Sunday, March 17, 2019

Slow Miracles

This blog post is long overdue. It is a summary of the most important message that I've ever heard in church-- I sobbed through this service at Crossroads in 2014, and I've watched the video several times since then. I've talked to friends about it, and I've shared the video link with people. It's been on my mind a lot in the past month, but it became more obvious that I needed to write about it this week, as I heard the news that Kathy Beechem passed away.

I happened to cross paths with Kathy at Woman Camp last year, and I stopped to tell her how much this message meant to me. Actually, I'm pretty sure that all I managed to say was something about Slow Miracles and how it broke something in me in the best possible way, and then I completely choked up. But Kathy understood what I was trying to say, and we hugged, and I am so glad that I had that opportunity.

Chuck Mingo

Some of the most meaningful change that can happen in your life comes from slow miracles fueled by persistent prayer.

This world is even more broken than you think it is.

Romans 8:22 – For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

When Adam and Eve chose not to trust God, the world got broken at a fundamental level.

God is more faithful than the world is broken.

Revelation 21:5 – He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Slow miracles increase my faith in both these things.

Kathy Beechem

In the prime of their lives, Kathy's husband Pete was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “And boy, I learned how to pray... I prayed desperately, I prayed fervently, I prayed sincerely. Every way Jesus said to pray, I prayed. And not just me…” but their entire community at Crossroads and former coworkers and customers.

But Pete died in 2008. “And suddenly I am a widow, and it’s a really dark place.”
“And I told God how disappointed I was in him that he didn’t save Pete. I believed with my whole heart that he could save him, and that he would. And he didn’t.”
“God showed me the depth of his love—And he showed me that nothing, NOTHING can separate you from me. NOTHING. I can redeem the ugliest, hardest, the most broken situations, and turn them into something beautiful. And I, slowly, as I heal, become transformed. I change in a million ways. I mean a million ways. From this accomplished corporate exec, to who I am today. He leads me to meaningful work, here. I start beginning to think I might be able to see a future. And then, I start having fruit. I mean I see the transformation in me start to happen in the people that I serve with, and the people that I work with, and in my friends, and in the women that God’s led to me that I can build into. I start seeing amazing transformation. And then God shows me something. He shows me that, every time I see that transformation, when things happen in the physical world that are beautiful and good, they start first in the spiritual world. And he shows me the power of prayer, and how by praying, great things can happen. And he kind of gives me a little glimpse and he says, You know, all those years I was pursuing you and Pete. Well, you know, your grandmother had been praying for decades for you—she never gave up on you, which is amazing—and my mother and my sister and all the folks who believed in me were praying for me. And I thought, I want everyone in my world, everyone who’s in my sphere of influence to experience the same transformation I’ve experienced. And so I pray for each one of them, intently.”

Chuck Mingo
"This world is even more broken than you think it is. Again, creation groans… There is brokenness in this world that runs very deep... One of the things that frustrates me is when people use Christian-y language to try to butter over difficult situations, and sometimes people use Bible verses in the wrong way. Here’s one that can easily be misused when people are struggling:
Romans 8:28 says 'And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.'
"That verse is absolutely true. But let me tell you, that verse doesn’t say: If you follow Jesus no bad things are going to happen to you. And that’s how that verse is often used. No! It says all things work together for good. What that means is: All things happen to Christians. Good things and bad things happen to Christians. Why? Because this world is broken. And everybody’s impacted by the brokenness of this world. But what this also says is: If anything in this broken world is working out for good, it’s because there’s a loving God. Anything.  ANYTIME death isn’t the outcome, ANYTIME there’s healing, ANYTIME the marriage gets restored, it only happens because there’s a God who is working in that situation. And, even the bad things, God doesn’t cause them, but he works them for the good of those who love him. That’s what that verse says.  So here’s the thing: The world is more broken than you think. But that verse is a reminder that God is more faithful than the world is broken.
God doesn’t promise you better life circumstances, but he does promise you a better life.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Colorblindness & Depression

On a recent road trip up to Michigan, I was listening to a Planet Money podcast (#847) about the (accidental) invention of the Enchroma glasses for people with colorblindness.  One of the podcast reporters (Kenny Malone) is colorblind, and the other one (Sarah Gonzalez) had bought him a pair of the glasses to try out at the end of the show.  Sarah was really excited, but Kenny was skeptical that seeing color would be worth the $350 that the glasses cost.

