Saturday, June 23, 2007

Off to camp!

I won't be posting for the next week (which probably explains why I felt like having so many posts this past week!). I'm off to our Senior High conference. A week long time of worship, study and fun (in no particular order). We're a bit on the small size this year but last year we found out what a good time can be had by a smaller group of young people.
So please keep us in your prayers. The bishop will be joining us which is always a blast.

No really, it's fun having the bishop around.


There really are fun bishops out there (the portion of Canada nearest me seems to have an unreasonable percentage of funny bishops for some reason) and I'm lucky enough to have one.

We'll have lots of photos and even videos this year of the conference which we'll share as soon as we can.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Youth video

If you haven't discovered Father Matthew Moretz you're missing out. Here's a video he did with some of the youth of his church

He has more videos with his rather tongue in cheek approach to church and theology on displayHERE


The Episcopal Majority: Change of Pace

If you've ever sat through a committee, vestry, board or council meeting you'll recognize all these people. This is just hysterical. All it needs is someone complaining about something the youth group did or didn't do.

The Episcopal Majority: Change of Pace

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Here's the youth minister I want to be like.

Mike Yaconelli.

This is what we need to be doing. This is how we need to be saying it.

And yes we have rules here because of youth ministry (the no hiding in the organ pipes could be me!)

What a ride.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gettin' ready for camp

Well, it's T-minus 5 days and counting before our summer camp season gets underway. Camp always leaves me with divided emotions.

I'm a fairly strong Myers-Briggs introvert (which means I get my energy, "re-charge my batteries", from alone time. As the director of Senior High, the assistant to the director for Junior High and registrar for Sleep Away (which is the same week as Jr High) I don't get a lot of alone time. It's long days, busy days and days filled with young people with seemingly boundless energy (except for Morning Prayer). It is,in a word, exhausting.

On the other hand I get a chance to hang out with the youth. I love being with the youth. I love the energy and the silliness and the amazing bursts of profound understanding. And the fact that they accept me for what I am. A looney. I love teaching and talking and praying with them. I have a blast at camp.

Then I collapse. LOL.

This is me at camp. And yes I really do get that blurry!

This year our camps will be teaching on the theme of "Be Transformed" (Romans 12:1-2). I'm excited about the possibilities.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

25 years and counting

25 years ago on a rather hot and humid day a very special lady said yes to me. She did it in front of witnesses and priest so it's pretty official.

25 years ago today I got married.

To be honest I have virtually no memories of the service. I remember the following:

Peeking into the sanctuary wondering who was the guy in the Air Force uniform sitting with some of my family (It was my cousin Jimmy. Never seen him in uniform before. Or since now that I think of it)

Walking out to take my place with my "best men" (Jon, Steve, and Tom. You'd be hard pressed to find better friends then or now) and turning around to face the congregation.

Being unable to look at my lady because I was sure that I'd start giggling. I was very nervous.

Walking down the aisle, then running through the parish hall with my...Oh my God...WIFE!

That's it. No other memories. I know the giggling part came during the exchange of vows so apparently I said them. Can't prove it by me.

Since that day we've struggled with her chronic illness, raised us one spectacular young woman daughter, lost several jobs, changed several more jobs, lived in 8 different houses or apartments, owned about a dozen cars, been owned by 3 cats, visited two countries as a family and four in various configurations, found a church home and generally had a good time (overall).

We've been a couple for about 30 years (there was some start and stop at the beginning because her boyfriend was an idiot. She's mostly cured me of that)

My great joy has been traveling our lives together.
My great mystery is why on earth she chose me.
My great challenge is not being an idiot.
My great regret is that I can't give her the stuff I want for her. (She insists this is me being an idiot again)

After the reception we hopped into a VW Beetle and headed off to Williamsburg VA for our honeymoon. There were a few adventures along the way. But that's another story.

To my lady love, I love you now and forever. I hope you never come to your senses.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday morning blues

Can I be honest?

Right now I'm not much interested in what's happening in everyone else's life. It's not that there's much exciting happening in my life I'm just feeling selfish. I want it to be about me for awhile.

These moods come and go. I'm perfectly aware that this would be a very bad place for me to stay for any length of time. It can't be about me all the time. Being about me all the time would be bad for my relationship with my wife, my daughter, my brothers, my friends and for my job/ministry. Oh yeah, and it would be bad for me too.

Yet the reality is that we all find ourselves in this place some times. We also need to acknowledge that sometimes we NEED to have it be all about us for a little while. Sometimes we just need to do what we want to do. Once we get a little me time though we need to remember to get back out there dealing with everyone else.

On Wednesdays I'm usually off. On those days I play a little golf. I stink but it's some me time. I usually play by myself even. And that's just fine. It's just me and the green golf course and a little white ball that never goes where I want it to.

So the next time you feel like everybody's all up in your face and nobody is looking after you remember this: You owe yourself some me time. It's OK to take your me time. But it can't be me time all the time.

No idea why I felt that was important to share, but there you go.


Friday, June 08, 2007

I've been banned!

