Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:39:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Get a Life! How much is too much church? http://adammclane.com/2014/09/29/too-much-church/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/29/too-much-church/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:39:51 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15715 Several weeks back, Jason Raitz posted this on his Facebook wall: So, I’m curious and need your help. Quite a few people have asked me this question in the past 2 weeks. ‘Is attending church consistently really all that important’? What do you think? I’ve been writing a blog post on this for awhile now, […]

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Several weeks back, Jason Raitz posted this on his Facebook wall:

So, I’m curious and need your help. Quite a few people have asked me this question in the past 2 weeks. ‘Is attending church consistently really all that important’? What do you think? I’ve been writing a blog post on this for awhile now, but would love your help!

Read the post & comments here

My very first thought when seeing this question was this, “Is that a rhetorical question?” It’s impossible to imagine that he’d really think that anyone would post on his wall and say no to him. I mean… dude is a pastor of a church plant. His Facebook wall is 99% mentions of his church. His Facebook profile picture is the logo to his church. I know Jason, he’s a great guy, and he’s 120% about his church.

So obviously, Jason thinks everyone on the planet should be consistent about church attendance.

He and I agree on that point, 100%. I believe consistent church attendance is part of walking with Jesus. But when I see a church leader say stuff like that I have to read between the lines because I’m willing to bet that his definition of “consistently” is different than mine.

Here’s what I replied:

I guess I’ll be the voice of decent. (Shocker, I know) I used to think it was a big deal… when I worked at a church. And now we make church a priority, we go a lot, but more like 35-40 weeks a year instead of 50-52 when I worked at a church. But I would say that nothing happens there that is magical and makes me OK with Jesus any more than not going. Plenty of times I go to church and leave completely unsure of why we went. So is going to church consistently “really all that important?” I think there are a lot of other things more important. The flip side question is also really important, “Is there such a thing as going to church too often?”

The Right Question

Ultimately, I think Jason’s heart was, “What level of church involvement is healthy and good for a believer?

And, as a dude who used to work at a church but is now trying to figure out life in ministry without being on staff at a church, it’s one I think about.

I used to be Jason. My life used to revolve wholly around the life of my church. And I remember dealing with the frustration of seemingly never having enough volunteers or money or consistency from people who were part of my church. I was wondering “how do I get the most out of people” and it ripped my heart out to have people pull me aside and ask, “What’s the minimum level of involvement I can have here and be OK in your eyes?

But I’m not in Jason’s seat anymore. My life has changed. Things are different and as much as I empathize with it and understand it, I long for Jason (and people like him) to really see things from the perspective of people in the community.

On the one hand I want to be part of my church, I want to find community there, and I love investing in the guys in my high school small group. On the other, I almost see getting involved at church as a trap: Attending ANYTHING includes ovations and invitations to attend more stuff at church. (We’ve been part of 2 churches in San Diego since making this transition, while they are both wildly different in size, this one aspect is exactly the same. Being a part of one thing almost always includes invitations to more things.)

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus in John 10:10

When you drive around in many places in Europe you’ll begin to notice that the church is the tallest building in town. Quite literally, the church in many Europeans was designed to be the central focal point of a community.

In America, churches are rarely the high point of a city. Instead, churches try to make themselves the high point of congregants lives.

And in the same way you or I would drive into a small Bavarian town and laughingly think… “Did they really think that if they made the church the biggest building in town it’d become the most important thing in people’s lives?” The same is true when we wrap our whole lives around the day-to-day activities of being a part of a church.

It works and doesn’t work at the same time.

I think wrapping every free minute and thought up in the life of our church misses the point of John 10:10. It’s not living life to the full. It’s living life full-of-something-less.

I have many friends who work in churches and I think, “Do they have a life outside of their jobs?” Because addiction to a church job is just as unsexy and unhealthy as addiction to teaching or being a CPA or any other job. Being a workaholic as a church leader is incredibly dangerous (it impacts EVERYONE in your life) but also somehow seen as incredibly normative. (Which is why so many people don’t want to be involved in churches, they see it as unhealthy!) I find myself lovingly telling friends, “You need hobbies, you need a life, you need adult friends.” But at the same time you’d think a pastor wouldn’t need to be told that. You’d think they’d be modeling health to me instead of the other way around?

