New Social Mores – Part One

Some of the new ways we’re communicating with one another – or not – concern me. I’m curious if these impressions and reflections resonate with your experience too. And, I’m wondering if as believers in Jesus there is a higher ground to stand upon…

For example, with our eyes fixed on our smart phones, we simply aren’t fully present with one another. We’re distracted, believing we can multi-task (even though that theory’s been proven false) and still remain focused. Reality: we’re at maximum about 50% present to another when we’re reading and/or responding to texts or social media, talking on the telephone, playing online/video games, or typing url’s into our search engines.

Which leads to inattentive listening, “Oh, I’m sorry, were you saying something?” or selective listening, “Huh? No, I was busy and missed that one (translation: I chose to tune it out!).” Reality: our easily distracted minds can only handle so much input and we are left with receiving only that which we can or choose to absorb. Left alone in our own personal orbits, we miss a lot of both spoken and unspoken meaning in our relational interactions.

May I suggest we all consider a personal inventory, asking ourselves:

Are you fixated on having your smart phone within reach at all times? When do you ever turn it off or leave it behind for the express purpose of being free from the demands of others in order to be fully present to yourself or those around you?

What would your closest friend or family member say about your (in)ability to listen? What words would they use to describe your listening skills?

Lord Jesus, help me to focus today on You, Your people, and Your invitation to be fully aware of Your presence, peace, and power, and to all who will cross my path. May I be free from distraction so that with love and compassion I may be Your vessel of grace each hour of my day. For the honor of Your name and the glory of Your Kingdom. Amen.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.