please rest.
 
To someone who is fearful, angry, or hurting… don’t explain why you’re right. Explain why you will continue to love them and why they are still part of WE.
 
To someone who is celebrating and feeling better about the direction of this country, please don’t label them as ignorant or filled with the -ism’s that divide. Instead, love them. Love them deeply and unhinge what feels like “the Other” to them.
 
Grow quiet, grow still. Give your power away. Become a hand and voice of healing.
 
And may WE become a better, more beautiful WE together.

Donovan McNabb Peaked at 32

I listened to this interview the other day with Donovan McNabb, the great quarterback from a few years ago who played for the Philadelphia.  As he was talking with the interviewer, they discussed the emergence of  several young rookie quarterbacks and what that growth process had been like for Donovan.

He shared how he really began to feel the game “slow down” in his second season, about the 7th or 8th game.  He said at that point he didn’t feel like a rookie any longer and finally started to understand what the professional level speed was really all about.

It was at this point that the interviewer moved from the beginning of Donovan’s career to the end.  He asked how old he was when he started to feel his body erode.  At what point in his career did he know things were slowing down too much?

Donovan’s answer struck me.

“32.”

32.
32 years old.
32 years old and he knew his career was heading toward its end.

I’m 36 right now.
36 years old.
And you know what?
My career’s heading toward its end too.

It may be another 30+ years or it may be the end of this month.  But the reality is simple.  At some point, we all PEAK.  And every moment after that is a decline.

The organizations you lead…
The people you serve…
The work you achieve…
All of it will eventually have its best day ever.
And then you’re on the down hill slide.

For Donovan, it was age 32.  For you, it may be tomorrow.  But right now, you have today.  And today you can live in the middle of your ascent and your decline, and you can be the best you can possibly be.  And here’s the good news… nobody knew Donovan was declining except Donovan.  And he was 32 in 2008.  Then, a month after he turned 33 in 2009 he played the Washington Redskins and passed for his 200th touchdown and 30,000 career passing yard.

So guess what?
Even if you’ve peaked you’re not necessarily done.

,

I Assume You’re Brilliant

You don’t know me.  So why should you trust me?  Some church planter guy in West Virginia talking about leadership.  What do I know about you and your situation?

Of course, on the other hand, your cynicism might keep you from something that could create a breakthrough in your situation.  And what if you miss out on that?

This is the tension of insight.

And it has nothing to do with me.
(And everything to do with you.)

There’s this approach we often have to the world around us.  It’s the approach of cynical skeptics who for better or worse seem to believe that their own, localized situation buried in their context and assumptions and problems and opportunities has nothing to do with anyone or anything from the broader world outside their context.

And you know what?  They might very well be right.

But sometimes they’re not.

Sometimes a voice, a story, a spark of insight… Sometimes someone far removed from our life–a business owner in Germany or a Kindergartener in Iowa–sometimes these people learn something or see something or say something that sends lightning down our spine and speaks directly to our hearts as the Truth we needed to hear.

I know this because I’ve had it happen to me.  I’ve written people, things, and places off in a flash.  I’ve assumed they have nothing to do with me or my life.  I’ve brushed them away like the dust on an old book.

And I’ve missed out because of my approach.

The tension here is that maybe, just maybe, we should always be awake.  Maybe we should always have our radars turned on and our ears tuned in.  Maybe it’s better to assume greatness and wisdom in everyone and everything around us rather than idiocy.  Maybe the arrogant boss still has something to offer.  Maybe the annoying student has brilliance inside.  Maybe the broken single mother will paint beauty all over this world.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ve got something amazing too.

 

,

Parenting Your Kids Through the 2016 Election

So there was this day, back in August, when I dropped my 11-year old daughter off at the local Middle School for the first day of 6th grade.  It was like that first day of kindergarten, but with a whole new set of emotions.  On Kindergarten day, I found myself sad because of her rapid growth and how quickly time was going and what it meant that she wasn’t at home all day everyday anymore.  But on Middle School day, sadness was replaced by nerves and fear.  I was watching her grow up too quickly again, but this time I knew she was entering a world of peer pressure and boys and mean girls and boys.  It was a hard day.

Until she came home.

She was so excited she couldn’t contain it.  She’s always been a lover of school, but on this her first afternoon in Junior High she came home talking all about every class, and especially Social Studies.

Now, as an aside you need to know that this summer my family grew (a bit too) obsessed with the soundtrack from Hamilton, the Broadway show that seems to be taking over a large portion of our musical preferences in America.

