Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for May, 2010
Yosemite Summit 2010 is now history. I’m sitting in the airport waiting to come home. E-mail and work will still need to wait until Tuesday (sorry), my family is eager to spend some time with me.
It was, as always, an amazing week. I did both my hardest hike ever (Upper Yosemite Falls) and discovered the most amazing, most incredible, most mind-numbingly beautiful hike in Yosemite that we did when when weather caused us to cancel our original plan to head to Hech Hechy due to its higher elevation and possible road closures. I’ll perhaps write more about it later, but online it will only be referred to as “The Trail That Shall Not Be Named” since it is by far both the best trail in Yosemite and the least known. You’ll have to ask me personally for its name and location, and yes, I will tell you, I’m just not posting it online for random web surfers to read! I’d like to help keep the trail traffic low!
But aside from the amazing hikes and scenery, it was a fantastic week of rest and time with the Creator. We enjoyed good fellowship, encouraging conversations, prayer and enriching friendships that were born or deepened. I’m always a bit sad and down when Yosemite Summit is over because I don’t want it to end!
But, at the same time, I’m very eager to get home to my sweet wife and little boy. Soon!
We’re off! The guys have all arrived and we are ON OUR WAY! This is my final post! We will now we OFF LINE until next Friday other than checking in with our families. Pray for us as we head to Yosemite! Pray for safety and for the work God wants to do in our lives.
Proverbs 16:9 comes to mind as we plan to hike – we’ve made our plans, but we want God to direct our steps!
Just letting y’all know, that from this Saturday night through next Thursday I will be COMPLETELY off line. No e-mail, no cell phone, no facebook, no twitter, no nothing electronic, except worship music on my iPod shuffle and my Sony Alpha 350 digital camera enjoying Yosemite Summit with several other guys.
Many people joke that going offline must be ‘torture’ for me, and they forget I created this event. This may come as a shock to some, but while I very much ENJOY ministry and serving others and am comfortable ‘in the spotlight’ I do not crave it, I am, in fact, an introvert and crave being alone and feed off being disconnected and long for times like this.
So, fear not, I’ll be back, for it is my Calling from God – but I’m very much going to enjoy the next few days and will not be bothered a bit that my inbox, voicemail, and snail mail box will be piling up while I am away.
I appreciate your patience while I recharge!
PS: I’m also testing mobile blogging from my iPad here, lets hope this worked!
What happens when 33 children’s ministry thinkers are asked the question, “What Matters NOW in Children’s Ministry and given only 200 words to answers?”
THIS FREE e-Book
(Download 2.5MB PDF)
Thank you to Henry Zonio for including me in this project as well as Matt Guevara, Amy Dolan for their hard work on it and Imago for their incredible design work which was donated.
A print version will be available June 14th to help offset the costs of this beautiful and thought provoking contribution to the world of Children’s Ministry.
If you are a Twitterer, be sure to follow @cmwhatmatters in order to be the first to learn of planned upcoming project related to this release. Use the hashtag #WMNkidmin when you tweet about it!
I enjoyed reading all the contributions and found each thought provoking and challenging. The word I chose was:
Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.
The most incredible aspect of Creation was that God walked in the garden with the crown of His creation. They had a relation-ship with God that sin severed: ending a fellowship we can only imagine. For centuries, that relationship became one of dis-tance and of fearful respect until Jesus came to walk, talk and relate with man. He came to live in relationship with mankind. He didn’t just die on the cross to offer salvation. He invites His beloved creation back into an intimate relationship with Him- self and to genuine fellowship with each other. What matters now in children’s ministry is the same as in any era of history: Relationships. All that has changed is the means in how we relate to each other. At one time, we walked to each others’ homes, rode horses, drove cars, and used rotary phones. Now, many text and use mind-boggling electronic social networks on devices that can span the globe in seconds. Who knows what might be next! What matters, though, will never change! It is Relationships.
