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School Board Candidate Forum

PHS “We the People” to lead School Board Candidate Forum

It’s election time and PCSC is excited to announce that our local school board candidates will be participating in a School Board Candidate Forum hosted by the We the People senior government class of Plainfield High School. This forum will be student-led with community participation as well as media presence. It will take place on Tuesday, October 30th, from 6:00pm—7:30pm in the PHS Auditorium.

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in General Ministry Thoughts

 

Running for School Board

I am running for the Plainfield School Board because I can contribute positively to the Plainfield School Corporation and the Plainfield community. Legislation is often passed down to our school communities by individuals with no practical knowledge of what it takes to educate children and teens in today’s world. I have the skills and background needed to help the Plainfield School Corporation best implement these ever-changing laws and to communicate our plans effectively to the community.

My education qualifies me as an excellent candidate for Plainfield School Board. I am also well-connected to the Plainfield community. My position as director of a local out of school program and my volunteer work at a local church brings me in contact with families every day. My daughter is currently a student at Clark’s Creek elementary and I have been a regular school volunteer since she was in Kindergarten. These experiences provide me with insight to the needs of the families of Plainfield.

For a more detailed description of my campaign, click here.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in General Ministry Thoughts

 

A Liberal Christian!

Mark 2:13-17

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth.”Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

I am breaking from my typical blog post to vent a little. I am tired of being told by certain public figures that I am not a Christian because of I have more liberal political viewpoints. I am tired of reading stories after stories of bigoted and narrow minded “Christians” (judgement recognizeddenigrating others because they are of another faith, or are sexually active singles (gay or straight), or are women who want equality, or are hardworking Americans who are asking for jobs that pay a reasonable wage and provide health insurance.

When did we lose sight of the Jesus who ate with tax collectors and sinners. Not because he wanted to shame them or even change them, but because he recognized that they were ignored. He loved them. Through his love, he turned their hearts to God. He did not tell Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10) that he would only be able to reach (pun intended) God if he gave up his job. No, all he said was that he would eat with him. Zaccheus changed himself because for once someone actually looked at him.

I may be liberal but I am also evangelical! I want to win souls for God just like any other Christian. But I do not believe Jesus ever told us to do that by making someone else believe or behave the way I think is proper. I believe Jesus taught us to pray, love and listen. Salvation has nothing to do with contraception, baptism, or any other silly American standard. Salvation has to do with having a heart for God and spreading that love by following the example of Jesus and truly loving others for who they are, not who we want them to be!

 
 

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Raising Spiritual Children: Communicating with God

One of the “skills” my Lent class identified as foundational for their children is the ability to communicate with God. We started the class by talking about when we as adults feel closest to God. As a good teacher, I prepared a list that I did not share but wanted to use as talking points if the class “forgot” anything important. My list was as follows:

  • Reading the Bible
  • Prayer
  • Music
  • Worship
  • Bible Study/Small Group/Sunday School
  • Rituals
  • Service/Missions
  • Fellowship

Being a solid Gen-X’er I should have anticipated the turn of the conversation, but of course, I did not. When I asked the class when they feel closest to God, their answers ran as follows:

  • When something good happens
  • When they are with their children
  • In nature
  • In the acceptance of death of relatives (from a class member who has lost many family members over the years)
  • At work (from a class member who works in a hospital)

Notice that not one of their answers was “traditional” or necessarily connected to the church building. In fact, one member of the class said that anything on the list connected with Sunday mornings was more stressful than spiritual. It is a struggle to get her three children dressed, fed and out the door. Once at church, she worries about the children’s behavior in both Sunday School and worship. She stated that she probably only makes it every other week because there are days she just does not want to deal with the stress.

On the other hand, two class members said that while it can be stressful preparing for church, once there, they find themselves refreshed and ready for a new week.

So what does this mean for the next generation? How do we communicate our feelings of connection or stress to our children? When they are adults, when will they feel that connection to God – in church or somewhere else?

I sense a shift on the horizon. If Sunday morning church starts to become less and less relevant, our churches need to find ways to encourage families to connect to God in a multiple of ways. The traditional methods of Bible study and prayer are still vital to the building of disciples, but they need to be taught and made accessible to those who do not connect with “old fashioned” methods. Worship needs to be less about liturgy and performance and more about interaction and participation. Families should be encouraged to spend time together serving, playing and learning.

Church as we know it may be on the way out. Can we adjust fast enough for this next generation?

 

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Science is the what, God is the why!

In his sermon this Sunday, Pastor Colin Cress (Plainfield United Methodist Church, Plainfield, IN) that while science can often answer the questions of what is happening in the universe, only God can answer the questions of why. As a child of scientists, I have lived with the tension between science and faith. I did not become a Christian until I was 19 and in college, so it was almost impossible for me to reject all I had learned from my parents. Luckily, my pastor at the time did not make me choose between one or the other,  but allowed me to question and understand how the two work together.

When I teach about science and faith, I remind my classes that science does not have all the answers and never will. The complexity of our universe can only be explained through the presence of a Divine hand that placed everything in motion. Whether you believe in Creation in 7 day or Evolution over billions of years, God’s hand put it in motion. The universe is not random, there are systems and patterns that are woven throughout that allow for it to exist without imploding upon itself.

I love science. I love exploring the nature of the patterns of our universe. I am fascinated by how systems work together. I am concerned about how we have polluted some of those systems and intrigued by how evolution has allowed humans to live this long considering how much we hurt the planet.

When I was pregnant, the complexity of my own body hit home literally. How could this body contain another life in itself? Only God could have brought this about, not a random system of nature. My pregnancy also illustrated the purpose of my life – the why. God had a purpose for me before I became a parent, but it became clear to me during this wondrous change to my body and life that I was responsible for passing my faith on to the next generation.

If we look to science only, we may find out how the universe works (though I doubt it), but we would not understand why it (and we) exist. Only by looking to God can we find the purpose of our existence and how we work within the complex systems around us.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Science and Faith

 

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Raising Spiritual Children

I am currently teaching a Lent series on this topic. Our first class was last night. I explained that while I used the word spiritual in the title, it was only because I was not sure that “Raising Disciples” would be as understandable. But really that is the focus of our class – how do we raise our children to be disciples.

We started with a discussion on what it means to us to be disciples. Or, in other words, what values and beliefs do we hope our children will learn and pass on to their children. Here are the 5 we came up with:

○    To know that God is active in their lives and loves them unconditionally
○    The importance of communicating with God on a regular basis
○    A structure to make good choices
○    To know that God has a purpose for their lives
○    To be able to spread the Word of God to others

For the next 5 weeks, we are going to focus on one of these topics. Hopefully we will learn some tips from each other, since no one is an expert on raising children, but we hope to lay a foundation of faith that will support all they do.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Children's Ministry, Families

 

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Sing to the Lord a New Song!

I am currently at Children’s Ministry Forum ’12 in Nashville, TN. The theme for the Conference is “Ready for a New Song: Recreating Your Ministry” and our challenge this week is to start identifying the new song that God has placed on our lives. Each day, a new preacher will be speaking on Isaiah 42:1-4 and Psalm 96:1.

Today, Mary Jane Pierce Norton from the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church reminded us that while accepting a new song for our life is not an easy task, it is a task given to us by God and God will see us through.

We ended worship with a time of silence to begin to hear what song was God speaking into our lives. I noticed others writing, but at first nothing came to my mind. Then very clearly I heard the word, “listen!” I felt my mind settle and I realized that I have been running for weeks now that I have not spent time listening to God. I am looking forward to opening myself to God’s voice these next two days and hear what he says to me in the quiet!

 
 

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