TIME MANAGEMENT & “Timeboxing” is the reason I could write 13 books in 17 years.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: People often ask how I could at write so many books while completing a second doctorate, coaching churches and teaching full-time. The key is that I’ve always used and continue to use something called “timeboxing.” Here is an excellent yet concise introductory article.

Timeboxing is the new #1 productivity hackby Shelia McClear, Ladders, 2/6/19.

… It’s a simple concept: for every task you have, pick out a date and time on your calendar and box off an amount of time for that task. For that time period, you will be working on – and hopefully completing – only that task.

Timeboxing often fits right into your workflow. As Sanders puts it, “If you know that a promotional video has to go live on a Tuesday and that the production team needs 72 hours to work on your copy edits, then you know where to place the timebox.”

Timeboxing is visual.  Not only can you see it right in front of you, but so can your colleagues, if you use a shared calendar.

You can play with time. Use the scheduled periods to cut a larger problem into chunks. Spread a project over a long period of time – or compress it into a short one. Recapture periods of goof-off time that would normally be lost by scheduling a timebox where you’d normally be scrolling mindlessly. Schedule super-short timeboxes for increased focus. Timebox your email.

Read more at … https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/timeboxing-named-the-1-proven-productivity-hack

THEOLOGY & Book of Revelation: What Most Evangelicals Entirely Miss #ScotMcKnight

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I studied under George Elton Ladd at Fuller Theological Seminary NT theology and the book of Revelation. And, I found Revelation to be extremely helpful and insightful … if you take time to dig into it. Several authors since the time of Ladd have analyzed it with his same level of validity and reliability. Here is Scot McKnight discussing several who embrace that same level of Ladd’s systematic theology when analyzing the book of Revelation.

Book of Revelation: What most evangelicals entirely miss” by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 10/28/18.

…A good book on how theologians and others in the history of the church have read Revelation is called The Book of Revelation and is by Timothy Beal, and it’s a good and easy read.

But what most evangelicals (of this kind of reading) entirely miss is what Craig Koester, in Revelation and the End of All Things, sketches with utter clarity. (Check out also Ian Paul, Revelation.)

What’s that? Revelation is about the reality of evil, the war with evil, and the defeat of evil, and the eradication of evil. Evangelicals have made this about gruesome end time scenarios filled with Who is Who? questions and answers and speculations (that inevitably prove to be wrong — no the Antichrist is not Henry Kissinger, no Gog and Magog are not communist Russia, no, no, and no). Wrapped up in those scenarios is a lurking “Sure glad I won’t be there because I’m a Christian and will be raptured,” which rapture isn’t even mentioned in Revelation.

No, 1000x No, that’s not what Revelation is about. Revelation is about the reality of evil, the war with evil, and the defeat of evil, and the eradication of evil. Craig Koester totally gets it.

Here’s the assumption that is where Revelation starts as a cosmic narrative:

A basic assumption is that God is the Creator of the world and the source of life (4:11; 10:6). Gods opponents are the destroyers of the earth (11:18).

The narrative focuses on evil and its defeat.

Revelation regards evil as a kind of cancer that has invaded God s world. Cancer cells are malignant, and as they grow, they destroy the healthy tissue around them. As the disease spreads, life is diminished as more healthy tissue is destroyed, and if the cancer is left unchecked, death will result. Accordingly, treating the disease means destroying the malignant cells that destroy life—and the goal is that life might thrive. This is the drama that unfolds on a cosmic scale in the last half of Revelation, where the Creator and his allies set out with the goal of “destroying those who destroy the earth” (11:18), so that the victory will be life for the world.

Evil has Agency.

The plotline traces the defeat of Satan, who is cast down from heaven to earth, and from earth to the abyss…

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2018/10/29/book-of-revelation-what-most-evangelicals-entirely-miss/

TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP & An Introduction by Carley Sime: The Secret To Transformational Leadership

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Among the many leadership approaches there are a few that rise above the rest. One is transformational leadership. Below is one of the best introductions to this style of leadership. The article also includes one of its major aspects, which Carly Sime calls it’s secret. Read and be introduced.

Carley Sime, Forbes Magazine, 2/5/19.

Of the many styles of leadership transformational is perhaps the most coveted. Transformational leaders enhance morale and motivation among followers, they are able to encourage them towards working for a collective good and beyond working solely out of self-interest. The effects of transformational leadership are highly desirable for the followers and the organization itself. Transformational leadership has a high payout as it positively impacts innovation, the heart of success and growth within an organization. It also increases organizational performance as well as job performance and satisfaction too. This could easily be seen as the holy grail of leadership, especially when compared to the transactional kind we have all probably known. Transactional leaders tend to over-rely on their authority as a means to get followers to perform. They’ll tell you what to do and use reward and punishment as their main leadership tools.

