Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Blog

Teens and Anonymous Apps. . . A Helpful Infographic. . . .

We are regularly asked about the messaging apps kids are using to anonymously send text and picture messages to each other. Because kids oftentimes impulsively send inappropriate messages of all sorts, we recommend that parents and other caring adults know what apps kids are using and how they are using those apps. The folks at... more »

A Prayer For Ourselves, Our World, And Our Times. . . .

“Lord, we ask for discerning eyes to be able to see what it is that’s really happening, eternal perspective that places what’s happening in context, compassionate hearts which reflect your heart for the oppressed, wisdom to know what to think/say/do, and prudence to speak in the proper time only those truthful words which glorify you... more »

A Divided Nation. . . A Prayer When We Are At The End of Ourselves. . .

God does great things when we are at the end of ourselves. Actually, God does great things all the time. Perhaps we notice them the most when we can no longer rely on ourselves and we must throw ourselves. . . helpless as we are (all the time really, although we don’t recognize it). .... more »

Tell The Kids. . . Lessons From Fergie and God. . .

I hadn’t known about it or seen it until yesterday. It was a text that asked if I knew about last Friday’s release of Fergie’s new single, “M.I.L.F. $.” And so, I watched. According to the counter on YouTube, the video’s had 20 million views as of this morning. The envelope keeps moving. And wherever... more »

On Body Image Pressure. . . Wisdom From Erin. . .

A thought-provoking post popped up in my Facebook news feed yesterday that was brutally honest, gutsy, and representative of what most people think but never say out loud.  . . and that’s why it’s worth pondering. Erin McClain is one of my young Facebook friends and the college-aged daughter of a pair of our youth... more »

No Words Needed. . .

Thanks Gillette. You not only hit the nail on the head regarding cultural shifts that shouldn’t be happening, but you get us choked up. Not bad. Not bad at all. . . . more »

Kids And Screen Time. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

It’s summertime. . . and the livin’ is easy. . . or at least a little more focused on our smartphone screens. The kids are out of school. We ourselves might be heading away from our daily routines and out on a vacation. For the most part, we are engaged in the fewer of the... more »

A Prayer For Families. . .

On this Fathers’ Day weekend. . . Heavenly Father, You are the one who made all things and declared all things “good!” Thank you for creating the family and including it in those things that are “good!” Thank you for this precious gift intended to give us all a place to born into, loved, and... more »

Orlando. . . Initial Thoughts On Our Response. . .

I wasn’t in Orlando over the weekend. Most people weren’t. Those who were are now engaged in wading through the physical, emotional, and spiritual mess of facing another in our long and growing line of “ground zeros.” To be sure, this won’t be the last. And, to be honest, outside of knowing a few facts,... more »

Transgenderism. . . Our Conversation and Some Basic-Level Thoughts. . . .

Yesterday we recorded a conversation that we’re planning to share with you sometime next week. I’ve had so many of these stimulating and helpful conversations over the years that we decided that it might be helpful to others if we’d let you eavesdrop from time to time. My conversation partners are a group of guys... more »

Muhammad Ali. . . Processing Smiles and Grief. . . .

“List the five most memorable pop culture icons from your childhood.” Nobody ever gave me that task. But if they did, putting together my list would take little or no thought. As a kid who went through elementary and junior high school during the 1960s, my list comes together easily. Here they are. . . in... more »

Rebuked By Adele! . . . Putting Our Phones Down And Seeing Life. . .

Did you happen to catch a perturbed Adele’s interaction with a fan at her Sunday night concert in Verona, Italy? She called out a woman who was filming the show. And the woman wasn’t the only person watching the show through a camera lens (see the video below). Adele pointed at the woman and said,... more »

A 4-Year-Old, A Gorilla, and Us. . . .

A four-year-old child and a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s quite telling that this is even a discussion. What it’s quite telling about is who we are as a culture and what we value when it comes to life. . . or better yet, what lives matter the most. The backlash, fallout, and social... more »

Body Image Issues. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

No, it’s not just the girls. Yes, it seems like it used to be. But in recent years, a growing number of boys and men have fallen victim to body image issues and disordered eating. That shouldn’t be at all surprising. We live in a social-media and marketing-saturated world that pounds us all. . .... more »

Monotonous Formulated Musical Foreplay. . . The Billboard Music Awards. . .

Culture is a map and a mirror. That’s a mantra of ours here at the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. As a map, it defines life. It tells us what to believe and how to behave. As a mirror, it reflects back to us the image of who we’ve become, telling us what we have come to believe... more »

Their Hurt Is Real. . . .

Last weekend I took some time to ponder this large display that had been set up where Marv Penner and I were presenting our “Tackling The Tough Stuff” seminar. We were in Longview, Washington. The youth ministry crew that brought us in had done their homework, passing this poster board around the community so that... more »

A Powerful Reality To Start Your Week. . .

I’m on my way home from a wonderful yet difficult weekend spent in Longview, Washington. Thanks to my friend Chris Lyons and his team in the Longview community, Marv Penner and I were able to spend yesterday presenting our “Tackling The Tough Stuff” seminar. While it’s as good day, it’s also difficult due to the fact... more »

Youth Workers, Pastors, Churches. . . And The Misuse of Authority. . .

This week I’ve had several conversations with youth workers who are struggling with authority issues in their ministry settings. The conversations have been frustrating. When I’m on the listening end of these stories, I typically default very quickly to a posture of challenge by asking accusatory youth workers to stop, take a deep breath, and... more »

“Scripts”. . . This Year’s Commencement Address. . .

We’re in graduation season. This week, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the institutions, faculty, and friends who shaped my life. Both my undergraduate college (Geneva College) and seminary (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) are holding graduation exercises this weekend. I graduated from Geneva 38 years ago. I graduated twice from Gordon-Conwell. . . 30 years... more »

The Fluidity of Identity in Today’s World. . . A Thought-Provoking Video. . .

A friend sent me a link to this video yesterday. I understand it’s been around for a few days so my apologies for getting to it perhaps a little late. I found it incredibly enlightening and incredibly disturbing at the same time. This is who we are. That’s enlightening. And, this is who we are.... more »