Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two Little Books


I carry this little guy around. The version I have is just 2.5 x 4 inches. In it I keep quotes I find that speak to me.  Some are from secondary sources, other the primary source. They all end up being things I reflect on, include in my own writings, or send along when they come to mind to another mind looking for wisdom.
I also always carry my little Bible. At 4.75 x 6.5 inches, it can easily go into my purse or tote bag. Obviously I rely on it constantly for work. In it are bits of scrap fabric I use to mark pages for one reason or another. I have a few prayers and quotes I've scribbled in the blank pages found at the front and the back covers. 
These two little books go everywhere. I know I don't know everything and in these I find words of wisdom, consolation, encouragement, and assistance. If I happen to forget them, leave them at home, or in a tote bag I managed to not bring with me at that moment, I feel their absence.
What do you find necessary to take with you? Is it a help or a hindrance to your daily life? Does it further your walk with God?
I'll leave you with two recent lines from each I have spent time with today:                                                                                   
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete." John 15.11                                    

"There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia." Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


In all honesty this idea is a train of thought several people started with on a friend's Facebook page.

During the election cycle, beginning in the primaries even, we hear so much of red states and blue states that we seem to be living in some alternate Seusian-nation.

As youth ministers, we are well versed in the "No Purple-ing Rule." It seems our nation's politics, commentary, and government is too. For us in the youth ministry realm, we use this to refer to the idea that boys are blue and girls are red and there is no mixing of the two in rooms, or other 'unsuitable' behavior at whatever event we happen to be involved with at that time.

In politics, government and commentary these days, we seem to want to preserve the same separation  However, just as we pull together the feminine and masculine identities, perspectives, and values to have holistic  engaging, effective events and ministries, so to do we need to pull together the red and the blue in order to have a holistic, engaging, effective government.

So perhaps we can set aside our victory dances or tears of loss. Perhaps we can focus on what has to get done in this country for all the "uns" that Cardinal Dolan so eloquently brought to light at the Al Smith Dinner. Perhaps we can focus on effective help for the victims of Sandy and even more effective preparations for any future natural disasters. Perhaps we can focus on all the things we have in common instead of picking apart all the things we disagree on.

Because maybe, just maybe, we could do great things with just a little more purple-ing.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Innovative Salvation

Often, in an effort to stay relevant to the youth and young adults we minister to and with, we strive to be on trend, ahead of the curve, on the ball, or whatever cliche you choose to describe the on-going chase of the next thing.

Then there are those that are doing it. And doing it well. I've been paying attention to social media, like many of you, knowing that this is so crucial to the lives of the vast majority of the young church.

Over the last few days the focus of most social media postings I follow, whether they are personal friends, professional acquaintances, or organizations, have revolved around the weather and devastation of Sandy.

What astounds me is how innovative some organizations and individuals are using social media to provide immediate, meaningful relief or communicate in particularly trying circumstances.

Many friends used social media to search out shelter, convey their state of being, when all they could rely on was their smart phones or other comparable devices. This allow many of us to pass along accurate, helpful information to other concerned individuals or provide information on shelter and assistance.

I am completely flabbergasted by the use of social media in one particular instance. HopeMob has been using Twitter, Amazon, and everything else they can to help provide immediate assistance to individuals and organizations in Sandy's wake. They have found individuals in the devastated areas that are able and willing to provide transportation, food, and a multitude of other small and great acts of goodness. Then there is the current mobilization to provide supplies needed at shelters where small children are located. They have utilized Twitter to spread the word and set up a registry on Amazon with the supplies needed. Thus people can order and have the items overnighted to the shelter directly.

How incredible is that? While many of us had the first thought to donate to Catholic Social Services or the Red Cross, how many thought of ways we could make a direct impact on an organization or individual? How many of us know how to do that?

Are we able to think this creatively, this innovation in our ministry? Are we able to see the tools of the ever changing media and technological landscape through new lenses on a daily basis? Are we able to be as innovative with conveying the message of eternal salvation as these examples of worldly salvation?