Monthly Archives: September 2007


Go read this article about tattoos and youth culture.

Overall, author Paul Robertson ends on a positive note:

Next time you see a young person with a tattoo, why not ask them to share the story behind it? You might be amazed at what you hear… and be better off for it.

Now back to the beginning. There were a couple fundamentalist red flags that went up as I was reading it the first time.

Every generation has had a mark that distinguished it from previous cohorts. […] So what is left to make this generation unique when they are looked back on by history? They will be the generation remembered for creating the most personal form of media there is-a permanent story painted on young bodies.

What? Creating? I can’t believe he just said that. Popularizing? Maybe. Creating? C’mon…

And the abundance of tattooing will be this generation’s primary distinguishing characteristic? No doubt it’s on the rise, but is it the defining trend among today’s youth? I sense that what’s going on is that Robertson knows that it’s vital for the older generation to meet the youth where they’re at, and that’s why he recommends trying to engage the stories behind the tattoos. But he has a little bit of reactionary thought that creeps through. The author writes the article with the tone of one who has come (is coming) around, as one who maybe wasn’t quite so tattoo-tolerant in the past. So it would make sense, and it’s forgivable, that a little bit of that reactionist past pokes through.

Another quote:

Many of today’s youth will look back on this decade and remember it, not with fondness, but hesitation as they recall their struggles to simply survive. They will remember words such as divorce, separation, fatherlessness, abandonment, abuse and blended families. In many ways they are a generation who lost their most special place in that thing called family.

“Struggles to simply survive” … makes high school sound almost post-apocalyptic. It’s true that the family unit has diminished in value, and that such a change no doubt affects the quality of life for today’s youth. But is it a survival situation? I don’t know. Again, did maybe a little overstatement sneak in? Continue reading

Tags vs. Categories

Recently WordPress has added tags as an option for classifying posts. If you check my “Post Categories” dropdown menu over there on the right-hand sidebar, you’ll see a pretty long list. Basically I’ve been using categories as tags. Click here for a pretty good introductory FAQ on the supposed differences between tags and categories.

I’d like to take advantage of the WP folks’ efforts (i.e. have accurate tags and categories). But it seems like it will be quite a long process to go back and remove unnecessary categories from posts and then re-apply those words as tags. Maybe I’ll just delete categories that really shouldn’t be categories, and then try to tag appropriately from here on out… who knows…

I can see most of my categories being appropriate as tags, but surely some of them would be more appropriate if kept as categories. That’s what I’m having trouble seeing… Anyone else spent much time thinking about this issue?

And if you’ve got a ton of spare time:

  • Which categories from my current list would you suggest I retain as categories?
  • Which ones would have a better fit as tags?
  • How would you categorize this post, for example? And how would you tag it?

William Blake quote

Both read the Bible by day and night; but you read black where I read white.

-William Blake


Hell Houses

Recently I got a letter from a neighboring church, inviting me to send people their way for a special “Outreach” they’re doing. When things get sent to only me, I can ignore them pretty easily. However, this invitation letter was also forwarded to our Children’s Director and our church’s Outreach & Fellowship Committee. Since I have some objections to the program the letter describes, I decided it would be wise to go on record with the committee about my thoughts.

The committee moderators replied promptly after, echoing agreement with my basic reasons. Well, that was fun, but it was also too easy. So I’m offering my thoughts here at the blog to generate more discussion. Without further ado, the letter: Continue reading

Student Ministry Blog

After too much red tape (and too many HTML headaches) to get a youth ministry page posted within my church’s website, I decided to just let WordPress help out. Got the “Why didn’t I think of that before?!?” idea from a colleague of mine who also uses a blog format for his youth ministry page.

It’s here:

Head over. Check it out.

  • What could be done to make it more functional, specifically for use as a youth ministry communication tool?
  • If you’re in youth ministry and use a blog for getting info out to your students, what lessons have you learned?
  • Thinking about adding a Flickr widget for ministry photos… potential privacy issues? How did you address them?
  • Have you been able to make it foster anything near the community that the social networking sites promote?
  • What cues can a blog take from the standard youth ministry webpage?

William Blake’s popularity

Ok, seriously… half of today’s visits to this blog have come from “William Blake” searches.

Why is he so popular?

If you stopped by due to a search for the fine author, please enlighten me: “Why are you and everyone else’s mother is so interested in him today?”

Just Show Up

In his charge to the Class of 2007, Theodore J. Wardlaw, president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, recounts an unpleasant ordination examination conducted by his Committee on Preparation for Ministry.

The meeting ended with them saying, “Mr. Wardlaw, we’re not persuaded that you can answer two of these ordination questions in the affirmative. In face, we think you may be a Neo-Kantian Whiteheadian.” (apparently an unpopular theological stance in South Carolina during Rev. Wardlaw’s seminary days…)

Wardlaw continues, Continue reading