Thursday, June 17, 2010

To be continued...

On Friday, April 30, a group of campus ministers, college students, and ministry and church leaders joined together for a day of teaching about prayer, praying and preparing for an upcoming season of prayer. The season of prayer is twofold: we are calling the United Methodist Church to pray for college campuses and we are calling college students to enter into a life of prayer. The prayer faculty for the day represented people who have demonstrated a life of prayer. Vance Ross of the General Board of Discipleship, Margaret Therkelson of Lexington, KY, Tom Albin of the Upper Room, and Dana Hernandez and David Blackwell from Campus America shared various perspectives on prayer. Their sessions were recorded and will be available for free at a later date. The day represented partnerships by The Foundation for Evangelism, The Upper Room, The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and UM Communications.

One of the themes that arose from the day of teaching and prayer was that God is stirring in the hearts of the Church for the people of our college campuses. It is our intention to remind the people of God to be intentionally prayerful on behalf of college students. The intentional season of prayer that we are calling for will last first for 40 days—August 23-October 1—but really is to usher us into a life of prayer. We’re asking campus ministers to demonstrate a life of prayer on their own, but also to prepare their students for the Holy Spirit to teach them to pray on their own. The life of prayer is not one for the faint of heart. Rather it is one that requires sacrifice—of time, of personal agendas, of self-interest. But it is a life that we are called to as Christians, and as Methodists, as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

There is more to come, but if you're a person who prays, would you add this prayer effort to your intercession? Would you pray for our campuses, for our campus ministry leaders, for college students whom you know? Pray for God's Spirit to capture this generation of students to live lives for God's glory, reaching out in ministry to all the world. And pray that the Church might come alongside the millions of young leaders who are heading to the college campus this fall to be a witness of Christ's transformative power. To God be the Glory!

To be continued...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Listen to this

My friend Wendy is a student at Princeton Theological Seminary and has enjoyed working with some fellow students in an independant study with Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean in the area of Youth Ministry. They just released a podcast that they recorded about their project on "Rites of Passage." You should listen to it.

Adrenaline Junkie

Hi, I’m Ashlee, and I’m an adrenaline addict. Not the adventure-seeking-bungee-jumping kind of addict, but the let’s-see-if-I-can-squeeze-in-one-more-thing kind of addict. I came to this realization about myself a little over a month ago when I felt my pulse quicken as I turned toward my bank, despite the fact that I had an appointment in 5 minutes and I was 3 minutes away. I wondered if I could get my errand done and still make it on time. I did, for the record.

That pulse-quickening, highly-efficient, no-margin-of-error kind of living is the lifestyle that I renounced last year, but this experience that day at the end of April brought home to me the fact that my high need for efficiency is pretty ingrained. Usually one would say that efficiency is great. However, I’ve recognized that for me, efficiency is actually reliance on myself, rather than on God. It’s also pride and hubris, as I act as if the normal boundaries for healthy people somehow don’t apply to me.

So I must confess my sins of self-dependence and pride and admit that even though I’m not hurting another person in my adrenaline-addictive ways, I’m also not living the sort of life when I can truly understand what the Psalmist means when he says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

In order to break my addictions, I’ve done three things, and I have to say, I’m feeling more and more freed from this nasty habit.

  1. I’m leaving five minutes earlier to get where I need to get. I have realized that I love the rush of wondering if I’m going to get somewhere on time. I don’t like to waste one minute of being “early,” preferring to be “right on time.” But usually that means I’m about 2 minutes late since I saw someone on the way across campus or got held up by a stoplight. I don’t like being disrespectful to people and being late is one of the common discourtesies, so I’m trying, I really am, to be a few minutes early. And I’m learning to enjoy sitting for a few minutes if I am early. Huh, whowouldathought?!
  2. Secondly, I’m growing a tomato plant. I’m only taking partial credit for thinking this up as a way of breaking out of my adrenaline addiction, as part of it actually goes to one of my students. I have a student who apparently has a burgeoning green thumb. He managed to convince a staff person here on campus to let him take over a lapsed garden and he tells me that he is growing quite a few veggies. He gave me a tomato plant in a planter so that I could make some fresh salsa later this summer and he continues to ask me how the plant is doing. I can’t tell him that I’ve let it die, so I water it. And I check on the little developing tomatoes and I do my best to will this little plant into abundance. I really have no ability to make this plant grow and that’s where I’ve seen that the plant is a long term investment of my time. Since my adrenaline-addictive habits like to see immediate success, this plant is exactly what I need to remind me of a sustained, steady, slow, progress that isn’t even guaranteed. My travels preventing me from watering it, the birds, or even a bad storm could completely demolish the potential of my summer salsa plans. But I water it anyway.
  3. Finally, my third (and most important) intervention to breaking the adrenaline habit is to linger longer in my morning (and afternoon, and evening) prayers. Instead of hurrying to get to work, I stay just a few more precious moments longer in studying scripture or praying. From the worldly perspective, I’m wasting time (and lots of it!), but from the spiritual perspective, I’m doing the most important work of the day. My head is clearer, my heart is more emboldened, and I’m far less inclined to be anxious about the things that I can’t control.

So, I suppose that I’m a recovering adrenaline addict, or on the road to it at least. I might just have to start investigating bungee jumping after all…