This is so cool! I've been banned by Mad Priest, one of the coolest, crankiest, iconoclastic and ascerbic Anglican sites on the web. If you're easily offended or can't abide liberal Christians who don't snivel and grovel then don't go visit. I think he's funny. Here's the official edict:

"DaYouthGuy (pictured above) is hereby cast into the outer darkness of the Blogosphere for extreme acts of animal cruelty. See his comment under the HEADLINE GOOGLE post. Vegetarians, lesbian and vegetarian lesbians are advised "not to look, Ethel.""

I had described "cow tipping" to him and he appears to have assumed I've done this. (I haven't, it's a bad thing and you shouldn't do it either. Here ends the lesson) I've entered an appeal but since it's already past dinner time in jolly olde I don't know when I'll be forgiven. He almost always forgives.

On a more serious note, I had a phone conversation with a rep from a major youth "event" company. You'd know them instantly but I don't want to make them the issue. It was something the very nice if rather nervous young lady said. She was quoting the stats that say most folks make a commitment to the Lord by age 20. She then went on to say that after that our chance of getting them to make a commitment drops to almost zero.

And I thought

"Is that right?"

And then I thought

"What the hell are we doing wrong then?"

If memory serves Jesus did most of his ministry with people past the age of 20. He converted them, called them, blessed them and they came. Apparently we are incapable of doing the same. I'm thinking we need to think about that (if it's true) and figure out how to change. If we are ONLY capable of reaching people when they are young and impressionable then I'd say we're sad and pitiful.

In reality it's harder sure, but then maybe it should be harder. We're asking for a serious decision. And if it's not true then first we should stop saying it. Then we should take a serious look at our attitudes toward our own faith.

That I shall deal with in another post.
Meanwhile it's sack cloth and ashes.
This is so cool!

Monday, June 04, 2007

The big day is coming

This is my column for the June edition of our diocesan newspaper "ChurchActs"

If you're a senior in high school it's almost here. The day you have been looking forward to for the last several years. The big day. THE BIG DAY.
Yes, the day when all the routines of your life for the last twelve years end. When more is going to be expected of you. The day when you are not only going to have to start making most of your own decisions but you're going to have to live with them. For better or worse. From that day on the concept of a job is no longer just a part time concept but rapidly becomes your full time life. Oh yeah, and that whole “summer vacation” thing? Pretty much ends on that day too.
Sure you thought that graduation day was going to be major party time. “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks” forever and ever amen time, right? Off to college, or out into the world to get a job. Not a kid anymore. On your own, making your own rules, living large.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: The easy part of your life is now over.

I get the feeling I'm not exactly making your day at the moment. That's OK it gets better from here.
Life does get more complicated from this point on. Beyond the college or not question you'll get into questions about marriage and mortgages, cars and kids, promotions and pension plans. Makes you long for the days when the biggest complication in your life was realizing you forgot to do a term paper. So you need to know that you don't have to go it alone. God has provided a graduation present for you. It's an easy one to forget to pack and take with you. It's your life in faith.
When I hit graduation day I was in a big hurry to leave most of my old life behind. There's an old joke that goes “When I went to college my father was dumber than a box of rocks. Four years later it was amazing how much that old man had learned!” As I've grown older not only did I discover how much my parents still had to offer me but also how my church still had to offer.
When times were hard my faith family has been there. I left my graduation present behind for a good number of years. I spent a fair while going it alone, away from my faith. I survived, even had a few successes. Those were easy to handle by myself. It was when things went wrong that it was toughest.
Let me be clear. I'm NOT saying you have to keep doing your faith life the way you did it as a kid. I AM saying that you need to keep doing your faith life. When times are bad it is a great comfort. In times of happiness it increases the joy.
The big day is almost here. Life starts getting more complicated. If you remember to take all your graduation presents you can face those complications with greater strength, greater joy, greater support. There's a complicate, exciting, scary, wonderful world waiting for you on the other side of that day. Let your faith help you to find the way into that amazing future.

Congratulations on graduation.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Just a quick note

Haven't had the time to add anything too profound. These short weeks always mess me up.

I'm back doing some cycling. I got started back in high school when a couple of my friends were pretty serious cyclists. I enjoyed it and it was a great advantage when I went off to college without wheels. For the warm weather months I could zip around pretty quickly.

I got back into it a couple years ago when some of the guys at church started cycling. Fr. Eric has become a pretty serious cyclist and a group of three or four of us try to bike together once a week. I've added some more biking to try and save on gas. If I can bike in we can save one round trip a week and that's not bad these days.

Haven't put a lot of mileage up yet but it's been pretty easy getting back into it. This morning I had a little excitement when some clown in a hurry passed me with less than a foot between me and his sheet metal. There was really no need for it but cyclists like motorcycles get very short shrift on the road. A fair percentage of four wheel vehicle drivers are ACTIVELY hostile to two wheelies out there. Don't ask me why but every biker of any description will swear it's true.

So I got startled but nothing else which is cool. Put another 15 miles or so on the chart for the summer. Hopefully I can:
1: Get in better shape,
2: Save some money
3: Do a little for the environment
4: Have some safe fun.

So be nice to that poor slob you see struggling along on the road. He might be me.