I leave the blogosphere for two months, and turn on the news to see the world is spinning out of control. What on God’s Green Earth happened?
Hamas is bombing Israel
Israel is destroying Gaza
Putin is shooting down planes
ISIS is on a full on assault through IRAQ and SYRIA
EBOLA is on the move through West Africa
Kids from Central America are on the border
WHEW!!! That’s a ton of stuff.
When we engage with our students at KIVU in the summer, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for the “news cruise.” And after turning on the T.V. this morning, I’m almost compelled to turn it off again. Nothing but bad news seems to be plaguing the 24 hour news cycle.
Oh to be an isolationist!
I suppose, in an strange way, I can help the readers here at “The Journey” with some new perspectives, so I choose to keep my head out of the sand and begin commenting on a few of these issues…one by one.
For those of you who have stood by me through this sabbatical of sorts, I’m super thankful for your readership, and look forward to a year full of engaging online discussion. Thanks so much for giving me an outlet to add to the frey of the world.
I believe we can make a difference in our communities, if we only work through some of the “bad” news, and start looking for the silver linings, which may be tough, considering all the suffering I’m seeing through the eyes of the reporters I’m watching and reading.
First, a Summer Report
This summer was probably the most fun I’ve had at KIVU in the last five years. For those who don’t know, I have engaged in a project out here in Durango Colorado for Teenagers and College Students to explore the meaning of relationships through the vehicle of Outdoor Colorado Adventures.
We White Water Raft, Mountain Bike, Hike, Camp, Rock Climb, Road Bike, Fly Fish, and intentionally build relationships with students to help mentor a generation of students. (if you’d like to see some images of the summer, check out http://www.facebook.com/campkivu.)
I spend the majority of my time in the KIVU Institute, which is a 30 hour curriculum for students who want to engage in discussions of faith, and how they can be a part of a larger world around them.
This summer, we welcomed Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Jews, and even some who are wandering through life trying to figure out what they believe and why they believe it.
Over 900 students came through the gates at KIVU, and many of them caught the vision that faith can be an important component to practically living in High School, College, and on into their chosen Vocation.
Even one of the Atheists students texted me when KIVU was over and said, “If KIVU is what Christians are supposed to act like, then I might be able to concede that a heaven MAY exist.” HA! I chuckled a bit under my breath after reading. He became one of my dearest friends, and I’m thankful for people like him who are willing to explore what they think they know and what others are living to know in the real world.
We invited many of our Christian friends to come and ask, “Why do I do what I do in the Christian tradition?” Some of them were just doing Christian things because that’s all they knew to do. Going to Church, Being part of a Bible Study, or even attending Youth Programs back home were just what they were expected to do. So when I posed the question, “Is there a God in the Unverse? And What does it matter?” I saw some inquisitive minds begin to spin.
Christian Teenagers who are stuck in the rote way we live out our Christian faith want more! They want to know why it matters to them, their families, and the communities around them. They’re asking deep questions of faith, and many of them are coming up short on answers.
At KIVU, we’re not some theological institution trying to imbed our ideas in the hearts and minds of students; but rather, we’re interested in allowing students the freedom to explore.
They explore their faith while they live in the context of a small community of people, all of whom are trying to figure out the most important questions to life. Centered on the life and teachings of Jesus, we invite everyone to the table of conversation no matter what they believe, what life they’ve encountered, or where they see themselves in the next year. We want to hold our faith with open hands to help guide and direct students to find the truth that will become the center piece of their lives going forward.
Our Muslim friends were incredible.
Many of the Christians were fearful of Middle East Muslims before they had a chance to ask questions about Islam, Violence, and their particular outlook on life. We had some exciting discussions about how Jesus is viewed in the Muslim faith, their way of praying, and how they want to go back home and make a difference in their world.
After the term was finished, one of the Muslim leaders said, “I have 6 members of my family back in Jordan, but now I have 200 members of my family here in America at KIVU.”
What a testimony to what God can do through the hearts of people willing to share life together!!
And I suppose, as I watch the world spin out of control, I can take heart that good work is being done. Organizations all over the world have adopted a heart much like KIVU to bring people together instead of always looking at where there are divisions.
I may not be able to “Change the World,” but to be a part of a place where the highest form of honor is to Love God and Love Others is enormously satisfying.
Maybe the news is reporting on the world spinning out of control, but you can rest assured, there is GOOD WORK being done out in this little corner of Colorado.
Thanks again for reading. I can’t express how deeply grateful I am that you’re on this Journey with me.
Next time…We’ll start down the list and begin discussing the hard issues. Up First, Israel/Palestine. As we’ve had students attend KIVU from the region, I have a unique opportunity to share What’s going on from our vantage point!!