Here is a great Ted Talk that shows teenagers can help create sustainable cultural change!
Here is a great Ted Talk that shows teenagers can help create sustainable cultural change!
Here is our final match up for the 2017 Holy Dove Championship!
2 – Elaine Heath (The Professors)
“Holiness is a Godward posture, a complete belonging to God, a full commitment to the reign of God in this world, being set apart. Yet holiness is not a denial of one’s own humanity. Nor is holiness a matter of “purifying” oneself by removing oneself from the muck and mire of actual life. On the contrary, the holy life is one that is fully engaged in this world in the name and power of Jesus Christ. As the lives of so many great saints and mystics demonstrate, the more one advances in the way of holiness, the more one must wrestle with “powers and principalities,” for the same evil that opposed Jesus opposes those who live in the power of his name. Suffering of all kinds seems to mark the paths of many of the great saints and mystics, through illness, rejection at the hands of loved ones, persecution, and loss. But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. It is precisely in the midst of such adversity that these holy ones become testaments of divine love.”
1 – Kenda Creasy Dean (Youth Ministry Voices)
“Disciples are people who participate in God’s movement toward the world, and who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to represent Christ in the process. This is the root of the church’s missionary identity. Etymologically, a missionary is one who is ‘sent,’ especially one who is one across boundaries – which makes God the orinaial missionary, crossing every human boundary imaginable in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Mission originates in God, not in a church committee. The missio dei is God’s sending of God’s own self into creation, making God both the sender and the one who is sent. A church that fails to respond to the Holy Spirit’s boundary-crossing impulse, that fails to share the love of Jesus Christ – God’s own self in the world – is unthinkable.”
The Final Four Is Here!
2 – Elaine Heath (The Professors)
“Christian mysticism is about the holy transformation of the mystic by God, so that the mystic becomes instrumental in the holy transformation of God’s people. This transformation always results in missional action in the world. The idea that mysticism is private and removed from the rugged world of ministry is simply false. All the Old Testament prophets were mystics. Their visions, dreams, and other experiences of God were for the express purpose of calling God’s people back to their missional vocation.”
1 – Rachel Held Evans (The Writers)
“Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, … not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.”
1 – Kenda Creasy Dean (Youth Ministry Leaders)
“If we say we want to translate the gospel with young people, this is what we are saying: we are willing to put the very power of the gospel itself—the very power of the Word of God—into the hands of teenagers, people who do not view culture the way we view culture, who do not hear God the way we hear God, who will not worship the way we worship, who will not “do church” the way we want them to simply because they will be listening to Jesus and not to us.”
2 – Amy Butler (Church Voices)
“Matthew’s gospel today tells the story of a small crowd waving palms on the edge of Jerusalem, and it presents an invitation to us to change the way in which we understand the expression of our faith. So many of us have learned that a life of faith is the exercise of following an inviolable list of rules, our successful following of which will get us into heaven, and our failure to follow, well, you know. But I wonder as we set out into this holiest of weeks, whether we’re being invited to understand our faith less as following rules and more as speaking up, as being mouthpieces for righteousness, insisting on justice and peace and wholeness for all of humanity.” Click here to read the rest of her sermon
An update about March Madness – All of the Elite Eight matchups are tied! We need the ties broken before we can head to the final four and national championship! So feel free to vote again 🙂
Until then, worship with this beautiful Celtic version of 10,000 Reasons
1 – Rachel Held Evans
“Baptism reminds us that there’s no ladder to holiness to climb, no self-improvement plan to follow. It’s just death and resurrection, over and over again, day after day, as God reaches down into our deepest graves and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead wrests us from our pride, our apathy, our fear, our prejudice, our anger, our hurt, and our despair.”
