Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To my friends in "The Occupy" movement

I want to stand with you.

So many of you are angry. So many wounded. So many want better jobs and higher wages. Where there is injustice, where there is pain, where there is no hope, I want to stand with you, as one Occupier texted me, “for your children’s sake.”

Amongst the most direct of the biblical injunctions is Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.


“Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” Three strands so intrinsically interwoven that to emphasize one at the expense of the others diminishes their effect, and sometimes causes more harm than good. 


Act justly. To right wrongs. To replace self-interest with the commitment to care about and for the needs and rights of my fellow human beings. To stand up for the oppressed at the risk of my own comfort, power or position. To seek change where darkness reigns. To develop the art of listening, and to seek truth and wisdom and insight, and then to act in accordance with the justice I value.

Love mercy (kindness). No man or woman, then, is an enemy, for all carry the burden of navigating this highly complex and precarious world we occupy together. It is the systems we have constructed, and the structures we have relied on, that enable and even empower our brothers and sisters the power to tear down, to hurt, to break. It is the structures, and systems, and ways that history so easily brings out the worst in us that need correction. People need compassion.
People are gifts. All people. Those who agree with us, and those who disagree. We belong to each other, and we need each other to get us through the mess we leave behind. The majestic power of the US civil rights movement was an unshakable commitment to non-violence, and the love for others – all others, oppressor and oppressed alike. At its core, loving kindness and mercy is to respect my neighbor – my neighbor’s rights, my neighbor’s livelihood, my neighbor’s property, my neighbor’s role in society and my neighbor’s perspective on issues. To love kindness and mercy is to see that banker, that activist, that child, that addict, that cop, that veteran, that Republican, that Democrat, that homeless brother and that business owner sister as my family.

Walk humbly with my God. To me, God’s reign is unquestioned, and unshakable. Our interpretation of and partnership with that reign is what is to be held lightly. It is God who reigns, and we who serve.


“To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Three strands, woven together, one message, one mandate, one lifestyle, one calling.

To my friends in the “Occupy” movement: as you hold these strands together, I stand with you; ignore or deny any of these, even in the service of “the cause,” and life is out of balance, and ultimately people are hurt.

History has proven that civil disobedience rooted in social justice and bounded by unfiltered mercy is a noble cause that changes nations. History has also shown that civil disobedience driven by self interest, unfair labeling, irresponsible rhetoric or blind ignorance spawns the seeds of anarchy where no one wins.


As Lynne K. Varner wrote in the Seattle Times today, "Anger needs a home but don't let this outburst fizzle. Let it morph into a slow burn of political consciousness...After we march, we vote."

May the Occupy movement be marked by those who act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Loving God


“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

To love God is “the first and greatest commandment,” so one would think that this is would be, alongside loving others, the most important priority we have in youth ministry.

But what does it actually mean?

When I met Christ, and was starting to grow in my understanding of what that actually looked like, I remember singing songs and even memorizing verses about loving God. And, frankly, I don’t remember feeling very comforted by much of it.
I wanted to love God, but I didn’t know how. I loved my parents (especially in retrospect), and I (kind of) loved my siblings. But that was sort of under the radar of the “supposed to” kind of love I was learning about in church.
What I did know is I loved my dog, I loved to play drums and basketball. I loved the feeling I got when a girl paid attention to me, or when a coach noticed that I had done something right for a change. I also loved driving fast with John Tuttle (and, truth be told, I loved my friend John, but, again, it wasn’t something I thought about… it just felt good to hang out).

But “love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind?” Although I wasn’t that great at English, I knew that this was something it was my job to do.

As I’ve gotten older I have a little more understanding of what love is and means and looks like (I’ve been married to my only love for 31 years, and that’s been a great theological laboratory). And I also have come to recognize that my loving God is actually as organic and natural as breathing, as we seek to know and trust Jesus. It is not so much about me and us loving him, but that he has first loved me, and us. Perhaps we need to help kids to see this, and to learn what it means to rest in this truth.

I am so glad we’re talking about loving God in this issue of Youthworker Journal (coming out in January, 2012). I hope you will be, too.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sept 22 Bellevue Family Ministry training event power point slides

This is the power point in movie format from the September 22, 2011, Bellevue family ministry training at 1st Presbyterian Bellevue. Let me know if it doesn't work for you, or you need an outline, or anything else.

To see Chap Clark's bio and publications go to chapclark.com

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Youth Specialties Convention San Diego 2011 Chap Clark, "Conflicting voices, needy kids, Gospel call:

This is the seminar I presented at the Youth Specialties National Youth Worker Convention, San Diego, 2011 entitled "“Conflicting Voices, Needy Kids, Gospel Call: What Everybody’s Saying, What It Means, and How Can I Make Sense of It All”. This seminar was intended to make sure that influencers in youth ministry - academics, writers, speakers, bloggers, programming gurus, speakers - are walking together with one mission as we share our insights and convictions with those who are doing the actual work with kids. I, admittedly, am a chief sinner as I seek to help people understand what I believe and teach/write. Yet, as with all of my colleagues out there, I do not have the final, only, or even authoritative word. I am, like them, one voice of many. My calling, therefore, must reside in a spirit of love, teachability and commitment to God's Spirit leading us all. That is the intent of this seminar.

You can get the audio of this from Youth Specialties.

To see Chap Clark's bio and publications go to chapclark.com


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Youth Specialties Convention San Diego 2011 Chap Clark, "Hurt 2.0"

This is the seminar I presented at the Youth Specialties National Youth Worker Convention, San Diego, 2011 of the title based on the new book, Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers.

To see Chap Clark's bio and publications go to chapclark.com


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AACC 2011 Chap Clark Seminar: 6 New Realities of Today's Adolescents

This is the power point presentation from the American Association of Christian Counselors International Conference, 2011, of the seminar, "Counseling and serving today's adolescent: 6 new realities that impact our work with kids"

To see Chap Clark's bio and publications go to chapclark.com



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AACC 2011 Chap Clark Seminar: HURT 2.0

This is the power point presentation I gave at the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) 2011 International Conference based on the new book of the same title, "Hurt 2.0: Inside the world of today's teenagers"

To see Chap Clark's bio and publications go to chapclark.com


video