Writing

Theology & Youth Ministry

Why Church Kids Must Go BadWhy Church Kids Must Go Bad:  … is that what we are really after in youth ministry, making and keeping kids (especially the ones we already have, like church kids) good? Helping them avoid all that is bad? Is that what Christianity is about—being good? Behaving? Being moral? Avoiding all that is bad? Is Christianity about behaving or avoiding what is wrong within us and within the world?.. {Read full Article of “Why Church Kids Must Go Bad”}

Doubt as the Curriculum for Confirmation: …After a minute of silence the young woman, realizing we had hours remaining together, said, “I was kicked out of confirmation when I was in school. The leader thought I asked too many disturbing questions, so they asked me to leave.”..  {Read More of Doubt as the Curriculum for Confirmation}

 

 

 

A Call to See and Be NearCall to See and Be Near: …And this is the call of a relational youth ministry. It is the call to see and be near, to share in the suffering, aware that it won’t destroy you, for you have been claimed by the One who has overcome all suffering by suffering the cross… {Read full Article of “Call to See and Be Near”}

 

 

The Doctrine of Sin

The Doctrine of Sin: We may assuage our guilt over our ignorance and justify our confusion by claiming that such deep theological conversations are helplessly complex and abstract, and if one desires to be a good youth pastor, one must keep abstraction and adolescence in distinct corners—and therefore we’re free to ignore the directness of the inquiry. {Read more of “The Doctrine of Sin”}

 

Theology & Culture

The Civil Wars

A Theological Mashup of The Civil Wars ‘Poison and Wine’ and Kierkegaard: … I think so many of us—myself include—find ourselves stuck, perplexed as we try to mediate between the eternal realities of love and the warm waters of the poetic love of our culture. We’ve been told that love is only the romance of the poetic (of top 40 ballads and romantic comedies). But the sensations of this love seem to collide with the sharp rocks of the mystery of the eternal, of a love that stands in the bright, blinding glow beyond time… {Read more of “The Theological Mashup of The Civil Wars ‘Poison and Wine’ and Kierkegaard”}

Attack of the Zombies

Attack of the Zombies: ..Most of our institutions are what Ulrich Beck calls “Zombie institutions.” They are still moving and breathing, but they have become more haunting than helpful because they are more dead than alive. Standing in late modernity there is more than a little despair knowing that we cannot go back to the tradition-based community, but that the institutions of modernity are ghouls… {Read more of “The Attack of the Zombies”}

 

Gran Torino, Christology, and the American Sensibility for Sacrifice: … With this movie as one of many examples, it appears the American consciousness can only take a self-sacrificial act when the person giving up their life is close to dying.  In American cinema, it is rare to see someone who is in the fullness of life give up his or her own life for others (with the possible exception of war films, but these films have other political fish to fry)… {Read more of “Gran Torino, Christology, and the American Sensibility for Sacrifice”}

New Generation

A New Generation Demands New Categories for Theology and Ministry: … If there have been two overarching categorical dichotomies that have functioned for theology and ministry since, at least, the early Reformation, it has been the dichotomies of right/wrong and saint/sinner.  It can be argued that Luther himself was almost driven nuts trying to find a way to avoid the negative category and find himself (through his own works) in the positive.  The great breakthrough of course, was the realization that we cannot avoid the dichotomy, that we need God’s own act to make us right in the midst of our wrong, it is by grace that we are made right, justified…   {Read more of “A New Generation Demands New Categories for Theology and Ministry”}

 

Who Am I? Adolescent Identity in a Digital Age: … Talk of identity has been a central element of youth ministry because adolescence is a time of identity formation. Sometime between the ages of 13 and 20-something, you figure out who you are. Erik Erikson believed that adolescence is a cultural period of moratorium, a kind of societal time-out. The individual needs time and space to figure out who he or she will be by figuring out what he or she does well and who he or she will love. … {Read more of “Who Am I?”}