Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A New Week

As do many in ministry who work the weekend, I take Mondays as my day off.  Yesterday was one of those days where I couldn't wait to get to work today so I could rest. You know the sort of 'day off' that I'm talking about where errands, chores, and so forth having you running around non-stop.

I realized how lucky I am that I do look forward to returning to work after my day off. While I wouldn't mind another day so I could sleep in, watch NCIS reruns, and cozy up with my dog while I read a good book, ultimately, I do look forward to returning to work.

There are far too few people who can say that. Yes, there are times where I lose that feeling, but those times are the exception, not the rule.

This also ties into the world of ministry insofar as are we helping others to discern their gifts, talents, and skills? Are we facilitating their discernment and response to God's call?

I love that our parish offers programs like the Business Professional Group, unemployment support, faith in the work place, and more. Particularly for those in our young adult ministry these resources are quite helpful.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Asking Question

In today's Gospel, the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus what he meant. They were confused, they didn't understand, and they were fearful.

Do we cultivate an atmosphere of questioning? Do we allow space, comfort, and acceptance to pervade our discussions, physical space, and all communications so that the youth and young adults we minister to and with do not fall to their fear? Do we encourage and embrace questions? Do we acknowledge our own questions?

As a challenge this week, consider the role and acceptance of questions within your ministry. Are you open to the most difficult, upsetting, challenging questions? How can you cultivate an atmosphere that dispels fear and allows those questions to be asked?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. - Albert Einstein

Friday, September 21, 2012

Confession of a Life-Long Nerd

When I was a kid, I wrote to NASA as part of an effort to earn a badge in Girl Scouts. I have no idea any longer what the badge was, however, in response I got the most incredible thing in the world. (Here it is, a total nerd moment) They sent me a huge 3" binder full of information and activities. It was for teachers, but my precocious self was in seventh heaven. Add to that the 6' poster of the space suit with diagrams and detailed information and I was ready to faint from happiness. Until it dawned on me they wouldn't want someone without perfect vision to fly the space shuttle, that was my dream job.

Thus it should not be a surprise that I carefully follow NASA and the space exploration of other countries. With the Mars exploration that has been going on for many years, I am always awed by the questions that arise, the truly other-worldly photos, and the perspective offered. It reminds me to view the world through the awe-filled, open-minded view of a child. Even the oldest of the old here on Earth offers but a blink of the Universe's life. We are all children compared to the stars, planets, and chilly light of the Universe that we float through.

When I was reading a post about some mystery spheres on Mars, I realized that wonder I feel when I look to the stars does not necessarily permeate all the other areas of my life. Do I approach the wonders of God and his plan with such awe and inspiration? Do I look to the world around me and see the good and beautiful and accordingly offer my heartfelt response of awe? Do I see the complex, wonderful, creatures that are my fellow human beings and offer up thanks and awe for their beauty and wonder?

It is so easy these days for us, and those we minister to and with, to become immersed in the worries, trials and tribulations. We can do so to such a degree that we fail to see the awesome creation around us. We fail to see the beauty due to the desolation. I am not saying we should ignore those flaws and failings around us. Rather we should acknowledge the good, the wonderful, the awesome and help those to grow so as to overtake the dark, the pain, and the failings.

Do you respond in awe? Do you help those in your ministry to do so?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Self Care v Selfishness

There's a tendency in the women in my family for a bit of self-martyrdom. We are all really committed to the projects, undertakings, responsibilities, and relationships in our lives. We do not like to fall short of our self-imposed very high expectations. There's a belief that to take time to put oneself first is the equivalent of selfishness.

Last week was a brutal reminder that if anything the self-martyrdom is itself the selfish act. There tends to be a thread of wanting recognition for all that work, commitment, giving that you are doing. Pushing yourself to the point of illness, exhaustion, or even just crankiness is hardly selfless.

For the better part of the last two weeks I've had headaches nearly non-stop. It is allergy season so I would just like to offer my (sarcastic tone inserted here) profound gratitude to allergies. That coupled with a hereditary predisposition to headaches and migraines leads to general misery. Last week I had to step back, take some time away from everything and give myself the permission to care for myself. This meant extra sleep, lessening non-essential commitments, and recognizing that I was not being selfish.

In ministry there is always someone in need, there's always a crisis somewhere, there is always one more thing to be done. We got into ministry to answer a call to serve God and to serve others. Caring for ourselves can easily become a last thought. I challenge you to be aware of this. Do you need to do a better job at caring for yourself? Do you need to change your attitude on that self-care? Even Christ needed time away from the crowds for prayer and rest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Great Young Adult Resource

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posting for a commercial break...

Seriously, this is just my opinion and something I want to share that I have found useful.  Young Adult Ministry in a Box is a great resource for those of you in the young adult ministry realm. Whether you are just starting a YA group or have on of long standing, there's information and resources to help you.

Take a minute to check it out - it is worth the subscription!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zombies, the Military, and Ministry

I never thought about the scenario in which zombies, the military, and ministry would form a coherent subject, but nonetheless, here it is.

Thanks to Twitter, I saw this article: Zombie Apocalypse Training: HALO Corp. to train Military, Law Enforcement on Virus Outbreak.

Now if that's not a great headline, I just don't know what is. Go ahead and have a debate on whether or not you think this is reasonable. There are underlying truths (albeit they are dressed in quality make up) - the challenges of a viral outbreak, not having a supply of more than a few days of food & water available for a large metropolis (cf NOLA during Katrina, imagine if a city was quarantined).

Here's a case where a set of very real considerations, problems and challenges are being addressed in a creative and engaging way.

Are we doing the same in our ministries? When we see challenges with the populations we work with, are we simply doing the same topics, trainings, and methodologies that have been in our tool kits for years? Or are we thinking creatively and searching out new paradigms, new tools, and even a bit of (good) drama to address the issues?