Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stained Glass and Painting Story Windows

When Artisan met in the other building and the guys started trying to include kids and families in worship, the walkers and talkers were in a foyer area with floor to ceiling windows. It was a temporary space so hanging pictures every week didn't really happen. It seemed like a fun idea to find Bible stained glass pictures. Looking at posters, the cost was steep. I also tried looking for translucent stained glass Bible coloring pictures but I never found them. That's why I was excited about the Dover books.

My understanding is that in the early cathedrals one of the most significant reasons for the stained glass windows was to present the scriptures visually to a largely illiterate population. It was a beautiful and artistic expression but bottom line, it was a way to tell God's story to people who couldn't read.

That's why I was excited about the stained glass coloring pages. Whether they'd be better colored by adults and older children and hung in windows for younger children or colored and viewed by mid-elementary aged kids, is a matter of preference. Older kids could probably design their own with the right kind of paper, pencils for tracing and thick black permanent markers.

We also considered using window paint and painting a part of the advent story on the patio doors each week, adding a scene each Sunday leading into Christmas. (One wall of the entry hall consisted of patio doors.) The other option was to have someone outline the pictures and give adults and children opportunity to fill in the colors, but it could get messy and it wasn't our building. It also helps to have someone with a significant amount of artistic abiltity willing to draw the outlines and work with the painters. :) It never really got off the ground. If you have lots of big long windows in your building it might be a way to celebrate Christmas or Easter.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Take Two Ministries a click away!

Puppy Post! Good Days and Bad Days

You're due for a puppy post.

All in all, I have to say that getting through puppy adolescence is going better than I thought.

Worked with Nyah for six months on being nice around other dogs and all the other basic skills so we have no excuses this time around. I know that they know that I know... Did what the trainer showed me when we were taking classes, watched more wild and wooly classes and with great fear and trepidation we went back to class and the first day she was WONDERFUL with the other dogs!! I don't know if she was just happy to be back, whether I was more relaxed or what, but I was SO grateful! The second week was good but I've got to watch her. More work to keep her distracted.

In the meantime...Ellie.

She's more fearful than Nyah in general. I've kept my eye on her, trying to avoid negative encounters but I've never had to worry about her with other dogs. She always wants to play. I was working on her attention to me, I was avoiding the social 'cause I don't always know how to respond, and they're always on leash out of the yard. The encounters Ellie had summer and fall were really good. Then in the last two weeks, when Nyah was doing so well, we had two potentially bad situations with REALLY friendly dogs. Ellie was worse than Nyah. So I'm back at square one. She goes back to class this weekend. Not sure what to expect. We'll see.

My best puppy week and my worst puppy* week all at the same time...sigh. Sometime you're working really hard and think you're doing all the right things and you still come up short.

I'm very grateful! Puppies and kids keep you humble. :)



*"Puppy" as in 80 pound 1 1/2 yr old adolecents.

Literal, Figurative, True

I said I believe the scriptures. I do. Having said that, some people will think literal and some figurative and there are probably other positions on the spectrum.

If I've already told you this story, you can skip this post. My husband and I are different in many ways. One, is that I always read Genesis 1 as a literal account. I read all of scripture literally. He reads Genesis as a figurative account. A couple of years ago we butted heads on this. Knowing how highly he regards the Word, I couldn't understand how he could possibly not read the scriptures as literally true.

"How can you possibly say that this is only figurative?" And I probably did say, "only" figurative.

Then he said, "But I believe it's all true".

Now I have to say that this was one of the more profound mind-boggling moments of my life. What if it's not literal but just as true? Or more true? In my husband's brilliant, creative mind, God is too big to be "only" literally true.

In any culture, words are layered with meaning. As as we mature, as our experience grows, consciously or unconsciouly, we add layers of meaning to our thinking. Child development experts have their varying models for progressive stages of development often formulated as steps to some unseen, never fully realized pinacle. But sometimes it's profound to see things someone hasn't noticed before, and sometimes it's profound to see the obvious.

After my momentary quandry, it made perfect sense. Of course God is bigger than the literal and the visible. He's the invisible God. He's the Living Word. We don't really understand all the varying discrepancies or seeming contradictions in the scriptures but somehow, it's all true because it's God's word and He doesn't lie.

Somehow our doctrines and the seeming contradictions of scripture divide us because we have to be "right." Yet respecting the authority of His word, gathering, listening, learning from one another, digging deeper, pondering, always doing what we know (despite our differences) we can draw closer to the Living God and perhaps see sides of Him that we'd never see alone.

