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Non-manipulative Intentionality

I wrote the following as a response in a discussion that was held on this blog back in 2009 (where has the time gone?)

What if instead of worrying about creating culture, the church focused on actions that reflect God’s holiness? Couldn’t culture then be a by-product of that reflection?

There is a phrase that I read in a book by Jim Henderson and Matt Caspar (Jim and Caspar go to church) that I liked. “Non-manipulative Intentionality”. They used it to describe the relationships that we should have with those people who don’t hold to the Christian belief. I think it may hold to many forms of worship. What I mean is this… what if we were intentional about our reflection of God and our love for one another without a desire to create a reaction in someone else? That way our motivations would be about God and not accomplishing our desires and calling that God’s work.

I would use this example. If I want to show people that I love my wife, the easiest way to do that is to love her in the manner that makes her understand and accept my love. IF, on the other hand, I try to love her the way someone else thinks is an appropriate or acceptable way, I run the risk of making her angry with me which will in turn cause those people who I had hoped to impact wonder what it is that I was about in the first place.

If I just love her and our relationship grows and matures, people will recognize that and may even celebrate the union that I enjoy with her.

I like the word that David used above… peripheral. I think we run the danger of focusing on the peripherals when we should have been focusing on God all along. Its a great discussion because I don’t know that there is an easy answer especially when there is not one set way of worshiping God.

Isn’t it fun to dig up the past and relive something you said there? no sarcasm intended…

The thing that stuck out when I read this was the phrase non-manipulative intentionality. I ran across the phrase, as mentioned in the quote above, while reading a book a few years back and it still sticks with me.

If I had to define non-manipulative intentionality in a positive light it would be – love or charity.  If I had to define the greatest form of this phrase it would be grace.

Sometimes I struggle with living/being in a state of grace because I struggle with intentionality without manipulation. I find myself second guessing the motivations behind my actions – am I doing this because I get something out of it?

What are your thoughts?  Why do you do the things that you do?



  1. September 30, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Hey I know you! 🙂 Good to hear from you Tony. I often ask myself if I am doing things to get approval-from God and from people. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was I did not have to work to gain God’s approval.

    • October 10, 2011 at 12:08 am


      Sorry to be so long in replying. I am going to try to get back into this blogging thing. It is funny how much time something as small as a blog can take when one is pulled in too many directions.

      I hope to be having lots of conversations with you in the near future.

  2. September 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    A guide for me is …thoughtful strategy with a pure motive. If I can’t be mostly pure in my motive I shy away from the action.

    For the church…love Jesus and the overflow will reach others. So. much. more. to. say.

    • October 10, 2011 at 12:09 am


      Wouldn’t expect anything different from you. Keep the vision! Work for today. Plan for tomorrow and wait on God through it all.

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