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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Sugarcoated, MTV-style youth ministry is so over"

... according to TIME magazine. This goes with my earlier post about parents' desinterest in their childrens' faith. Could it be that they were the ones attending this type of youth ministry a while ago? Ok, so we need a different style of youth group? How about catechism instruction around the dinner table in a family "small group" setting? What a novel idea ;)

"Youth ministers have been on a long and frustrating quest of their own over the past two decades or so. Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment. But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination. Their conversion has been sparked by the recognition that sugarcoated Christianity, popular in the 1980s and early '90s, has caused growing numbers of kids to turn away not just from attending youth-fellowship activities but also from practicing their faith at all. ... Scholars who have looked at young Christians say their spiritual drift is in part the result of a lack of knowledge about their faith. "The vast majority of teens who call themselves Christians haven't been well educated in religious doctrine and therefore don't really know what they believe," says Christian Smith, a University of Notre Dame sociologist and the author of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. "With all the competing demands on their time, religion becomes a low priority, and so they practice their faith in shallow ways."
TIME Magazine -- In Touch With Jesus

Monday, October 30, 2006

What's Happening on Home Base?

I recently read an LCMS family ministry newsletter where they associated some good adjectives with it: "Family Ministry: Home-based, Church Supported".

In our field work church Chris is currently teaching confirmation class for students attending public school. And Carlotta is happy to be part of this class. Even though she is a bit younger than the other students, she can more than keep up.
It's sad to see, though, that most parents don't see class attendance as a necessity and only send the kids when it's convenient. What does this tell the young people about the importance of knowing about the faith that they want to confirm? Where is the multi-generational vision of passing on the Good News?
Professor Kloha from the seminary said something really sad in Sunday school the other day: "This culture doesn't have a story anymore. There is no beginning (we are just accidents), there is no purpose, no hope. Life becomes so cheap."
But there is glorious hope in Christ - what is more important to know? Do we want our children do be successful in this world by this world's standards? Then let them play baseball on Sunday mornings, so they may develop some more self-esteem, as if they need it. But can this ultimately give them a hope and a future? They need to know that they are a child of God and loved so much that Jesus died for them.

Oh, Du Schoene Schnitzelbank

"Ist das nicht eine fette Sau,
Ja, das ist eine fette Sau"...

The Tiews practiced their German and the famous Schnitzelbank song, when visiting the annual Fall Festival at Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Perry County. It was wonderful to see the place full of many faithful Lutheran that are still keeping the traditions alive.

The children enjoyed the Schnitzelbank song so much that they prepared all the props and presented it during the seminary Octoberfest on the 20ths. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Tabernacle According to J.J.

J. J. constructed a model of the tabernacle in the wilderness using some unusual material.
See for yourself:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dead as a mummy...

...that's what we are until the Holy Spirit lifts us up and raises us in Christ.

We are currently studying Ancient Bible times and specifically the Exodus. So does Chris, who's taking an exegetical on Exodus this quarter. Well, J.J. wanted to experience the steps that are involved in making a mummy.
We tried to do it as authentic as possible ;0 - we left his brain and his intestines inside though... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Is this a free country?

When asked, many people wouldn't consider Germany a totalitarian country at all. But some laws - and some methods - have survived from Nazi times: Homeschooling is illegal there. Social engineers have always known that education (or may I dare to say brain washing) is essential to form a people that goes along with what the government has planned for them.

Sometimes it takes living somewhere else to really appreciate the liberty and freedom we enjoy in the United States of America. It's easy to take it for granted.We are so thankful and praise God that we are (still) enjoying the privilege of rearing our children in the admonition of the LORD. Please consider contacting the German embassy!

