Sunday, November 30, 2008

Engaging Youth: Theology of Missions

Before I dive into either of my case studies I stated in the introduction, I first need to share a piece of knowledge that is foundational to understanding my further thoughts. If you have a issue in later posts, it might come down to a disagreement on this basic theory, so understand this is the current framework I am working in.

At the end of this summer I had the opportunity to attend a one week intensive school of theology hosted by Good Shepherd (and friends). Rick McKinley laid out Leslie Newbigins theology of missions (enough name dropping). I strongly believe this is the single best nugget in understanding of how the Gospel is to be effectively proclaimed to all peoples in all times and in all places.

You can get the basics from the following bulleted points and the (sweet) graphic (I scrounged from a google image search):
  • The Gospel goes into the Culture and speaks through windows of redemption specific to that culture (Good News) as well as windows of opposition (things that clash).
  • This contextualized Gospel forms the Church.
  • The Church needs to go back to the Gospel before going back to other cultures.
  • The Gospel to be proclaimed is a tightrope between culture and church
  • One one side: This is why religious people anger Jesus. You become sectarian, on the side of the church, separated from the people
  • On the other: You are being absorbed by culture, and you are just like them. Not distinction. You are not an ambassador to anything. You become syncristic
  • Falling off either side are sin, how do we live on the tightrope/vertical axis (Takes discernment - which unfortunately we don't teach... ever. We teach black and white)
There you have it. I believe a strong theology of missions is necessary and is relevant not only to your average missionary in Africa, but to many people (read: every single confessing Christian).

I started this series in the midst of finals ramping up (not smart), so I am taking it slow and easy. Check back in the next week or so.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Intro to Thoughts on Engaging Youth

This is a big subject that I have been wrestling through for months (and alluded to a week ago). Slowly puzzle pieces have aligned as I have had one small "ah-ha" moment after another. Sometimes sitting in class or church, frequently reflecting on the last 5 years of my life, and other times talking with Elena in the car or on a run. I am going to try and pound through putting some of these construed ideas into logical words for the first time.

How one engages youth in a meaningful dialog concerning ones faith (which I believe is holistic, concerning every nook and cranny of ones live) is an essential subject to discuss if there is any desire for the faith to endure, not to mention vibrantly flourish from one generation to the next.

I will dissect this topic from two angles.

The first case study will be a cross cultural example (Russian/American); which I believe merely magnifies the same issues that are relevant within what is typically viewed as a single culture (i.e. "American"). I will look at the struggle between youth who have grown up in a culture that is utterly foreign to the adults in their community.

The second case study will use a story I heard of one individual young college student; a story that I believe will seem all to familiar to many. This example will zero in on the form of dialog used between youth and adults.

My hope is this can provide material for healthy discussion about an issue that causes much pain and burden in the lives of both youth and adults. And even worse, an issue that distorts and hinders the sweet melody of the Gospel from being heard.

So please, hang on for the ride, leave comments, and invite others into the conversation!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coldplay to Split in 09?

Sad day.

I think I will listen to some melancholy Coldplay to sooth my aching heart...

"Let me Google that for you"

For all those times that people ask you a question that they could just as easily Google themselves:

Let me Google that for you

Monday, November 17, 2008

Star Trek Trailer... HD! Even Better!

"Know Your Native Language"

Check out this amazing post which provides fascinating insight into the local Russian Church. It would behoove you to read it now, because I will be referring back to it later as a case study for a post I am writing on how adults (don't) engage youth.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Better Days

I was jamming out to the Coldplay station on Pandora while doing some Linguistics homework when one particular song caught my ear. I caught a couple words and asked Elena how a Christian worship song got in the Coldplay station. We laughed when we discovered it was Goo Goo Dolls. I listened to a couple more lines and said "I don't care, I'd worship to that!"

After checking out the lyrics I realized this would make a perfect promo song for Advent Conspiracy. Give it a listen, check out the lyrics, and post your thoughts.