If eternal life is to know Him, Him being God and us not, it will take an eternal life to do that. Even if we're always seeking to know Him better, there will always be more of Him to know. A healthy mix of confidence and humilty. The stuff we want to give our kids.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My Most Recent Find

I was hoping to find something like this about a year ago... and, apparently, wasn't looking in the right place. :)

Today I discovered that Dover has stained glass coloring page books: when you color them with paint, markers or crayons and hang them in a window they resemble stained glass. They go for about $6 a piece and include about 16 separate pages (16 kids?). For those of you who celebrate St. Patrick's Day in a big way they have one with Celtic knots, one from the Book of Kells and Celtic themes.

Let's see...what else... Leonardo DaVinci. Not sure about Bible pictures but that would be the best! Angels, fish, cathedral stained glass (there you go!) ,Christmas, whales...

Yes!!! And the life of Jesus. There you go, again! There are others, too, check out their website!

We'll call this Israelites leaving Egypt with Egyptian gold.

Why Did I Pick that One?

Todd posted these questions in a comment.

"... what helps you to mention a particular site?

What do you look for?

What makes a site good in your book?"

Really good questions! My mentioning a site isn't neccessarily an endorsement. I probably should have said that somewhere. That's why I thought I should post this and not just comment.

Most of the resources I post are resources I found personally useful or thought-provoking in one way or another. I'll include a site that I think someone else might find potentially useful. I probably won't bother posting sites that everyone goes to. I won't post anything I think is potentially harmful or controversial.

Most of the blogs are your own blogs. It gives you opportunity if you want to network, or pray or listen and hear what other people are thinking and doing and wrestling with.

Some of the resources come from my reading books for children and from my children's writers' networking.

Some come from my reading. Some come when I'm looking up one thing and discover something more interesting or potentially useful to someone.

I'm not into telling people how to think but I believe what the scriptures say. I believe God created man with the capacity to believe Him but also with the capability to think and reason in the light of His Word and make wise decisions. God forbid I should say or do something that would cause anyone to stumble but I have and I probably will again.

I believe we need to "love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, strength" and "love our neighbor as ourself" whoever that neighbor is. I believe I'll be judged the same way I judge and that love covers a multitude of sin. We like the denomination we've been part of recently but we've never really had strong denominational affiliation. As we prayerfully ponder the scriptures, our thinking keeps changing. Hopefully, for the better.

Bottom line, you have to prayerfully sift through the things people feed you, weigh them against God's words and what you know of His Spirit and His nature as revealed through the scriptures and follow your own conscience.

Most people who come here are just curious. Some people are looking for practical ideas or how-tos. Some people are looking for books to read and commentary. Some people are looking to connect with people who think the way they're thinking. If you come to Emerging Kids and leave with something you didn't have or more encouraged and excited to keep on walking with Jesus, or better equipped to love and minister to children I'm happy.

You can probably tell from the relative randomness you find here, that I don't really have an agenda apart from just sharing things I get excited about - and people who know me might say I don't get excited about very much. :)

I love Jesus, but I'll never push Him on you. I love kids (and my puppies). I inevitably love the unique and different people who walk through our lives even if they don't always love each other. I'm naturally curious. I ask a lot of questions and God is very patient. I like sharing things if I think they might be potentially useful to someone else.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the resources you see here, or if you've found resources that you love and you want to share, great!! I tend to see things from so many different angles (positive and negative) that if I get going, it will make you tired before I even get started so I'll stop now.

Did I answer your question?

:)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Still Pondering Communion 2

Many years ago, we were also warned that if we ate the blood and body of Christ in an "unworthy manner" we would probably get sick, "because of unconfessed sin," we were told.

That's in 1 Cor. 11:30 "29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing* the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself." The KJV reads " For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning* the Lord's body." "30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep."

* "Recognizing" the body, "discerning" the body, same Greek word - "to judge thoroughly." The same word is used in Matt. 16:3 If you read that passage, pondering how much time people spent outdoors in those days and pondering how well they needed to be able to predict the weather, it almost suggests being able to see the obvious.

"31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment." (NIV) The KJV reads "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." Clear, simple, let's hear if for the KJV! LOL! A good thing for kids to learn? (consequences, forgiveness, and mercy) 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world." An interesting take on discipline. Discipline that will save us from something worse.

There's surely more to ponder but revisiting these passages shuffles around some puzzle pieces as I ponder what it means for us to partake of the Lord's table and invite our children to join us there? Examine yourself. Judge yourself so God doesn't have to. Do you have confidence before God? Do you have confidence before God to do what He's asking you to do? Are you paying attention to potential warning signs in the Body of Christ? And somewhere at the heart of it all, remember Jesus. Eat and drink the life of Christ.