Newsflash: There are not “non-church-y people” walking around your neighborhood right now thinking, “Know what I need? I need to get involved in something that keeps me really, really busy!

We, as a society, are busy enough. We need rest. We need less. We need Sabbath.

Desperate for Good News

Think about it like this. I believe humans are hardwired to inately seek out good news. (Both the Good News of Jesus and good news, more generally. General revelation means all things that are good come from God, right?)

Is how you live, as a church leader, good news in your neighborhood? Do you have a life? Do you have hobbies? Do you practice Sabbath? Are you present with your children? Do you date your spouse? Do you manage your house? Are your weeds pulled?

Because that’s the stuff your neighbors notice about you. Do they look at your life and go… “Dang, I want that!” Or are they looking at your life and going, “I don’t know what that dude does… but I don’t want to be like that.

If the answer to that question is… “Um, crap. Probably not” and you want your community to hear the Good News of Jesus you’re going to have to figure out how to live a life that’s good news. You are going to have to make some changes.

No one walks into a church building thinking “How can I get more busy?”

If you could preach to me, the sermon I long to hear, the good news I need in my life– is for someone to stand up and help me discover less church life and more life of being the light of Jesus in my community. Someone, anyone, please tell me what’s enough church involvement instead of inviting me to more. If you can do that it’d be the best news I’ve heard all year.

A fully devoted life to Jesus simply cannot be a fully devoted life to church life.

I’d love to hear thoughts, comments, call for my head below in the comments. People who work in churches… does what I just said make any sense at all? People who go to churches… does what I said resonate with you? Why or why not?

Photo credit: German Village Steeple by a_peabody via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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New video from Praying Pelican Missions http://adammclane.com/2014/09/24/praying-pelican-missions-video/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/24/praying-pelican-missions-video/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 22:36:58 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15709 People ask me what makes Praying Pelican Missions different and why I’m a bit of a fanboy? This brand spanking new video helps explain it. Disclosure: Sometimes I do blog for PPM and they are a partner of ours. But, in this case, I’m posting the video because it’s new and does a great job of […]

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People ask me what makes Praying Pelican Missions different and why I’m a bit of a fanboy? This brand spanking new video helps explain it.

Disclosure: Sometimes I do blog for PPM and they are a partner of ours. But, in this case, I’m posting the video because it’s new and does a great job of explaining who they are, putting stuff into words/images that I’ve tried to explain here many times.

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College Football Thoughts – Week 5 http://adammclane.com/2014/09/24/college-football-thoughts-week-5-2014/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/24/college-football-thoughts-week-5-2014/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:34:18 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15707 Last weekend was the “big upset that wasn’t” weekend. Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon all had near misses. In fairness, the Alabama game wasn’t that close at the end but Florida sure had them nervous in parts of that game. And let’s all admit that every non-Alabama fan wants to see them drop 4 […]

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Last weekend was the “big upset that wasn’t” weekend. Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon all had near misses. In fairness, the Alabama game wasn’t that close at the end but Florida sure had them nervous in parts of that game. And let’s all admit that every non-Alabama fan wants to see them drop 4 games this season just because they are due.

Meanwhile, the Big 10 finally realized the college football season was underway, with everyone but Michigan beating a non-conference opponent. Raise your hand if you thought you’d ever hear: “Indiana with the conference leading upset of the day.” referring to Hoosier football? Yeah, no one outside of the delusional in Bloomington has ever uttered a phrase.

Finally, I don’t want to think about the college football playoff too soon. And while ESPN is desperate to get their $7.3 billion investment back by talking about the playoff at every stop in the season I want to take the time to enjoy the ups and downs of the season before making predictions about who is in and who isn’t. Flat out, while some teams are legitimately out of contention there are probably 20 teams with realistic scenarios to get in… it’s simply too early to think about it.

San Diego State

The Aztecs made of game of Oregon State in 2013. That wasn’t to be in 2014. We were simply overmatched by a Beaver team that was bigger on defense and run by a true NFL-ready QB in Sean Mannion. He was laser-like and we struggled to disrupt his passing lanes all day. He had plenty of time and just flat-out picked us apart. That said, at 1-2 the season is hardly over. We were in the same spot in 2013 and ended up winning 8 games in a row including a bowl game. I look forward to the Aztecs heading into conference play… I think we’ll walk all over UNLV on Saturday.

