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Today marks the beginning of one of the most Holy weeks on our calendar.  Today, we celebrate the presence, the arrival, of the Kin-dom of God! This is the day when Jesus rides into Jerusalem, and receives a royal welcome – even while riding in on a humble donkey.

And yet, so often this message gets blended this Sunday with the message of Good Friday, as churches, who know many won’t show up for a church service on Friday, want to make sure they get in the suffering that Jesus goes onto endure. And I always struggle with this reality – and believe that we really miss something if we don’t properly recognize the coming, the arrival, and the recognition of God’s kin-dom on this earth.  It is not something we are still waiting for, it has come! That can be such a vital message for the work we do.

I also understand, however, the importance of the message of Good Friday. Of naming and understanding the suffering Jesus endured because we didn’t, and don’t, recognize the message of Palm Sunday. So, my question for this morning is (especially for all my pastor friends out there) – how do we strike this balance? Has anyone found an effective way to live out this week in the life of the church – from Palm Sunday, to Maudy Thursday, to Good Friday, to Easter Sunday – while allowing each of these incredible holy days to stand on their own?

How do we as young adults and church leaders engage with social media sites? While this might seem like an innocent enough question at first, with seemingly easy answers (I use site x not site y, etc.) in actuality it’s much more complex.

I was recently at a local blogging workshop where they were discussing institutional involvement in social media (aka social networking). The presenter was speaking out of his experience working with colleges and universities that are trying to be more active in connecting with prospectives, students, and alumni using current and emerging social media sites. One example that he gave was how the chancellor of our regional campus of Indiana University (IU East) is using Twitter to make a personal connection with people, in addition to several other IU East-related Twitter feeds.

While I was impressed by how well IU East has integrated social media into their public relations, I immediately I started thinking of how different this is from how I use social media on a regular basis.
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I don’t think anyone will argue we live in a diverse world. Today’s technology and culture have made amazing advances in connecting us to others who are very different than we are. However, the church (worldwide, denominational, and local) has been reluctant, hesitant, and at times flat out refused to embrace this diversity.

Thankfully, some of these trends seem to be shifting. I read with great interest about the “emerging” church that is growing in recognition and numbers. Part of my affinity comes from strong similarities I sense between their commitments to living out the life and teachings of Jesus in the midst of community. Yet one of the distinctive elements of many (most?) of these groups is their tolerance, acceptance, and comfort with diversity. Read the rest of this entry »