Teens & Faith: Hard questions about youth ministry

It's not easy to work with youth in the church, but some are gifted for it. We all need to share our experience and work together for the success of the Church.

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Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Seeking to follow where God leads, and thankful that grace covers my multitude of errors.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Doing theology

Do you "do" theology with your students? Have you given them practice at doing theology? I haven't done it often, but I think it is a worthy idea for regular consideration. I recently went looking for a used car to replace one that I'd had stolen. It gave me an opportunity to find something different. Little did I know it would give me a chance to practice my theology.

God certainly can work in every aspect of our lives if we'll allow him to do so. Initially, I thought to replace my Saturn with another Saturn. Seemed logical, if boring. Then I saw it - a 1988 Range Rover with a hideous white spray painted paint job that made it look like winter camoflage. It had things painted on it like a peace symbol, a fish skeleton, and a hand with a heart in the palm. The words "Tell the Truth" were stenciled on one door. It caught my eye. It was old, it was homely, it was just what I was looking for.

I went through the practical step of talking to the owner. It was a vehicle donated to a local charity for fundraising. Cool. I dig that. My wife and I have donated a car ourselves. Get a vehicle and support a charity, too. Nice. That fit my theology. Help those helping others. I had the car checked out by my mechanic. The Bible says to be gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent! The car needed work (pricey work at that!) but it was deemed a solid vehicle if I wanted a "project car." I guess I decided that a project wouldn't be so bad. Fixing up something of seemingly questionable worth to make it good again fit my theology. God takes us sinners, loves us through the rough stuff, never gives up on us, and sees us through to the end. Hey, this ain't so bad. The pricey repairs remind me that it's not painless to fix things up for a car or for a child of God, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it.

There is at least one trade off for this. It's an SUV, and a big one at that. My wife drives a smaller SUV that I don't feel very guilty about. The gas mileage on it isn't awful. This "new" beast has an 8 cylinder engine. It doesn't know how to sip gasoline. It drinks deeply. I am committed to making sure it always stays as low as is practicable with its emissions testing. It failed the test last week and the mechanic is working on it with all the other stuff. It's not just a legal thing, it's moral. It'll have new tires with its tune up to get the best mileage possible. It's worth doing right if I'm going to do it.

OK. So with my story in mind, I can explain my theological reasons for buying this car to others; my students even. I enjoy telling the story (obvious, no?) and helping others to see how God and faith can play a vital role in making decisions and living life. God wants to be there with us. We need to help our students to see how it works through our lives. Life lived well is good theology. Go and do.