Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:26:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 A Problem of Polity http://adammclane.com/2014/08/26/problem-polity/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/26/problem-polity/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:26:28 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15606 Controversial Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while church leaders review formal charges lodged by a group of pastors that he abused his power. source Most people seem aware of the situation with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. However you feel about the situation we can all agree on one thing: […]

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Controversial Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while church leaders review formal charges lodged by a group of pastors that he abused his power. source

Most people seem aware of the situation with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. However you feel about the situation we can all agree on one thing: It’s a mess.

There’s little doubt that this has cast a shadow over a ministry that’s bigger than it’s leader. I can’t imagine trying to recruit people to check out a small group. “Yes, we’re a small group of Mars Hill. No, we’re not a cult. It’s just that… Yes, I understand. OK, thanks for listening. Goodbye.” I’ve heard from staff people who’ve lost their jobs. And I know other people who once went there and are hurting.

But this post isn’t about Mars Hill, really.

Turning Towards the Mess

If you’ve read about the Mars Hill mess and others like it, you’ll see that there’s a point in the growth of a church that people point back to as a turning point into the mess.

And that point is when the churches by-laws are changed.

Up until about 15 years ago most of these non-denominational, conservative evangelical churches had a church polity of congregational rule. Autonomous congregational rule is something of a baptist distinctive. Part of being baptist, or baptistic, as non-denominational churches like to set themselves apart by saying, is:

  1. autonomous – they don’t want anyone beyond the local church to have outside power, such as a denomination. But they’ve also been very shy about outside influence, as well.
  2. congregational rule – 15-20 years ago it was normal that a major part of membership at a baptistic church was voting rights. You’d go to congregational meetings, there would be presentations, things would be opened up to the floor for discussion, and if there needed to be, a vote would be taken.

Sometimes this autonomous congregational rule was very healthy. And other times it was really problematic for the pastors. They had a hard time getting people onto boards, getting people hired, or keeping people from getting fired. In unhealthy situations, a small group of people could call a meeting, they could make a case, and force a vote to ouster the pastor or change the direction of the church altogether.

But, as church polities go, the traditional baptist church polity did a fairly good job of providing checks and balances for the pastor and staff. They were largely able to do their work under the authority of the deacons or elders, but were always mindful that they could get questioned in a congregational meeting. It was a double-edged sword, but it was still a sword… the congregation had power.

There have always been hot shot, arrogant staff members. Heck, I’ve been one and a bunch of my friends have been that person, too. But the checks and balances of the church polity always managed to balance things out. A person got too brash or sloppy or whatever: The congregation fired them. Want to continue in ministry? You learn real quick.

The Making of a Mess

But, about 15 years ago, autonomous congregational rule started to fall out of style. 

I don’t remember where it really got going or who originated it. But I remember that by about 2005, our staff fell in love with a series of podcasts/books by Andy Stanley, and the point of emphasis for their entire case was built around moving away from autonomous congregational rule and moving your congregation to an elder rule, staff lead polity.

“If you want to get stuff done and your church to grow, you’ll first need to get the congregation out of the way.” Not the exact words, but definitely the message conveyed.

What does “elder rule, staff lead polity” mean? That means that, in most instances, the bylaws of the church are changed so that the congregation loses voting rights over the activities of the church. Instead, if they are asked to vote at all, they get to vote on elders. But ideally– the goal, in a true elder lead polity, is that the congregation doesn’t have any voting rights and essentially the pastor and elders of the church completely control the church.

Why would a hot shot pastor want that? Practically speaking, this means that a relatively small group of hand selected people act as general oversight but the staff make 100% of the daily decisions for the church. In some megachurches, these elders aren’t even people who go to the church at all, they are essentially board members and friends of the pastor/church. So why would I want that type of polity? Because if I want to be the captain of my ship… it’s a whole lot easier to dominate 8 of my friends than it is 2,000 voters. 

When making the change, the argument that’s made is a simple, yet powerful one. They reason that the average person in the pews can’t possibly understand the rigors of vocational, professional ministry. “So why let them make decisions?”

