Thursday, December 06, 2007

Extended Adolescence and the Church

I stumbled upon this article by John Piper. Essentially it describes the phenomenon of extended adolescence and how the church should respond. Which I just don't see happening. Everything I've experienced leads me to believe that "Adultolescents" will continue to be one of the most neglected groups within the church.

Piper writes:

How might the church respond to this phenomenon in our culture? Here are my suggestions.

1. The church will encourage maturity, not the opposite. “Do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).

2. The church will press the fact that maturity is not a function of being out of school but is possible to develop while in school.

3. While celebrating the call to life long singleness, the church will not encourage those who don’t have the cal to wait till late in their twenties or thirties to marry, even if it means marrying while in school.

4. The church will foster flexibility in life through living by faith and resist the notion that learning to be professionally flexible must happen through a decade of experimentation.

5. The church will help parents prepare their youth for independent financial living by age 22 or sooner, where disabilities do not prevent.

6. The church will provide a stability and steadiness in life for young adults who find a significant identity there.

7. The church will provide inspiring, worldview-forming teaching week in and week out that will deepen the mature mind.

8. The church will provide a web of serious, maturing relationships.

9. The church will be a corporate communion of believers with God in his word and his ordinances that provide a regular experience of universal significance.

10. The church will be a beacon of truth that helps young adults keep their bearings in the uncertainties of cultural fog and riptides.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth.
"Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

Oh, To Hear That Call.
To Drop Everything.
To Follow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Top 10

Posting your top ten books list seems to be in vogue and in an effort to stay hip I will contribute mine. However, I am in no position to list books in any sort of order. So I will step out in true trend setter fashion and post my favorites from the last year. In mind boggling order they are:
  1. The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer
  2. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
  3. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
  4. Hurt by Chap Clark
  5. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
  6. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborn
  7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
  8. Shaping the Spiritual Life of Students by Richard R Dunn
  9. Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Combustable Class

When I took this semester off from school I had no idea I would be trading my pen and paper in for my steering wheel. These are some of the notes from my recent lectures on the road:
  • It is possible to rake from atop an electric scooter.
  • If in a hurry, you may honk twice at an intersection. Once before the light turns green and again after it has turned green.
  • Jesus can purchase billboards.
  • Honor students can't fight.
  • If you have the right of way you must yield to others.
  • If you don't have the right of way, and you haven't taken it you are holding up traffic.
  • To change a diaper in a moving vehicle, set the baby on the dashboard.
  • It is easier to find a Starbucks then a parking space.
  • Yellow ribbons can reproduce, but must not crossbreed with black ribbons.
  • Eye contact with the driver next to you will earn you the finger.
  • Oregon drivers can't drive.
  • The merging speed is 45mph.
  • Only hemroids can tailgate.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Dicotomy of Deutschland

Feb. 19, 2007

It is 8:40 in the morning, day four of our excursion. I've noticed quite a lot of differences between ministering to the high schoolers here and the middle schoolers back home. A lot of it just goes with the differences between middle and high school. I'm not sure if the rest is cultural, significant to only army brats or what. One difference is that there is no defiance here. The students are always happy to comply and you never have to tell them anything twice. The staff here equates that to the fact that they are the student leaders. Anothere difference is that there is no need to probe the students to open up. None of them are shy and they aren't afraid to let you know who they are. As I've watched them interact I've noticed that they have formed a bond, but it doesn't look to run very deep. This is just my assumption, its hard to say with much accuracy without really knowing them. My guess is that with moves every two to four years it would be difficult saying goodbye if you have connected with them at that deep of a level.
Today is the last day of the retreat. Every part of this weekend has really come together. The highlight has to be Saturday's chapel. Rob, our youth min teacher, spoke about forgiveness. He opened with a clip from Lost, so you knew it was going to be good. The clip highlighted Sawyer and the letter he has carried around with him since he was a child. In the letter he writes to the man who killed his parents. He promises to find him and kill him. Rob then shared about what had happened to him and his parents' death in an auto accident. He then pulled out a letter of his own, written to the man who killed his parents. Rob read his letter to the group. He wrote that he hopes to find this man so that he will know that he has been forgiven by both Rob and God. Rob then invited the group to work out the issues that they have been holding on to and to work on being able to forgive themselves.

The Faushing Parade.

A German cell phone.

My Bratworst and B...sprite.

Coolest bathroom ever.

We had a Vday shindig.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A German Journal

Feb. 17, 2007

It's 11:23pm American time, or 8:24am in Germany. I can't change the clock on my cellphone for some strange reason, so I've developed a system the reveals the time here in Germany. I call it "The what time is it over here?" system. I take the American time and subtract it by three hours, then i switch the pm to the am. It's weird thinking that if I were home I'd probably be avoiding my homework by aimlessly wandering the dorms as opposed to having just waken up. I am no longer chilling in a castle, nor is there any hot water. Lame. I need to shower like Rosanne needs marriage counseling. We have finally met our students and have kicked off the camp. We spent most of the day yesterday working on last minute arrangements and awaiting their dinnertime arrival. it's been a blast over here so far, I defiantly have to come back. Maybe I'll jump at that summer internship. It'll get me back in time for wedding season, unless Jon has something he's not telling me about.

