Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Childhood's End

Yesterday, while doing the dishes I wanted to listen to something a little more substantial than the usual Pandora stations I often put on (Edward Sharp & the Magnetic Zeros have done me well lately), and so I browsed through the different options I had available and settled on NPR's Youth Radio. Here I found a LOT of interesting snippets of things produced by, reflected on, and commentated about by, you guessed it, people within what we in GYFM are calling the 10/30 window, the unreached group of people between ten and thirty years of age.

I had a great time listening through many of the different programs, all about 5 minutes long, and was struck by the broad spectrum of issues there are to explore within this meta-culture. Just searching for the word 'adolescent' on their webpage brought up dozens of articles coving literary engagement, teen weight-loss surgery, sleep deficits, transgender convictions, juvenile antidepressants, and even the rising use of cholesterol drugs in children. However, what struck me the most was that while often observed and solicited, those within the 10/30 window are only rarely engaged; while they yet need to be so very direly!

While it is truly all well and good to explore what their interests are, where their challenges lie, and how they process their experiences, who is there to work with or even mentore them? To challenge them in their personal and spiritual development? To walk with them through their pain, shout with them in their anger, and jump up and down with them in their joys and success? Listen to the show I've linked to below. How will you follow the call to "proclaim [God's] might to another generation, [his] power to all those to come" (Psalm 71:18)? Please pour your heart out in prayer for those who will, and already are, rising up behind us, and consider whether you might support Lindsey and I in the work we are doing in the 10/30 window with GYFM.

- Drew

Monday, January 16, 2012

Harold Bloom and Common Grace

This morning I am looking out over the half frozen over Severn river and reading Harold Bloom's reflections on "The Art of Reading Poetry," the introduction to his collection of "The Greatest Poems of the English Language." Sitting here sipping on a slowly cooling cup of coffee, I am struck by several things. First, by the delight it is to revel in the artistry of the way God's nearly cloudless sky is yet transformed into a profoundly subtle shade of pink with the rising of his sun. Incredible! What lessons of his tender greatness we should draw from not only this artfully gentle fracturing of light, but also from the ways that mankind is universally drawn up in his tracks to, even if only for a moment, stand in wondering appreciation of it.

Second, the intricate ways that he has equipped mankind with the ability follow in his footsteps by both crafting and appreciating our own creations; truly this must be one of the most privileged aspects of being made in his own image. We often take this as the height of man's glory, and yet only rarely is it recognized and affirmed as signature of our author.

Finally, as the title of Dr. Bloom's introduction names, the appropriate observation of and engagement in another's creation is an art itself, and thus requires skill, intentionality, and effort. While the finest artists (both man and God) pour themselves selflessly out into the production of their works, it stands to reason that the observers (as we all cannot help but be), bear a responsibility to, while caught in fascination by what we have encountered, extend the effort to praise and be moved by the skill of the artist.

- Drew

*The photo of the Severn above, while taken on a summer's evening, still somehow bears rather similar coloration to what I observed this morning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 10/30 Window

After writing in and having his thoughts printed in WORLD magazine, Jonathan Taylor, a team mate of ours, inspired one of the journalists at the publication to dig a little deeper. As such, this month both Jonathan and our team leader, Eric Larsen, were interviewed by World Magazine about the "10/30 window" (the people between the ages of ten and thirty who now comprise over 50% of the globe's population), touching on issues of extended adolescence, generational divisions, and the globalization of youth culture. It's pretty neat to not only see the field we are working in gain recognition, but it is especially exciting to have the privilege of being a voice in the conversations about how to work in it well!

Take a moment to check out the article, The Other Unreached People Group, and tell us what you think about it. What do you think about the category of the "10/30 window?" Is this a helpful way to frame a people group?