And, if you believe in the priesthood of the staff, that’s a perfectly acceptable position. (Whereas, another baptist distinctive is doctrine of the priesthood of all believers.) And if you’re a hot shot pastor what’s a little Scripture-twisting to get what you want? People are eating up my messages; I can say whatever I want!

See, here’s where the mess happens. It’s relatively easy to convince non-professional, non-vocational church attendees that the staff is best prepared to make all the day-to-day decisions of the congregation without any non-professional help. It’s particularly easy to convince 51% of the congregation that they aren’t highly trained, vocational church staff.

And so they vote away their voting rights and the staff takes over. 

Is It Always a Mess?

Of course not.

Thousands of congregations have made the move from congregational rule to elder rule and not had problems. For many of them, a self-governed staff has lead to brand new and powerful seasons of ministry. They are thriving under this new polity. So I want to be cautious and make sure I’m not painting a picture that the new fashion-forward-look of elder lead polity is necessarily bad.

But, at the same time, I want to bring up two points of caution:

  1. Putting all of the political power of a large, religious organization into the hands of a very small group of people is risky. As an outsider it might not seem like a lot of power, but to a vocational staff person, it is. It can be glorious and it can be a disaster. Either way it is risky.
  2. I think fostering a congregation whose only voice is whether or not to show up or whether or not to give financially is a short-term strategy. The most concerning thing you hear, as a congregant, in how people talk about this on the inside is a staff attitude of “if you don’t like it, find another church.” That gets to the heart of the matter: Pride.

Also worth pointing out? This style of elder lead, staff ruled polity has taken off at the same time as the church planting movement. Thousands of church planters look towards these folks as their heroes and have set-up their church polity exactly as their heroes have told them, meaning the conditions for a mess to develop could be incubating right now in lots of congregations around the country and you’ll never hear about them.

Avoiding the Mess

I don’t know how you can read 1 Corinthians and come to the conclusion that 1% of people can make 100% of the decisions for a congregation. Call me old school, but even as a staff member I really liked the traditional congregational rule. (I like the way Presbyterians handle polity, too.)

But if you’re going to operate this way, here are some suggestions.

  1. Require the congregation to get financially audited by a group like the ECFA every year.
  2. Term limits. For elders, specifically. But I’d be open to exploring the impact of term limits for pastoral staff. That’d certainly cut down on the pride issue.
  3. Create and foster a specific place the congregation can be heard. The Holy Spirit isn’t limited to speak just to the staff, give the people of your congregation a real voice… not a microphone in a room of 1,000 people. Maybe this is a non-staff lead committee?
  4. Create and empower a staff relations committee. The stuff I hear about the hiring, firing, and staffing conditions of people who work in churches is often times appalling. I can’t believe that if a congregation really knew what was going on that they’d stand for it. I’m not saying a larger church shouldn’t have an HR person, but I am absolutely saying that the HR practices should not be a staff-only thing. They need outside help to prevent abuses.

In short, if you are going to govern with an elder lead, staff-driven concept: Don’t set yourself up to fail. (Morally, legally, functionally)

You have the power to create  transparency, fairness, and internal controls… so don’t abuse the power given to you.

Obviously, this is all just my opinion. It’s not well-formed or anything that I’d call “an official position on church polity.” But it is environment I see that’s fostered some of the abuses in the publics eye right now.

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Airbnb for Youth Workers http://adammclane.com/2014/08/25/airbnb-youth-workers/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/25/airbnb-youth-workers/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:29:14 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15596 I’m a big fan of the sharing economy. Services like Airbnb, Über, Craigslist, and Stubhub directly connect people who buy stuff with people who want to develop an interest in business without having to do it full-time. A couple weeks back I had this little Twitter conversation with Mark Matlock, a fellow youth worker who travels […]

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I’m a big fan of the sharing economy. Services like Airbnb, Über, Craigslist, and Stubhub directly connect people who buy stuff with people who want to develop an interest in business without having to do it full-time.

