Let’s not forget the fun…

This entry was inspired by church this past Sunday. During the sermon I kept thinking about how I would like to use my thoughts this summer at camp but realized that’s too far away. So I’m writing it down now while it’s fresh.

My church is doing a sermon series on family and each week identifying a room of a typical house with the bigger point. This week was on the “family room” where generations meet together. The overall point was how important bringing up your kids in the right way is so that they have the best opportunity to live a life of faith as well. The thing that struck me was that many parents err by being too intense about their faith. They are incredibly strict and/or mandate large amounts of prayer or Bible study. Perhaps they have ministry of their own that they focus on too much, to the detriment of their relationship with their kids. Regardless of how the intensity is expressed, the results are similar. The kids don’t feel the vibrancy of Christianity, they just feel restricted. When they leave home their first instinct is to do anything and everything they want that isn’t steeped in religion.  Note these parents aren’t bad, they almost certainly love their kids deeply. But the way they are passing on the faith is flawed.

What many Christians forget it seems is that following Jesus is fun! It is awesome and joyful and no matter how it looks for you it truly is the best way to live. This isn’t to say prayer, Bible study, or rules are bad or inappropriate, they are essential. But if they are given without any notion of freedom, joy or fun you risk falling into legalism and putting your child off from religion permanently.

I’m going to generalize a bit here but it seems like a lot of the more emergent Christian writers today are getting most of their writing fuel from the experience of growing up in an incredibly strict Christian environment and now are trying to come to terms with it. They know Jesus is great and don’t want to reject him outright but they are trying to match up real, true, joyful christianity with their decidedly miserable upbringing where everything involving God was at best a chore and at worst punishment.

One last thought. At my Christian camp that I have worked at many summer previously, there seems to be three main groups of kids. Kids who aren’t from Christian homes and are hostile to the gospel, kids who aren’t from Christians homes and are neutral (i.e. they haven’t thought about religion much) and finally, kids who have grown up in good, solid Christian homes who may even be Christians themselves. Now as you might expect the focus is almost always on the first two groups. Counselors long for the kid who doesn’t know God to get on fire for him in their week at camp. This is logical and good but I think we are mistaken if we ignore the “good” kids too much. Who knows what their home life might be? Camp might be the most fun experience they have involving Jesus in their entire childhood. I’ve had kids essentially tell me this more than once. By showing them that Christianity can be fun, they latch on to it with all their might. We must never forget the Gospel but we also must make sure that in presenting it we don’t neglect how truly good it is. In fact it is the best thing and any kid who doesn’t know that is going to be severely missing out. We can’t force kids to follow God but we can show them how truly good following him is.

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Back to School…

Starting next week I start something I have been thinking about for over a year. Ever since I started to find my groove last year in the Czech Republic I have been thinking about becoming a teacher full-time.  To do so, getting my Masters in teaching was the next logical step. Now, after applying, getting in, buying books, and printing syllabi, my first classes are next Tuesday.

I am really excited to finally get this process started. Looking at my books I realize I will be interested by the subject material and completely qualified once I digest their contents. I am excited to be a teacher. I’m not excited to be busy.

If I had to think about it I don’t think I have been truly stressed-out busy, i.e. feeling like I had more stuff to do then I had time for, since my last year of college in 2007. This may seem strange to most people. Granted I have done a lot since I graduated but because not being stressed out is important to me I have always managed to stay not busy. Most people, Americans at least, like to be busy to the point of absurdity. The whole day must be planned out with varied and worthwhile activities. You must go, go, go until you reach a breaking point at which case you can take a vacation because hey, you deserve it.

I prefer to see what I have to get done, do it slowly, surely, and in good time and balance that with lots of not work time. I would rather have time to relax for an hour a day reading news or watching TV then to have no time for months and then vacation by “necessity.” My way it might be noted is quite a bit cheaper too.

Now I find myself with two part-time jobs and a full class load. I’ve always been pretty good with academics, I just hate the idea of being so busy I’m going to get stressed. I’m not asking for sympathy, a lot of people are in far worse, more stressful situations than mine that they can’t help.  I guess my only point is that starting next week I’m going to be busy and I can see both the positive and negative sides of the task ahead. Here goes nothing!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 42 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 92 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb.

The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 146 views. The most popular post that day was How to fix Boston..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, networkedblogs.com, twitter.com, partnerpage.google.com, and gritandglory.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for i rode the bus, deanna english teacher czeck republic, boston marathon, taboo topics in the czech republic, and how to ride the bus in sokolov, czech.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

How to fix Boston. October 2010
5 comments

2

Clarity versus Calling February 2010
9 comments

3

Travelin’ Thoughts May 2010
3 comments

4

About Me November 2008

5

Getting to the End? June 2010
1 comment