shanna and i along with some of our other leaders from ISM spent the weekend in pittsburgh at the national youth workers convention...and it was great. so refreshing...so much fun...incredible sessions and concerts...and truly wonderful to connect with others and just be real. but it all messed me up.

it challenged my thinking, drove me to ask radical questions that i'm not sure i'm comfortable asking, and i'm sure has begun moving me into new territory in how i think about and do ministry.

there was one session in particular that really messed with my mind, and it was led by francis chan, author of crazy love. he was talking about how radical jesus' ministry on earth was, how we in youth ministry especially are infatuated with big crowds and big numbers...but that's not what jesus was about. in fact he pointed out passsage after passage where jesus is found deliberately speaking to them in confusing ways. many times we think that when he spoke in parables...that it was like us speaking in illustrations, with the intent to make the point clearer. but matthew 13 is a good example of a story he told that made absolutely no sense on its own...the disciples pick up on that and ask jesus why he's confusing them...he explains to them why...and then proceeds to give his disciples the deeper meaning of it all.

when i get up to speak, to be honest i'm not sure it ever really happens...but my goal is to cause each person in the audience to understand whatever it is we're trying to explain. but jesus seems to say things in such a way that the few who really want to understand have to come after him and chase him down to get the answers. i didn't walk away thinking that that's necessarily how we need to communicate to people (but it does give encouragement on "bad" nights)...but i guess what's disturbing to me, even more than any of this...is that i've asked that question about the parables for years as i've read through the gospels...and never chased down an answer.

i believe the bible...as 100% absolute truth...but i'm finding that sometimes my belief and trust in the bible gets in the way of my understanding and defending of it. i'm so prone to read something pretty funky in the bible...believe confidently that there's a reason for it and it all checks out...and letting it go there without doing the work and research of finding out HOW. and it's disturbing to me.

so, i've embarked on a new journey of scripture reading, and i'm committing to asking critical questions...questions that i've been too scared or too lazy to ask before...and i can't wait to see where it'll take us.

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