Monday, November 26, 2012

Not Dead Yet...

"You guys are still at R Street? I heard things were really weird..."

"I heard you guys were shutting down"

It's funny, the things people will say... Sometimes others' version of your story is so convincing you begin to worry that their version is the correct one... and that you are simply delusional. I am really glad that the R Street story is not my story but that it is our story. Glad that I need not trust my version of the story because we are telling the story together.

And I am thankful.

Thankful that we are still here.  With loss of place and loss of some who began the story with us... we are still here.  When logic seemed to indicate a splintering and scattering... the wagons were circled instead.  When it seemed that the last of the day's sunlight was calling us away from the playground and home to wash up for dinner; instead, we locked arms and started a new game of red rover.

I am thankful for the family i have chosen... for the family that has chosen each other. I am humbled by the fierce determination to remain a family when it would be easier, and maybe even more prudent, to scatter and join other families.  I am thankful for a community who needs and loves one another because of the life we have already lived together and for the commitment to live through the story to come... together.

And so we change... Faces change. Places change. But WE remain. And we are strong; not because we are made up of strong individuals but because we are a family who knows our individual weakness and has found that we are only strong when we are connected.  Everything changes... everything but the things that still define us...

community... mission... inclusion... worship...

And contrary to what you may have heard...  We are not dead yet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

i still like mike

i first read this maybe 5 or 6 years ago. it is one of those articles i seek out and re-read every few months.  Mike was the founder and owner of Youth Specialties... arguably the most used resource in youth ministry over the last 2 or 3 decades.  over the last few years, virtually every conversation i have had involving youth and children s programs leads me back to this article written by the man who invented modern youth ministry.


A Better Idea Than Youth Ministry
by Mike Yaconelli

Youth ministry is a good idea. But there’s a better idea.

Before we go there, let’s look at what’s good about the good idea of youth ministry.

Good Youth Ministry

Relevance. Relevance is good. It means students can think, talk, write, and sing about the gospel in a language they can not only understand, but incorporate into their lives now. That’s good. Very good.

Relationship. Relationships are good. Youth groups are places where kids can learn something about relationships, about friendships. They learn the value of praying together, working together, being together, and serving together. In healthy youth groups they learn how to be less cruel toward those who are different; they are confronted with a gospel that asks us to love each other—even when the person to be loved is uncool, ugly, uncoordinated, overweight, or a geek. That is good. Very good.

Youth ministry is about safety. Safety is good. It gives young people a glimpse of grace. At its best youth ministry is a place where students are safe: safe to be honest, to be real, and to express what is deep in their soul. Not all youth groups are safe; but where there is safety, it is good. Very good.

Youth ministry is about fun. Fun is good, too. Very good. Young people have very few places where they are encouraged to have fun. Students should spend a lot of their childhood laughing. Youth ministry helps young people rediscover genuine laughter and fun. Fun is good.

Youth group is good.

But there’s a better good.

It’s called church.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"did god really say...?"

Reflection is dangerous. Necessary… but dangerous. Most of us have some vision, some picture of our place in the world; who we are, who we wish we were, who we are supposed to be. Those of us who assume an active deity, a god who participates and leads, often find themselves the recipient of this whispered question… the same question uttered by a serpent in a garden in our creation myth.

“Did god really say…?”

Usually we hear this question and remember that, in the creation myth, it was a trick; a manipulation meant to push the story’s heroine away from the story she was meant to live and into a new and much messier story.  We remember that this question planted a seed of doubt that grew into full rebellion. We remember that to entertain this question was to bring about the fall of the human race before it had much of a chance to stand. And in this remembering I sometimes ignore another important reality; what if this is a fair question? What if this is the question we most need to ask?

“Did god really say…?”

Sunday, July 29, 2012

rooted and grounded

r street community church ~ july 29, 2012

Ephesians 3:14-21
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Rooted and grounded. Solid. Secure.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

07.22.2012 ~ r street community church

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

So… some of you may remember that we were looking at the gospel of Mark a couple of weeks ago. You might remember that we had just seen Jesus sort of “strike out” in Nazareth, his home town. Maybe you also remember that he followed this by pairing his disciples and sending them out on their own for awhile; with instructions on how to respond if and when any of them had their own Nazareth experience. 

Interestingly, it is not clear in Mark’s gospel where Jesus was or what he was doing during this time but the news of the disciples travels reaches Herod and causes him to remember John the Baptist – and gives Mark a moment to tell the story of John’s execution as a bit of an aside.

When we return to the narrative, the disciples have returned to Jesus and immediately began to tell him the things they had seen and done. Imagine this scene. Any of you who have sent a kid to camp can probably see it clearly...