Putting on the Armor
The church of my childhood had a program for kids called “Christian Youth Crusaders,” usually referred to as CYC. It was the Free Methodist denomination’s version of scouting – with uniforms, badge-laden sashes, and its own pledge. The highlight of each year was the spring awards ceremony. One of the CYCers donned a plastic suit of armor and marched down the center aisle of the sanctuary, leading the procession of eager kids.
The suit of armor was a vivid reminder of the guiding scriptural passage of the CYC program: Ephesians 6:10-16. I’m sure that passage is in the back of Pastor Jeremy’s mind as he works on the message for this weekend. He’ll walk us through God’s Story as found in the opening chapters of the Old Testament book of Joshua.
I hope you’ll join us for worship this weekend, either on Saturday at 5pm or Sunday at 10:30am. As this is the first weekend of a new month, Communion will be offered at each service.
A Devotional Memoir
A couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to discover, in The New York Times Book Review, a recently published book with the title My Utmost: A Devotional Memoir. As someone who first encountered Oswald Chambers’ marvelous devotional classic My Utmost for His Highest as a college senior, I was immediately intrigued.
Intrigued, for one reason, because the red copy of Chambers’ book that I purchased 41 years ago this month, is never far from my reach. The binding is broken and battered from the decades of wear-and- tear, as I have found myself often turning its pages for spiritual refreshment. Intrigued also because I don’t usually encounter books with a Christian theme in the pages of The New York Times Book Review.
The book is worth your read on several levels. On one level it is a well-researched, intellectual biography of Chambers, with marvelous insights into his spiritual formation. On another level, it provides insight into the journey of so many young adults in our world who are nurtured in a warm evangelical faith but find the transition to a secular culture challenging. Finally, it is beautifully written and a delight to savor.
You may not be comfortable with where the author, Macy Halford, emerges at the book’s end. But you will appreciate her honesty and marvel at the ways in which Oswald’s gem of a devotional continues to speak into Halford’s life.
Just Talkin’ Bout My Generation
In 1965, the British rock band The Who sang a rather self-obsessed anthem to their generation. Years later the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic, and significant” value. Roger Daltrey, the band’s lead singer, sang with a bit of attitude:
Why don’t you all fade away?
Don’t try to dig what we all say!
I’m not trying to cause a big sensation.
I’m just talkin’ bout my generation.
That old rock and roll song reminds me of the challenge each of us face in understanding those of a different generation. Just the other day, I asked a twenty-something if they knew who the Beverly Hillbillies were and they responded with a blank stare. Oh, the declining lack of artistic culture today! (It was the number one show of its day and, unbelievably, still holds the record for TV’s highest rated half hour.)
It may be a challenge to love our neighbor, especially if they are of another generation! Next Wednesday, a six-week seminar, Loving My Neighbor of a Different Generation, will begin to address this challenge.
On March 8, the seminar will start with an overview of the generations of adults presently identified among those living in America today. In the weeks to follow, panelists representing the various generations will share their perspectives on a wide range of issues. It is my hope this will not only help us to better understand each other, but to better serve Christ together.
The first panel, on March 15, will be comprised of Mendal Dick, Judy Cicha, and Wes Vanderhoof, all members of the “Silent Generation” or, as Tom Brokaw popularized, the “Greatest Generation.” The following week, on March 22, panelists Terry Taber, Julie Grimm, and Bev Faro will provide insights into the Baby Boomers. Generation Xers will be represented on March 29 by Aimee Lyon, Rob Repass, and Becky Draper. The Millennial panel is still being assembled; they’ll report on April 5.
I think this will be a fascinating opportunity to celebrate Pearce’s rich intergenerational fabric. Join us, beginning next Wednesday, in the Friendship Center at 6:30pm.
A Gifted Team!
Following last Sunday’s worship service, I had the opportunity to meet with a wonderful group of dedicated Kingdom servants. The volunteer youth staff of our congregation met over pizza in Common Grounds Café to discuss Pearce’s youth ministry in the months following Pastor Mike’s departure for his new ministry assignment in Perry, New York.
Because of my plans to retire at the end of this year, it is inappropriate for me to bring a new youth pastor on staff. I want my successor to have the privilege of recruiting and selecting that individual. This means there will be an interim period in youth ministry at Pearce during the next year.
I met with the many gifted volunteers who give so freely of their time to minister to our youth to brainstorm ways we can continue to effectively serve the teens of our congregation and communities. I went home after the meeting with a full heart. It was filled with an appreciation for the many wonderful people who care deeply about our youth. It was clear to me that this ministry will remain in good hands!
If you encounter any of the people pictured above, please extend to them your appreciation for their fine ministry.
Next week, I’ll be taking a few days off to travel with Mary to Washington, D.C. She will be attending a conference for her employer; I’m going to catch up on some reading and enjoy some vacation time. (See the photo of my current reads. Remember, on the sixth day of creation God created books!) So don’t look for a Dangling next week, but eagerly anticipate receiving one on March 16.