Saturday, June 24, 2006


We watched "Back in the Secret Garden" a few minutes ago. Very special!

parenting and puppies

[I started this post back in May but never posted it. Here's the short of it.]

My puppies are teaching me far more than I can blog about without a separate puppy blog. (I should have had puppies before I had kids?)

I've been told that mother dogs know which puppy needs barely a nip and which puppies need a good solid bite to teach them. There may be a science to training dogs and a definate list of do's and don'ts but it seems that some of the most successful training is relational - love building mutual trust and respect. Quickly! Puppies grow much faster than children. At 9 months, they're teenagers and some of them stay that way a long time. :-) THANK GOD our children don't grow from babyhood to adolescence in 9 months. Imagine twins!

In the scriptures, how does God parent His people? How does He parent you?

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Communion Table

Sue was very touched watching parents and kids at the communion table a couple of Sundays ago. A few days later, in a different conversation, Kristen told me that communion is perhaps the most special time for Grant during service.


"I have been letting Grant is his favorite part of the service he says. And at a 4 yr old level, he is able to communicate with me about why we do it. One week we took communion together and his prayers were precious thanking Jesus for dying on the cross..."


"An attack of jealousy struck me at church a few Sundays ago and of all things during communion. The reason for this strange attack is as complex as it is simple. At Artisan Church our communion table is open to all ages. It is not unusual to see parents and children (ages infants through teens) engaging in communion together. I should explain that at Artisan communion is offered at every service and you must actively go forward to a table. I have been witnessing this ritual for a long time but something changed this one week and it opened the flood gates of my thoughts and emotions.

Our message series tied into themes of the “last supper” and early church images and so it was decided that we would use a long table and lower it so that you would need to kneel in order to take communion. The table was also set so that people would be using both sides of the table instead of merely standing next to each other with backs to the congregation. This one simple change caused an unexpected outcome. Now parents and children were able to engage in communion on the same level without struggling to lift children up or pass things down to partake. The beauty of witnessing these families together in a sacred moment brought tears to my eyes.

The complex issues of church tradition often put limits on who can participate in communion leaving families and those who would like to seek Christ fragmented. My attack of jealousy stems from wishing that, within the church community, I could have experienced what these parents are enjoying with my own children.

I am blessed to be able to support our families as we venture into new realms of nurturing spirituality in the entire congregation young and old."

Breaking Out of Boxes

Brian's planning an outside waterstorm for the kids on Sunday! Looks like fun!!

Open-ended wonder questions as a means to ponder God's stories are intended to start the pondering process and get us interacting with God through His stories. I'm guessing a real water storm with kids can really trigger questions. Then we listen, we ponder with our kids and see what God will show us.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


How do you occupy all ages during a 35 minute message when the intended audience of that message is adult? How do you keep kids engaged for 35 minutes if the audience isn't primarily adult? Where are the lines between busy work, activities that reinforce the message, and opportunities to encounter God? What does it mean to encounter God? How much control do we have over that?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I think it was Ivy Beckwith who said that one of the reasons it's so hard to include all ages in a worship service is the didactic nature of our worship. The American Heritage Dictionary defines didactic as "intended to instruct" or "morally instructive." This approach requires attention to developmental differences.

What are the alternatives? Where is the ground that all ages share in worship? in the Word? Where is the ground that crosses generational, cultural, and sub-cultural differences? Where is that place where we encounter God individually? as a group? What do the scriptures say?


Oh...and I think a year ago, one of the questions yet unanswered is "what is worship"?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The thing about pruning is that a branch gets cut off. If it's dead, it will stay dead. If it's alive it will continue to grow. Either way it's gone.

I'm chosing to ponder kids and faith off-line. If I've had a conversation with you, you know how to get hold of me. If you need something, and I can help, feel free to ask.

The Lord bless your labors of love.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Nurturing Adult Sensitivities to a Child's Spirit

How do we grow adult sensitivities to a child's spirit? God delights in His children. We delight in ours and yet I believe that God offers each of us, especially children, profound respect. We can search the scriptures for the stories of children.

From the mouth of Jesus, the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. How can we learn from them without drawing attention to them in a way that makes them uncomfortable or misses the point?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

BBC article

Someone sent me this BBC article today about children in Japan. Thought someone might find it interesting.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cain and Abel

Given that they've just recently held this year's conference on children's spirituality at Concordia I'm not sure that I'm going to keep blogging about it. You can read new info at the children's spirituality website .

If I keep blogging, I hope to return to children in scripture (God's stories) and to wonder questions. To make the transition, I wanted to share one more thing from Bellous, de Roos and Summey's chapter 13. I've always wondered about The story of Cain and Abel . The observations of these researchers in light of their findings, make sense to me.

They suggest that "Human experience inevitably forms a concept of God. " The two sons of Adam, two boys in the same family with the same two parents and environment, had different God concepts.

They go on: "It is striking that God met Cain in his resentment and tried to open up his experience to hope. Cain did not accept the offer; instead, he killed Abel ... It is as if Cain could choose to reconsider his idea of God, or sin, but did not seem to hear what God was offering. He sinned...This is sin's educational role - although its lessons come at a high human cost. Spiritual maturity is not accomplished soley by acts of the will, rather it is accomplished through experiencing. It is by seeing and hearing God's own way of Being that people test their assumptions about God . . . Spiritual maturity is a by-product of seeing God in new ways, as Job (in contrast to Cain) testified at the end of this suffering and as a result of it." (p. 205-6) Interesting?

Interesting that Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and God said to Adam's son, Cain, "if you do what is right." God sent Adam from the garden requiring that he toil and work the land which is where we find Cain, the older. Abel, the younger, kept the flocks. It's almost like Cain had more genetic wiring from the fall and Abel from Adam's walking with God in the garden.

I wonder how Adam and Eve's God-stories affected how their sons understood God. . .

I wonder if the work their parents gave them to do affected the way they saw God or whether God just used it . . .

I wonder why Abel seemed to know how to please God (and wanted to) but Cain didn't seem to understand. . .

I wonder. . .