Friday, April 25, 2008


Darbi and I attended the Grace Fellowship again this morning. The diversity among those who attend, yet who are able to worship together without discomfort, is utterly amazing. Seeking faith in the U.S.A., where it is so easy, involves so many impediments - social class, experience, denomination. In a distant land where the people in the room couldn't be more diverse if they tried, there is overwhelming peace with self and other that verifies the true love of God.

The visiting minister (who has been with Grace for the last three months) spoke about three "M"s - motivation, ministry, and mission. These are obviously very important to faith but they reminded me of three other "M"s that were the topic of conversation among some of us who went out with Susan Komives the other night. Someone had described the ex-patriots who come to Qatar as either missionaries, mercenaries, or misfits. From the moment I heard these terms I've struggled because my perception is that not one of these "M"s results in the kind of role and service that I see as worthy. I've searched my brain for days trying to figure out a fourth "M." Finally it occurred to me this morning as the pastor was describing his "M"s. The "M" that I hope I embrace and that I hope is characteristic of many ex-pats is maximizer. The maximizer is an individual who knows there is work to be done, looks for her/his and others' resources, draws all together, and approaches the task with optimism and conviction.
Once I escaped the "M"s, I also started thinking about what it takes to become a maximizer. I thought of the sequence of humility, inclusivity, and affirmation as the keys. When you think of people whose motivation is to change others (i.e. mission) or whose purpose is to advance themselves (mercenary), there's not much that is likely to result in terms of the common good. For certain, the misfit will struggle. However, it seems that if we started with humility about who we are, coupled that with a commitment to include as much as possible, then we would have the kind of affirming environment that would maximize the potential of all.

I've seen a few unfortunate souls here who are missionaries, mercenaries, or misfits, but those who are making a difference and have the spirit to stick with it, are all about maximizing their own effectiveness and working with others so they can as well.

These images are of the Ceremonial Court at Education City at night. Tonight is a calm, warm, and beautiful night and I couldn't resist taking some nighttime pictures. In a few days, the Class of 2008 of four of our six Education City branch campuses will graduate. They will come to this Ceremonial Court to experience the passage into a life of purpose and promise.

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