Friday Stream of Consciousness – 149

Featuring Prince, Advocacy Groups, and the Fragility of Life

stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this morning: return

  • This weekend event at church celebrates its five-year anniversary. It’s hard for me to believe it’s been that long. At another level, it feels like it’s been 20 years.
  • Not 50. 20…enough to feel like we are more mature as a church than we are.
  • This week, I was able to spend some time with Jud Wilhite, senior pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. He suggested that the five-year mark is when you know you’ve actually made it as a church. Meaning not that you’ve arrived, but that you will survive. I’ve heard 1 year (nah), 3 years (maybe)…and now five. I reckon Jud is on target there.
  • I suppose that is step one. Survival. Yet, we’ve done far more than just survive, and for that I’m immensely grateful to God.
  • There are many advocacy groups so they do a lot of good work all over the world. The good ones set boundaries for the group and it’s advocacy. They have a sense of how their group fits into the broader whole of society, and remain respectful of those who aren’t on board–even as they try to persuade.
  • The problem with many groups, however, is they lack a sense of boundaries. They don’t know how to function unless they take over everybody else’s thoughts and actions. In fact, that can become their core purpose.
  • As a result, they win a series of battles but lose the larger war of capturing the hearts of people. Eventually, people turn on their group and become hostile toward, not just ignorant of their group’s purposes.
  • And, that’s how you end up with 21st-century American advocacy culture. Lots of extremism and tug-of-wars. Few boundaries. Nearly zero respect.
  • No matter what your cause or how noble, you will never get people to accept with love what you are advocating if you hold them at gun point in doing so.
  • In fact, you will likely end up with more enemies than you had before the war started…undermine one’s own cause.
  • Prince died this week.
  • He was one of the handful of greatest musicians of my lifetime. He and Michael Jackson shaped my childhood from a musical standpoint. Purple Rain and Thriller are the two greatest music albums of my lifetime.
  • A neighbor’s 19-year-old daughter feel rock-climbing nearly 100 feet and is very critical condition at posting times. Life is fragile. Prayers appreciated. Her name is Michaela.
  • At some point, empathy went from a way to provide insight and the nuance of experiential wisdom in applying one’s doctrine to its own doctrine. I’ll call it “wemeneutics,” interpreting the Bible through the lens of what we as a society now believe about the world.
  • I hope we understand our feelings don’t actually change God’s convictions. Meaning, just because I feel like it would be better for God to say something else doesn’t mean God actually said something else. What it more likely means is that I need to adjust my own ethics to align with His.
  • I find spending time with people in an effort to get to know them and hear their perspective is sometimes a substitute for spending time with God and trying to gain His perspective…and using that to help us interpret how we understand the perspective of others.
  • After all, it requires far less of us to get to know a fellow human with whom we disagree than it does a Holy Creator whose Word is sharper than a double-edged and pierces us…joint and marrow…judging our thoughts and motives. I’d rather hit Starbucks and understand how someone else feels.
  • I’m for hitting Starbucks with someone and experienced that conversation through the lens of the Gospel as revealed in the Scriptures and the ministry of Jesus–as revealed in the Scriptures…not blogs, the Washington Post, or even theology du jour.
  • A set of noise cancelling headphones may be the single greatest investment I’ve ever made.
  • I’m starting to zig and zag between paper and electronic planning. I’ve always planned better on paper…but have been electronic for some time because I thought it would be more accurate and efficient. Instead, I find myself worrying about whether everything is synced properly and whether all my calendars are visible.
  • Sorry, Clayton Kershaw is still better than Jake Arrieta.
  • I still can’t enjoy watching MMA. Too violent.
  • Eighties and nineties boxing though…still awesome. Give me Hagler-Hearns, or Tyson-Spinks–don’t blink.
  • Target, Target, Target…
  • You didn’t think this would all stop with marriage did you?
  • For advocacy groups that lack boundaries and respect for others…it never stops.
  • Song of the week: On such a week, we must go with Purple Rain. My personal Prince favorite is When Doves Cry. But, one of my favorite Prince moments was a live performance of “American Woman,” he did with Lenny Kravitz. A. MA. ZING.


Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.