Trouble Transitions

Gary, Davis, Christianity, Change, Trouble, Transitions          Far too frequently we hear the cry that our society needs more change agents. The implication is that the way things are presently just isn’t good enough. Pick a field— politics, business, transportation, medicine, religion (especially Christianity), finances, yadayadayada. Everything needs some form of change.

            The problem with change is that it invariably dumps us into a transitional time where even more things become unclear, unsteady, and iffy. O joy. Just what we need— more instability. Well, actually, we do.

Transitions in any segment of life move us out of the predictability, safety and definitions within one life-phase into an arena of uncertainty, a transition.

Transitions aren’t necessarily marked by growth. Though most people would hope they grow within a transition, many people, and businesses flounder, unable to set a new direction, given the changing global circumstances or personal situation. But without the cloudiness of a transition, things would stay too-much-same.

When you think about it, the cycle of phases and transitions, phases and transitions, is constant throughout your own life, or the life of a company, or country. The shifts are marked by what Malcom Gladwell has declared as tipping points— literally, those events or experiences that push us right over the edge and force us to consider something else in the future…, or tomorrow, or next week.

So when you consider becoming a change agent also consider how it will affect you, personally, your business, your family, and the greater good. Do you want to create the circumstances that lead you and those with you into a transition?

Transitions are uncertain times. Just make sure you are ready for the fog that lies ahead. But, by all means, keep moving forward. Besides think of all the fun constant predictability takes out of the adventure we call life?!?

For what it’s worth,


Facebook Rant

twitter, rant, trevin wax, Gary, davisAlthough this post from Trevin Wax is two years old it still deserves consideration, especially during this month of being thankful. Too many of us are full of rage and rant; some express it behind the wheel of a car, others, through their RANTs on FaceBook, instagram and twitter. When Christians RANT…, it goes to prove just how wide the division is between “us & them” really is.

When you look at your friends list, are you only seeing people who agree with you? People who will pat you on the back every time you say something? Maybe its time to think about the people who stopped being “friends” with you, or the people you have unfriended. Challenge yourself to be love-able to someone you don’t agree with today.

Unlike Jesus, we have lost the ability to walk among people who disagree with us and love them. Sad.


Mindless Christianity

 Mindless Christianity                 Imagine if you will a recent Study released by the Pew Research Center that showed Christianity to be the one religion that people are fleeing from, more than any other religion in the world.

Now imagine that you are a part of that religion and see no evidence of this in your churches. Worship services are great, the pastor’s sermons hit the nail on the head every week, the average age of the congregants is 35-45, the building is paid off, and you enjoy your Christian life in the midst of friends & family.

What you don’t see are the people who are not there. They are long-gone— playing golf, enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning at Starbucks, at home, boating, or simply sleeping in. The thought of going to church on a Sunday morning never enters their minds.

Too many of us have become mindless about those whom we never see. They are just “them,” or “non-Christians,” “the unsaved.” They are non-entities. We organize commando raids, evangelistic thrusts, into their midst and then regroup to “debrief.” Really!?! Whatever happened to being part of our society, our community, having neighbors we actually know and enjoy?

Actually, whatever happened to meaningful engagement? It feels as if the majority of our Christian community has ceased functioning, at least when it comes to clear, mindful thought. We find it so much easier to simply sit there and have someone who is an authority tell us what to think, believe, and DO. Then it slips out of our brains by that afternoon or evening.

With all the great minds of our past who launched the amazing movements of our faith past— the Cistercians, Augustine, Anselm, Francis of Assisi, Benedict, the Moravians, the Sacred Heard of Jesus, even those pesky Protesters, Calvinists & Huguenots, Pilgrims & Puritans— All made deep intellectual, yea academic, contributions to the history of Christian thought.

Today, not much thought is taking place in our churches. It has been replaced by a casual intellectualism and glancing references that support our personal perspectives. Even books are written for those with no more than an 8th grade reading level. Really?!? That’s it!?!

Ergo, please try to learn to think more deeply about your faith. Read some richer books than simple personal testimonies, or “sweet-Jesus” stories. Read books you cannot understand. Learn the differences between Christianity & Islam, between Catholics, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals. Learn the issues surrounding the emerging/emergent church. Think through possible loving responses to Bruce Jenner, One Direction, and the challenges put forth in the music of U2.

None of us were born brainless, mindless automatons; but there is ample evidence that we have striven doggedly to move in that direction.

For what it’s worth,


Response: The Science is IN: God is the Answer

Religion, God, Spirituality, Dr Gary, Davis, Clueless, ChristiansFor people within the sphere of religion, any religion, Brian Bethune’s & Genna Buck’s article The Science is IN: God is the Answer (McCleans, 30 March 2015), comes as no surprise. People raised in secure loving religious homes tend to have greater skills at facing the realities of adulthood. Children raised within this kind of environment tend to be better equipped at re-defining themselves when they reach both puberty and that “ah-ha” moment we now define as “individuation.” i.e. that phase in life wherein a child ceases to define his/her-self in terms of their parent’s values and creates their own value system, beliefs, and life priorities. Granted, this can be a time of trial & error run amuck; but, hey, that’s what growth and transition are all about. If you get it right the first time, you’re holding on way too tight!

