November 20, 2009

The Generation M Manifesto

Here's a link to an article written by Umair Haque who is representing the "younger" generations. While some of the views are a bit eyebrow-raising, I think the theme of it sounds right.

Authentic, deep, trust.

The Generation M Manifesto

November 8, 2009


I love me a good revolution. This is not because it means, "A sudden or momentous change in a situation." Anyone who knows me well can tell you I really don't mind NOT changing. Simply ask any restaurant I frequent as I can walk into several and be recited my order without having to place it myself. I'm not really into spontaneity. If it works, why mess with it?

My fascination with revolution is instead based upon why change takes place and the results that follow. The American Revolution in the 1700s. The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s The Technological Revolution of today. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to walk through the streets of Philadelphia during my bachelor party on a private tour walking into the very houses, buildings, churches, and streets that the founders of our country talked, listened, and formulated a plan with one another before executing an undertaking that has transformed the history of the modern world. Getting there by car, and gallivanting about with the internet and it's wealth of information in my pocket; my experience at that moment pulled all three eras together.

(conspiracy theorists, acknowledged)

The next great revolution that will take place is the Intergenelution. Oh, wait. Never heard of it? Let me explain. I believe that as we seek revival and transformation, both individually and collectively, it needs to happen intergenerationally. We know that the church is supposed to be a body, with each member performing a unique God-ordained function to the execution of evangelism. As a part of this is the generation they represent. Paul's writings to Timothy is the perfect example of this. The older guy is writing to the younger guy to remind him to make sure the really old ladies are taken care of (among other things).

A conversation I had yesterday after church showed me how different generations can focus on a certain aspect of Christianity. For example, you have the "upper agers" who focused a ton on the law which resulted in the "middle agers" needing to be won through the message of grace because they already had overly exceeded their law fix. But then, you had the "middle agers" focusing so much on grace that the "lower agers" have similarly exceeded their grace fix and are now creating ministries that are focusing a ton on the law. Each proves valuable within its own generational context. I might espouse a pro-law theology. If left to my own devices, that might be all I speak of simply because I have heard so much about grace, it has become cheap to me so I assume that is the case with everyone else. However, this assumption is clearly not true, and continually being reminded of this is necessary for an accurate picture of salvation to be presented. And this is just a piece of why intergenerational ministry is key.

Inter- is a prefix meaning between, mutual, or reciprocal; gen, shortened for generation; and in chemistry, elution is the process of removing an adsorbed material from an adsorbent by washing it in a liquid. We were all absorbed by the world but have been removed from it when we were bathed in the blood of Christ. This is the intergenelution, folks.

On Friday, I looked up "intergenelution" in Google and there were zero hits. Today I did, and there was one documenting my purchase of And so, it starts.

October 29, 2009

Children See, Children Do

NAPCAN is an Australian charity founded on concern for all children and focused on bringing about change to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

They recently released a pretty powerful video.

It's amazing how younger people mirror the actions of those who are older. If you talk a great talk, but your walk is a bit shaky, be warned. Your legacy will live on despite what you do or do not say. What did you do today?

October 23, 2009

A Revolution

I have spent the past nine and a half years of my life actively involved in the ministry of my church. My focus has been with middle school, then high school, then college, and now, something else. This something else has been new place for me to be. In all these years that have passed, I have been responsible for making sure things happen - studies, events, and whatever else in an oversight capacity. However, I am now working in a role that doesn't involve these things. In January, I handed over my most recent set of responsibilities, leading our college ministry that I helped build four years ago, to a rapidly rising leader from within. I still participate in the same sort of activities that I had in the past, however I am no longer responsible for their execution.

The reason for this transition has been obvious, but also not so obvious. This year has been a big year in my life. Getting married, and now with a baby girl on the way, it makes sense that I would need to stop and adapt my old normal to my new one; figuring out how to optimize my life to accomplish the work of ministry that I have focused my life to do.

However, the not so obvious reason for transition involved the personal struggles of figuring out my ideal position of ministry, wondering if what I had to offer could actually meet a need that existed within my current setting. At that juncture, the needs of our college ministry could be better met by another so the most responsible action I knew I could take was to ensure that the need was met.

Shortly after I made this decision, another ministry opportunity presented itself before me. Instead of looking at things from the ground level as I have spent almost a decade, I now had the chance to look the at the big picture because I had decided to take a step back.

I have spent 2009 thus far meeting, learning, experiencing, talking, listening, and reading. After deep reflection, last week I had my "a ha!" moment.

You know how you like to kill two birds with one stone? Or when you are lucky, three? Or when you have one of those obnoxiously productive days where like all your errands are off of the very same road? Like like everywhere you need to be for the day is right off of 29?

This is like that, except different. By virtue of my church involvement, I have been able to experience ministry teams from every age group. The one missing link that I have come to find that can explain a multitude of problems that I have seen over the years is the lack of inter-generational ministry.

While some take this to mean that teenagers could be paired with a responsible adult, I believe it needs to be of a far larger scale. Anybody, regardless of age needs to be deliberate in developing relationships with those who are older than them to learn from, but also finding those who are younger who they can mentor. Actively.

Additionally, this means coming to the understanding that generations truly approach the world differently. These differences are shaped by various societal issues taking place as they come of age: war, technology, social unrest. But regardless of why, the sooner we accept that people of different generations will try to solve the same problem using their own approaches, the quicker we can join together in actually solving it in the most effective way. Together.

The solution is not simply to sit around a table with every age demographic represented. Instead, it is the idea that regardless of a persons age, each provides something of value. The goal would be harnessing and utilizing it. This is not each generation marching side-by-side. Rather, this is a giant blob of people of varying talents, gifts, and age all working in sync with one another. Instead of a fruit cocktail, a fruit smoothie. Instead of a random, yet distinctly obvious, assortment of plastic parts sitting together in a bin, a fully assembled Mr. Potato Head.

The nuance of the difference may be lost on some, but this is what I have discovered to be my new approach to ministry. The beauty of the situation is that it works in every circumstance. There are studies to prove it. The benefits are huge, but for some reason very few are talking about it.

But now, I will be.

September 10, 2009

She's Pregnant!

Today, I had the opportunity to listen to the beating heart of my first child scheduled to make his or her arrival into the outside world on March 14, 2010.

I did not know what to expect when "listen for the heartbeat" time came during today's appointment at the doctor's office today. I imagined I would hear some static-y sounding something that the doctor (or the midwife, in our case) would say, "Can you hear it? Right there!," to which I'd reply, "Um, yeah! I think I do," when in reality I had no idea what the sound actually was, but I'd just play along so as to not appear as a complete stooge.

The realty was the sound on a large speaker projected clearly upon the four walls (and a window) of the brightly lit examination room. A loud, rapid, distinct pulsation. A tiny, beating heart caused more blood to circulate for those 10 mere seconds than it has pumped so far in its fairly young life.

Crazy. I have somehow managed to add the title "Father" to my resume.

Let me take you back about two months ago. My wife Ruth and I got married on June 14, 2009 and had the incredible opportunity to spend three weeks together in Hawaii on our honeymoon. So we go. Honeymoon. Relax. Enjoy life.

At the end of the trip, we began joking about the possibility that we'd have a "honeymoon baby." Not really conceiving it being a realistic outcome, we kind of went with it. However, upon our return from the trip, after the first week back it became apparent that we needed to take a test to see if what seemed to be happening actually was. God being up to something. The joke was on us.

So, I (yes it was I) went to Target and picked up a home pregnancy test kit (3 for the price of 2!) using none other than EPT, which promised me the greatest accuracy from the products that I briefly reviewed as I awkwardly gazed at the products in an aisle of the store that really doesn't have too many window shoppers.

It was Friday evening, and after assembling our new bed from Ikea with the assistance of people we love dearly but were hoping would leave so that we could continue with the agenda of day, Ruth went to the bathroom to take the test.

She took it, left it on the counter, and we sat together on our newly built bed awaiting the results. For those two minutes life was what it was. But at the end of the two, things had the potential to change significantly. And they certainly did.

Upon seeing the results, both Ruth and I initially came away with different reactions - Ruth in denial that the test said what it did, and me with my hand covering my mouth repeatedly yelling at the top of my lungs "OH MY GOODNESS!" We eventually came to agree that it was, despite the faintness of the plus sign on the test, that it was positive.

However, some doubt arose on Saturday morning and since we had two tests left to go, Ruth took one again just to be sure that we saw what we thought we did. But the test came out looking the same exact way that it did the previous evening.

We had a third test in the package, and Ruth really wanted to see what a negative test looked like. So after a brief discussion on how to make it happen, I volunteered to take the third test. I figured, we paid for two and got the third one for free... no money lost on this venture.

So I went to the bathroom and took a pregnancy test. I had the strong desire to update my Facebook status with "took a pregnancy test" that morning but figured it was a bit to soon for that sort of thing. During our joking about pregnancy, I expressed my annoyance at the concept of, "We're pregnant!," because it just sounds so hokey. So from the bathroom I jubilantly exclaimed to Ruth upon seeing the result... "WE are not pregnant! But YOU are!"

So there you have it. That's what the last two months have been like. Wrapping my head around the whole concept of fatherhood which seems to be a job that's way to big for me. I enjoy running around, screaming at the top of my lungs with my nieces and nephews. But parenting? Wow.

I heard my baby's heartbeat today. Big day.

September 5, 2009

So you wanna blog do you?

So. It has apparently been nearly four months since my last blog post. Much has happened in those past four months--among other things, I got married, and purchased a condo with my wife which we are currently working on making some fun updates to (more on this in a future post).

While I haven't posted, it hasn't been because I have forgotten about the blog--heavens no. It's really been much more based upon my lack of a clear idea as to what on earth I could/should post about. Just random/boring incidents from my life? A more thematic focus on some personal goals and my efforts in achieving them? Commentary on religion and/or politics? A combination of all of the above? NONE of the above?

I really need to come up with my plan because the problem is I hate wasting time. Like, spending time in ways that shows no benefit. This irritates me immensely. I really like the concept of a blog, if for no other reason, it provides a sort of written history as to my thoughts so I can laugh at myself after the fact. However, my issue is with the whole concept of having a personal online presence. Like streamlining my operation so its not like... blog, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else is out there/comes up, but figuring out how to keep things simple(r).

So, point of story--while I previously was wanting to be more focused on the subject matter of the blog, I think I will make an attempt to not really care about that and simply write things and see what happens. Let something evolve into being, rather than design it from the start. (Oh, wait. That just seems wrong for some reason.)

May 28, 2009

So You Want to Kill the President...

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was watching the Today Show, as I do every morning. Today was a relatively slow news day because the story that received the most coverage during the 7:00-7:22 segment involved the false report filed by a woman who really took her daughter to Disney World. Every element of the story was repeated twice, both in the setup piece and then again when Natalie Morales was interviewing a police officer involved with the case. There were many elements in that reporting piece that were annoying to have to listen to (mainly Natalie Morales' misunderstanding of what racial profiling is), but I digress.

The far more shocking story to me was the one involving Sara Jane Moore who tried to kill President Gerald Ford in 1975 but failed because an onlooker twisted her arm causing the bullet to miss. The entire story was presented as a big reveal with it being teased throughout the morning with an old woman whose identity was shielded because they didn't have lights on her. When it came time for her interview, they undimmed the light in the studio so we could see her face.

Matt Lauer's biggest shock was that she looked like somebody who could be our aunt or (dare he say) grandmother. Sara Jane felt that she needed to do the interview so that people didn't think she was a monster, but just a human being.

It was all rather odd to me. Matt Lauer was honored to meet her. She had been in jail since her attempt and was on parole. I simply cannot understand how somebody who tried to kill a president is sought to be understood under the lights of a morning news show studio. If somebody tried to kill President Obama, would we eagerly look forward to an interview many years in the future so that they can present themselves not as a monster, but as a human? So we can seek to understand them? Please.

May 21, 2009

The Goatee Saver

I stumbled upon this post on Ragamuffin Soul. For twenty bucks, if you sport a goatee (as all youth pastors do apparently... except for those who have a soul patch), this handy gadget might the be the answer to your prayers. Check it out.

May 20, 2009

Getting Married

Back in 2007, I created a list of things to do on the site Today, as I was working to streamline my personal online presence, I remembered the site and logged in and saw the list of life goals I had made then. Most of them are things that really seem once in a lifetime, if they were to ever happen at all (i.e. Watch Maryland win a national championship in person).

I also saw that I had posted on my list, "Marry a woman with character, intelligence, personality, and beauty." Those were the things Martin Luther King had sought in a wife, and when I heard about his list, I remember thinking to myself that those characteristics would also be the verbiage of what I, too, would seek.

Finding people with a combination of some of those traits was quite easy. But all four? Never. Until, later, in that very same year I got to get to know Ruth, the person who I will be marrying in 25 days, 1 hour, 45 minutes, 52 seconds.

To all the guys out there: Such women actually do exist in the world, despite my belief that they didn't. I don't know where you might find yours, but I am so glad that I found mine.

March 25, 2009

Too Many Tweets

Recently joined Twitter, but am disappointed that so many posts disappear. This warning page makes it oh so nice.

February 22, 2009

Starting a new chapter

The past several months have been quite transformative in my life for many reasons. Reasons that I will describe in upcoming posts. It has been four months since my last post, but really much longer if you don't count posts that involved a link to some article that I happened to be reading.

I promise some quality posts. Shortly.