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Twitter is an interesting and still relatively new social media tool. Great fun and useful. I enjoy it and there’s much about Twitter that’s worthwhile. It’s amazing what you can say in 140 characters. And I find it fascinating how quickly you can detect what makes people tick, what they’re personality is like and what values they hold, just in a few tweets. It’s also truly social media, meaning you can connect, possibly directly interact, with famous, powerful, distant people you wouldn’t typically engage in any other way.

But if you use Twitter for a while you’re bound to develop a few pet peeves, or “Tweet Peeves.” Here are ten of mine:

    · Following a promising bio and it turns out it's a front for ads.

    · Following a notable individual, then reading a tweet "from him/her" written in third person, i.e., a ghost-tweeteer.

    · Following a theme but getting spammed.

    · Answering people’s direct message questions and never hearing from them again.

    · Tweeters who never offer original thoughts or material, just compilations of what others have done. This material may be intriguing, but you wonder after awhile what the tweeter thinks.

    · Following a person or organization hashtagging a theme of interest to you, then discovering the hashtag is being used by the tweeter to assure his or her message, which has nothing to do with the hashtag, appears in hashtag searches.

    · Multiple tweets listing nothing but wall-to-wall thanks for RTs. Give it a rest or thank them via direct mail.

    · Spam-a-palooza. If this keeps happening, I un-follow.

    · Vulgarity. I can take it if it seems to fit a given context, but if it becomes a pattern I un-follow.

    · Tweeters who want to be followed but never follow. In other words, they’re enamored of the sound of their own voice.

Twitter culture is still in its infancy, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves moving into adolescence and beyond. Tweet on tweeple.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at

September 11, 2001 is immortalized by infamy. Nine years later Americans still struggle with understanding and responding.

Toward continued healing, here are 9 things we should remember and 11 recommendations for moving ahead.

9 Remembrances

Every life matters. Each person who died (2,977 innocents, 19 suicidal perpetrators) is, like us, eternally important. God creates, individually bestows, and affirms life, not death.

Victims hailed from 90 countries. Loss of life is significant no matter who dies, but 9/11 was not just an American tragedy. It was a world tragedy.

First Responders died in the line of duty. In addition to civilian and military dead 343 fire-fighters, 60 police personnel, 15 EMTs, and a K-9 Dog named Sirius died as heroes. In ensuing years, as many as 900 are dead due to complications connected with their rescue work on 9/11. About 2,000 more were injured.

9/11 was a planned enemy attack. Despite conspiracy theories and 9/11 truth organizations claiming otherwise, to date there’s no credible evidence 9/11 was other than a terrorist suicide attack. 19 hijackers commandeering four jets for key targets was not a random act.

Evil exists. No amount of hope or general faith in the “goodness of human kind” can dispel the fact that evil is. It’s part of the human condition, and the challenge of dealing with it individually and socially will always be with us.

Nobility exists. Though evil had its day, human beings rose to the challenge in remarkable and admirable ways—the First Responders, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s leadership, citizen sacrifice and community, citizen service-qua-heroism.

People cared. Americans gave more than $1.4 billion and tens of thousands of units of blood toward 9/11relief.

God is in charge. He did not forget, go to sleep, or get surprised. He is sovereign, omniscient, and omnipotent.

Never forget. This phrase has become synonymous with 9/11 and rightly so.

11 Recommendations

Construct 9/11 Memorials as expressions of respect and remembrance. Memorials are recorded in Scripture and every nation and culture has developed means of honoring their dead. Most Civil War memorials were not erected until the 1880s-1920s, decades after the war. Passing time yields understanding, depth, perspective.

Clarify how we describe those responsible for 9/11. After 9 years American leaders in both parties still haven’t learned to define and identify who it is that threatens American security. We need to set aside political correctness, ignorance, and/or a foolish embrace of hoped-for visions of the enemy in favor of realistic ones.

Learn more about the Middle East. The Middle East is a region, not a nation-state. It includes North Africa and the Gulf States, involves 22 countries, 7 time zones, and 500+ million people. Spiritually and politically it is the most strategic region of the world.

