Thursday, June 23, 2005

Which Theologian are you?


So... I never know if I take these tests right.
And now I feel labeled, pegged, etc... everything I don't want to be and don't want to do to anyone else.

But heck, they're fun. Give it a spin...

John Calvin


Jürgen Moltmann


Martin Luther


Friedrich Schleiermacher




Karl Barth


Paul Tillich


Jonathan Edwards




Charles Finney


Which theologian are you?
created with

Thursday, June 16, 2005

middle schoolers and sabbat...

LCBC Gang, originally uploaded by Run Steve Run.

One of the things we love is having people over at our home, and we especially love having friends crash here when they are traveling through town. This week, Jason Mitchell (Lancaster County Bible Church– PA) and his middle school leaders (Ryan, Chad, Duff, Sean here with Jason) arrived for the Creative Infusion conference at Daybreak Church have taken over our house (in a good way).

They told me last night, that they were discussing the concept of Sabbath on the drive up and were trying to envision what a “Sabbath rest” looks like for a middle schooler (kinda blows one’s impressions of stereotypical middle school leaders who wear Christian t-shirts and are obsessed with gross food games, doesn’t it?).

I thought it was a great question.

We talked last night about how a sabbat seems to be incorporated in to the natural rhythms of work and rest created by God. I have read that there was a Jewish phrase that described busyness as “running ahead of the wind” and this probably where we get the expression of “losing our breath” or ‘getting winded.” A sabbath rest seems to be the space we make in our lives where we stop “to catch our breath” less become exhausted.

So back to the question… what does that look like for a middle schooler?

It seems like the rhythms we establish for our children and/or students are the ones that get hard-wired into our lives as we grow up. This question, in my mind, is profound and potentially revolutionary.

Any thoughts out there? And more personally, how is sabbat a part of your own life rhythm?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

the big talk before camp...

camp, originally uploaded by Run Steve Run.

My oldest daughter went to, what I consider, her first "youth retreat" alone this weekend.

I was nervous.

I felt like she and I needed to have a talk before we put her on the bus that would take her to a camp about an hour north where she would experience time in nature… with a bunch of boys, with volunteer leaders that we don't really know, boys, and with all the pressures that come with going on a Christian retreat at a Christian camp. Did I mention boys?

Actually, I wasn't worried about the boys, or Kara running after them either, at least not yet. But I was worried... about camp. Once you’ve been around in the Christian-world-o-ramma, you figure out some of the patterns associated with it, along with a predictable “camp experience” – Kids go to camp, they get worn out by too much fresh air, activities... and sugar. And at the right time, some well-intentioned, adult has your kid making some "decision" to accept something, or go somewhere, or step forward, or commit to some super spiritual "let-go-and-let-Jesus" issue.

And I was nervous.

Don't get me wrong. I love my church and I'm supportive of our youth group team. I want to be a cheerleading parent, and I want to be more than someone on the sidelines that lobs complaints about the group. It's just that, too often, I’ve observed that some well-intentioned adults in retreat settings are convinced that it’s their responsibility to get kids to make big decisions/commitment/etc. And I believe... it's not.

So Kara and I had a talk. We talked about the fact that, as a family together, we seek to live out the Gospel. I reminded her that she and I have talked about what it means to follow Jesus and that I see evidence of God in her life through the spiritual fruit that God is growing in and through her. I gently cautioned her that, if anyone asks her to make any "decision," to kindly answer "no, thank you” explaining that decisions or issues can be talked in the context of community– her family.

Do I think decisions at camp are bad? Most of the time, I’d have to say yes… because it potentially short-circuits the most important relationship a student has… and that is one with their parents and family.

Youth leaders must keep this frame of reference in mind for retreats, small groups, and youth groups in general. I’ll support any youth leader who understands that. I’ll even view them as my pastor.