My New Babel Table Glasses

Posted: February 9, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Aaron Jamison, YAC Member

I remember very clearly getting my first pair of glasses in the 3rd grade.  I remember how different the world looked when I put them on.  I could suddenly read signs, identify people, and witness God’s beautiful creations from a distance.  Even the night lights and stars in the sky looked different with my new glasses.  It was like I was given new eyes from which to view my world.  What a wondererous gift.

My latest pair of glasses can’t be bought at any eyeglass store though.  They can only be acquired through immersing yourself into discussions of racism, multiculturalism, and poverty.  This past summer I had such an experience through an event called Babel Table.

Bable Table brought together a diverse group of young adult Disciples to discuss and experience these topics firsthand.  The idea was to help young adults witness and understand how the world looks from different cultural perspectives so that we can help the church become more multicultural and inclusive.  The scriptural basis for Babel Table comes from the Tower of Babel story in Genesis.

Genes 11:5-9 (NSRV)

5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

One way to understand this passage is that multiculturalism is a gift from God meant to be shared and celebrated.

My Babel Table experience was one in which I will never forget.  The diverse cultural and racial experiences that each individual brought to the table expanded my understanding and thinking of multiculturalism.  There was open and safe conversation among us in sharing how our cultural experiences shaped our perception of the world around us.  The four day experience also included racism and poverty training as well as missional projects to further broaden our understandings.

The theme for this Young Adult Week is “Go and be Reconciled.”  The theme for the Young Adult Conference which is going to be held in Memphis from October 19th – 21st will also be a theme of Reconciliation.  The Babel Table’s goals of multiculturalism and inclusiveness in the church fits these themes of Reconciliation.  So I’m so very excited that the Young Adult Commission will be working in partnership with the Council on Christian Unity, Reconciliation Ministries, and other Disciple Ministries to take the Babel Table events to the regions beginning this fall.  This partnership will be exhibited at the Young Adult Conference in October which will include pieces of the Babel Table experience for young adults to get a taste of this experience.

As for me, I can confidently say that my new Babel Table glasses have changed my life.  I look at the world around me differently now than what I once did.  I can more easily recognize the systemic poverty and racism that continues to plague our society.  I can see how white privilege has shaped the communities that surround us.  Most importantly, though, I can see hope for a future of multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and reconciliation.  This movement needs to start in our churches and with the young adults of today that will be the future leaders of tomorrow.  My hope and my prayer is that as many of us as possible will get our own Babel Table glasses and that together we can make change happen in our own churches and communities.

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I want to be reconciled

Posted: February 8, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Alex McCauslin, YAC Member

 I want to be reconciled.

I hear the call.

But it’s so hard.

It’s hard because I have to open myself up to the reality that I have been broken. And more, that I continue to be broken.

Every conversation I enter about privilege breaks open for me another way in which I am complicit in systems of oppression.

Near: The University I attend operates on the backs of community members whose children will never be able to attend. They cook the food. They cut the grass. They clean the toilets. But they don’t make enough to pay this tuition.

(My parents are lawyers. I graduated from college debt-free.)

And far: The shirt on my back was made in a sweatshop. A rain forest was slashed and burned so I could eat a banana on my breakfast this morning.

(I learned these things at a recent dinner party, replying with a scandalized, “Oh gosh!” and then returning to my spinach and blue cheese salad.)

I know these things, but what can I do?

This much is certain: I can’t change anything by myself.

Reconciliation is about wholeness, and I am only a part. Jesus didn’t say discipleship would be easy, but he also didn’t say to do it alone. We need to meet, first in brokenness, me, you, our brothers, our neighbors, our enemies, and Jesus, and let’s do it around the Lord’s Table.

Redeemed!

Posted: February 7, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Katherine Blaisdell, YAC Member

Jesus Cleanses the Temple   John 2:13-22

 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

The story of Easter is one of redemption. God comes to earth, walks among creation, and when earthly life is over, the body is redeemed, risen anew. In that act, we too are redeemed.

How does that work, exactly? Think of the time you most often hear the word “redeem.” Right now you think of the churchy bit of theological jargon, but you hear the word all the time. From recycled bottles to arcade tokens, bits of stuff are redeemed all the time. They are turned over, and in return, something is received.

The story of Jesus and the money changers is about redemption in a certain way. The merchants of the temple traded currency, so that travelers could make their monetary offerings, and sold sacrificial animals and other offerings, sort of like the gift shops selling incense in cathedrals. They redeemed secular goods for sacred. The problem, though, was that it was not a one-to-one trade. They capitalized on their market monopoly to bilk worshipers of their money as they performed spiritual rites. The redemption they offered was partial at best, and Jesus was affronted, enraged, by their commerce. He demanded of them full redemption.