Notre Dame

The Irish had a bye last week. So they got a little healthier and the pressure came off of them a bit for a week. This week, they get back 2 key starters on defense, and play in their second Shamrock Series game of the year, this time in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. (For those keeping track the Irish haven’t had a true road game yet. They are just relocating some home games to neutral sites for recruiting purposes… because they can fill any stadium, any where.) I think that Syracuse will play the Irish tough this week but ultimately Golson’s legs will remind the Orange that this is football and not basketball. (The Irish get 5-star recruits in football while the Orange get 3-4 star recruits.)

Results

Week 4: 7-6 (Another Michigan reference!)

2014 total: 18-21

Week Five Predictions

Syracuse at Notre Dame – Irish

UNLV at SDSU – Aztecs

Fresno State at New Mexico – Bulldogs

UCLA at ASU – UCLA

Tennessee at Georgia – UGa

Northwestern at Penn State – PSU

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M – A&M

Minnesota at Michigan – Gophers

Stanford at Washington – Cardinal

Cincinnati at Ohio State – Cincy

Missouri at South Carolina – Gamecocks

Boise State at Air Force – Broncos

Oregon State at USC – Beavers

 

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Immigration and Youth Ministry http://adammclane.com/2014/09/23/immigration-youth-ministry/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/23/immigration-youth-ministry/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:20:59 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15701 The Problem U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that since October 2013, 66,000 children and teenagers have crossed the U.S. border without their parents, most of them from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They’re escaping gangs, street violence, and extreme poverty in their countries and usually coming to meet family members who live here. source A Reasonable […]

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The Problem

U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that since October 2013, 66,000 children and teenagers have crossed the U.S. border without their parents, most of them from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They’re escaping gangs, street violence, and extreme poverty in their countries and usually coming to meet family members who live here.

source

A Reasonable Response

Mark Lane told KGTV that he was moved to help a family fleeing violence in Guatemala after his 5-year-old son asked why residents in Murrieta were blocking buses of refugees from entering their town.

“He asked me why the people were mad at the buses and I was like, it’s 2014 … why do I have to explain to my 5-year-old why people are mad at the buses when really they’re mad at the people inside of the buses ’cause they’re brown,” Lane explained.

Through Border Angels, Lane found a mother, teenage sons, and a 23-year-old daughter who fled violence in Guatemala when gangs threatened to kill one of the sons for not joining.

source

The Question

How is it that youth ministry is not engaged with what’s going on around issues of immigration impacting teenagers in their community?

An owner of a fish market is engaged… but youth pastors aren’t.

Let that sink in.

It’s not a San Diego thing.

It’s not a big city thing.

It’s a people thing.

It’s an everywhere thing. 

The greatest growth opportunity for youth ministry right now is for youth workers to become advocates for teenagers in their community– regardless of social status, legal status, church affiliation, gender preference, political affiliation.

Want to impact your community? Want the Gospel to flow through your church body and into the veins of your neighborhood?

In a post-Christian society people need to experience good news before they can hear the Good News of Jesus.

I long for the day when it’s normative for youth ministries to meet the relevant needs of teenagers in their community. I long to see youth ministry truly become Good News in the Neighborhood.

I don’t think youth ministries struggle to engage teenagers because Jesus is irrelevant or some other cultural excuse. I think youth ministries struggle when they aren’t good news to teenagers in their midst.

Good news is electric. It’s magnetic. It’s viral.

Good news is unstoppable.

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Sabbath So Hard http://adammclane.com/2014/09/21/sabbath-hard/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/21/sabbath-hard/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 03:40:47 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15697 I talk about the sabbath and I think people freak out because its sounds so hard or is somehow not for you, maybe even some sort of “affluence” thing. But I think one thing that holds people back is the idea that making the Sabbath a personal priority is boring. So here’s a practical look […]

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I talk about the sabbath and I think people freak out because its sounds so hard or is somehow not for you, maybe even some sort of “affluence” thing. But I think one thing that holds people back is the idea that making the Sabbath a personal priority is boring.

So here’s a practical look at what Sabbath looked like for me today. (And how I closed out a 68 hour work week.)

