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Thursday, June 19, 2008 

“Youth Ministry” E-Bulletin

From the inbox courtesy of Rev. Terry Dittmer, Director-Youth Ministry, LCMS:

YOUTH MINISTRY 2009, a Symposium is now scheduled for January 9-11, 2009. This is the first announcement for what promises to be an exciting and challenging conference. Search Institute is releasing a major new study on adolescent spirituality in fall 2008. In an age of "spiritual diversity" where everyone's "religion" is accepted and tolerated, how do Lutherans respond and provide appropriate "catechesis" to our youth and young adults. Make plans to attend. The conference will again take place in Houston at the J.W. Marriott (Galleria). Details will be coming.

It’s a common tactic in mass media that anytime a reporter wishes to discredit an individual or group of participants in the story he or she will attach a label in quotation marks. For example; the statement “the Mormon candidate was shouted down by a group of “Christian” demonstrators” reveals an obvious bias against people that say they are Christians. Now, if the reporter wanted to explain the theological differences of one group or another that would be just fine and dandy and probably be considered fair by all. But seriously, how often does that happen? Not too terribly often I assure you. FYI, I’ll award a No-Prize to the first person that can site quotation marks around an adjective that is used in a positive manner.

For a good look at how the media looks at matters of faith take a gander at Get Religion, a website run by a great group of real live professional type reporters that includes the awesomeness that is Mollie Ziegler Hemingway.

The media’s little bias tactic was front and center as I read the latest Youth Ministry E-Bulletin. Spiritual diversity is put in quotation marks to highlight the fact that diversity is rather frowned upon as syncretism. One can only assume that religion is put in quotation marks as a swipe against denominationalism, something I think is necessary as folks confessions of faith differ.

But what really has got me all verklempt is the fact that catechesis is put in quotation marks! Since when did teaching anybody, youth or adults, become something that required quotation marks? Why is catechesis treated in the same way as diversity? The very definition of Christian catechesis is the teaching that there are absolutes and there are right and there are wrongs. I know that seems narrow minded in today’s postmodern culture but that is simply the way it is. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably would feel more at home at the local Unitarian congregation than a Christian one if there was in fact a decent catechesis of members.

I know I’m gonna sound like a broken record here but it seems these days that we are going out of our way to not catechize our youth (or adults for that matter). And when I see synodical leaders treating catechesis as they do syncretism, is it any wonder why I get verlempt?

Too often we throw out Matthew 28:19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and forget what follows in 28:20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” We need to teach all things that Christ has given us in Scripture, in other words we need to catechize youth and adults alike and not be afraid to do so.

Maybe “Rev.” Dittmer should consider that catechesis shouldn’t be looked at in such a negative light. If proper catechesis was done more often, our beloved synod would not be in the shape it is today. Ditto for the rest of Americanized Christianity.

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Did you notice that "Jesus" is also in quotation marks in the photo. What do you make of that?

Anon,

Yeah, that's the reason I used that photo. If i use a photo in a post there is a tie in even if not always apparent.

What do I make of it? The sign was probably posted by somebody who didnt want to offend anyone by saying Jesus was the only means of salvation.

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