Saturday, July 7, 2007

10 things I learned this weekend

My wife and I cleared out a lot of junk from the closets in our house, the attic, and the garage, and we had a garage sale this weekend. Part of this was in preparation for the new addition to the family. Nathan Henri is scheduled for delivery by cesarean this coming Friday. We needed both the extra room and the extra money.

I learned a few things yesterday and today, during this garage sale.
1. I don't know my neighbors as well as I should.
2. It's amazing how much we'll pay for something when it's the latest fad and how little it's worth a few years down the road.
3. It's even more amazing how much junk you can accumulate in a short period of time.
4. Some banks will only make change for you if you're an accountholder. They'll actually force you to drive a few miles to your own bank, just to break a twenty, unless of course you want to open a new checking account (which will also give you the benefit of a new travel book-light).
5. QuikTrip will gladly break a twenty if you buy a pack of gum (and possibly even without it, I just needed some juicy fruit).
6. When it's rained for 34 out of the last 37 days, then stops, and the temperature hits the mid nineties, it gets really humid.
7. When it gets that humid, books sealed in a ziploc bag can get condensation!
8. There are a lot of people who really want to buy your stuff on the cheap, but they don't want to buy it badly enough to haul it to their own house-no matter how cheap it is.
9. I've always hated going to garage sales. Now I know I hate having them, too.
10. I really hate garage sales.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I was tagged by Doug over at Perigrinatio to list the first 10 songs that come up in shuffle mode in my iTunes. I know Doug probably really only tagged me to find out how many CCM songs came up (wouldn't that be ironic-al), but here goes.
And so, I was caught in a bit of irony...even I was surprised. Here goes:

1. "Morning Bell" Radiohead

2. "In My Place" Coldplay

3. "Give My Love to Rose" Johnny Cash

4. "Every Time I See Your Face" Live

5. "Angels in Top Hats" House of Heroes (that's the only CCM song you get!)

6. "If I Had It All" Dave Matthews Band

7. "If I Could" Jack Johnson

8. "Out of Order" Duncan Sheik

9. "Bury Me With It" Modest Mouse

10. "Stand By My Woman" Lenny Kravitz

I hope you enjoy.
I tag:
Mark because he'll think it's cheesy.
Matt because he cooperated so nicely on the last one.
Brian because he's probably tagged me with this already and I just missed it.
Kyle because he probably doesn't read my blog and I need an excuse to attract him to it.
Insert your name here because I don't have a 5th person to tag.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Multiple-Personality Disorder Youth Ministry

My friend Mark has been helping me recently work with a couple of groups of people in my congregation.

We've been discussing changes in adolescent development and changes in what the youth ministry paradigm should be. We spent a lot of time discussing what youth need in today's culture (namely: loving supporting relationships with adults, enculturation, and a message worth living/dying for, among others). We discussed the Church A v. Church B concept where Church A is a congregation that says they value youth ministry, but pays someone else to do it and Church B is a congregation that really does value youth ministry and it's evidenced in the level of personal ownership and commitment they display. We were hoping to begin the process of changing how we think about teenagers and our relationships with them/responsibilities to them so that we could begin to approach our youth ministry in a better way. ("Better" meaning: NOT the low-parent-commitment high-youth-pastor-commitment, entertainment-based, derived-from-someone-else's-cookie-cutter-model, programs that we've been failing with for years)

This past week I did some follow-up work with that group and we approached things like so: "Based on our new understandings, where do we go from here?"

Amazingly, there were basically two responses.

One group's response was disturbingly yet another program. And it was another program idea that involved very little parent involvement and an extremely high amount of staff involvement. Worse yet it was the It-Worked-When-I-Was-A-Teenager-So-It-Will-Undoubtedly-Work-Now answer. And the method for communicating this response was not to talk to the parents, to me, or to the teenagers themselves about it. This response was heard in the hallways and the parking lot. Most of the time the conversation proceeded as: "You know what they should be doing..." (Emphasize either "they" or "should" or both and you wind up with basically the same problem)

Another group's response was to work hand-in-hand with the teenagers in the church, exercising adult-level conversation in which the teenagers have an equal voice, to discuss their dreams and formulate future plans. Better yet, this group has begun thinking outside the lines of "our" youth ministry. They are ready to embrace cooperative, even ecumenical ideas, in order to move in the right direction. (Yes, part of this involved programs, but it's the difference in philosophy and method I intend to point out.)

Very clearly, we have both Church A and Church B present and existing at the same time. Both have good intentions, but they are now operating out of two entirely different value systems. It's as if our church body has Multiple Personality Disorder when thinking about youth ministry.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Do doctors know anything?

So last week I was at church camp working with High Schooler's from around our state. The rest of the staff was on alert the whole time, though, because my wife is pregnant, and we're late enough in the pregnancy that it could happen at any time. I was kind of hoping that I might get a call during the week...not because I want the baby to be early...but because we had a total of 2.7 hours with no rainfall the whole week. We renamed camp, "Rainapalooza."

On Friday, the last day of camp, the camp administrator droved up and got my attention. "Your wife is in the hospital," he said. I grabbed my stuff and drove about 400 miles per hour into town and met her at the hospital. The doctor sent her in because her blood pressure was too high.

The whole pregnancy her Iron levels have been too low, even with supplements. So she's been eating foods high in Iron, like fish. Of course, we realized that foods that are high in Iron are also high in Sodium. Sodium can cause freakishly high blood pressure.

So what does the doctor know?

As I was contemplating our fate--the nature of a treatment that causes another illness--I kept thinking about all of those prescription drug commericials on TV. "Take this pill and it'll lower your cholesterol...Side affects may include loss of vision and hearing, development of kidney stones, unusually hairy toe-knuckles, and loss of bladder control." Sounds like people are lining up at the Walgreens.