Sunday, January 31, 2010

February 2010 Student Ministry Newsletter

Look for this in your mailbox this week!

Here's a sneak peak ... just copy and paste the link below into your browser and have a look!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Health Kits for Haiti

Last Wednesday night, Zion’s 6th—12th graders met and discussed the situation in Haiti. We spent time around: Daily life in Haiti prior to the earthquake and post earthquake, heard about the ELCA’s response to the earthquake, discussed theological impacts of the devastation (i.e. where was God in the situation, why do bad things happen to good people, and what should our response as Christians be).

From that meeting, our students feel called to help the ELCA response in a tangible way! So, on Wednesday, February 3rd, Zion students will put together health kits to send to Lutheran World Relief. Per their website they are very low on kits and need to replenish them ASAP.

Please donate the following items by next Sunday, Janury 31st!

Hand towels, dark color recommended
Washcloths, dark color recommended
Bath-size bar (4 to 5 oz.) of soap, any brand, (in original wrapping.)
Adult-size toothbrushes (in original packaging)
Sturdy combs
Metal nail file or nail clippers with file attached,
Band-Aids® (or similar brand), preferably 1/2" to 3/4"


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cell Phone, Public Flogging, and Jesus the Humanitarian

I first heard about this story on Twitter when it broke last week! I was blown away. So we discussed this story and human rights at Senior High Bible study this morning.

What happens if you bring a cell phone to school in Lexington, SC? Well, according to ours and Pilgrim's senior highs, it depends on the teacher / administrator. Some will take the cell phone, some will tell you to put it away.

Of course, things in Saudi Arabia are a lot different from the US. There is no democracy and the people are ruled by a king. Today, people who do wrong in Saudi Arabia are still sentenced to stoning, amputation, crucifixion, and even public beheadings; and in this case, public flogging. And 90 lashes, well, that could certainly kill a 13 year old.

So I challenged the students to think about this incident as it relates to human rights. Human rights are basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. The students named some of those rights: right to life, happiness, speech.

Then I challenged them to think about some issues (other than public flogging of a 13year old) that may arise around human rights. Some issues could be racism, mistreatment of women, sexuality issues.

It is my opinion that Jesus was sort of the "founder" of human rights. The fundamental theory and basis for "human rights" is that we should treat other people as we ourselves wish to be treated. In fact, I think, Jesus made Human Rights central to his entire message!

Just read Matthew 22:34-39. We know the passage, well. Jesus is asked: "Which commandment is the greatest of all?" Jesus answered from the Old Testament: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. But Jesus added a second command, that we must love our neighbor as ourself. Then he explained that every other law of God was based on these two laws.

So does the public flogging of a 13 year old loving your neighbor? Not really.

When we read Matthew 18:21, we hear Peter ask Jesus, “Should I forgive my brother up to seven times?” Jesus says, “I do not say to you forgive your brother seven times seven but forgive him seventy times seven.” Then Jesus told a story about a king who forgave his servant an enormous debt. But that same servant turned around and put his servants in prison for not paying a small debt they owed him.

I think Jesus was sending this message that it is a basic Human Right that we be treated fairly and equitably by other human beings. So does this flogging of a 13 year old promote this? Definitely not.

Jesus came and was a radical change. A change that still matters and is applicable today. In the Old Testament we hear all the laws of how to live, and be pure, and right, etc. But Jesus simply says with rights come responsibilities and the love is so important. I challenged the students to think further about this and take a look at an example of rights coming with responsibility by reading the Beatitudes this week.

When the judge who presented this punishment to the 13 year old Saudi girl was interviewed about this case, he reported that the king can still pardon this 13 year old. At least for now, there is hope.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Zion Students This Week

We've got some fun things going on this week, including messy game night this Wednesday! Be sure to watch this video and see Pastor Tim's face meet with a pie ... he's such a good sport!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sheep: Theology From a Four Year Old

The conversation in the car this morning on the way to Blaine’s preschool went something like this:
Blaine – “Mommy are you a sheep?”

Me – “No Blaine!”

Blaine – “But, God says you are His sheep …. You are mommy! You’re a sheep.”

Insert awkward, embarrassing silence here

Me – “Blaine, you are so right! I am a sheep, Jesus does teach us that.”

Insert more awkward silence here except for the working of my brain.

Me – “Where did you learn that Blaine?” (expecting the answer of “church”)

Blaine - “Ms. Beth told me at school … “ (note: Blaine attends a Christian pre-school)

Theology from a four year old! Flabbergasted, I drove the rest of the way to Blaine’s school, my mind in “over-drive” the whole time. As I thought Blaine’s statement through, I wondered about two things:

1. When will I be so connected to God that my response naturally considers all sources (reality, Biblical, etc.) and the answer becomes yes, I am a sheep!

Generally speaking, I count myself as having a pretty decent relationship with God. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t be able to do the job I do and try to set a positive example of what I teach to Zion’s students. Now, I am NOT perfect and do fail at that; but, I am aware of those short-comings and weak areas of my life. Nonetheless, I do feel well connected and have an active relationship with God as I would any other! We just had this discussion at our student leadership team meeting this past Sunday. How do you have a relationship with someone and/or God? The students said: through interaction with, listening to, hanging out with, communicating with, having patience, honesty, trust, and enjoying each other. Along those standards, I would say I am doing a pretty good job of being in a relationship with God. Yet my response to “are you a sheep?” was no. My mind didn’t even go to John 10 (or any of the other Bible verses and parables where Jesus discusses sheep), not even for even a split second. What’s up with that? Call it being sidetracked with entering the Interstate on top of running late, call it context, call it too early in the morning … whatever excuse we can give it, I am convicted to examine my connection and to help Zion’s students and members to think this way as well.

2. Why isn’t he learning this at church?

Of course my mind goes there as the one at Zion who has been hired to oversee the Christian education of our body! So, why wasn’t Blaine’s answer that he learned this at church, in Sunday school, or during Wednesday night programming? Well, I don’t know that he’s not! But, I totally expected his answer when I asked him where he had heard that Biblical truth to be something related to church. But it wasn’t … exactly. He does attend preschool at a local church where he not only attends chapel each week but also has classroom time each day learning Bible verses, stories, and more (which I am very excited about and want to continue for his future). So, technically he did learn it at a church but not in church programming on a Wednesday or Sunday night! Regardless, the truth is, he rarely shares “nuggets of theology” like that with me that come from church. Call it forgetfulness, coincidence, call it being tired after Wednesday night programs and it’s almost bedtime, call it inconsistency of attendance when he’s at his dad’s house for the weekend and misses worship and children’s church … whatever excuse we can give it, I am convicted to find ways to equip Zion’s teachers and parents to the excitement about theological concepts such as the one Blaine shared this morning!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I want to serve 2010!

It's that time again! How will you share your talents and time with Zion and God this year? Yes, students, even you can do this! Just fill out the form below!

Click here to take survey