Get Outta My Face!

March 30, 2009

get-outta-my-faceGet Outta My Face!by Rick Horne, was published earlier this year, and the subtitle, accurately describes the message contained therein…”How to reach angry, unmotivated teens with Biblical counsel.”

Horne holds a D. Min from Westminster Theological Seminary and is a guidance counselor for a Christian school in the Philadelphia area.  As you might imagine, he has plenty of experience in counselling teenagers.  But more important than his direct experience, he brings Biblical wisdom, primarily from the book of Proverbs, which he notes was mostly written by Solomon for his young son, (Proverbs 1: 8) who may well have been a teenager at the time Solomon wrote it.

While Horne’s ultimate objective is to point angry and unmotivated teens to the cross of Christ, he dedicates the lion’s share of the book to Biblically grounded techniques for connecting and communicating with teens.  He does so by first informing the reader that he/she must first understand the teen and importantly understand him/herself in the light of scripture.  This approach offers great theological reminders about the nature of man, and sin’s corruption, irrespective of age.

Then Horne teaches four processes that he acknowledges are fundamental to most any formal counselling.  But he expands on these ideas with very helpful descriptions and dialogue, some of which are real life examples from his own “client base” of students at his school.  The four processes are:

Listen Big – To build a bridge to your teen

Clarify Narrow– to expose the realities of your teen’s experience

Look Wide– to discover your teen’s solutions

Plan Small – to support changes your teen wants

While the narrative of the book often appears to be written to parents who are in the midst of dealing with angry or unmotivated teens, the book is clearly applicable for anyone who deals with teens, whether youth leader, or coach, or simply an interested party.  And while the subject is most explicitly dealing with teenagers, I would submit that the teaching found in this book would apply just as well to the pre-adolescent and the young adult.  And, I would not hesitate to use the techniques on a middle-of-life adult, either.  The wisdom is that broadly applicable

At 171 pages, the book is a relatively quick and simple read.  But much of its good advice that can and should be referred to again and again as we have occasion to deal with teens (of all ages).


Think you can match this level of forgiveness?

March 29, 2009

Soul searchingly provocative isn’t it?  And I would submit that no one can, apart from the grace of God.

HT: Marc Heinrich

Stemming the second tide.

March 27, 2009

Like a rising tide, with waves washing further and further upon a beach, it appears that a true “post-Christian” set of relaxed ethics and morals has made it to OUR shores.  Let me correct that…while one can hardly suggest this is a new phenomena, the “tidal” metaphor had not fully dawned on me until I read the article today from Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

If we think about the growth of Christianity from its origins in what was, and still is Israel, to its expansion initially into Europe and then ultimately to the so-called New World, it can very much be likened to a tide rising and in ever increasing increments, claiming new soil and in the process, new souls. 

But what appears to follow that initial tide of conversion and practice of Christianity, is a tide that bears a distinctly secular mindset.  Granted it takes a long time for this new tide to make its effects known.  But it comes none the less and just as in a tide, everything in its course gets wet.  So, it seems, is the case for the tide of secularism.  Take a look at Europe.  It was the true seat of Christianity for about 1,800 some odd years.  While the Roman and Orthodox churches would argue it still is, it would be undeniable that the second tide of secularism has not just come, but has fully washed over that continent, taking with it many of the members of those ancient churches.  Today, in most western European countries, the practice of the Muslim faith is probably more common than Christianity, but at that, it is second to the practice of NO particular faith at all, apart from humanism.

Now, as Mohler points out, the evidence of what I call the second tide is not just on our shores, it is now far inland, and if we are not resolved to stemming it, it will wash over our country just as it has the countries of Europe.

The increasing disregard for moral practice, the diminished value of human life, especially the unborn, the increased notion that we are dependant on the state for our well being, are all indications to me that we are already AT LEAST ankle deep in the putrid waters of post-Christian secular humanism.  In a hundred year, or less, we’ll be just as lost as Europe if we do not build a wall against this second tide.

Hmmm, an interesting way of describing it.

March 25, 2009

A very perceptive article by Kevin DeYoung, a pastor who lives in East Lansing, Michigan, and who’s church is highly accessible to students at Michigan State University.  He has a handle on that generation, and the varying forms of worship that appeal to it.  He has also co-authored a book about the Emergent church movement.

The article though captures a concept that is trans-generational.  Just out of curiosity, of my handful of readers, how would you categorize yourself?  Take the poll below.

Box Scores From Tonight’s Presidential Press Conference

March 24, 2009

References to Health Care/Energy/Education (bundled together) – 7

Aaaaand – 35

Thaaaat – 16

Iiiiis – 7

Uhh-aaaaaand – 8

Aaaaand-uhh – 1

Uhh – I lost count after 180, but was amazed how many “uhhh’s” the President could string together with only a word or two in between.  this was especially pronounced toward the end of the press conference and during questions that he had no good answer for.

Weakest exchange – His attempt to take the high ground on the matters of stem cell research posed by the correspondent from the Washington Times.  Aside from not having an artful answer, he actually seemed stumped for a way to get out of the question and on to the next correspondent.  Perhaps on some non-political, moral level the president knows that his positions on stem cell research and abortion, which he also mentioned, are indefensible.

A facinating look at what is either thinly veiled deceit or stunning ignorance.

March 23, 2009

HT to JT for linking to a set of articles from US News and World Report.  When I first saw them, I had little intent of actually plowing through all of the material.  However, I got drawn in and could not stop, although I confess, I scanned some portions of this republished email exchange between Robert George, who if you have ever read his stuff, or seen him speak, you know he is brilliant, and Doug Kmiec.  Both are law professors, so that may void any interest you have in reading their correspondence.  But the underlying subject matter is haltingly important and I fear may be revealing about the character of our President.

This is an excerpt from one of George’s emails to Kmiec to whet your appetite.

President Obama did not prohibit human cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer to create living human embryos) and does not oppose it.  What he opposes is the implantation and gestation of human embryos that were created by cloning—that is what he means in saying he is opposed to “reproductive cloning.”  The President supports the practice of cloning to create living human embryos for purposes of scientific research in which they will be destroyed to produce pluripotent stem cells.  His executive order has made research using cells and cell lines produced by creating human embryos by cloning eligible for federal funding.  This is the first time that federal money has been made available for research using materials derived from embryos created and destroyed specifically for research purposes.  (emphasis mine)

Words matter.  The President tries to differentiate between “reproductive” and “therapeutic” cloning, but the underlying creation and subsequent destruction of life is indisputable.

So, I am left with the question I cannot answer.  Is the President operating at this level of deceit based on semantics, or is he ignorant of what appears to be an effort to create a distinction, without a difference?

The US News & World Report articles:
Part 1

Part 2

part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Can’t wait ’till these babies roll off the assembly lines!

March 22, 2009

HT: my Bro-In-Law, Tim