3 – Lisa Sharon Harper
“Why didn’t Jesus fight? After all, that’s what the people wanted. They had been waiting for a Messiah to overthrow Caesar by force and take back the Promised Land. Why did Jesus rebuke Peter and heal the slave’s ear? Why did he choose the route of silent, non-violent resistance with Pilate rather than lashing out or arguing his case? Why did Jesus turn the other cheek and excessive meekness, which means disciplined power, in the face of terror? I believe it was because when he looked into the eyes of the chief priests or their slaves or the Roman soldiers, or even Caesar himself, He saw the image of God.”
8 – Jonathan Aigner
“We don’t want to be entertained in church, and frankly, the church’s attempt at entertainment is pathetic. Enough with the theatrics. Enough with the lights, the visuals, the booming audio, the fog machine, the giveaway gimmicks, the whole production. Follow that simple yet profound formula that’s worked for the entire history of the church. Entrance, proclamation, thanksgiving, sending out. Gathering, preaching, breaking bread, going forth in service. Give us a script to follow, give us songs to sing, give us the tradition of the church, give us Holy Scripture to read. Give us sacraments, not life groups, to grow and strengthen us.”
2 – Amy Butler
“The message Jesus came to preach is a message of challenge—utter and difficult challenge—that pushes us all to places of discomfort—pain, even, a message that makes all of us look hard at our hearts and think about just how they need to stretch. True sacrifice that makes a difference in the life of someone who has less than I do; relationships that practice the difficult discipline of community, of truth telling; communities that work together even when we’d prefer to promote our individual agendas; people who engage in real forgiveness and reconciliation with someone who you’d rather forget altogether . . . doing the hardest thing ever to reach out and heal situations you’d rather leave by the side of the road and move on . . . so that your life reflects the radical reconciliation Jesus came to show us.”
We are in the final week of March Madness! Make your final votes count.
Today’s elite eight match ups are four of Jay’s most favorite speakers and writers. How greatly is his heart torn to have chose between them!
1 – Walter Brueggemann
Speaking on Isaiah 42:15-16 “You see, the song is a subversive song as is the new reality. The new song never describes the world the way it is now. The new song imagines how the world will be in God’s good time to come. The new song is a protest against the way the world is now. The new song is a refusal to accept the present world as it is, a refusal to believe this is right or that the present will last. The church is always at its most daring and risking and dangerous and free when it sings a new song. Because then it sings that the power of the gospel will not let the world finally stay as it is.”
2 – Elaine Heath – The Mystic Way of Evangelism
“Christian mysticism is not essentially about private, inner, ecstatic experiences. Rather, Christian mysticism is about the revealing of deep spiritual truth to the worshipping community through the agency of the mystics, those who have been radically and incarnationally transformed by the Holy Spirit. Supernatural experiences such as visions and ecstasies are neither incontrovertible proof of mysticism nor the real substance of mysticism. Instead, the Christian mystic is one who has attained a radical degree of holy transformation at the deepest and most originary levels of being. The outcome of genuine Christian mysticism is missional action in the world. Mysticism, in other words, always results in greater love of God and neighbor.”
Youth Ministry Voices
1 – Kenda Creasy Dean
“The issue is not whether young people can read the Bible (they can). The real issue is . . . well, really, why would they want to? What have they seen in the church that would suggest that the Bible is a source of power and wonder? When have they seen their parents derive life and joy from reading scripture?”
3- Andrew Root
““Youth ministry is not about getting things accomplished – only the act of God can bring about the transformation we seek. Youth ministry is about participating deeply in young people’s lives as we await, together in suffering & joy, the coming of God.”
3 – Lisa Sharon Harper – Left, Right, & Christ
“Justice is the image of God flourishing on earth. Justice is all humanity having the liberty to exercise God’s kind of dominion. Justice is right relationship between men and women, humanity and the rest of creation, all of creation and life, and humanity and the systems that govern us. Justice is present when these relationships are as they should be.”
2 – Tony Jones – Did God Kill Jesus?
