daily ys staff meditations — monday
Monday June 13th 2005, 12:42 pm
Filed under: faith, youth specialties


but so much the more the report went abroad concerning him;
and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities.
but he withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
luke 5:15-16

Solitude and silence allows our insides to become spacious.
Everything needs space.
· Our minds need empty space, times of no thought, or free, random thinking without attachment and without a need for us to do something right away with our thinking.
· Our hearts (emotions) need to be aired out, not ignored or held in the tiny spaces of our fear, or shoved to the side by our busyness and overwhelm.
· Our bodies need space. When we jam them into our schedules and force them into our expectations for too long, they get sick.

Solitude is not loneliness. Loneliness is being without. Solitude is being with God and yourself.

And as Henri Nouwen reminds us, It is in solitude that we remember we are the beloved. (It is In our busyness that we forget).

Take a long hike today. Look at God in all that’s around you and notice God looking back at you.
Or sit at your favorite beach and talk with God, or just fall asleep in His presence.

Fight the temptation to mentally head back to work early. Trust God with your responsibilities and stay in the present moment. That’s where the Holy Spirit dwells!

80 baptisms
Sunday June 12th 2005, 8:39 pm
Filed under: church

every quarter, my church heads down to mission bay (a man-made bay off the pacific ocean, just north of downtown san diego) for baptisms. this is something i love about my church. there’s nothing stodgy or passionless about it. it’s a freakin’ party.

about 400 or so were there today (i’m totally guessing), and by the time i got there, the area was already thick with barbecue smoke. everyone was in beach clothing, and had laid out blankets and beach chairs all over the place. a game of volleyball was in full swing, and little kids were running all over the place. at some point, a group with guitars started leading worship songs — it all feels wonderfully hippie at that point! but, hey, we’re on the beach, so it works. then, one of the pastors comes up and explains baptism (those being baptised have already met in the preceeding weeks — though it seems people can make the choice that day also).

then, we all head for the water’s edge. all the pastors of the church walk out into the water (when my daughter got baptized two years ago, they let me do it). and people just line up. today there were about 80 people. almost all of them are adults. since most of them have lead lives away from God for decades, they’ve had a great opportunity to really screw things up. so, when these people make a choice to follow the jesus-way, it’s a big change. and when they pop up from the water, it’s almost always accompanied by a face that radiates the joy of this moment in their lives, and the loud cheers and applause of family and friends on the shore.

the whole thing is a bit of a party-style frenzy. i cried about three times (well, got way choked up), watching…
-the newly-wet face of a woman who’d obviously been around the block a few too many times (and was wearing a bikini top — something i’ve never seen at any of the churches i worked in!), and the look of pure peace as she stood up out of the water. i could “see” that she was tangibly experiencing grace.
- the nervousness of the massive muscled guy with tattoos all over his shoulders and arms (um, and not celtic crosses, if you know what i mean). he walked out nervously, turned around nervously, nodded his head nervously in discussion with the pastor about to baptize him, folded his hands like a 5 year-old, and went under. then he lept up like a super-hero, with pumping fists in the air, shouting “YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!”. he had a whole crew of similar-looking friends on the shore, and they were all going crazy.
- the father and teenage daughter who walked out to get baptized simulataneously, and the tears of joy on both of their faces.

i could go on.

then, we all ambled back up the beach to the now-ready burgers and hotdogs and watermelon and cake. none of that potluck mystery casserole i grew up with at church functions! to finish it off, a friend and i beat our two new youth pastors in bocce ball.

theological worldview quiz
Sunday June 12th 2005, 8:14 pm
Filed under: church, emerging church

thanks to mike king for this link. an interesting quiz to test your theological leanings. of course, anyone can write a quiz that’s not accurate, but it’s still fun. i really struggled with some of the answers, while others were really simple.

here are my scores (kinda interesting for a kid who grew up steeped in evangelical presbyterianism)…