The inventor of the glasses, Don McPherson, said it was tough to convince people to buy them initially:  “It was difficult, absolutely… People saying ‘I don’t need those because I’ve lived my whole life without them.’”  After seeing filtered images that illustrate what the world looks like for someone who is colorblind, I can kind of understand why they might be apathetic about the idea.  If everything in the world is a shade of mustardy yellow or a dull blue, how could you possibly imagine a reality that is radically different from the one you’ve always known?

It reminded me of a phrase in the Bible:
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.”
At that time, mirrors were made from polished bronze or copper, so Paul is essentially saying that what we experience here on Earth is like colorblindness, compared to what we'll experience in Heaven someday.

And when you see videos of people trying on the glasses and being completely overwhelmed-- shaken, speechless, sobbing-- it really makes me wonder what God has in store for us.
“I remember when I first put the glasses on, being… stunned.  I expected colors to look different.  What I didn’t expect was how much deeper and richer and brighter all the colors were.
“I could lose those glasses tomorrow, and I would still be thankful for having gotten to see what the world actually looks like.  The world is so much more beautiful than I ever thought it was.”
The reason why this analogy struck me so deeply is because our dear friends lost their 14 year old son to suicide two weeks ago, and I am so heartbroken for them.

Depression is emotional colorblindness.  People commonly describe it using the same terms-- like living in a fog, at the bottom of a well, or in a world without color.  We don't see the world as it really is, and the tiny isolated part that we do see is muted and bleak.
"Depression is a malfunction in the instrument we use to determine reality.  The brain experiences a chemical imbalance and wraps a narrative around it."
Depression is a terrible, evil thing because it blinds us from knowing how much we are loved.  It lies to us and tells us that we are unworthy of love:  "I'm so broken.  If people knew what I'm really like..."  The thought is too horrible to finish, but it churns relentlessly in our brains in the middle of the night.

And yet... the rest of the verse continues:
“Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Paul is saying that we are fully known and fully loved by God, and we will encounter this Love face to face someday.  It gives me to hope to think that Pierce's blindness has been lifted, and he can see now how fully he was loved, by his family and friends here on Earth, and by his Father in Heaven.

Michael Gerson expressed this idea beautifully in his sermon at the Washington National Cathedral:
"Faith, thankfully, does not preclude doubt. It consists of staking your life on the rumor of grace.

"This experience of pulling back the curtain of materiality, and briefly seeing the landscape of a broader world, comes in many forms. It can be religious and nonreligious, Christian and non-Christian. We sometimes search for a hidden door when the city has a hundred open gates. But there is this difference for a Christian believer: At the end of all our striving and longing we find, not a force, but a face. All language about God is metaphorical. But the metaphor became flesh and dwelt among us."

"...Fate may do what it wants. But this much is settled: In our right minds, we know that love is at the heart of all things.

"Many, understandably, pray for a strength they do not possess. But God’s promise is somewhat different: That even when strength fails, there is perseverance. And even when perseverance fails, there is hope. And even when hope fails, there is love. And love never fails."

Love never ends.
As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know – in part – and we prophesy – in part – but when the Perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three.
But the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jehovah Shalom

Peace is a promise you keep

You will stay true
even when the lies come
Your word remains truth
even when my thoughts don’t line up
I will stand tall
on each promise you’ve made
Let the rest fade away

There’s a Peace far beyond all understanding
May it ever set my heart at ease
Dare anxiety come—I’ll remember that
Peace is a promise you keep
Peace is a promise you keep

You will stay true
even in the Chaos
Your word remains truth
even when my mind wreaks havoc
I will be still
for I’ve known all along
My Jehovah Shalom

There's a Peace far beyond all understanding
May it ever set my heart at ease
What anxiety fails to remember is
Peace is a promise you keep
Peace is a promise you keep

You are Peace to the restless soul
You are Peace when my thoughts wage war
You are Peace to the anxious heart
That’s who you are, that’s who you are
You are Peace when my fear takes hold
You are Peace when I feel enclosed
You are Peace when I lose control
That’s who you are, that’s who you are
That’s who you’ll always be