5:00 AM – Alarm
5:30 AM – Drive to Bayside Park in Chula Vista
6 – 9 AM – Paddled 2.5 miles and fished, completely alone almost a mile offshore in the bay, glassy water, so crazy peaceful.
10:00 AM – Arrive back home
10:30 AM – Leave for church
11-12:30 PM – Everybody at the church getting church-y
1:00 PM – Lunch
1:45 – 2:15 – Nap!
2:30 – Leave for bay play day with the Reams
3 – 7ish – Splashing, kayaking, picnicing, and otherwise playing with the Reams.
7:30 – Arrive back home, wash down all the fishing & boat gear

I watched sun rise by myself as a paddled in San Diego Bay. I watched the sun set with friends in Mission Bay. A perfect start. A perfect finish.

Remember… the Sabbath isn’t just about not working– Sabbath is practically trusting the Lord to provide 7 days of provisions for you and your family in only 6 days of work. Sabbath is something you do to express your faith in a Provider. 

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College Football Thoughts – Week 4 http://adammclane.com/2014/09/17/college-football-thoughts-week-4-2/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/17/college-football-thoughts-week-4-2/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:41:13 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15693 It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of the college football season is already in the books! It’s a reminder that the senior league (aka NFL) drags on ad nausaem whereas every game counts in college. San Diego State Last week was their bye. This Saturday they play their toughest opponent of the year, […]

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It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of the college football season is already in the books! It’s a reminder that the senior league (aka NFL) drags on ad nausaem whereas every game counts in college.

San Diego State

Last week was their bye. This Saturday they play their toughest opponent of the year, Oregon State.

Notre Dame

I’ll confess that I didn’t get to see the game and I only saw a short package of highlights on ESPN. As I suspected, the Purdue game was way closer than it needed to be. That’s what happens when you play teams like Purdue… it’s their bowl game, it’s their best shot at recruiting for the year, and it’s their only time on National TV. Watching a team like Purdue hang around is one reason I wish Notre Dame would get out of their NBC deal. But who turns down $15 million per year to have their own network? No one. 

The Irish take the week off to heal up and get ready for Syracuse. Sitting at #9 and an easy match-up with Syracuse, they are posed to be ranked in the top 6-7 when they take on Stanford, at home, on October 4th.

Results

Week 3: 8-5 (Speaking of 8-5… this would be a dream record for Michigan this year)

Season total: 11-15

Picks

San Diego State at Oregon State — OSU

Auburn at K-State – Roll Tigers

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech – Hokies

Hawaii at Colorado – Guy on a Buffalo

North Carolina at East Carolina – UNC

Florida at Alabama – Bama

Virginia at BYU – Virginia

Utah at Michigan – Michigan

Miss State at LSU – LSU

Clemson at Florida State – Noles

Miami at Nebraska – Huskers

New Mexico at NMSU – New Mexico State

Oregon at Washington State – Ducks

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Give it some gas http://adammclane.com/2014/09/16/give-gas/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/16/give-gas/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:50:49 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15689 In high school I drove a hoopty, a 1978 Ford LTD Station Wagon. It was a tank. And I think it literally had the engine of a tank. Every morning I stopped on the way to school to get $5 in gas. And on Friday’s I got $5 in gas and a quart of 10W40. […]

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In high school I drove a hoopty, a 1978 Ford LTD Station Wagon. It was a tank. And I think it literally had the engine of a tank. Every morning I stopped on the way to school to get $5 in gas. And on Friday’s I got $5 in gas and a quart of 10W40. That car’s 4-barrel carburetor sucked gas into the engine so loudly you could hear it and you could actually watch the gas gauge drop.

In 1994, retro was not cool. And rolling into the Clay High School parking lot in that broadcast broadly my socio-economic reality. (We didn’t just look poor, we were poor.)  In truth I didn’t really care. Having a car– no matter what it looked like– was a luxury to me.

Lessons from The Beast

I want to share 3 lessons that The Beast taught me which apply to my life every day as I lead my family.

