Archive for September, 2008

Andrew Walks!

September 30, 2008 1 comment

Well, he’s taken a few steps before but last night we finally caught it on video.  It’s only about 30 seconds long.

High Definition (720p)

DVD-Quality (480p)

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Andrew does “Oh no!”

September 17, 2008 Leave a comment

As Andrew has learned to imitate people around him, there have been some funny moments.  Yesterday we mananged to catch him imitating his mother.  It’s rather entertaining:

High Definition (720p)

DVD Quality (480p)

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If you work with teenage girls, have one, or will have one soon…

September 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Read this: The Truth About Teen Girls (Time Magazine, 9/11/08)

Excellent stuff!

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Andrew’s Summer Video

September 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Here’s the latest from Andrew’s world highlight his summer, including his first birthday!  You’ll need QuickTime to view the movie!

Excellent Quality (720p)

Good Quality (480p)

Standard Quality (SD)

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Finally… Presbymeme II

September 2, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve been tagged twice for Presbymeme II – so here goes.

1. What is your favorite faith-based hymn, song or chorus. Hmm… I think I’m going to join BJ in saying Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing might just be my favorite.  More recently I’ve re-discovered the Jars of Clay classic “In The Light”.

2.What was the context, content and/or topic of the last sermon that truly touched, convicted, inspired, challenged, comforted and/or otherwise moved you?  On our mission trip to New Orleans the speaker the last night talked about how we tend to make idols out of “mountain top” experiences like retreats, mission trips, etc.  He was right on.

3. If you could have all Presbyterians read just one of your previous posts, what would it be and why?  Why I was sad to be a member of Pittsburgh Presbytery This meeting caused me more sadness then I can put into words.

4.What are three PC(USA) flavored blogs you read on a regular basis?  Presbymergent, BJ Woodworth, Chris Brown

5. If the PC(USA) were a movie, what would it be and why? Titanic.  The ship is going down, and yet we’re still rearraning the deck furniture and having the band play the same old tune.

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Why the reaction to Bristol Palin shows what’s wrong with our society…

September 2, 2008 1 comment

I’ve been annoyed, amused, and frustrated at the coverage of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy.  For me it shows the fundamental flaw in our society when it comes to how we regard teenagers.

For some reason, we are naive enough to think that 17 year olds are children, but we don’t treat them like children.  Want proof?  We give them power over life and death: we license them as drivers.

In our society we take our teenagers and make them adults when we allow them to drive.  In a very simple action, we give them the power to kill themselves and others.  They go from children to peers – peer drivers that is.  So while we are willing to license Bristol Palin to be a driver, we’re going to hold her mother accountable for her sexual behavior?  Come on, we’re only fooling ourselves.

One of the first things I learned in doing youth ministry was that you had to treat adolescents the way you expected them to act.  Turning any blame on Bristol’s parents, regardless of their values, only demonstrates that our society enables teenagers to make poor life decisions because we shield them from the consequences by blaming their parents.  The very way our educational system in this country is structures encourages (as it should) adolescents as early as 12 and 13 to become more independent.  Why are we suddenly surprised when they do exactly that?  Are we really so naive as to think that magically over night when you turn 18 you’re an adult who can go off and live on your own but at 17 you’re a child that is under the beck and call of your parents?

No matter what the values of a parent, kids will do the strangest things.  I know kids who have come from strong homes with parents who teach all the right things who have gone astray in every way imaginable.  Yet they have siblings who have stayed on the narrow path.  I also know kids who are the total opposite story as well.

Until our society recognizes adolescents for the adults they really are, with power to create life and destroy it, we’ll only continue to enable stupid selfish adolescent behavior.

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Bristol Palin is Pregnant – some statistics to consider

September 2, 2008 1 comment

In the midst of the Hurricane Gustav coverage today it came across that Sarah Palin’s Daughter Bristol is five months pregnant.  I went to the Washington Post’s site to check out the story because I was curious what the preceived impact of this news will be.  The article itself is fine, but in the comments below I found more of what I expected, people trashing Palin, McCain, and worst of all, Bristol.

(I should note that at this point I am pretty convinced I will not be voting for John McCain in November)

As someone who makes a living working with Jr. and Sr. High Students I am rather disgusted that this is going to become part of our national political conversation.  The truth is that Bristol is in no way unique.  Last spring I updated my lesson on pre-marital sex with newer statistics.  Here’s what I found out:

  • 6-10% of students have had sexual intercourse prior to 14
  • 47% of students have had sexual intercourse prior to high school graduation
  • The Median age for first intercourse for girls is 16, 17 for guys.

These are fairly normal actually for the past ten years.  Here are trends that are changing

  • The number of students having sex with more than four partners has actually decreased
  • Teen pregnancy rates have fallen of late.

However, there are two very alarming trends

  • STD rates continue to rise among high schoolers
  • Teenagers engaging in oral sex has dramatically increased and the average age is dropping quickly.

Ok, so why all the stats?  Bristol Palin is among the 47% of American teenagers who had sex before they were married.  She is by no means unique, she is just among those who either didn’t use birth control or birth control failed.  She is not however, among the 3 out of every 200 teenage girls who had an abortion this past year.  The other statistic that I think is very relevant is that 66% of people in the United States believe that pre-marital sex is morally acceptable.

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