A couple weeks back I had this little Twitter conversation with Mark Matlock, a fellow youth worker who travels a lot.

The Genesis of an Idea

The Idea

That got me thinking… “You know, I bet we really could work together to set-up something similar to Airbnb?”

If you think about it a lot of youth workers travel for a wide variety of reasons to a lot of places…

  • We go to conferences and we either need a place to stay at the conference… or I know plenty of people who drive far enough where they overnight somewhere.
  • We take students places and often need a cost-effective place to crash.
  • We get away with our leadership teams, often times borrowing space from someone in the church or finding a place on Airbnb, VRBO, or Craigslist.
  • We’re all broke… so we need to go somewhere on vacation and sometimes we just can’t afford to do it.

And there are a lot of youth workers who have space they could make available…

  • I’ve stayed in a lot of guest rooms.
  • I know a fair number of youth workers with guest houses, cottages, or other types of vacation property.
  • Tons of churches would be open to letting other churches utilize their space for traveling youth groups for a small fee.

So what would happen if we created a clearinghouse where these people could find one another?

Similar to Airbnb, we could create something (either a stand-alone website or integrate into something existing) that acted as the middle-man, hosting listings, collecting money, handling payments, setting up policies, offering a level of service.

Obviously, we’d make it so that it self-sustains and doesn’t make anyone rich… it’s just out to connect the dots and make youth workers lives easier. (Or, if you’re a host, you could use it as a way to create a little side-money which might help make your local ministry a bit more self-sustaining.)

Is this an idea you are interested in?

This is as far as the idea has gone. I think it’s interesting, Mark and some other folks think it’s interesting, but before anyone proceeds we’d all have to know it’s interesting to you.

So, before I go any further, I need to know if you’d be interested in an idea like this.

  1. Leave comments below with thoughts about the idea. How can we make it better? What do you like or not like about it?
  2. Fill out the form below to show your interested. (I promise I won’t contact you for anything else, just this idea.)

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Kayaking, a New Obsession http://adammclane.com/2014/08/22/kayaking-new-obsession/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/22/kayaking-new-obsession/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:31:34 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15588 I don’t even know how to describe this obsession. Which is, I suppose, the definition of an obsession. As the summer began I had a tiny spark of a thought that I needed to find something fun to do that’d get me outside more. I have a personal philosophy of recreation but I had just […]

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I don’t even know how to describe this obsession. Which is, I suppose, the definition of an obsession.

As the summer began I had a tiny spark of a thought that I needed to find something fun to do that’d get me outside more. I have a personal philosophy of recreation but I had just let it lapse.

My first thought was golf. I absolutely love golf. I grew up playing the game. I love playing… I’m actually a decent enough golfer. (Official handicap is 7, though 11 is more like it.) And, especially while we were in Michigan, it was a constant source of solace. So I started doing research on that. In Michigan I was able to get a membership at a course for under $1000 a year. (I played 5-6 times per week!) But here in San Diego there’s just not that cost-effective option, a course membership would cost me at least $500 per month! On top of that I need new clubs, so we’re really talking about something that’d be $3000 to start and $500-$1000 per month to do well.

Yeah, too much.

Then we went on vacation to Yosemite, where my favorite thing is to play in the Merced River. After which we went to Cayucos, where Kristen and I spent about 40% of our time either on the beach or walking the beach.

Somewhere in there I got bit by the idea that we needed to get into kayaking here in San Diego.

So when I got home in late-July the hunt for kayaks began. After several days of trolling Craigslist, asking a bunch of questions, watching way too many YouTube videos, we bought 2 kayaks and all the gear. (PFDs, car carriers, paddles, and everything else.)

And since then we’ve basically tried to find any available excuse to get the kayaks out on the water.

Fishing with Paul at Lake Murray

Exploring caves and getting flipped by waves at La Jolla

And pretty much any time we’ve got some free time I’m thinking… “I wonder if I can paddle….”