Learn more about Islam. This is a complex religion practiced by more than 1.57 billion people worldwide and growing in influence. It’s not a simple creed but one nuanced by cultural and country-specific variations, ideological movements, and political agendas.

Honestly assess America’s actions and responsibility, but get over the fantasy of blaming all our problems on America. This is an approach oddly popular among a segment of the American citizenry, odd in the sense that the hand they bite is the one that feeds them.

If the American military is deployed, identify clearly stated objectives including an exit strategy, use levels of force required to execute the objectives, win, and get out. I’m convinced Americans are perennially more disturbed by the confusing way we’ve gone about fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan than they are the actual perceived need to fight.

Prepare for possible future attacks. This is responsible political, social, and as necessary military stewardship. Another attack is more probable than we want to admit, and we're not prepared. It seems so logical but not to those who don't really believe in human depravity and, consequently, believe talk and good intentions can solve all tensions.

In the face of fear, anxiety, and anger affecting our society be prepared to speak your faith. In 1 Peter 3:15 the Apostle reminded us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Recognize that life goes on. God gives us life and he wants us to live it. Building a future is not a disrespect of 9/11, and other travails have occurred that also require our ministrations.

Look for opportunity in the face of tragedy and its aftermath. This is a life-affirming thought rooted in a Christian worldview. If indeed God was in charge even on 9/11, and he was, than he’s in charge of how he can then-and-now enable us to turn tragedy to triumph. Sin has its moments but never ultimate victory if we look to the Lord to work through us.

Don’t claim insider knowledge about what God is doing. God is providentially engaged with human history, but we work with finite understanding and should take care to avoid comments detailing God’s every step (Romans 11:33-34).

On this day we did not forget.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Should Christian nonprofit organizations compete or collaborate?

The American economy with some nuance is based upon capitalism. It’s a free enterprise system wherein people may own businesses offering products or services. Consumers compare these products and services in the competitive marketplace, choosing to purchase, or not, based upon perceived need, demand and supply, quality, and price. Businesses survive or thrive in direct competition, and generally speaking, there’s no safety net.

Given this environment one might think businesspersons would bring a competitive mindset to Christian philanthropy. But usually they don’t. Nor interestingly, do many foundation executives.

Businesspersons and foundation executives considering supporting a ministry financially sometimes want to know whether the ministry is collaborating with other ministries doing similar work. Sometimes they make a gift contingent upon such collaboration.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach. It is, after all, their money. They can choose to donate resources however they wish.

Generally their motivation is stewardship, i.e. a desire to encourage more collaboration in order to gain, hopefully, more bang for their buck. Encouraging collaboration is also motivated by a perception that collaborating ministries achieve a higher level of effectiveness or productivity fulfilling their missions.

By the same token, competition may be perceived ipso facto as a waste of resources. The premise, stated or implied, is that kingdom work, God’s work, shouldn’t be subject to head to head contests for donors, reputation, service, or impact.

But competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Competition can yield the same push-to-improvement among nonprofits as it produces among for-profits. Quality matters, including and especially in the Lord’s work, and competition is one means of encouraging it. Sure, it may mean that some ministry overlap occurs serving a given population or addressing a particular need. It may even mean from time to time that donors support two or more ministries doing similar work. But God can bless each ministry’s work, and he can bless the donors.

Whether Christian ministries compete or collaborate may depend upon a variety of circumstances: denominational or doctrinal differences, ministry philosophy, personalities, organizational capacity, potential for impact, or more. Either way, both approaches can be used to honor the Lord.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at



One of the great things about being in one’s 50s is the opportunity it affords to get to know your children as adults. God blessed us with four children, now in their 20s-30s, and my wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with them and their spouses. It’s a great deal of fun to go out to eat with another couple, including one who is your son or daughter.

With young marriages eventually and typically come grandchildren. We have four grandsons 8 years of age and younger. At this age they’re not yet forging their own paths, but I’ve thought about what I hope they learn and what I hope to have some hand in teaching them.

Here are five things grandparents wish their grandchildren knew:

God is faithful. Christian grandparents have lived long enough to see God’s hand in their lives, and they desperately want to impart this faith to the next generation. Strong faith is preparation for all life’s challenges.

