First Day of School Prayer

Father God,
a new year of school is here and students are returning to the classroom.
So much excitement.
So much apprehension.
Please hear my prayer as our kids resume.
There will be reading and writing and arithmetic too.
Spelling, science and all things new.
There will be friends and lunch and games galore.
There will be all of that and so much more.
Routines will be changing.
Schedules will get busy.
Sometimes all of this can make one feel dizzy.
So, Father God, hear my prayer,
and bless our children here and there.
Bless their teachers.
Bless their year.
Guide them so they will not fear.
Keep them safe, Lord, every busload.
Bless all drivers who share the road.
Bless our children here and now.
May this year cause them to say “Wow!”
Amen ūüôā

A concern…please advise

Last Wednesday a parent approached me and asked me if I had heard of Wicca.  I said that I know of it but am not too familiar with it.  I then asked her why she asks and she said that there are students at the high school that are practicing this.

This concerns me.

Since that conversation I have learned that there are middle school students tinkering with this as well.¬† I am worried that there are students here in Jackson heading down a dark road and I am not sure what to do (other than pray).¬† I am not all that educated on Wicca.¬† I did an Internet search and there seems to be a lot of information out there but I don’t know what to trust.¬† Can anyone help me with a reliable source of information to learn more about Wicca so I can help answer questions and talk with my students? I am also in the process of compiling some scripture to use.¬† What would you recommend I have on my list?

Please advise.

Thank you.


The downward spiral of communication

I am becoming more and more convinced that, as a society, we are in a downward spiral when it comes to communication.¬† Don’t get me wrong…we have more ways to communicate with one another than we did 5, 10, 15 years ago.¬† Communication has sped up and has allowed us to get more immediate feedback.¬† And communication has become more efficient.¬† But I believe one-on-one; interpersonal communication is changing rapidly…and in a lot of cases for the worse.¬† Allow me to give you a couple examples from my own life:
(1) I was checking my Facebook¬†account one day when I received a message from a parishioner here in town.¬† She had a question for me.¬† So naturally I wrote back, answering her question.¬† A minute or so later she responded to my response and then I did so likewise.¬† This went on for a couple messages before I realized something.¬† This person was just across town…either go over there or call her, I thought…so I called her.¬† And you know something, we were able to take care of what we needed much faster and more efficiently than writing impersonal messages back and forth.

(2) Two weeks ago I was getting ready to head back to Sioux Falls to attend the LifeLight Music Festival.¬† Connie was already over there.¬† As I pulled out of my driveway, Connie sent me a text message asking me a question.¬† I stopped the car and replied to her.¬† She sent me another one and I replied again.¬† After my second message I realized (once again) “why don’t I just call her?”…so I did.¬† We were able to take care of what we needed much faster and more efficiently than writing impersonal text messages back and forth.

(3) I recently heard a news report on TV that said that more and more teachers are discovering the negative impact that text messaging is having on written communication in class.¬† They are seeing papers using text message shorthand…because that’s how more and more teenagers are communicating…and it’s carrying over into the real world.¬† Are we in a catch-22 situation?¬† Do we need teach young people text message shorthand (like we actually need to teach this)¬†so they can get by in the world?¬† Do we allow them to use this shorthand in class?¬† Does stopping this put teens at a disadvantage out in the world?¬†¬†These seem like strange questions to ask, but I can’t help but to wonder.¬† What does this say about our future?

Now…I do believe that Facebook and text messaging and email and the like do serve a good purpose.¬† If I am in a class or a meeting, sending a quick text message to my wife is an easier way to communicate without disrupting anything.¬† But if all possible…I want to make the phone call.

What would Jesus do today?  Would he have a Blackberry or some kind of smartphone so he could communicate with teens today?  Would Jesus have an email account?  It seems to me that Jesus would value face-to-face; voice-to-voice communication.  There is just something more personal about it.

With all the advances in technology, relationship building through communication is taking a huge hit and spiraling downward.¬† But who am I to talk…I am sitting behind a computer writing this.¬† I just returned a Facebook message from a friend 4 blocks away and my smartphone is lying 6 inches from me just waiting to be used.¬† I guess I, too, have a long ways to go.


Question: School referendum

I am seeking your help and advise on something.  I have always struggled with a pastor’s place when it comes to supporting referendums.  Living in a parsonage, I am not directly effected by tax increases since pastor’s do not pay property taxes if they live in a parsonage.  So here’s my question (with an explanation first):

Coming up in November the school district I live in (Jackson County Central — JCC) will be asking the community for an increase in school funding.  The referendum would increase the current per pupil funding from $50 to $1000.  Jackson County Central school district is currently the lowest funded school district around (if not in the state).  Last year the referendum failed.  A number of teachers were cut along with a couple programs (of course sports were barely touched at all, but don’t get me going on that).  Classes sizes are increasing and if this referendum fails again, JCC is in a lot of trouble.  I fear for the future.

Schools are extremely important for any community and I definitely support our schools, but (and here’s my question) how do pastor’s speak about something like this when we don’t have to pay for it.  On Sunday I was given a button that says, "Vote Yes for Education" and asked if they could count on my vote.  I said "Yes" because schools are important but part of me feels…<and I am not sure how to word this…maybe you know>.  Should I wear a button like that and visually support this?  It sounds like a strange question but it is something I struggle internally with.

Then again, maybe this does effect me.  If our school receives less funding then that will mean more teachers will be cut.  Classes sizes will then increase.  Maybe with all of that that will cause people to leave the community for a better school district and that right there would effect the church.  Does that make sense?

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?  I am curious what your experiences have been with things like this.  This is definitely a fine line that needs to be walked.  Thanks for "listening".