Archive for the Community Involvement Category

On Honesty in Parenting

The following thoughts are from Donald Miller, author of many books including his most recent, Scary Close


Now that I’m married I’ve started to worry about my children. I don’t even have children yet, but I’ve already started worrying about whether or not I’ll be a good dad. One of my greatest fears is that my children won’t do well in life, and by that, I mean won’t be happy and healthy and able to connect with others.


But I’ve got some hope brewing.


I’ve noticed something about the parents of teens and twenty-somethings who are high functioning and healthy. I’m talking about young adults who you sit and talk to and wonder how they got so wise, self-controlled and winsome. I’ve noticed they all have parents who have a distinct, unique, and rare quality about them.


It’s not a quality you’d expect, but I promise it’s the common denominator. And here it is: Healthy and high-functioning people often have parents who do not hide their flaws, especially from their own children.  


What I mean is this:


Healthy people tend to come from families in which parents willing confessed and were okay with their own weaknesses, even if those weaknesses were quite dark. And those kinds of parents are rare, which is perhaps why super healthy people are so rare.


Imagine growing up in a family in which your parents didn’t pretend to be more righteous, strong, or capable than they actually were, but in fact made mistakes and were perfectly willing to confess and apologize for those mistakes.


Imagine having a father who might occasionally say something like, “You know, son, I’ve noticed you’ve developed a temper. I think you might have gotten that from me. I’m so sorry. It’s hard to control I know. It has cost me a lot in life and I fear it might cost you, too. Will you forgive me for passing that along to you?”


A family like that creates a deep bond of intimacy.


And why?


I have a theory that parents who tell the truth about themselves are honored by God. I think God loves the truth, no matter how dark the truth may be. My other theory is that parents who sacrifice impressing their children in order to bond with them on a human-to-human level create a deeper connection. And my third theory is that children who grow up in environments where it’s okay to be human feel less pressure in life and less of a reason to hide from their families and the world around them.


Sadly, I’ve noticed the opposite trend, too. Because I grew up in a hyper-religious environment, I knew more than a few dads who felt the pressure to make people think they were more righteous than they were. I don’t blame them.


They were trying to fit in.


In each of those families, people—especially the children—struggled. They likely learned from the father (and sometimes the mother) that they were supposed to hide their darker nature from the world. Or worse, they learned they had to be perfect to be accepted and loved.


Here’s a truth: When we hide, we don’t connect with others, and when we don’t connect with others, our souls atrophy.


Two of the men I’m talking about had adult children who committed suicide. The knee-jerk reaction of both fathers in those situations was to make sure everybody knew their child’s suicide wasn’t their fault. It was sad and painful to watch.


What gives me hope is that I am very close with a few families doing it right. They are confessing their sins to their own children.


They are living in the open.


There’s nothing easy about living this way, for sure, and yet I firmly believe we have to live in the open to be healthy. We can’t hide and we can’t pretend. We have to teach our children not only how to live well, that is to live within moral boundaries, but also how to fail well.


In the end, the children who learn from their parents that it’s perfectly okay to be perfectly human live more healthy, happy lives. Why? Because people who tell the truth connect and are people who don’t live in public isolation.


Don’s new book, Scary Close, features a fascinating chapter about parents who confess their sins to their children. It is available at the Allen County Library, and most everywhere people buy books.

Ugandan Orphans Choir Coming to St. John!

Ugandan Orphans Choir Coming to St. John!
The Ugandan Orphans Choir, a group of ten talented Ugandan children, will be performing at St. John on July 11 at 7:00 p.m., as part of the Three Rivers Festival opening day activities. All ten children have been given hope through Childcare Worldwide’s Sponsorship Program and now they are here to spread that hope to audiences all across the United States. The choir has performed nationwide at churches, schools, at Disneyland, on King 5 Television’s “New Day Northwest,” at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, and on the steps of the White House.

