Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sad substitute for a blog roll

Neat things happening at CLPCkids and Counting the Days has some fun stuff, too.

Ken usually has good serious stuff to ponder. He has some fun stuff on right now. The wheel comment cracked me up (and the thought of overnights, because my days of overnights are long gone. :)

I suppose everyone should be techno savy enough to have a blog roll like Brother Maynard but ...this is as close as you get here, folks...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Add this one! YS (YouthSpecialties) Lots to explore on this site.

Thoughts on "Emerging"

As an aside, you probably already know that you can find "Emerging Church" in wikipedia and

You may also know that many mainline denominations have Emerging constituencies.

Here is some interesting dialogue between Emerging and non. My reason for putting it here is that, if you're still reading and exploring this particular line of thinking, you'll find some readings from both sides. There may be better sources but this group, though given to discerning Biblical error, seems to be more gracious than some. They're touching the realm of thoughts and ideas - the place where most spiritual battles are won and lost and a place where few people spend any significant amout of time.

It's hard when you have people on different "sides" both saying things that are true but still not agreeing. Maybe it comes with the blessing of freedom, I don't know. If you take the things that are true from both and put them into a new would be interesting, wouldn't it? I suppose it might look alot like the old box.

What we teach our children about true, not true, relative and not . . . We teach by example, through our conversations, our choices and actions, ideas and actions that we allow and those we don't...

I only say this because the concept of Absolute is controversial. Maybe it's always been controversial.

What do you do with it?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Outreach and Missions

Children in Action is a Southern Baptist Ministry website that gives their Children's Ministries a place to share their outreach and service projects.

This is the outreach site of Vanguard University of Southern California. This is just a fairly exhaustive and impressive list of ways that believers can give to their community. Not neccessarily for children or by children unless they're with their grown-ups, but worth perusing.

This is the book I gave my sister for Christmas. She's been involved in various overseas mission opportunities over the years. The World's Most Dangerous Places, isn't a Christian book, per se, but it looks at situations in other countries through the eyes of locals rather than through the eyes of the media. If you have an older youth group or young adult group or anyone for that matter praying for people or places you might find this a useful resource.

This is just an interesting Emerging blog with learning party resources. Included is a link to the Praxis Center. It's a business but the concept is interesting. If you explore their course offerings they have some affiliation with Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA/Seattle WA and Mars Hill Gradute School in Seattle. I don't know anything about their theology but you might find some resources and ideas to play with.

Individual denominations also have resources for missions and outreach. You might find it interesting to check out denominational websites other than the ones you're already familiar with.

You're welcome to add sites here, if you want.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Behold how they love one another..." 4

So I probably sound like I'm contradicting myself. I am - the curse of seeing things from far too many perspectives.

But when it's time to take a turn in the road, when it's all said and done, do we search the scriptures as individuals? Do we fall on our knees and search the scriptures together as a Body? Especially if you're a new church.

What's this? "Thy will be done...?" What does it mean?

Where will I stand? How will I decide where to stand on this issue or that issue? When I meet Jesus and He's looking at me eyeball to eyeball do I have every confidence that I'm standing right where I need to be? Will it matter?

I think the hardest thing for my kids in our house was that it didn't matter who was right and who was wrong if they were treating each other badly. Treating someone badly is just wrong. If you were right but you were really mean about it, you'd end up having to apologize. You'd have to find something nice to do for the person you hurt, even if they were wrong. Some of my kids had such a hard time with that. Extending mercy violated their sense of justice. It's hard to extend mercy when it's easier to judge. It's hard to hold your ground and take a stand when you'd rather forgive and forget and walk away.

God is gracious, God forgives but I still believe that God will judge us as individuals and as peoples. Our choices have consequences. Often far-reaching consequences. And we can rarely see the end from the beginning.

We have to follow where the Spirit of God leads individually, hopefully in the context of a faith community, hopefully with a foundation of prayer and scripture but what happens when we don't agree? Who's right? Who's wrong? You have the law, but you also have Ecclesiastes and Jesus. Maybe it's not even a matter of right or wrong. Maybe it's just that each choice we make will lead us somewhere. This choice will take us to a different place than that choice. Good? Bad? Or just a different expression of the nature of God? I don't know. Maybe with each new generation, new wine skins for new wine.