Emergent/Postmodern 82%
Neo orthodox 75%
Classical Liberal 50%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 50%
Modern Liberal 43%
Roman Catholic 39%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 39%
Reformed Evangelical 25%
Fundamentalist 11%

daily ys staff meditations — sunday
Sunday June 12th 2005, 10:44 am
Filed under: faith, youth specialties


david, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the lord with all his might…
michal, daughter of saul watched from a window. and when she saw king david leaping and dancing before the lord, she despised him in her heart…
michal came to meet him and said “how the king of israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
david said to michal,…”i will celebrate before the lord. i will become even more undignified than this, and i will be humiliated in my own eyes. but by these slave girls you spoke of, i will be held in honor.” 2 samuel 6:14-22

I define worship as anything that pulls me out of my narcissistic center and into the deeper reality of God.

Do something today that reminds you that you are not the center of the universe. We don’t have to be!
That’s what Sabbath helps us to remember.

Stopping and worshipping helps our bodies and minds remember that as Christians we are constantly trying to reorganize our lives around the larger reality of God.

We don’t do anything productive so that we can remember we’re not the ones making this place run. Whew!

So dance naked today!

daily ys staff meditations — saturday
Saturday June 11th 2005, 7:35 pm
Filed under: faith, youth specialties


i sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings. Psalms 63:7b

Today, talk to God about the pain and suffering you are carrying. See if you can’t let God hold it for awhile.

Rent a funny movie, hang out with goofy friends, go disco bowling, do something silly. If there are little kids around, watch them and learn. Sing loud and slightly off key and see if anyone notices. Build a tent fort. TP your pastor’s house (at our ages this IS funny).

Dance with wild, reckless abandon.
Or just meditate on all the things that give you life, the things you are grateful for. And tell God you remember that he delights in you and guards you under his wings.

daily ys staff meditations — friday
Saturday June 11th 2005, 7:34 pm
Filed under: faith, youth specialties


rise up, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.
for the winter is past, and the rain is over and gone.
the flowers are springing up, and the time of singing birds has come,
even the cooing of turtledoves.
the fig trees are budding, and the grapevines are in blossom.
how delicious they smell!
yes, spring is here!
arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.
song of songs 2:10-14

Beauty. Find some.
Take a long drive on a beautiful two-lane highway.
Hike in the Cuyamacas.
Sit at your favorite beach.
Go to an art museum.
Play beautiful music.
Eat wonderful food.

Notice the beauty in yourself.
Look at the people around you and recognize the beauty in them.
Breathe it all in…deeply.

daily ys staff meditations — thursday
Saturday June 11th 2005, 7:33 pm
Filed under: faith, youth specialties


are you tired? worn out? burned out on religion?
come to me.
get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
i’ll show you how to take a real rest.
walk with me and work with me-
watch how I do it.
learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
i won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. matthew 11:28-30


You might also find ways to spend time today in real rest.
Real Rest comes when we show up to God.
When our real self comes into contact with the real God.

When I get honest with God about my thoughts, feeling, and situations, I slowly become aware that God is holding me in the midst of all the chaos and beauty of my life this day. Real rest is what follows.


daily ys staff meditations — wednesday
Saturday June 11th 2005, 7:32 pm
Filed under: faith, youth specialties

i asked our staff spiritual director, beth slevcove, to put together a guide for our 7 day weekend, our sabbath-week. as i was reading and thinking about today’s suggestion, i thought i should post them, as they are just wonderful. feel free to join us! i’ll have to post four days worth right now to get caught up; but use them whenever you want…


while they were on their way jesus came to a village where a woman named martha made him welcome in her home. she had a sister, mary, who seated herself at the lord’s feet and stayed there listening to his words.

now martha was distracted by serving, so she came to him and said, “lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to get on with the work by myself? tell her to come and help me.”

but the lord answered, “my dear martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! but only one thing is needed. mary has discovered it- and I will not take it away from her. luke 10:38-42

Read this a few times out loud.
Read it slow and listen if a word or phrase stands out to you. Notice if things bug you about this scripture or attract you and let those things become entry points to prayer.