Jesus’ message, though, was not just for the money changers. To be redeemed, we too must turn ourselves over. It is awfully easy to put our spiritual lives at the bottom of our priority lists when things get busy, set aside like so many bags of crushed soda cans and empty beer bottles till we have a chance to deal with it. We are saved by grace; there is no question. But our day to day lives, our minutes and decisions, must be given to God if we expect anything to be done with them. Just like those bottles sitting on your porch, you cannot, as a co-creator with God, be made into something new without surrendering the old. You must do the work to be reconciled to your enemy, to yourself, to your world. You must turn yourself over to be redeemed. In the words of one of my favorite theologians, God loves you exactly as you are and too much to let you stay that way.

God of Creation, be the still small voice of encouragement, reminding me to turn over what I would have you redeem. When I forget, startle me into action with the insistence of one who would cleanse the temple and raise it again. Teach me your ways O God, and walk with me on that path as I stumble. In your name, holy in heaven and earth, Amen.

Reconcile Yourself

Posted: February 6, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Andrea Brownlee, YAC Member

James 1: 25

But the person who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what they heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do.

 Jeremiah 17: 7-8

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. 

 Have you ever heard a story and wanted to share it but then forget how it even starts? It seems we sometimes do that with scriptures, sermons, or devotions we hear. In the moment we think, “I want to remember that”, “share that”, “live like that”. But then it happens. We get to a place where we can share what we have heard and we freeze up.

When we strengthen our roots, through spiritual exercises, and continue to share what we have heard in our time with God that is when we will notice that our lives are bearing fruit!

Reconcile yourself today to share the Gospel with everyone you meet!

 Strengthening God, Show me how to share what I hear in our time together, that I might bear fruit in your name. Amen.

A Prayer to Begin the Week

Posted: February 5, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Justin Floyd, YAC Member

God of understanding and Grace,
We gather to explore, discover and grow into who you call us to be. As your children we will always look to you for guidance and understanding even as we enter into the adults you have created us to be. We pause today to give thanks for the lesson we learned as children, the experiences that led us to where we are today, and the eager anticipation for our individual and collective futures.

God, you guide us and you walk with us, we ask that you help us remember to humble ourselves and let you continue to be part of our lives. As you use us to lead others, we confess that we get in our own way, and ignore your presence, help us be the people and the church that you want us to be.

We thank you for the church, we thank you for your continued presence, and we thank you for the constant Grace you send our way.

It is in the name of the living Christ we pray, Amen.

Young Adult Week Devotions!

Posted: February 3, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Announcements, Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Young Adult Week is coming!

February 5-11 there will be devotions available for you to read and enjoy! The members of Young Adult Commission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) hope you grow in your faith in the coming year!

Blessings to you!

Changing of the Seasons

Posted: September 16, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Church, Devotionals, Prayer, Uncategorized, Worship, Young Adult Stories

“I don’t like this cold…” SERIOUSLY not even two weeks ago some of the same people who are saying this were more recently saying “I can’t stand this heat, I wish it was cooler.” You got your wish, quit complaining! 

 Why is it we are never happy in the moment? It is too hot, too cold, too boring, too silly, too dry, too wet, too overwhelming, not overwhelming enough…the list continues. As I sit in my office this afternoon, reflecting on the past few week’s events (funerals, Sunday school starting, children and youth activities starting, countless meetings, and moments(very few moments) of silence) I hear in the back of my mind a voice not my own reciting the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3 

  1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (NRSV)

 When I get to the end of verse 8 I think to myself I can reword this so that people will hear it in a way that causes them to stop and think and maybe STOP complaining…Here is my attempt at re-sounding the gospel for a new ear to hear.

 “For every part of life that spans the universe there is a purpose. A time to come to life in the Spirit of God and a time to retreat from being alive to recuperate; a time for it to be warm enough and wet enough that creation can bloom and a time for it to be cool enough and dry enough to harvest the creation God has granted us. A time to be bored and a time to have fun; a time to seek out friends and a time for friends to seek us out; a time be overwhelmed and a time to find solace in our Maker. The possibilities are endless because of God every part of life that spans the universe there is a purpose.”

 When we read the scriptures we have to keep in mind the context of the text we are reading; texts that were written in a particular time, for a particular group of people, for a particular reason…which we are not connected. This means in order for us to live into scripture today we must be aware of our own context and who we are a children of God. The scriptures are still speaking if we are willing to open our ears in a new way to hear them.

 Now is the time to re-tune our hearing. In the changing of the seasons God is very present and WE (you and I- NOT God) just need to be aware of it! Instead of complaining that it is too hot or too cold or too whatever it is today…Thank God for the changing of creation, for the opportunity to experience the power and grace of God in the world around you.

