I love this as it fits nicely into my passion for a theology of place.
"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big."
"I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I'm afraid so. Why aren't we known as cultivators-people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren't we known as creators-people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?" Andy Crouch
From now until May 4, 2012 you can get a free digital book entitled A Mother's Journey of Love, Loss and Life Beyond, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Apple. Let me explain my connection with this book.
Recently, I received an email from Jennifer Scalise, a mother who
wanted to share a story with me about her daughter, Brooke. Just a few weeks after Brooke’s second summer
at Youthfront Camp West, while on vacation with her family, she was killed in a
negligent accident caused by a tour operator in Costa Rica. This senseless tragedy became national
news. Ultimately Brooke’s mom
wrote a book about her story.
Jennifer has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, Good Morning America,
and World News with Diane Sawyer to tell Brooke’s story.
In her book Jennifer describes
how their family did not go to church but Brooke had gone to camp (at
Youthfront) and had become involved in church. Brooke had become increasingly vocal about her love for
Jesus Christ. Her mom spoke about
how gentle yet consistent Brooke was about her faith in God. The book chronicles the process of her
family’s discovery of Brooke’s deep faith and love for Jesus Christ by reading
her Youthfront Camp Journals after her death. As I read Jennifer’s book A MOTHER’S JOURNEY of Love, Loss and Life Beyond, I
found myself moved to tears on more than one occasion.
summer that Brooke died was the summer we focused on Jesus’ parables in Luke
15. It was amazing in the
book to see Brooke's own handwritten words in her Youthfront camper
manual. She wrote about her life
with Jesus. She revealed how the
parable of the Prodigal Son had impacted her. In the camper manual we had the picture of Rembrandt's
painting of The Return of the Prodigal Son. Brooke’s mom included this picture in her book and wrote
about it, “We found a picture of The Return of the Prodigal
Son by Rembrandt, on which Brooke had written “God” with an arrow to
the man depicting God and then “me” with an arrow to the son kneeling in front
of God. We were shocked Brooke would think this way and would have viewed
herself as the child kneeling in front of God.”
I told Brooke’s mom, “We get to serve thousands of young
people and minister to them. We try to do this with a generous posture
that creates space for their humanity. Too many camps and churches try to
force young people into a confining human-created mold when what is really
needed is an environment that allows young people to lean into their own God
shaped humanity. Brooke definitely embraced Jesus Christ and allowed her
spirit to be set free by God's life-giving spirit.
Brooke’s mom continues, “Much
later, a friend looking at the picture discovered something I had missed.
Brooke had also drawn and circled a distinctive mark on the back of the head of
the son (the person she felt depicted her), a mark in the exact spot and in
accurate proportion to what I would later learn was the most severe of Brooke’s
injuries, and ultimately, the cause of death. Stunned, I moved in a fog for
days after finding this, overwhelmed by the magnitude of what it proved.
all surprised me. Brooke and I were extremely close. She had always confided in
me about everything. Our love was so strong. I have many letters that she wrote
to me in which she tells me that I am her best friend and we shared a bond like
no other. But, as close as we were, I will admit that I was shocked to find out
I was not what mattered most in her life. As we pored through what were now the
greatest gifts of my life, I found a sheet that she had filled out at school,
titled ‘Explore Your Future.’ Under ‘Who do you look up to?’ Brooke listed God,
Jesus, and my parents. Under ‘What is important to you?’ she had written: ‘God,
my family, and friends are all important to me.’ Not many 12 year olds would
write this on a school worksheet in a public school. Seeing this and the other
documents made me realize how her love for God was greater than even her love
for me and that she viewed herself as God’s child first. As devastated as I
was, it gave me peace knowing Brooke was with who she loved most.”
Brooke’s family is thankful to Youthfront for introducing
her into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I am also thankful that Brooke’s story also involves an
extension of God’s grace into the life of the entire family. This happens all the time. This is our mission and Brooke’s story
is one of thousands of beautiful stories of young people transformed by Jesus
Christ through Youthfront’s ministries.
If you are attending the National Youth Workers Convention in Dallas you will notice the lanyards with "LaCygne" on them. You will probably overhear youthworkers talking about LaCygne. So, what is LaCygne? Great question, in fact below are links to frequently asked questions about LaCygne.
Please click any question below to see a detailed
Vicki and I have two granddaughters. Lexi King is five years old and Teagan is eight days old. Yesterday's post featured a video of Lexi reading The Night Before Kindergarten on the eve of her first day of Kindergarten. Today video features the arrival of baby Teagan.
Vicki and I are so fortunate to have two wonderful Granddaughters. Humor me, I have two videos starring our beautiful girls. Lexi King is five years old and Teagan is seven days old. Today was Lexi's first day of Kindergarten and is the star of this video (Teagan will be tomorrow's feature star).
I had so many highlights from the recent Wild Goose Festival. One of the most spiritual profound moments for me was on the eve of the festival. Ian Cron, Joy Wallis, Todd Fadel and Topher Philgreen were sitting in a circle engaged in conversation about the festival and the conversation turned to music that shaped us spiritually. Since we were all pretty much from the same era some blasts from the past emerged. One of the names that came up was Evie Tournquist. I know that ages me. We even had a little Evie sing-a-long. At that point, the night took a magical turn and reached a crescendo when we each picked a favorite hymn and together joined in singing it. Holy, Holy, Holy; I Love Him; I Come to the Garden Alone, and on... transcendent, enriching and worshipful. Todd Fadel oversees the music for Wild Goose and he is a wonderful man, follower of Jesus and has a sweet family. Todd just sent this Evie song to me and Joy (because we declared ourselves the Evie fan club). Maybe you had to be there but I think it is beautiful. Thanks Todd.
My friend Mike Crawford weighs in on Christian Formation and Music for Immerse: A Journal of Faith, Life and Youth Ministry.
Christian Formation and Music: Part One
By: Mike Crawford
Music is one of God's most powerful and creative forces, and it's played a huge role in my life and is certainly playing a large part in the lives of my kids. I've been reflecting on how I encountered music as a young person and also how I've fostered space in my kids' lives to make sure they encounter the beautiful partnership between God and man in both the listening to and creation of music.
First, a couple quotes I found while reading a great book on calling by Ken Gire, called Windows of the Soul:
"What can we do that makes us the gladdest, what can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is? Is it making things with our hands out of wood or stone or paint or canvas? Or is it making something we hope like truth out of words? Or is it making people laugh or weep in a way that cleanses their spirit? I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing and it is our thing and it is the calling voice that we were made to answer with our lives." -Frederick Buechner
"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets in the future." -Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
For me, the future started knocking on the door when I was in fifth grade. The specific day was August 16, 1977, the day Elvis died...