Social Action

Context and Perspective on the Current Conflict in the Gaza Strip: An Interview with Jon Huckins

Like many, I’m struggling to understand what’s going on with the current fighting between Israel & Palestine. More to the point, I hear rumors that American Christians and American tourism might actually be making matters more complicated for those involved.

With that in mind I asked my good friend, Jon Huckins, to help me understand it a bit better. Jon is the author of two books, Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling and Thin Places. Jon is also my co-author for Good News in the Neighborhood. He’s a part of NieuCommunities, an organization that trains missional leaders, as well as the co-founder of a new ministry start-up called the Global Immersion Project which helps inform and Christians in the peace-making efforts in Israel and Palestine. They offer a four month learning experience that integrates historical, theological and social realities which culminates in two weeks on the ground in Israel and Palestine. Their hope is to cultivate a generation of peacemakers who better live, love and lead like Jesus both in the Middle East and in their neighborhood.

Enough with the bio… here’s my interview with Jon.

Culture Television

Take it like a man

Last night I watched an hour-long interview with Jesse James. (West Coast Choppers, ex-husband to Sandra Bullock)

Pier Morgan, who conducted the interview, did his best to find an excuse that Jesse could latch onto as to why he had behaved the way he had.

  • Was it because your father beat you?
  • Were you lonely when Sandra was away working on movies?
  • Were you trying to maintain an image of being a bad boy?
  • Do you blame the paparazzi for shining light on the situation?
  • Were you using drugs?

Down the list Mr. Morgan goes, trying to find a psychobabble-worthy reason why this man had cheated on his wife.

Jesse’s answer?

Here’s a summary of what he said during the interview: It was my fault. I take 100% responsibility. It’s no ones fault but mine. I’ve hurt her. I’ve asked for forgiveness from her. She has given it. I was a horrible person unfit to love anyone and I’ve had to learn to love myself. My upbringing didn’t lead me to this, I made my own choices.

The level of honesty displayed was refreshing. No spin. No softening the blows. Just take it like a man because you brought it on yourself.

When asked if he thought that discussing this stuff and writing about it might hurt Sandra’s feelings he acknowledged that it might, but that she understood he was just out to promote his book. Who admits that?

Dealing with Failure

Dealing with failure is part of life. It is unavoidable that you will mess up. It probably won’t be as blatant or as messy or as public as Jesse’s affair but you will have to deal with the ramifications just the same.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I need to fail well. Hiding from mistakes, oversights, and outright bad things I’ve done doesn’t help anything. It just makes it worse.

I had a mentor early in my career that taught me how to talk about my own failures in a team setting.

  • Lead with the failure – Don’t bury it in agenda. Come right out and say it because it’s the #1 agenda item.
  • Follow up with how it happened – Don’t just gloss it over, explain how it happened in as much detail is needed. Others might learn from how you got to your mistake.
  • Tell us how you’re fixing it – If you don’t know than ask for help. But you better have a plan for how you’ll fix it or else your silence is giving the team the most logical solution…
  • End with apologizing/taking ownership of the mistake – Don’t weasel out of it. Don’t accept someone else’s apology. Own that mistake, learn from it, and move on.

In short, while failure may display a lack of character which defines you for a moment, dealing with failure well displays the type of character that can define you for a lifetime.

What have you learned about dealing with your mistakes?

youth ministry

Interview with Jim Britts

A few weeks back I drove up to Oceanside and shot this interview with Jim Britts. If you don’t know Jim, you need to! He’s a youth pastor at a local church who, together with his executive pastor, had a crazy idea of making a move. And along came To Save a Life.

Let’s face it… Jim is squeaky clean. But I did my best to ask the questions I thought a youth pastor would want to know about the movie. If you’ve not seen a preview, this is a “Christian” movie with a pretty solid sex scene and doesn’t shy away from language. Time will tell if this added street credability or not.