            That being stated, I have encountered a LARGE number of twenty-somethings, who come from religious families— conservative Christian, liberal Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim (Sunni/Shiite), and others, who are a psychological mess. Their lives have no borders or boundaries; they can’t make a decision about anything; commitment to anything is terrifying; and their ties to any belief system change hourly. “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

            I’m sure Lisa Miller’s (the researcher who studied this topic for 18 years) efforts yielded factually supported data. But I wonder if she ever actually met an adult child from a conservative Christian family? Or Catholic family? Or modern-day Jew? There is very little faith left to their religion. They are, in effect, practical “religious-atheists” who call upon their religious roots in times of disorientation or trouble and then quickly return to their lives as really nice people.

                Our societies search for spirituality outside of faith has only yielded a feel-good-faith; certainly not one that will hold up under the pressure of postChristian non-presuppositions about why it’s not all about me. It is, ya know.

How to receive

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Gift, ReceivingFollowing my article on How to Give, my thoughts wandered to the other side of the equation. Namely, that some of us have difficulty in receiving gifts. In our day, even a simple gift gives rise to suspicion in the mind of the receiver that “there must be strings attached.” What does he/she want in return? I do not deserve this, so, what’s going on? Thus, another list. J

How to Receive A Seven Point Primer

  1. Accept the gift, responding with gratitude, without any sense of obligation to return one. To do so makes the gift a pawn on a chessboard; it becomes a game, barter, if you will, a contractual relationship, and lessens both the gift AND the giver.
  2. Admit that you do not have everything you need, let alone what you want. Distinguish between the two. Accepting a gift that covers a need is not charity; well, actually it is: but it is charity in its purest form— LOVE. Accepting a gift of desire, be it a gift card to Walmart or Neiman Marcus, are both gifts of love. Respond reverently. [note: I love white chocolate.]
  3. Accept a gift with thanksgiving, especially if given out of a sense of obligation. Whether in an office or extended family, many gifts are given out of a sense of obligation. [Fruit cakes come to mind.] Accept these gifts, no matter how horrible, with external joy and internal wonder. For even gifts of obligation are still gifts. Be thankful.
  4. Accepting a gift, given in sacrifice, will help you grow in humility. Receiving a gift can be particularly difficult when you know that the giver has sacrificed to give you this gift. For whatever reason, they chose to honor you with a gift of their hands, their labor. Why? That is their business. The fact that they have done so should elicit a great sense of humility in you.
  5. Accepting a gift, given in humility, will help you diminish your pride. If it does not, you have a problem. Some people have a grand sense of William Henley’s poem INVICTIS. I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.They are islands, standing alone against the foe, unconnected to family & community by stubborn pride. Gifts become challenges to their independence and individualism.

Really!?! Their pride is not a symbol of their strength, but a sign of their resistance in becoming part of anything beyond themselves. Isolationism in any form is not safe; it is dangerous. So come on, accept gifts given in humility with humility. Make sense?

  1. You cannot give what you have not received. Unless the love of God is in you, you will run out of strength to love others, and yourself. To receive God’s love is to enable yourself to give, and receive, with abandon. ‘Nough said.
  2. Remember, “To whom much is given much will be required.” Receiving gifts should empower you tremendously. Receiving a gift in genuine humility and graciousness will enable you to both love and give with little thought of what you might receive in return. Thus, though much will be required of you, you will be more than willing to give it gladly.

Thank you, one and all!


Juvenile loons

Loons are seafaring birds, a member of the Gavia family, indicating that they are awkward on land. They resemble a large duck, with webbing between their toes. In general they are black and white, with a little grey on their heads & necks and white bellies. They feed by swimming across a lake, spot their lunch by sight, and suddenly up-end, diving under to grab their prey. Juvenile loons have a distinct call they make to signal other Loons, especially those of the opposite sex. It sounds like this—

There isn’t anything quite like sitting on a dock on a New Hampshire lake, listening to the evening cry of the Loon. It calms the soul and draws one back to a simpler time where the sounds and movements of the natural world held such restful, tranquil majesty.

By contrast, a number of people with whom I have crossed paths could also be designated as juvenile loons. They have never quite grown up. It is not their playfulness or zest for life at issue; those characteristics are wonderful. It is a sense that they do not want to grow up. They only want to play; their life is split between earning just enough money so that they can play, or throw themselves into gaming, or collect things they cannot afford. They have never quite owned up to the responsibility they need embrace for their own lives. This is especially catastrophic when others must pay the price—parents, spouses, and children. Being a unremitting juvenile is not a life option.

The word Loon is a North American derivative from the Olde English lumme, meaning lummox, clumsy, or awkward. We have all crossed paths with people who just don’t seem to fit in, or who are obviously uncomfortable in social situations— proverbial bulls in a china shop. These people unsettle others, making conversation seem forced. Their lives seem to be a series of mishaps, one after another.

Some of these clumsy misfits can be retrained to be more socially appropriate:  some cannot.

The real issue is whether we can learn to honor and accept them as fellow human beings. This is no simple matter. It involves relinquishing condemnation, and forging a love out of loathsomeness. It means realizing that this juvenile could become a voice for justice: and this Loon a future leader.

All of us are at different levels, social strata’s, at different phases of our ability to contribute to the common good. This is how God would have us be— involved in the juveniles and loons of our society, while raising their status before God and men.

Have a nice week,