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It’s no secret and, of course, no surprise, that I love my son. My love for him is so intense that I sometimes wonder if I could even love another child should God ever give me another. Of course, I know I could – but having only one, it feels as though I have none to share with another. Perhaps other parents can relate to this feeling.
It’s also no secret that my little boy loves cars. Which, even as I say it, is automatically, an understatement. (Automatically is a pun, by the way!)
His is crazy – nuts – about cars! Instead of a train table like many boys, he has a “car table.” His room is decorated with cars. His favorite movie is Disney’s Cars movie, and any time he gets any present, if it isn’t a car – he is almost disappointed. When I return from a trip, he hopes I will come back with a new car for him.
The Man Cave in Estes Park, Colorado!
So here is the point of my post – there are times Luke nearly breaks my heart. When we are at a place that sells the most incredible cars – amazing cars – incredible cars – awesome cars – and as his loving Daddy I want to buy him one! And he isn’t interested.
There have been times when we have been at a place with the most spectacular cars, expensive even, and I’ve been willing to fork out the dough for one of them, and Luke has only wanted one of the cheap little $1 cars, like we have a zillion of at home. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t convince him to let me buy him one of the really nice ones. Of course, I should be happy at the money I’m saving, but as his dad, I want to bless him with one of the really cool ones knowing that in time, it will mean more to him and is more valuable. But he just politely says, “No thank you, Dad.”
This past weekend at the Mile High Flea Market it happened again. There was a booth with some model cars that are $30-$45 anywhere else for only $12. I tried so hard to convince him to pick one. “No thanks, Dad. I have enough cars.” The irony of that statement, was he was only using that line because that is what I say when he is asking for some cheap car I am explaining why I am saying, “No.” So here he is saying “no” to a car that I know he will enjoy and that would enhance his collection and is worth throwing twenty of his cheap cars in the garbage over.
I wrestled with whether to just buy one and give it to him later – but really couldn’t decide which one, as he is very particular in his choices, and if I picked the wrong one, I’d still be wasting $12 if he didn’t like it. And I decided it would still be better to save the money and help him realize later that choices have consequences should he change his mind. (Since we’ll be going back to that flea market again.)
Even his new bike is a Hot Wheels bike w/ Speedometer!
MY POINT? I wonder how many times I frustrate my Heavenly Father? I wonder how many times God wants to give me things but I settle for less? He certainly loves me as His child and has given me a lot, but he wants to give me more!
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?!” Matthew 7:9-11
Just as I try to give good things to Luke, and he says, “No thank you, Dad” instead of trusting me and saying, “Sure, Daddy” and just letting me bless him – I say to God, “No thank you, God” when I should be saying, “O.K., God, I accept!” I say no by holding on to sin, by not walking in trust, by not taking the risks He presents me with, by not taking chances He places before me where I’ll need His help.
How many times do I frustrate my Father by saying, “No thank you, Daddy?” when I should be saying, “Sure, whatever you say, Daddy!” and just accepting what He wants to give me?
O.K., I’d like to follow up on my post yesterday, Had the F-Bomb Dropped On Ya Lately, with a sample of how I witness via Twitter. I’ll admit, I don’t often do this with my @Kidologist account, I have a less “public” persona I usually do this with, (as I also do for getting political) as people sometimes get offended by politics or witnessing and I like to protect Kidology from “the man” behind Kidology sometimes! (Since some people have a hard time separating the two!)
Anyway – recently I got to witness to an atheist – and I get jazzed when I have a positive encounter. Now, that doesn’t mean I converted him, it means I had an encounter where I didn’t offend him! Because I believe many Christians do harm to Christ by be offensive in their witness. Granted, some will say, the Gospel is by nature offensive – I understand that, sinners are by definition in rebellion against God, but that doesn’t mean we need push them further away by being obnoxious!