More on Communion

There were some recent comments on Subversive Influence regarding kids at the communion table. The question was "what does it mean to take communion in an "unworthy" manner. Someone at Artisan asked me that earlier last year, too.

If you want, you can read the comment on Subversive but my reason for adding it here is to say this. Whether you include your children at the "grown up" communion table or not, you can't go wrong if you teach your children to confess their sins. How we define "sin" may vary but I tend to think about it as the things that separate me from God and others. We teach our children to confess their sins and we join them.

Still Pondering Communion

The question that came up was what does it mean to partake of the body and blood of Christ in an "unworthy" manner? If you didn't go back to read Subversive Influence, here are the passages of scripture that leave some of us asking that question but start with Jesus and His disciples and what He said about the meal. Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-38. Interesting that John chooses to focus on other things.

The "unworthy" passage is from I Cor 11: 26-28 (NIV)

"26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." Apparently Paul considered it more than remembering, he described it as "proclaiming". Interesting. Kids can do that, can't they? 27 "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup."

Years ago, we were among a group of people who were going back to the scriptures instead of taking sacraments, traditions, and rituals for granted. We were often warned not to partake of the body and blood of Christ in an unworthy manner and about "examining ourselves."

According to my Young's Concordance, the only other place a form of that Gk word for "unworthy" is used is in 1 Cor. 6:2 (NIV)

In context: 1 "If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? (KJV) "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?"

So what is it in both of these passages that gives this word "unworthy" its meaning? I'm hearing a vote of confidence here. If God deems you competent to judge something, consider yourself competent! Have confidence before God. Examine yourself but don't consider yourself unworthy of a task if God considers you worthy. It's worth reading the rest of the passage in context.

Sometimes children have more confidence before God than we do.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Postscript

And yes, in the realm of imagination, children need to learn
-to discern good from evil
-to let the scriptures influence their imaginations in a way that will grow the faith that is substance, bedrock, and evidence of the unseen
-to continually choose the path that will keep them in fellowship with their Creator and the people around them.

Yup.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Faith and Imagination

Recently someone got me thinking about something I was looking for when I read Children's Spirituality. Hopefully, this won't be too wierd. This isn't science or research-based. I'm not a Greek or Hebrew student. I'm just wondering. I'm thinking about the imagination. It's one of those facets of childhood that we tend to dismiss when we become adults. But more than most of us would ever admit, it's part of adulthood, too. I believe spirit, faith, and imagination are somehow tied together.

For me imagination is vital to childhood. It's one of those things that makes childhood, childhood. But I'm also thinking that it's vital to faith - particularly child-like faith. I'm thinking that God didn't give us our minds, hearts, bodies, and imaginations only as things to overcome but as tools we can use for good or evil.

Someone recently read that "Kardias" a Greek word, could be translated not only as "heart" but as "imagination". I went into a Youngs Concordance: "heart, heart's, hearts, mind, minds, quick, spirit". Sadly, "imagination" wasn't on the list but I'd venture to guess that no one can dispute that it's there somewhere in the heart and mind of each of us to a greater or a lesser degree. I'm leaving out soul but you can include that, too, if you want to. Maybe they're all facets of the same thing or maybe they're distinctly different. I'm thinking their definately interdependent.

We think of the mind as the part of us that thinks. We think of the heart as the part of us that feels, the seat of passion (for anything we're passionate about). Physically speaking, the human body can't survive without both brain and heart. There are ways they're different, ways they depend on each other, ways they're intertwined. The imagination? Brain or heart? I don't know but I do know it's the part of us that creates visual, auditory, kinesthetic images inside of us where no one but God can see unless we have the tools, the words, and the will to translate, the way artists, musicians, writers, and engineers translate ideas into forms that other people can appreciate.

Imaginary. Real or not? Most of us can differentiate between what's "real" and what's not, what's useful and what's not. But doesn't God have an imagination? Wasn't God the first one to speak something that wasn't and it was? Didn't God first reveal Himself to us as Creator, giving us a world and a body to explore [meaning the way babies learn about being physical beings]? Didn't He make us in such a way that we can imagine possibilities? Where did it all come from?

And the spirit of a man? Elusive? Perhaps the part of us revealed to God, to ourselves and to others through our choices, our thoughts, feelings, passions, deeds, and expressions of creative imagination? The part of us that was originally created God-shaped?

The other word that went with kardia was sklhrokardiĆ°a - hardness of heart. What if what Jesus was talking about was a hardness of imagination? An inability to believe what you can't see and touch? An inability or an unwillingness to imagine with God what could be - both the good and the bad? An unwillingness to believe that God spoke and it was. God speaks and it is. Hardness of heart. A hardness of imagination. "O ye of little faith." Faith is substance. Imagination, maybe not but I still think they're related.

