Weekly Notes: April 18, 2008

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about this week:

  • I had planned to explore this in depth, but I got way too far off-topic with what I was writing to even think about posting it.  Here’s the condensed version: This week in the Wednesday night Bible class I’m teaching (3rd-5th grade), I had the opportunity to answer a difficult question about a doctrinal issue that makes the Churches of Christ unique.  I knew my answer beforehand, and it’s not what a majority of the church or its elders believe.  So, I was placed in the position of having to choose between advancing what I believe to be the truth and placating the elders and the kids’ parents by giving a politically correct answer.  I think I emerged unscathed, but I didn’t really tell the kids what I believe.  I mostly just read a few Bible passages and left it up to them to decide what they believed.  Ultimately, I was satisfied with the way I handled it, but since I deal mostly with adults, I’m not used to thinking about how to wield my influence (deserved or not) over kids.
  • I’m satisfied with last night’s episode of The Office for the first time in a while.  I’m afraid the show’s peak has passed, but last night’s “Chair Model”  (SPOILERS) had a solid balance of funny lines (“I don’t want to be the one that got away”), awkward moments (Michael’s “date” and trip to the graveyard), and effective plot-moving personal scenes (Pam’s sympathy for Michael, Kevin’s relationship struggles, and Jim’s engagement ring talking head scene).  B.J. Novak wrote the episode, so he’s probably an even better writer than he is acting the part of Ryan.
  • I didn’t watch Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, but I got the impression from reading snippets of the transcript that ABC has very little interest in helping Americans figure out which candidate is the best for our country.  The only remaining candidate whom I care to support (Obama) was subjected to some ridiculous questions that have very little bearing on his ability to handle the office of President.  ABC chose to increase ratings and focus on the easy talking points (Rev. Wright, Obama’s careless “bitter” remark) while avoiding the issues that ultimately matter.  I thought it was a strong opportunity for people-powered independent media to step up and distance themselves from the major networks, which have mostly been a letdown this campaign season when it comes to covering real issues.
  • There are a lot more major leaguers born in August than in July, and it’s no coincidence.  Slate had an interesting piece this week, revisiting some older research to suggest that little league baseball’s age cutoffs have an effect that lasts all the way into the major leagues.  It’s a quick read and quite interesting.  If you plan on preparing your children for that kind of path, you’d better start planning before conception.
  • Did you know that the next frontier of baseball analysis is already here?  I’ve been reluctant to really dive into it, but Pitch F/X will be the next stomping ground for the sabermetric community to learn about how the game works.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but if you’re unfamiliar with this system, Mike Fast can get you thinking about it with this THT article.
  • The Braves continued to mock Pythagoras in Florida by losing another one-run game on Wednesday and then blowing out the Marlins last night.  I’d rather be on the 2007 D-Backs end of the spectrum than on this side, but at least I can take solace in the fact that aside from the bullpen, my team still looks pretty good on paper.  It’s still early, and they’re certainly not that far behind in the division.
  • It’s a good thing I didn’t try to stay up until my fantasy team was done playing last night.  Willy Taveras and Brian Fuentes are the only players I have from the Rockies or Padres, who last night played the longest regular season baseball game (by innings) in 15 years.  It ended just an hour and a half before I woke up, at about 4:21 this morning.  The Rockies won 2-1 in 22 innings, and Taveras went 3-for-10, scoring both runs.

Hopefully I’ll get motivated to write some more substantial posts in the coming weeks.  I’ve been sticking to the Braves-and-Notes formula for too long, but I have to come up with some ideas first.

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4 thoughts on “Weekly Notes: April 18, 2008

  1. As a youth minister, I run into similar problems frequently (although with kids who are older than 3rd-5th grades, but teenagers are about as impressionable).

    In such situations, I generally let them see what the Bible says for themselves, and then if I give my opinion on the matter, I’m clear that it’s just that—an opinion.

  2. Tough situation to be in class. I usually play it safe and teach basic COC views (mostly, so I can keep my job).

    Since you aren’t as obligated to the eldership as I am, it probably made it a bit more difficult. It’s a difficult decision.

    Office Episode was good.

  3. I was hoping you two would comment on my situation. Like you said, Chris, it was a tough call since I’m not tied to the elders’ views.

    I would like to keep teaching classes, but I don’t think I risked stirring up the pot so much that they would keep me from doing so in the future. Not having enough teachers in the first place kind of ties their hands on that one, so I’d have to be pretty outrageous to wear out my welcome.

  4. You’d be surprised…I’ve heard stories of Elders canning teachers for some odd reasons, not at my congregation though.

    You were in a tough situation, but don’t think it was an uncommon situation. Happens all the time.

    I used to handle it that way, by presenting the facts, stating both sides of the argument, and letting them decide for themselves. Sometimes I’d even state which side I am on. It’s not a bad strategy.

    The problem I had was then the next question would be, “So why are you Church of Christ?”

    Perhaps I’m wrong about this (in fact, I probably am)…but it seems to me that if that question is asked, things aren’t going so well.

    Adolescence is such a confusing time. The last thing I want to do to my teens is confuse them even more.

    But, again, I work at a pretty conservative COC. They have some things they tolerate and some things they don’t. Needless to say, challenging the views of the elders isn’t on the tolerable list.

    I’m thankful to be at a wonderful church with a blessed eldership and one of the things they do tolerate is my mistakes. I’ve made some mistakes and I was up front with the elders when I interviewed that I would make mistakes. It’s nice to know that they are committed to me and have given me the chance to grow and mature as a minister.

    I’m sure, if you continue teaching, that you’ll encounter that situation (or a similar one) again. All in all, I think the most important thing is that you’ve devoted your time to those kids, and it means a lot to them. Rather or not it seems like it at first, kids being loved by adults is one of the greatest things that could happen to them.

    That may seem like an obvious statement, but you’d be surprised. That, however, deserves its own blog post.

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