A little reminder
October 7, 2009, 8:43 pm
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Hi folks.  For those of you that have this site bookmarked or have a subscription here, I have moved my blog to a hosted site. I used to have that URL redirect to the free WordPress version of the blog, which is where you’re reading this. I’ve changed that forwarding to my hosted site.  You can find it here – that’s spiritfarmer [dot] com.  Update your bookmarks and RSS accordingly.


Time for some change
June 29, 2009, 10:45 pm
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Once again I’ve been guilty of inconsistency in my posting. My apologies. I’ll have some more time on my hands soon, and plan to do some sprucing up around here, and relaunch.

For those who loyally check in here, my thanks . . . and my apologies. I’ll get my mojo back, I promise.

San Diego Bound
March 4, 2009, 10:09 am
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I just booked a spontaneous quick trip out of town for this weekend.  I’ll be visiting family and friends in San Diego.  While there, I will be attending this.

My shampoo has a carbon footprint
February 23, 2009, 4:01 pm
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O.k., completely random post here, but hey, it’s better than nothing . . . and it is, after all, my blog, so I get to do these things every once in a while.

I was musing this morning, wondering what the environmental impact of my shampoo is.  Beyond the plastics it takes to make the bottle, beyond the packaging the shampoo comes in, and beyond the fossil fuels it takes to deliver my shampoo from manufacturer to market to my shower, the shampoo I use has a carbon footprint.

I have a strange little scalp condition.  It’s not infectious or out of control.  But I do have to use a medicated shampoo once or twice per week.  The main ingredient of this shampoo?  Coal tar.  Mmmmm, lovely, eh?  No coconut, strawberry, or melon fragrances, either.  Just this thick sludge of coal tar – I mean, I wouldn’t want anything to interrupt the healing powers of a West Virginia mine, would I?  Therefore, it smells about like you’d think coal tar should.

So am I environmentally irresponsible?

Happy New Year
January 1, 2009, 9:18 pm
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Hi all.  I know it’s been extremely quiet ’round here lately.  As I try to tie up loose ends on my doctoral dissertation, that’ll probably persist for the next several weeks.  However, just in case I decided that one of my New Year’s Resolutions for the year is to blog daily, I figured I should go ahead and post something!  Just kidding.

2008 was a wild ride in many ways.  I’d do a year in review, but hey, that’s what the archives are for.  Looking back, I’ve made some very good friends in the past year, gone deeper with other friends, and been stretched in some important ways.  I’m looking forward to 2009 – there are still way more questions than answers about what this year is likely to have in store. 

I’ll try to have more fun on the ‘ol blog this year.  Maybe I’ll change my layout, throw a few bells and whistles on, whatever.  I hope your calendar is full of good times ahead.

Strategically viral?
December 7, 2008, 12:00 pm
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My friend Petey and I talked on the phone for over an hour the other day.  We were talking ’bout “missional” leadership styles.  He asked what I thought about decentralized forms of leadership and organization, like the concepts and examples discussed in the book The Starfish and the Spider.  I told him I was all for that   approach to leadership, but we have to be honest and admit that it’s a tough way to  run an organization.  Over and over I have found myself having to reassure those who follow my leadership that they DO have permission and encouragement and empowerment to go do things, get involved in projects, participate in activities.  We still live solidly within a leadership paradigm that forces people into top-down modes, and people still have a hard time believing that it’s o.k. to step out of that mode.  The “leader” is still seen as the one to catalyze things into action.  Leaders bring vision, provide the road map, energize the followers to action, and send them out with a pep talk.

And yet, it sure seems like the whole “viral” thing is what is really bringing about the most change in the world.  The book referenced about gives lots of internet examples of movements and companies that took off because they had a decentralized structure that allowed for more fluidity, responsiveness to challenges, and grassroots energy.

Viral seems to be the way to go these days.  But getting back to the concept of missional leadership, the question is, how do we go about giving leadership in such a way that viral movements are stimulated and grown?  In other words, is it possible to be both strategic and viral simultaneously?  That’s tricky business.  Providing enough of a vision, enough of a compelling call to change, enough of a push to get people moving, but not so much that it become too leader-driven, structured, or mapped out ahead of time that there’s no room for creativity in the moment for people.

I do think it’s possible to be strategically viral, but it’s so hard to know how.  I think it involves being highly experimental, knowing that you’re going to fail many more times than you’ll succeed.  And the things that you will come to call success may look like failures for quite a while before they’re understood in different ways.  It involves creating environments more than game plans.  It involves developing an ethos among people more than a list of rules, behaviors, and marching orders.

What do you think?  Am I full of hot air?  Are strategic and viral mutually exclusive terms?  Why? Why not?

If you’re the praying type . . .
November 20, 2008, 1:32 pm
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Please join me in praying for one of my doctoral classmates, John Stumbo.  He came down with a strange, undiagnosed illness, and is unconscious in what is being called a life threatening condition.  He’s the lead pastor of a large church in Salem, Oregon.