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

Blog

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 »

Who’s In The Rest Room? . . . First Steps In Framing The Issue. . .

Last week at our annual CPYU Banquet, our emcee Greg Anderson offered a few words of introduction right out of the gate. “Who could have imagined when we were here this time last year the changes that would take place in the year ahead.” So true. Cultural change this last year was fast and furious,... more »

A Prayer About Depression. . .

This weekend it’s my privilege to speak at the commencement ceremony at Simpson University in Redding, California. I’ve done this before in a few different places and it’s a difficult assignment. So, I’ve been thinking, praying, and studying through this for the last few months. What to say and how to say it. . .... more »

Thoughts On Crisis Response. . . 17 Years Post-Columbine. . .

There are certain days that stay stuck in our head. It’s always something out-of-the-ordinary that drives the memories so deep into our heads that we just can’t forget. It could be an exciting event like your wedding or the birth of a child. Or, it could be some kind of tragedy that shakes us up... more »

Texting, Driving. . . And A Great Video To Show Your Kids. . .

Spring has sprung here in Central Pennsylvania where I live. That means I’m climbing back on the bicycle. That also means that I’m spending an increased amount of time looking into the faces of the drivers I encounter on the road. I’m a bit scared. A good number of drivers had their foot on the... more »

Wisdom. . . And The Lack Thereof In Social Media. . .

Jesus said that it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks. If he was ministering in today’s world I believe he would stretch that to include what and how we speak on social media. In other words, we can deconstruct our postings and the postings of others and use what we... more »

Girls and Sex. . . An Interview With Peggy Orenstein. . .

For some reason, releasing books on kids and sex is in season. Perhaps the reason is that the topic must be addressed because sex and sexuality have not only taken center stage in the world of pop culture, but they are at the center of kids’ lives and their search for identity. Of course, you’d have to be... more »

Kik. . . Some Much-Needed Social Media Awareness. . . .

One of the most horrifying news stories of recent months is the kidnapping and killing of thirteen-year-old Nicole Madison Lovell by two Virginia Tech students. Lovell desperately sought to fit in. A life-time of battling medical issues, her red hair, and her freckly face were all things targeted for teasing by her peers. Like many... more »

“Mike Schmidt Can Bite Me”. . . Role Models and Sports Civility Lost. . .

Baseball’s old guys have every right to speak up about honoring the game. . . especially those who played it so well for so long. They’ve earned their right. And we should expect them to do so when the integrity of the game is being compromised at the level of how it’s being played. To... more »

Brussels. . . The Garden. . . and Praying For Our Enemies

This week has offered me another one of those “perfect storms” of challenge where numerous things come together in ways that stretch me way beyond my comfort zone. It began with a trip to my parents’ house on Monday night. . . which led to a nostalgic journey down memory lane. My folks are in the... more »

Trauma, Holy Week, and The Cross. . .

Easter week has gotten better as I’ve gotten older. In fact, as I’ve gotten older life has gotten worse in many respects, thus leading to new experiences of the joy of Holy Week and all that it means. When I say that life has gotten worse I’m referring to a more constant and gnawing awareness... more »

Comedic Social Media Truth. . . Perhaps You Can Use These. . .

Yes, I love the comic page in our daily newspaper. Recently, I found myself scanning the comic pages and wondering, “How many of these comics would have made absolutely no sense at all if they had been published ten or fifteen years ago?” The cultural references to new technologies and the places they hold in... more »

Fathers. . . Lest You Think Your Actions Don’t Count. . .

Fathering is a job I’ve had for over 32 years. Over the course of my years in youth ministry my own fathering resolve has been challenged by fathers good and bad. Outside of my own dad, there have been hundreds of good dads who I’ve watched father their kids with great attention, compassion, and skill.... more »

Can Social Media Kill Our Kids? . . .

So maybe “kill” is too strong a word. It might be better to use words like “derail,” “suck the life out of,” or “horribly misdirect” when it comes to social media’s growing effect on our kids. Never would I say that technology and social media are bad things in and of themselves. It’s how we... more »