There's a time for every purpose under heaven - a time to love and a time to hate. But I'd venture that because we're His Body and His children, it matters to God that in the midst of all our differences we learn how to love one another and be gracious to one another.

What better gift can we give to our children than the skills they need to love God with all of their heart and to love the people they disagree with without compromising their sense of purpose?

Let us be very very wary of putting kids in the middle of our battles. Wrestle for kids. Wrestle with ideas. Wrestle with God but don't stop loving all the people who are affected by your choices. Whoever we are, as believers, we represent more than children, more than our congregations, more than Christianity, more than ideas - we represent the Living God. We owe it to Him to walk prayerfully and circumspectly.

"Behold how they love one another..." 3

How do we love one another? How do we love children? How do we teach each child and each adult to love the people that are hard to love? How does every member of a congregation count the interests of every member of the congregation as more important than their own? What would that look like? How did the disciples work through their differences without compromising their purpose? Without dividing the church? And I guess scripture says there's even a time and a place for that.

Should we help parents find a way to take a break from their kids if they need that? Sure. Should we tell someone "You need a break from your kids," if they don't think they do? I would say, "no". You might say, "yes."

Do children need to learn to be still? Yes. Do children need a time and place to move and be kids? Yes. Do children need to respect the needs and desires of others? Yes. Do they need to understand "holy"? Most certainly, yes.

Adults need to respect the needs of children and their parents and families need to respect the needs of those who don't have children. That's love. We need each other. The most unseemly member of the Body of Christ is most neccessary.

This is the challenge that the church faces generation after generation. The specific issues may change but not the heart of it. My opinion.

"Behold how they love one another..." 2

An amazing thing happens in Revelation. The church gathers as one people in the presence of the One True God - perhaps for the only time in history there is no segregation. What do you suppose God did with the kids? Maybe there are other possibilities but my brain says, where else would they be but with everyone else in the presence of God.

Yet, having said that, is there a time for separate worship? Maybe. Is there a time for separate teaching? Probably. If you're part of a church with kids who keep their firey faith through adolescence and well into adulthood, should you change something? Probably not. But I'd venture you're doing a whole lot more than just including your kids in your worship service. Maybe you don't even include your kids in the adult worship. What are you doing that makes your kids want to be connected and stay connected to the Living God? Isn't that what it's all about?

Are we looking for ways to do things together or are we looking for ways to divide? Are we sharing what we have in common or focusing on our differences? Maybe there's a time and a place for both but the bottom line is that we need one another especially when we're different.

I care about including children as much as we can, but I care more that we consider one another. Do we care if the music is too loud for someone, or do we send them away to a quiet church because we didn't need them anyway. Do we care about the people who don't have families and want a quiet orderly service? We need them and they need us. Do we care about the people who don't want the kids around? They need us and believe it or not, we need them. Do we care about the people who hate kids? Are we looking for ways to build bridges? Are we fueling reconciliation or are we helping to drive the wedge deeper. And do our attempts to include kids just reenforce and support the claims that the kids are disruptive? What are we going to do with that? It's not the "us" and "them" that matters here it's the fact that we need each other and we need to care for and love one another and consider each other and figure out how to be a faith community that God can be proud of.

You can't please all the people all the time. You can't please any one person all the time and Jesus didn't do that. He had a purpose. He didn't waver. But in the end He laid His life down both for His friends and for the people who hated Him. He laid it all down to come here. He laid it all down when He left.

Yet the life that He represented never really died.

"Behold how they love one another..." 1

Brace yourselves. This is a long-winded "Tirade in Four Parts". Sounds like a Sonata. A potpourrie of questions and pondering.

I thought this was a passage from Acts. It was Tertullian, not Acts.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about love and hate - not the love where anything goes but the love where we lay down our lives for someone. If I'm luke warm I don't hate, but I probably don't love much, either. Passionate people know how to love and they know how to hate. Scripture says there's a time for love and a time for hate.