I got locked in the bathroom.

The view from the bathroom window.

Tempting, I know.

I guess when its overcast you can smell the rubber.

I spent a lot of time in that bathroom.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The German Memiours

Feb. 15, 2007

I write from atop a zebra bed circa the Rocky Horror Picture Show from within a German "castle." That's right, a castle. It's more like an ancient mansion then a castle, but it has the spiral staircase, chandeliers down ever hallway, that drafty castle feel, and more rooms then my dorm building. I went for a wander last night and got lost. Apparently this place was built in the 1600s by some bishop. It is currently seven something in the a.m. I'm not really sure because my cellphone is dead and set to American time, which is probably two or three in the am. (Its actually ten pm) I have a whole new respect for jet lag. I've always underestimated its powers, but now I know the extent of its grasp. We flew out yesterday, or rather, day before yesterday at 1:30pm (Portland time) and arrived at eight in the morning (Germany time). But I'm pleased to sacrifice a days worth of sanity in order to say that I've witnessed a sunrise and two sunsets within 24 hours. Although I was to disoriented to fully appreciate everything I'm impressed with what Germany has to offer. The cars are all incredible and the vandalism is beautiful. I have no clue how the people here navigate the roads but they sure do know how to drive. I feel as if I was born for these roads.

The Exit signs here rock.

The "castle" of residency.

The Rocky Horror Picture Bed

Your average castle driveway.

I guess Ashton is a cell phone mogul.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


How long has it been since we have focused on what is there instead of what is missing? We call it contentment. It is being completely absorbed with a moment. Ignoring want or need. We often confused contentment with complacency. Which makes its quest a rare occurrence. But it still manages to catch us off guard. A moment beside a waterfall, a child's giggle, a rush of wind through the hair, and a warm cinnamon bun give us all a reason to pause and breath in. We are content. But we soon move on, looking forward to bigger and better days while continuing to pay our dues. Contentment becomes that pause between heartbeats. It is no longer that whistle while we walk but rather that distant bleep on our ever crowded radar screen. Paul says that contentment comes "through him who gives me strength." It is divine adequacy, being dependant on God and not the circumstances of our lives. It is much harder these days to be dependant on either. Dependence on a God who is neither finite nor definable is a difficult task. Likewise our lives never climax. The next stage of life is always greener.

Is contentment in a world that constantly thirsts for more attainable?

It is a world of discontent and I walk it well. In high school I couldn't wait to go to college. In college I couldn't wait to go to "big boy college." And now... Now I'd like to be married, or at least know who I'd like to marry. I'm sure that will be followed by the quest for kids, and finally retirement. Where I will look back at life and wish I could do it again. But this time I won't exhale.

Friday, January 12, 2007

In Over My Head

"Turn over your syllabus. I want you to write down three words that describe how you feel at this very second."


We read the course objectives, a twelve point list of what the student will learn throughout the semester. Point one was followed up in more detail. More big words, adjectives, and syllables were spit out then the word of the day toilet paper company has printed. After about forty five seconds of described theories and polish scientist name dropping I wasn't quite sure what point we were on. As my hand slowly made its way up the teacher looked up from his notes and declared, "And that's just number one." He then moved on, adding unpronounceable words to the end of every point. When he finished he took a breath and said, "Now I want you to write three more feeling words that describe your current state of existence at this very second."


After reading a few of them out loud he joked about how the moods had changed and then he implored us to "pay very close attention to these next ten minutes because they are the most important ten minutes of the entire year."

"How much you know has very little to do with how much people learn from you."
"It is easy to impress people, but it is hard to help them grow."
"It's not what we know it's how we convey what we know."

He then apologized for our previous education and how it has failed us. After his ten minute lecture we jumped back into the syllabus to discuss homework and assignments. He then told us how we are to take notes. We will make a t-chart on our paper. On one side of the t we will write down what we are talking about. On the other side we will write down what he does. How he teaches. Because he is intentional he wants us to pay close attention to his methods.

And then he hit the caution light.

"This is a dangerous class. This is a dangerous class by intention. I do not want you to attend this class, I want you to experience it. My intention is to change you. My intention is to raise more questions then answers. My intention is to keep you up late at night squirming in your bed. My intention is to fuel more self examination then you are comfortable with. If I have done that then I have not failed you."

He then asked how many of us wanted to go into positions of leadership within a ministry setting. Most hands went up. He smiled and said, "Good. Just remember, most people want to improve, few people want to change."

Class dismissed.