I just finished writing the biggest paper I’ve ever written. It’s an end of the year final paper for the program I’m doing.

It was 37 pages long, had over 60 citations and quotations from some 27 books and references, with an appendix of 29 pages. Suffice it so say, I feel like I’ve been reborn since finishing this thing. There’s also several lessons that I learned from writing such a large paper that I wanted to pass along:

1. Starting is always the hardest part. Have you noticed that? My professors had me so intimidated by this paper that I was really scared to even start it. Just thinking about starting it brought a sense of tightness to my chest. I just had no idea how I was going to write at least 30 pages, which was the minimum, so I avoided starting it for as long as I could. Finally, after waiting until one month before the paper was due, I started looking over the requirements again and began writing. Guess what I noticed? Once I started writing, things slowly began to flow.

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I’ve noticed a trend in the last few weeks on my blog. I had one blog post that had remained “the king” for the longest time. It’s a book review I did on Pagan Christianity. It has the most comments on any post I’ve ever done. So it made sense to me that this was the most popular post, because I had the evidence of it’s popularity, the comments, right there in front of me.

Well, in the last few weeks something has changed.  In first place (at the moment) is a video that I did on a whim as I was driving back from doing something different in a church service.

What’s interesting about it, is that it doesn’t have many comments at all, and yet it’s become the most popular posts (most page views) out of any other post I’ve done.

What’s the lesson?

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Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

Rodlie Ortiz —  February 10, 2011 — 3 Comments

You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged in 13 days. For me, that’s quite a big span of time of not writing. There’s a big reason I haven’t been writing, though: I moved…to the other side of town, anyway.

This is something that my family and I have been praying about for quite some time. I’ve written about my frustration in not being able to effectively minister to my church or the community, because I don’t actually live in the community in which my church is. But God has opened the doors, and I now live about 5 minutes from my church. I feel like it’s a new adventure as I’m able to meet new people and make connections. It’s my sincere prayer to be a missionary to my neighborhood (the apartment building where I live), and to seek to live like Jesus if He were in my place.

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One of the subtitles of this book is “A Master Teacher Offers A New Model For Authentic Teaching and Learning,” and I think it’s quite accurate.

Screenshot from the cover

To Know As We Are Known is written by Parker J. Palmer, who won the 1993 award for “Outstanding Service to Higher Education,” and is a sought after speaker in secular and religious communities. Now that I’ve set some pretty high expectations for you, let me address why this book, and his teaching method, is quite revolutionary.

He essentially uses the discipleship model of Jesus and later apostles as a framework for how to engage your students and teach. The three metaphors, he says, are “the study of sacred texts, the practice of prayer and contemplation, and the gathered life of the community itself” (p. 17). We’ll come back to what these mean for the classroom in a few moments.

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Perspective changes everything, doesn’t it?

Sometimes all that’s needed is to look at an idea from the perspective of someone else, or to actually hear the perspective of the other person, to help us see that we might be a little off-base.

On this blog we’ve covered topics of assimilation and how to treat first time guests. Occasionally we get some comments from people that have been guests at churches and have been treated badly. There’s nothing like reading something like that to make me re-evaluate my priorities.

Well, my friend Jonathan Peinado, a pastor, recently sent me a poem that a first-time guest wrote and sent to him after being treated badly for wearing a hat in church. I think it provides some powerful lessons. Check it out:

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In my first year of pastoring I went to a conference where the speaker mentioned that pastors need to take a stronger leadership role.

“Moses received the commands from God, and then led the people where God told him to go,” he said to justify a very strong leadership style. “So you need to listen to God, and then go where he tells you to go. The people will complain…just look at how they complained with Moses, but you have to do what God wants you to do.”

I remember hearing those words and receiving them like I had found a long-lost Picasso. This was the answer! It was my vision, and basically only my vision that really mattered. And I began to find examples in Scripture that supported my premise for my-vision-leadership.

Because of my focus (and ignorance) I had taken this quote, which I believed to be Scriptural, and I applied it as a universal truth as to how God operates and how leadership should be done. I’ve been changing the last few years or so, but I recently read an interesting quote relating to biblical leadership:

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Here’s an interesting conversation between Mark Driscoll and Jeff Vanderstelt on the intersection of technology and mission. It’s a little long, and I didn’t get to see all of it, but it’s certainly worthwhile.

Thoughts?

I think we inevitably all feel a little stressed at times, right?

And what’s really interesting, is that I think at times we can’t completely pinpoint where the stress is coming from. Sure, we can think of some major presentation to be made, or a conversation to be had….but there still may be some lingering stress.

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I received my Square a few days ago. Haven’t heard of it? It’s a great little device you can use to receive credit/debit card payments. Let me give you a closer look.

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Saw this picture recently while walking on a pier. Not sure that it’s the best method.

It did make me laugh, though.