The mark of the early church was that they loved one another. Even the heathen noticed. It's scripture. It's history. Christ called the Church to love one another. Christ Jesus, God Himself, prayed for that. I'd venture that even the heart of the Law is more about how you treat God and other people than it is about keeping rules for the sake of keeping rules. But it's a tough lesson. Even after giving us all those laws, God still had to send His son to teach us how to love.

You try to find ways to love people or minister to different needs (probably needs that aren't already being met). Maybe you provide Sunday School. Maybe you include kids in adult worship. Maybe you look for middle ground.

Inevitably when creative believers try to do something new (probably because the old way isn't working) people polarize:
"This is right."
"This is wrong and this is why."
"Don't change that!"
"How can you possibly not change that?"

And the church divides.

Do we grow when we divide or do we die?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another blog 2/07

Multi-site Kids - another blog - content with a little different focus.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More conversation

Add this to the last post. In the comments, you'll find some significant conversation. I won't keep adding this but you might want to keep following.

The time post isn't real but I'm trying to post these in order.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Some Emerging Conversations About Children

Don't ask me how I found these but here are some conversations that might interest you. These are pretty recent, too.

Alan Hartung

Kid-Related posts from Subversive Influence

Let me add "2 Extremes on Kids Ministry Spectrum" from Counting the Days Until Sunday

I'm not ready to post yet, but I'm thinking about all of this.

The reason I started blogging a couple of years ago when I was working on children's ministry was because I couldn't find conversations about kids in emerging churches. Apparently that's still the case and I'm not the only one. Other people are looking, too.

The very cool thing is that, under the radar, lots of you are talking about kids and faith. You're blogging about it - a more grassroots, relational than centralized approach to the conversation. Is that an accurate way to describe it?

So the conversation continues. You may agree. You may disagree. When I find conversations I'll post them for you.

[If I haven't already said this, our family has been less involved at Artisan over the last couple months. Usually we stay put while we wrestle. This time we've backed away abit. Tired, I guess. You can still find out what's happening on the Artisan Website. Good people, there.

I'm still here, still prayerfully pondering kids and faith, but I'm not directly involved in children's ministry right now.]

The Book of Life*

*Disclaimer: This is not exactly theological ... ok, it is but it isn't...

We've probably done more than our share of art and crafts around my house over the years. I really love the image of the Valentine book . I keep thinking about it. I've been thinking about overflowing and what makes the image of an overflowing book different from a glass of water spilling over or a stream overflowing. So then I was thinking about how a book like that represents a life overflowing in a way that's different from just a box spilling over with popcorn or a glass of spilled water...

I always thought of the Book of Life as a book of lists - a giant old thick flat book. A book of lists. Good. Bad. What if it's a book like the Valentine book? What if it's a book full of scraps and reminders. Flat lives and overflowing lives? I wonder how many pages we get? I wonder what we get to put in it?

My husband George (a computer system designer) and I were talking today. I said, God probably needs a book-of-life-on-computer to hold it all. He said, actually it might be a very very small book, depending on how much really matters.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Megan's Blog

Megan's Blog - Lots to explore: lots of links to interesting articles and lots of artsy craft stuff.

"Green Faith" is an interesting concept, I haven't thought about it much. Some of you probably have. My practical brain would call it stewardship. My more imaginative, creative brain is more visual and conceptual. I could have fun with this. :)

There are probably other posts in the archives I should index with stewardship. Just have to go back and do it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wisdom '07

Knowledge and wisdom. Two different creatures but so closely related.

Knowledge - facts?

Wisdom - what you end up with when you process and sort through everyone's "facts". You hold them up to the hard-learned lessons you and the people around you learn while you're living. You watch. You listen to people who are wiser than you are. You make your choices. You apply what you learn to the next choice you make.

Youth culture runs the risk of missing out on this.

Sometimes Wisdom is in your face. Sometimes she's hard to find. She likes to hang out at intersections.

If I remember right, there's some home school material focused on learning wisdom. I don't remember much about it. I don't think I've ever seen a Sunday School curriculum that focused on teaching children wisdom.