Transformational leaders, on the other hand, tend to lead with inspiration as opposed to authority.  Extraversion and agreeableness are two of the big five personality traits that positively predict transformational leadership. Extraversion appears to be linked to transformational leadership because it lends itself to charismatic expressiveness which is highly influential, persuasive and mobilizing. It also leads to individuals being sociable and dominant. Agreeable individuals find ease in showing consideration for others and in the case of transformational leaders, they have idealized influence over their followers. This means they behave in a way that gains the admiration and respect of those around them and sets them apart as trustworthy and a role model.

When we pair agreeableness with extraversion we can see why these traits are positive predictors of transformational leaders. However, there is something else that sits below any traits, actions or behaviors that predict this kind of leadership. That something is self-esteem and it often doesn’t get the airtime it deserves considering it sits underneath the things transformational leadership is built upon.

There is a strong and significant relationship between self-esteem and transformational leadership. In order to adopt transformational leadership behaviors, it appears that an individual first needs to have high levels of self-esteem. Transformational leadership behaviors will be more difficult and less natural to adopt without this. Self-esteem in this context refers to a person believing in themselves as a significant, worthy and also capable member of a team or organization. A person with high self-esteem has self-respect and can accurately assess strengths and weaknesses. A person with low self-esteem is the opposite, they see themselves as inadequate and unworthy and are also unable to accurately assess their strengths and weaknesses. Leaders with high self-esteem may find transmitting enthusiasm and positivity to their followers more natural too.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/carleysime/2019/02/05/the-secret-to-transformational-leadership/#644bcd771846

THEOLOGY & Pope Francis warns about divisive falsehoods.

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During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis discussed the incomprehension Christ faced during his earthly ministry, from both the scribes and his own family.

The scribes’ assertion that Christ drove out demons by the power of demons led him to “react with strong and clear words, he does not tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realizing it, are falling into the gravest sin: negating and blaspheming the Love of God which is present and working in Jesus.”

“…falling into the gravest sin: negating and blaspheming the Love of God which is present and working in Jesus.”

“And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the only unpardonable sin – so Jesus says – because it starts from a closure of the heart to the mercy of God acting in Jesus,” the pope said June 10 in St. Peter’s Square.

“… because it starts from a closure of the heart to the mercy of God acting in Jesus,”

The scribes who blasphemed were sent from Jerusalem to discredit Christ, Francis said, “to make the office of talkers, discredit the other, remove authority, this ugly thing.”

“This episode contains a warning that serves all of us,” he reflected. “It may happen that a strong envy for the goodness and for the good works of a person can lead one to accuse it falsely. Here there is truly a deadly poison: the malice with which, in a premeditated way, one wants to destroy the good reputation of the other.”

Here there is truly a deadly poison: the malice with which, in a premeditated way, one wants to destroy the good reputation of the other.”

If we find this envy in us during our examination of conscience, “let us immediately go to confession,” he advised, “before it develops and produces its evil effects, which are incurable. Be careful, because this attitude destroys families, friendships, communities, and even society.”

Read more of “Blasphemy is the gravest sin, Pope Francis saysat … https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/blasphemy-is-the-gravest-sin-pope-francis-says-34265

THEOLOGY & #ScotMcKnight on the Book of Revelation’s Trumpets Of Terror

by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 10/24/18.

What about those trumpets of terror that unfold in Revelation 8-11?  For our posts on Revelation we are reading Craig Koester Revelation and the End of All Things and Ian Paul, Revelation.

I have reformatted Koester’s wonderful summary into separable points:

First, Context:

Seven trumpets are blown in succession, creating the third cycle of visions in Revelation. At the conclusion of the previous cycle, a graceful silence lingered in heavens chambers after the voices in the celestial chorus had sounded the “Amen” in their praises of God and the Lamb (7:12; 8:1). Rather than allowing readers to bask in quietude, however, John directs attention to seven angels, who are given seven trumpets, whose sound will break the stillness and signal an onslaught of new visions even more terrible than those that have gone before (8:2).

Big idea

This section plays a major role in showing how God s purposes are to be understood.

What if God responds with wrath?