Hard work never hurt anyone, and hard work + time + commitment + creativity = success. Grandparents don’t understand youth who think the world owes them something. Grandparents weren’t entitled. They were energetic, and they know this is the real path to a better future.

It’s possible to be married for fifty years and enjoy (almost) every minute of it. Grandparents have had marital difficulties, but most of the time this meant they needed to give the marriage and their spouse more attention, not run from them. Grandparents know marriage is worth the work it requires, paying dividends for a lifetime.

Many things matter to you now that will not matter to you later. Age provides perspective and one thing’s for sure: money, status, and possessions don’t ultimately mean as much as relationships. Learn this as a youth and you will know real prosperity.

It’s amazing how quickly “young turks” turn into “old turkeys.” Life marches on. Remember the Creator in the days of your youth and live your life for his glory and you, too, will enjoy getting older.

Grandparents want to bless their grandchildren with wisdom born of living. Television “reality shows?” Grandparents have lived reality. This may be a rapidly changing world, but grandparents still have much to offer.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

Revised "Making a Difference" program #418 originally recorded August 31, 2005.

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at



On Facebook yesterday, I posted what I thought was a fairly tame, straightforward expression of biblical theology and a Christian spirit. Interestingly, the post elicited more comments than anything I’ve previously posted. Here’s the post:

“There is no Christian/biblical justification for burning the Quran, or any other religion's holy book. How do you share Jesus' love w/people you insult? The Sovereign God is not afraid of religion, rulers, or regimes, nor should his people.”

Most commentators agreed. But some expressed a desire to fight fire with fire, so to speak, defending not only Americans’ right to burn such books, but in this case, the rightness in doing so.

I cannot go there. In the same conversation stream I later posted:

“If we start burning, where does it stop? We can all name offensive, hateful, or erroneous materials. Should these all be burned? Historically, such tactics have never worked, even and especially-thankfully-against Christians and the Bible.”

Book-burning is an act of fear, ignorance, at times hysteria, and power. It accomplishes nothing but tangibly destroying the limited number of books available at the time.

On the flip side, it insults, incites anger, elicits reprisal, and may even drive people toward the religion represented in the burned holy books.

Acts 19:19 records an incident when converts from paganism burned their books on magic. This is not an example of the Apostles burning or ordering books burned. It’s an illustration of what the Spirit of God led new believers to do as an expression of their newfound faith in God. They no longer needed magic when they came to know the Lord of miracles. The point is, they freely chose to burn their own books.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what others have done or may have done. God will call them—and us—to account. In the meantime, God calls his own to a different Way.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,” (I John 4:18).


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at

Leadership can be understood as a series of ironies, statements that capture seemingly contradictory yet complimentary ideas about how leaders can lead effectively.  Here are a few:

While leaders must lead and are necessarily in the "spotlight," effective leaders must serve others. Moses’ example of meekness speaks eloquently against contemporary macho notions of leadership. Followers who are affirmed, appreciated, and assisted express more commitment to the organization’s mission.

While leaders must know their followers, effective leaders must develop some social distance from them. Christ’s love for his disciples was great, but he declined James and John’s desire to assume a place at Christ’s side in Glory (Matthew 10:35-45). Leaders must maintain an appropriate objectivity in making personnel and resource decisions. Too-close relationships can make these decisions more difficult and even biased.

The wiser the leader, the more frequent the admission that he or she does not have all the answers. Leaders must make informed judgments, but they do not speak ex cathedra or with vox Dei. This point is illustrated in Proverbs 15:22, “without counsel purposes are disappointed; but in the multitude of counselors they are established,” and in Ecclesiastes 4:13, “better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.”

The more emotional the times, the more rational must be the leader, the more rational the times, the more emotional must be the leader. More emotional times are generally characterized by crisis. Leaders must be able to think clearly and render judgments based upon facts and identified alternatives, not feelings, sentimentality, or peer pressure. More rational times are those in which organizations forget their original purpose and yield to bureaucratic tendencies. Personnel begin to consider means more important than ends, and rules and regulations become more important than client interests and needs. Leaders in such times must be emotional. They must recall the organization to this raison d’etre, and clear impassioned leadership is one of the best ways to do this.

