Archives for category: third way

Third Way Thinking - tension

[Note: I’m picking up on a thread, Third Way Thinking, that I started awhile back – talking about third culture leaders and finding the groove]

James Choung shared a great quote from Roger Martin in The Opposable Mind this morning at our San Diego Asian American Minister’s meeting:

Read the rest of this entry »

In The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership for a Third-Culture Church, Dave Gibbons gives eloquent voice to many things that have felt just out of my grasp.  Dave defines third culture as “the mindset and the will to love, learn, and serve in any culture, even in the midst of pain and discomfort.”

Normally I would wait until finishing a book before posting a review, but I wanted to post some of my impressions right away because of the way this book is already speaking to me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Gelinas, lead pastor and resident jazz theologian of Colorado Community Church, uses wonderful & evocative imagery from the world of jazz (think John Coltrane and Miles Davis, not Kenny G) in Finding the Groove to help us dream of the Kingdom of God in fresh ways.  Even for non-jazz fans, Groove’s stories & quotes (e.g., Coltrane’s search for the sound of God) are engaging and helpful in composing a vibrant, jazz-shaped faith.

In Groove, Robert builds on the jazz keynotes of syncopation, improvisation, and call & response to inform and give life to our theology, ecclesiology, hermeneutics, mission, and praxis — no small task!  In many ways, Groove is a book for the church — Robert’s thoughts about ensemble community in chapter five are prophetic and powerful — but it is more than a “how-to” workbook.  Groove‘s helped me reconsider the role of tension and suffering in life and community; instead of trying to minimize those things, learning to see them, instead, as means to creativity and engaging life as it really is.

One particular passage stands out for its resonance in pastoral leadership (p.155):

In a jazz ensemble, the drummer is the timekeeper. He sits obscurely in the back, ever keeping the beat, driving the tempo, and signaling time changes. His job is to keep time in a way that sets the others free. He listens and responds to the moments and in the process keeps time for all.  He has the worst seat in the house. Think about it; as he sits in the back all he sees are the backsides of his fellow musicians.  It’s not a great place to see, but it’s a great place to serve

The essence of jazz is listening.

Even if you’ve never listened to Kind of Blue or have no idea who Billie Holiday is, I definitely recommend Finding the Groove.  Sometimes, it is precisely the act of crossing into unfamiliar territory that stirs creativity and imagination.

I’ve been having a hard time writing down some coherent thoughts about The Idea Camp because it was such an incredible experience for me.  I’m still trying to wrap my head and heart around it all.  It’s a bit like herding cats.

In any case, before too much time passed, I wanted to at least begin recording some of my thoughts and impressions.  I’m going to borrow newly-hairstyled Dave Ingland‘s format and break my reflections down into separate posts.

So, here’s the first round of my post-Idea Camp rodeo (each post will be titled in the both/and spirit of The Idea Camp)…

* * * * *

I loved the ethos of open-source collaboration + participation.

Read the rest of this entry »

third-way-thinking-groove-banner-21I didn’t initially plan on making this into a series, but I just came across a great passage on third way thinking as I’ve been reading through Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith, by Robert Gelinas.

Robert’s jazz-shaped faith is composed of three foundations, or keynotes:

  • Syncopation
  • Improvisation
  • Call and response

These keynotes have implications both for “our walk with God (spirituality) and our joining in to help others walk with God (evangelism).”

One of my favorite explorations of these keynotes comes in chapter four, “Creative Tension.”  Robert points out that in our desire to resolve conflict, tension and perceived contradictions in the Bible and in our faith, perhaps we have lost touch with the very thing that can lead to creativity and life.

Jesus knows what to do with tension…

These two opposing truths provided a whole new option for those present that day — a third way (in Latin, tertium quid), a new, creative way.  This happens when we move beyod either/or to both/and. This is the gateway to improvisation.  Jazz is the willingness to live between freedom and unfreedom and see where it leads.

I love how Robert challenges us even to rethink, or reframe, our understanding of what it means to be in a rut.  So much of life is lived somewhere in-between, in the ordinary and everyday.  And yet, as we embrace this third way thinking:

When we are in a rut with God, we can stop and realize that a rut only exists becaus there are two opposing, competing, and equally strong forces that create sides.  Those sides create a groove.  Creative tension helps us find that groove.

May the paradox of loving and following Jesus lead us into the endless groove of wonder, possibility and love!

third-way-thinking-culture-bannerIncreasingly, I am coming across thinkers, theologians and practitioners who are advocating approaches that can be characterized as third way.

Whether we’re talking about politics, power, theology or praxis, it seems as if our world is becoming increasingly polarized into diametrically opposed camps, whose main form of communication is to lob an occasional grenade in the general direction of the other.  It’s been good for my soul to hear that many others are who are in the same boat — convinced there must be a a way out of these false binaries, a higher and better way, especially as followers of Jesus.

Read the rest of this entry »