Detox. If we take this week seriously, there are toxins that will come to the surface. Things we don’t notice in our full, busy lives. Things that drain our energy and rob us of life. What are they? What toxins have snuck in unaware? What are we choosing to go without this week? What are our distractions? Our worries and anxieties? And what is the One Thing Needed? The answers will be different for each of us.

This might be a good day to journal, or take a long walk alone and rant. Get your words out in conversation with God. Get in touch with how your body feels, how your mind feels, how your heart feels. Get your words out so you can make space inside yourself.

blessing for ys
Saturday June 11th 2005, 2:00 pm
Filed under: youth specialties

my friend (and ys author) steve case wrote this beautiful blessing for the staff of ys, during our sabbatical 7-day weekend.

A Blessing For The Good People of Youth Specialties:

Creator and Rejuvenating God

Your servants are tired.

They have walked across a desert for you and now they stand







dust caked.

Take a balloon, God, one of those big ones with all the colors, and hook it up to some heavenly spicket. Let them stand together and rest. Let them know its okay to stop









Let them stand and wait as the balloon swells with your sweet water.

Let them take this moment and close their eyes and tilt their heads back and outstretch their arms.

When the water bursts let it pour down

not in a drizzle

not in a sprinkle

not in a sponge down

not even in a pouring

let it be a deluge

let it be a drenching of your love and presence

May they stand in the center of a waterfall obscured by pour God sized buckets of sweet renovating water.

let them stand firm and feel the washing away of the stress

let every speck of collected dust be wash away

Let this








Leave them standing refreshed and ready for what is to come.

Let them shake water from their hair

And feel sweet relief


i will rest at movies
Friday June 10th 2005, 12:23 pm
Filed under: personal

jeannie asked me how i want to spend my week off — what would be fun and restful to me. i decided i want to get caught up on movies, and see one every day. i love movies — in theaters (renting a DVD isn’t the same).

liesl and i saw Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants yesterday. that leaves me 5 more days. there are some movies i should have seen by now that are “musts”, but here’s the list i’m musing on…

star wars: revenge of the sith (can you believe i haven’t seen this yet?)
cinderella man
the interpreter (gotta get to this before it’s not in theaters anymore)
lords of dogtown (loved the documentary, “z boys and dogtown”)
mr & mrs smith
unleashed (jet li, bob hoskins)
oh, and sharkboy & lavagirl in 3-D (uh, i’m kidding)

input? these or others? monday and tuesday i’ll see one with jeannie — but today/tomorrow/sunday may be solo movie watching, or with a friend.

[[update #1 — friday: saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith today with our church’s new jh pastor. wow. if action is your thing (it is mine), this kicks butt. nothing like seeing angelina jolie kick the snot out of brad pitt! two down, four to go…]]

[[update #2 — saturday afternoon: saw, um, Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D with my son max (7 years-old). he absolutely loved it. but now i am stuck with a theatrical-philosophical question: was this movie or Little Women worse?]]

[[update #3 — saturday evening: saw Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith with a friend. wow - the visuals are unstoppable, and i’m glad i saw it on a huge screen. loved obi-wan’s comment that only sith’s see things in absolutes. but every scene with padme and anikan brought a combo of laughter and annoyance. i’ve seen natalie portman actually act in other movies, so maybe it was bad lines or direction or a case of gas. three down + 1 (lava didn’t count), 3 to go.]]

[[update #4 — sunday evening: saw Lords of Dogtown, by myself. really, really enjoyed it.]]

[[update #5 — monday late morning: saw Cinderella Man with my wife. what a fantastic movie. four + sharkboy down, crash to go tomorrow.]]

[[final installment, update #6 — tuesday afternoon: saw Crash by myself. sat stunned in the theater for a few minutes after; tried to turn on the radio in the car, and had to turn it off and be silent. not the most entertaining movie of my week, but certainly the most important.]]

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