time magazine article on youth ministry
Tuesday October 31st 2006, 12:55 pm
Filed under: youth ministry, youth work, news

wow — even time magazine is jumping on the bandwagon. not a bad article, really — one of the better i’ve seen. no article like this seems able to please on every point — but this one sure is better than the ny times piece!

here’s a taste:

Youth ministers have been on a long and frustrating quest of their own over the past two decades or so. Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment. But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination. Their conversion has been sparked by the recognition that sugarcoated Christianity, popular in the 1980s and early ’90s, has caused growing numbers of kids to turn away not just from attending youth-fellowship activities but also from practicing their faith at all.

those wonderful hospital charts
Tuesday October 31st 2006, 10:56 am
Filed under: humor

the hospital dietary staff harped and harped about how important it was that i eat low-fat. the doctor told me i should eat a liquid diet for a couple days, then move to soft food only (foods you don’t have to chew). she said i was going to get a soft-food lunch (it was 3pm) to see how my pancreas would respond.

it was a chicken caesar salad, complete with croutons.

the dietary staff harped some more about lo-fat. they promised i would have a chance to pick my food, as to be sure. but dinner arrived, and i was told it was a lo-fat dinner.

it was roast beef with gravy.

the nurse told me i could leave and go home. i asked about my fever, and if she could give me something for that. she left to get my tylenol. she came back to inform me that it wasn’t on the doctor’s orders, so she couldn’t give me tylenol. i was standing, with my bag packed, ready to walk out, and sacrastically said, “so, you can give me a full milligram of that extremely intense intervenous pain killer, but you can’t give me over-the-counter aspirin?”

she didn’t catch the sarcasm, and responded, “yes, i can give you the pain killer — do you want that?”

that said, i laughed at this list of “actual” things written on hospital charts, sent to me by my friend bob, while i was in the hospital:

Actual writings on hospital charts:

1. She has no rigors or shaking chills , but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

2. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

3. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

4. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

5. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

6. Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

7. Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

8. The patient refused autopsy.

9. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

10. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

11. Patient’s medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

12. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

13. She is numb from her toes down.

14. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

15. The skin was moist and dry.

16. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

17. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

18. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

19. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

20. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

21. Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

22. Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

23. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

24. The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

25. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

26. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

27. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Blank, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

28. Large brown stool ambulating in the hall.

29. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

5 of me
Tuesday October 31st 2006, 10:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

i’ve seen this little search engine on a handful of blogs in the past week, and decided to give it a whirl…

Logo There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

so, there are 5 people named mark oestreicher. i met one via email through an aol search years ago (when i had aol). we had several emails back and forth about what we do in life and how weird it was that we had the same name and everything, then found we really had nothing else to talk about. and i know there’s a doctor in new england with the name. he pops up in google searches. i’ve tried to figure out how to contact him (via email), but haven’t succeeded.

that leaves 2 more!

my father is an only son of immigrants from germany (my ‘oestreicher’ grandfather was the only one his line with that name to immigrate). and i’m an only son. so there are no other oestreichers in our extended family.

‘oestreicher’, btw, means austrian in german. my ‘oestreicher’ grandfather immegrated from the northern part of germany, though, which is nowhere near austria.

i completely doubt the veracity of this little search engine’s ability. i was showing it to my daughter liesl, and put her name in. i wasn’t suprised to see there were 0 “liesl oestreicher” matches. but it also said there were 0 people in the US with the first name liesl. any google search or xanga or facebook or myspace search will quickly prove otherwise.

finally, a great summary of emerging church
Tuesday October 31st 2006, 10:55 am
Filed under: church, emerging church, emergent

scot mcknight recently delivered some lectures at westminster theological sem, one specifically on “what is the emerging church?”. the transcript of the talk is available (in pdf download) from mark at sacred journey. here’s the link to the pdf. mcknight blogged about the time at wts here.

it’s a 30-page doc, but it’s the single best reasonably consise description of the emerging church (and the differences between emerging and emergent, one of my pet peeves) that i’ve seen. highly recommended read. thanks to andrew jones and a few others who linked to this.

loved this bit:

