ministry sledding

this is a list of all the things God involved me in in the past week:

  • the ending of a mission project
  • the inception of a new mission project
  • a new local connection in youth ministry
  • four new books that each had something it it that felt like it was there specifically because I needed to read it right then
  • the “end” of a very challenging conversation that offered me some clarity on the overall situation
  • the discovery of a an amazing leap forward in education (Digital Ethnography- KSU) that has loads of implications for youth ministry
  • memorized a new story
  • started a “Covert Ops” Christmas project with my volunteer team
  • wrapped up a middle school service project
  • filled a gymnasium with Straw
  • picked up a good book for a friend in ministry just at the right moment
  • toured a school for the blind and severely disabled in order to form a partnership with them and our high school group
  • created seven scarecrows with a bunch of 11-14 yr olds to investigate how they(the kids) are images of God
  • had a terrific conversation on the same topic with high school kids on understanding the opposite gender
  • sent an organization the details they needed in order to get their kids collecting gifts to give to people who need some extra help this holiday season
  • made plans to put two local youth groups together for, hopefully, the first steps in an ongoing relationships

I wish I could say I had some part in how any of that happened but, there’s no way I could do all that. It all just kind of landed in my lap without my realizing it was there and when I turned around and looked back at the week- it was like sledding-  I got this great run downhill with little flecks of cold stuff flying in my face and the wind and red cheeks and the laughing and hopefully that tree isn’t coming up too fast because this is SO MUCH FUN!


Out Of Step

I’m out-of-step again.

I was in marching band in High school and, for a couple years, in college. Yep, I’m that brand of geek-and had I discovered the joys of technology prior to grad school, I may have been a dual-geek-band and techie.

Anyway, I was in marching band and our uniforms had these white flappy things that we wore over our black shoes.

When something white moves you notice it.

When something white moves at the wrong time, you really notice it.

When someone was out of step it was a BIG DEAL. If it was at practice where the director could do something about it, a barrage of humiliating, derogatory comments was the usual result. If it was in a performance, well, he’d have time to really work up a head of steam before letting loose on the bus or in the classroom later.

Out of Step.

You’d think, after enough years that high school hurts should have been left well behind me, that being a person who is not much good at conforming would get used to being out of step. I get a lot of practice at it, after all.

Every time my out-of-steppedness is revealed, those feelings come back and I buy it. Every time; like some kind of supermarket sale-“hey, look at this, humiliation is cheap today, let’s pick some up! We wouldn’t want to run out.”

God says we’re good enough, though. That wherever we are and whatever we’ve done, he can handle it. That our path is alongside him and he’s not planning to change course. If we wander off and get lost, or need to stop for some sightseeing, we can find our way back and he’ll still be there.

And that works, for an individual, but God also created us in relationship. Here’s where it gets sticky. (At least for me it does. Maybe you’re clearer on this than I am.) In a relationship with others, a community, it’s not just my path, at my speed with my detours- it’s our path at our speed with our detours.

What happens when you’re out of step with Us? When the path of the community isn’t  your path. And neither path is wrong and neither is wandering or lost.

BAM! Out of step.

Even though God says he loves us and that we should come the way we are and let the rest go, there’s still this human reaction that says I am not like the rest. I should be like them. I am wrong. I should get in step.

And I’m left wondering why I just don’t “get it” and assuming that eventually I will make a few skippy little moves to conform to the group’s pace and direction.

A few years ago I saw a video that shows a particular kind of worm. This worm gets itself in line with other worms, right up to the tail end of the one in front of it and just follows along. Someone took these worms and lined them up head to tail, then put them on the rim of a cup. They did what they do- went around until the lead worm found the tail of the last worm, and ’round in a circle they went with no direction, no one out of step.  No one raising a little leg to say- “Umm, guys. We’re not really getting anywhere here.”

I guess that’s my job as a chronic out-of-stepper. I can be the one who wants to know what we’re trying to accomplish and if the going around in circles on top of a cup gets us there. I’m not someone to follow-I’m just one really little voice that hopes a few more little voices might also have the courage to speak up to say that it’s time to head in a new direction. Then maybe the real leaders can go ahead and figure out where there is and take us to it.

That doesn’t make things better. It doesn’t make them any easier but it does give my awkwardness a purpose. And I can try to believe that purpose helps the rest of  the Us that is my community. If that’ I can endure being out of step a little longer. If I wait long enough, maybe I’ll end up in step someday but I’m not going to count on it.

another e-reader post

I love tech gadgets. My computer is still my favorite, but my iPod (I am an iSheep!) and my phone come in as close seconds. They would be the same gadget except for those damn data plan charges!

So, I’ve spent the past couple of years looking at e-readers. I keep putting it off because they are expensive and books are a pretty handy technology themselves. Now there’s another new e-reader out from Barnes and Noble. The Nook. TWO screens-one a color touch screen for browsing your library and other admin. chores, the ability to lend books and some special features for when you’re actually at a B&N store. Although, why you’d need to go there with the wifi and 3G capabilities is a little bit of a mystery. . Very nice- but the same high price tag.

So, to help me make an objective, unemotional decision I found this handy chart…..
shouldyougetgadget from





























Unfortunately, the chart says NO and again my dreams of a really amazing reading gadget have been thwarted.

When OMG is the only appropriate response

even for my conservative friends, I think this one is a little out there…..

taking a break

this summer was rough. I need some time to get myself back together before I worry about this blog again. See you in 2010.

Movie vs. Book-Inkheart

I just finished watching Inkheart with my younger kids. I really love the kids movies and books that involve the imagination of the characters as an active part of the storyline.

Inkheart should have stayed on the pages of the book, though-my imagination did a better job than the filmakers. There are other great kids movies, just recently, to watch-Bridge to Terebithia, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe & Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium for instance. Or older ones like A Little Princess or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (personally, I’ll take the old version but you can pick your poison).

I’m not sure what the difference was between them and the film version of Inkheart but I think it might have something to do with the difference between a book you notice reading every time you turn to the next page vs. a book you are so engrossed in that you don’t have the sensation of reading the text or even of time passing. It seems to me the they told the words of the Inkheart story but they never went inside the Inkheart story themselves.

I noticed my kids, as they were watching, asked questions and talked about the characters throughout the movie. They liked the effects and idea so much they talked about how the filmakers did this or that thing- how they created a unicorn with text printed on it, and why the girl had to be dressed like she was headed to some creepy wedding at the end. But, if they’re talking about how the film was made, then they’re not willingly suspending reality as is required by any movie watcher or book reader. They never put aside this world for the world in the movie. That’s the difference between a good movie and one not worth the time- can we put aside our world and then, after a couple of hours, return to it with a slightly different outlook because of the story we were just immersed in?

Inkheart was definitely a no. So if you like the idea of someone who can read characters from a story into existence in our world and the havoc they can cause- read the book; it’s worth the extra time.

two totally unrelated topics

1. I have Lyme Disease. I’m really tired, achy and have fevers and headaches a lot. The doctor expects it to continue on and off for a year or two. If we had caught it just a little sooner, the timeframe for the symptoms would probably be different – less. Considering some of the other things they tested my 12 vials of blood for, Lyme is pretty darn minor. I’m pleased about that part. Did you know there’s something they test your blood for that uses viper venom? Medical bills are fascinating if you just ignore how much you owe…

2. Honey roasted peanuts are evil. Whoever came up with the idea should have been subjected to an addiction and 12 step recovery program just to experience what those of us addicted to his/her invention would have to endure. I bet he/she would hae thought twice before selling that particular idea!