More Pondering Kids and Meds

So my brain is meandering around some of this, not to beat it to death.

I avoid giving myself (and kids) medicine unless the risk of not taking it is greater than the inconvenience and the side effects. Not because I'm a martyr and I like pain and head colds or have strong convictions about it but because I'm horrible at taking medicine. I forget. :)

But this brings up another facet of this. The whole issue of over-medicating kids in our culture (not just in cases of ADHD) is an interesting issue. My friend's daughter stayed overnight with my kids once. She had a cold. My friend left me with about 5 different over-the-counter cold meds to give this four-year old before she went to bed, each for a different cold symptom. Needless to say that little girl slept very soundly! I have trouble getting my mind around this.

Another facet: I've also wondered about kids growing up in sterile houses. I wonder if parents clean to keep kids healthy because the kids get sick all the time or whether they actually get sick more often because they're never allowed to build up any immunities. A Catch 22, I guess.

Even though the general population is probably healthier than it was 200 years ago, babies live, most children grow to adulthood, most women survive pregnancy and childbirth but we're still afraid.

Poster in Translation

This could be a long post but let's make it two short ones.

I looked these up for my own information. (In Scott's comment at the end of the last post you'll find the visual for this.)

Poster in Translation:

Ephedrine used for asthma
Mesoridazine used to treat schizophrenia
Phenelzine an anti-depressant
Simethicone an anti-gas med
Tylenol (t)
Valproic Acid migraines and bipolar disorder

(You may not have any of these meds around, but remember grandparents, friends or other family members may. Most people who have already raised kids are pretty careful.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Poison or Candy?

I'll let you draw your own mega conclusions regarding all the spiritual implications you could draw from a poster visually comparing medicines and candy. Medicine heals when used appropriately, but it poisons when eaten like candy. Candy is delicious and safe for most kids in small infrequent quantities. It sickens and does a lot of damage in large frequent doses. The similarities between some of these pills and candies to an untrained eye are amazing.

I discovered this staring at a very cool poster comparing medicines and candies hanging in our pharmacy. LOTS of candies and common over-the-counter meds look alike, not just a few. To children they would look identical.

The name Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center (a local poison control center) appears on the poster but their website sends me to Strong Health which isn't showing me posters like that so unfortunately I don't have an image of the poster to show you.

If you're interested, This is a national poison prevention resource. Lots of interesting info!

This may seem random but it came up this week. It didn't have anything to do with poison, just blogging and hospitals.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I have to admit, a site meter is a fun gadget. My husband likes gadgets. More stuff. Don't get me going on all the non-living stuff in my house. Besides, the living is, by far, much more interesting.

But given that we're fast approaching 1000 readers since I added the site meter (around the end of June) I thought you might like to hear the geographical breakdown of your fellow readers. It changes daily. Some days it's mostly Pacific, some days mostly UK, some days more Canada but this is a pretty good picture overall.

77% US
14% UK
3% Canada
3% Austrailia/New Zealand
1% Malaysia
1% Jordan (not my nephew)
1% France

And, I tell you this for fun (but it's true) every once in a while we get someone from an "unknown country." No offense, but don't you think that would have to be the be the very coolest place to live, ever?

And the stuff for some interesting fiction... :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More on-line reading material (Revised)

Most of you don't have money to burn but here's another resource I found when I was (of course!) looking for something else - Beyond Play

More blogs:

Fresh Dirt - more focused on youth ministry than children. It may already be in the list. If not, it definately belongs on our list.

Odyssey and Next Reformation. (Shall I tell you how many times I've spelled Odyssey wrong?) We find both of these interesting reads. I haven't sorted out all the implications for kids, yet.

D Train, in the UK (or northern Wales?) this article is a must-read.

Late addition:
My sister sent this to me: The Amazing Grace Movie. Although I'd heard bits and pieces of the story before the most interesting part to me is the list when you click on Partnerships . The mix of organizations is quite facinating. You may find The Amazing Change Campaign interesting, too.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Images to Ponder:: Psalm 131 (two translations)

First think about who David was - not so much as boy, worshipping shepherd, outdooorsman, observant writer but as a king, a warrior, a busy, powerful, passionate man.

