Wednesday, October 27, 2004

do i offend?

i love tony campolo and mike yaconelli. it was a very sad day when yaconelli died. part of the reason i love what they have said is because they constantly challenge me. they force me to rethink things and i appreciate that greatly. of course, during the process of looking at things from a different prospective and considering why we as CHRISTians do and/or believe things they often end of ticking people of (sometimes i'm one of those people who are ticked off). i'm okay with this because i understand it's part of what they do and i believe i know their hearts and the care and concern they have for followers of CHRIST. they're goal is never to just make people mad - instead they point out something wrong and then have options for making it right. they offer answers rather than just causing controversy. they have earned the right to "tick" people off because they have and do care so much for those who follow CHRIST. they don't say things just to tick people off. instead, their controversial statements are always a part of brokenness and sincere desire to follow CHRIST better.

so here's the point i have been leading up to - recently i've been running into more and more youth ministers who seem to enjoy being at the center of a controversy. sometimes it seems that they make statements just to tick people off. there doesn't seem to be a real purpose to the statements other than causing an argument that the speaker than can the respond by saying how "sometimes it's hard to hear the truth." they get to be a "rebel" and feel like their standing against something but their actually just "rebels without a cause." they want to be campolo and yaconelli but they never have answers. they have the ability to tick off people but nothing to offer past that. oh this makes me furious.

of course, the worse part of all this is that i find myself doing the very thing i hate.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

sabbath retreat

i'm beginning to work on a sabbath retreat for my students based on the sabbath retreat that youth specialties stopped doing earlier this year. right now i am just planning this thing out. i've never done anything like this before and therefore i have ben hoping to find other people who have done retreats like this and use their experience but it appears that very few others have done this type of retreat either. a few people have helped with some suggestions and i have found two resource websites that i believe will be truly helpful - the youth ministry and spirituality project who used to head the sabbath retreats that youth specialties put on and practicing our faith put on by the valparaiso project on the education and formation of people in faith.

here is a list of what i am hoping to do during the retreat as of right now:
  • journaling – each person will journal 30 minutes a day
  • cooking – each person will participate within the meals of the day
  • digital photography – each person will be responsible for going and taking pictures of something they see that amazes them – these pictures will then be shown to the group and described.
  • a group movie each night – this will then be discussed for spiritual meaning.
  • quiet & solitude – each morning will be started with solitude. we will have to teach the kids how to do this.
  • reading – each participant will have to bring one book that they simply want to read - it can be for no other reason than simply enjoying the book – not for personal growth or school.
  • large group study through the lost sheep – similar to what I did with the youth ministry staff and what mike yaconelli did during the spiritual formations conference.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

why do people hate america? - tony campolo's "church of fools" sermon

why many people in the world hate america.

first, let me say that i love tony campolo. next, let me add that i also love the ship-of-fools website. so it is obvious that i was thrilled when i found out that tony campolo "preached" a message at the "church of fools" that is put on by campolo preached the following message "why many people in the world hate america."

in the message campolo suggests that the main reasons that many non-americans hate america is because we have not lived up to our potential. we once were the country that set the standard and every other nation wanted to be like. we stood for freedom and justice. now, we come across as a big bully who is only concern is cheap products and oil.

makes you wonder about being the "city on a hill" doesn't it?

how different are we?

i so often hear people say that men are rational and women are emotional. i firmly believe that there are differences between men and women - physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual differences. i would agree that the sexes respond to the same events in different ways. yet i really don't believe that we are all that different and i definitely don't believe that men are rational. most of the men i know are anything but logical. men are typically every bit as emotional as women - it's just that those emotions show themselves in manner that are different from women.

why do guys pick the cars that they do? it's not for rational reasons. just think about it for a second. look at the suv's, trucks, and sports cars that we men buy and tell me how they are chosen for logical reasons. consider our politics. most of our political decisions are made based on emotional reasons rather than rational. when's the last time you saw a guy make a rational decision about dating or marrying someone? logic has very little to do with those decisions. no men are just as emotional as women.

