Message from Jeff
November 15, 2019
Have 1 Minute to Read? - Upcoming Events
The best night of the week! Marin Interfaith Youth Group Meetup
What: Marin Interfaith Youth Group Meet Up
Where: 3 Oakdale Ave., Mill Valley (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel)
When: THIS Sunday, November 17th, 7:00pm - 8:30pm)
Who: All 6th - 12th graders
Cost: FREE, but please do bring supplies for the holiday scarf drive (see flyer above)
Community Service Hours: 0.5 hours
We’ll be playing games, singing songs, praying, and decorating scarves for a holiday scarf drive all to normalize a more inclusive community. Maybe your kid(s) are apprehensive. Tell them what I do, “There’s no teaching.”
Last semester was the first time we did this and blew away our expectations. Naturally, we’ve only grown to include (but not limited to) the following congregations:
- Episcopal Church of Our Saviour
- Islamic Center of Mill Valley
- Islamic Center of North Marin
- Marin Lutheran Church
- Marin Zen Center
- Mt Tam United Methodist Church
- North Bay Hindu Center
- Our Lady of Mt Carmel
- Rodef Shalom
- Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of San Rafael
- United Universalist Church of Marin
- Westminster Presbyterian Church
As part of our fellowship project this summer, we wanted to spark conversations about how mutual experiences help create fellowship. Of course, rather than simply sit in a room and talk about it, we thought it would be far more helpful to actually do it. Our youth will be amazed at how, after only a few hours, they can feel a better sense of fellowship with others in the youth group.
Save the dates:
- RECLAIM Weekend: 2/21 - 2/23
- MS 2020 Mission Trip: 6/22 - 6/26
Have 3 Minutes to Read? - Why Don't We Teach Anything?
One of the best features of the Marin Interfaith Youth Group Meet Up is that there is no teaching. There are two main benefits to this. One is that our young people have been sitting in classes all week then again on the weekend at their congregations and we want them to, yet again, sit and listen attentively as someone many of them won't know shares a lesson with them. What percentage of these youth will that lesson be remembered by?
Then again, what if we took that time (because time is of the essence, we can't stay there forever) and used it towards a service project that all of them are passionate about? After all, the point of the Marin Interfaith Youth Group Meet Up is to help normalize relationships between faith communities. Playing icebreakers together introduces them to each other in a fun way. Singing songs like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift bring us together by their harmonies and hooks that we all know. Playing an upfront game gives us all a chance to laugh with each other. Serving together, if only for 30 minutes, allows us to work together on a common task. Working together is a much better conduit to getting to know one another than sitting quietly while somebody else talks.
Going even deeper and behind the scenes, one of the things that prevents many faith communities from getting involved is the apprehension about what somebody else might say from an upfront role. Unfortunately, many youth groups only feel comfortable when one of their own is the teacher. "We'd love to have you come to your youth group," but, "we're not comfortable sitting in yours." When we take the microphone away from each other we allow the youth themselves to be the ones talking..to each other! And that's what these are all about.
We don't have to tell our youth that inclusivity and interfaith relationships are important. They know that. We just have to show them what they look like.
Have 7 Minutes to Read? - Teaching Grace in the Home
One of the central tenets of our faith that may differ from others is the idea that we don't really do anything to reach God. Rather, God comes to us. Regardless of how "religious" we are or how much we know about the Bible. Despite the mess we make of own lives and others, despite how often we disappoint ourselves or others, we are always loved. Through the Holy Spirit, God's presence is with us always. Even more, God wants to be there with us especially in the messiness.
We call this grace.
You and I might be able to appreciate the grace God gives. That we are loved by something so holy regardless of what we do or don't do, but it may be hard to instill this sort of thing in the heart (not just the mind) of a young person. We all know that our faith can't solely be taught. It has to be experienced.
So how do we experience it in the home?
Just say, "I'm sorry" to your teenager more. That's a great starting place.
"I'm sorry for the tone of voice I used when I asked you about your homework."
"I'm sorry that I misunderstood the conflict you were having with your brother and jumped to an unfair conclusion."
"I'm sorry that I wasn't sensitive enough to how tired you were from soccer."
In today's world our youth feel extraordinary pressures from all kinds of angles. We want them to know that their family is a safe place. And we hope that they are an example of grace to others.
If you want to make your home a hub of grace, try the following:
1. Keep your personal antennae up for times when your own fatigue causes you to speak unkindly to your kids.
2. when you feel like you've wronged your kids, tell them that you're sorry and ask for their forgiveness. Say, "Is that okay?" or "Does that make sense?"
3. Make sure you are quick to extend forgiveness to your kids when they need to do the same.