[I]t's not that they don't ponder the the potential consequences. In fact, a new study finds teens spend more time weighing risk than adults and in fact often overestimate the odds of a bad outcome. But the desire for acceptance among peers wins out in the decision-making process of a young mind.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
After just posting about Jackson Browne's radical Christmas carol "The Rebel Jesus," I came across some cool background info at Beliefnet on the creation of the traditional tune "O Holy Night." French in origin, the lyrics of "Cantique de Noel" were written in 1847 by a man who eventually left the Church to become a socialist. The music was written by his friend, a Jew. Although initially a popular carol, once Church leaders discovered the unusual origins of the tune, "O Holy Night" was denounced and deemed unfit for use in church services. Fast forward several years, and American writer John Sullivan Dwight translates the tune into English for a new audience:
Not only did this American writer--John Sullivan Dwight--feel that this wonderful Christmas songs needed to be introduced to America, he saw something else in the song that moved him beyond the story of the birth of Christ. An ardent abolitionist, Dwight strongly identified with the lines of the third verse: "Truly he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name all oppression shall cease." The text supported Dwight's own view of slavery in the South. Published in his magazine, Dwight's English translation of "O Holy Night" quickly found found favor in America, especially in the North during the Civil War.
See more background here. Sharing this background story would help others to see this traditional tune in a new light and to understand the radical good news it still offers to the world.
2) Doubting my age - When I was a younger man just starting in youth ministry, I feared that I was too young, too close to the age of the youth to make any lasting impression on them. Then, as I grew older (grey hair...less hair...reading glasses), I began to wonder if I was getting too old to be effective with the youth. Was this a job for a younger person? The truth is, if youth ministry is your calling, then age has nothing to do with your effectiveness in ministry. There were advantages to being a twenty-something youth minister: I had lots of free time to give to the youth, I understood their culture because it was similar to mine, I had lots of energy, and the youth could relate to me because I was close to their age. There are, of course, many advantages to being an "older" youth minister: I have much greater experience and a more mature faith, I've made lots of mistakes and learned from them, I've had more time to learn what youth ministry is and can be, and I've reached a much more relaxed time in life that allows me to offer the young'ns a different perspective on the world than the frenetic life they believe they are destined to lead.
3) The "Family Guy" Error - I can sum this one up in three words: Preview! Preview! Preview! Just to assure you that I still make mistakes: At a recent youth group gathering which we call "free night" (an evening of unstructured fellowship time), one young man offered to bring episodes of "Family Guy" to show for those who wanted to watch TV. I had only seen one short clip of a "Family Guy" episode on YouTube and it seemed funny and fairly innocuous so I figured it was no problem. Wrong! Trust me on this one: "Family Guy" is hilarious and it is also completely inappropriate for a church setting. After about 3 minutes of viewing -- three minutes replete with curse words, sexual references, and an image of the father character in black lingerie, I switched in a Disney movie (and then asked the young man if he'd let me borrow his "Family Guy" DVDs to watch later in the privacy of my own home!).
Friday, December 15, 2006
Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose "spirit points" every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.
Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? And to think I've been wasting time all these years teaching youth to love thy enemy!