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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Modeling Grace

I have recently been working a lot on an upcoming series for the youth here at Mulberry, and I am focusing the series called “My Generation!” on Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church by Kenda Creasy Dean. The book is an incredibly interesting one, and has created many questions I must ask myself and my ministry.

One of the things that this book is grappling with is how the faith of adults in the church models for our students.  Are the conclusions in the books pointing to a lack of growth in the faith of young people or are our churches modeling faith that is not truly world changing.  One of the questions that popped up for me about not only my setting, but the settings I have been involved in over the years is the idea of modeling grace.

We are given a biblical model for grace in the life of Jesus, and we are told to model that grace in our lives and interactions with our neighbors. I know that growing up I was surrounded by an environment and community of grace.  I do still sometimes get met with the memories of my self in my formative teenage years, and that at times causes me pain because I am no longer the person I was.

How many of us do not model grace in our interactions with other people around us? Do we hold a grudge, do we remember the sins that we forgave however many years its been? That is something that stuck out to my mind while reading this book, is how do we create a community of grace with teenagers?

Teenagers are passionate, impulsive, and often feel the cut of slights more deeply than older people. How do we teach and model the living out of grace between our students. How can we improve not only our churches, but also our daily lives to show that grace is extended between not just those close, but those further away from ourselves.

Modeling grace is incredibly tough, but I think what might happen, and Dean would say is happening, is that we do not place enough focus on the costly nature of our religion. What the National Study of Youth and Religion informs us that our faith is not nearly costly enough for our students to see how it truly changes us. If we are serious and intentional about modeling grace I think our children and students will see how much our faith means to us.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Black Beard’s Wisdom

So in the last week I have been to see “The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” twice, and have had one particular scene stuck in my head for a good bit of this week. I will not give away too much about the movie, but Jack Sparrow is in Blackbeard’s cabin. Then Blackbeard looks at Jack and says, “Your words surround you like cloud, make you hard to see.”

This line has stuck with me this week, it has just kept coming back over and over again. After the movie Sunday night I thought about this quote and it kind of struck me. How often do my words surround me like a cloud, and make Christ hard to see in me. We, as people claiming to follow Christ, are to be representations of God in the world around us.

I think a lot on how not only to teach how to be a Christ follower in the world, but also on how my own life can become much more like Christ.  How do I represent and re- present God to the world that to a great extent has become apathetic to His existence. We are surrounded everyday by people who either believe or live as if God does not exist.

We are surrounded by people who also have been hurt by so called Christians, and people espousing hateful views and ascribing them to their faith. The idea of Christ being someone that these people would want to get to know is laughable. How can we as people of faith, compassion, and love combat these things in our world.

I like to talk about living faith in an authentic way, and I like to think that living an authentic life will lead others to the source of our life.  When we live in ways that are not consistent with our faith we become like Jack Sparrow, our words surround us and make us hard to see.

We are all bound to be poor examples for Christ at times, in truth there are days where I just do not feel up to the pressure I put on myself to be a real representation of Christ. When does it become something I don’t have to think about and I truly master myself to the point of being a disciple is not a struggle.

I have a new idea to add to my prayers and it is that we will all not be surrounded by a cloud of words that do not represent Christ. I hope that if we do have a cloud it would be full like a gray storm cloud with the words of Christian love and the affirmation of the divine worth of all the people around us.