The opening scene in which prayers rise from the altar (8:3-5) recalls how the martyrs under the altar had demanded to know how long God would delay in bringing justice against those who had shed their blood (6:9-11). The trumpet visions now reply to the prayers by implicitly raising a question: What if God responds to the prayers by sending wrath on the unrepentant world? What will that accomplish? Readers are shown the horror of pitiless wrath as disasters strike earth, sea, and sky, and demonic hordes of locusts and cavalry torment humanity amid clouds of fire, smoke, and sulfur (8:7-9:21).

Wrath accomplishes what?

Yet the wrath accomplishes nothing. The wicked simply persist in their refusal to repent (9:20-21). At this point readers might well expect the seventh trumpet to signal the arrival of God’s catastrophic judgment with earsplitting finality. But the last trumpet does not sound and the end does not come.

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2018/10/24/the-book-of-revelations-trumpets-of-terror/

THEOLOGY & Can the church be both holy and sinful?

by Brian P. Flanagan, America: The Jesuit Review, 10/22/18 and author of Stumbling in Holiness: Sin and Sanctity in the Church (Liturgical Press, 2018).

The Holy and Sinful Church

Catholics in earlier centuries, while maintaining faith in the holiness of the church affirmed in our creeds, were willing to name its failings, including those of its members, its leaders and its communities as a whole. In the midst of the Pelagian controversies of the fifth century, for example, the Council of Carthage in 418 (attended by St. Augustine) taught that when Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer, all Christians—without exception—had to ask God “to forgive us our trespasses” in their own voice and not on behalf of some other people, as though they were sinless themselves.

… when Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer, all Christians—without exception—had to ask God “to forgive us our trespasses” in their own voice and not on behalf of some other people, as though they were sinless themselves.

Christians did not hesitate to call out the sinfulness of their leaders, as in the quote attributed variously (though likely erroneously) to St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom and others that “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring bishops.” Even cardinals were not exempt; according to one medieval folk tradition, a cardinal’s soul was released from purgatory only when his galero, the wide-brimmed red hat hung from the ceiling of the cardinal’s church after his death, finally rotted enough to fall to the floor.

Why, then, in recent years have Catholics been so hesitant to speak clearly and candidly about the church as sinful? For a few reasons—some praiseworthy, some problematic. The first is our firm belief in the holiness of the church. On the surface, it seems that ecclesial sanctity and sinfulness are mutually exclusive—and, in important ways, that is true. The participation in the life of God that we call “holiness” precludes sin, and in the fullness of life that we can look forward to in the reign of God we will be freed from every stain of sin and every shadow of death.

Yet, as St. Augustine taught so well, in our current time between the ascension of Christ and his return in glory, the church is always a “corpus permixtum,” a mixed body of saints and sinners, including serious sinners who remain part of the church even in a limited way. The struggle for greater transparency to God’s grace and greater freedom from sin also goes on in each one of us who prays the Our Father daily; each of us is aware of our need for forgiveness to live a more holy and free way of life. That experience of the church as a mixed body and of ourselves as sinners who are already holy yet still saints-in-progress is part of the reality of a holy and sinful church.

… the church is always a “corpus permixtum,”  – St. Augustine

Read more at … Can the church be both holy and sinful?

THEOLOGY & 5 Five observations and a summary definition of what Matthew (Jesus) meant by “hypocrisy.” #ScotMcKnight

by Scot McKnight, Pathos, 8/8/18.

…Hypocrisy is:

1. Inconsistency between what one teaches and what one does (23:3-4)

2. Desire for prestige and power and congratulation (23:5-12)

3. Abuse of teaching authority through both false teachings and false practices (23:13, 15, 16-22, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28).

4. Overconcern with minutiae and lack of focus on the major issues (23:23-24, 25-26, 27-28): that is, moral myopia.

5. Inconsistency between appearance and practice (23:27-28).

Put together, Jesus accuses the Pharisees for “hypocrisy” because (1) they had abused their teaching authority by teaching false things, (2) not living according to what they taught, and for (3) their desire for power and control. In addition, (4) their teaching was a focus on minor issues to the neglect of major issues.

They flattened the Torah into a listing of God’s will while Jesus saw love of God and love of others as the center of that Torah. If the Pharisees saw love as one of the commandments, however important, Jesus saw love as central and everything as expressive of that love. This reorients all of the Torah, all of teaching, and therefore all of praxis.

To be “hypocrite” is to be a false teacher who leads both self and others astray from the will of God. The term should not be limited to “contradiction between appearance and reality” (the classic definition of hypocrisy)…

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/05/26/heretic-vs-hypocrite/