The second image is the image he describes in his Psalm.

1)A Song of the Ascents,
by David.

Jehovah, my heart hath not been haughty,
Nor have mine eyes been high,
Nor have I walked in great things,
And in things too wonderful for me.
Have I not compared, and kept silent my soul,
As a weaned one by its mother?
As a weaned one by me [is] my soul.
Israel doth wait on Jehovah,
From henceforth, and unto the age!

(Psalm 131 Youngs Literal Translation)

2)A song for those who go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
A psalm of David.

Lord, my heart isn't proud.
My eyes aren't proud either.
I don't concern myself with important matters.
I don't concern myself with things that are too wonderful for me.
I have made myself calm and content
like a young child in its mother's arms.
Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forever.

(Psalm 131 NIrV)

[I used two translations just because they capture different parts of the picture.] The more detailed my image of David and the child, the harder it is to put the two images together which just makes for a more amazing image.

Whoever you are, imagine yourself there. Imagine yourself the child, not wanting or needing anything except to be right where you are, nestled in His mothering arms, perfectly content.

Observing moms and babies you can probably make your own observations and find lots to ponder.

Friday, February 02, 2007


This comes under "embracing people" and loving your neighbor as yourself. Otherwise it's totally random.

Humor is an interesting topic, especially working with kids. There's an age when your kids will bring home every bad joke in the book (4th grade?) and they're SO excited. It does eventually come to an end, though I probably won't be able to convince you until it's over. I don't know what developmental stage it is but it's significant.

I don't know what you think is funny and what not funny. Ran across this site reading the UltraRev. I don't remember how I came across UltraRev. ECC blogs - upstate NY? Don't know.

On one of his posts he refers to crummy church signs saying, "Messages on church signs aren't as cute or funny to the unchurched as churches think they are." True. I took a look. It ties into language and how people understand one another (connotation and denotation). A comment that comes across positive (or even funny) to one person might mean something really negative (even offensive) to the person listening. We won't always get it right and we'll never please everyone all the time or even anyone all the time. Years ago, we took our kids to a Christian Bible camp recommended to us. I was so appalled at the "humorous" skits we saw. I couldn't put my finger on why but I left offended. Maybe it's not caring that bothers me.

I do truly believe that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I stick my foot down my heart often. An inevitable embarrassing wake up call.

The joy of the Lord is more than just humor, yet I believe that God has a wonderful intelligent sense of humor. I believe that laughter is good medicine. I doubt God's easily offended. Yet, the scriptures tell us that there are things that offend Him. The scriptures tell us He laughs and He gets angry. Are there things that make Him smile?

Sometimes we teach kids by example. Perhaps, more often without realizing, we teach them that something is ok because we don't do anything about it. My kids get upset when people poke fun at other people groups and "don't mean it." The question that came up was, "W0uld you still say that if they were sitting here?" When they speak up, it creates friction between them and their friends. But the only way anyone will know it matters to them is if they say something.

Talk to me about humor and working with kids and what you encourage and what you don't. Kids need to laugh and have fun. We all need to laugh and have fun. What's funny and what isn't?


This YWAM couple has a long list of resources for Children's Ministry, many seeming to center around traditional Children's ministry but among them music, plays, and musicals. They also include some links from Canada, South Africa, Austrailia, and the UK. You might find some interesting resouces mixed in. We've had a fair amount of respect for YWAM over the years. YWAM offered a summer Arts camp in Ithaca, NY for a while. Don't know if they still do.

This is the site for Children's Ministries Online University apparently affiliated with Valley Forge Christian College in Pennsylvania. Very reasonable cost but I don't know anything else about it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Amazon Book Reviews?

A new resource!

Todd McKeever and Ken Johnson (alias "The Jaded CM") both have pertinent reviews on Amazon that you'd probably find useful.

If anyone else has reviews on Amazon that you want to share, you're welcome to leave the site address in a comment or send me the link and I'll try to list them all in one post that you can click on. A year ago I didn't even know how to do that! :)

Or better still, consider adding it as a link on your blogs!