Len Hjalmarson discusses biblical literacy, questioning whether the level attained even by pastors and leaders is typically adequate to interpret the theological significance of the text. He questions this not to disparage the pastors and leaders in our churches or to bemoan some belief that the biblical text is just too difficult for any but the experts to properly handle, but simply to highlight a particular issue before the biblical interpreter. Understanding the issue at hand, one may be better able to address it — or to at least avoid the worst effects of its impact. I haven’t asked Len if this is precisely his approach, but perhaps he’ll step in and clarify if necessary. ;^) He writes,
While chatting with Robbymac last week, he mentioned to me that I haven’t blogged anything about our little missionalesque community in a while. Hmm. Hadn’t realized that, but perhaps it’s apropos to mention today. For the past couple of months we’ve been talking with the kids about art and teaching them about a few different forms of art. We’ve done “field trips” to the art gallery and to a recording studio, and we’ve had a painter come and visit. We’ve taught them a few different forms of art and talked about expressing ourselves through art. And they have an assignment: they each have to create two original pieces of artwork to show, and one of them has to be an art form they haven’t done before.
When one of the Missional Tribe instigators spoke the title phrase in the midst of a conference call a couple of weeks ago, I wrote it down. Perhaps a bit of context is needed, but not much — I love the phrase for the shorthand way that it communicates so much by saying so little. In fact, this is one of the reasons I moved away from the institutional church… there can be a sense among many that simply showing up on Sunday mornings (or every time the doors are open, depending on your level of “commitment”) somehow absolves you of whatever it is for which you require absolution.
I remember well the days of my youth when the Christmas catalogues would arrive from Sears, Eaton’s, and The Bay. Pouring over those catalogues and circling our most-desired items was a cherished tradition during the run-up to Christmas, when visions of cars and trucks and G.I. Joe and helicopters and spaceships and chocolate and “Christmas oranges” would dance through our heads before a background of tinsel and baubles and bubble-lights hung from a sparkly tree. And in case anyone’s wondering, the 1904 catalogue was a bit before my time ;^) …the ones I recall were much glossier than this.
I was going to post this earlier this morning, but none of it had happened yet. This morning I was groggy-headed and bleary-eyed staring at my computer monitor. I had nothing to say and was too tired to say it… don’t know why, really. so I had a nap and then went out with my wife to do “errands”. You know those miscellaneous days when you both have odds and ends to get done?
- Returned library books and picked up one that was on hold; the waiting list was two months.
- Bought dog food.
- Washed the car.
I’ve mentioned Philip Zimbardo’s “Lucifer Effect” a few times now, but the take-away I’ve been struck with has to do with heroism. Inasmuch as people prove capable of unthinkable evil, in different circumstances they also prove capable of heroic acts. The question is how we instill the kind of thinking that not only resists systemic evil but also watches for the everyday opportunity to do extraordinary acts of goodness. Regular acts of everyday heroism. It’s a way of thinking that is largely unfamiliar these days, as the “don’t get involved” attitude is more prevalent, along with the “somebody else will help” mode of delayed response. The counter-attitude to try and instill is a form of heroic imagination, one which readily enables responses that are to someone, in some small way, heroic. This is something that we would of course like to see in our children.
I was poking around some old draft posts and found this one — I probably wrote it at least two years ago.
I’m on record belittling certain forms of children’s ministry, the forms which are entertainment-based. The ones which focus on keeping the kids busy and out of their parents’ hair while they have their sermon. The ones which are more concerned with the kids having a program than with the kids having spiritual formation. I summed up it up by saying these were only concerned with the kids getting a story, a craft, and a cookie.
I’m feeling Christmas-y a little earlier than usual this year. Some years I’m deep into December before I manage to muster up any cheer, and then it feels a little put on. This year I’m there a bit early, I expect largely due to having started diving into Advent readings and meditations in mid-November this year in order to produce the book that hits the topics that we’ll be Advent Blogging and sets the themes into Daily Office prayers for the season. So we were at the library on Saturday and I checked out a few CDs, including some Christmas music. Interesting world-type Christmas selections, but they don’t match up to my Celtic Christmas CDs from years past. The Celtic Women were singing Christmasy tunes on PBS last night as well.
The subject recently came up on a mailing list I follow, and then a related item popped up in my feed reader from an unrelated source a couple of days later.
First it was an article on men and church which suggested that men were leaving church, or churches other than Orthodox churches. It proceeds to speculate why by generalizing about what men like and how the Orthodox church provides it like nobody else. The article quotes Leon Podles in The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity and explains,
This morning I was greeted with a comment from Hamo on an old post about kids and communion (July ’05), and it reminded me that he had two good posts on the old “But What About Your Kids?!!” theme. Really good stuff, though I’m not sure that most young kids are quite ready for Alan Hirsch as he implies… maybe if he used more pictures in his books. Hmmm… The Forgotten Ways for Kids. You know, oddly enough, there might be something there.
Today is Shrove Tuesday, replete with childhood dreams of the pancake turtle, pictured here. As I describe this every year,
It is a very little-known fact, but each year on Shrove Tuesday, the Pancake Turtle travels the world with a huge stack of steaming hot pancakes perched on his back. As he travels the world on this special day, he delivers his stack of pancakes to good little boys and girls everywhere as they prepare themselves for Lent.
Somehow I missed Alan Hartung talking about Childrenâ€™s Ministry in the Emerging Church last month in response to his own question. Oddly enough, I’ve had a couple of recent about this lately as well… how the emerging church doesn’t talk about kids all that much, with just a few exceptions. Sometimes it seems to me that I talk about it more than most, and I would say I don’t talk about kids all that much. Alan’s post has a few comments with links to an item or two worth looking at, but Ivy Beckwith and Margie Hillenbrand should probably be added to the list.