Anyway, since this conversation happened on my well known Twitter account, @Kidologist, I thought I’d go ahead and preserve it here, and also break it down and explain what I’m trying to do int he process. Keep in mind, these are small bites – you are limited to 140 characters, and you know you only have a short time to engage the conversation isn’t going to last long, and your goal ISN’T conversion on Twitter – it is to change someone’s deep rooted impression of either God or Christians. And that is extremely difficult to do in 140 characters and a few tweets – but I believe we CAN do it. Both as Christians (and in the political arena as well.)
I love engaging in the arena of ideas.
So, here is a SAMPLE OF MY CONVERSATION WITH A VERY ANTI-GOD ATHEIST. I will not give his user name, out of respect, and so as not to draw attention to his site, or draw his wrath to mine, but to give you an idea of his passion against God, his icon is GOD with a circle around it and a slash through God’s name, and the motto on the site is: (repeated over and over on the background)
“Believing Bullpoop* Doesn’t Make it True” (*Obviously, I have changed a word here)
This prompted me to respond to him, in defense of my God, and open a dialogue. Here is our entire conversation, to give you an idea of how I engage non-believers. It ended positively:
NOTE: If you are not familiar with Twitter, @username means the comment is directed at the person, so @atheistuser means I was directing the comment at the atheist (though it was public) and @kidologist means he was replying publicly to me
(This is reverse order, since on Twitter, newest would be at the top)
@atheistuser* if “believing bullpoop doesn’t make it come true” – neither does denying or making fun of it make it not true. truth just is.
Here I am inviting conversation – yes, it is bait. I’m quite aware of it. But if someone were to say “Your wife is ugly” or “Your kids is stupid” would you not defend them? A few weeks ago I twittered a quote:
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This was my chance to act on that principle.
@kidologist “Truth just is” what? Religious dogma? Faith claims? Wishful thinking? The Holy Bible? Koran? Book of Mormon? Bullpoop?
Here the real dilemma of our age comes to light – pluralism. If we are honest, it is a valid concern.
@kidologist Bullpoop? Did you actually say bullpoop? As I’ve said before, all bullpoop talk, aka god talk, is cognitively meaningless.
This is a little ironic for him to say, that all “god talk is cognitively meaningless” when on his site, he demonstrates quite strong cognitive skill in talking about God! He quotes many famous people’s thoughts about God from modern times back to founding fathers (if they are negative) and points out many of the horrible atrocities of the Catholic Church that any Christian today would agree were terrible and that led to the Reformation and when what we would call “true Christians” had to go into hiding because the official church had become a political system and no longer God’s institution – though he probably isn’t interested in genuine church history at this point in his life. As I often tell people, 99% of the time, atheists are people who have been hurt by Christians. What they complain about are usually not their real beef so to argue about what they talk about is a waste of time. That’s not really what made them an atheist – though it’s keeping them there now.
@atheistuser* what I mean is, our opinion doesn’t change Truth. 2+2=4 regardless if we think it is 5 or 7 or 143. It is still 4. Good day.
Here I try to address the world view issue of absolute truth – I tried to define absolute truth in 140 characters. My “Good Day” was a hint that I would let it go, if he really didn’t want to engage with me. I’d drop it unless he wanted to continue. I gave him an out. If he doesn’t reply, we are done and can blame me, but if he keeps it going, it is by his own invitation. He will have tossed the ball to me, so he can’t be mad at me.
@atheistuser* Absolute Truth can be discovered. Unfortunately, not in 140 characters nor in thru debate. I hope in time you will discover it
Again, I give a hope that Truth can be discovered, but I say I don’t want to argue, I hint that the path to discover is elsewhere, and offer to close the conversation unless he reopens it, which he does.
@kidologist If your God lived in my town I would throw bricks through his windows. Try reading your Bible. You’ll understand.
He shows his hand, his issue is with the Bible, or how its been taught or applied in his life. His background is Christian. Probably Catholic. I got that in 140 characters. He isn’t a pure atheist. He is a hurt religious child, perhaps spiritually abused. Christian parents even. Minister’s kid maybe! So I aim for the wounded heart.
@atheistuser* I am sorry if your experience with some Christians has not been positive – i hope in time your experience with God can be.