“To whom should we listen? The loudest voices? The most educated? The formerly marginalized? The formerly powerful? Those with the most retweets? Those who have traditionally spoken for God are now looked at with distrust by many people, and with good reason. Too often they’ve used their Christian platform for political and military gain. They’ve forgotten that the story of God, exemplified in Jesus, is an abdication of power. It’s a story of self-limitation and humility. It’s a story lived in solidarity with those at the margins. To whom should we listen? To Jesus on the cross.”
3 – Jim Wallis
“Two of the greatest hungers in our world today are the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for social change. The connection between the two is the one the world is waiting for, especially the new generation. And the first hunger will empower the second.”
2 – Amy Butler
“Consider: Jesus says, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” In Jesus’ day, use of the left hand was only for unclean tasks; you’d only use your right hand in polite company. If you want to hit someone, you used your right hand. And if you wanted to hit someone to degrade them, you’d use a backhand blow. Walter Wink says “The backhand was not a blow to injure, but to insult, humiliate, degrade. It was not administered to an equal, but to an inferior. Masters backhanded slaves; husbands, wives; parents, children; Romans, Jews. The whole point of the blow was to force someone out of line back into place.” So—stay with me here—if someone hit you like that on the right cheek and you turned your left cheek awaiting another hit, the person hitting you would be forced to use a fist, not a backhanded slap. But only equals fought with fists. By turning the cheek you were saying to your oppressor: I am a person, too. I am the same as you.”
6 – Amy Oden – God’s Welcome
“We have food to share with a world that is hungry, even famished. Spiritual wanderers—those spiritually starved and denied—show up at our doors, not because they like our buildings or even because they like us, but because they are hungry. Hungry for forgiveness, for rest and peace. Hungry for mercy and grace. Hungry to explore and grow. Hungry for the good news of new life, of abundant life. Hungry for God to do a new thing.”
2 – Elaine Heath – A Mystic Way of Evangelism
“The church in the night is being called to own and renounce its threefold syncretistic attachment to sexism, racism, and classism. These attachments have wounded the church and have caused the church to wound the world for far too long. Painful self-reflection, repentance, and much theological work are needed to retrieve the egalitarian ethos of the gospel. As the church is healed from this damaging threefold wound, it will regain the moral authority it needs to speak to a world hurtling toward chaos. Delivered of its demonic attachment to oppressive power, the church will find its God-given conscience toward all living things that have suffered under the centripetal force of domination. The earth and all its creatures will once again become primary foci of the good news, that God is redeeming not just fallen humans but the whole of creation.”
Youth Ministry Voices
1 – Kenda Creasy Dean – Almost Christian
“Mission is not a trip or a youth activity, a silent cousin to evangelism, or an optional model of youth ministry. Mission is the business that congregations are in. Christ views young people as participants in God’s mission rather than as targets of ours.”
4 – Brian Kirk – Missional Youth Ministry
“Somehow we become convinced that no matter what other good we might accomplish, our success in youth ministry has everything to do with how many teenagers walk in the door on Sunday or Wednesday nights. Yet it’s this sort of ear that stifles ministry and keeps us from introducing teens to a truly radical faith that has the power to transform lives.”
1 – Rachel Held Evans – Searching for Sunday
“I told them we’re tired of the culture wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, I said, not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.”
5 – John Wesley
“One great reason why the rich in general have so little sympathy for the poor is because they so seldom visit them. Hence it is that one part of the world does not know what the other suffers. Many of them do not know, because they do not care to know: they keep out of the way of knowing it – and then plead their voluntary ignorance as an excuse for their hardness of heart.”
