Baptismal Parties Behaving Badly May 20, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Parenting, Spirituality, The Church.
Tags: Baptism, Jesus, liturgy, parenting, worship
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Tim Schenk (Clergy Family Confidential) has hit the nail on the head – or should I say “water in the font”! How many baptisms (or weddings, confirmations, etc.), have you attended in which the “parties” making a commitment are really just waiting for what they think is the real party yet to come (after the liturgy)?
Read Tim’s additional “promises” as well as some of the great responses he has received thus far on his website.
From Limit to Grace April 23, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Events, Faith & Culture, Jesus, Thoughts & Ramblings, Tolerance, Uncategorized.
Tags: Boston Marathon, Love, Sandy Hook, tolerance
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Anyone who has participated in any of Eric Law’s workshops or trainings or read some of his books, know that he is a gifted writer, musician and poet. His work on diversity and inclusion is well known throughout the Episcopal Church and beyond.
Eric weekly blogs on The Sustainist, offering reflections of the events occurring in our world as well as questions for pondering the Sunday lectionary readings. This week he shares a reflection on how we react when things happen in our society and what it means to live fully alive in a culture of fear.
From Limit to Grace
I carry a backpack containing my computer and the things I need for my meetings, workshops, travels and conferences all the time. I switched to a backpack a couple of years ago after carrying a heavy shoulder bag on one shoulder making my posture unbalanced for years. So, when in the midst of the frantic media reactions to the bombing at the Boston Marathon, someone suggested that we should ban all backpacks from public events, I was a little upset. I was upset because this reaction to this tragedy was to set more limits, which is one of the typical responses to fear. Here is the logic: since the last tragedy involved two people who carried backpacks with explosives, we should limit the use of backpacks to increase safety. Using the same logic, why don’t we also ban baseball caps and immigrants from public events?
He suggests that we should be sustainists rather than setting even more limits that narrow our thinking. How are we living out Jesus’ command to “love one another”?
Read more of From Limit to Grace, including a link to listen to a song he wrote following the shootings in Sandy Hook in December entitled, “Sustain the Weary.”
Responding to Boston April 16, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Children's Ministries, Faith & Culture, Parenting, Resources.
Tags: children's ministries, parenting, violence
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Again, churches, schools and families are looking for resources to respond to another senseless act of violence. I have shared many on this site as well as Building Faith before.
The National Association of Episcopal Schools has just released this composite of resources again that is worth bookmarking: Responding to the Boston Bombing: Resources for Schools.
Links to a few of my previous postings:
An Open Letter to the Church from My Generation April 10, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Discernment, Faith & Culture.
Tags: human-rights, marriage equality, young adults
I’m writing this because I’m worried about the safety of the Church. The Church keeps scratching its head, wondering why 70% of 23-30 year-olds who were brought up in church leave. I’m going to offer a pretty candid answer, and it’s going to make some people upset, but I care about the Church too much to be quiet. We’re scared of change. We always have been. When scientists proposed that the Earth could be moving through space, church bishops condemned the teaching, citing Psalm 104:5 to say that God “set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” But the scientific theory continued, and the Church still exists. I’m saying this: we cannot keep pitting the church against humanity, or progress. DON’T hear me saying that we can’t fight culture on anything. Lots of things in culture are absolutely contradictory to love and equality, and we should be battling those things. The way culture treats women, or pornography? Get AT that, church. I’ll be right there with you. But my generation, the generation that can smell bullshit, especially holy bullshit, from a mile away, will not stick around to see the church fight gay marriage against our better judgment. It’s my generation who is overwhelmingly supporting marriage equality, and Church, as a young person and as a theologian, it is not in your best interest to give them that ultimatum.
Read the whole post, which includes a video that gets to the heart of what this young adult is calling the church to pay attention to.
What Do You Believe? April 9, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Discipleship, Jesus, Thoughts & Ramblings.
Tags: Doubting Thomas, Easter, Jesus, John, Mary Magdalene, Resurrection, sermons
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Easter 2: Year C – John 20:19-31
Today is often called Low Sunday, not because it is a particularly low point, but simply because of the contrast from the previous week of uniquely emotional and engaging liturgies. In some communities, it is also a Sunday with low attendance since everyone had their fill of coming to church last week. But that doesn’t seem to be the case today at St. Matthew’s!
Easter continues this Sunday (and every Sunday). Today we hear the two appearances of the Risen Lord before the disciples. After a Sunday of proclaiming this remarkable miracle of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and the joy and proclamation and song that goes with it, now we get down to the hard question.
Do we really believe this?
Yesterday I joined my family for an excursion into the city to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway. I’m not sure sharing the plot here is quite appropriate, but it does involve the belief in something that is seemingly ridiculous – to me and probably to lots of other Christians. But many of these dancing and singing young men in pressed white shirts tucked neatly into trousers with non-descript neckties showed the passion one can have about one’s belief system. (more…)
How to Talk to Kids about the Crucifixion March 27, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Children's Ministries, Jesus, Seasonal Ideas.
