Daniel Zopoula

The Digital Musings of a Bushman, Speaker, Author & Trusted Advisor.

Category: Spiritual Life (page 1 of 2)

About the human drive for meaning and connection with God.

People, We Are Already United In Love!

I am no stranger to public accusations and smearing, but through it, Christ has done a work in my heart so that such disapproval doesn’t affect me the way it once did. I guest, when your life doesn’t belong to you, survival is not required!

Our market-driven church culture is in decay. Our socio-political and economical system is collapsing too, thanks to the weight of corrupt lobbyists and greedy capitalists.  The criminal justice system has failed us. The moral compass that engenders humility, love, acceptance and forgiveness is skewed, we have violated the covenant of Love!

Only the united power of courageous and compassionate people of every tribe and nation can turn around these catastrophic realities. The dying man”s prayer was, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Prophetic Pastors (always with their faults and blind spots) — in the market place and the meeting place — who tell the truth about unity deserve our critical support. The wicked shall be corrupt by flattery, but “those who know their God shall take action” Daniel 11:32

There is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.  Martin Luther King Jr.

I am taking action. We do not need to be the fear we have. In the spirit of brotherhood and love we must unite. I stand with the Evangelical, and the Charismatic, and the Episcopal/Sacramental. I stand with the persecuted church, I stand with the church from ages to ages.

Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.” Mark 10:20-31 (MSG)




Ubuntu: We are all connected

Happy New Year!

May this year be for each a season of “Goodwill” to ALL people at ALL places(Luke 2:14). I champion to deliberately find every excuse to extend the generosity, profoundly over-extending goodwill to ALL

As the African Philosophy of Ubuntu teaches us, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” or “I am a person through other persons”. “A single straw of a broom can be broken easily, but the straws together are not easily broken.”

This truly is the essence of being and becoming; you can’t exist as a human being in isolation; you can’t be human all by yourself, you belong.  We are all connected! What you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. You diminish when others are  diminished, when others are humiliated; you famish when others are famished, when others are tortured and oppressed. This is the year, this is the moment.

The government of fear is over! I am resolved, aggressively, provocatively and deliberately living to enable the community around to improve and become it’s uttermost. When we struggle to feed only ourselves, everyone goes hungry. But when we focus on our neighbour’s hunger, we discover there are ways to feed everyone. The world is my Parish.

No one walks  alone into higher realms. As expressed in the title of the acclaimed, and Number one hit song released in January, 1970, with gospel overtones, and recorded by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, unity is our only “Bridge over Trouble Water.” Without a bridge that leads to unity with others, who will support us through our perilous times, we will fall and sink, hopelessly, into the troubled water.

With unfeigned love, always, still becoming,
++ Daniel Zopoula


The Conduct of a Pastor

…shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:2, 3

The Book of Pastoral Rule [1] Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604)

“The conduct of a prelate ought so far to transcend the conduct of the people as the life of a shepherd is wont to exalt him above the flock. For one who estimation is such that the people are called his flock is bound anxiously to consider what great necessity is laid upon him to maintain rectitude.”

Pastors have three tools to employ in the work of shepherding:

    1. The Word of God
    2. Prayer, and
    3. Their personal example (Acts 6:4; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).

The skillful pastor is he who has learned how to use these tools consistently, appropriately, and in a good combination in every situation.

Our work may be informed by other resources beyond these, and we may, indeed, employ such resources in equipping the flock of God.

But they must always be seen as an extension of our personal pastoral tools, especially that of our own example.

MUSE ON THIS QUESTION: Do the people you shepherd see enough of your life to know whether or not they want to be like you in following Jesus?

[1]All quotations are from Gregory, The Book of Pastoral Rule in Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 12

Refresh Seminar, Southern Saskatchewan District




  1. It is not fair, it is not reasonable, it is not right. Where does all this come from? These are the fruits of sickness and dysfunction. These are the fruits of abuse and poverty.
  2. The question becomes … What do I do with what I have experienced? What do I do with what I am experiencing?
  3. How do I come to understand the affects of all of this upon myself? How can I reshape how I feel and respond to these events and their affects?
  4. How do I learn (and relearn) to manage myself?
  5. A man once said to me that “I have a lot to learn about people”. I have learned that while this is true I also have a lot to learn about myself.
  6. I started with the question: how could I ever have known? Who was around to teach me? Who was committed to try to teach me?
  7. A problem that I have encountered in the church is that some people in it presume to know the answers to these questions. It is my experience that this is a lifelong journey of discovery and I am responsible to do most of this work.
  8. I think the question now becomes “who will walk with me in this journey of discovery and restoration.
  9. What will I do with this strength. How will I invest myself?,
  10. Isn’t all this interesting? Lots of good questions … Who will do the work? Why does this work matter? What will grow out of this work? What will fail to grow if I do not do this work?
  11. Many of us have direct and indirect knowledge of the terrible cost of a failure to  do this work.
  12. Who will I trust to walk with me? Who will say that I have proven myself to be worthy of your trust?….

