Thursday, March 22, 2012

What If

Letters to Juliet will probably never rank in the top 100 Films of All Time.  However, I do love the letter that is read aloud near the end.  The words "What If" are oh so powerful.  Hindsight, doubt, wishful thinking, rose colored glasses all come into play when we allow ourselves to mentally meander down the trail of our lives' "what ifs."

The Washington Post has an interesting slide show of "Things You Would Have Said."  It is very easy to imagine a discussion for either a youth or young adult group emerging from this. 

It would be easy to take a discussion of hindsight, fears, insecurities, judgements, and so on.  You could also talk of how we take people for granted or do not stand up for things that we later wish we would have.

You could easily speak about grief and not being able to have closure with a loved one or a lost relationship.  There is also the topic of heroes and people who have had a positive influence on our lives that we have not thanked.

Just an idea.  For what it is worth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The World Will Be Watching

You may have heard of this slightly anticipated film, The Hunger Games, is opening this weekend.  A significant portion of the youth group here will likely be falling asleep in their Friday classes as they are heading to the midnight showing.

Now, I am not that crazy, especially as I am still getting over a very nasty bug and have the Michigan Catholic Young Adult Conference Friday and Saturday.  However, I will be going to see it on Monday afternoon (me, Imax, and a tub of popcorn - it's a date).

The books offer countless points for discussion.  Accordingly, it didn't take much for the teens to convince me of the need to use the trilogy as the texts for the April, May, and June book club discussions.

For those that love history and want to draw parallels to the Roman Empire and Christ's teaching you can compare Panem to Rome.  The Games to the Coliseum.  The pull of the worldly illusion to the call to love of Christ.

For those that wish to focus on relationships (afterall, we work with teens), you can spend hours discussing the main characters as friends, families, strangers who become surrogate sisters, strangers who support, strangers who destroy, and strangers who become enemies.

For those that have a social justice bent, there is plenty to examine through the lens of Catholic Social teaching.  The value of life, the idea of Common Good, preferential option for the poor, rights of workers.

There is just so much.  I hope that the movies end up being well enough done that we can use them in youth ministry.  While there are the issues of violence to address, I believe The Hunger Games trilogy offer some unique opportunities of discussion and reflection with the youth.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Next 10 Years

Today was my annual review and finding out whether the teens will have to put up with me for yet another year.  Alas all you teens here who cast disparaging looks at the Bucky Badger pillows, you shall have to submit to their gaze for at least one more year. 

Since my pastor is very good at giving you feed back, these annual reviews are not surprising in their content.  However, I am an Olympic-class worrier, so I still get nervous.  In our conversation it came up that this is my 9th year here and thus, the letter I signed for next year, states that I will have a 10th at the parish.

What do I want the next 10 years to look like?  The first year I spent trying to figure things out and keep my head above water.  The second year I was able to institute a few changes and begin making things fit a bit more of my way of doing things than my predecessor.  From there on, I've had a free hand to try things, sustain things, and even at times, end things.

Again, what do I want to do with the next 10 years?  What are the priorities for the ministries? What needs to be changed? What do we want changed?  What needs to be kept the same? What do we want to keep the same? Where are the new ideas? How can we incorporate them? There are a multitude of questions to ask and I cannot wait to enter into a discerning discussion with the youth, young adults, and middle singles.

All with Bucky Badger looking on from his perch on the pillow in the youth room.