A visit to South Carolina

I’m wrapping up my time in South Carolina. It has been a great opportunity to teach seminary students located in a different region of the country. I have learned from them in class, I have discovered a bit of South Carolina’s history, and I have even tasted some southern cuisine. It has been nothing but delightful to join another learning community, even if for a short amount of time.

In class we have been talking about, rather wrestling with, ministry with children in this time. So many forces are shaping children today – consumerism, digital media, social networking, athletics – and it can be overwhelming for parents and ministry leaders as they try to engage in faith practices and learn about God’s story. While we are ending with more questions than answers, a few things have surfaced:

1. Our identity as people of faith comes from God, not society. Ground kids, ground us all, in that promise. Our identity as children of God never changes. While the world wants to commodify life, tell us what to wear, try to influence our values, and turn us into objects, God claims us and makes us subject of God’s love. That’s pretty cool.

2. Subjects need to live in community. As subjects of God’s love that means living in a relationship with God and with other of God’s subjects. Being in Christian community we are reminded of our identity and of the one who loves us and created us. In community we are formed and shaped as subjects of God’s love. In community we are informed of who is God is, and we grow deeper in our love for God, ourselves, and the world. And in community we are transformed, made new and empowered to love and serve others. And that leads to…

3. As subjects of God’s love we are also agents of God’s love. Yes, we gather with other Christian periodically, but we spend most of our time scattered in the world. And when we are scattered in the world, we have a role to play. We are to embody God’s love in the world, we get to give God’s love hands and feet and hearts and ears.

What if, at the heart of ministry with children (and their families), we helped children know theses three things? What if we shared these ideas with words and actions? What if we helped families do this as well? I don’t know what a typical week would look like in our congregations, but I’d hope we’d be spreading God’s love in the world.

Oh yea, and we have a guest who joined us. Check this out.

Wired might open imagination for ministry

20140329-213248.jpg So I’ve often found myself sneezing a peek at Wired magazine. Most of it is over my head, or outside of my know-how. But every once and a while there are ideas which cause me to pause and … Perhaps get glimpses of ministry in the years ahead. Today I was wandering around Wired’s website and came across these two videos. Watch them and see what you think these might mean for ministry in the 21st century.



Would love to hear your thoughts on this TedTalk on creativity by Elizabeth Gilbert. It begs lots of questions … and provides openings for rethinking creativity – not only for those in which it is in the center of their work, but also for those of us who dance in and our of it periodically.

So watch…and share!

Digital Storytelling

Watch this…

Got your attention? 

We, God’s people, are invited to be sharing the good news of  the gospel – to all people, all of the time. Yet so often many of us aren’t sure how. What if we – adults, kids and young people – once again became active storytellers? Not only in “telling” the story, but also in crafting how we are telling the story. In a participatory culture, with access to lots of digital tools, and a little imagination…I think we, just like Caitlin Jensen did above, can do it.

One of the things my Faith Formation in a Digital Culture class explored was digital storytelling. If you are not familiar with it, it’s simply a digital version of telling a story and it uses images, sounds and words. What if in this digital age, we, ministry leaders, recommitted ourselves to telling God’s story…and helping others do the same? Think about it.

(For more see: Center for Digital Storytelling or 


Dec. 12 – a man on the street

It’s been really cold in MN this past week. And, among other things, I came to appreciate my house (and heat) in a new way. Several times this week I’ve thought…I wouldn’t make it homeless. Part of what makes the rest of my life “work” is that my home not only provides warmth, but it also orients my day and my life. I’d be lost without my home. I wouldn’t know who I am.

And then I thought of Mary and Joseph. Ready to have their first child and they find themselves homeless. In our world we don’t think too highly of people who are homeless. In fact, we often don’t SEE them, or try not to. One message out of the Christmas story is an invitation to SEE people without a place to call home. And to LISTEN to their story.

Today and tomorrow, I’m going to post videos of two people who live on the street. And these two men have amazing stories. See them. Listen to them. And, perhaps, you will understand a new part of this familiar story.

Thanks Mary and Joseph for being faithful. Thank you innkeeper for seeing them and listening to their story.