Monday, February 29, 2016

Quote from "Called"

A profound quote regarding the Lord's Supper: 

"We come to the table out of need, because our belovedness is slippery. It can fall through our fingers and leave our minds. But when we gather to eat and drink, we enact our identity and we practice remembering Jesus's love, and that regrounds us in the first things about today and everyday."--

Mark Labberton, Called, p.104

On Being Peculiar: Being the Old Parents Part 1

I am 42 years old. I have two girls that are three years old and five years old. One of them is in preschool, and the other is in kindergarten. I take them to school each day, and wait until the teachers take them into class before I leave. Sometimes I also stay afterward and chat with the parents. Each day I am reminded--we are the old parents. We are, in fact, capable of being parents to some of the kids that show up to drop off their kids for school. 

There are several differences between the way older parents and younger parents going about the task of raising their children. I am not sure I can put these observations into words right now, but I will make an effort.

First, I think parents who are older tend to take a much more serious view of the parenting endeavor as a whole. I was a youth pastor. My wife is a child protection supervisor. We have seen how people have profoundly messed up their children by what they have done and what they have left undone. We know that parenting decisions that younger parents might not even concern themselves with actually do have profound developmental and personal impact on the child. 

This week we received a note from the teacher about our child's tendency to whine. We discussed the concern in detail. I drafted a letter in response to the teachers emails, and after going through several drafts of the document I send it. The email was pleasantly written, but it was well-thought out. The note has numbered points to communicate most effectively. Seven to be exact.

Occasionally we discuss the possibility of moving to a different home. Sometimes a different home in the same town. Sometimes moving to a different city. When we do, we discuss how the transition might effect our child, their sense of confidence and security, and how we might alleviate these concerns if they were to ever come up. I don't believe many of our peers in their early twenties are nearly as concerned about such matters.

We realize we are mortal. Older parents are parents who have had their own parents deal with health scares, and in many cases we have also had health scares of our own. We understand that life is fragile and short. For this reason, at times we may be concerned about more things and different things that our younger peers. 

One the lighter side, I think as older parents we savor the opportunity to raise children a lot more. As Darius Rucker says, "It won't be like this for long". We make sure we push ourselves to create moments of laughter and good memories. We sit in the moments we have with them, and understand them as gifts because we have spent many of our adult years without the opportunity to be a parent. I try and create rituals in prayer time and morning time that the kids can take with them. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review of What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God by Shane Stanford

What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God
by Shane Stanford
ISBN 9781426774256
Abingdon Press
Reviewed by Clint Walker

This book is designed as both a short, inspirational read and a five-week study that could be used any time, but would be especially meaningful during the season of Lent.

Stanford here focuses his attention on how Jesus prays for us as his disciples. Through doing this, he shows us both the heart of Jesus, as well as the vision of Christ for his disciples individually and as a Christian community.

I thought What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us was intelligent, readable, and thought-provoking. It certainly helps to clarify what the call of Jesus is on believer's lives.

Having said that, I would like to see a broader engagement with this topic that does more than speak to the prayers of Jesus for believers, but also takes on the prayers of Jesus in a broader sense. Passages such as "if this cup can be taken from me" for instance.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Book Review of Sent by Jorge Acevedo et. al

I picked up this book, and some of the curriculum pieces that went along with it for our Advent worship plan at our church. I have mixed feelings about the book as an Advent resource.

First, the good things. I thought that the idea of this book and its accompanying curriculum was awesome. As one who is wanting to encourage our church to be more missionally minded, this seemed to fit well. The chapter headings and themes for each week in Advent were helpful. As were some of the accompanying Scriptures.

Where I struggled with this book is that the chapters were less theological reflection, or even reflection on the Christ-story, and more personal reflection of the author's experiences of the themes shared. Sometimes this worked, but some of the chapters seemed that the author's stories were tangential at best. This made it hard to base a class or a worship on large chunks of the content of this book, which was my goal.

Thoughtful articles regarding race and current events

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote this thoughtful piece for the Los Angeles Times: Don't Understand the Protests? Phil Vischer (of Veggie Ta...