In The Rudder of the Day, by Dan Miller, he shares the story of a clergyman completely undone by his termination. Being fired brings shock, dismay and crushing bitterness. This Pastor’s church had, for reasons left unspecified in the story, chosen to take the drastic step of “letting him go.” Dan’s point is that, in all honesty, it is impossible that this Pastor had not been provided ample clues. Indeed, in unpacking this man’s career demise, it became clear that clues had been scattered across years of his ministry. So, the clergyman had “sanctified” his ignorance over time and repeated avoidance-impulses.
Et tu, Belshazzar?
In Daniel 5 we read about the witless Belshazzar, who is the original guy completely undone by the proverbial “writing on the wall.” Good thing for the King Belshazzar, Daniel was ready and able to interpret the cryptic message God had scrawled across the palace wall. Even though the message was dire in every respect, the King gratefully gave Daniel increased wealth and status in his kingdom. That same night the King was murdered, fulfilling the dire message.
As Dan points out in his story, the newly unemployed Pastor–with some help–could see there had been red flags (writing on his wall) for years: grossly overweight, medicated for depression and a bleeding ulcer, etc. Raising the question:
Were these not clear signs of a life out of balance?
Why is it that so often those in ministry expect their world, within the church, to operate differently than outside? This naive Pastor functioned on the premise that simply if he was committed to God everything would just work out. After sufficient reflection, this servant of the Lord realized he’d operated from a simplistic, intentional and “sanctified ignorance.” Ouch.
Let’s unpack this: “sanctified” + “ignorance.” Meaning set apart to be…unaware. Or worse: to impart…willful delusion. We’d all admit that would be a bitter bill to swallow on the way to humble enlightenment and steps towards rebooting one’s ministry. Indeed, double ouch.
But, again, how often do those in ministry wander through it in a state of sanctified ignorance?
I would submit to you: too many of them and too frequently. Unfortunately, we know of one Pastor who absolutely needs to immediately recognize this reality in his life, for his sake and his congregation’s.
Dan Miller declares,
The belief that if we love God and have committed our lives to him, everything will just work out, is an immature theology….will lead to a life of mediocrity…[and] is not the path of accomplishment, of excellence, of maximizing our impact and witness.
Amen and amen.
Engage here. Do you agree? Disagree? Do you see the writing on the wall for your pastor? Or are you that pastor? Who else needs to consider this?
One of the definitions of gospel is “a thing that is absolutely true.”
I love this cartoon, because it’s really funny. In fact, I’ve used it in pretty high-powered business meetings as a “stopping idea.” We often need to have something surprise us into stopping long enough to question our thinking. This funny cartoon does that, in part, because it’s so funny.
Which begs the question:Do we find this cartoon (used with my permission after scanning our own, personal-use, refridgerator magnet) so funny because it presents a belief we recognize lots of people hold as true…even self-evident?
Which begs another question: How often are we one of those “lots of people”?
Engage here. What do you think about Homer’s Gospel? Why? And who do you know that may need to question this belief?
4 Rules for Monkey Management Avoids Monkey Chucking
Last time we looked at what “monkey chucking” means in a business environment (or anywhere else that people congregate). We saw that there are often serious consequences to uncontrolled, flying monkeys, within the confines of human interaction. Today we look at containment rules–presented in the first person, from the vantage point of the leader/manager–as established by the authors of The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.
RULE ONE: MonkeyDescriptions
The “next moves” are specified
Dialogue continues until the next moves are specified
This biases any situation towards action
It quadruples motivation because
Next move is clear
The first (usually the hardest) is already taken
Project is broken down to manageable bits
Focus can easily switch to next moves
RULE TWO: MonkeyOwners
The monkey is assigned to someone
All monkeys must be handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare
The best way to develop responsibility in people is to give them responsibility
Dialogue will not end until ownership is specified with accurate pronouns describing to whom the problem belongs
If it turns out to be my problem, I hope you will assist me with it. If it turns out to be yours, I’ll help you with it, on these conditions:
At no time will your problem become mine
Because the moment your problem becomes mine, it’s not your problem anymore
I can’t help a person who doesn’t have a problem
RULE THREE: MonkeyInsurance Policies
The monkey’s risk is insured
Recommend, then act. [Level 1]
Act, then advise. [Level 2]
Practice hands-off management as much as possible and hands-on management as much as necessary
Never let the company go down the drain simply for the sake of good management.
RULE FOUR: MonkeyFeeding & Checkups
Time and place for checkup is specified
Dialogue will not end until checkup appt. is set
Regular checkups confirm monkey’s health or detect problems to correct
Two important assumptions:
You’ll treat your sick monkey as best you can, but if the monkey’s condition persists or worsens from not responding to your treatment plan, you will bring your monkey to me for a checkup before all vital signs vanish
If we’d agreed to a progress checkup several weeks hence, and I discover or determine your monkey’s malady is worsening, I will move the meeting up to 24 hours…
Two important options result:
You’ll report that “My monkey is failing due to my doing nothing.”
You’ll report that “My monkey is improving! Here’s what I’m doing….”
The Purpose of the 4 Rules: Decrease Monkey Chucking
The right things get done
the right way
at the right time
by the right people.
What has been your experience with monkey chucking? Have you found yourself with someone else’s monkey lingering on your shoulder, wondering how it came to be your problem?