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Guest post for xxxchurch.com http://adammclane.com/2014/08/21/guest-post-xxxchurch-com/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/21/guest-post-xxxchurch-com/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:16:40 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15584 I’m excited to join the contributor team for the new xxxchurch.com blog. (A ministry with duel purposes. The help people struggling with pornography and they minister to individuals within the porn industry.) Here’s my first post, My Teenager is Making Porn, Uh… Now What?  As a parent you probably want to wring your kid’s neck, […]

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I’m excited to join the contributor team for the new xxxchurch.com blog. (A ministry with duel purposes. The help people struggling with pornography and they minister to individuals within the porn industry.) Here’s my first post, My Teenager is Making Porn, Uh… Now What? 

As a parent you probably want to wring your kid’s neck, scream, or ground them for the rest of their lives. Really, those are understandable emotions for a parent to experience.

But this is also a time to minister to your child in their brokenness, with a goal of restoration.

Read the rest

I’d love your feedback.

Do you want more of this kind of post from me? 

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Guest Post at the 30 Hour Famine blog http://adammclane.com/2014/08/21/30-hour-famine-blog/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/21/30-hour-famine-blog/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:57:13 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15581 Check out my latest guest post on the 30 Hour Famine blog, Putting It All Together for the Kingdom. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. For me, it’s a great reminder that we’re not serving the little kingdoms of individual organizations, we’re serving the Kingdom of God. Read the rest

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Check out my latest guest post on the 30 Hour Famine blog, Putting It All Together for the Kingdom.

It’s pretty cool if you think about it. For me, it’s a great reminder that we’re not serving the little kingdoms of individual organizations, we’re serving the Kingdom of God.

Read the rest

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The Christmas Cows Have Arrived http://adammclane.com/2014/08/20/christmas-cows/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/20/christmas-cows/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15577 Over the past couple of years I’ve visited Good Shepherd Orphanage several times. And at each visit, usually as I helped show teams of youth workers around her compound, Sister Mona has told groups about her annual Christmas party. The party is simple… they invite every kid in the neighborhood who wants to come, to […]

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Over the past couple of years I’ve visited Good Shepherd Orphanage several times. And at each visit, usually as I helped show teams of youth workers around her compound, Sister Mona has told groups about her annual Christmas party. The party is simple… they invite every kid in the neighborhood who wants to come, to come. They get a gift and a beef dinner.

It’s no small thing. Each year the orphanage serves something like 1,000 kids in the community as well as at the orphanages other location out in the country.

And visit after visit I heard Mona mention the cows. Earlier this summer I asked my buddy Jim at Praying Pelican Missions to track down the cow situation and find out if she had them. She didn’t, so it was time to act.

I asked friends who have gone to Haiti with me to think about donating some money to buy Sister Mona cows for her annual Christmas party. They did. In fact, while the goal was to buy just one cow, we were able to raise enough money to buy both cows.

All that to say that yesterday I got confirmation, by way of these photos of these handsome cattle, that the cows had been delivered.

And thanks, Almando for all the hard work in making it happen. Apparently he’s the kind of guy you can ask “How do I get a cow delivered?” and he knows what to do.

Seriously, way to go friends! We did it!

 

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The Unstoppable Power of Romeo and Juliet http://adammclane.com/2014/08/18/the-unstoppable-power-of-romeo-and-juliet/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/18/the-unstoppable-power-of-romeo-and-juliet/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:47:30 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15569 “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” You’ve read Romeo and Juliet, right? Probably as a high school freshmen. Together, we struggled past the language of William Shakespeare to discover a story that has captured the ethos of adolescence for generations. Some of us needed a movie to […]

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“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

You’ve read Romeo and Juliet, right? Probably as a high school freshmen. Together, we struggled past the language of William Shakespeare to discover a story that has captured the ethos of adolescence for generations.

Some of us needed a movie to get past the language. For me, it was the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version, complete with the famous boob scene. (When our teacher left a student got up and rewinded to that scene, showing it to our class over and over again in a way only 9th graders can truly appreciate.) For others, grasping Bill’s story came by way of the 1996 version starring Leonard DiCaprio.