now please don't get me wrong i do believe there are differences in the way that men and women react to things. it's just that i believe those differences are differences within the same category - emotion - rather than differences in kind - rational versus emotional.

i wonder why we do this? i am beginning to think that it is done to make the decisions of women look worse than the decisions of men. i guess some think that rational decisions must be better than emotional decisions. nope! not in my opinion. i wonder if the whole thing isn't just an unconscious ploy to belittle the role of a woman in our society.

thank GOD we are not the same. i am very thankful that pam, my wife, calls on me to open jars because i am physically stronger than her, i love the fact that i under spatial aspects better than her, and i appreciate the fact that in some ways she has a better sense of beauty than i do. still when you get down to the center of the matter i'm not so sure we are all that different.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


i went to the national youth workers' convention in dallas, texas this past weekend and it was great as usual. here are some of the highlights of the weekend:
  • the critical concern course by rob bell - the revolutionary voice - it was quite challenging.
  • mark oestreicher's middle school seminar - real-world middle school ministry
  • mike pilavachi's general session - my word this guy is good.
  • the david crowder band leading worship - doesn't get much better than that
  • spending the weekend with my wife - it definitely doesn't get much better than that.
  • all the dramas and skits were much better than i figured they would be - i'm typically a drama/comedy snob. they usually seem to be "cheesy" to me. these were most definitely non-cheesy.

it was a great weekend that i learned alot from and throughly enjoyed. i can't wait to go back.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

casey strikes out

i am by no means the babe ruth of youth ministry or the hank aaron of youth messages and i in no way ever want to indicate that i think i'm even close. i mess and screw up a great deal. i don't understand enough to be in control of much of anything. i was reminded of this today.

you see the past 4 weeks of lessons have gone great. the four messages i did for the view have gone tremendous. the sunday school lessons that i have done during this four week time frame have been great. even the chapels, church sermons, and various other "extra" speaking opportunities have been quite good. i've had youth and adults telling me this and i personally have had a sense that these messages were really connecting and challenging the people with whom i was talking. i was beginning to "believe my own press" and think that i am actually a good speaker on my own. my GOD likes to keep me from such thoughts and to keep me from thinking it HE let my pride catch up with me. today's sunday school lesson bombed badly. worst than just bomding it was about my favorite passage of scripture (which should have been a "gimme") and it stunk.

this morning's sunday school lesson flopped misserably. it was aweful and everyone there, including myself, knew it. i was brought back to earth in a big, loud, crash. if you heard an incredibly large "thud" this morning that was the sound of my lesson hitting the ground as it crashed and burned. i'm sure the crash could be heard for thousands of miles.

i hate it when GOD keeps me humble.

Friday, October 01, 2004

youth parents are me

i am beginning to reach a new and frightening stage in my life as a parent and as a minister. i'm about to be the parent of a teen - well actually a 6th grader because he won't be thirteen for 2 ½ more years. still teen aged or not my oldest son will be moving into the 6th grade this summer and thus into the youth ministry. this scares me to death. i'm terrified just by the simple things that are already happening. i had forgotten how moody i was when i went through puberty. i had forgotten that i would cry, pout, get angry, laugh, and shout over things that aren't really that important. now i get to watch it happen in my oldest son. in fact, it's already happening.

intellectually i understand what's happening and i know that there isn't much i can do about it other than be understanding. yet emotionally i want to take care of all this for him and make everything alright. of course, i don't have the ability to do this, but i would if i could. i'm not even experiencing some of the pre-teen
and teen issues that some parents are and it's still bad. adam and i still have a great relationship with adam. he still talks to me and wants me around. i'm not going through anything really rough yet, except for a few new emotions. how am i ever going to make it through adam actually being a teen when i'm having such difficulty with him being a pre-teen.

as a minister a benefit has come out of this because i have new found emphaty and respect for the parents of teens. i understand some of the fear now and having to wonder which child i will see today - will it be the joyful child that takes everything in stride or will it be the child that thinks the world is out to get him? that helps me as a minister but it does absolutely nothing for me as a parent. really, as a youth minister how do i minister to the parent of a teen when that parent is me?