Bob Sitze has a great book out called Not Trying Too Hard: New Basics for Sustainable Congregations. It's a solid book, one of those volumes that's as helpful for what it points you to in the bibliography, and summarizes in brief boxes, as it is for the actual content.
Anyway, in the middle of the book he encourages congregations and pastors to "get real". By this he means they should encounter reality full-faced. Some examples: read the business section of the newspaper first, visit people in their places of work and have them tell you about things they are expert in, analyze your weekly schedule and look for places where you are too comfortable, living in the same small circle, listen to a new radio station for a few weeks, etc.
Basically, the idea seems to a) broaden your horizons, and b) challenge yourself and the reality you might tend to create for yourself by reading the same journal year after year, participating in the same kind of work or hobbies, hanging out with the same people.
He includes a "reality check" exercise that is very clever and that I plan to do, but first, I wanted to itemize some things I think I need to do in my own context in order to "get real." This is a good blog topic, so I encourage it's use more widely.
Things Clint should do to get real:
1. Go hunting during deer season.
2. Watch American Idol.
3. Go to the local NASCAR or auto racing track for a Friday night race.
4. Eat lunch at the high school.
5. Fix something on my car.
6. Read the Purpose-Driven Life.
7. And Your Best Life Now.
8. Go to karaoke somewhere.
9. Get recommendations from people for a journal I should read that I currently don't.
10. Visit the local land fill.
11. Visit the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Ditto for the evangelical free church.
12. Visit more shops in Cambridge.
13. Find out how I would apply for social services (welfare, housing and utility assistance, etc.) if I needed to.
14. Ask 10 people what are other things I could do to "get real."
I purposefully limited myself to five minutes of brainstorming to keep this list manageable. Analysis and comment of the list is welcome.