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As a fourteen year old, the story of finding love despite every obstacle thrown in their way was eye-opening. For some reason the story felt personal– transcendent even, as if I suddenly realized that I could experience love for myself– even if it meant I might have to hide it or fight for it.

Comprehending the storyline was a transition from sheepishly looking away when the love scene happened in a movie to identifying that as something I’d like to experience for myself one day.

Forbidden Love?

“Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life 
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.”

As the parent of a teenager I read Romeo and Juliet in a totally different light. I realize the impossible struggle of forbidding my teenager from doing anything. Do I really think that because I’ve said no and she knows my wishes that she won’t simply put on the mask of obedience for the freedom it buys?

“O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”

Parenting a teenager has to shift from managing their activity, like we do in childhood, to influencing her thought life. This isn’t merely the action of culture, this is the reality that in adolescence their brains are growing and maturing from a child-like state towards an adult one. (See A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Brains) Literally, she can’t live her life doing as I say simply because I’ve said so. She needs to think about things and make decisions about who she is for herself.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lead a parent meeting or done Q&A with a group of parents and one will brag, “I just tell them this is the rule and that’s that.

This is what Marko calls “the cage” mindset of parenting a teenager. And not only does it not work, I think it’s dangerous. As a parent you think that if you’ve got your child caged off from danger that they won’t get into any trouble. But what I think is so dangerous about this is that you’re choosing to lose the war for the sake of a battle. You’re telling your teenager that you just care about their behavior, not what’s going on inside their head and heart. As far as you are concerned, your duckling is quaking and waddling the way you want… so they are fine. When, in fact, you’ve got no idea what’s going on in their lives. (Marko’s opposite of that is equally dangerous, he calls it “free range,” and is basically too much freedom.)

Romeo and Juliet made love in her house with her parents assuming she was safely tucked away. She went to bed at 9, right? 

My response to the comment from “the cage” is usually the same.

“Have you read Romeo and Juliet lately? Teenagers are unstoppable when they find something worth chasing.” 

It might be love. It might be a sport. It might be studies. It can be anything… but once your teenager has latched onto something and is chasing it, you aren’t very likely as a parent to just tell them not to do something simply because you say so.

You can get that duck to quack but you can’t force that duck to act like a duck when you aren’t looking.

It just doesn’t work that way, it didn’t when we were teenagers, it won’t work for your teenager, and it never has!

What Does Romeo and Juliet Have to Do With the Gospel?

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The point of raising your kids isn’t that they’ll look the part as a Christian. (Or that they don’t look at porn or not date non-Christians or that they will evidence their faith by their activity in youth group.) The difference is intrinsic. They take it and own it for themselves. But only they can do that, truly know what’s in their heart.

Romeo and Juliet’s parents didn’t lose them because their kids didn’t know the rules. They lost them because love was a more powerful force.

As Christian parents our responsibility is to create an environment where faith is fostered, where questions are OK, where doubts are acceptable. Ultimately– as we each know– the Gospel is an insurrection of the heart.

When internalized its an unstoppable force.

External motivation and forces, things that manipulate them or an emphasis on looking the part of being a Christian just don’t work because fear is a short-term motivator.

The story of Romeo and Juliet reminds parents that that control hasn’t ever worked in parent teenagers. It’s a flawed and stupid strategy, ever popular but never functional. 

“I would forget it fain,
But oh, it presses to my memory,
Like damnèd guilty deeds to sinners’ minds.”

 

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Paddling to La Jolla Caves http://adammclane.com/2014/08/16/paddling-la-jolla-caves/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/16/paddling-la-jolla-caves/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 21:32:34 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15555 Kristen, Jackson, and I had a great time paddling out to the La Jolla Caves. Conveniently missing from these photos is proof that I got dumped in the waves twice and Kristen & Jackson got dumped once. We’re all OK, just a great time getting wet and exploring our town!

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Kristen, Jackson, and I had a great time paddling out to the La Jolla Caves.

