October 29,2007 Shaking your family tree
Back in the heyday of my research, everything was done by sitting in front of microfilmed census records with indices if you were lucky enough to have them. Today things are much easier to get started, but the best fun is trudging around in old dilapidated courthouses and graveyards. A fitting theme for Halloween, eh?
Here is a great little document to get you started with the HeritageQuest database, which I hope is available through your local library. Most of the available census records are there, and fully searchable. They are a great starting place for your journey to meet your forgotten or unknown ancestors.
another great starting place is paid for by your tax dollars at http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/start-research/
One note of caution- be ready to let go of family legend, and ready to bank on the long term memories of your oldest relatives. Even if they can't remember to take out the garbage, they'll remember things in the distant past with amazing clarity, most likely. I pray you will be blessed as I was in getting to know those ancient voices.
October 31- the new term begins
I'll be doing a lot of thinking on the subject of Adult Learning again over the next few months, along with Organizational Behavior. I recently oversaw the instructional design for such a course for McGraw-Hill, so the latter is fresh in my mind. I anticipate finding that there is much overlap from my intuition of the concepts.
We saw HAIRSPRAY, finally, before it went out of the theaters. I thought it was pretty funny, if a little strange in the mix of what society would hold as serious racial issues and downright entertainment. My favorite lyrics from You're Timeless To Me...
Administration+Soli Deo Gloria=Transformation
Before I turn to the practical, I must slip into the role of the contrarian again , I fear. The statement evidences some problems that I have to offer some caveats for before proceding. First, I would hold that the purpose to Christian administration is primarily the maximization of the glory of God, and the transformation of individuals is a means to THAT end. Therein lies the basic problem with the statement. When efficiency, effectiveness and productivity become substitutes for that preeminent purpose, the people of God suffer, and Gods glory is impugned. Thus this is no small matter to get right. The pursuit of excellence is in no way at odds with Gods purposes in and of itself and need not become an exercise in the commodification of human resources. Excellence is a function of the reclamation of the imago Dei, but can become a straw man in the minds of many who have suffered the abuse of unsanctified church administration that puts the excellence as the goal, not the function. Transformation begins with the renewal of our minds in our perceptions of the Authority behind our administrations. This renewal is God's means AS WELL as His processes in realizing His purposes for his people, to His glory, I think.
In practical terms, when the glory of God is primary in the mind of the community of faith, then right now counts forever. There is no attitude of "don't sweat the small stuff". The Word of God is consulted transparently and appealed to overtly. Priorities are systematically and Spirit-shifted to a biblcal way of acting and thinking. Sin is necessarily a big deal, and Gods purposes in conforming his people to the likeness of His Son become advertised so as to be ever present in the minds of all involved. This effects everything in practical terms- when all is being done as unto the Lord, excellence- efficiency, effectiveness, and/or productivity will result, as it is Spirit empowered. This is a missing jewel in the church today. Administration takes as its root ministration, and this is always first and foremost ministry to God.The starting place, I think is in reckoning the reality of what our business on Earth is to be, and articulating it , then living it out in moment by moment submission to the Spirit.
Most Christians have not been equipped to think tin these real terms. They would characterize this as "impractical", all well and good in theory, but impossible to put into practical use.
With a renewed mind, the administration of our planning meetings become God centered. Our administration of budgets will seek to maximize the Glory of God in our communities. Our administration of financial stewardship becomes empowered by our reigning passion for the Glory of God in all things. Our administration of staff becomes a holy relationship. Those interactions become consecrated. Evaluations will seek to measure what is worthy of Gods consideration, not getting out of balance with penultimate concerns. Checkpoints and markers to point us to this end must be established all along the way. Our stewardship of resources- primarily human, becomes a Spiritual discipline exercised at the throne of Grace.
I propose that these are not overspiritualizations, but are intensely practical in living, moving and being in Christ in the light of the unseen. A large part of the challenge is getting Gods people to begin to think to the primacy of God in all the actions of their daily life, especially in the daily life under the weight of Glory of the Body of Christ. If you have never done so, I would commend the reading two books together in tandem for a synergistic study of the issues- A Call To Excellence by my former pastor Gary Inrig, and Brother, We are Not Professionals by John Piper. Two "must reads" in my mind. In my next post I will make workable, tangible suggestions as to how to refocus our earthbound minds upon "whatsoever things are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely of good report.
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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/