Teen Time: God in the midst of a non-binary world (November 7th)

Not every passage in the Bible is hiding a secret message.

Quick test: If the words of the Bible lead to people being excluded, it’s best to take a really good look at the meaning behind the verses with someone who knows what was happening at the time. If the words are inclusive, then we are pretty close to reading Jesus’ teaching straight-up. God is always, always the God of everyone, believers or not.

Who were the Galatians? The were a group of Greek speakers on the west end of modern Turkey, in today’s city of Ankara. They were believed to have emigrated from Gaul (modern France) around the 3rd century BCE. Paul started the church in their community within a decade or two of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Teen Time: Christianity & Halloween, what’s the deal? (October 31st)

Over the past 2000 years Christianity has become a significant faith in almost every country in the world, making us a universal faith. And when people see their old festivals and celebrations through the lens of their new faith, cultures start to merge.

Some facts about the celebration of Halloween:

1. The name itself means “All Hallow’s Eve”, and was the night before “All Hallow’s Day”, which today we call All Saints Day

2. Christians celebrated our saints from the beginning, and when they got too numerous, it was agreed to collect them all into one day of celebration

3. All Saints Day started out being celebrated in May or June, after Pentecost, and the Eastern Orthodox traditions still celebrate All Saints Day this way

4. All Saints Day was celebrated in Rome for over a century until Pope Louis the Pious decided everyone throughout the church, no matter where they lived, should attend church and recognize the importance of our saints on All Saints Day

5. Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the doors of the cathedral on October 31st because he knew crowds of people were attending worship on November 1st, and he wanted to start a conversation about the way the church was abusing the people with the Indulgence System (paying for yourself or a relative to get out of purgatory). October 31st is also Reformation Day

6. In the Celtic traditions in Ireland and Scotland, Samhain (pronounced Sow-in, or Sow-een), was the harvest festival when they brought the herds down from the north and had to slaughter most of them before winter began

7. Both Ireland and Scotland had different traditions for celebrating Samhain, and included things like bonfires, children going door to door asking for firewood or treats, feasting, dressing in costume, carving a face on a turnip, and remembering the dead

8. Settlers to North America from Ireland and Scotland brought the mixed traditions of Samhain and All Saints, and both traditions make up our modern tradition of Halloween (with a good amount of marketing from the candy manufactures)

Teen Time: The importance of knowing the Bible (September 26th)

Throwing Bible verses around does not mean you know the Bible. To know the Bible means studying what the writers were trying to say 2000+ years ago. Only from there can we understand the message in today’s world.

When we know what was happening in the 1st century Palestine and before, we can start to understand Jesus’ teachings better, and most people will be pleasantly surprised to learn some of the negative passages might not be that negative after all.