Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Math Lessons

There are 168 hours in a week.

I see most of the kids in my youth group an average of 1.5 hours a week.

That means that out of their entire week, 1% is spent with me. One percent. When I did the math last night I felt conflicting emotions of frustration and relief.

I was frustrated by the thought that my 1% is up against the:

12% spent in front of the television
9% spent on the internet
and I don't even want to try to calculate the time spent texting.

On the other hand, I felt profound relief--that perhaps if they were only exposed to things of a spiritual nature for 1% of their week, than perhaps it was only logical to expect a 1% change per week in their spiritual formation. (I know, I know, it's the Holy Spirit that prompts change and could move at 50% a week if the Holy Spirit wanted to...but I'm interested in boring, stark numbers this week).

It's somewhat mind boggling to think that I can spend 40+ hours a week for a 1.5 hour slot of time. My 28% is all for that 1%.

I've been challenged to question the purpose behind every activity crammed into that 1%. I've been asking the question, "Is this a worthy way to use up my 1%?"

I've also been challenged to remind parents that while my job is to minister to their children, a youth pastor alone is not going to cut it. While the youth pastor has a powerful position to speak into the lives of students, it is a very limited position.

28% for the 1 %.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Biblical Balderdash

Below are the results of a recent youth group game. They had ten minutes to write up the definitions of the following words. Can you figure out the real definitions?

Eucharist--Modern-day Latin word for permanent disease "wrist cancer".
Eucharist--A politician who resides in Ukraine.
Eucharist--What you did while you were trying to comfort your puppy (you-carressed).
Eucharist--A sacrament and the central act of worship in many Christian churches.
Eucharist--A single cell autotrophic organism with a nucleus, organells, a cell wall, and membrane.
Eucharist--The collected debris found on the base of a card table after an intensely cruel card game of euchre.

Hermeneutics--Worship of the leader of the Munster Family.
Hermeneutics--The act of interpretation in particular relation to Scripture.
Hermeneutics--The spiritual rituals performed by Tibetan monks to cleanse the ailments of their people.
Hermeneutics--The scientific study of hermit crabs in their natural environment.

Glossolalia--An infection gained from bacteria if the cap is left off lip ointment for more than 24 hours.
Glossolalia--Ancient Latin word for "Glossary".
Glossolalia--Fabricated and non-meaningful speech.
Glossolalia--A psychological disease acquired during the state of shock after losing a game of dungeons and dragons to your Great-Aunt Tessie.

Mukluk--Famous battle that took place in Mukluk, Russia that was the first major confrontation between the Nazis and the Native Americans.
Mukluk--State of being where one is considered of themselves to have bad luck.
Mukluk--A stroke of good fortune while wallowing in the mud.
Mukluk--A soft boot made of reindeer skin or sealskin and worn by Eskimos.
Mukluk--The Half-Brother of a Mugblood who retires to a swamp and lurks after 2 pm.

Grunion--The study of grunting or other dispositioning movements of the face.
Grunion--An atom with an extra abnormally large extra electron.
Grunion--A small fish of coastal waters of California and Mexico.
Grunion--A genetically engineered root vegetable grown to combine a garlic clove and a vidalia onion.
Grunion--Another term for the antagonist in a story.

Okay, so those last two weren't Biblical words...

Any suggestions for future words? I can't wait to hear what they have to say about "Mariology".

Friday, March 03, 2006

Pastoral Care Hypochondria

Eric is an amazing adult leader in our youth group. He's one of those leaders that plans, organizes and runs a guy's dodge ball night at the church and tactfully informs me that I'm not invited (darn, I guess I'll have to take the night off).

When I heard Eric was scheduled for shoulder surgery to repair a muscle tear I decided to make a little pastoral call. So I prayed with him, told him to call if he needed anything, and advised him to enjoy the legal high while he could.

Halfway through our conversation Eric began describing the pain associated with his shoulder. He explained the movements that caused the pain, where he felt the pain, etc. It was here where I began to fail in my ability to give pastoral care. It was here where the light bulb went off in my head with the thought, "Hey wait a minute, I think I have that, too!" In a classic form of pastoral hypochondria my thoughts went from him to me. At Eric's advising I set up a doctor's appointment.

Fast forward three days.

...So I've just come back from an unassuring doctor's visit with a jittery doctor ("Your shoulder is popping? Your shoulder is popping! YOUR SHOULDER IS POPPING!!!"). I should know more about "the popping" next week. In the meantime I'm supposed to "exercise my shoulder without moving it," whatever that means.

Maybe I should pay a post-surgerical pastoral visit to Eric and ask him how his physical therapy is going.