Many a time we work so hard to cast out the hell  from “in there” to “out there” only to realize that the very hell we try to cast out is only given life, energy and fueled by our demand to um-pluck it out of the depth….You are more than a paragraph, you are the book.

Musings of a Friend

Is silence the worst form of violence?

We hear people speaking about the “silent” treatment in their relationship. I wonder if you have ever experience the power of silence in creating drama, destabilizing relationship and fostering a culture of fear and distrust. The silent treatment can be a very destructive behavior when it involves personal relationships.  It breeds bitterness and anger on both ends. It is a poison, a lethal weapon in breading emotional abuse. From the Book “Crucial Confrontation” we learn that silence is a potent form of violence. So, watch for the manifestation of silence in your relationship and increase dialogue when you see manifestation of it.

Silence episodes include:

  1. Withdrawing – Pulling our of communication completely; physical, emotional, psychological
  2. Avoiding – Staying away from unsafe topics or issues
  3. Masking – understating, sugar coating, sarcasm, selectively showing

Violence episodes include:

  1. Controlling – coercing others through how we share our views – interrupting, overstating, absolutes
  2. Labeling – trying to win or have others give in through ridiculing their ideas
  3. Attacking – making sure others hurt; emotional, physical, psychological

So, what is your story? may be you said so much by not saying anything? what is shaping your relationships? Silence or Violence? Increase diligence and care.



  • “People do not see the world as it is – they see it as they are. A leader needs a broader view.” From the movie Anna and the King
  • “… Since our interpretations hinge on our expectations, beliefs, and values, our internal world is as important as what is outside – sometimes more so, because we manage to see what we expect and want. The fuzziness of everyday life makes it easy for people to make the world conform to their favored internal maps.” Reframing Organizations by Lee G. Bolman and Terrance E. Deal  (p. 33)

If it helps, ask:

  • How does my point of view inform how I hear and understand?
  • How does my point of view take away from how I hear and understand?
  • Are we solving the “right” problem?
  • What does a “win” look like?
  • Confirm what “success” looks like

Create the right space to seek understanding

  • Create space to see from another person’s point of view
  • Create space to listen
  • Create space to wonder
  • Create space to explore
  • Create space to discover
  • Create space to risk

Keep Commitments

  • Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Make commitments carefully and keep them.
  • Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor.
  • Don’t break confidences.

Extend Trust

  • Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust.
  • Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.
  • Learn how to appropriately extend trust to others based on the situation, risk, and credibility (character and competence) of the people involved.
  • Demonstrate a propensity to trust.
  • Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  Mark Twain Get some perspective, Get Help

Critical Carefrontation:

Critical Carefrontation:

Self-management Practices

  • Desiring to be at peace with people is a good thing
  • Use conflict as an opportunity to serve others
  • Encourage good practice by personal example
  • Deal only with issues that are too important to overlook
  • Overlook minor offenses
  • Guard your attitude from negative thinking

Helpful conflict management thinking

  • “It is my intention to provoke your thinking.”
  • “It is not my intention to offend you.”
  • “People decide to be offended.”
  • “Please decide not to be offended.”
  • People are responsible to be gentle
  • People are responsible to be forthright
  • People are responsible to challenge ideas
  • People are responsible to detach their self worth from their ideas.

From the “Critical Confrontation” Principles

  • Start with Heart. The clearer you are on goals, the less you’re controlled by fears.
  • Learn to Look. What you see is what you get.
  • Make it Safe. Defensiveness is not a sign of too much candor, but too little safety.
  • Master my Stories. To take control of your emotions, take control of your stories.
  • STATE my Path. How to be persuasive without being abrasive or evasive. Work to say things in the most acceptable way possible.
  • Explore others’ Path. When you learn to do this you have a responsibility to increase the pool of shared meaning…
  • Move to Action. How you end a crucial conversation is as important as how you begin it. At the beginning you need safety, at the end closure. Tricky parts are beginning and end.

Why does it help to stop and examine your motives?

  • Because the motive you can’t see controls you.
  • Because you aren’t that good an actor.
  • Because if you can see it you can change it.
  • Because questions provoke the brain.

The Paste of Life

Took time to muse about Professor Philip Zimbardo. Here he is speaking about how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world. A very interesting commentary on our civilization.

Please let me know what you think!

Daniel Zopoula

Traditions for a change?


Because of our traditions,
we’ve kept our balance for many, many years.
And because of our traditions,
every one of us knows who he is
and what God expects him to do. – Words from  a fiddler on the roof:

I wonder what we might need to learn from the people of Anatevka, in “Fiddler on the Roof” for our generation

Think about this for a minute:
Without traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof
How does that sit with you? As a people, how do we keep our balance? are traditions synonymous with ‘balance?’ what signs, what rituals & what symbols characterizes your life? What does  the rhythms of our lives say about us? How should we care?

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