- There are very few attempts to minister to those in the community.
- Church business meetings become arguments over preferences and desires.
- Members in the congregation are openly critical of the pastor, other church leaders in the church.
- Any change necessary to become a Great Commission church is met with anger and resistance.
- The past becomes the hero.
- Culture is seen as the enemy instead of an opportunity for believers to become salt and light.
- Pastors and other leaders in the church become discouraged and withdraw from effective leadership.
The results are consistent with a much larger body of research showing much more positive health outcomes for those who believe in a loving God who personally cares for them than those who believe in a distant, judgmental deity.
Indeed, groups who respond differently to the two approaches are those who primarily believe that God or a higher power had a role in human evolution. For example, nearly all white evangelical Protestants who say humans have evolved – whether in a branched-choice or single-question format – believe God had a role in human evolution.
Differences in response to these two approaches occur among highly religious groups, but not among religiously unaffiliated Americans (those who describe their religion as nothing in particular, agnostic or atheist).
Unfortunately, I think these dynamics were a kind of social rule among the group. I don’t want to paint them all with a broad brush—I think there are people with good hearts and with good intentions who are trying to be a picture of the gospel in a place that can be totally devoid of it. They deserve credit and don’t deserve to be smeared. But, I did see a lot of things that made me very uncomfortable.
It’s sad to me that faith leaders were not immune to the side effects that proximity to power had on me and other people in the White House.
Some worry that it seems as if all I do is look for openings and opportunities to speak about Jesus. Correct. After all, if I make a friend and never talk about Jesus — then either I am not really their friend. Or I am not really a friend of Jesus.
Some simple questions worth asking:
- How does this announcement/offer/news/pressure make you feel?
- Is there something about this news that touches a hot button issue or fear? Is the story being told designed to trigger you?
- Are you surrounded by people who are also engaged with this news? Is it becoming a mob?
- Is the presenter of the news using external pressure to push you into acting in ways that contradict your self-interest or self-esteem?
- How would you feel if you discovered that the story you just heard wasn’t actually true?
That’s a problematic lack of transparency. There’s no disclosure that users are being watched and their behavior analyzed. When I was looking at the doors, I couldn’t find any sign of the cameras at all, although I knew they were watching me. When I asked Koval about how he designed the doors so that people wouldn’t find it creepy, he pointed again to the fact that the data is anonymized as enough reason for consumers to accept the technology. But these are serious privacy considerations as retail stores bring some of the tracking that already occurs online into the real world. Most of us are aware that Facebook is tracking what we “like” on its website, but few would expect to have their emotions monitored at the local pharmacy.
Not only can you name a cockroach after your ex at the El Paso Zoo, but on Valentine’s Day the zoo will be feeding those cockroaches to the meerkats for their “Quit Bugging Me” event at 2:15 p.m. Feb. 14.