  1. Be happy for what you have not envious for what you don’t. The Beast is what I had and could afford. The crazy thing was that I was actually sharing it with my dad. Even though it was a piece of crap I don’t think I spent much time worrying about what others thought. And while I had friends who had nicer cars if someone thought less of me because of that car, I guess I just didn’t need friends like that. The same is true in adult life. I’m never going to have the nicest car or the best clothes or whatever. It’s not that I don’t see those things or even kind of want those things for my family. It’s that I invest energy in making the most out of what I do have instead of wasting energy on what I don’t have. The same is true with work. I could waste a lot of energy wishing we had x, y, or z thing at The Youth Cartel. Or, I could invest my energy in making the most with what we do have.
  2. Idling leads to stalls. If in doubt give it some gas. When I got to a red light… if I didn’t give it a little gas while sitting still, it’d stall. Heck, you could be driving down the road and it’d start to stall. The answer to both of those problems was GIVE IT SOME GAS. The same is true in life. I think human nature is to hit a resting point and just let things idle or when something doesn’t feel quite right to mash on the brakes and decide what to do after that. In our family, I feel like we coast a bit during the week so when the weekend comes, we hit the gas. Likewise, at work… I’m sure a lot of people are wondering if the Cartel is going to taper off and kind of go away. Ha! No baby, this month we are launching two brand new events for 2015, the Student Justice Conference and the Women in Youth Ministry Campference. Because hitting the gas is what we do.
  3. Get excited when it starts. You don’t drive an old car like my 1978 Ford LTD Station Wagon and not get stoked when it starts. In January of my senior year, right in the middle of a teacher strike, a nasty cold front brought sub-zero temperatures to South Bend for more than a week. And while my neighbors cute little brand new cars wouldn’t start, the Beast took two turns, winked it’s headlights, and roared to life. Sure it would have been awesome to have heat. But it started up and we were rolling when no one else was. In our house we celebrate starts. We get excited when one of our kids takes initiative to start something. Even if it’s their homework or a shower, doing it by yourself is a value to us. The same is true in how we work… we get excited when people start stuff. We don’t spend a lot of time wringing our hands about what we should do or shouldn’t do. If it’s aligned into what we’re all about, do it and let’s celebrate the fact that it started.

I’m not saying that this is a life philosophy. But it’s part of it. I’m a blue collar guy and these are blue collar things that permeate what I do every day.

Use what you have to your advantage. Keep momentum by giving it gas. Get excited when something works.

What about you? What did your first car teach you about life? 

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Why are we investing in Open? http://adammclane.com/2014/09/15/investing-open/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/15/investing-open/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:06:47 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15680 This weekend was our first Open event of the season, Open Denver. In two weeks I’ll go up to Vancouver. Then in late October we’re hosting two Open events on the same weekend, one in Seattle and the other in Paris. (Both cities have towers as their landmark, I’ll let you guess which one Kristen […]

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This weekend was our first Open event of the season, Open Denver. In two weeks I’ll go up to Vancouver. Then in late October we’re hosting two Open events on the same weekend, one in Seattle and the other in Paris. (Both cities have towers as their landmark, I’ll let you guess which one Kristen and I are headed to.) We’ve got 3 more Open’s coming this winter in San Francisco, Grand Rapids, and Boston.

We operate these events in the spirit of the open source movement. The organization of the events is very flat, I’m not in charge of any of them, the local team is. We don’t control how any of the events are structured. And, they are structured so that each of them basically breaks even for us. (We pay the local organizing team 33% of the profits and they designate a benefiting organization that receives 34%.) As a group they generate a couple thousand bucks.

So why are we investing in Open?

The Youth Cartel is not a charity. We are a fee-for-service company. If (and when) we lose money… we don’t have the ability to go out and raise funds to balance our budget. In fact, we don’t want to do that. We want to create stuff that the community wants and is willing to pay for. And being a fee-for-service company one way we know if we’re scratching an itch that needs to be scratched is if it pays for itself. No offense to non-profits but we think that being a for-profit is a great way to serve the church. 

So, why invest in Open… something built to break even? 