When I say obsessed, I’m talking about three little rural West Virginia white girls and their gorgeous mama rapping like MC Hammer circa 1992 to the lyrics of this show.  Not to mention, in this process, we learned a great deal about American history and this ten-dollar founding father.

Back to Middle School day one.

My girl came home pumped about the fact that her class was talking all about this portion of American history and she was sure that meant Alexander Hamilton and she couldn’t wait and by the way daddy, did you know there’s a presidential election this year???

Yes, honey, I had heard that.

Since that time, we as a country have observed three national debates, countless controversial conspiracies or conspiratorial controversies, the trashing and defending of the would-be contenders, and a news cycle that drips like Starbuck’s Americano.

And like most of you, I am incredibly tired of it all.

This is my fifth presidential election.  I’ve seen Bush part 2 for two terms, and Barack Obama for two terms.  I’ve also watched three complete rounds of The West Wing in the process.

So I consider myself fairly educated when it comes to presidential moments (read more sarcasm than arrogance in that statement).  But, this year, something’s different.  As I’ve watched the debates (or what I could stand of them) and read the news, my thoughts are a bit transformed.  You see, it’s no longer about my opinion alone because after every debate, my daughter has woken up and gone to school the next day only to come home and say daddy, did you know there was a debate last night?

And then we spend a few minutes talking about the debate and what the candidates did or said, because that’s what she’s been talking about in her current events time in Social Studies.

The earliest presidential election I remember was 1988.  I don’t remember much about it other than Michael Dukakis riding in a tank.

But I do know there were conversations being had around me.  I remember asking a few questions and hearing the familiar statements of parents and grandparents, neighbors and friends speaking into the heart and mind of a young boy curious about these two men so boring and yet so prevalent on television.  Statements like this:

“It’s our privilege to vote.”
“When it comes time to vote, it’s what you do as a duty of an American.”
“People fought so we have the right to vote.”
“It’s what makes our nation great–our freedom to vote.”

I don’t remember those statements meaning much to me until about six years later.  I remember seeing clips of this place they called South Africa–I truly believed it was the southern half of the continent; I didn’t know it was its own country.  I remember hearing this word Apartheid and seeing African men and women rejoicing as they stood in line to vote for the first time in the rural parts of this country.

As I started, in my adolescent mind, to understand the great racial brokenness in this country and what it meant to truly have a free election, I started to believe those statements I’d been raised under and the true greatness of freedom in my own country.

I have always looked forward to voting.  I love the presidential run-up.  I enjoy the debates and the strategy and the ongoing conversation with friends and family about who I should vote for and why they’re the best option.

But then this campaign happened.
And my daughter going to Middle School happened. 

Suddenly, I found myself entirely confused about this political season and specifically, how to raise my daughter in this conversation.  Now, as much as I love her passion for learning and her engagement of this Social Studies class and desire to learn about the election, I’m also wrestling against what to teach her.  In my mind, I should be saying the things I grew up hearing about the duty to vote and the obligation to honor the past  and the fight for freedom.  Honestly, I believe those things.  I do.  I love this country in so many ways.  But I also have this great struggle right now as I look at these candidates and this campaign…

This campaign and these candidates do not represent the America I believe in.

Again, I don’t want to incite a political commentary firestorm here.  I have many great friends who are soldiers and I know their sense of duty and passion for freedom and I am not dishonoring them. I have shared this conversation with them and they get it.  They are frustrated as well.

This pride and arrogance, and the driving attempts to destroy not only someone’s political aspirations but also their personal reputation and character fueled by the reality that these candidates have little to no personal character offers a portrait of a country that is not the ideal that we have for so long stood upon.

So, after this very, very long preface, how do we parent our children as they grow through these difficult conversations?  I’d like to make 5 suggestions.

1 – Teach them about integrity, honestly.

I think the very best thing we can do in helping our children and teens understand the political climate right now is to first teach them honestly about integrity.  I’m not talking about the stories of Honest Abe or the original George W.’s cherry tree.  I’m talking about the great difficulty that lies in attempting grow our daughters and sons as future men and women who live lives of character and truth.  Our kiddos need to know that integrity is a battle, and the political realm is a perfect example of what the Scriptures teach about fighting for the approval of humanity or the approval of God:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”  (Proverbs 29:25)

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ…” (Galatians 1:10) 

What this means is that we ask them what they think of these political candidates along the way.  Let them think for themselves and engage in these conversations with you.  Ask them what questions they have and then allow your conversation to move primarily to the issues of integrity and character, not who you’re voting for or why.