8 – Jonathan Aigner – Ponder Anew blog
“Because, friends, true worship doesn’t meet our felt needs, it awakens us to the needs of the community around us. It is so disruptive that we cannot continue with our lives as planned. Something in us must change, so that we can be the change we want to see. We need to say, “Enough!” How much longer can we sit around and watch the jesusy show? How much longer can we arrogantly stand around and croon “My chains are gone!” while fellow image-bearers are being tackled, bound, and shot dead right in our backyards? Can we really continue to inebriate ourselves on the wine of consumeristic Christianity, and ignore the silent tears of our neighbors? When will we realize that only through rich, gospel-centered corporate prayer, can we become God’s prayer for an ugly world? It is to our own sin and shame that we continue worship like there’s no one around but me and Jesus. There’s a big, ugly world out there. Now let’s worship like it.”
4 – Nadia Bolz Weber – Accidental Saints
“There are many reasons to steer clear of Christianity. No question. I fully understand why people make that choice. Christianity has survived some unspeakable abominations: the Crusades, clergy sex-scandals, papal corruption, televangelist scams, and clown ministry. But it will survive us, too. It will survive our mistakes and pride and exclusion of others. I believe that the power of Christianity — the thing that made the very first disciples drop their nets and walk away from everything they knew, the thing that caused Mary Magdalene to return to the tomb and then announce the resurrection of Christ, the thing that the early Christians martyred themselves for, and the thing that keeps me in the Jesus business (or, what my Episcopal priest friend Paul calls “working for the company”) — is something that cannot be killed. The power of unbounded mercy, of what we call The Gospel, cannot be destroyed by corruption and toothy TV preachers. Because in the end, there is still Jesus.”
Over the next four days we will have the sweet 16. Make sure you vote!
1 – Walter Brueggemann – A Way Other Than Our Own
Speaking on Psalm 23:6 “God’s friendliness and kindness will run after me and chase me down, grab me and hold me. The verb ‘follow’ is a powerful active verb. We are being chased by God’s powerful love. We run from it. We try to escape it. We fear that goodness, because then we are no longer in control. We do not trust such a generosity, and we think our own best efforts are better than God’s mercy. Lent is a time to quit running, to let ourselves be caught and embraced in love, like a sheep with safe pasture, like a traveler offered rich and unexpected food. Our life is not willed by God to be an endless anxiety. It is, rather, meant to be an an embrace, but that entails being caught by God.
5 – James Cone – God of the Oppressed
“The Christian community, therefore, is that community that freely becomes oppressed, because they know that Jesus himself has defined humanity’s liberation in the context of what happens to the little ones. Christians join the cause of the oppressed in the fight for justice not because of some philosophical principle of “the Good” or because of a religious feeling of sympathy for people in prison. Sympathy does not change the structures of injustice. The authentic identity of Christians with the poor is found in the claim which the Jesus-encounter lays upon their own life-style, a claim that connects the word “Christian” with the liberation of the poor. Christians fight not for humanity in general but for themselves and out of their love for concrete human beings.”
Youth Ministry Leaders
3 – Andrew Root – Taking Theology to Youth Ministry
“I content that at its core youth ministry is about participating in God’s own action. The purpose of youth ministry is to invite both young and old to participate in God’s action. Youth ministry, like all ministry, seeks in humility to be swept up into God’s own action, and therefore to participate in God’s activity in our world. Youth ministry is no different from any other ministry in finding its very center in God’s own act…In the end, youth ministry is every bit as theological as every other form of ministry, because its core isn’t games and skits but the action of God. What makes it distinct from other ministries is its particular focus on the actions of God with and for young people.”
2 – Mark Yaconelli – Contemplative Youth Ministry
“What would it mean if the goal of our ministries was simply to be prayerfully present to young people – to allow them to be fully themselves? Could we trust that our presence is enough? How would we treat youth if we weren’t trying to convince them of the importance of the faith, the worthiness of Jesus, the necessity of the church? What would happen if we sought to minister to young people through our ears, through our presence, through silent prayer and an open heart? What would such radical acceptance evoke in young people? Contemplative youth ministry is about deepening our presence to both God and young people. And though this time is grounded in prayer and openness to God, the fruit of this time is our increasing ability to be present – open and available – in all our relationships.”