  1. Getting the money out of the way invites everyone to the table. Yes, it costs money to make Open happen. And thanks to the partnership of awesome sponsors, we’ve been able to keep Open at (basically) $25 per person. But creating a space where presenters present for free and the venue hosts because they want to host and not because they are getting paid? Well, that creates an environment you just can’t find anywhere else.
  2. organic-stuff copyYouth ministry is desperate for new ideas, we [as a tribe] need a space for them to emerge. There’s very little variation in what happens in church-based youth ministry. There’s a program and there is community. The last big idea that shaped youth ministry was small groups… and that was in the 90s. And while there’s tons of soft innovation we need to keep looking for stuff that’s brand new. My hunch is that this new idea will not emerge out of a youth ministry company (like us) and my second hunch is that it will start in a way that’s not commercially viable enough for mainstream youth ministry training events. So having a place where these ideas to develop without commercial pressure will… and is… helping.
  3. There is a desperate need for new voices, we [as a tribe] need a space for them to emerge. Every organization that I know of says that one of their continued challenges is cultivating new voices and specifically finding voices that reflect the full tribe of youth ministry. (gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic background) Open is becoming that space. We’re investing our time and energy because we see Open as being a great testing grounds for new voices to emerge. Some are ready right now, just needing an opportunity. Jen Bradbury was the perfect example of that for us. She spoke at Open GR in February, her presentation was fantastic, her content was great, and she was saying something a broader audience was ready for right away. So we invited her to speak at The Summit as well as worked with her to release her book next month. And Morgan Schmidt is an example of someone who had great ideas and content but needed some opportunities so she could refine her content for a broader audience. So we invited her to speak at a couple more Open events… and the response exploded. Her book, Woo, has done really well. And her presentation on that content fills rooms.
  4. When it comes to youth ministry training, context is critical. You can’t assume that something that works in Michigan or Southern California will work in Boston or Seattle. Why? Because these contexts are completely different. We’re cultivating Open in a way that keeps it local. It’s awesome to watch as each organizing group owns that. Each event gets proposals from all over the place… and it’s great to see them filter through these proposals from a “what does a youth worker in _____ need?” posture. That doesn’t mean all of the speakers are local. But it does mean that all of the speakers chosen are there because the proposal they’ve submitted fits a need in that region.
  5. It’s crazy fun. Look, I could come up with a gigantic list of “business justifications” for running Open at break even. But one reason we do Open is because it’s fun for us to do Open. Last Friday night at our speakers dinner I met a room full of speaker I had never met before. Of the presentations on Saturday I had heard exactly zero. When I show up to a normal event I expect to meet 1-2 people for the first time. To have 100%? That’s a blast. I know it’s fun for us to be a part of Open. And I know the event itself is fun because that’s what people who come say about it. So “it’s crazy fun” is a pretty good selling point for us.

An Open Invitation

So here’s my invitation. If this post connected with you I am inviting you to be part of the Open movement in a few specific ways.

  1. Bring yourself, bring your team, and bring your mom. OK, maybe not bring your mom. But in all seriousness, we need early adapters like you to come and be a part of Open then give us feedback for making it better.
  2. Invest your time and energy. Open is intentionally flat. If you want to be part of the process, jump in. Contact me and I’ll connect you to a local organizing team that could use your help. (Want Open in your region? Coming to an Open is the first step to hosting an Open.)
  3. Invest your organizations resources. Personally, I’m sick of the silos. We’ve never put our name all over this thing. I think The Youth Cartel champions it more than we “own” it. We’re actively interested in talking to other organizations who want to champion the values I’ve shared in this post. We’ve found that a posture of collaborating instead of competing is good for our tribe, I want to invite any/all youth ministry organizations to partner with us on this. (See getting money out of the way above.)

Have you been to an Open? What do you like about it? 

Not been to one but want to know something? Ask me a question. 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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The Day That Changed Us http://adammclane.com/2014/09/11/the-day-that-changed-us/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/11/the-day-that-changed-us/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:50:11 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15672 Back in college I had to read this book for a class called, “Turning Points.” If you went to an evangelical school you might have had to read it to. While it’s a book about church history the central idea of the text is that the author looks at the history of the Christian church […]

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Back in college I had to read this book for a class called, “Turning Points.” If you went to an evangelical school you might have had to read it to. While it’s a book about church history the central idea of the text is that the author looks at the history of the Christian church and points to specific moments in history that altered the course of church history.

I really connected to that concept. And if you’ve heard me speak or read what I’ve written over the last decade or so you might recognize that I use this concept at times because I find it to be a helpful way to look at the large arc of time.

September 11, 2001

There are three things I’ll never forget about 9/11.

