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What Box? Tradition, Rationality and Revelation

I recently posted an Instagram photo of a piece of art that said “color outside the lines”. My comment was simply “what lines?” Perhaps it’s my personal viewpoint of looking at things through God’s hard-wiring of my mind, but I really don’t like the idea of being restricted to artificial limitations. I do, however, like knowing the boundaries because they help frame the conversation and focus. I said all of that to set up today’s #thinkchurch post: How are you approaching your ministry work?

Tradition. I have preferences. We all do. Some of these preferences have meaning to us, so we create a consistent pattern around them. Before you know it, we’ve told others how to operate within our preferences. One step removed from us, what was once a preference is now a tradition. I think traditions are a lot like money: they’re neither good nor bad – it’s all about how you approach it. If a tradition gets in the way of loving people, it’s a clear sign that the tradition has to change or go.

Rationality. Oh, boy, do I fall into this one all the time. I am l.o.g.i.c.a.l. all of the freaking time. Rational thought is useful, but it can easily miss the mark of being redemptive. If this, then that can lead to decisions without heart. It’s a good management technique, but a poor one for leadership.

Revelation. What box? I have often been told I’m an excellent conference speaker because, as one young man put it, “Coppedge is a quote machine!” I used to think that this was proof of how smart I was, until Holy Sprit gently said to me “You think those are your thoughts that come out of the blue?” Hmmm. I now recognize that when I say something and I have to repeat it to know what I just said, yeah, those are not me, that’s revelation from God. I’m not that good, but He sure is! The Lord’s Prayer says “…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” How much of our thinking is Kingdom focused and under the subjection of God’s will?

NOTE: This thought process came from reading a wonderful post this morning by Dr. Skip Moen, entitled Rationality Fatigue. Skip is one of the greatest theologians concerning Hebrew thought and meaning, and I cannot recommend his daily Hebrew word study highly enough. Skip uses the tax-deductible funds (you choose how much to pay) to fund ministry for others.

QUESTION: What has been your experience with tradition, rationality and revelation?

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Anthony has worked in the secular world of A/V, the ministry world of church staff and the para-church ministry of three companies that serve the church space (Auxano, Fellowship Technologies and Worlds of Wow!). Today, his consultancy focuses on helping churches and para-church ministries leverage appropriate systems, processes and technologies for more effective ministry. Anthony leads out of his strengths of effectively caring for people, efficiently managing resources and enabling scalable growth. He has been consulting, teaching, writing and speaking to church and business leaders for nearly 20 years.