22
Apr
13

fatherhood, video games, and the outdoors

If you are the father of young boys or teenage boys you seriously need to read this article reflecting on the boys who have acted out so violently in our recent history. The application to fatherhood seems pretty straightforward: If you let your boys play violent video games more than you spend time with them outside, you are messing up. Kids need to be with their dads and they need to be outside.

My 3 boys love to go outside and dig for earthworms around our raised garden beds. Give my kids some shovels and they are good for hours…literally hours. They also love going to the beach, fishing, flying kites, riding bikes and scooters, playing soccer, squirting the garden hose at anything, jumping in mud puddles, playing tag, and swinging.

We have limited our kids involvement in video games mainly because they hinder cognitive development. We have also seen from the exposure they’ve had to video games that they become addicted to them quickly and playing the games changes their moods. I don’t need studies to prove this to me, I see it in my own kids.

My kids need to be outside and they need me to do stuff with them outside. I don’t remember much of my childhood. It’s almost weird how little I remember. But I do remember fishing with my dad. 

10
Apr
13

thinking about discipleship and missions

The concept of discipleship is one that I regularly reflect on, asking questions like:

  • How am I growing as a disciple of Jesus?
  • How am I helping others grow as disciples of Jesus?
  • How can I better help others grow as disciples of Jesus?

These questions and others like them are usually not far from my thoughts. So, when I saw a link to an article called “Why the Missional Movement will fail”, I had to read it. It offers some insightful thoughts about the interrelationship of mission, missional living, and discipleship. I also thought it was humorous that several associated articles are about the Missional movement. Even though, he’s really just repackaging in a more edgy way what others have said about the movement, the two-part article is worth reading: Part On and Part Two. I’d be interested to know what you think too!

29
Jan
13

adrift at sea

I read an article about three Panamanian fishermen who lost power in their small boat and were drifting in the open sea. A Princess Cruises ship had passengers looking for birds who spotted the boat. The people who spotted the boat reported it, but apparently the message never went up the chain of command. The people also thought they had done their duty by simply reporting it. Two of the three men died as they floated for a subsequent two weeks before being rescued near the Galapagos Islands nearly 600 miles from their original point.

Is this a parable of our times? The wealthy who bask in comfort can see the poor and distressed perishing, yet we pass the buck to the government, a church, or a non-profit to help people on our behalf. Certainly the government, the church, and other organizations should help people, and we should be involved with them and support them. But, at what point do we, do I, take personal responsibility for someone I see in need?

I have walked past that person begging on the streets and not put money in their cup because, in my mind, they’ll only spend it on things that contribute to their situation. But I also haven’t considered in what other ways I might help that person. Some people don’t want help, and you can’t fix that. But there are situations that are different, and there are solutions that don’t require mindlessly throwing money at a problem. Philippians 2:3 says, “Count others more significant than yourself.” Not everyone is in a state of imminent death, but there are people all around us with real problems to which we can provide real solutions. First we have to care. Second we have to take time, because most real problems aren’t a quick fix. And third, we have to be willing to invite inconvenience into our lives in order to aid another person.

If I was the person who spotted that boat, I wonder what I would have done? I hope I would have gone crazy until they either rescued those men or locked me up. I wonder what I will do the next time I have an opportunity to truly help someone in a deep way?

What would you have done? What will you do?

17
Dec
12

processing the Sandy Hook Massacre and the varying responses

I have struggled to be able to write or speak of much related to the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. I have four children, one of whom is in Kindergarten, and when I have spent more than a few minutes contemplating these recent events, I go to a place mentally I don’t want to be. Preaching at Shore Community Church yesterday was particularly difficult in light of this tragedy.

I have a lot of questions about mental illness, access to firearms, violent video games, the impact of affluence on bored young adults, how technology rewires the brain, the impact of doomsday rhetoric on young people, school security measures, the impact of divorce on teenagers, and how the combination of these things motivated Adam Lanza to do what he did. What should I say to my kids? How much or how little?

Since I don’t know yet what my thoughts might add to the conversation as a nation mourns alongside a devastated small town, I decided I should just reference some of the things I have been reading and thinking through in this time. Certainly there are other things worth reading, but here are pieces that I have found helpful personally:

The Loss of the Innocents by Ross Douthat

God Identifies with Suffering by Tim Keller

Christianity, gun violence & the nihilism of Mike Huckabee by Phil Snider. To be fair, here is the Huckabee piece.

A Letter to my daughter by T. Michael Law

 

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Also, feel free to posts links to writings that you have found particularly helpful. If you go on a rant, I will delete your comment though.

 

21
Nov
12

“Revenge of the Turkeys” or “when Turkeys attack”

In the town of Brookline, MA, turkeys are chasing people and tormenting them. This is the greatest Thanksgiving story I have ever heard. The best part is that the lady is trying to defend herself with sticks…sticks! Instead of shooting the animals (apparently because of municipal firearms restrictions), the people there call the police. There is actually a policeman whose job is to guard the local high school to protect kids from these turkeys. You can read the article here or see the video here: Revenge of the Turkeys.

Happy Thanksgiving!

30
Sep
12

Happy Birthday Levi Joe

My baby boy turned two today. I’m a proud daddy so I of course I have to post some videos:

25
Aug
12

Jesus and a “Social Gospel”

Over at Huffington Post, Rev. James Martin has “changed” three of Jesus parable to reflect a Gospel that is more palatable for those who don’t feel the need to help the poor and needy because it would only enable them. His re-rendering of Jesus’ parables are quite amusing, but also have the sting of conviction in them.

His three stories are from Mark 2:1-12; Mark 6:30-44; Mark 12:17-31.




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