Better Days
By Goo Goo Dolls

And you asked me what I want this year
and I try to make this kind and clear
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
'cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
and designer love and empty things
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
and something only you can give
and that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive
and the one poor child who saved this world
and there's ten million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Beautiful HDR's and Star Trek!

Two quick links:

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Living their values"

I forgot to post this Oregonian Article that was published a month ago. The whole article is good, but the end of the article is about us.
"...Knepprath will be joined by Tyrone Wing, Josh Guisinger, Sean Hughes and Hughes' 5-year-old son. Ultimately, they want to bring in local churches and help connect residents with social-service providers.

But they're trying to spend the first several months with their ears open and their mouths shut.

"We're not coming in with these big expectations and programs because we assume we know them and their needs and we can fix them," Knepprath says.

Instead, they're coming in with hot dogs, mustard and maybe some chips. Knepprath and his roommates figure the easiest way to meet their neighbors is a barbecue. Soon, they'll fire up the grill, load the cooler with ice and break bread with their new friends.

Who knows where things might lead from there?"

If your curious, find out for yourself at our blog: Barberrian Villagers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

Honestly, I was quite disappointed by Sex God.

Consequently, I was very unenthusiastic about Rob Bells latest.

However, A good friend perked my ears to it.

By chance, today my roommate set it down on the coffee table after swinging by Borders.

So here I am, sitting on my couch reading - Jesus Wants to Save Christians.

I am less then a chapter into the book and I can tell you this book is the climatic break though to years of struggles and frustrations for me. I have been eagerly taking on challenges from competing world views at Portland State University. This has been the catalyst of much personal growth in my faith. But tonight, puzzle pieces are being placed in order. So many questions being answered and so much knowledge being laid in order. Some of you who know me better, this is my "Surprised by Hope" for 2009!

I have also been working on a couple blog posts of real substance. I know I have been diluting you with youtube videos recently. My blogging quality directly correlates with my level of excitement in life.

It has been an exciting fall for me.

So much growth in so many areas of my life! Thanks for hanging in there and reading my blog. :P

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween Interview

This is probably a little bit immature and juvenile, but because I laughed so hard that it brought me to the point of tears I had to share it:

God of Justice

This is another song I heard at Clear Creek for the first time. This is the original version but they tweaked the words a little bit.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Is There an Echo in This Starbucks?"

When I was waiting for my MAX at pioneer square I decided to stop in the Starbucks and get a little pick me up to get me through the rest of my long day (class, work, class from 9:00am-9:00pm).

I was standing at the register ordering my standard "tall Americano light room" and giving my name when I had this eerie sense of an echo. Lo and behold standing at the register right by my side was a man ordering a "tall Americano light room" giving the name David. This caused slight confusion for the Starbucks baristas but made for some big smiles and a few chuckles.

God of This City

I keep thinking of this song after hearing it for the first time at Clear Creek.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

SNL - Fix It!

Russian/American Election Party

I went to an election party with a grip of Elena's extended family last night. It as a blast! First off, it is interesting to note this group (as a whole) of Russians was way more engaged in the issues then any group of American peers I know. Second, it was such an encouragement to be with a group that has such a heart for God and was so eager to discuss things of God.

At the end of the night we read Titus 3:1-11 and spent some time in prayer for our new president, the nation, and our role as the Body of Christ on earth.

"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient,
to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and
considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and
enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy,
being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our
Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but
because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by
the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our
Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs
having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to
stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to
devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and
profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and
quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a
divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing
to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Today I am taking advantage of this opportunity as an United Stated of America citizen and claiming in on my right... to receive a free cup of coffee from Starbucks.

The style of this Starbucks clip reminds me of the Advent Conspiracy video (watch it now if you haven't already!) I posted...though Starbucks doesn't quite reach the bar. :)

And just to be clear, I did vote (there were some really important state measures) in case anyone got lost in my sarcasm. :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Supercar Drag Race

Here's reason to drool...this time of the automotive variety:

The busier I get the less intelligent my post get. You'll have to bear with me through this season. :)