Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween and Reformation Day

Today is Halloween. My 3 year old Jonas is soooo looking forward to trick-or-treating. He's dressing up like Darth Vader (oh my pride and joy lies in the fact that I've passed along a love of Star Wars to my son), and I'm gonna be Yoda. I'm Crazy Tall Yoda Man- now give me some candy!!!

Today is also Reformation Day- a day in the life of the church where traditionally the protestant reformation is remembered. Reformation Day is the anniversary of the act that began the movement in 1517 — Martin Luther's nailing of the manuscript of his 95 theses to the door of the palace church in Wittenberg, Germany.

To the church of today I invite us to reflect on how God through Spirit is always moving through the Body of Christ to continually "reform" and reshape itself. Let reformation not divide, tear apart, nor bring any form of violence toward another. But today allow reformation to breathe life, creativity, love, hope, and unity (even when we disagree theologically and doctrinally) into the Body of Christ.

That's all for now.... I'm off to sneak a snickers out of Jonas's halloween pumpkin :)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

St. Benedict's Youth Group

I'm reading the rule of Saint Benedict for my morning devotion time. Within the context of youth ministry I really like the metaphor of "The Abbey"- with the Youth Pastor as the Abbot or spiritual guide/nurturer and leader for the monks of the Abbey.

In Chapter 1 Benedict outlines 3 basic types of monks:

1. Cenobites: these are the core who make up the community- who follow the rule and serve under an Abbot. I see the cenobites as the core kids of the youth group who help shape the basic character of the group. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HELP SHAPE THESE KIDS THROUGH PRACTICES SO THAT THE YOUTH COMMUNITY MODELS THE KINGDOM?

2. Anchorites: these are the monks who have progressed in faith and spiritual character that they are ready for a life of solitude in the desert. For our postmodern time this monk could represent where we hope students might be after 6 years in the Abbey of the Youth Group- equiped to face the sometime harsh desert life of the world- strong enough to it alone knowing that there is a community of faith lifting them up.

3. Sarabaites: these monks are not rooted in practice, Benedict sees them as basically still influenced by the world but wanting to be a part of the community. Obviously within youth ministry we probably have quite a few students who are here- whom God has entrusted us with and we hope to help nurture and move towards becoming a cenobite- rooted in practices of faith.

4. Syrovagues: Benedict is quite harsh on this group, but basically these monks travel from one monestary to the next never commiting at all to a community- only taking advantage of the hospitality of each abbey. In my opinion Benedict is harsh simply because he was concerned with creating a community of cenobites and the syrovagues represented the exact opposite.

Again in our post modern day where hospitality is a real rarity, especially among young people, we could stand to offer a safe welcoming environment for the wandering pilgrim who is casual, as long as we don't water down the practices that make us as a Christian community unique.

In fact, hospitality might just be one of those unique practices....

Rock on St. Benedict!!!! Inspire my youth ministry to be more Christ Like!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

My New Baby Girl

Well, I am now the proud father of a 7lb 3oz gorgious baby girl. Abigail Erin Norman was born Monday evening at 9:30pm. My wife, Jen, and I are still at the hospital and hope to head home by tomorrow sometime. I'll post thougths and reflections sometime next week when I've settled down a bit from the high I'm feeling from witnessing a wonderful miracle. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!!



Friday, October 15, 2004


I wonder just how inclusive the church could be before it would run the risk of losing its integrity. Would the church simply collapse if we let down the borders of "who's saved/who's not, who's in/who's not"?

Or I also wonder if maybe the church runs the risk of having no intergrity by defining who is and who is not accepted, welcomed, extended grace, seen as a person with a voice and gifts, instead of allowing God to do so.

I wonder if Christians ought to simply invite others into a peculiar way of life that loves God and loves neighbor, continues to tell its story, and let God handle the rest.

I dunno. Maybe, maybe not. Right now I'm leaning towards maybe.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

What's up world? Posted by Hello

here goes nothing....

This is the first time I've really tried to do a blog so we'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to the conversation...