Monday, October 29, 2007
Take a look at a home budget or a church budget and where the $ goes. What percentage stays in-house? (ie. we spend it on us) What percentage goes to someone more needy or caring for people? What percentage goes to growing the next generation?
If time is money, look at Jesus' time. (We probably don't know much about his money.) How did He spend His time? Where did He spend His time? Who did He spend His time with? (Ok. If He wasn't spending His time directly with children, were there apt to be children there?) Make a circle graph.
. . .just some food for thought . . .
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I like reading about Biblical culture and how other historic cultures influence our own. I like history so historic roots are always interesting to me. Sometimes church leaders affect how society responds to children (CM pg. 98) Sometimes society affects how the church responds to children.
It's interesting to discover where ideas come from and where they lead over time. It's interesting to see what fruit grows from what seed.
I found it interesting that Dr. Benjamin Spock's thinking was probably a reaction to John Watson's behavioural psychology which was a reaction to Victorian sentimentality. Our parents were enamored with Spock but (if I remember correctly) he was criticized for his leniency. I didn't realize that he was encouraging parents to trust themselves. "He assured them that parents were the true experts on their own children...Spock urged parents to be flexible and see their children as individuals." (CM p. 108)
Another intersting comment is this: "Although books on parenting are not directed toward programs that minister to children, parenting expectations in the society at large spilled over into the way Christian Education was conducted." (CM p. 108) More recently, in Postmodern Children's Ministry Ivy Beckwith calls Christian educators to pay attention to changes in the way a new generation of parents is thinking and respond.
A year or two ago someone left a comment. I think they were in Alabama. They decided to take the challenge of using this book for a parent study group. I don't remember ever hearing how it went. (Maybe I just don't remember.) . Some of the chapters are divided into sections that might take more than a week to discuss but this book would make for a really interesting weekly discussion
The authors conclude Chapter 5 saying "Children's ministry is solidly grounded in our theological understanding of the gospel of Christ and the place of children in the community of faith. The challenge is to keep central our commitment to the God of the Scriptures while connecting to the real lives of children in ways that are meaningful for them - to determine what God expects of us in and for our time." (CM p. 110-111) I like it.
Do God's expectations for parents and faith communities change as history runs it's course? Will we inevitably find ourselves sifting through all the voices around us to find the voice that doesn't change? I wonder...
Thursday, October 25, 2007
It's definately about community but it was the last song, "Children Will Listen," that made me go back and wonder what the play was saying about children ... I think it was saying a lot. Good or bad, I'm not sure. Interesting, none the less.
If you use movies as starting points for adult or young adult discussions about scripture it might make for an interesting discussion.
* Yes, this link is lots more information than most people will care about.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Whether intentional or not, what we inevitably share with the children we serve, lead, and nurture as parents, teachers, or friends is who we are in Christ Jesus as individuals and together - life that comes from faith and faith that comes from life - the good, the bad, the ugly. Kids are watching, kids are listening - not unlike God, LOL! Yup, that's scary. Do you think God sees through a child's eyes? Through a grown-up's eyes? Maybe both?
Is it ok for kids to ask questions or is it better to leave them to wrestle alone or with their peers possibly left to convince themselves of things that aren't true. Encouraging kids to ask questions opens discussion and it's ok to say, "I don't really know. Let's pray, let's search the scriptures, let's ask [so and so], let's look it up, let's wrestle with that one." A child will probably be content with a much simpler answer than you - the grown up. [smile] Be glad, while it lasts.
A curriculum, a program, a system - all nice but I don't think they're really at the heart of teaching and learning unless it's just one of many tools that you use to share Jesus, your faith, and your life with your kids. That's scary, too.
So then I say, who am I that God would ever trust me with the lives of children, my own or someone else's? Gosh, why would He? Should I hide what I've been given in a hole because I know I'll never measure up or because I'm afraid I'll lose it? Do I just keep investing what I have back in the people around me, hoping to give back to God more than what I started with (invest, give, and hope being key words there) . There are jobs or roles in scripture that have clear job qualifications. That's not what I'm talking about here. We all interact with children or don't by choice ...I'll leave that one alone right now. We keep giving what we have. We keep loving whoever God sends us not (hopefully) because we have an agenda or because we're particularly anointed but because, if I remember the story, digging a hole and hiding my treasure isn't the way I'll ever hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in
the joy of your master..."
Does church structure reflect those changes? Should it? What part of social do the scriptures reinforce? How much flexibility is there?
Each generation is faced with constant change swirling around a God who remains unchanging - alive and well. His Body remains alive and well. His Word remains alive forever accomplishing what He sent it to accomplish, destined also to stand through generational changes either through us or despite us. The Corinthians had their discussions about meat and vegetables, holidays and feast days.
Sometimes Jesus operated one on one - with a friend, with a stranger. Sometimes He visited a family. Sometimes He interacted with a small group. Sometimes He addressed a whole community. He sent people out in different configurations. He had family, neighbors, followers. He was part of a larger community yet He had a very specific work to do and He seemed to know what He needed to do whatever situation He found Himself.
What goals are better accomplished alone? at home in nuclear family? by a couple of families working together? in peer groups? in a larger multi-generational community? I think I've asked similar questions before.
What is the goal, anyway? Or is it just enough to live and not have any goals at all? What about Jesus? And if I am to be a disciple, what can I learn from his disciples? Did they have goals or were they just living their lives one day at a time? How do I live like them? I'm part of a family. How do we do it ?
Are the answers the same for everyone, for every family? Should they be? Were they the same for the whole people of God? For each of the disciples? For everyone Jesus touched? What answers are the same for everyone and what answers aren't?