I’ve found a Peace far beyond all understanding
Let it flow when my mind's under siege
All anxiety bows in the presence
Of Jesus the keeper of Peace
Peace is a promise he keeps

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday: Despair and Faith

This is a beautiful post, which struck me deeply:
What Good Friday teaches us about cynicism
“For believers, the complete story of Good Friday and Easter legitimizes both despair and faith. Nearly every life features less-than-good Fridays. We grow tired of our own company and travel a descending path of depression. We experience lonely pain, unearned suffering or stinging injustice. We are rejected or betrayed by a friend. And then there are the unspeakable things — the death of a child, the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, the steady advance of a disease that will take our minds and dignity. We look into the abyss of self-murder. And given the example of Christ, we are permitted to feel God-forsaken.“And yet . . . eventually . . . or so we trust . . . or so we try to trust: God is forever on the side of those who suffer. God is forever on the side of life. God is forever on the side of hope.”

Having experienced Depression, I do recognize the deep sense of despair in Jesus’ words: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Depression isn’t sadness, it is a state of complete hopelessness. Darkness keeps descending, and there is no reason to believe that dawn will ever come again.

But I have also experienced the faith that can follow despair. Faith means different things to me on different days-- sometimes it is awe at the wonders of the Universe; sometimes it is a simple sense of comfort in a community; sometimes it the crazy, counter-intuitive way that Love can triumph over fear.

And to be perfectly honest, sometimes my faith is just a simple link on an unbroken chain of 2,000 years of believers, stretching all the way back to those “cowardly friends [who] became bold missionaries, most dying torturous deaths (according to tradition) for the sake of a figure they had once betrayed in their sleep.”

I don’t personally know for sure what happened 2,000+ years ago in Jerusalem. But I find it compelling that that the people who WERE there on Easter Sunday were willing to die for a Truth that seemed totally inconceivable to them on Good Friday. Their failings and denials during Jesus' trial and execution seem relatable, but their courage and audacity afterward are something altogether different and inspiring.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hebrews 11:6

I'm working on it...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Philippians 2:1-4

I've been meeting with a small group of women for about a year now, and I am just so grateful for the encouragement, comfort, sharing, tenderness, and compassion that I've witnessed and experienced by being part of this group.  So much love...

Monday, February 20, 2017


Rage Against the Minivan: Why I Think it’s Time to Retire the Word ‘Missionary’:
"No vocation is more spiritual than another. And every Christian is called to share the gospel. But the very existence of the word missionary as it is used today seems to imply otherwise. If missionaries are God’s Special Forces, then evangelism is a calling for some, for the super-spiritual. The rest of us just aren’t called to that.

"...But God’s mission has never been about counting the number of spiritual conversations you’ve had in a week or valuing street evangelism over changing diapers and formatting spreadsheets. God’s mission has never been about seeing yourself as a spiritual superhero in an action story. God’s mission, as St. John of the Cross said, is to put love where love is not. It’s about relational flourishing.

"We all share this vocation, but we live into it in different ways. Maybe your way is through cross-cultural evangelism. Maybe it’s to be a first-grade teacher. Maybe it’s to be a linguist and a Bible translator. Maybe it’s to be a stay-at-home dad. Maybe it’s to be a doctor in the suburbs, the inner city, or an African village. I don’t know, but what I do know is that all of those vocations are valuable, and in all of those vocations, you can put love where love is not."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nationalism vs Patriotism

I read this article on Nationalism vs Patriotism awhile ago, and it has been rattling around in my brain ever since. Jonah Goldberg argues that the key difference between them is the distinction between simply loving our country (tribalism) vs loving the values and ideals that it represents:
"This is at the same time both entirely right and fundamentally misleading. It leaves out what the flag represents. It glides over the fact that the national anthem sanctifies the “land of the free.” Our shrines are to patriots who upheld very specific American ideals. Our statues of soldiers commemorate heroes who died for something very different from what other warriors have fought and died for millennia. Every one of them — immigrants included — took an oath to defend not just some soil but our Constitution and by extension the ideals of the Founding. Walk around any European hamlet or capital and you will find statues of men who fell in battle to protect their tribe from another tribe. That doesn’t necessarily diminish the nobility of their deaths or the glory of their valor, but it is quite simply a very different thing they were fighting for."
My husband and I were having a discussion over lunch about hypocrisy within the church, and I think that it comes down to a similar distinction-- It is dangerous to love being part of a church community (tribalism again) more than you love the values that The Church is supposed to advance in this world.