The more complex the organization and its future, the more focused and even simple leadership must be. As organizations grow, they diversify, fragment, and multiply their parts. Leaders are hard-pressed to maintain coordination and continuity. Effective leaders use metaphors and easily understood goal statements. Joshua reminded the people that their task was to possess the land that the Lord their God had given them. Clear, concise leadership is all too rare in this day of circumvention and “doublespeak.”

Effective leaders are optimists at the same time they are realists. They should have their heads in the clouds while their feet remain planted firmly upon the ground. Christian leaders must be optimistic realists, optimists because they affirm God’s sovereignty and realists because they acknowledge the temporal presence and power of sin.

A leader's impact upon an organization is often greater after departing office than when in office. Leaders may actually hold office for a few years, but the values they advance, the structures they establish, and the personnel they attract can influence an organization for decades. Old Testament kings like Ahab left terrible legacies, while others like Josiah left honorable legacies. A leader’s legacy is either an organization’s firm foundation or a nightmare of entrenched accumulated poor decisions.

The busier the leader and the less time to pray and plan the greater the necessity to take time to pray and plan. Crisis management is sometimes required but leaders cannot remain effective for long using this approach. Both prayer and planning help the leader and the organization to focus on identifiable, meaningful goals. Samson’s career is a case in point. Although he periodically accomplished great feats for God, he neither prayed nor planned consistently. Consequently, except for the final hours of his life, Samson’s ministry was a disappointment. While he contributed to God’s service, he could have contributed much more.

The "higher up the ladder" a leader climbs, thus the more specialized in leadership he or she becomes, the more of a generalist the leader must be. Perhaps Nehemiah is the best scriptural example of this irony of leadership. He was promoted from Cupbearer to leader of a reconstruction expedition. He became the leader, but his wisdom was taxed as a spiritual guide, organizer, builder, and more. Effective leaders develop a personality with a wisdom born of perspective and cultivate an eclectic understanding of their organization and the world.

The more effective the leadership, the greater the likelihood that the leader recruited people more intelligent, dynamic, capable, or credentialed than the leader. “Threatened” leaders are not effective. They appoint individuals who are non-threatening and who by definition weaken the organization. King Saul failed to understand this irony in his relationship with young David, but Pharoah avoided similar pitfalls by appointing Joseph to direct Egypt through years of plenty and famine.

The more dynamic, exciting, and even effective the leader’s ideas, the more criticism he or she is likely to receive. This irony is so much a part of the human condition that we can state with reasonable assurance that if leaders are not being criticized, they are probably not leading. If leading and changing go hand in hand, leading and criticism must be hand in glove.  Great ideas change things. People don’t like change. Ergo, change agents (leaders) attract criticism. Abraham lived with a family critic in his nephew Lot. Moses had to answer his critics before he could do great things for God.  Paul responded to critics in the early church. The great man Job even had to deal with critics on his sick bed. Effective leaders fix their thoughts on Jesus and attempt to live peaceably with all people.

The more a leader celebrates rational traditions, the more accepted will be his or her rejection of irrational traditions; the more a leader champions responsible change, the more accepted will be his or her rejection of irresponsible change. Truly effective leaders do not allow themselves to be identified strictly with change or tradition, for both must be continually evaluated for the good of the organization’s mission. It’s true that leading and change are virtually synonymous, but not all change is good and not all traditions are unworthy. Indeed the right kind of traditions create loyalty, espirit d’corp, and community, and the wrong kind of change can harm an organization.

Leaders turn their followers into leaders. John C. Maxwell has nearly cornered the market making this point, and rightly so. James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner say this happens because leaders give people the courage to do things they’ve never done before. Leaders encourage the follower’s heart.

Leaders always are accountable to someone. Leaders answer to the Lord, whether they ever understand or acknowledge this fact of life. Leaders are always responsible for their organizations and thus answer to someone, owners, constituents, personnel, clientele.

And a last irony for the road…visionary leaders lead when others are not yet following.


**A version of this blog was originally published as "The Ironies of Leadership," Christian Management Report, 15(April/May, 1991)3, pp. 5-6.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at