Thursday, July 24, 2008

Excuses or Reasons

In a conversation with my good friend Kenton, he gave me a remarkable insight: the difference between excuses and reasons. Excuses are fundamentally past-oriented justifications and reasons are future oriented rationales for action. When asked "why someone does something?" you will receive either an excuse or a reason.
This translates directly into a church setting with staff, staff teams, church councils and committee. Do they genuinely look for or give reasons, or work with excuses for themselves or others (e.g. It's just our tradition to.......). When leadership can be future oriented and pushed for reasons, that seems so much healthier than backward looking into the atmosphere of excuses. The problem is (at least for me) that excuses are so much easier and more fun. I like my behavior and really do not want to examine it or, worse, adjust it and change it. But healthy growth into new times really does require new reasoning with new data.
So, when people listen to you, are they hearing excuses or reasons?


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