I apologize. And I redirect from people to God. I try to draw a distinction between the people he is angry at and the God who he shouldn’t be. I want him to know that God didn’t do the things that have led him make a hateful anti-God website. That the God who He hates probably hates whatever he experienced as much as he does.
@atheistuser* All I can say is, there are answers, but they aren’t found through arguing or nitpicking your valid concerns.
He expected me to argue with him, like so many obnoxious Christians have in the past, and I want to be the one who doesn’t bother. No cosmological argument. No teleological. No ontological here. No Bible verses. No “God said it, that settles it” And the killer – I called his concerns “valid” – he may have reread that a few times.
@atheistuser* you obviously have a bone to pick for some reason – whatever it is, I am sorry for whatever caused it. sincerely sorry.
I was glad I had the characters to add the “sincerely sorry” because I really am sorry for whatever in his past has led him to hate God so much. I want to find the Christians who turned him off from God and show them what he has become – and energy he puts in to turning others away from God and show them what they did. I blame them. He will be held responsible for his own actions, but I blame them for not showing this man God’s real love.
@kidologist Just how do you define “Absolute Truth”? And how can you ever be sure you are right about it?
The venom is gone. Now he is just talking to me. And asking a legitimate question. It’s 1 Peter 3:15 time!
@atheistuser* I define “Absolute Truth” as that which is true regardless of whether we find it or not, admitting that I too could be wrong!
Some Christians won’t like me saying “I too could be wrong” – but from the perspective of the one I’m talking to, this is important honesty, and ultimately, of course, it is true! Of course, I don’t think I am wrong! And neither does he. But if I expect him to even consider the remotest possibility that he is wrong – I need to be willing to do the same. If I am stubborn and insist on me being 100% right, how hypocritical to judge him for thinking the same of himself!
@kidologist I was raised to be Roman Catholic. Fortunately, I survived that period of my life when I was not allowed to think for myself.
My suspicion confirmed. Not only the religion of his youth, but deeper, that he feels he wasn’t allowed to think for himself. He felt brainwashed. His questions were not answered. His objections were not explored. He doubts were not addressed. He was not allowed to wander so that he could come to God on his own terms when he was ready. So when he finally could break away he RAN and wants to free as many others as possible. I hardly blame him!
@atheistuser* those are fair questions with no easy answers. I’m sorry you were not allowed to think for yourself. I was.
Again, like “valid” I want him to know, those are “fair questions” – something he wasn’t told as a child. I’m not intimidated by tough questions. You can be a Christian and have tough unanswered questions. Some are never answered! That’s O.K.
Again, I apologize.
And I let him know, I was allowed to think for myself. I argued with my dad over theology. We still disagree on some things. Some issues, I still don’t know where he stands. Why? Because he wanted me to form my own opinions based on Scripture and my own ideas, and not chose a position based on what “dad thinks.” He had to write a theological position paper for a church position once and let me look through it, but wouldn’t let me have a copy for that very reason. (even though I wanted a copy!)
@atheistuser* can I ever be absolutely sure? For me, I have concluded that Christianity (not Catholicism) is the most reasonable explanation
This was a tough one. I didn’t want to say, “no.” So I answered this way, that Christianity is the most reasonable explanation for the questions of life. Am I absolutely sure? Whew. That’s a tough one. How would you answer that?
@atheistuser* Ultimately, I’d rather be wrong and die and be dust, than be like you and be wrong and stand before God. grace beats atheism 2me
I hope he thinks about this one. If I’m wrong I lose nothing. If he is wrong, he loses everything. I become dust. He goes to hell. There’s a big difference between the two.
@atheistuser* thanks for listening, i hope i have not offended. i have many friends who believe as you do, and we enjoy friendly discussions
This was my conclusion. My olive branch – the end of my mini-twitter sermon. I wondered how he would respond. The next day, I got my answer:
@kidologist No offense taken. Friendly discussions are best. Wish there was more of that today between people on matters of religion & gods.