  1. It was a beautiful, cloudless morning in Chicago. I got to the office that day about 4:00 AM. A couple hours later I took my normally scheduled lunch break. As I drove down Des Moines Avenue and went to the Dominick’s supermarket that morning, I parked my car, turned around 180 degrees and just stared at the Sears Tower. About a mile away, it stood there, the city was stirring, but the silence had lingered. Beautiful, warm, perfect day.
  2. We all made decisions. A co-worker, Allen, returned early from lunch that day. He had been sitting at a local lunch counter, having breakfast and drinking coffee while watching Good Morning America when they started reporting that a plane had hit a building in New York. He came into our office telling everyone about it. We all blew him off. But he grabbed another co-workers portable TV and set it up in the office with the volume way too loud. And we all saw the second plane hit on live TV. We didn’t say anything but we all had the same idea. Let’s go home. Within a minute all of our cell phones started ringing. A couple minutes later I got a call from an automated system from our company telling us to prepare to evacuate the building, that they were considering sending home the entire staff of about 5,000 people. I looked at my team, there were about 6 of us, and I made a decision: “Look, we all need to get home. They are going to send us home but they haven’t told us when to release you to do that. And I’ve got a feeling the city is going to close the loop. No one sign out, just leave when you are ready. I’d suggest you go now.” No one ever asked when my team left. But we all left about 30 minutes before several million people in the loop were told to go home.
  3. It was a beautiful, silent evening in Chicago. After I left my office at Blue Cross I drove to Kristen’s office in Buck Town. On the way there I called my mom, waking her up in Vegas to the news. For the next several hours it was the only call I could make because the cell networks were overwhelmed. As Kristen and I drove home on the Eisenhower we had the sunroof open and the radio on. We couldn’t help but look at the sky. We couldn’t help but listen to the news. We drove back to Oak Park and tracked down Megan at her babysitters house, Aunt Mary, we called her. The rest of the day we watched the news in shock… not knowing what else to do. Word had spread that our church was going to hold a prayer gathering that night. I don’t remember going. Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t? But what I do remember was the silence of that evening. Normally, as evening quieted our neighborhood you would take notice of the air traffic over our head. Every minute or so you’d hear a jet in the distance making it’s decent to O’Hare. It was one of those things that you didn’t notice until it was gone. It was gone that night. I think we walked that night. Megan in the stroller and sidewalk beneath our feet. And I remember the silence. A city of 6 million people isn’t supposed to be silent, but that night it was silent in Chicago. Eerily, respectfully, silent.

It Changed Us

Like millions of others, that day 13 years ago is a vivid memory.

But, at the same time, we all have to look at that day as a turning point in our country. It’s easy to point to security at airports or the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as the output of 9/11.

But what I think happened was so much deeper than that. September 11th was the day fear became the most powerful force in America.

For the next several years, if the President said we needed to do something for national security, he could do whatever he liked as long as he said it was for security. Any mention of 9/11 became a selling point for a program.

That newfound fear began to rule our government. Instead of people being innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, people could be arrested for “security reasons” and the public assumed they were terrorists.

That’s not who were are. But that’s who we’ve become. 

And that fear-based rule making isn’t just about our military, it’s about everything. We make decisions about a lot of things, not by values but by fear. My kids will never have a locker at school, in part, because of the fear that was born on 9/11.

For some reason, “national security” lead to individuals buying handguns at an alarming pace. Before 9/11 Americans bought about 2 million guns per year. In 2012, we bought more than 8 million guns. You don’t buy a handgun to express your freedom to do so. You buy a handgun because you’re afraid of something and you think you might need to use it.

September 11th, 2001 changed our society. It unleashed in us something that I hope time heals: Fear. It’s something that seeps into every part of who we are.

And that fear– that turning point toward a society where fear is conquered by nationalistic excuses to become agents of terror ourselves, bombing countries and holding people in nameless prisons without trial– makes me sad. It might be who we are but it’s not who we aspire to be.

Remember Who We Were

Today, like every 9/11, there will be moments of silence and remembrances of those who gave their lives. It was and continues to be a tragedy.

I want to remember those people.

But I never want to forget who we were before that day.

I hope we heal enough to be that nation again.