I think that this quote from the article can be applied in either case*:
"Left-wingers who fancy themselves ironically detached from patriotism and particularism and as avatars of a more sophisticated cosmopolitanism no doubt roll their eyes at such things, considering it so much schmaltz. Some might even snark that such patriotic piety is hypocritical given this or that crime — real or alleged — that America has committed. But hypocrisy is a charge every civilization opens itself to when it aims for an ideal higher and better than loyalty to tribe."
*To be clear, I do NOT believe that American ideals and Church values are identical. I just try to live within the overlap of their Venn diagram.

The United States and the Church are both made up of flawed individuals, and so we inevitably fail to live up to "American exceptionalism" or "being a good Christian." And I think it's completely OK to be critical of those failings, as long as we don't become so jaded that we succumb to the notion that those values and ideals matter less than our tribal loyalty.

Jonah Goldberg wrote a follow-up to his original article, where he rebuts some of the criticism that he received from one of his colleagues:
When Rich says, “Jonah seems to imply that other countries can’t have true patriotism because they don’t have the Declaration and our founding ideals . . . ” you should translate that as, “Rich seems to be inferring.” I have no problem conceding that patriotism exists in other countries. Americans didn’t invent the word, after all.

Let’s stipulate that patriotism means “love of country.” People all over the world love their countries. Even people who live under oppressive dictators and hate their governments will say that they love their country. Indeed, many of the greatest patriots swim against the nationalist tides in their homelands.

Let me try it a different way. I have always believed that American conservatism is inseparable from American patriotism. I said “inseparable from” not “identical to.”

Since everyone’s quoting Samuel Huntington these days, I’ll do it too. Huntington observed that conservatism is a “positional ideology.” By that he meant that there are many conservatisms because conservatives in different societies seek to conserve different things. A conservative in France in, say, 1788 seeks to conserve that rich bouillabaisse of altar and throne. A conservative in England seeks to conserve the monarchy, among other things.

...This is why I share Yuval Levin’s contention that, at its core, conservatism is gratitude.

"To my mind, conservatism is gratitude. Conservatives tend to begin from gratitude for what is good and what works in our society and then strive to build on it, while liberals tend to begin from outrage at what is bad and broken and seek to uproot it." --Yuval Levin

A patriot in England, never mind Russia or Botswana, loves different things than a patriot in the United States. It’s something of a paradox: All patriotisms are equal in that they are all subjective, but not all patriotisms are equal when measured against certain ideals.

And that makes all the difference in the world. Lowry asserts that I think other countries can’t have patriotism because they don’t love the Founding and our principles of liberty. Not at all; rather, I think American patriotism is different because America — the object of our love — is different. As Hayek noted, America is the one place where you can be a lover of liberty and a conservative because in America conservatives seek to defend the liberal principles of the Founding.

In America there is nationalist sentiment, to be sure, but the “doctrines” of nationalism find no easy purchase here. Werner Sombart’s famous question, “Why is there no socialism in America?” has elicited many answers, but the most agreed-upon one is that America has no feudal past. America represented a sharp break with the ancient notion that polities — nations, empires, city-states, tribes, etc. — were no different than families with an unimpeachable pater familias at the helm. We celebrated and enshrined very different notions in our national DNA, which is why Alexis de Tocqueville could observe that the American was the Englishman left alone. What makes America exceptional, what makes American patriotism and conservatism different, is that the object of our love and gratitude is different. If Rich wants to define nationalism as love of country and nothing more, that’s his right. But he would be wrong.

So when Rich tries to insinuate that I don’t think William of Orange was a patriot, he’s wrong. But his patriotism was fundamentally, philosophically, and morally different than American patriotism. And, by the way, it most certainly was tribal, if one is allowed some leeway when using the term.
He also refers to American exceptionalism in another article, criticizing Trump's recent comments about the US being no different than Russia:
It’s the president’s job to help shape public rhetoric, because how we talk about our ideals determines whether we sustain or erode them. Or, as the late literary critic Wayne Booth put it, rhetoric is “the art of probing what men believe they ought to believe.” To listen to Trump, Americans should believe a number of dismaying things: our public institutions cannot be trusted; he alone can fix our problems; absent him, our best days are behind us; and, most worrisome, America’s ideals have been part of the problem, not the solution.

