Friday, January 25, 2013

The Witch Hunt

by micromoth

When I hear the term, "witch hunt," words like fear of the other and/or unknown, ignorance, intolerance, and tragedy come to me. I also think of bygone eras when there were literal mass witch hunts.

The sad truth is that witch hunts are not over. Even though many societies no longer seek to hunt for and destroy witches the tragic fact is that ignorance and intolerance are still rife.

Ignorance and intolerance show themselves when people refuse to genuinely hear the other person; simply allowing the words of the other to roll over them, like water on a duck's back. Often, they are scarcely able to conceal their impatience as they wait for their turn to make their point - a point that ignores what the other has said. They speak past rather than speak with, like very young children who have not matured enough to think abstractly and beyond themselves. It is not a conversation. There is no listening, receiving, acknowledging and then building upon what was said to move the conversation further through agreement or disagreement backed up with reasons. Rather, people who refuse to hear inhabit their own little world out of which they are afraid to venture. Everyone who is not in that world is treated with suspicion and fear spawned by ignorance and intolerance.

It is a sad world. We see it all too often. It is a challenge for us who have been called to raise up the next generation of Christians who will go out to love God and love their fellow human beings, while lifting up the light of Jesus Christ and inviting others to surrender to Christ and live devoted to God. It is a call to imitate Christ, who received everyone while challenging them and inviting them to change and orient their lives around the reign of God. It is a call to enable our students to imitate Christ.

How are you playing your part in raising up a generation of Christians who spurn ignorance and intolerance?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thank You Mentors

The youTheology mentors play a key role in the leadership growth of youTheologians in our one-year journey. During this national mentoring month, we salute them and thank them for their faithfulness in journeying with youTheology students over the course of one-year, and even beyond that. Mentoring makes all the difference, especially those times when the students are not in residence. Thank you mentors.

We remember mentors in the Bible from whom we can take example: Eli and Samuel, Naomi and Ruth, Priscilla and Paul. A mentor does not need to be perfect but to be available and willing to appropriately share their journey, the highs and the struggles, and God's work in her or his life. Moreover, a mentor is more willing to listen than to speak, providing encouragement and when apt, challenge. The time spent with the mentee as well as the genuine interest and caring showed, makes all the difference.

You may not be a youTheologymentor but you can still mentor. There are many young people in our churches and society longing for an adult who cares enough to invest in them. Will you be the one?

In addition, encourage the adults in your congregation to mentor the students there. They may be hesitant at first, even unsure of their capability to relate. However, once they begin and remember that it is about the student and his or her growth in God, doing it unto the Lord, they will be amazed at the difference it will make. You can also contact us for mentoring resources.

God bless our mentors.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time: A time to focus on Jesus' life. Ordinary Time: That time between the major festivals of the Church.

I like ordinary time. Yes. I know the word comes from a Latin word and has to do with numbering, but I like to think of it as a reminder that the day-to-day events matter and that there's nothing wrong with the ordinary, that time in between the high moments of life.

There's nothing wrong with a variation from the heights but we're presented with extremes as if they are a way of life - extreme makeovers, extreme fitness, extreme coupon tips, etc.

Increasingly, we're made to feel as if all of life must be lived on a high. Yet, it is in the regular rhythm that we lay solid foundations; foundations on which the high moments are built.

We are called to live and witness in the here and now, the everyday rhythm that sometimes seems monotonous, rather than continually chasing the exteme in perpetual motion that kills us and those around us. This motion disdains the ordinary and leads to dissatisfaction with the precious moments God has given us in which to do good, to lift up the fallen, to find purpose and meaning. We forget that many of Jesus' great acts occurred in the ordinary of life, as he was walking, worshiping, etc.

Ordinary time - a good time. As we come off from the high of Christmas and focus on Jesus' childhood and life, may we learn anew what it means to follow Christ. Like Jesus, may we too "increase in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor" (Luke 2:52 NRSV).
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future