“Here’s my point: if you narrow the emerging movement to Emergent Village, and especially to the postmodernist impulse therein, you can probably dismiss this movement as a small fissure in the evangelical movement. But, if you are serious enough to contemplate major trends in the Church today, at an international level, and if you define emerging as many of us do – in missional, or ecclesiological terms, rather than epistemological ones – then you will learn quickly enough that there is a giant elephant in the middle of the Church’s living room. It is the emerging church movement and it is a definite threat to traditional evangelical ecclesiology.”

a little laughter, a little sigh
Monday October 30th 2006, 4:53 pm
Filed under: youth specialties, personal, family

two things about liesl (my 12 year-old daughter) that totally cracked me up this weekend:

first, she found some panties that some friend (she didn’t know which one) had left at our house after a sleepover, and after washing them, started wearing them, saying they were super-comfy. jeannie noticed they said “thank god it’s juicy” across the rump, and told liesl she had two options; throw them away, or use a marker to cross that out.
i noticed them this weekend. she’d taken a permenant black sharpie and put an x through the word “juicy”, and written “dry” above it. too funny.

then, equally crude (sorry, deal with it — i’m a junior high pastor with a 12 year-old daughter; what do you expect?), is this story:
our family is — how to say this delicately??? — rather, um, flatulatory. and liesl is the queen. jeannie got sick of it. she also got sick of liesl’s annoying little habbit of saying “safety” everytime she farted (some middle school thing involving punching each other). jeannie insisted that every time liesl farts, she has to say, “excuse me for being completely and utterly disgusting.” the funny thing is, she’s doing it! all weekend long i would hear a little quack followed by “excuse me for being completely and utterly disgusting.”

onto the sigh:

today is the 3rd anniversary of mike yaconelli’s death. while his death, as we’ve all said over and over, cleared the way for so many wonderful changes around ys, that sure doesn’t do much to mitigate the sadness those of us who knew and loved him (and were loved by him) experience around this time of year. this is the first year our ys staff isn’t gathering for a sunset toast to yac — most of our staff have already headed up to the aneheim convention, and a full 1/2 of our staff never knew mike. but ‘moving on’ is often not as simple as letting the clock turn.

only two months ’til 24, season 6
Monday October 30th 2006, 2:50 pm
Filed under: tv/movies

i’m so stoked! i just watched this sweet extended trailer for the upcoming (january) season of 24, the freakin’ best show in the history of television. c’mon, everyone to my house starting in january for a weekly 24 viewing party. who’s bringin’ the lo-fat snacks for me and my picky pancreas?

thoughts for parents of young teens, episode 2
Monday October 30th 2006, 12:01 pm
Filed under: youth ministry, family, youth work

if you’re a youth worker reading this, please feel free to copy and paste (or email) this in a parent email or newsletter (though a credit line would be appreciated)…

The young teen years summed up in one word: transition

Nikki is 11 years old, and in 6th grade. But she looks more like a 16 year-old. And I’ve had more than one mom comment to me that they would pay big money to have fingernails as nice as Nikki’s. But Nikki still loves to play with Barbie dolls. In fact, it’s not uncommon for her to bring a couple with her on youth group trips. The other kids tease her about it – but she’s naive enough to think they think it’s fun that Barbie is in tow. It’s not that Nikki is neither a child nor a teenager: she’s bits of both.

Then there’s a group of guys I used to call the “Punk Pokemons” (this was a few years ago when Pokemon was big). Their group was five 8th grade guys – all taller than me – who were trying very hard to be tough. They wore baggy pants and spiked their hair. And they never smiled. Never. They were 100% committed to being disinterested. But on a regular basis, they would gather in the back corner of our junior high room at church to trade Pokemon cards (those goofy little trading cards that were popular with kids a few years back). It was hilarious to see the snarling wannabe tough guys saying things like, “I”ll give you two Pekachus for one Mewtwo.”

Nikki and the Punk Pokemons are in transition. Not quite adults, but not kids anymore either.

If you ask me to define the young teen years in one word, I’d have to use the word “transition.” Everything about the world of a young teen is somewhere in-between where they’ve been and where they’re headed.

