Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This past summer I participated in an event called Youth Nexus at Northpark University. The program was designed for a youth leader and two students to spend a 5 days at Northpark, studying a given topic with a Northpark professor each morning, with an experiential event around that topic in the afternoon. For instance, when our topic was "justice" we visited the Cook County Jail. It was a great experience, both for me and for Andrew, the student I brought with me.

That experience got me thinking: Why not organize youth group the same way? We could focus on a given topic for say, 4 weeks, and then take a field trip, so to speak.

Our first topic is going to be "creation". I plan to focus on being good stewards and caretakers of creation, some Psalm 8 type stuff, and a look at Creationism (both young earth and old earth) Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

I used to be pretty big on creationism, young earth even. These days, I'm not sure it is so important. I'm hoping to help the youth understand that the Bible is bigger than these theories and its truth is bigger than all of them. For instance, many creationist insist on some sort of literal reading of Genesis and insist on this otherwise, they claim, you can't trust the rest of the Bible. If Genesis, the foundation of the Bible (they claim) is false, then the rest must be too. Foundationalism and its problems aside (see Brian McLaren for starters) it raises questions about truth. Does something have to literally happen in order to be true? Is the parable of the Prodigal Son a true story? If by true story we mean that there was really a son who asked his dad for his inheritance, squandered it etc. than I think we would say it is not true. After all, it is clearly a story that Jesus made up. However, the story of "The Prodigal Son" (or, as Robert Capon would say, "The Forgiving Father") is one of the truest of all stories. Genesis 1 is true, regardless of whether it happened exactly as it says it happened.

Not surprisingly, fundamentalists exist on both sides of the discussion.


Blogger Terri said...

Wow - this sounds just like apologetics class. Hi Brian (I haven't forgotton about your books, I'm just looking for an appropriatly sized box to ship them in...)- yes, you're right, my professor REALLY dislikes McLaren. He seems to be a stedfast modernist. He views postmodernisim as non-philosophically defendable b/c it's completly, irrationally, illogically relatvistic. He also throws in MUCH lameting on the loss of Objective Truth; not to mention a straight out Battle Cry for the return to apologetics based on objective truth and not what he calls sentementality. He's very opinonated and strong worded. His main objection to BM is that loss of objective truth. He doesn't see him as having a philosophy that is defendable b/c (he says, I don't know, I've read only 1 part of a book he wrote) BM takes a stance that denies objective truth. So far, I really strongly disagree with much of what he's saying, but I lack the skills to defend why. But he is giving us tools to do that very thing, so I'm slowly figuring it out. (I don't love this class so far. Aside from him being very threatening as a teacher and 'not caring how we feel about things,' it's not a way I've ever been trained to think, not is it a way I enjoy thinking. All that aside, I appriciate that it is giving me tools to think deeply about stuff I do care about and ways to be able to defend those things to others in ways I feel called to.) Thanks for the post to my blogg - stay in touch! I'd love to hear what the YG makes of all this! - ter

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Kirby said...

Hello, Brian. I went to Youth Nexus this last summer as well, and was wondering if you had a link to the discussion/forum for our week of Nexus, or a link to a website with pictures of our week. You can email me at, Thank you!
-Kirby White (that red-head kid with the toothpick)

11:15 PM  

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