These children delight audiences with traditional African songs and dances. Megan DiRienzo, Curator of Education at the San Angelo Museum of Fine arts says, “All of you have amazing talents, beautiful voices and some serious dance skills! A performance like yours was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We fully support you on your mission to end child poverty!” Mark your calendars now, and also consider whether or not you might be willing to provide housing for 3 days for some of the choir during their stay in Fort Wayne. Look for details on this later this month.


What exactly is a healthy spiritual life? And how do you get one? Is it possible that all the richness of human experience is spiritual? So to live is to experience God. But how then do we take it further and intentionally do what it takes to lean into the presence of God? What does it look like to walk with God every day, in every aspect of your life?

Over 12 weeks this summer, beginning June 15/18, we’ll explore 12 words that speak to the seasons of the spiritual life. Words that we say in times of joy, and words groaned in sorrow. With each of these words, we’ll spend time on both Sunday and Wednesday evening digging into the practices each word represents, and where we see them in the Bible. We begin with ‘Here’ and move clockwise around the circle, ending Aug 31/Sept 3.

Where are we going and how will we get there?

These are two basic questions all people asking directions need to consider, in order to get to wherever it is they hope to go.  They are also two key questions any organization, INCLUDING a church, needs to ask if it wants to stay on target and on purpose.

Recently, St. John has been asking these questions, starting with the Congregation Council at an April retreat and moving forward in the months following with the wider congregation.  Here’s what we’ve come up with so far:

OUR VISION (i.e., Where are we going?  What is the preferred future to which God is calling us?) . . .

We envision a world fed and led by God

OUR MISSION (i.e., How will we get there?  What one or two key actions will move us along the path of realizing God’s vision for us?) . . .

Fed and led by God, we live as a neighbor—

  • in the West Central community,
  • the city of Fort Wayne, and
  • all the world.

So . . . what do you think?

City Buys 8 West Central Properties To Be Redeveloped (VIDEO) | Indiana’s NewsCenter: News, Sports, Weather, Fort Wayne WPTA-TV, WISE-TV, and CW | Home

City Buys 8 West Central Properties To Be Redeveloped (VIDEO) | Indiana’s NewsCenter: News, Sports, Weather, Fort Wayne WPTA-TV, WISE-TV, and CW | Home.


St. John’s next New Member Orientation will be held on two consecutive Mondays, February 3rd and 10th, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. each evening.  We’ll start with dessert of some sort.  The course, entitled “Knowing and Showing God’s Love,” is intended for anyone who wants to grow in their understanding and practice of the Christian faith in general, and as a follower of Jesus at and around St. John in particular.


Those non-members attending the orientation will be invited to join St. John on Sunday, February 23rd during the 11:00 a.m. worship, following a brief introduction and welcome with congregational leaders at 10:15 a.m. in Room 101.  If you’re interested in attending this orientation, please register your interest with Jamie Robbins in the church office (426-5751).



Date of Post:  January 5, 2014

Due to the impending snow set to arrive later on today, this evening’s Advent Small Group gathering has been canceled.  If you had already purchased or identified that perfect White Elephant gift to bring, feel free to give it to a neighbor instead!  Happy Twelfth Night, everyone!


St. John will be experiencing something different from its usual Sunday morning worship on January 5, the day the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, when the wise men (or magi), following the star, found the child Jesus in Bethlehem.  On this day we will participate together in a service of healing, as we bid farewell to the remaining trappings of Christmas and welcome the new year of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

Custodian Wanted–Oct 30 deadline!

St John Lutheran Church is looking for a person who would be interested in cleaning the church on a weekly basis. This is a part-time job with no more than 20 hours a week. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please contact Jane Gresham by Wednesday, October 30th for consideration!


Remember Applebee’s Dining to Donate is the 1st Tuesday of every month. Be sure to pick up or print a flyer so your meal counts. You will find a link to the flyer each month in the calendar entry, or look under the News/Events menu.

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