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Choosing Christ for Our Children (and Ourselves) by Jason Edwards

Way back in 2002, Tom and Christine Sine noted “The average child is on-line thirty-seven hours a week, including television, MTV, CDs, video games, and the internet. They are exposed to between three and four thousand advertisements a week. That number is increasing as corporations are invading both public and private schools with an inexpensive curriculum that includes their corporate ads.”

I feel sure screen time hasn’t decreased in the last 15 years, so the point holds: Our children are spending more hours in front of advertising than they are listening to their school teachers and far more than they are engaged in any Christ-centered spiritual formation.

To be clear: this is NOT an appeal to put away the tablets, turn off the tv and stop going to the movies. Jesus told us to be salt and light in this world, not to evacuate it. Technology and media have a proper place, as do (and I’d say a greater one) our commitments to family fun, engagement in the community, service, learning and extra-curricular activities like sports, dance, and music. These things season our lives and our participation in these activities seasons our world as well.

But season our world with what? Who are we in those activities and relationships? Who are our children becoming? To be clear: This IS an appeal for all of us to start answering that question not accidentally, but with the greater intention. Specifically, for our lives (and our children’s lives) to be first and foremost formed by Jesus Christ.

As Tom and Christine Sine indicated, this is a matter of how we spend our time. Is weekly worship and community Bible study a priority for your family? With the statistics at the beginning of this blog in mind, “weekly” is important. Do your children see you living out a regular commitment to serving Christ too? Much of who we become is taught by observation. And it’s integrated at an even deeper level through participation and conversation.

I’m never sure when something in worship is going to strike Jackson, but when it does, the questions and insights that emerge (for both of us) are so good. Beyond worship and Bible study, the blessing of serving with your child is one no parent (or child) should miss. Time serving with Jackson in South Dakota, filling meal bags for Haiti at our 2BC serve days, and in other intergenerational service opportunities have been a true blessing for me. I hope and pray the accumulation of these moments are forming him (and every member of our family) into the image of Christ.

“The question is not whether to undertake spiritual formation,” writes Robert Mulholland, “but what kind of spiritual formation are we already engaged in? Are we increasingly being conformed to the brokenness and disintegration of the world, or are we increasingly being conformed to the wholeness and integration of the image of Christ?”

The answers will come in time.

Posted by Jason Edwards at Friday, October 6, 2017 | 0 comments
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Baptism, Effects of the Conversation by Greg Mees

I greatly appreciate Second engaging in a conversation about the necessity of tying church membership to a believer’s baptism.  I appreciate even more the conclusion reached by members that now allows not only me, but also many other participants in the Second faith community, to become members regardless of the method of our baptism. For this I thank you.

One of the interesting outgrowths of this conversation topic at Second is the baptism conversations I had with my parents. I learned I was baptized at two years old by a four-foot-tall, blind priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in Columbia. I have known for as long as I can remember that I was baptized Catholic because that was the faith of my mother, at the time. I just had no idea who the priest had been for the event. I also learned my father traveled for his baptism to a large Presbyterian church in the Chicago area because that is where his mother was baptized. I never would have had these details had it not been for the dialogue at Second. For this I thank you.

The membership policy at Second which covers those who have not experienced a believers’ baptism is twofold. First, one must affirm their commitment to Jesus Christ. Second, one must affirm the present meaningfulness of their baptism. I find the first requirement much easier to acknowledge.  I feel I grow in my faith individually and through others. I feel I try to get others to grow in their faith as well. I feel I try to act in ways which Christ would have if he were presented with the same situations. I feel I use my spiritual gifts for the betterment of society. These things help me acknowledge my commitment to Christ. The second criterion is a little more difficult.  I am thankful that the word “present” is tied to the meaningfulness of my baptism.  I could not at two years old have understood the meaningfulness of my baptism.  However, I reflect on that event now and can say the baptism was an outward symbol by my family that they were going to raise me in the spirit of Christ. Through my spiritual journey from a Catholic baptism to a United Church of Christ confirmation to a United Methodist Church as a young adult and finally to Second, I know the meaningfulness of my baptism was the first outward sign of how Christ would be in my life. Pondering these two details would not have happened had Second not engaged in a baptism conversation. For this I thank you.

It is with a cheerful heart that I am changing my status from associate member to member at Second Baptist Church. For this I thank you.

Submitted by
Greg Mees


at Monday, October 2, 2017 | 0 comments
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World Communion by Connie McNeill

World Communion Sunday is a worldwide tradition begun in this century. The minister at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Hugh Thomson Kerr, had the idea of World Communion Sunday during his year as moderator of the General Assembly in 1930. The tradition began four years later out of the Division of Stewardship at Shadyside. Why that group?

Their vision was to create a sign of Christian unity by bringing churches together through service. In serving together, they hoped for everyone to have reaffirmed how important the Church is and how each congregation is connected with one another. In 1936, the Presbyterian Church adopted the tradition. Four years later in 1940, the National Council of Churches endorsed it, and the tradition spread worldwide.

The primary focus for this first Sunday in October each year is unity or communion. To celebrate, we share in one Christian practice that is found in every church around the world—the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup. Together, on one Sunday, we all celebrate our gratefulness for Christ's sacrifice again. Just think what it might be like to celebrate with the various types of bread found around the world—rice cakes, tortillas, gluten-free, soda bread, sourdough, pita…you get the idea.

In addition to unity, World Communion Sunday is an opportunity for us to partake of our Lord’s Supper as an opening of ourselves to different Christian traditions around the world. All brothers and sisters in Christ. As at Pentecost, praising in different languages. Remembering our Christ and each other as we serve this fractured world in unity.

Posted by Connie McNeill at Friday, September 29, 2017 | 0 comments
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