For every season- FIND YOUR PURPOSE!

I hope this post offers you a moment of reflection and prayer as the seasons change!

(posted by Andrea Brownlee YAC Member)

Join the Young Adult Commission! Apply today!

Posted: August 10, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Announcements

Sponsored by Disciples Home Missions and Supported by Higher Education and Leadership Ministries
The Young Adult Commission’s purpose is to connect and empower young adults to engage in the ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Young Adult Commission Mission Statement, adopted February 22nd, 2009

The commission is charged with:
o Connecting young adults across our denomination;
o Planning young adult events before and during general assemblies;
o Planning young adult events on local, regional and general levels;
o Working with all manifestations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to strengthen young adult leadership;
o Providing resources to start and strengthen local and regional young adult groups; and
o Responding to the requests of our denomination, specifically its young adults, to improve young adult ministries.

Members of the commission are expected to:
o Show a passion for young adult ministries and the greater ministries of the Christian Church(Disciples of Christ) on a local and/or regional/general level;
o Serve a three year term;
o Offer your resources, passions, viewpoints, time and ideas in helping to strengthen and carry out the goals of the Young Adult Commission;
o Participate regularly in online conversations with the rest of the commission, using e-mail and other online resources;
o Participate in regularly schedule conference calls approximately once a month;
o Attend one planning meeting per year at DHM’s expense; and
o Attend General Assembly and other young adult events at your own expense, if possible.

Application requirements:
o Active member of a congregation affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ);
o Between the ages of 18 and 33 at the time of application;
o Provide at least two references from non-family members whom you have known for at least one year; and
o Applications must be postmarked by September 3rd, 2011.

Download the application here: Young Adult Comission Application. Please submit to docyounadults@gmail.com

GA2011 Devotional – Wednesday

Posted: July 13, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Isaiah 43:1-7, 10

“1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth – 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 

 “10 You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am God. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.”

If someone would ask you, “What is your testimony to God-what is your witness?” How would you answer?

Do you know the exact moment when you knew you were a loved and beloved child of God? Can you share your witness of the power of God through Jesus Christ because you have experienced God’s miraculous hand in your life?  Did you grow up in the church and always know of the love of God and experienced the presence and power of Jesus Christ in a completely different way than others you know? Are you still struggling to find the answers? It is amazing how God works through so many different kinds of people. Not one person’s story is more important than another; we are all called-witnesses, servants whom God has chosen.

Regardless of how you came to your faith, you have a story to tell about the things God has done or is doing in your life! The prophet Isaiah reminds us, as he reminded the people of Israel; we have been called witnesses for God. God has chosen us! What a responsibility! How do you share your witness? How do you live the testimony of your faith? Whatever your story, wherever you are on your journey of faith remember you have been chosen- a witness on God’s behalf! Go tell God’s story!

God you have called us out of our comfort zone to be witnesses for you. Guide us as we share your story and our faith with others. Amen.

Submitted by: Andrea Brownlee

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.

GA2011 Devotional – Tuesday

Posted: July 12, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, General Assembly

Romans 10:11-15

11 The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15 And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

Nothing finishes off an outfit like a great pair of shoes! “How beautiful are the feet . . .” OK, so shoes are not what either Isaiah or Paul had in mind when they talked about beautiful feet. They were making a more metaphorical statement, I suppose.

The feet of a messenger, in fact, are not likely to be beautiful. A runner’s feet will be tired and sweaty and swollen – not really things of beauty. And yet when the message is one of good news, that messenger will seem gorgeous from head to toe!

The good news in this passage – making beautiful the messengers who bring that good news – is the news of God’s love for all God’s children. In a time of a growing division between “Jews” and “Greeks”, between synagogue and church, Paul was at pains to point out that “the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call upon him.” People need to know this. And to know there needs to be a messenger – one who is sent to proclaim the good news so the people can hear and believe.

At the end of this General Assembly many of us have tired, tired feet – from walking the assembly hall to the exhibit hall to our hotel rooms to the many places we have met with friends, old and new. We have changed from our pretty shoes to our most comfortable, and we are ready to go home.

But this scripture calls us to go as messengers. To be the ones of beautiful feet (no matter what shoes we wear) who let the world know that “the same Lord is Lord of all.” This passage invites us to care, as God does, for all God’s children who do not yet know that they can call on a God of love.

Paul’s words here send us forth, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, to proclaim God’s love, so those around us who are lost in a world of division and hate, can hear the good news of love and wholeness and be saved!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Submitted by: Sharon Watkins

Click Here to download the entire GA2011 Devotionals Booklet in PDF form.