Sunday, December 9, 2007

Batteries (the Heart) Included

Life has been tough lately. A lot of it has been political type stuff that would not be appropriate to get into here. However, one of the things I have more fully realized through all of it is the importance and value of sharing your heart with others.

Many people believe that you should leave your emotions at the door when it comes to business/public encounters, but I am learning this can do more harm than good. I was challenged recently (by Tim Bailey, teaching pastor at Wortley Baptist Church, London, Ont) that putting a good face on and hiding some of our unglier side in order to be nice and gracious with others actually is a remarkably selfish thing to do(Get his book here). As humans (and especially as Christians), one of our greatest challenges and blessings is to accept people as they are, being gracious with their faults, and loving them regardless. By hiding some of our ugliness and faults, we actually limit other's ability to practice grace with us and therefore grow into better beings themselves. We are limiting their potential growth. Of course this isn't our aim, but it is an end result.

By leaving our emotions out of the equation, and putting a happy smily face on in all our public interactions, we do harm not only to ourselves but also to those around us. For ourselves, we practice a fakeness than can become habit and extremely devastating. We are learning hypocrisy. For others, we disable their ability to be gracious with us. But more than that, we end up not fully connecting with those around us and our interactions become fake in themselves.

Board meetings, social gatherings, business encounters, church services... these are places where we often practice fakeness. Now I don't think it appropriate to always lay out our whole story when we meet a new person. But we do need to realize the value in allowing our emotions and heart to be a part of who we are. God created us this way. We are emotional beings. We hurt sometimes. The Western corporate beast is criticized for being heartless. Is this what we want for ourselves too?

Jim Brown, an author and Board consultant on the East Coast, suggests that the majority of Boards are dysfunctional primarily because those involved do not know one another. How can we spend hours together on a regular basis and not know one another? It's because we so often keep our hearts out of the equation and keep purely to business as usual.

I'm not suggesting all meetings and interactions become primarily emotional sob-fests. However, let's take the challenge to allow our hearts to be present in us wherever we go and whatever we do.


Anonymous said...

Hey man,

I think it's great that you are posting. Welcome to a world that I have yet had courage to enter with full force.

I heard once that many churches suffer from 'terminal politeness'. My 14 years of experience in the pastorate has revealed that this has frequently been the case. I'm not advocating that everyone be given permission to be rude. But we need to learn to speak plainly.

I also think it needs to be acknowledged that - when it comes to things like criticism - the virtues of honesty and loyalty (both good things) can sometimes stand in tension. God grant us discernment during such times.


Anonymous said...

... hey AJ, great stuff here, thanks! a couple of thoughts ... #1) Wortley Baptist Church changed it's name yesterday to Hillside Church. Yeehaw! I've always had to explain "wortley" to people ... #2) AJ Renton's official blog is a little sterile for one as passionate as you. what about 'Rantin' Renton's Rantings' or ... ?


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know Tim's email address? If you could email it to me (AT)(DON'T INCLUDE THIS and DOT is . obviously)nickandersen@liveDOTcom I would appreciate it, ty.