Summer Arts Internship in South Carolina

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If you know of a young musician, visual artist, theater-type or dancer looking for something meaningful to do next summer for a paid internship, send them over to RICH Learning Carolina 2019.

We'll be partnering with local Methodist, Lutheran and Episcopal churches for our 4th South Carolina summer enrichment program with 3-6 year-olds. If funding is sufficient, we may be expanding to inner-city Philadelphia. (More on that soon).

Applications are at the bottom of the home page.

The Loneliest Generation

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Aging Alone

An article in this week’s "Wall Street Journal” made me think.

We need to connect in many, many more meaningful ways than just a passing "hi" in the hallway on the way to coffee and class.

We need people who can hold us when we cannot hold ourselves.

Hold us. Enfold us. Mold us. Sometimes even scold us with a loving twinkle in their eyes.

Otherwise it's just cold us...

…in a sometimes lonely world.

Stable Eyes

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “stable” in the last 48 hours. As a noun, a stable is a place. As an adjective, you can make a stable table. To do that you have to balance it out. As a verb, to stabilize something is also to make it steady, stronger, balanced.

But how might people of the stable and the cross make this unsteady place and time and world a more balanced, strong and safe place for all God’s children?

Maybe in order to truly stabilize, we need to look at the world with stable-eyes.

The Camera

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The Camera

In the year 2525

A shot from Will Oechsler just now gave me the impetus for a very short, short story:

In the year 2525, an alien explorer ship from the planet Oechlandia Major landed on a barren planet of ice. They were restocking their pantry (they use ice for fuel and food - breaking it into oxygen which they breathe and hydrogen which they eat) when one of the beings stepped around a rock to relieve himself and spotted a strange object that looked almost like an intelligent life form had once inhabited the planet.

He brought it in to the Captain, who immediately dismissed the find as a fake. "First of all, our records show there was never any intelligent life of this planet."

(He may have been right about that one.)

"And second of all, it is clear to any intelligent being that this camera-like object simply was formed by natural combinations of silica, metals and time.

The Admiral ordered that the object be destroyed immediately.

Later that day he privately told his psychiatrist that he knew something so complex as a camera could never have assembled itself, but by admitting that there was an intelligent creator for such an intelligent design would have endangered his position among his peers.

Where To Put Your Parenting/Teaching/Social Efforts?

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This graph is from Harvard’s Center on Developing Children.

More happens between 4-5 in terms of executive function brain growth than in all of the rest of life put together. It’s pretty clear where we should apply our efforts in enlarging the creative capacity of a person.

The full article is at https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/building-the-brains-air-traffic-control-system-how-early-experiences-shape-the-development-of-executive-function/

 

What is the Message of Christmas?

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What is the message of Christmas? Maybe it's that we are not alone. Maybe it's that life is not meaningless. Maybe it's that life does have a purpose. Maybe it's we are not some random accident. Maybe it's that there is hope. Maybe it's that there is a God, and it ain't you.

Maybe it's life has meaning, love conquers hate, and that God is with us. For us. Over us. Beside us. Within us. And wanting to be borne by us and through us, in quiet conquering love to be a gift again to the hurting waiting world.

Nursing Homes, Drugs and Preschools

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Why place a preschool and a nursing home near each other?

Here's the best neurology. When the wisdom of the elder and the wonder of the child collide in a joyful space, you dump in the pain-killing pleasure drugs (Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, etc) and wash out the stress hormones (cortisol, cortisone, etc.) And you add the neurotransmitters Epinephrine (a.k.a. Adrenaline) and

Norepinephrine (a.k.a. Noradrenaline), with wake you up to even more joy, dilate the capillaries for more blood flow to the brain, and reduce the threat of strokes, cardiovascular disease, ulcers, blood clots). By reducing Cortisol, you also get better sleep, have less wrinkles, get rid of belly fat and have a better memory.

All in all, you reduce medical expenses, multiply joy, and create a world where people don’t lose all their marvels (sic!).

https://streetselfdefenseblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/pleasure-hormones-vs-stress-hormones/comment-page-1/

Healing, Smiles and A

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So glad Kirstin Springmeyer and Manale Elewah were able to connect in Houston yesterday to talk about the healing power of art. Kirstin was one of my first "kids" to go into ordained ministry from my first call. She's now working on the healing power of art.

Last time I was with Dr. Elewah was in Cairo. She took me to see her work at a children's cancer hospital and we cartooned, sang, and played all day. She took me to visit one very sick child who wasn't able to join us. The boy was staring blankly at the wall. I told him I bet I could make him smile. I did everything I could think of, and no... no smile. Then I pulled out my final trick in the bag and yes, he rolled his eyes and finally smiled.

There are many medicines that don't cost a thing. Art and smiles are maybe two of the best.

Eldest Saint Sunday Interview

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How about having a 7-year-old, 17-year-old, 37-year-old and 57-year-old interviewing your oldest saint as part of a dialogue sermon on Sunday? Post a photo of when they were 7, 17, 37, 57 plus a recent photo. Have the interviewers each ask a question or two, maybe about their world, their highs and lows, and how faith met life (and politics, if you dare) when they were each age? Then throw a party in the fellowship hall for them and all your saints who died this year and their families.