The signs of “work in progress” show up in every area of a young teen’s life, including her faith. She’s finding that her “childish” faith system isn’t working anymore, faith-bit by faith-bit. She begins the search – sometimes consciously and proactively, sometimes not – for a richer, more complex adult faith system. And much of this is accomplished through experimentation.
Here’s what I mean: your young teen might show less interest in church, but more interest in spiritual things. By spiritual things, I don’t necessarily mean youth group retreats and the church children’s choir. For a young teen, the dimensions of the spiritual life are just opening up, and they’re noticing depth and spirituality in music, in movies, in TV shows, in conversations with friends, even listening in on adult conversation.

But they’re in transition! They’ll continue to have pieces of childish faith and elements of an adult faith at the same time. Just as you would never try to rush the physical growth of your child (by pumping them full of hormones or steroids), it’s a bad move to attempt to rush this spiritual transition also. But you can help them: by listening, discussing, staying open and not threatened. Watch for these signs of transition in faith, and ask open-ended, non-threatening questions to help them develop their faith-thinking.

Share more openly about your own spiritual journey: your longings and doubts, your hopes and a-ha moments, places where you’ve seen God active in your life in the past week.

And most of all: be aware that this transition means they won’t stay this way for long; so cherish this time!

apologies for lousy posting
Sunday October 29th 2006, 4:44 pm
Filed under: personal, blogs

it’s been a lame posting week (and my visits show it!). but, heck, i think hospitalization is a pretty good excuse. you shoulda seen me sitting there in that bed with that IV in my arm and various other things hooked up to me, posting via my cell phone. sorry — don’t have a pic of that to share with you.

i’m home now. tired, recovering, a bit sore all over, and slowly re-introducing food (had a glass of lo-fat veggie juice for breakfast, and a bowl of lo-fat granola with soy milk for lunch). just watched (finally) the exorcism of emily rose (wow!). back to the office tomorrow, and on up to the anaheim convention on wednesday morning.

i’ll be back to regular posting again starting tomorrow.

hey — let me know if you’ll be blogging at the anaheim convention. i’ll be posting a list later in the week.

nature’s “biggest loser” weight loss program: pancreatitus
Saturday October 28th 2006, 3:00 pm
Filed under: personal

hopefully i’ll be spelling better today: i’m less drugged.

so it seems the way to treat pancreatitus is to starve the mutha. if the pancreas can sit dormant and watch michigan trounce northwestern (which is what my pancreas is doing right now), it can heal. that means NO foods, and NO liquids, including water; which is why a hospital stay is necessary, for the IV to keep me hydrated.

so I ate very little tuesday and wednesday, ’cause I was feeling flu-y. and now i’ve been on a complete fast for two days. oh, and they tell me that when I do get out of here (which I still have no idea about - haven’t seen the doc yet today), I have to eat really small portions, in order to prevent angering my pancreas.

see? now the whole thing becomes clear. when I did that exercise on my sabbatical earlier this year where I sat at tried ti “listen to my body” for an hour, and all my rude body said to me over and over again was, “you are so f-ing fat,” well… I guess my body decided to do something about it! i’m thinking of giving my body a “time-out” to let it know who’s in charge. but i’m not sure I want to face who’s really in charge!

my pancreas is ticked
Friday October 27th 2006, 1:06 pm
Filed under: personal

so, i’ve been semi staving off what I thought was a mild flu for the past twi weeks. and two days ago, it kicked into full warfare mode. my back was killing me, and I assumed the flu bug had settled in my back.

I felt negligably better yesterday, and decided to go on my planned trip to dallas today. max and I packed last night, and I printed out our boarding passes.

then, at 1am, I woke up with the back pain and stomach pain worse than ever. so I drove myself to the ER. after a long night of tests, they’ve admitted me to the hospital doe (likely) a few days with acute pancreasitus. basically, my pancreas is ticked.

oh, and the pain killer they just put in my IV is pretty strong and i’m struggling to not fall asleep as I type. enough. i’m off to legal-grug hospital la-la land.

please do pray. we have our anaheim cinvention next week.