a few important links

most of my emergent blog-world friends will have already seen this, but for those youth ministry readers and others, i think these posts by brian mcclaren are just wonderful, essential reading (especially for anyone interested in the growing debate around the emerging church). tony jones gives some context in the first segment, then brian launches into a bit of a “how i spent my summer” — and it narratively gives backst0ry to much of the passion and mission of the emerging church (stuff that is exactly the opposite of what many uninformed critics might say). it’s a three-parter (though a PDF of the whole thing is supposed to go up on the emergent-us website today or tomorrow):
part one
part two
part three

totally unconnected with that, but equally essential reading: many of you know about YS’ One Life Revolution, a partnership between world vision and youth specialties to mobilize north american teenagers to make a difference in the lives of AIDS orphans and widows in zambia. i’ve blogged stories about it here (my church middle school group’s experience this year), and then here, here, and here (from my recent OLR trip to zambia).

anyhow, one of our early cool stories coming out of OLR has been a christian high school in wheaton, illinois, called wheaton academy. the chaplain of this school is a friend of mine (we grew up in the same youth group in michigan), and i spoke at their special services week a few years back. their story, of how their students have grabbed onto a vision for zambia, and how zambia has grabbed their students, is amazing and beautiful. i remember, on my first trip to zambia three years ago, when wheaton academy was first raising money for a school, i visited kakolo village, where their school was going to be built, and i saw how much of a different it would make. i stood in the cleared field where the school would stand, and prayed for the people of kakolo and the students of wheaton academy. especially, i prayed that the funds would come in to make this school a reality.

anyhow, christianity today decided it was a killer story (hometown kids for those CT peeps), and published an excellent story (made me tear up all three times i read it!) on it. please read it: here.

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