Last week, my home church hosted a vacation Bible school. It made for busy days, but I'm glad I was home to be a part of it. I taught the youngest group, ages 4-6, during the Bible lesson time, and also helped with crafts.
I was also The Missionary--meaning I told the kids a little about my ministry in Utah every day. They had a contest, girls against boys, to raise money for my gas back to Provo. It was a weight contest; every day the girls would put their money in a bucket on one side of a scale and the boys in the other. On the last day of VBS, one boy brought a grocery bag full of pennies! Altogether, the kids contributed about $220! So I'll have plenty of gas money for my trip west next month, and even some left over to hit every Wendy's between Hoisington and Provo. Love those Frostys!
In my e-mail inbox, I have a folder labeled "Keep What is Worth Keeping." (It's a line from a poem by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik...but that's a whole other post.) The folder is for non-personal-correspondence that I consider worthy of hanging onto and even referencing in the future. Once in a blue polka-dot moon, an e-mail makes it into that folder that was forwarded from my mom. She likes to send me e-mails with subject lines like "Fwd: 10 More Uses for Vinegar!" and "Fwd: Hints to Protect your Credit Card Account." Most get deleted with hardly a glance (no hard feelings, Mums, if you're reading this), but like I said, the rare informative and legitimate message is worth keeping.
Otherwise, approximately 95% of my "keeper" e-mails is comprised of messages I've received through a gem of an e-mail subscription. It's called "In the Nick of Time," and it's sent by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, MN.
Dr. Bauder's premise for "In the Nick of Time" is this: "American Christianity needs leaders. American Christianity needs Christian leaders. Christian leaders explain the Scriptures, bringing them to bear upon life's urgent questions. Christian leaders exemplify the life of faith, finding their ultimate satisfaction in God alone. They unite intellectual discipline with ordinate affection, turning their entire being toward the love of God."
To the noble end of developing such leaders, Dr. Bauder (and the occasional guest contributor) pens essays examining relevant and often controversial topics. Past subject matter includes Christians and theater, Christians and scholarship, Christians and educational choices, observing the Sabbath, church organization, and church planting.
I'm no philosopher or theologian--but I do want my faith to comprise more than just a set of Sunday school lessons. In the last two years especially, I have gotten to know scads of folks who blindly believe what they've been taught, with little or no real thought. I shudder to think of my faith resembling that in any way. That's why I started subscribing to "In the Nick of Time" about a year ago. I truly desire to "unite intellectual discipline with ordinate affection, turning my entire being toward the love of God." I hope you do, too.
Of course, I must reference the other splendid element of these e-mails: poetry! Dr. Bauder dusts off a short sampling of classic Christian verse for the close of each e-mail. What depths of wisdom (and entertaining spellings!) lie in the poems of John Bunyan, William Cowper and the like! Worth reading...worth keeping.
You can subscribe to "In the Nick of Time" or check out the archives here (copy and paste into your browser's address bar): http://www.centralseminary.edu/index.asp?m=674