Is Christianity Going to the Dogs?

On a recent men’s retreat, one of the conversations was about our relationship with God and our Christian faith. Every man shared concerns and uneasiness in their faith journey. All I could say was, “Me too.”

Brian McLaren is experiencing this Christian uneasiness and has written about it in Do I Stay Christian? I found this book to be rich in opportunities for conversation. As I indicated at my retreat, I think you will find it quite thought-provoking.

I first met McLaren at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC, in July 2013. McLaren, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Diana Butler Bass, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Sara Miles, and Barbara Brown-Taylor are some of the others who touched my soul, my faith, my purpose, and my core values at these annual Wild Goose Festivals. I’ve read many of their books.

McLaren‘s latest book, Do I Stay Christian?, has gotten my attention. He addresses the holy chaos we are experiencing in these times, including the historical, institutional, pragmatic, moral, missional, political, and social connections of the Christian faith in our lives.

McLaren has broken Do I Stay Christian? into three parts: Part I, ten reasons to leave Christianity; Part II, ten reasons to stay with Christianity; Part III, how to transcend and move forward, including the need to stay human.

Watch his YouTube interview (3:15 minutes) to learn more about this book.

Beginning Wednesday, November 1, at 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM, I will facilitate a six-week discussion on this book. We will meet via Zoom on the following Wednesdays: November 8th, 15th, 28th, December 6th, and 13th.

I will limit this book discussion group to twelve participants. If you are interested, email me at, and I will put you on the list and send you the Zoom link.

Please purchase a copy of Do I Stay Christian? and read it rather than an audible or electronic version so we can all be on the same page and make easy references in our discussion.

How Are You Dealing With the VUCAs?

In the 7th edition of The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner address the VUCAs (page 213) under the practice of Enabling Others to Act. I first encountered the term VUCA while attending an educator’s boot camp at Paris Island MCRD in 2013.

Back in the 1990’s, the military added the acronym, VUCA to its vocabulary. VUCA stands for:

Volatility – change is coming at a faster pace and dealing with transition can be messy.

Uncertainty – our ability to predict the future is becoming less meaningful and trustworthy.

Complexity – is increasing including knowledge, communication channels, and distraction leading to increased confusion (Note: I believe the C should include Chaos and Confusion, as misinformation and disinformation are a norm in our society.)

Ambiguity – made up of assumptions, poor communications, fuzzy rules, and false readings leading to fog.

VUCA is code for acknowledging the root cause of stress, frustration, indecisiveness, bad behavior, poor performance, weak execution, short outcomes, and incomplete strategic plans.

As VUCA’s come upon us, the cry becomes, “I/we don’t have enough ___________!” Blame-storming ensues. Shortcuts are taken. Ethics are ignored. Greed increases.

What do you do to minimize, reduce, or eliminate VUCAs?

Make time. The time issue always becomes apparent when working with a group during an experience-based initiative. The initiative that includes a time allotment, creates stress, generates anxiety, and becomes an enemy to positive outcomes. Make time an ally! Use your resources more effectively by breaking groups into smaller groups to flush out fresh, unique ideas. Do not be quick to throw water on an idea that goes against your thinking or the current process. Instead of a “Yes, but…” try a “Yes, and…”

I notice most organizations or teams (as well as individuals) who go through a strategic planning process seldom discuss the “what ifs’…” as in:

  • What if a key member(s) of the team leaves or dies?
  • What if a natural disaster hits like a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire?
  • What if served with a lawsuit?
  • What if the economy tanks?
  • What if ___________________?

Simplify. Simplify stuff. Simply processes. Simplify lifestyles.

Lean into flexibility. The tree that bends in the wind will survive over the tree that is stiff and rigid.

When you go out into the world, will you watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together?

This blog was originally written in December 2011 and has been updated. This blog was posted on LinkedIn on Friday, September 15, 2023. Jim Kouzes comment: