An experiment in Gratitude

These past few days have been filled with the sad reminder of how precious life is. Learning three siblings from our church were in a car accident where the oldest sister (19) died and the other two (both in high school) sustained serious injuries has made me more attentive to the people in my life. People are what make my life meaningful, joyous, and rich.

And this incident is just the tip of the iceberg. Read the paper, watch the news, or follow the latest happenings on Twitter…and there are many reminders of how quickly life can change. I’m not sure what’s happening in your life, but I bet you might appreciate more gratitude. A group of folks went after that idea. Their experiment of gratitude is worth watching, and might even touch your heart. Check it out! (And thanks Soul Pancake for another great video.)

April 2013 report says…

78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
95% of teens use the internet.
93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
For more see the Teens and Technology Report Pew Report 2013

Current picture of ELCA by the numbers

Many of my ELCA peers have wondered about the impact of the churchwide vote on congregations leaving the ELCA. This past June The Lutheran gave a current picture by highlighting some of the numbers. And while numbers don’t tell us everything, they do note some of the changes. Here are some exerpts from the article:

“As of the beginning of April (2012), 915 congregations had taken first votes to leave the ELCA, with 684 passing and 231 failing. On the second vote (required to officially withdraw from the ELCA), 25 failed and 631 passed. Of those, 621 have been officially removed from the ELCA roster.” (bold mine)

Where was the impact?  Minnesota – 70 (6% of all ELCA churches there), Ohio – 53 (9%), Iowa – 53 (11%), Texas – 48 (13%), Pennsylvania – 40 (3%)

“With roughly 200 new starts over the past few years, the ELCA today claims about 9,800  congregations and 4.2 million members.”

What does this mean? Our church is changing…We are not stuck in the present and neither are we stranded by inaction in pining for some idealized past. We look and move forward with confidence like our forebears, placing our trust in the Lord to guide us.”

For more see: Numbers Tell a Tale of Change – Some up, done – always onward by Daniel Lehmann .The Lutheran, June 2012, access at