Ten years ago this weekend I danced in the Penn State dance marathon with Abbey (Sacrkrison) Caldwell. THON is an event that Penn State students have been doing for decades to raise money to fight childhood cancer. The fundraising each year culminates in the actual dance marathon when, for one entire weekend, forty-eight hours, the … Continue reading For the Kids – Penn State Dance Marathon!
This semester at CSF our theme for Thursday nights is going to be "God Questions?" Rather than me just thinking of the questions I have been trying to get questions from students on campus. When we handed out the care packages we gave students the opportunity to write questions down on a poster. The same … Continue reading On Campus at Penn State Berks – God Questions?
Each year Beloit College releases a "mindset list". The goal is to provide "a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall". I love reading this list each year as it provides a window into the world incoming freshman have grown up in. Some of my favorites from … Continue reading Recent Reads – College Mindset List!
"The soul needs amazement, the repeated liberation from customs, viewpoints, and convictions, which, like layers of fat that make us untouchable and insensitive, accumulate around us. What appears obvious is that we need to be touched by the spirit of life and that without amazement and enthusiasm nothing new can begin" - Dorothy Soelle … Continue reading Almost Christian 8- Hanging Loose: The Art of Detachment
Drew Dyck writes the following in his article "The Red Bull Gospel: Over the past year I've conducted dozens of interviews with 20-somethings who have walked away from their Christian faith. Among the most surprising findings was this: nearly all of these "leavers" reported having positive experiences in youth group. I recall my conversation with … Continue reading Almost Christian 7 – Going Viral for Jesus
Two weeks ago my daughter, Junia Elizabeth, was born. Other parents know what the last two weeks have been like for Emily and I. In a word, CRAZY! By the way, I am typing this while holding Junia. I don't think there is anything more beautiful than holding your baby daughter in your arms! What … Continue reading Almost Christian 6 – Parents Matter Most
Kenda Creasy Dean begins the fifth chapter of Almost Christian with a beautiful story from Texas. It is about a high school football coach who encouraged the fans from his wealthy district to show love and blessing to a team on their schedule made up of juvenile offenders from a local youth prison. You can … Continue reading Almost Christian 5 – Missional Imaginations: We are Not Here for Ourselves
One of the central questions the NSYR gives input on is what factors in a teenager's life put her on a path to being a committed religious adult? It would be tempting to read a book like Almost Christian looking for the "key" to making teenagers into lifelong people of faith. If that is what … Continue reading Almost Christian 4: Generative Faith
Over my nearly six years at Penn State Berks, CSF has always had a diverse group of Christians. We have had, and still have today, students from all kinds of backgrounds and denominations: Methodist and Mennonite, Presbyterian and Pentecostal, Catholic and Calvinist (and now I am at a loss for other doublets I can make … Continue reading On Campus at Penn State Berks – Unity!
The National Study of Youth and Religion has shown that teenagers highly devoted to faith have families and churches that provide support. Specifically, this support reinforces four cultural tools that set young people firmly in their religious tradition (Almost Christian, 49): 1. They confess their tradition's creed, or God story. 2. They belong to a … Continue reading Almost Christian 3 – Mormon Envy