Sunday, December 30, 2007

Need Some Resolution Ideas?

Today in church our Pastor talked about Ben Franklins need to write his core values. He espoused how much he got done (electricity, inventions, etc) and all he was apart of (helping write the constitution of the U.S). We certainly can learn from this list and do a better job in 2008.

Ben Franklin's thirteen moral virtues

The thirteen moral virtues listed by Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography:

1. Temperance. Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation.

2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.

3. Order. Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.

4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality. Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.

6. Industry. Lose no Time. Be always employ'd in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.

7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice. Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.

9. Moderation. Avoid Extreams. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Cloaths or Habitation.

11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity. Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dulness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another's Peace or Reputation.

13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


The Morning Question, What Good shall I do this Day?

The Evening Question, What Good have I done to day?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Where did I put my optimism?

One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin reposted a blog from four years ago. It resonates with me on a youth ministry level. I have not been very optimistic about traditional youth ministry but I am about students. Risks, chances and faith are the order for 2008. The principles I've been living and teach for the past several years are about to make a jump. I believe more than ever that there must be change in how we do youth ministry inside and outside of the church. I hope this little piece from Seth inspires you and feel free to put the word church or youth ministry in any of the appropriate places.

"The thing is, we still live in a world that's filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity -- we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing.

Are these crazy times? You bet they are. But so were the days when we were doing duck-and-cover air-raid drills in school, or going through the scares of Three Mile Island and Love Canal. There will always be crazy times.

So stop thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand. There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That's why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with.

You get to make a choice. You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It's never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment -- just one second -- to decide.

Before you finish this paragraph, you have the power to change everything that's to come. And you can do that by asking yourself (and your colleagues) the one question that every organization and every individual needs to ask today: Why not be great??


Friday, December 21, 2007

Atheist Sunday School?

Sunday School for Atheists

Ok, I admit it, I stole a Time magazine from the Dentist office. I was fascinated by an article called Atheist Sunday School. Curious about what they do?

Well, according to the article they attend the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto Cal. to :

1. Sing songs like Unique and Unrepeatable?

Ok, the fact that they sing a song like this blows my mind. I agree ever kid should feel this way. Self esteem is important. But what do you say when they ask "Why are we like that mommy?" do they answer "Well honey, it's not really true. We all evolved from the same sludge and we are complete accidents. Oh, and after we die there is absolutely nothing. Have a great life." Ok, I agree that is a simplistic answer and I'm sure they have some secular way of dealing with that but still. The song just caught me off guard and it was begging for a rant.

2. Read stories like Stone Soup.

This is a good story. I remember it from my elementary days. It's about community and everyone joining in to make soup, everyone doing their part. To believers, this a picture of the church. Parents have a hard enough time answering the question of where do zebras get their stripes. How parents share stories of relativism and split hairs to make their point of view make sense I don't know. I am glad for Scripture we can stand on. I'll take the parable of the Good Samaritan over Stone Soup any day.

3. Share stories of Free Thinkers.

This is how Time magazine describes it: {an umbrella term for atheists, agnostics,and other rationalists) like black abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Well, as for free thinking I think they are not letting their kids think freely are they? In fact one parent who is an atheist started to come to this class because their son was told some stories from the Bible. She said her son began to believe these remarkable stories and wondered why his mother had not told them to him before. Well, shouldn't the mother have said, "What do you think son?" So much for free thinking. I'm glad I don't have to convince anyone of anything. I am willing to love the atheist but it seems they are intolerable of us and must train their children to guard against believing in God.

The final quote from the article is from an 11 year old girl who is in the class. She says, " I'm a person that doesn't believe in myths. I'd rather stick to the evidence."

Well sweetie, the only evidence here is that your parents have decided for you that disbelief is the only belief.

Let the speaks fly.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Sub-Merged:Adventures In Substitute Teaching Episode 2

Hey all,

Been a while since I have blogged. I don't know if it is because I have nothing to say or I am just too tired to say whatever may be lingering in my mind. Anyway, I continue to substitute teach and for the most part have found it enjoyable. I can tell that my relational style takes most student my surprise. They expect me to be harsh and irrelevant. They don't know my 20 year secret of hanging out with them. I recently did two days at a middle school. Two days in a row at a middle school wore me out. I met one of those girls who just rolls her eyes, slumps and basically communicates in her mind that she'd like your head to explode. That was pleasant.

I tried my best to communicate with her that I did not want to write her up. She found my little talk quaint and quite bothersome. I had to just wrap it up with a, "shut your mouth and you won't get in trouble" That went over like telling Lindsey Lohan she shouldn't have another drink. My heart went out to her. I felt sorry for her. I flashed forward in my mind and saw her future a screwed up mess. I saw a girl who hated life, bitter and unteachable. I saw her railing about how unfair life was to her and blaming the government, society, her parents and even me for her downfall. Everyone but herself. So, next time she hassle me, I'm writing her up. Maybe even have a part in a brighter future.

Sparks anyone?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sub-Merged:Adventures In Substitute Teaching Episode 1


Welcome to my new series on my adventures in Substitute teaching. I have been subbing for the past 2 months and actually get a lot of joy out of it. In a way it's like being a grandparent. You can hang and talk with the kids and then you get to send them home and you don't have to see them for weeks! I also look at it as my own youth group. This irreligious (although spiritual) bunch of rabble rousers are mine for the day. They test me and my patience but somehow I endure it and love it. It's a new environment for me. God Bless all my youth groups. I would come in and I am greeted by hugs and high fives. For the first time I subbed I was barely acknowledged.

Junior Highers treat me like the shiny thing the water. What is that? Let's investigate.

Sr. Highers see me as a predator of the deep seeking to eat their fun. They grunt and sit down.

Anyway, here is a brief story of my first day.

My first day was Middle School Girls P.E. Can you imagine? Wow, I thought, if I can survive this I can survive anything. I was teamed with a great teacher who played for Pat Summit at the U of T. She was in charge and I rode her coat tails.

One young lady came up to me (remember I am such a man) and I thought she asked me for a pen.
I said "sure."
She said "no, I need a pad."
I said, "A pad? Sure I got one in my brief case."
she said , "No, a girl pad."

Ah, the lights went on. I said "Dear, you can have as many as you want."

That was my first day. I'll have other stories to share in the near future.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The More Things Change ....

You know the rest. The more they remain the same. For the first time in 20 years I attended Catholic Mass. Now, you have to understand, I have never opposed the Catholic church in my 20 years as a Protestant youth pastor. I always sought to help others understand. So, what did I learn from my field trip today?

What I enjoyed...

-I enjoyed the stripped down version of church. The focus of mass was Christ. Not the priest, preacher, worship team, etc. it was Jesus.
-I did not go to confession, which I plan on doing, so I did not receive communion. It kind of felt anti-climatic. So, next time I go I'll have my stuff up to date.
- I did enjoy watching others take communion and watching the rhythm of community.
-I enjoyed the creeds once more. I was rusty but I hung in there.
-I enjoyed getting out of church in one hour.
-I enjoyed the straight forward homily.

What I missed....

-talking with people I knew.
-oddly, not filling out a visitor card.
-also oddly not being approached by some kind of welcome team.
-Someone asking me to open my Bible
-Three -5 points message.
- A passionate appeal for prayer and salvation

Well, I think that it is it for now. I shall inform you of further adventures as they unfold.