Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amish Life Lessons 101

My family has gotten the neat opportunity the last few months for some cooperative farming efforts with an Amish Mennonite family who lives near our community.

It has been refreshing to interact with them and their five children...to watch their different pace of life...and to try to learn something from their priorities of community and family.

This week we were at the farm and got the chance to visit for a few minutes...and I had the most fascinating conversation with the husband.

He was asking me about the mission trip I took to Panama earlier this summer. He was so interested in the climate, landscape and farming techniques found there. He just asked me question after question about the Panamanian lifestyle. As we talked, I related how I was so touched by the relational focus of the Panamanians versus the time & task oriented American lifestyle...

(Now, here is where the conversation got mind-blowing for me.)

..and this Amish Mennonite man agreed. He related how he wished his life could have a different pace and be controlled less by time and the dollar. He went on to share how he feels that his grandparents couldn't have known the types of things that we face and, as much as he wants to live differently, he finds the culture rubbing off on him.


I mean this man farms with his family for a living. They grow or make much of what they use. They don't have electricity or vehicles. I don't think they have house payments or insurance premiums. And they live right in the middle of a cooperative community of like-minded individuals who, by my perspective, could survive together indefinitely even if the whole of American culture crumbled.

And he wishes for a different way of life.

I mean, the way he and his family lives reflects many of the ideals that I have wrestled with how to achieve for my own family. That is what even led us to pursue the small cooperative efforts that his family have so graciously allowed us to partake with them.

And yet his statements so reflect my statements. He appears to be wrestling with the same concepts I'm wrestling with.

So this leaves me perplexed. What does this mean in regards to the pursuit for simple living? I would love to hear any of your thoughts and experiences on the matter.

Looking forward to conversation...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Few More Questions

I thought I'd get in touch with my inner "Question Answer Guy" and put up responses to some more of the questions we received from the Kickoff.

Question #1: If a robot is doing the robot, is it really the robot or is it just dancing?

A great and complex question. First we must establish that we are truly talking about a robot and not some android or cyborg. Obviously if it were an android or cyborg, it would truly be doing the robot since their main function is to try to mimic human action. Therefore to dance the robot would be to mimic a human dancing the robot and thus would, in fact, be the robot.

But if it were an actual robot that would propose a more complicated analysis. Ultimately, though, it comes down to the primary service function of the robot. If he is a bottle-capping robot, for instance, and he makes the motion while capping a bottle, he is only dancing. But if he makes the motion outside of his normal function parameters, he must be doing the robot.

Question #2: What does Elvis have to do with the Gospel?

Ahh...a question that has haunted multiple generations. This dilemma first surfaced as a result of Elvis' famed Gospel tunes paralleled with his druggie, rock 'n roll ways towards the end of his life. For further on this dichotomy, check out elvisgospel.com.

However, this questions has now moved on from poodle skirt wearing grannies to a whole new generation thanks to Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis book. It is a question that I myself have often wrestled with. The closest I have come to an answer was during a recent visit to a local flea market. There, tucked away in a dusty corner, were hanging - not one- but a whole collection of real live Velvet Elvis paintings. And as I realized that I was in the presence of these fuzzy purplish/black representations of the King, I definitely had a transcendent experience....but I can't say it had much to do with Jesus;)

Question #3: How do I get involved?

Wonderful question! I'm so glad you asked!

There are so many ways to get involved at 180, and we really want you to do just that. Let me just tell you a couple of ways that I think are good next steps if you've been coming on Wednesdays.

First is Creative Worship. This gathering every Tuesday from 7pm to approximately 8:30pm is designed to give you input into what happens at 180. At the base of it is a weekly discussion on what God is doing in our lives and our ministry and how we invite our friends into responding to that. Along the way we often discuss our lives and the Bible, and, of course, throw in a healthy dose of randomness. Everyone's welcome, so come try it out!

Second is Sunday School. If you are wanting closer relationships, deeper discussion, and more Bible study, Sunday School is a great place for you to start! It meets every Sunday from 10am to 10:50am.

Well, that is about all the time I have right now. God bless and hope to see you on Wednesday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kickoff Kraziness!

So our annual back-to-school Fall Kickoff was this past Wednesday...and it was crazy!

If you don't believe me, check this out:

For those of you who didn't make it out this Wednesday, we did lots of constructive things like drinking sodas through other people's socks and constructing what was possibly the world's largest dogpile during our little Ships & Sailors game.

We also had some wonderful worship as we sang along with the band and looked at what the Bible says about overcoming.

One of the most interesting parts of the evening, though, was our question answering duo, the Tylers. I only wish we had had more time for them. And I know some of you were disappointed because your wonderful questions weren't picked.

So I thought would answer a couple:

*If a turtle loses its shell, would it be homeless or naked?*

This is, of course, an age-old question much like "which came first: the chicken or the egg?" And, obviously, there are conflicting viewpoints, factions, cults and denominations who remain divided over the matter. Even in my own household, my children all, without hesitation, said "Homeless." But obviously he would only be naked, because he can always find another home.

*Why am I here?*

This is an excellent question, and, much like our first, an age-old, often-debated one! I believe the short answer, though, is because God loves you. In the creation account in Genesis 1, it says about us humans, "'Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness.'" and a little later He looked at everything, but only after making man, and said "It is VERY good." (emphasis mine). And as for you specifically, in the Psalms it accounts of God, "For you (God) formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it well." (Psalm 139:13-14) Know that you are here to know God and His love and to worship Him because of it!

Great questions! I may try to answer a few more later this weekend. I hope you can make it back next week as we start our new series "Life Hurts, God Heals"

God bless.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to Blogging!


...after a LOOOONNNNGGGG hiatus, 180's blog is back!

It has been a hectic summer full of mission trips, camps, cross-country treks and other craziness. (I plan on making some posts on these topics over the next few weeks:) I have been surprised at how "normal" things have seemed already just after a few days of school being back in session - even though I don't have any direct ties with the school system. There must just be something about the fall the helps us return to the rhythm that always seems out of whack after a very spastic summer season!

So, now that we've all returned home from our journeys, I pray that we can return to pursuing together what it looks like to follow Christ in our world today and sharing some of our lives with each other as we go:)

If you are new around here, feel free to read our about section and peruse some of the past entries.

As you can see, while this blog is tied to 180 Youth Ministries because of my role there, it also spreads out into other areas of my life and interests. But all posts, I pray, center on the pursuit of piecing together how Jesus speaks and leads and molds and shapes us through this crazy life we live!

I plan on posting AT LEAST twice a week, so I hope you keep up with what's going on around here and leave a comment when you do.

Look forward to doing the journey of life with you...

God bless.