Monthly Archives: September 2008

Welcome to a new school year!

Congratulations on getting the train rolling down the track again with gathering speed!  We hope your first days and weeks of the new school year have been blessed and joyful as you greet and get acquainted with students and parents.

This marks the beginning of our third year producing this blog that goes out to all CSI member schools and others who have joined the subscription list. As I stated at the outset, the intent of this blog is to focus on the faith nurture of youth (school age through college), to connect people and resources, and to have conversations and share ideas around how to best nurture faith in youth at school, church, home, and life.

As you may have noted, we have had several contributors of content and your contributions are welcomed. Whether you have written some content that others have suggested deserves a broader audience, or simply have an idea for a post, I would love to hear from you. I always welcome your comments on posts to the blog as well.

This year we will be publishing the Nurturing Faith blog on a once every four week schedule, as opposed to a once every two week schedule. This should allow both you and I some time to compose and read the content at a more reasonable rate! However, I may post to the blog on an irregular basis – feel free to check back as you wish. Looking forward to another year of connecting in this way!

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Encouraging faithful families

I am delighted to be able to share with you access to a terrific resource for free! Gloria and Julia Stronks, a mother and daughter team, have put together a wonderful new book entitled Families Living in the Fabric of Faithfulness. They are making this book available via PDF download so that it can be accessed by parents and teachers in Africa, India, and other countries around the world who might not be able to afford the cost of the book and expensive shipping.

Gloria is a well-known educator from Calvin College now working with Worldwide Christian Schools and her daughter Julia is an attorney and professor of political science at Whitworth College in Spokane, WA. Although both are previously published authors, they decided to make this work accessible for all. What a terrific gift to so many around the world!

Here is a description of the book in the words of the authors:

This book is written for Christians who believe that while we live on this earth we are responsible to live in ways that reflect God’s love and concern for justice. It presents ideas and suggestions from committed Christian parents and children, all of whom are struggling to connect the way they live with the deepest commitments of their hearts.

Over the course of the last seven years, the authors interviewed many young adults about their attempts to live with intentionality in the fabric of God’s faithfulness, to use the phrase from Steven Garber’s fine book. They also interviewed the parents of these young people in an attempt to understand the kind of parenting that was part of what led their adult children to their decisions for just living. They interviewed seventh and eighth grade students from Christian families to determine their concerns and fears.

Drawing from these interviews and the scholarly works of others, the authors present ideas about how to live with gratitude, how to develop critical thinking and intelligence in children, and how to encourage ourselves and others to work for justice in a world that is broken but redeemed.

Here is a copy of the table of contents:

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Filed under book, kids/culture, parenting, student outcomes

“Deep and Wide, Deep and Wide” – no wait, just wide!

Stunning – 57% of evangelical, yes I said evangelical church attendees believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. The results of the second part of a study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released in late June indicate “a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don’t know fundamental teachings of their own faiths” (AP article).

Here is the common definition of evangelical from Webster’s: “of those Protestant churches that emphasize salvation by faith in Jesus” and from Dictionary.com: “… salvation is achieved by personal conversion to faith in the atonement of Christ.”  To be an evangelical then means that one believes John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” How can evangelicals then say that many religions can lead to eternal life? Is this simply ignorance of scripture or a lack of belief? It seems that either we have broadened the definition of evangelical or people are not understanding what Scripture is saying. Am I missing something here?

The study also revealed that Protestants as a self-identified group have shrunk from 65% in the 80’s to 51% today. In the 18-29 age group only 43% identify themselves as Protestant. The category that grew was “unaffiliated” with now 16% of adults identifying themselves that way and 25% of young people 18 – 29.

Source: Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life

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Picturing the excesses of Western culture

Here is a tool to get us all thinking and motivated about the impact of our culture of consumption. Chris Jordan is a photographer who has been able to make large numbers real through his artwork. I see good potential for use of this 11 minute video with older students.  In this video he demonstrates his work and gives his motivation for what he does.

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