Photo credit: September 11 Memorial by Jens Schott Knudsen via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Dog Strollers and Other Dumb Stuff http://adammclane.com/2014/09/10/dog-strollers-dumb-stuff/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/10/dog-strollers-dumb-stuff/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:04:04 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15665 There is a woman boarding the plane with a stroller for her dog. Really? — Efrem Smith via Facebook Have you seen dog strollers? It’s a thing. Check out this search on Amazon. There are dog strollers with hundreds of 4 and 5 star ratings. I see them at Lake Murray. There’s a path that’s […]

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There is a woman boarding the plane with a stroller for her dog. Really?

Efrem Smith via Facebook

Have you seen dog strollers? It’s a thing. Check out this search on Amazon. There are dog strollers with hundreds of 4 and 5 star ratings.

I see them at Lake Murray. There’s a path that’s like 3 miles around the lake and you see lots of people pushing little dogs in strollers.

Here’s the deal: Taking your dog for a walk means that you and the dog take a walk. It’s healthy for you and it’s healthy for them. Actually, the healthy part of it for the dog is more than just physical, it’s mental. Walking with you, sniffing other dogs butts, peeing on bushes, chasing squirrels, this is all normal and perfectly healthy behavior for your dog.

Putting it in a stroller and not letting it walk? That’s not good for the dog in any way!

If “taking the dog for a walk” means driving to a park to push your dog in a stroller– you need to know you are doing it wrong.

Exception: Every once in a while I see someone with an injured dog in a dog stroller. I’ll give you a pass for that. 

Dog Flash Lights

14414945780_f8fb89cc08_zYou might think I’m kidding but I’m not. Kristen and I see people all the time with lights attached to their dogs. There are hundreds of collar lights on Amazon. This one has 600+ reviews!

I think the intention is to make the dog more visible at night to owners and other people who might not see your dog.

A dog on a leash walking with an owner doesn’t need a light and it isn’t helping the dog. In fact, while I’m not an canine ophthalmologist, I would guess that the light attached to Buster is actually making Buster see worse because his pupil’s can’t adjust to the low light conditions… meaning that light is putting your beloved dog in more danger than it’s helping them.

“Dogs have evolved to see well in both bright and dim light, whereas humans do best in bright light. No one is quite sure how much better a dog sees in dim light, but I would suspect that dogs are not quite as good as cats,” which can see in light that’s six times dimmer than our lower limit. Dogs, he says, “can probably see in light five times dimmer than a human can see in.”

Paul Miller of University of Wisconsin in Science Daily, 2007

We often go on our evening walk as the sun is going down. In the summer, because the concrete and asphalt is so hot from the sun, it’s a good idea to wait for it to cool off before walking your dog, and as it gets darker we see more and more people sporting flashlights, headlamps, and doggie flashlights in our urban neighborhood.

Look, your dog doesn’t need that to see, it’s probably hurting their eyesight. And if they are on a leash their visibility isn’t important. And, just keeping it real, you don’t need a flashlight to walk through an urban neighborhood either. We have street lights! (Not to mention humans can see OK at night, too, if you let your eyes adjust.)

Let Dogs Be Dogs

In so many ways, I get it. We love our pets. We adore them with gifts and treats and special trips. I do the exact same thing. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve driven 30 minutes to take Stoney to the beach or the hundreds, thousands probably, of dog walks.

But you have to let your dog be a dog. They don’t need to be pushed around like a baby. And they don’t need a flashlight to see at night.

The single best thing you can do for your dog, in my opinion, is let them be a dog. 

Misplaced Care

What is this all about? In this instance, I’m talking about people who love their dogs so much that they are making it something it isn’t. Putting a dog in a stroller isn’t about the dog, it’s about the human.

We do this type of thing all the time. We allow something in our lives to become something it isn’t and in the process, we change it. We convince ourselves that our professional pursuit is about the pursuit when it’s about something more significant. We convince others that we’re working out because we want to accomplish a goal or raise some money for charity when it’s about something deeper. We convince ourselves that we have to parent our kids or they need to pursue education in a certain way for the betterment of that child… when it’s really about something much deeper.

We say it’s about love when, at it’s core, it’s about misplaced care. To truly love that child. To truly love that dog. To truly gain success at work. To truly be healthy– you need to get to the bottom of some of these underlying issues.

A dog in a stroller is misplaced care.

Deal with the stroller in your life.

Photo credits: Dogs! by Weiji via Flickr (Creative Commons) LED Dog Collar by The Pet’s Tech via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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