When I first heard the statistic that over one billion people don't have access to clean drinking water, it floored me. When I see pictures or videos of the ponds and ditches that people use for drinking, cooking, and bathing, it breaks my heart. A resource that is found in incredible abundance–a necessity that I use nearly constantly without a second thought–is not even available to people? It doesn't seem fair.
While I try to maintain boundaries on sharing the intimate details of my personal life on my blog, I cannot help but draw connections between my own story and Andrew Root's newest book, The Children of Divorce.
Root's premise is that divorce is not only a sociological or psychological upheaval, but that at its roots has ontological implications. Divorce affects our very sense of being in the world.
Helping our Children Grow in Faith addresses an issue with which many of us in the church struggle: How can we nurture a faith in our children that they won’t outgrow?
In this book, author Robert J. Keeley writes about making sure children develop a ‘three dimensional faith’. He addresses our tendency to oversimplify the things of God, our need to always have the answers to children’s questions and our reliance on programs. At first, I got the impression he was making the point that children’s programs are unnecessary and ineffective. As I read further, I was pleased to find that Keeley’s point was that while programs can be very effective, they cannot be the only aspect of our ministry to children. He lays out the importance of mentoring relationships and integrating children into the life of the church.
The Girl in the Orange Dress is an autobiographical novel by Margot Starbuck. Simply put, it's the story of her search for acceptance after years of feeling rejected.
From the very first page, I was captivated by Margot's story. I found myself nodding as I read about her journey. While the details of her life might not line up with my life exactly, her desire to figure out where she fits and who she is was something I could relate to very easily.
This book was a great read for me as a woman and as a youth worker. As much as I saw myself in Margot's words, I saw my students just as clearly. I know so many girls (and boys) who are coming from broken homes and destructive relationships and find it hard to believe that God's faithfulness is any more reliable than what they've experienced from the people in their lives.
What does it take to have a Christian worldview? In other words, what do you have to do in order to believe and live the truth of the Bible? Some people believe all you have to do is attend a church service once a week, pray, and read your Bible. Unfortunately this is only part of the worldview formation process and the remainder of our worldview is unintentionally formed through the influences of our everyday choices. If you refuse to pay attention to the hidden influencers, then you will find yourself with a potpourri of beliefs that you think is a Christian worldview. According to Steve Wilkens and Mark Sanford, and their book Hidden Worldviews, our worldview is shaped by everything we read, watch, listen to and interact with.
I have always said that relationships are a vital part of an effective youth ministry. Andrew Root, author of Relationships Unfiltered, would partially agree with me. After reading his thoughts, I may need to change my perspective.
Root, who is assistant professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary, wrote Relationships Unfiltered after years of personal and ministry experience showed him that there was more to relationship than trying to influence the person to do what you want them to do. I still think relationships are vital in youth ministry, but how relationships are handled needs to change. But what does that change look like? You will have to read the book to find that answer, but here are a few clues.