No wonder God loves children. No wonder God condemns us if we cause them to stumble, or undermine their faith, or try to take it away from them. Yes, they have to face a "real" world and learn how to differentiate between imaginary friends, real life, and a God who is, even though we can't see Him. Pretty confusing.

Whether parents, teachers, or friends, God's given us an awesome responsibility part of which is distinguishing between faith and imagination yet acknowledging the ways they depend on each other.

Check this out!

Jaded CM is reading what promises to be an interesting book, The Spiritual Life of Children by Robert Coles. Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Passages to Ponder: Generations

Psalm 33 particularly vs 11.

"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations." I wonder what it means...that the purposes of His heart stand firm through all generations...

I wonder... How do the statements God makes about generations affect
-how we train up children in the way they should go
-how we tell them about the things that God has done and remember His faithfulness together
-how we talk together about His words getting up, sitting down, walking, driving...
-how we live today...

...or are the things that God says that pertain to generations promises that rest solely in God's hands ...

More:

Psalm 45 vs 17

Psalm 71 vs. 17-19

Psalm 78

Psalm 146 vs 9-10

I wonder if we were to look at the generations that turned from God if we can see it coming in the generation before?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

150 Ways to Show Kids You Care

Sometimes knowing how to love people, particularly people when they're children, is slightly elusive. If you haven't already seen this, I thought you might enjoy it! I think my son was given this as a resource when he was a life guard for city rec.

Passages to Ponder: Generations: Psalm 24

A whole generation who seek God's face.

...to really scrutinize someone's face . . . to notice their eye color, the smile lines, the frown lines, the freckles, the sparkle in their eyes...

A whole generation who seek God's face. Gosh! Imagine! What would that look like?

Has it ever happened before? Did it ever happen in the scriptures?

Maybe every generation sees itself that way...

Could it really happen? Or would it have to be a generation that crosses generations...

I wonder...With God all things are possible. Imagine the possibilities. How would we get there? What would it look like?


Psalm 24 (vs 6)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Passages to Ponder: Generations: Psalm 22

Psalm 22 (NIV) especially vs 30-31.

30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.

31 They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn—
for he has done it.


It's challenging to ponder all the possible ways that one generation can proclaim the righteousness of God "to a people yet unborn". Not just to an individual child but "to a people yet unborn". . . The scriptures say it will happen, "for he has done it."


Is the righteousness of God that we proclaim tied to what He does? Does it imply our watching and recording?

When you're talking with children of this generation do you talk about the things that God does and about His righteousness? What is righteousness, anyway? How do you translate God's righteousness into non-theological language that children can relate to? How do you talk about it?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blogs to Check Out

Did I ever send Chris Eerdman's Blog your way?

If you check out PoMoKidz and Jenn's new devotional she has a list of sites just for kids and parents.

The Ultrarev has a nice list of Servant Evangelism and Church planting sites.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Something to Think About

Brother Maynard of Subversive Influence was reviewing his favorite posts from this year. This one is one that you might find particularly interesting, expecially if you grew up in a Protestant or Evangelical church.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wool Works

Do you knit, crochet or have yarn to give away? Do you need to be convinced that you will really never use up all your yarn? Do you need to be convinced that finding someone else to recycle it for children, cats in shelters and other worthy causes is better stewardship than saving it? Check this out.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wierd Weather

For the record: It's one thing to see wild garlic and crocuses popping through the dirt on January 4th, 2007 in upstate NY. But today, it's 54 degrees and the ants are up and running!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Learning from Children

For all my rambling about learning from children, you might enjoy this !

(Things start getting dangerous when the tag list is longer than my post.)

Prayers

Scriptures tell us how Mary pondered the things she saw God doing in the life of her son and how Job interceded for his children.

A mom I once knew with a two year old, and pregnant with her second child, once shared that she was praying Psalm 139 for her daughter - a special prayer for your own children or the children you work with, whether you love them, whether they frustrate you, or both. Substitute the person on your heart for the "I". Maybe prayers like that open our hearts alittle to see someone alittle more the way God sees them.

There are a lot of places in scripture we can bring back to the Lord as prayers - among them Jesus' prayers and the prayers at the end of the Epistles. The hard part is to keep watching to see how God responds.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Psalm 90

You could read Psalm 90 and find it pretty depressing. Sorry. That wasn't my intent. The verses I find myself pondering over the years (NIV) are vs. 1-5, 11-12, 14-17. It just isn't quite fair to take them out of context.