Conveniently missing from these photos is proof that I got dumped in the waves twice and Kristen & Jackson got dumped once. We’re all OK, just a great time getting wet and exploring our town!

Click to view slideshow.

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Unsolicited Advice for New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred http://adammclane.com/2014/08/15/unsolicited-advice-new-mlb-commissioner-rob-manfred/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/15/unsolicited-advice-new-mlb-commissioner-rob-manfred/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:25:38 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15541 Any reader of this blog knows I’m a sports nut. I love football, basketball, soccer, golf, and just about any other sport. I like the idea of Major League Baseball… I’ve been to lots of MLB games, a couple years ago we even dipped our toes into buying a package of tickets at Petco. But I’ve […]

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Any reader of this blog knows I’m a sports nut. I love football, basketball, soccer, golf, and just about any other sport.

I like the idea of Major League Baseball… I’ve been to lots of MLB games, a couple years ago we even dipped our toes into buying a package of tickets at Petco.

But I’ve since given up completely because the product of Major League Baseball lost it’s allure. I’d rather not go as opposed to find a way to go. Nostalgia only gets so much interest when the product on the field is defined by it’s boringness, worse it’s boorish attitude that it’s sense of historic value would be bothered by making the game more interesting to watch.

Yesterday, MLB announced that Rob Manfred has been hired to replace Buddy Selig as the new commissioner of baseball.

I think he has a tough job ahead. The NFL, NBA, and NCAA football and basketball are surging in popularity. And the rising popularity of the World Cup, 100,000 fans in Ann Arbor for a friendly, or even Sounder’s game in Seattle proves that soccer and specifically, MLS is on the rise. While it’s true soccer is a step-child to most other popular sports… don’t forget that it’s the world’s most popular game when the United States is rapidly changing demographically.

With the least interesting part of the regular season to come, there are more teams with less than 60% of their stadium filled on an average night than there were a year ago. Plus, fewer teams have more than 90% average attendance in 2014 than in 2012 or 2013. (Don’t forget about TV. TV is down,  too.)

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d offer a few unsolicited bits of advice for Mr. Manfred.

  1. You’ve got to speed up the game. Have you been to a game lately? Not much excitement. 95% of the game is like a middle school track meet. Too much talking, too much stretching, not enough action. You could easily shave 30 minutes off the typical game and increase the enjoyment of the live experience. A soccer player runs miles and miles each game. A baseball player trots to position and waits for something interesting to happen.
  2. De-emphasize the historical stats. Does anyone really care who is the best left-handed 3rd basemen when facing a sidearm pitcher from Canada? Of course not. It makes no difference to the outcome of the game. It’s all just time filler for a boring product on TV.
  3. Forget instant replay, you need a pitching clock. Pitchers hold the ball too long. It’s not unusual for there to be 30 seconds between pitches. Give the pitcher 10 seconds to deliver the ball to the catcher or first base. Never allow the batter to step out of the box to reset it either. If the pitcher doesn’t release the ball in 10 seconds, it’s a balk and the batter advances.
  4. Cut down the time between innings. Run a clock, give teams 2-3 minutes max. Show your commercials but keep the action moving.
  5. Loosen the strike zone. Watch the Little League World Series. With a less strict strike zone batters have to actually bat and defend the plate, making more contact with the ball and keeping the game moving.
  6. Give up the PED hoax. Let’s keep it real… PEDs have been part of baseball forever. Speeding up the game is going to keep players honest anyways. But if a guy wants to pull a Mark McGuire and put on 50 lbs of bulk in the off-season, let him. People like to see the ball fly 780 feet. And if that player wants to shrink his testicles to make that happen… well, it’s a free country, right?

What are your ideas for making MLB more interesting? Heck, what are some things you’d do to make other boring sports more interesting to watch? Leave a comment and share your ideas. Best idea gets to own the Indians. 