Close by asking the elder saint to lay hands on and bless every person in the room.

CROSS+GEN ALL SAINTS DAY VIDEO INTERVIEWS

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In the "Honor your Father and Mother" department, here's a video interview idea for All Saints Sunday 2019 with a fall prep in Sept/Oct and a banquet honoring your elder saints:

As August comes to a close and you're gearing up for the new school year, assign Cross+Gen teams (with at least 4 generations) to do video histories of your 80-90-100 year olds. Have them make "dates" with their assigned elder guests. Eiither go to their homes/residences or invite them to a bright, friendly, quiet spot where the interview can take place. Ask them to locate old photo albums and bring them along. If they own an old, worn Bible, ask them to bring it along, too. Ask them to choose a Scripture they'd like to share with the group - something that has significance in their life. With the video running (1-2-3 cell phones?) ask them to...

SHARE - a high and low from each decade of their life. Start by walking through the album and, with each decade, flash them some events from https://www.thoughtco.com/20th-century-timelines-1779957. Video it all. Take notes on the highs and lows for your prayers.

READ - Their chosen Scripture together underline/highlight it in each of the team's Bibles writing "____(name)____ favorite verse" in margins. Go online to aslpro.com and learn 4-6 key words in American Sign Language together.

TALK - About what that Scripture means to them, how it relates to their life, and what it means to each member of the group.

PRAY - With thanks and praise to God for this elder saint, and for they gifts they have given to the world. Name their "highs" in thanksgiving. Thank God for being with them in their life lows. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them strength to continue living as a witness to God's love through the highs and lows to come. Close in Jesus' name (hey, you're Trinitarian!)

BLESS - First, ask the elder saint to bless each person in your group one-by-one. Then line up and bless the elder by tracing the sign of the cross on their forehead, looking them in the eye with a loving smile. And ask if hugs would be welcome!


Show clips of these video histories as an "offering that doesn't fit in the plate" in worship or education hour.

Then on all Saints Sunday, throw a banquet in their honor and have the Cross+Gen interview teams pick up their honored guest, introduce them, and tell what they learned through the process, how they grew, and what gifts they received. Post the interviews on YouTube with links to your church website and a new person featured each week.

Home Isn't Home Anymore

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A new study by Ikea of 22,000 people in 22 countries suggests that many people no longer feel home at home. 45% go sit in their cars in order to get a break.

What does this say about society? What does it say about me being a person of hospitality and safety? What might it say about the church trying to make people feel at home?

Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy

Can we learn to feel other’s pain?

Can we learn to feel other’s pain?

The word compassion comes from the Latin “with” and “suffering.”

The Greek equivalent, “empathy” is “in” plus “pain.”

It means “I hurt when you hurt.”

How do we raise a child, a family, a society of true compassion and empathy? Joan Halifax has some marvelous thought on nurturing compassion in a oft-times cold and polarized world.

Great talk for Cross+Gen conversations.

https://www.ted.com/talks/joan_halifax

Copy of The Puzzle of Motivation

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There is pay, and then there’s pay.

For Boomers, pay was seen in a paycheck. For an increasingly larger and larger segment of the workforce, $ is only one part of the pay they expect. Time is pay. A friendly environment is pay. A collaborative and creative workplace where their ideas are valued is pay. And the ability to work wherever and whenever they want is pay.

in this Ted Talk career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.

Apply this to motivating everything from children to co-workers to your aging parents to your movement?

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation?language=en

Alone Together

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Technology or
Talk-knowlegy

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? 

Here are some great thoughts for a Cross+Gen discussion from Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk, and two books “Alone Together” and “Reclaiming Conversations: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.”

Her thinking about Robotics and Digital Artificial Intelligence would especially make a marvelous conversation starter between the ages.

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (Celeste Headle)

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We're not listening to each other. 

1/3 of teens send 110+ texts a day… but would much rather text than talk to a human being.

Conversational competence is the single most important skill we can teach our children and achieve ourselves today. And yet, we seem to have more and more time for tech and less and less time for talk. Without it, how can we achieve true understanding? Without the time, attention and energy, how can we hone interpersonal conversation skills?

Teaching how to talk and how to listen, Celeste Hedlee shares these 10 basic rules to be Engaged, inspired, perfectly understood.

1. Don't multitask - be present in that moment
2. Don't pontificate - don't state opinion without any feedback - enter every conversation as if you have something to learn
3.  Use open-ended questions - who, what, when, where, why, how
4. Go with the flow - let thoughts and stories come and go
5. If you don't know, say that you don't know
6. Don't equate your experience with theirs - it I not about you
7. Try not to repeat yourself - don't just keep making the same point
8. Stay out of the weeds - people don't care about the details of your life - they care about you
9. Listen - perhaps the #1 most skill - when I'm talking I'm the center of attention and I'm in control - We talk at 225 words per minute but can listen at 500 words per minute
10. Be brief - My sister said, "A good conversation is like a mini-skirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover thee subject."

This Ted Talk would make a great Cross+Gen conversation.

Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

So, how might something like FAITH5 help us get good at this, every week in a Cross+Gen community and every night in every home?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1vskiVDwl4