Do the scriptures have answers? Again, I'd venture, yes. There were things Jesus said to huge crowds, things he said to His disciples and to individual people. Jesus' response to Peter regarding John in John 21:22 ". . . 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.' "
Even as we pursue God we still "only see through a glass darkly". We inevitably miss more than we see because God is God and we are not. Each generation seems to want to compensate for something that a previous generation missed.
After we find Him or He finds us depending on your theology. . . after we find each other, after we're reconciled... each generation seems to face the same ageless questions. In this context of when and where we live, how do we love God? How do we love people? How do we keep His word and live Christ-like lives? How do we pass our faith on to our children and those around us?
We read, watch, listen, ask questions. Prayerfully, we gather and sift through information, ideas, life-styles and hopefully most importantly we search the scriptures.
Was seeking God a different process in ancient Israel than it is in modern western culture? Was it easier?
Why am I doing this exactly? for God? for me? for someone else? Is it just something personal or am I one of many called to a common journey? Called to something bigger than just me and the people around me? Is my faith just for me to keep or is it only mine to give away?
I'd venture, prayerful, that there are answers in scripture.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
If you have kids pondering careers here's a whole list of schools that give actual degrees in paper engineering. Who would've known!
Paper engineering, origami and packaging
There's more. Here's my Google search.
You could make pop-up books with older kids. Doesn't it get your creative juices going? If you plan and prepare just right you might even be able to do a project like that with younger kids or with your own kids at home.
And (again, locally) save the first Friday in November for the Rochester Children's Book Festival. If you have an active Children's Writers/Illustrators or SCBWI group in your area you might find one locally. Sometimes bookstores and libraries sponsor them, too.
It's apple (Hilton) and grape (Naples) season up here. Festivals, corn mazes (yes, and haunted hayrides).
Sunday, October 14, 2007
(The site used to be "Justice for Children International." New name - "Love 146")
You'll read about that looking here. Just be sure to read Martin Luther King's quote about justice and love.
On the same trail, a parent wrestling with "missional" parenting - another post worth reading and a topic truly worthy of ongoing discussion.
Think through what it is you're trying to say before you push the [send] button. You can use this post for comments if you want. Tell us about a choice you, a parent, a teacher or someone else made. Did you think it was good or bad? What happened? How do you feel about it now? Why do you think it was so memorable/dramatic at the time? Why do you think it had the affect it did?
What do you think were the best choices that people made that affected you? the worst?
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I found this particular post really interesting: 1) the Biblical use of markers or props (for lack of better words) to initiate question asking and dialogue and 2) the part about dialogue vs. monologue. For families and faith communities!!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
from Kings 4: 29-34 (NAS)
"God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man... And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom."
I'm searching through the references to Solomon to find the story of the baby. We think of it as a story about Solomon's wisdom but, I'm wondering, isn't it also about justice and mercy?
As I'm scrolling through reference after reference without finding the baby story I'm left to assume that Solomon is a VERY busy man. In the midst of all his magnificent glories and final choices, here's this story about the role his wisdom played in the lives of two prostitutes and the child of a prostitute. I doubt they were considered of any importance in ancient Hebrew culture yet their story was worth telling. Their story was part of God's story.
Kings 3: 16-28 (NAS)
"Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him.
"The one woman said, "Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.
"It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house.
"This woman's son died in the night, because she lay on it.
"So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom.
"When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne."
"Then the other woman said, "No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son." But the first woman said, "No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son." Thus they spoke before the king."
"Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one'; and the other says, 'No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'"
"The king said, "Get me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king."
'The king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other."
'Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, "Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him." But the other said, "He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!"
'Then the king said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother."
"When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice."Everyone marveled at Solomon's wisdom. That's clear. Maybe, given Solomon's background, he even brought a lot of personal empathy to the table. But the fact that God used these three insignificant people and their story made it into God's collection says something about what God considers important. It speaks of wisdom and justice and mercy. But doesn't it speak volumes about God's love?
I don't recall praying with my children saying, you can ask God for anything but if you want to make God very very happy, pray for wisdom.
"Aware of this [the Pharisees plotted to kill him], Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
'Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.'"
This phrase is interesting: Justice can't win by it's own self. God's servant- chosen, loved, His Father's delight, Spirit-filled - Jesus will lead justice to victory.
And apparently, by the grace of God, it's possible to proclaim something without quarreling or crying out, without breaking those who are already bruised or putting out a wick that's already smoldering.
And the nations will put their hope in one such as Him.
Didn't want to talk about justice without Jesus. :-)
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Old westerns. I think one of the strongest themes in old westerns was justice. All the shooting and negative race relations run counter to all that compassionate people stand for. I'm not talking about that. Whether it's possible to look at westerns without those elements, I don't know. But if you're looking for stories about good and bad, right and wrong looking at the westerns where the conflict is more between cowboys than about Manifest Destiny or stories where heroes from different people groups have to work together to resolve conflict, the justice theme is strong.
It is possible, by the way, to take a less than perfect curriculum and use the information someone else has already gathered (history, news, movements, issues, etc. . .) and use it to teach the things you want to teach. Encourage discussion. Encourage young people to examine ideas, history, and the ideas that motivated groups of people to do what they did and look at the fruit (good and bad) and weigh it against what they know about God and His word.
There are a lot of social injustices out there that many of us know nothing about. What do we do with what we know? Do I have a responsibility to respond? If so, how?
Might be interesting to study a book of the Bible that particularly deals with justice and then take a curriculum like Just Choices and examine the similarities and differences.