Victory. Not sure if I provoked any deep thought – but I pray that his exchanges with me at least were a good experience and let him know that there are Christians who care. I may try to talk to him again in time. So I ReTweeted (RT) his final tweet and ended with “we agree on that”
RT @atheistuser* Friendly discussions are best. Wish there was more of that today between people on matters of religion // we agree on that!
How are you engaging non-believers? We can’t just witness to those who come into a church! We need to find ways to engage those who are farthest from the Cross. One of my ways is on Twitter with my missionary Twitter accounts you’ll never know that follow many people who will never have a #kidmin hashtage in their tweets, and that is by design!
*username has been changed
Been enjoying some interesting conversation over on twitter. I can’t quote it because it involves the F-bomb – but some non-believers ended up being followed by the @Kidology twitter account probably due to using some key words such as “kids” and “church” in the same tweet – and ended up tweeting about how “sick” we were for “brain washing” kids and “making a business” out of it.
As I tried to engage one of these folks, just to apologize and let them know we’d ‘unfollow’ them, we eneded up getting into a public conversation about God, atheism and the pointlessness of prayer, etc. One of them (not the one who dropped the F-bomb) claims to be a “well adjusted free thinking atheist.” Not sure what she is “well adjusted” from. Perhaps, adjusted from life without God, since she mentioned giving up on God 30 years ago since He never answered her prayer. Made me sad. I wonder what she prayed for? I also wonder what she is free of? She mentioned be guilt-free? That also made me sad. I don’t know if some Christians have imposed guilt on her for sins they see in her life or some life-style overlooking their own sins? Or perhaps she just perceives this. If I’ve learned anything in my journey, it is that Christians can be the most judgmental people on the planet. Or maybe she feels a sense of guilt knowing she is not in line with her Creator’s design for her life? I wish she understood that the most beautiful thing about the Christian Faith is that we can walk GUILT FREE because of Jesus. That our God doesn’t point His finger at us, He points at Jesus who came to die for our sin and take the punishment for our sin away from us, not judge us for it.
She mentioned that she was disappointed that her prayer of years ago wasn’t answered. I don’t know what that prayer was for. But I do know that God answers prayer. In small and in huge dramatic ways. I’ve experienced it many times. Millions have. Apparently she had not. Why? Of course, I can’t answer that – especially not knowing what she prayed for, but I do know that God answers prayer for His children differently than He does for those who have not yet surrendered to Him. It’s like the difference between a kid asking his own parents for something, and asking a parent in a house down the street. A neighbor parent might give you something – but your own parent has an obligation to provide for you. When you are just a creation of God – you live on His block – He often will help you out, but when you become His child, things change – I wish so much this woman would understand that were she to give her life to God, to give God a chance, to become one of His children, the floodgates would open, and her prayers would have the ear of a Father, not just of her Creator
Nevertheless, I was sad to hear of her disappointment with God and therefore choice of Atheism. But it was understandable. You can’t argue someone to faith – you can only graciously hope to guide them to be open to what God might what to show them, if they will be open to experiencing it. If they aren’t, there is nothing you can really do. No one was every argued into the Christian Faith.
Sometimes I wonder if it is worth engaging in discussions on twitter or facebook or blogs with atheists or non-believers… does it really do any good? Can I really change their minds? Probably not.
But if I don’t answer – if I don’t try – do I really believe what I believe? And if I leave a question unanswered – too I give the impression that there is no answer? So I try. Too many Christians don’t even try. Or they just quote Bible verses or preach back at them with meaningless arguments that I think just tick them off or at least annoy them. I’m sure I have in my sincere attempts. Though I try to use compassion and logic rather than spouting off Bible verses. What good is quoting a Bible verse if they don’t believe the Bible? You and I may have studied the historicity of the Bible and understand why it is reliable – “God said it, I believe it” works for us, but when you don’t even believe God exists, the source is in doubt.
