Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Sayings of Jesus: 5 (out of 100) Things Your Child Should Know Before Confirmation Class

I spent last week accompanying a group of teenagers at a youth conference in the mountains of North Carolina. Every day one of the adults in our group would pack the youth a lunch, and every day he would include a scripture reference for them to look up to help inspire them for the day.

One morning I came down to breakfast as he was writing that day’s note, and he asked me if I could tell him the reference for the New Testament verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I couldn’t, but I had my trusty iPad under my arm and would be happy to search for it in my Bible concordance. Now, the tricky thing about a Bible concordance is that if you know a verse in one translation, searching for it in a concordance that references a different translation can be a little frustrating and time-consuming. But after about 10 minutes of searching while eating my breakfast, I found it: Philippians 4:13.

A few minutes after passing out the lunches with the notes, one of the boys walked through the kitchen, pulled out the note, saw the reference, turned back around to the adult leader and said - “Hey! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Great verse! Thanks!”

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Church We Mean to Be

Part of who I am as a Christian, and who we are as a family, is connected theologically and historically to particular Christian denominations - in our case the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Mennonite Church (USA). But the reality is that while being a part of these communities both locally and nationally might be important to us, as a nation we are moving more and more toward what is sometimes referred to as a post-denominational environment.

Families with young children do not typically join my PC(USA) congregation because it is a PC(USA) congregation. In fact, they will frequently "church shop," looking at a variety of churches born out of disparate Christian traditions with wide-ranging theological priorities and governance styles, which begs the question of whether or not teaching a child to identify and embrace a particular denomination/tradition is something of a former generation.