2 – Teach them about dignity and worth.

Perhaps the most disturbing element of this entire campaign has been the disregard for the value and worth of common people given by both sides.  From Trump’s unacceptable defamation of women, immigrants, and anyone else he considers “the Other,” to Clinton’s uber-wealthy disconnect from real America, it is painful to know that one of these two future leaders will soon sit in an office at least philosophically built to guard and protect the people of this country.

The tension of this election with my oldest daughter has been the gift of opportunities to talk with her about her own dignity and value as a young woman and the importance of considering every other person around her with the same dignity and value.  No fear grips me more than the fear that my daughters will grow with a pervasive preconceived idea of what it means to look like the “perfect” woman.  So, I will fight tooth and nail with every conversation I’m given to allow them to hear of what true beauty and worth mean in the eyes of God.

3 – Teach them about the sovereignty of God and not a false hope in man.

Okay, so this isn’t a lesson simply for our children.  Maybe we all need this lesson.  A recent video of Andy Stanley shows him speaking to those over the age of 45 about the political climate and simply saying, “Calm down, you’re scaring the kids.”  How true is that?  If we allow ourselves to be swept up in the endless news cycle and rhetoric so permeated with fear we will do nothing but pass our fear to our children.

What this season offers to us as parents is the chance to demonstrate tangibly what faith in a God who sits over this creation, not in fear of it:

“That power [that raised Christ from the dead] is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:19-21)

So, we have the chance to live at peace in the coming days because we serve a God who is good and a God who is sovereign, and when you as parents demonstrate that peace and faith in the midst of your own fear and discontent, your children will see what trust in God truly looks like.

4 – Teach them history–good, bad, and ugly.

It never ceases to amaze me that as I travel and engage more friends in more places, I recognize the great diversity in worldviews in our country.  What I realize is that all of this ties directly to individual histories and the history of our country as a whole.  My friend whose grandfather died serving in World War 2 so that his family in rural West Virginia could remain safe has a very different understanding of America than my African-American brother who grew up a victim of systemic poverty in an urban ghetto.  The thing is, both of these experiences are American and both of these experiences are deeply rooted in the history of this country.

We are all products of the past, but we are not destined by the past.

It is essential that as parents we become (hi)story tellers.  We often do this in our own families, telling the favorite stories of the past around our holiday tables.  But the problem is, these stories are told through rose-colored lenses when we’re little and all we ever get is the shiniest version of our past.  As our children grow, as parents we must unveil not only the good but also the evil and disfigured parts of our stories.  We are shaped not only by the good, but by the evil as well.

The story of our country is much the same.  It is a land born through bloodshed and sacrifice but also tainted with a disregard for Native Americans and the enslavement of African-Americans.  The great men and women who built this country also had great blindspots.  America is not Fox News.  It is not CNN.  It is individuals like you and me, broken and messy and yet full of potential.

5 – Teach them civility and citizenship.

Finally, I’ve settled on a great passion to teach my kids about civility and citizenship.  It is more important in our family that we listen and listen well, that we seek to understand before being understood, and that we care deeply about the value of a person even with whom we disagree.  The great gift we have in relationships is that we can dialogue over the power of words, that we can see the world differently, and that we can still love the Other well.

In this campaign, civility seems to be the Great White Unicorn that all have forgotten.  Even children recognize that at the base level, these candidates are mean.  Civility recognizes that even in the midst of passion and purpose and defensive stances, we can be kind.

But not only civility.  Citizenship matters as well.  And citizenship is more than a patriotic duty to vote.  It is more than five minutes in a booth on one day every four years.  Citizenship is an ongoing care and love for place–our place–that says courageously, “This is not the America that I love, not the way these candidates are presenting it.  But I will work everyday to make it more that way.”  And then and only then, citizenship is waking up and loving our place by loving the people around us, caring for the communities where we reside and those who suffer because of broken systems and failing leadership.  Citizenship is recognizing that America is our responsibility; beyond the act of voting and flooding out in our everyday lives.

And by the way, citizenship, at least for those who call themselves Christ-followers, must always come down to something higher than America, or West Virginia, or Detroit.  Citizenship, for us, lies in what Paul says:

“But our citizenship is in heaven.And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 3:20)

I love this country; but I love the Kingdom of God more.  I am a citizen of the U.S.  I am a West Virginian.  But I am a citizen of the Kingdom that Jesus told us was near first.  And, on November 9th I will speak to my children of the great purpose of God’s mission that hasn’t changed no matter who takes office.

How are you using this mess to teach your kids?