Instead, they need someone to answer them with a little more compassion. I told this woman not to give up on God – that even in the silence, God still cares. And I admitted that answer sucks. I think non-Christians need to hear that kind of honesty from us because I think sometimes we are afraid to admit it. The truth sucks sometimes. God doesn’t always answer our prayers. Sometimes He seems distant.
And so, some people, give up. Like this lady on twitter. They give up on Him and decide instead to be “well adjusted free thinking atheists.” She gave up, 30 years ago. How do we invite her back? We engage her. I probably failed. Did I bring her a step closer? Maybe. Maybe not.
I have no idea if I handled this right. But at least I’m engaging the lost. Sometimes we get too comfortable in our Christian circles and loss sight of WHY we do what it is that we do – to reach the lost.
And so I ask you – when was the last time you had the F-bomb dropped on you? Maybe that’s a good sign you are on Enemy territory? Every time it happens to me over the years I realize, I’m engaged in the battle!
At least this woman with her unanswered prayer of 30 years ago, who has learned to adjust to life without God was reminded today through a chance tweet that God does care, He does love her, and He does want to know her.
And I prayed for her. I guess both she and I will find out 1,000 years from now whether anyone heard my prayer.
Follow @Kidology on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/kidology
Follow me on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/kidologist or @Kidologist
The Kidologist's Mom - Patti Bastian
Happy Mother’s Day!
If it wasn’t for all you mother’s out there, not only would none of us be here, but our socks wouldn’t match! Our stomachs and our hearts wouldn’t be full, and our boo-boo’s wouldn’t have been kissed. We might have run to dad when we wanted to horse around and play, but we ran to you when we were hurting… even after we grew up.
I miss my Mom. She passed away on Christmas Day, 1996. It look several years for me to stop reaching for the phone after I got a great children’s ministry idea. She was always the first I told it to. Of course, for a long time, I just ran into the kitchen to show it to her. My children ministry career started at age ten when I told my mom I wanted to be a children’s evangelist when I grew up. My mom said, “What’s growing up got to do with anything? You start next Wednesday.” I answered, “But I said, “When I grow up!” Her response was, “If God called you to be a children’s evangelistic, why wait until you grow up?” She coached me through planning my first talk, and I spoke to all the children at Awana the following Wednesday evening. And I’ve never stopped.
I’ve been speaking at a children’s ministry conference all weekend here in Canada and tomorrow morning for Mother’s Day I preach in the Sunday Morning Service. My sermon title ought to be: Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Children’s Ministry I Learned From My Mom.
I am so thankful for a mother who saw past my craziness and energy and hyper-activity and saw only God-given potential. I can remember countless times when she would hold my head between her hands and though exhausted (exasperated even!) she would say to me, “Karl, if you can ever figure out how to focus all this creative energy for God – watch out world.” Even when my creative energy was getting me in trouble, she was instilling in me HOPE that God wired me the way He did for a PURPOSE – that I wasn’t a screw-up – that He made me for a reason! That I would someday help people, even if while I was young it meant getting in trouble for being misunderstood. Today my puppets do the things that once got me in trouble. People buy DVDs of toys doing things that I once got taken away in church. Through Kidology.org and the other things I do, I have so many creative outlets now to equip and encourage other kid ministers and impacts kids, but I had no way of knowing those things then – children’s pastors didn’t even exist then!
But the words of my mom did. And I hung on them, sometimes daily, for hope. I am whatever I am today because my mom believed in me often when no one else did. (and dad too, but hey, it’s mother’s day!)
So for all you mothers out there – I don’t know how you do it all – but my hats off to you!
OK, I haven’t had time to blog, so I thought I would just blog my #1 blogging pet peeve. You should never, under ANY circumstance blog about how you’ve not had time to blog. That is a waste of a blog post. If you have nothing blog about, then simply don’t blog. Better not to blog that waste precious Internet space with some lame pointless blog post about nothing. It’s a waste of your time and a waste of everyone else’s time to blog about how you have nothing to blog about.
Just thought I’d put that out there since I have nothing to blog about.
RT w/ http://tinyurl.com/num1blogrule