Photo credit: Fenway Park by Werner Kunz via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Liberty and Justice for All http://adammclane.com/2014/08/14/liberty-justice/ http://adammclane.com/2014/08/14/liberty-justice/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:16:18 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15536 The past few weeks have been full of horror and hope for me. There have been moments where I could do nothing but turn off the news. And there have been moments where I watched the news unfold, mesmerized to do little more than watch and pray. Where is justice? The Horrors In an effort […]

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The past few weeks have been full of horror and hope for me. There have been moments where I could do nothing but turn off the news. And there have been moments where I watched the news unfold, mesmerized to do little more than watch and pray.

Where is justice?

The Horrors

  • In an effort to stamp out Hamas, Israel shelled it’s own people in Gaza, killing more than 1,000 civilians. This included women and children seeking shelter in United Nations facilities. It makes no sense to me. There’s no justification acceptable for it and yet our country is so afraid of Israel that they just stand by and watch. New York can’t build a wall around Jersey and then send in troops, can they?
  • An unarmed teenager was gunned down by police in Ferguson, MO. Understandably, since Saturday racial tensions have continued to mount. Mostly peaceful protests have been punctuated by some regrettable looting and rapid militarization of the local police force. The police killed an unarmed teenager and then have the audacity to blame residents for being angry and taking to the streets? (Including the illegal arrests of two members of the media and an elected official.) The police exist to serve and protect the citizens! All of a sudden it looks the state of Missouri might just wall of the city of Ferguson. What’s next? Shelling?
  • Thousands of Central American children and adolescents are detained by border patrol for illegally entering the United States. Instead of asking the question, “Why is this happening?” the news media and some elected officials in Washington act as though we’re being invaded. Famously, members of the public took the bait. Instead of responding in a humanitarian way, people showed up in Murrieta to protest children’s arrival at a detention facility. Adults. Picketed. Children!
  • ISIS, a group so extreme that Al-queda won’t claim them, exploded into Iraq and are allegedly systematically committing genocidal acts against the population. It’s been hard to verify exactly what’s happening and there are rumors of all sorts of terror. But it’s abundantly clear that there’s an emerging humanitarian crisis going on. If the rumors are true, ISIS is committing atrocities that demand a response from neighboring countries.

All of these things stun the senses. They aren’t just news items. You can’t just flip the channel to a baseball game and move on. They are people.

I don’t know how people of conscience, much less ministers of the Gospel, can not stop what they are doing and pay attention.

These things are really happening. You and I have to act, somehow.

Prayer is not enough.

Hope

  • Last week, I had the joyous opportunity to visit the new IJM field staff in the Dominican Republic. The government there is overwhelmed with the crisis of commercially trafficked sexual exploitation (adults & minors) and is welcoming the International Justice Mission with open arms. Even a semi-trained eye can walk around tourist areas in the DR and see rampant sexual exploitation. It brings me hope to meet with passionate people who don’t cast a blind eye to injustice in front of them, but make sacrifices to stand up, seek justice, and ensure that victims experience restoration.
  • Two weeks ago I hung out with Jon Huckins, a good friend and co-founder of The Global Immersion Project. Their work started with leading experiences in Israel, taking Americans to all sides of the dispute there, hearing from leading voices in the peace process. Jon and his partner, Jer, are now taking those same lessons and helping leaders in cities throughout the U.S.. But I’m especially excited about two specific things with their work… 1. They are beginning a work helping church leaders better understand issues on the U.S./Mexico border with an immersion experience. 2. They are beginning to work with teenagers to help them understand the peacemaking process through immersion experiences.
  • This week, Marko and I are finalizing our latest collaboration which will help youth workers equip and activate teenagers in their ministry around issues of justice. We’ll be making an official announcement about it in the coming weeks, but I’m very excited about the long-term impact of this pivot within the Cartel.

To be honest, this dichotomy is confusing. I’m angered and frustrated about the horrors going on. While at the same time this despair is back-filled with hope in the knowledge that there is a lot I can actually do.

And I suppose that’s what the meaning of hope is, right? When all you are left with is despair, hope rises. 

Photo credit: Golden Lady Justice by Emmanuel Huybrechts via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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