Tag Archives: TransFORM

Survivor, TransFORM and How You Treat People, Matters.

I was in Washington D.C. to attend TransFORM: East Coast Gathering a couple of weeks ago. I have put off writing about it because it was so wonderful that I know my words will not be able to adequately convey my experience … but it was too important not to write about … so, here is the first attempt:

I’m a big Survivor fan and just finished watching the 20th season, “Heroes vs Villians”.  If you are familiar with the show, you know that Russell played two seasons back to back, got to the end in both seasons, but didn’t receive even one vote by any jury member in either of the seasons.  Some believe that Russell should have won Survivor as he played a physically and mentally strong game.  He tends to be able to control who gets voted off, is a convincing liar and a great schemer.  He’s okay when it comes to challenges and has won several immunity challenges, sometimes when it was critical.  But, (that probably should be “BUT”) he treats people poorly and it is difficult to win Survivor when you treat people poorly, since the people you are treating poorly are also the people that get to vote for the winner.  In other words, “how you treat people, matters”.

This got me to thinking about my experience at TransFORM.

Now, to give you a little context, I was a newcomer among the people at TransFORM.  I’ve been in the conversation for less than five years and I pretty much just listened for the first 3 years … so, I was a little worried about how I would fit in at the gathering.  I knew several people online, but had only met one person face to face before. I’m also older than most, not in full-time ministry AND I don’t even have a MAC or an IPhone … I even had the audacity to show up with my HP laptop and my Verizon Blackberry Tour:>)  But, (that probably should be “BUT”) they embraced me anyway, generously included me and made me feel significant, valuable, loved, and even liked.  Was it because of my great personality and wry wit?  My good looks?  Did my charisma blind them so that they couldn’t see past the dazzling light that surrounds me everywhere I go?  No, it wasn’t about any of those things (if you can believe it!!) … it wasn’t really about “me” – it was about them.  It was about this group of people putting a high value relationships with others.  It was about relationships with others being more important to them than anything else.  It was about them believing even if they were the most cool, the most right, the best speaker, the best writer, the best looking, the most fun, the most knowledgeable, the best or most anything, it wouldn’t amount to anything if they weren’t treating others well.  It was about them believing they can’t be winners unless they are loving others.  It was about this group of people believing “how you treat people, matters” – not just intellectually but experientially, not just in theory but in reality.  This is their central message, their main thing.

And that is why ever since I came back home from Washington D.C. I have yearned to be back in the presence of this group of people.  They are good at real community, they are good at loving, they are good at relationships.  They are transparent and vulnerable but not sappy – okay, occasionally they are sappy, but it’s a good kind of sappy:>)  IMO they are courageous when it comes to offering grace and embracing humility.

In the days to come I plan to write about my impressions of some of the TransFORM sessions, but first I just had to say a little something about what I thought was the most important thing about TransFORM  …  which was that I spent a few days with a group of people who were having some significant success at living in the way of Jesus and it was compelling and attractive and inspirational and motivating and comforting and transformational.

It touched me and changed me.

How you treat people, matters!

Three Things Tuesday

JENNIFER KNAPP

Jennifer Knapp, Christian music artist, recently came out publicly about being gay and in a long term same sex relationship.  Check out her facebook page and you will find that another coming out has occurred as you read all the argumentative and condemning messages that so many Christians are posting there.  There are Christians coming out as allies who aren’t so hateful (check out this post by Chad Holtz) but they seem to be in the minority.

FYI – I am straight, married, with two sons and Christian (although I prefer to use the label “follower of Christ” since the label “Christian” has so much negative baggage) and I have seriously studied scripture and found that there is not clear evidence (when you look at original language and historical context) that loving, monogamous same sex relationships are wrong.  Without sufficient evidence I believe that it is unjust to condemn and oppress people in loving, monogamous same sex relationships.  If Christians who believe these relationships are wrong continue to refuse to admit that their interpretation is only one interpretation and that there is a possibility that they are wrong they (imo) continue to look ungenerous, unkind, stubborn, unreasonable and lose credibility all the way around.

And one more thing … if they are right why is it that they are so obsessed with this particular sin and how do they justify trying to bully and intimidate others into agreeing with them and do they really think they are going to change someone’s mind by winning their argument and why aren’t they more concerned with being kind, loving, generous, compassionate, merciful, patient and humble.  I could understand them getting a little riled up if they were actually standing up for some individual that was being mistreated or hurt but I don’t understand their passion about this issue and the way they treat others over it.  It really seems that they care the most about convincing everyone they are right and forcing everyone to agree with them.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention …  Knapp’s new album, Letting Go, will be released May 11.  Check it out here. If you preorder from her site you get Evolving EP free.  I already received mine and am loving it.

Perspectives on Arizona’s Immigration Law

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer recently signed into law the highly controversial senate bill 1070 which is considered to be the harshest anti-illegal immigrant law in the country.  The bill makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, empowers Arizona police to verify immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion, enacts harsher penalties on employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants, and makes it a crime to transport, harbor, or shield illegal immigrants.

As you might have guessed there are two opposing Christian views of the bill.  I thought Emily Patterson-Jackson wrote a well balanced post covering the two views.  Check out her post here.

TransFORM

I’m headed to Washington, DC this week for the TransFORM: East Coast Gathering.  I’m really excited about the guest speakers who will be there and the crazy part is the conference is completely free.  Everyone working on this conference is donating their time and energies for free because they believe in the ideas that this conference supports.  I think that is amazing and beautiful.  I’m also really excited about the attendees – I know so many of them through facebook and twitter and now I will get to meet them face to face – in person.   Check out the info on the conference here.   Some of the main sessions will be live on the Ustream Channel online.