I don’t care if Trump thinks we’ve fallen short of ideals – of course we have, that’s why we call them ideals. What bothers me is that he often sounds like he has contempt for those ideals in the first place.
John McCain also rebuked Trump (indirectly) in his speech to the Munich Security Conference:
Make no mistake, my friends: These are dangerous times, but you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out. We must be prudent, but we cannot wring our hands and wallow in self-doubt. We must appreciate the limits of our power, but we cannot allow ourselves to question the rightness and goodness of the West. We must understand and learn from our mistakes, but we cannot be paralyzed by fear. We cannot give up on ourselves and on each other. That is the definition of decadence. And that is how world orders really do decline and fall.

This is exactly what our adversaries want. This is their goal. They have no meaningful allies, so they seek to sow dissent among us and divide us from each other. They know that their power and influence are inferior to ours, so they seek to subvert us, and erode our resolve to resist, and terrorize us into passivity. They know they have little to offer the world beyond selfishness and fear, so they seek to undermine our confidence in ourselves and our belief in our own values.

We must take our own side in this fight. We must be vigilant. We must persevere. And through it all, we must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values—that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair … and that even though we will inevitably take losses and suffer setbacks, through it all, so long as people of goodwill and courage refuse to lose faith in the West, it will endure.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Images of God

Brian Tome

Genesis 1:26-28 (NLT)
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. 
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Exodus 35:30-35 (NLT)
30 Then Moses told the people of Israel, “The Lord has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 31 The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. 32 He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. 33 He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft. 34 And the Lord has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others. 35 The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers.
God created humans to do three things:
  • Rule/Dominion - Order out of chaos - Brings peace, justice, order, organization, processes, and systems - Teacher, Judge, Engineers, Scientists, Contractors, Project Managers
  • Increase/Growth - Abundance - Things just seem to flourish under your care - Entrepreneur, Sales/Marketing, Farmer, Banker
  • Create/Innovate - Create new things - Architect, Photographer, Artist, Performer, Inventor
All of these are aspects of his image.

Group Discussion

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Luigina:  "Helping others" is a Spiritual Gift.  Look it up!

1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-31 (NLT)
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.<

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.

True Talent Indicator

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NLT)
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
The name is a dead giveaway. Innovators love nothing better than coming up with a new idea. New vision, new market, new product, new non-profit; whatever the opportunity, innovators love taking new ground. They have big ideas and aren’t easily discouraged by obstacles. They aren’t fatigued by reinvention or change; in fact, it is what gives them the most energy.

Typically, innovators will tend toward high-risk, high-flexibility type environments. Entrepreneurs are often (though not always) innovators, as are many creatives and early adopters. Immature innovators will often struggle with focus, lacking the discernment and discipline to focus on the handful of important ideas from the firehose of stuff constantly running through their head. Mature innovators, however, have learned the necessity of developing a team around them to help follow through on their great ideas.

Every expedition needs a navigator. Futurists have an uncanny ability to step back, see what’s likely to happen, and make a plan to address it. They often come up with solutions that are creative and unorthodox—sometimes even resulting in conflict when others can’t see what they see. Call it “gut instinct” or “intuition;” successful futurists often see both threats and opportunities earlier than others.

Futurists tend to be creative and multi-disciplinary, relying on their ability to solve problems and address upcoming issues. Immature futurists can easily become discontent or self critical if they don’t feel like their ideas are given adequate merit; this can cause them to become distant and isolated. However, a mature futurist understands the value of community, and has learned the humility it takes to trust a broader team rather than acting in isolation.

If they love it, you’re going to know about it. Promoters simply can’t help but tell others about the things that have impacted their life—from the newest gadget or movie to a life-changing epiphany about the world. They are often outgoing and highly relational, and display their love and care for others by sharing the things they like.