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
Calls Needed to the German Embassy Next Week
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
The German government is persecuting homeschoolers like never before. Armin Eckermann, president of Schulunterricht zu Hause (School Instruction at Home--SIH), the homeschool legal defense association of Germany, states that there are over 40 homeschool families in court in Germany!The families are being heavily fined; the parents are being jailed; the children are being threatened with being seized and placed in the custody of the state; and families are being forced to flee to Austria and other surrounding countries.Here are a few current and frightening situations:
1) The Rudolph family: They are diligently homeschooling their six children in Hamburg. The father, Andre, was jailed for a week for refusing to send his children to public school. Like many of the homeschool families in Germany, they are evangelicals. What is even more surprising about Andre Rudolph being put in jail for homeschooling is that he has a degree in teaching! He and his wife have been fined 840 euros ($1,090) for homeschooling. After Andre's jail time the authorities tried a new weapon and began to forcibly take the children to public school each day. Their plan was take custody of these six children and make them wards of the state. One day, however, the authorities came to take the children to school, but no one answered the door. The Rudolphs fled to another country in order to homeschool their children according to God's ways.
2) The Plett family: If you recall, last year we asked you to pray and contact the embassy about the seven Baptist homeschool families of Paderborn. One of the families, the Pletts, have continued to homeschool their 12 children. Last week, a female plainclothes police officer rang at the Platt's house. When the mother opened the door, other police officers who were hiding in the bushes forced their way in. The mother was able to inform her husband by cell phone before the police took her to jail. The husband then fled to Austria with the children. She was given a 10-day prison sentence and is facing heavy fines and more jail time.Of the seven Paderborn homeschool families from last year, two have fled to Austria and five have enrolled in a Christian school in Heidelburg. They all still have pending cases against them.
3) Three homeschool families from Saxony have been taken to court and convicted. One was fined 3,000 euros, one 6,000 euros, and another 10,000 euros.4) The Bauer family: This family in Hesse are American missionaries for the last 15 years. They were prosecuted about five years ago and have exhausted their appeals and have sought review by the Human Rights European Court that covers all of Europe.There are now eight cases pending before the European Court, most of which the SIH organization has brought, along with Ronald Richert, a renown Constitutional law attorney who has handled some of the SIH members' cases. The problem with the European Court, is that it all cases are discretionary: there is no right of appeal. If the Court decides not to rule on them, the case will not be heard. Another problem is the Court has no particular deadline of when they have to decide to take the case or not, so some of these cases have been sitting for three to four years, with no resolution in sight.
5) The Herrmann family: This family from Baden-Wurttemberg was facing prosecution for homeschooling their twins who have many medical problems. They have been forced into hiding and are seeking asylum in the United States and other countries. The Maisch family, also from Baden-Wurtemberg, has been convicted of homeschooling. For the past three weeks they have faced increasing fines.Schulunterricht zu Hause (SIH), the legal association that HSLDA helped establish, is being worn out with defending all these families in court. They have approximately 150 members in their association that are all homeschool families, many of whom are underground, and almost 40 in court.Appeals have been exhausted time and time again, and money is running out. The German homeschool families are pleading for your help.Will you take a moment and contact the German Embassy?
1. Please contact the German Embassy and give them this message:"German governments need to make homeschooling legal. Over 40 families are being prosecuted in Germany merely for teaching their children at home. These families have been given huge fines, some parents have been jailed, some have been forced to flee to other countries, and they are all being threatened to take their children into state custody. This is deplorable and unacceptable for any free nation to persecute Christian families who are providing an excellent education for their children. We ask you to stop prosecuting these families like the Maisches, the Pletts, the Bauers, the Rudolphs, and the many others. Homeschooling needs to be legalized in Germany."This message can be put in your own words, along with a story or information about the success of your own homeschool.
The German Embassy can be contacted at:
Wolfgang Ischinger
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000
The embassy can be e-mailed from its website:
2. If you want to support homeschoolers in other countries--and causes such as Schulunterricht zu Hause in Germany--you can make a donation to the Home School Foundation's international fund. For more information visit .
3. Please pray fervently for these poor families facing incredible pressure and fear.We cannot give up. Our brothers and sisters in Germany need us and have their back against the wall.