I had the privilege to be invited to join Jim Henderson, Todd Hunter, Tyler, Tim, Craig, Jeff and Bryan for the annual Off-The-Map board meeting this week (an 800+ mile round trip for me and my 15 month old black Lab Reggie — it was Reggie’s first board meeting and first road trip over three hours. He had a great time).
Jim and the Off-The-Map community have been a huge blessing to me and mine over the last several years. I am quite confident this will continue. OTM is in the process of developing a new leadership team.
It was such a breath of fresh air to be amongst such a bright, energetic, visionary group of people. The future is bright for OTM and ….it will be different.
The concept of “Nice” came up in conversation and I told Tim I would share a few of my my favorite quotes about the term:
“Niceness – wholesome, integrated personality – is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice;’ just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save.“(1)
“Jesus offers no “cheap grace.” He does not call you to be a nice believer. He calls you to committed discipleship.” (2)
“The moment God is figured out with nice, neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are dealing with somebody we made up. And if we made him up, then we are in control.” (3)
“We must therefore not be surprised if we find among Christians some people who are still nasty. There is even, when you come to think it over, a reason why nasty people might be expected to turn to Christ in greater numbers than nice ones. That was what people objected to about Christ during His life on earth: He seemed to attract ‘such awful people.’ That is what people still object to and always will.” (4)
The concept of counting came up as well. It reminded me of this quote from Charles Handy:
“The first step is to measure whatever can be easily counted. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that which can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that which can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.” (5)
I am looking forward to receiving Todd’s new book, Christianity Beyond Belief – Following Jesus For The Sake of Others.
I am going to continue to count on the nice, kind, smart folks in the Off-The-Map community to continue to count in my life. Perhaps, you’ll consider exploring the same.
Thanks for including me in this forum.
(1) C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco – A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers, (c) 1952,
(2) Campolo, Tony. You can make a Difference-High voltage Living in a Burned out world, W Publishing Group Nashville, TN Copyright © 1984 by Anthony Campolo, P.6
(3) Bell, Rob Velvet Elvis-Repainting The Christian Faith, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI Copyright © 2005 by Rob Bell, p.25
(4) C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperSanFrancisco – A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers, (c) 1942, p. 213
(5) Handy, Charles The Age of Paradox Harvard Business School Press © 1994 p. 221