Some people are armchair football coaches.

I am an armchair meteorologist!

I must confess I spent a good part of my life thinking a meteorologist was a urologist who specialized in the treatment of kidney stones.

I grew up in the era of weathermen and weather girls. (Think Brick Tamland)

They were not scientists.

They were entertainers – comic relief in an otherwise depressing hour of local news!

However, when I moved near the Gulf Coast many years ago, I became interested in the science of meteorology. [Thank you Paula for my Hurricane tracking pegboard!]

I was so addicted to the Weather Channel when it first went national that my kids used to say it must be ‘MTV for old people.’

We had a weather phenomenon in our part of the country a week or so ago.

We saw something that you almost never see in the world of weather prognostication: alignment.

Every radio and TV station in the Baltimore and DC metros – the National Weather Service – the Weather Channel – and even the rogue – they were ALL in alignment.

All of the elusive computer models were in alignment as well.

They all said that, after 24+ months of relatively snowless weather, we were about to get caught up. The projected numbers in my part of the region were anywhere from 8-18”.

  • Get to the store.
  • Put batteries in your flashlight.
  • Cook what you can and can what you can’t.
  • The roads will be impassable for days.

Adele/I were incredibly excited. We brought the snow shovel out of storage, got the sled ready, pulled out a pan to catch snow for some ‘snowmade ice cream’.

Our offices cancelled meetings for the next two days – we didn’t want to endanger the lives of our office personnel or committed constituents who might try to brave the conditions.

It turns out they were all wrong, but they were all wrong together.


According to the book The Performance Factor, alignment is “the link between the individual team member’s goals and the team purpose.”

Individual team members (you and me on whatever group we may serve) agree, accept, and embrace the importance of the team by lining up our individual goals to parallel the goals of the team.

We voluntarily sacrifice our own agenda for the whole.

It is to be “in the same boat heading in the same direction.”

Sadly, most so-called teams (or groups) are misaligned.

Good-spirited members usually still put their creative energies and efforts in, but they are rowing in personal, unique, singular directions and the ‘boat’ just sits there, pulled by the opposing forces to merely tremble about in the water.

In such teams there is no shortage of activity, but very little in the way of purpose-centric accomplishment. On the other hand, everyone is pretty content because they all get to do ‘their thing’.

The big lesson that comes out of the alignment section of The Performance Factor is: choose your team(s)/group(s) carefully.

The author asks the question of logic, “Why would anyone get on a boat that’s not going to his or her destination?”

It’s a great question, isn’t it?

When we are on a boat going someplace other than where we want to go, we do one of two things (or maybe both)…

  • We are personally miserable because we don’t want to be here, everything in us resists it, and we are all around sad sacks.
  • We make everyone else miserable by hijacking conversations, rowing against the grain, or atrophied whining and complaining.

Then, precisely because misery loves company, we become magnets for the very people who can never help us out of this miserable situation we find ourselves in.

We are out of alignment.

We know it.

Others know it.

We could voluntarily get out of the boat.

We could wait around until someone tries to throw us out of the boat.

Or, we could submit – humble ourselves – and change directions.

That last option embraces peace but doesn’t come without a significant battle.

In my experience, we all also know when we are out of alignment with God, too.

LENT is a season in which we can engage that significant battle and emerge, again, with wonderful peace.

As we walk through the Story, we can reconnect with Jesus as He comes to terms with the destination of His path.

We can see, hear, and feel the resistance that rises up within Him as He asks for His friends to pray for Him and pleads with His Father regarding any hope for a ‘plan B’.

But we can also see, hear, and feel the resolve that comes as He voluntarily aligns His life with what He perceives to be His Father’s good will.

And, because we have the luxury of looking back on the events of His life, we can see, hear, and feel the joy of resurrection.

However, when we are in a Lenten season of life, we can only look forward with eyes of faith – only after the battle; after the resolve; after the cross; after the alignment – do we taste resurrection and peace.

In these last weeks of Lent 2013, we have the opportunity to lay ourselves before our Father who loves us so, and submit to realignment in our lives.

It will, in the end, relieve the tension that keeps your boat from setting sail to exciting destinations… keeps you stuck with part of you rowing in this direction and part of you rowing in that direction.

But, in the moment, it will call for brave resolve.

May you find that resolve in the practices you embrace this Lent, and find yourself more aligned with our Father, as a result of this season.


About christmasandicecream

Grace & Peace to you all! I'm Randy. I am a follower of Jesus - sometimes close up and, sadly, sometimes way too far away. My best friend, administrative assistant, partner, and high school sweetheart all live with me and go by the same name: Adele. She and I are part of a relationally-focused, small group based Church family that helps us along spiritual quest. Our boys are both grown now. We have a wonderful daughter-by-marriage and 2 truly GRANDchildren... 1 boy and 1 girl. We are Corgi people and now oversee the care of 1 spoiled Corgi puppy named Elly May. I am a devoted fan of 2 'seasons' in each year: Christmas and baseball!! At my house, a Christmas tree goes up somewhere within days of the close of the Fall Classic (baseball lingo for the World Series) and a Christmas tree stays up all the way through Spring Training. In between it is non-stop celebration of the Incarnation. I live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S.A. and, among other things, work as a coach and consultant with an incredibly diverse network of churches that make up the BCMD. My Church-roots are in the Baptist bucket of the Christian ice cream shop. But, just because I have a favorite flavor, doesn't mean I don’t like them all! I do. I work with things like soul care & leadership development of pastor/pastoral team members; with small, simple, organic models of church life; with relational strategies of spiritual formation; and with the health of the Church. I taught at New Orleans seminary for a decade and have served in local churches for 30 years. I am currently part of the faculty of Rockbridge Seminary – a new kind of seminary for a new kind of Church – where I also play a role on the Academic Council. *I am obliged to note that questions, comments, ideas, views,... just about anything you read here, are mine, and not those of BCMD, RS, any other organization or school I work for, or those of most normal people. Thanks for visiting. Come back again.
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