Promoters are natural networkers and relationship builders. Immature promoters can unknowingly leave people feeling abandoned due to their ability to very easily build new relationships because of excitement about “the next big thing.” Mature promoters, on the other hand, take care to ensure that people remain their highest priority, and that they communicate that love and care clearly.

Forget the guy with the whistle and the awkwardly short shorts, this kind of person leads, motivates, and encourages you to become more than what you currently are. They consistently see potential in the people around them, empathize easily with the suffering of others, and exhibit lots of patience with those in need.

Coaches typically gravitate toward direct interaction with others,and take it upon themselves to address the needs they see. Immature coaches will often struggle to challenge people to move forward for fear that the person will be angry with them. Mature coaches, on the other hand, have developed the skill of speaking truth in a loving way, and are willing to embrace the risk that comes with telling people what they actually need to hear.

The brains of the operation, trainers love to help others understand how things work. Trainers are driven to understand not just the system or the product, but the theory behind it. They’re constantly learning and acquiring new information, and are often sought after by others as they are happy to teach others what they’ve learned.

Trainers obviously are quite prevalent in educational fields, but also tend to make highly capable managers and leaders as well. Immature trainers may encounter relational difficulties, as their reliance on their intelligence can portray them as a “know-it-all.” Mature trainers understand that their value extends beyond what they know, and are unafraid to admit ignorance or weakness in an area.

Two things for teachers to do:
  1. Develop your mind - Reading plan
  2. Put yourself in situations to speak

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Amici Curiae

On Monday, 97 companies filed an "amici curiae" brief as part of the lawsuit against Trump's Immigration Ban. (From Wikipedia: "An amicus curiae (literally, friend of the court; plural, amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case and is not solicited by a party, but who assists a court by offering information that bears on the case.")
Please take the time to read the arguments, starting on page 15 of the pdf document. Here are some key excerpts:
Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies. Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, and philanthropists. The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children—to pursue the “American Dream”—are woven throughout the social, political, and economic fabric of the Nation.

For decades, stable U.S. immigration policy has embodied the principles that we are a people descended from immigrants, that we welcome new immigrants, and that we provide a home for refugees seeking protection. At the same time, America has long recognized the importance of protecting ourselves against those who would do us harm. But it has done so while maintaining our fundamental commitment to welcoming immigrants—through increased background checks and other controls on people seeking to enter our country.

The tremendous impact of immigrants on America—and on American business—is not happenstance. People who choose to leave everything that is familiar and journey to an unknown land to make a new life necessarily are endowed with drive, creativity, determination—and just plain guts. The energy they bring to America is a key reason why the American economy has been the greatest engine of prosperity and innovation in history.

These principles have defined American immigration policy for the past 50 years. The beneficiaries are not just the new immigrants who chose to come to our shores, but American businesses, workers, and consumers, who gain immense ad-vantages from immigrants’ infusion of talents, energy, and opportunity.

The Executive Order abandons those principles—and inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth as a result. The Order makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees. It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.
They specifically argue against the chaotic and poorly-communicated way that the order was implemented. (i.e. It's seven countries today, but what if another order is issued next week, impacting 10 other countries?)  Because free markets thrive on stability, not chaos.
The Order threatens the long-standing stability of the U.S. immigration laws, which have been marked by clear, settled standards and constrained discretion—introducing sudden changes without notice, unclear standards for implementation, and no standards for the exercise of waiver authority. That shift deprives employees and businesses of the predictability they require.

This instability and uncertainty will make it far more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to hire some of the world’s best talent—and impede them from competing in the global marketplace. Businesses and employees have little incentive to go through the laborious process of sponsoring or obtaining a visa, and relocating to the United States, if an employee may be unexpectedly halted at the border. Skilled individuals will not wish to immigrate to the country if they may be cut off without warning from their spouses, grandparents, relatives, and friends—they will not pull up roots, incur significant economic risk, and subject their family to considerable uncertainty to immigrate to the United States in the face of this instability.

The Order also could well lead to retaliatory actions by other countries, which would seriously hinder U.S. companies’ ability to do business or negotiate business deals abroad. Many companies do business in one or more of the countries currently covered by the Order. Indeed, U.S. diplomats already are reporting that General Electric may lose out on business deals in Iraq potentially worth billions of dollars. Additional actions against American citizens or business will have a further ripple effect.