Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Scarcity is Valuable

It seems to me in a culture of abundance and consumption, we are forgetting that value is not found in more, but in less.

Apple stock dropped in value because iPhone sales are low.  Do we really need more iPhones?  It seems they are become so common they are losing their distinction.  (Remember when it was cool to have one?)

The NFL is saturating the market place.  Now we have games and coverage all the time.  There is talk of extending the length of the season.  Doesn’t that make it too easy to miss?

Downtown Abby and Sherlock on PBS are seeing a great uptick in awareness and interest.  These two shows are scarce, but in high demand.

Scarcity adds value.

Ministry Talking Points 1/16/14

Ministry Talking Points is an attempt to share with my audience key thoughts or ideas I’ve seen that I think pastors and church leaders should be talking about.

Bible Study Religious Stock Images

In this issue:

Dennis Rodman a Missionary

Seth Godin: The Problem is Awareness

Pope Francis on Abortion and a Throwaway Culture

Dennis Rodman a Missionary?

It’s crazy to think that the “Bad Boy of Basketball” from my youth is setting an example on how to break down barriers.  The truth is Rodman has always broken the barrier (cross-dressing, dyed hair, strange piercings, tattoos, etc.).  This time, Rodman is working to develop a relationship with the isolated people in North Korea who are being held back by the barriers world leaders have established.  I’m not suggesting Rodman is doing this because he is a Christian or sees himself as a missionary, I don’t know Rodman nor his faith.  I only know what CNN reported one of his teammates, Charles Smith, as saying,

“We went there to do what we normally do, and that’s to be cross-cultural ambassadors and use the game of basketball as a bridge for exchange.”

The willingness to go cross-cultural and be an ambassador is what I see as the missionary act.  When was the last time we saw someone give up the comforts of his culture or world to learn about the culture of another?  I applaud Rodman for his efforts.  If more private citizens took it upon themselves to breakdown cultural barriers, I think we’d see some pretty remarkable things happen in our world.  CNN reports that Smith shared “he has no regrets about going. He said he was able to meet some North Korean citizens and even came across one man who winced before shaking the hand of the first African-American he had ever met. Smith said the man told him they didn’t have a very good view of African-Americans. The man rubbed his hand as if the color would come off, Smith said.”  Kudos to Rodman for breaking the barriers, and for even wishing a Happy Birthday to the North Korean leader.

Seth Godin: “Our biggest problem is awareness”

Let me start by saying, I’m a big Seth Godin fan.  He has a unique ability to articulate keen insights in a few paragraphs.  In this post, Seth reminds us that the key to raising awareness of our cause, group, church, etc. is not to focus on the big one-time event, but rather design our systems so that we are a continually in the conversations. Let me admit this, I’m really good at the big and flashy ideas.  Developing systems I can do.  My challenge is maintaining the system.  How about you?

Pope Francis: “A Throwaway Culture”

This weekend, people around the nation will take part in the remembering the historic ruling of Roe vs.Wade by the United States Supreme Court, as they hold memorials or rallies regarding the sanctity of life and the power of choice.  The news outlets reported Pope Francis recently expressed that abortion was evidence of our “throwaway culture.”  In the past, Francis has elaborated on the “throwaway culture” especially as it relates to food and other resources.  It seems Francis understands the way to overcome the desire for abortion is to address the consumer, self-centered issues of our culture.  When I first heard Francis talk about the “throwaway culture,” food seemed to be the central aspect of the conversation.  I walked away challenged to throwaway less food.  That doesn’t mean I should necessarily “clean my plate,” though I often do.  Rather, I think the challenge is to waste less food.  In that daily practice of wasting less food, could I begin to overcome my consumption desires and my tendency to throwaway things?  What if each of us wasted less food?  Would it cure many of our issues like obesity and world-hunger?  Could it even reduce poverty, abortion, war, and the like?  In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, he asserts that the reduction of litter and graffiti in New York City led to a reduction of overall crime.  Without a doubt, food is in abundance in the United States.  What if we chose to waste less of it?  Could that curb our desire to consume and throwaway?  I’m going to do my part.

Ministry Talking Points: 1/2/14

Ministry Talking Points is an attempt to share with my audience key thoughts or ideas I’ve seen that I think pastors and church leaders should be talking about.

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14 Predictions for ’14 (part 1)

Thom Rainer has put together a list of the 14 things he is 70% or more certain will be taking place in the greater American church culture and organizations.  Here are two that I find intriguing:

• Decline in conversion growth

• Increased emphasis in high-expectations for church membership

Read the article for yourself and weigh in.  Personally, I think these two observations are tied together.  I think we will see less people converting to the faith, but we will see a greater level of fidelity among those living their faith.  It seems to me, this is a pendulum swing from the years of trying to “run up the score” while failing to build the legacy.

6 Things I Wish Christians Would Stop Doing

In the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions, Stephen Mattson, list six things he’d love to see change among Christians in America.  Here are my favorites from his list:

• Idolizing Famous Christians

• Being Pessimistic

• Playing the Victim Card

I find all three of these are connected.  It seems more often than not, the church presents itself as a minority, persecuted group, who is in need of a true champion to show the world we are right.  Newsflash: Jesus was a minority among a persecuted group and died to be our champion.  I know that can sound harsh, but let’s stop being so pessimistic – more people believe in God than don’t.  We don’t need a star to be our champion; Jesus gives us everything we need for life (2 Peter 1:3).  We are not victims, our victory has been won in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

A Passage of Scripture

Here’s a passage of scripture that I rediscovered:

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
“Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.”
And yet,
“Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”
If you’re familiar with the Bible, I’m sure including the phrase “meaningless-like chasing the wind” tips you off as to where this passage can be found (Ecclesiastes 4:4-6).  Yet, I am concerned that in my ministry I’ve not talked enough about how the Bible informs us about the value of work and the dynamics of success.  A few years ago, John Zogby of the Zogby Report published the book The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream.  In it he uses polling information to forecast the values of the American populous.  Interestingly, he shows that the new American Dream shows the Job Security and Quality of Work being of higher value to Americans than everything else outside of family and marriage.  I think we as leaders of “how to live life” need to spend more time talking about how to work.

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