Friday, January 26, 2007
When we jump, we begin to see the need for springs. The springs help make sense of these deeper realities that drive how we live every day. The springs aren't God. The springs aren't Jesus. The springs are the statements and beliefs about our faith that help give words to the depth that we are experiencing in our jumping. I would call these the doctrines of the Christian faith. They aren't the point. They help us understand the point, but they are a means and not an end. We take them seriously, and at the same time we keep them in proper perspective.(p.22)
Bell goes on to suggest that the concept of the trinity is an example of one of these springs. Followers of Jesus existed for thousands of years without this explicit concept. Even as this doctrine today help us to think about God, it is a symbol that is able to withstand probing, questioning, and rethinking. Like a spring, it is flexible.
On faith as a brick wall, Bell raises this issue of the virgin birth. If you found out tomorrow their was no virgin birth, would your faith collapse? If so, then this doctrine for you is less like a spring, and more like a brick:
This is because a brick is fixed in size. It can't flex or change size, because if it does, then it can't fit into the wall. What happens then is that the wall becomes the sum total of the beliefs, and God becomes as big as the wall. But God is bigger than any wall. God is bigger than any religion. God is bigger than any worldview. God is bigger than the Christian faith.(p.27)
I suggested the trampoline image worked best for me because jumping on one can be dangerous, particularly if you are jumping with other people (how many kids across America have broken their arms falling off those things?!). In the same way, our faith can be dangerous if we radically follow the way of Jesus. The best answer, however, came from a visiting student. Looking at the image above, he said his faith was like a girl jumping on a trampoline who is watching a guy building a brick wall as a barrier. The girl jumps high enough to fly over the wall, landing in the man's arms. They immediately fall madly in love and run off to get married!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Just spray them with chalkboard paint. After the paint dries, rub chalk all over the bottle and then erase it. This will "prime" the bottle and give it that old chalkboard look that you so love!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or ought to consider practicing.
They are markedly less religious than their elders - and previous generations. The percentage claiming they are agnostic or atheist has doubled in twenty years to one in five today; they regard heavy drinking as worse than smoking pot; they have become much less Republican than they once were. George W. Bush has persuaded most of the younger generation to vote Democratic, reversing Reagan's gains among the young. They are much more pro-immigrant than their elders and 74 percent favor some privatizing of social security (yay!); but they're dovish on the use of military force. They are divided equally on gay marriage (47 - 46 in favor, compared to 64 - 30 against among those over 25) but overwhelmingly support gay adoption.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
- The Church is a place I go for guidance.
- A place I learn about my faith.
- A place of paranormal experiences.
- A place I get different perspectives on how the world works and why.
- A place to come for forgiveness.
- A place where I am accepted.
- A place of comfort where I don't have to worry about anything else.
- Where I go to learn how to be a better person.
- A place to focus on things I worry about.
- A place where I find support and guidance.
- I think all people go to heaven.
- I think what happens is a reflection of what you believe. If you believe in heaven, you go to heaven. If you don't, you go somewhere else.
- It depends on whether you're good or evil.
- Some people say they are Christian, but they aren't. It has more to do with how you live your life than what you claim to believe.
- I think God loves everyone and everyone goes to heaven. I don't think hell comes after we die. I think we live in hell right now -- here on Earth.
- I believe everybody goes to heaven and Jesus helps some people there learn how to be better.
- I think you go wherever your particular religion tells you you go.
The youth offered some particularly thoughtful responses to the question: "If Jesus were here today, what would he think of our technology?"
- He would think it was a waste of time. We don't NEED it. We just need him.
- He would think: How come these people can be so smart and so stupid. They can invent an Ipod that holds thousands of songs, but they can't stop having wars.
- He'd have his own homepage.
- He'd be shocked at all the technology we've invented to help people and all the technology we've developed to kill each other.
- He would like it but he'd think we spend too much time with it.
- He'd be upset that we live over-materialistic lives and at all the money we spend on computers instead of people!
The ultimate goal of the evening was to not to critique, analyze, or indoctrinate. Rather, it was to create a safe space (the "fish bowl") where the youth could feel free to explore their thoughts and listen to the thinking and experiences of others. In coming weeks, I will incorporate the responses to this activity into our Bible studies and discussions.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Happy new year! I just wanted to let you know we are still offering our winter special for youth groups. 3 games of laser tag, pizza and unlimited soda for $16.50 per person. Please feel free to call me at the following number if you have any questions.
Oh, yes. This is what I got into youth ministry for: pizza, unlimited quantities of carbonated sugar water, and the chance to see a bunch of Christian youth running around in a dark room pretending to shoot each other with guns. If guns, pizza, and soda don't bring them to Christ, I'm not sure what will!
What defines somebdoy as being a "loser?"
a loser is somebody who. . . .
doesnt drink on the weekends with friends
doesnt have a matching shirt with their shoes
stutters in front of girls when asking them on a date
doesnt defend themselves when they're made fun of
wears a jacket because of the person who gave it to you
A Loser is somebody who. . . .
doesnt have a girlfriend for more than 2 months.
sits by the phone, hoping somebody will call
thinks that girls are out of his league
wishes for a personality other than his
wishes he could have somebody to love
A Loser is somebdoy who. . .
has a stepfather and a father, neither that smile or hug
interacts with his little sisters, instead of his weight training
has never been told "you're intellegent, smart, and capable" by a guy
joins the military to make his father proud
finds out he still thinks your a fag
A loser is somebody who. . . .
doesnt lose his virginity by senior year
hasnt tried smoking at least twice
buzzes his own hair because he's so ashamed
lies to his friends, so that they still embrace you as one
find out theres more to friendship than being cool
A loser is somebody who thinks his friends have left him, when they were there the entire time.. . . . I'm a loser