It was not so long ago that I sat in front of a group of teenagers…Purity-Rings

…Wildly hormonal, confused teenagers.

Last week turned out to be “virginity” week around several corners of blog land.  Several ladies did a great job of confessing, correcting and crying out for the status quo to change, when it comes to how the church teaches kids about sex and virginity.  Sarah Bessey kicked things off (and if you haven’t read her story, you should), and several other equally good stories followed.

As I read these stories of shame and failure, I thought about my time as a youth pastor, barely out of my teen years, a confused, single college student.  Hardly an authority figure on love and relationships, much less actually qualified to teach other peoples’ kids about indelicate evangelical topics like purity and virginity.

I’d like to make a confession.  I didn’t really do a great job with “the talk.”  I didn’t have the kids spit in a cup or sign pledges or anything (as I had no experience with such things.)  Nevertheless, many things went unspoken.

This is what I wish I had said to those teenagers, and what I hope I’ll remember to say to my own kids, should the time ever arrive.

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Today, we’re continuing our new Creative Giants blog series in anticipation of Life After Art.  You know how I said that creativity comes inliving one handed lots of forms?  Well today’s guest is an excellent example.  Ryan Haack’s blog, Living One-Handed is an amazing primer on the creativity it takes to live, you guessed it, with just one hand.  (His blog is entirely typed with one hand too.) Ryan’s got a great story for us today.

McDonald’s was the scene of the crime.

My cousin and I were sitting in that merry-go-round thing.  Joining us in the saucer were three very small boys.  They were staring, but saying nothing.  I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were wondering what happened to my left arm, when one of them finally squeaked out, “Um…what happened to your arm?” I looked at my cousin and we both smiled knowingly.  “I’m sorry, what?” I asked the boy.  He looked at his friends and mumbled again, “Your…arm…what happened to your arm?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re asking.  What happened to my…” I said as I looked at my left arm and then…  “MY ARM!  WHERE’S MY ARM?! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed!  We both jumped out and started running around, yelling, throwing woodchips.  We climbed to the top of Officer Big Mac and banged on the bars, laughing like crazy.

Come on, a kid can only say, “I was just born that way” so many times before he snaps.

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You know how some things are really good, but then they get so much exposure, everyone gets sick of them?7trumpets (1)

Like your favorite song being ruined by constant radio play.

Or bacon.  For crying out loud, it’s bacon.  Yes, we all know everyone likes it.  Just shut up and eat it.

Or zombies.

Or the apocalypse.

Seriously, can we just get past the end of the world already?

It’s that last one that really sticks in my craw.  Everyone has their own brand of doomsday theory.  Elizabeth Esther wrote a great post last week about the spiritual abuse of “doomsday preppers,” (which is so widespread, it warrants a cable tv show.)

But if there is child abuse in prepping for the world, I think there has to be equal parts spiritual abuse in Christians prepping for the rapture.

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Have you ever been left out of a group?ComeToSecretClub

You know, like not invited to a birthday party?  Or the mean kids at school made a “No (Your Name) Club.”

That’s what I thought.  At one time or another, we’ve all felt left out.

This week, it’s being reported that an announcement may be imminent: that the Boy Scouts will begin to allow gay scouts and leaders (at the discretion of the individual troops, it appears.)

Of course, opinions fall all over the spectrum.  Who should be “in” and who should be “out.”  Ahem…

Plenty of people have been simultaneously praising and insulting the Scouts for a great first step away from “bigotry.”  And there are others who think it will ruin the spirit of Scouting.  For some unfathomable reason, USA Today asked SBC President Albert Mohler what he thinks of the pending announcement, as if his opinion has any bearing whatsoever and is not already thoroughly predictable.

You know what I think?

I think exclusivity – leaving some people out - is not always such a bad thing…

…but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

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Let’s face it.  A lot of you are out there.  You’re plugging away at your blogs…write-on-november-is-national-novel-writing-month-a5349cc216

…But you have another ambition.

You’d like to be an author.  Of a book.  With pages and a cover.

We all know it’s true.  A lot of us get into blogging in the hopes of becoming authors.  When I started blogging over four years ago, becoming an author wasn’t the first thing on my mind.  But as I saw more and more bloggers publishing books, it became a goal for me too, though I wouldn’t admit it to many people.

Well, it’s hard to believe that we are just two months away from April 1, the release of my first book, Life After Art.  It’s an event that I could not have imagined less than a year ago.

So, along with the Creative Giants series, today I’m starting a five part series, which I hope will encourage you, the blogger who would like to cross over into writing your own book someday.

This is my path to publication.

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Quit Ruining the Internet

January 25, 2013

commentsI love a good conversation.

I love a healthy debate, even a fired up but friendly debate.  I love all of you who comment here on my blog, even when you disagree vehemently with me.  I think it brings people to better mutual understanding, even if no one’s minds are changed.  I feel like I grow a bit whenever one of you disagrees with me.

I have had some really challenging discussions with some of my best friends.  I’ve even had some incredible disagreements with my wife.  And none of these disagreements have ever resulted in name calling, personal attacks or expletives being lobbed like grenades.

But it should be clear to anyone who reads the comment section of the average news site that most people are completely incapable of rational, civilized discussion.  Comments are often the rhetorical equivalent of chimps hurling feces at each other.  Many of these comments come from people who claim to be Christians.

I’ve jotted down a few of the most frequently occurring and egregious comments that are ruining the comment sections of the internet.

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