Zimbabwe

March 3, 2009

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one of the things i’m often frustrated with is our knowledge, as people who live in the US, of what’s going in the rest of the world.  some of it i blame on the media, who does a lousy job at covering international news, but the majority of it i probably have to blame us, who are too lazy to do any research or pursue any sort of larger world view (myself included). 

so a couple weeks ago, when my friend, Adam Speas, sent me an email that had “crazy idea” in the subject line, i didn’t know what was coming.  he’s living in South Africa right now and it just happens that he has several refugees from Zimbabwe living with him.  apparently, unbeknownst to many of us in the West, Zimbabwe is in the midst of a gigantic humanitarian crisis.  now, i know where Zimbabwe is & even what shape it is & what their flag looks like (because of my weird obsession with geography) but i was fairly oblivious to this situation.  just one staggering fact among many is that 1/2 of their population lacks the food they need to get through each day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Current Series: Christmas Conundrums

December 18, 2008

my friend, Andy Jack (who has since shut down his blog), gave me an idea in November for a December series.  so toward the end of last month i asked students for any questions they had about Christmas…no topic off limits.  from there we (my interns & i) sorted the questions into  4 general categories & have used them for the basis of our lessons this month.  week one i did a lesson i called “the myth of the nativity,” all about the things that we believe to be true about the Christmas story that aren’t.  week two was “the real meaning of Christmas?” talking about how the holiday has evolved over the years and where the traditions we use to celebrate it have come from.  week three, Chrissy is leading a lesson on Mary.  and on week four i’ll be doing a lesson on the wise men (which is appropriately falling after Christmas).  

it’s been a lot of fun researching each lesson and learning a lot about Christmas along the way.  i had no idea how much i didn’t know.  which seems like a constant lesson i’m learning these days…i have no idea how much i don’t know.  it’s somewhere in the category of a lot.  or more.  but after being out of formal education for going on 5 years, i’m really enjoying researching, studying, and pursuing a variety of topics, from the nativity story to world geography to adolescent development.


who (am i)?

September 8, 2008

Identity. In my mind it is THE topic of middle school. And for probably a lot more of life than any of would like to acknowledge, but especially middle school. So, being at a new place and wanting the youth group to grow together, i thought that a series on identity would be a great start. I’m aiming it toward our fall retreat in mid-october, at which we’ll be launching the rest of the year…a new name (and logo), midweek structure, sunday structure, etc. What better time to talk about identity when you’re sorting it out, right?

The question then became what to cover in six weeks on identity. Here’s my approach this time around…

1st Sunday…general intro’s. Why is identity important? Talked about how we all have a desire to be known for something. among other things, i showed a pic of Mark Hamill and while all the students could identify him as Luke Skywalker, none of them (!) knew what his real name was. And so we spent some time considering whether we let our true identity shine through (at school, in our neighborhoods, in our family, at church) or if we spend the whole time playing out some part we think people want to see.

2nd Sunday…What should we identify with? Well, the Sunday school answer is Jesus, and while being correct…why?! We spent the morning in Exodus, looking at the conversation between Moses & God (at the burning bush) and God’s name of I AM. God is THE definition…of life, love, and all things good. And Christ wants to live that out in & through us (a la Colossians 1:27)

3rd Sunday…If Christ wants to live out God’s goodness through us, what does that look like? I figured we’d spend the last four weeks on claims that Christ makes about himself, using the “I am” statements that show up in John that reflect week #2’s Moses/God convo. This week is Bread of Life.

4th Sunday…Light of the World

5th Sunday…the Good Shepherd

6th Sunday…Resurrection and the Life

I’ve only done the first 2 weeks, and am still working on the last four. If you have any ideas for ways that weeks 3, 4, 5, or 6 could be demonstrated, illustrated, exemplified, etc, I’m open to suggestions!


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