vote for zach hunter
Wednesday November 07th 2007, 5:00 am
Filed under: church, youth specialties, books, news

51XJ4qCc9TL-_AA240_.jpgwe at youth specialties just found out that zach hunter has been nominated as a cnn hero in the youth category. the winner is determined merely by vote (which, since zach doesn’t have a big organization behind him like some of the other nominees, is unfortunate). but we’d love to get the votes going!

winning would allow zach to appear on a prime time special with anderson cooper, to talk about modern day slavery, and how he (zach) feels god is calling his generation to bring freedom. there’s a cash price also; and zach has already said he would donate it for aftercare and education of rescued child slaves.

help us get the word out — to your churches and youth group and friends.

vote here (btw, the info is wrong: it says zach has raised $20,000 to end slavery. that’s how much zach has personally given, from speaking fees and book royalties. he has raised well over 10x that amount.)

you can vote as many times as you like until monday at noon.

titanic church
Monday November 05th 2007, 12:23 pm
Filed under: church

another “ouch” truth from asbo jesus:


the changing church, please?
Thursday November 01st 2007, 6:00 am
Filed under: church, emerging church

stephen shields points out a great quote from yo-yo ma, quoted on noel heikkenen’s blog:

“Any tradition that doesn’t evolve becomes smaller.”

stephen goes on to mention another quote by john murray:

“However epochal have been the advances made at certain periods and however great the contributions of particular men we may not suppose that theological construction ever reaches definitive finality. There is the danger of a stagnant traditionalism and we must be alert to this danger, on the one hand, as to that of discarding our historical moorings, on the other.

When any generation is content to rely upon its theological heritage and refuses to explore for itself the riches of divine revelation, then declension is already under way and heterodoxy will be the lot of the succeeding generation…. A theology that does not build on the past ignores our debt to history and naively overlooks the fact that the present is conditioned by history. A theology that relies on the past evades the demands of the present.”

which reminds me of a quote i’m using in my closing session talk at the national youth workers conventions, which i got from the great book, . quote from hans kung:

a church which pitches its tents without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling…. [We must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, live by improvisation and experiment.

“god hates fags” church loses lawsuit
Wednesday October 31st 2007, 9:09 pm
Filed under: church, news

as much as it makes me nervous to see a church getting sued, i have to say i am thrilled to see these idiots get slammed with an 11 million dollar settlement in a legal case against them.


are you messages at odds with each other?
Sunday October 28th 2007, 6:01 am
Filed under: youth ministry, church, emerging church, youth work, emergent

i was listening to an emergent village podcast the other day, and doug pagitt was talking about how things we do in our churches are often at odds with what we say about the gospel. i sent doug an email with some educational theory terminology about what he was talking about, and he suggested i post it. so here it is!


Was just listening, in my car, to the podcast of you at the emergent mainline event, and you were mentioning the concept that we often have things we do in our churches (like how we arrange our chairs, or when people are “allowed” to speak) that are at odds with what we say about the gospel.

Let me offer you some language for that that might be helpful.  In education theory (and in real life practice) circles, there are multiple kinds of
curriculum (and, I would contend, that “curriculum” is just an ed-theory word for “message”).  The “formal” or “overt” or “plain” curriculum is the
content everyone thinks about.  In a classroom, it’s the teaching plan.  In a church, it’s the Sunday school lesson and the sermon.

But there are two other helpful terms:  non-formal curriculum, and null curriculum.  

The non-formal curriculum is the stuff we do, but don’t talk about.  It’s that stuff you were referring to:  how we arrange our chairs, our
architecture, who gets to talk when, power and social structures, all the expected norms and programs and means and methods.  Those are a “curriculum” (or message) in and of themselves, and the leader/teacher/pastor/organizer is foolish if she thinks the non-formal curriculum doesn’t communicate every bit as much as the formal curric.

Then, null curriculum is the stuff we don’t do and don’t talk about.  For example, if a youth ministry NEVER talks about homosexuality (because
they’re afraid to bring it up, not knowing how to respond), that becomes part of the null curriculum.  Churches, of course, have boxes full of this
stuff.  And — educational theorists say — the null curriculum ALSO communicates just as much as the formal curric (or, if not just as much, it
communicates a lot).

Anyhow, I thought you might find that helpful, and slip it into a future talk.


a few worthy links
Wednesday October 24th 2007, 6:00 am
Filed under: youth ministry, church, youth work, news

if you’re a youth worker or parent of a teen (or care about teenagers at all), these are links i found interesting and/or helpful:

increase of teen hugging (at the same time )

muslim barbie

pre-teen twins who are skateboarding stars. dude, these kids are going to be all over teen mags in no time. check out their innocence about their sponsorships in this video.

little kid preachers. i have to admit, the 7 year-old white kid kinda freaked me out. sounded like a trained bird (reminded me of the distrurbing — but worth seeing — award-winning documentary, ). and, at first, i was feelin’ the same about the 9 year-old black kid. but when he was interviewed, his responses were just so gentle and sweet and genuine (they didn’t feel practiced).

southern baptists are growing in their awareness of the shortcomings of our current approaches to youth ministry. i’m not sure about their contention that “lifeway is on the front end of this, as an organization” (i don’t think ANY of us are on the front end of this, or the problem wouldn’t exist!). i do like this quote: “And that question is this: As student ministry continues to mature, are we developing students, or student ministries?”

(some of these are ht to ypulse)

ostrich church
Tuesday October 23rd 2007, 6:00 am
Filed under: church, emerging church

a great one from the adventures of ASBO jesus:



“minister of questions”
Wednesday October 17th 2007, 11:51 am
Filed under: faith, church, blogs, emerging church

just stumbled onto this wonderful post by j.t. about his desire to be a “minister of questions.” love it. great post.


the new christians, teaser review
Friday October 12th 2007, 6:01 am
Filed under: church, books, emerging church, emergent

new christians.jpg, by tony jones

i read the manuscript for tony’s book the other day. but the book doesn’t come out until march. so i’m just going to post the endorsement i wrote now a teaser review for now; and i’ll post a full review closer to the release of the book.

I devoured this book! Like A New Kind of Christian gave words to the experiences and thoughts of so many, early in this decade, The New Christians provides language, theology and a nudge toward a path out of our bi-polar morass of left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, mainline vs. evangelical. It cuts sideways across all the rhetoric, entrenchment and warfare-positioning of modern-day Christianity. I’m confident Tony’s book will provide definition for many, helpful disequilibration for others, and – best of all – new hope for those who cannot (or refuse to) continue trudging numbly along the cattle paths of the American church.


minister of the week… not
Thursday October 11th 2007, 10:22 am
Filed under: church, humor

ever tempted to steal the gifts at a wedding you’re performing? uh, no? this minister was:

story here.