Tags: Crucifixion, Easter, Holy Week, Jesus
The Crucifixion is indeed a powerfully disturbing event, even for adults! But if we tackle it as age appropriately as possible; remembering each child’s developmental readiness, the story of Jesus’ death, burial AND resurrection becomes personal and purposeful. This article gives some great ideas, but I would skip the part about sin and salvation.
Good Friday for Kids March 13, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Jesus, Parenting, Seasonal Ideas.
Tags: children's ministries, Easter, Good Friday, Holy Week, Lent, Stations of the Cross, Very Hungry Caterpillar
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Many parents have told me that they do not attend Good Friday services with their children because the services offered on this day are not appropriate for them. Many churches do offer services and “Stations of the Cross” for children that are experiential, following the events of Holy Week in which each child can take part in waving palms, washing feet, feeling nails and a wooden cross, followed by entering a darkened room or stairwell. In doing such re-enactments, we must remember to go from darkness to light, allowing children (especially those who are very young) to experience the joy of resurrection while not dwelling on death.
With very small children, using the metaphor of the transformation of a caterpillar to butterfly as a symbol of resurrection is helpful. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a great picture book to discuss the mystery of new life. Check out some other ideas on my Pinterest pages of Lenten Ideas & Resources that include Holy Week ideas and other books for children about this season.
Ministry Matters, a blog from the United Methodist Publishing House offers other suggestions, including a sample worship bulletin (in the Methodist tradition) for a Good Friday service for children at: Ministry Matters™ | Articles | Good Friday for Kids.
Wisdom Bearers March 8, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Mission, The Church.
Tags: Christian education, Christian formation, discipleship, Episcopal Church
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A recent article by Michael Sullivan was posted on Episcopal Cafe’s Daily Episcopalian. He recently was a speaker at Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina where he gave an address he titles, “Ten Marks of Vibrant Parishes.” Each of the ten points are statements of true wisdom. One in particular, “Wisdom bearers” speaks to how we should be practicing and modeling Christian formation in our congregations today:
6. Wisdom bearers
Our societal shift in communication is actually a shift in worldview; how we understand and gather information in and about the world is rapidly changing. This new model is based almost solely in information rather than wisdom and the formation that attends it.
Every once and a while a parent, well-intentioned, comes up and asks me why our children aren’t learning more about the sacraments or being instructed in a particular theological concept. When the child is close at hand, I usually bend down and just ask, “Claire, can you tell me about communion?” And then, a few minutes later after the child has described the paten, chalice, corporal, colors of the year, words of institution, and a couple of other things, I stand back up and thank the child for the lesson. Because the child learned through an experiential wisdom based curriculum, the parent assumed “information” was not being taught didactically.
Information is not the key to religious formation. As we all become wiki-informers, we need the deeper discernment and wisdom of the Church through the ages, the theology and praxis of our common life. Throughout our history, we were the ones establishing centers for learning. We too often forget that the entire university system was monastic in origin; just think of Oxford and Cambridge. Our current age, despite our connectivity, is quickly becoming illiterate from information without wisdom. We have substituted opinion based on shallow information and emotion for time-tested wisdom based upon formation, education, and the careful discernment of God’s movement among us.
If we are to thrive, we must reclaim our role as wisdom bearers, seeking more formation from our members and constituent bodies rather than less. We need internalized wisdom, not external information.
Check out his other 9 “Marks” – how does your congregation measure up?
R-rated: How to read the Bible with children February 25, 2013Posted by Sharon Ely Pearson in Bible, Children's Ministries.
Tags: Bible, children's ministries, Christian Century, how to read the bible
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The Christian Century is the only magazine that I continue to subscribe to via snail mail. Another words – it’s a paper magazine I get delivered by the mailman every other week. I don’t always read ALL of the articles, but I enjoy reading the “faith” news, snippets, lectionary reflections, editorials and several of the regular contributors. I also follow CC on Facebook, which alerts me to articles that will be coming soon.
Today I got such a sneak-preview of an article that I think many of you involved in ministry with children – as a parent or teacher – will be interested in.
The simple fact is that the Bible is not a book fit for children, neither in its unsavory parts—murders, rapes, genocides, betrayals, mauling by wild animals, curses, divine retribution and apocalyptic horrors—nor in many of its neutral or even uplifting parts, including statutes and ordinances, proverbs, genealogies, geographies, prophecies, censuses and pretty much all of the epistles. It’s no surprise that most of these sections get dropped from children’s versions altogether, though at some point we may begin to wonder with what justification they still call themselves Bibles. Scripture is definitely something to ease the little ones into, not drop them in cold. So what’s the best way to go about it?
I’ve written and shared numerous articles and other people’s blog on how to choose a bible to use with children. And how to be truthful in sharing biblical stories – not candy coating them. I don’t agree with everything stated in it, but it will get you thinking, for sure. Read this great article here – and think about subscribing to The Christian Century!