Monday, February 11, 2013

Youth Discussion questions take 2

Last week, I posted questions from our youth discussion. That conversation ended with this statement:
“It doesn’t matter what we do, no one is better than anyone else.”  

While it sounds simple enough, that statement is loaded with implications.  So, we decided to have the follow up discussion the next week and decided to use these questions: 

I think there are actually two statements there and I’m wondering what we really believe.  So, we are going to unpack it tonight. 

Statement #1: “It doesn’t matter what we do.”
Is that true?
Why would it matter what we do?
Why wouldn’t it matter what we do?
Are there some decisions or places in our lives where it really doesn’t matter?
Are there some decisions or places in our lives where it matters a whole lot? 
How do we know the difference?
What does our faith tell us about our actions and behaviors?
What do the scriptures say?

Statement #2: “No one is better than anyone else.”
I think Jillyn meant this to be a statement one of the value of each person, meaning everyone is of equal worth.
Do we believe that?
What would make someone worth more than someone else?
Worth more according to whom? What about according to God?
What would make someone worth less than someone else?
                Worth less according to whom? What about according to God?
What does God say about our distinctions of worth for different people?
Who are people that we/society under value? 
                How might we change those perceptions and ideas?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crab Cakes

The other night I used this recipe as a basis for our crab cakes. I made a few slight changes and dinner was dynamite!

In a food processor blend:

12 crackers (saltines are recommended, I used wheat and flax seed, which was what I had in the cupboard)
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 egg
1/2 c. mayo
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
pulse until well blended.
Add 1 lb crab (canned crab or imitation crab works just fine)
1/2 bell pepper in smaller chunks

Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in small pan 

make patties from the crab mix and coat in bread crumbs
fry until golden brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes each side)

in lieu of Aioli sauce:

in a small sauce pan, melt 1/4 c. butter, add 2-4 cloves chopped garlic, 3 preserved lemon wedges, salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp parsley. saute a few minutes. Serve hot with the crab cakes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Youth discussion questions

I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to curriculum.  I am rarely satisfied with whatever is provided.  I struggle to use any curriculum just as it is.  So, I've begun formatting my own curriculum questions (again). 

At the end of one pre-fab discussion, one of the youth raised a question that related to theodacy.  Instead of making us run over, I told them we'd come back to it the next week.  So we did. 

Here are the questions we used:

Does God do anything in our lives?
How does God intervene?
What can we do to cause God to act on our behalf?
Why would God not intervene?
What is God’s purpose and role in our lives?

Ash Wednesday Resource

Someone shared this on Facebook today and I loved the ideas.  We have 2 Ash Wednesday services. The first one is early in the morning and isn't much of a traditional service. It's more a time to come and pray and take communion and receive the ashes so they can be a testament for the whole day.  I hope to use these ideas in that time.


Jeremiah 18:1-6
1The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2“Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
5Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
Reflection: One of the ways in which sin is described in the Bible is as a “hardness of heart.” Do you ever feel that your heart is hard, that it is inflexible or judgmental? Do you keep your guard up in your relationships with others and/or with God? Reflect on the way in which this is true.
Action: Take a piece of clay. Warm it in your hands and knead it until it becomes pliable. Give it a new shape – perhaps a small bowl which could symbolize receptivity to God and to God’s forgiving love.


Psalm 51:10-12
10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
11Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing
£ spirit.
Reflection: One of the ways in which we can understand Lent is to see it as “Spring Cleaning.” Just as we will clean our houses in preparation for a visit from a special guest, so we take time to examine our lives in preparation for our encounter with the risen Christ at Easter. Are there closets where you store past resentments? Clean them out! Is there a sink full of dishes with the residue of negative behaviors? Start scrubbing!
Action: Dip your hands into the water in the bowl on the table before you, and wipe your hands dry on the cloth provided. As you do so, reflect on what your life could be like, thoroughly rinsed with God’s love. Take a marble as a reminder of God’s cleansing love.


Lamentations 3:19-23
19The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
20My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
21But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
22The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Reflection: The author of Lamentations spends most of his time complaining, both about the world’s afflictions and his own. One thought gives him or her peace: the steadfast love of God. The knowledge of God’s unshakable love, even in the midst of trouble, is finally the grease which makes the squeaky wheel of lamentation fall silent.
Action: Dip your finger in the oil in the bowl on the table before you and smooth it onto the back of your hand. As you do, reflect on the parts of your life which are stiff and squeaky – places where you are stuck, places which give you cause for continual complaint. Consider how the love of God might lubricate these parts of your life, renewing them, making them usable in a way they have not been before.


Genesis 3:19c
19 “…you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Reflection: Ash Wednesday used to begin a season of 40 days of deadly serious penance. It included a type of fasting far stricter than most diets today, embracing the absence of all life’s pleasures and enjoyments. There is evidence that marking the face or body with ashes began in Gaul in the 6th century and was at first confined to public penitents doing penance for grace and notorious sin, whom the clergy tried to comfort and encourage by submitting themselves to the same public humiliation. For our spiritual ancestors, the people of Jewish and other Near Eastern cultures, wearing ashes was a sign of mourning and lamenting. Ashes were usually associated with sackcloth, which was the clothing worn to mourn the death of a beloved or to lament a personal or communal disaster. Humans are the only species we know of who are capable of contemplating their own death. Yet few of us do. Ash Wednesday challenges us to reflect on our own death so that we can truly embrace life. The mark of ashes reminds us that only by a Christ-like death can we experience the promise of Easter’s life.
Action: Dip your finger in the charcoal and make a cross on the back of your hand. Press firmly. (It may work best in the same spot where you have already rubbed in the oil.) Reflect on the gift of life over death symbolized by the cross. Offer this prayer: O God, may I often remember the symbol of the cross upon my hand and say, “I am dust that will return to dust, yet in You I trust.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

Proud to announce

After MONTHS of struggling with issues relating to the church website, we finally made progress.

I won't detail the drama here, as it would likely throw folks under the bus and I'm not into that. But I will say that our designer and assistant did a great job.  They were helpful and easy to work with.  We both learned a few things about how to communicate what we want and what we need.  

But mostly, I am THRILLED to have a website that is current, user-friendly, full of information, and well done.  Oh yeah, and I didn't have to do it myself through Wordpress or teach myself HTML.  Thank God for that!

It was an investment of time, money, and energy that is worth its weight in gold.  Let's just hope it does its job in communicating who we are to visitors.  

To take a look for yourself. Click here.