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Well, so much for a regular update on the status of my 101 Things list.  I haven’t even been very good at keeping up the list here at the site.  I did go back and make some updates, though – so here’s what’s new with 101 Things:

#1: Call one friend a month just to catch up
I’ve done a fairly decent job of keeping up on this one, making some intentional effort to connect with friends the good-old fashioned way over the phone.  So far, three months and at least three phone calls.

#20: Read the Bible in its entirety
Thanks to seminary classes that require a fairly heavy amount of Bible-reading, I’ve been keeping up with this one.  So far: Matthew, Mark, John and Galatians (all for classes), and Philippians (during my silent retreat at Mowana)

#30: Attend 30 On-Turf Youth Events
Three PSHS varsity basketball games, one community league indoor soccer game, and a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the PSHS volleyball teams.

#43: Complete the One Hundred Pushups Challenge
I began this program at the same time as the Two Hundred Situps Challenge.  After four weeks of the program, I am currently able to do 32 consecutive pushups.  I’m hoping to be able to do 100 by the time the next few weeks are over!

#47: Tackle the Tower
Finished!  February 7th Scott and I joined a group from PLC to Tackle the Tower for Ronald McDonald House.  It may not have been my best athletic performance to date, but I did it nonetheless!

#49: Complete the 200 Situps Challenge
Finished!  After completing only four weeks of the six-week challenge, I was able to do 210 crunches on 4/5/09.  I will be finishing the last two weeks of the program and then maintaining by doing a minimum of 200 crunches three times per week.

#52: Read and Finish 101 Books
I’ve definitely been keeping busy with this one – between reading for classes and a voracious appetite for personal reading that I’ve had lately, my list now includes the following titles:

  • The Shack by: William P. Young
  • The Synoptic Problem by: Mark Goodacre
  • Mad Church Disease by: Anne Jackson
  • She Said Yes by: Misty Bernall
  • The Way of the Heart by: Henri Nouwen
  • Holy Bible, Human Bible by: Gordon Oliver
  • Eat This Book by: Eugene Peterson
  • The Last Word by: NT Wright
  • Fundamentalism and American Culture by: George Marsden
  • The Real Billy Sunday by: Lyle Dorsett
  • Crazy Love by: Francis Chan

In addition to those, I’ve got about nine more that I am currently in the middle of reading both for class, ministry and personal enjoyment.

#53: Spend an entire day in silence
Finished!  In fact, I spent two entire days in silence while on a personal silent retreat at Camp Mowana from March 22nd through 24th.

#54: Watch 101 movies I have never seen before
Added to the last list are: Wall-E, The Final Cut, and Down With Love

#82: Go one week without logging into Facebook
Finished!  And beyond a week, since I gave up Facebook for Lent, it has currently been 41 days since I was last on Facebook.

#88: Spend at least 15 days at Camp Mowana
Two down, 13 more to go!  I’m definitely hoping to make a few more silent retreats down to Mowana during this 1001 days, and hopefully a few trips with the youth group and this goal will be more than met!

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I’m going to try and make a (fairly) regular habit of updating progress on my 101 Things in 1001 Days venture: partly for accountability, and partly simply to document progress.  So, since beginnin on January 1st, here’s what’s been accomplished:

#52: Read and Finish 101 Books
I finished reading both The Shack by: Wm. Paul Young and The Synoptic Problem by: Mark Goodacre – 2 down, 99 to go!

#54: Watch 101 Movies I Have Never Seen Before
Thanks to Saturday’s snow day and my canceled weekend class, I was able to watch Sex and the City (The Movie) and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II with my mom and Kristen.

#55: Write a letter to myself to be opened on the last day of the challenge.
Finished!  It was kind of weird writing a letter to “future me”, but I think it will be really rewarding come 9/24/11 to look back at what life was like at the beginning of 2009.

#58: Blog at least twice a week.
So far so good!  I’m enjoying keeping up blogging on a regular basis.

#93: Knit 4 scarves and give them away.
I broke out the knitting stuff this weekend and picked up work on an unfinished scarf that I hadn’t worked on since last January-ish.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy knitting, and I can’t wait to give this one away!

#99: Donate 1,000,000 grains of rice.
I’ve been spending a lot of time over at FreeRice.com – I love that I can brush up on things like basic math, French vocabulary and English grammar while helping to contribute to the fight against hunger.

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The Shack I’ve been looking forward to reading Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack for quite some time now, so when I received the book for Christmas this year I couldn’t wait to get into it.  There’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding this book, and since it had been recommended to me by at least 5 people I figured it was one I should pick up.

Basically, Young weaves for the reader a tale of Mac, a man who, having faced incredible tragedy in his life, ends up encountering God (the trinity) for a weekend at the place that most represents the pain of his past.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when reading The Shack is that, while based on Christian Theology, it is still a fictional book.  Young paints a beautiful and mesmerizing picture of the trinity – Papa (God the Father), Jesus and Sarayu (the Holy Spirit) have conversations and interactions with Mack that brilliantly portray the beauty of the Trinity.

I was slightly disappointed with the ending of the book (which I won’t reveal for those of you who haven’t read it), but I still highly recommend it.  Anyone who needs a bit of new life breathed into their understanding of God should pick up this book.  It will challenge you and it will inspire you.

There’s a reason why it was a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

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How To Think TheologicallyThis book was required reading for Introduction to Theological Education.  I found it to be a pretty thorough overview on the topic of theological reflection.  The authors begin by laying a solid foundation for theological reflection, stressing the fact that everyone is a theologian, because everyone (particularly anyone who follows Christ) has to engage in theological reflection as part of their daily lives.  They discuss some basics of theological reflection, such as the difference between embedded theology and deliberative theology and using the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, tradition, reason, experience) as a resource for theological reflection.  Following this foundational work, the authors seek to engage their readers in the practice of theological reflection through a series of exercises dealing with various theological topics.

I’d probably give this book a four-ish star rating (out of five) as a resource.  The authors lay out the topic well, but the subject matter can come off as confusing and frustrating if you don’t know much about theology before picking up the book.

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Starting Right Starting Right: Thinking Theologically about Youth Ministry could, quite possibly be the best book ever written on the topic of youth ministry.  At the very least, it is the best academic text book (partly because it is the only one) on youth ministry.  It had been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year before I picked it up, and I find it rather unfortunate that it took me that long.  It was the first of three required reading books for my seminary course on Ministry to Students in the Church.

The entire text of the book is based upon the premise that in order to effectively minister to youth in any setting, one must be firmly rooted in their theological beliefs.  Kenda Creasy Dean refers to these foundational beliefs as our theological rocks and defines them as “the convictions about who God is and what God is about that are normative for everything we do” (Dean 2001, 17).  In other words, our theological rocks are those beliefs we hold that are absolutely essential to our Christian faith and practice.  These core beliefs affect everything we do in youth ministry:  “Our theological rocks affect how we develop an evening youth program, approach a sermon, handle conflict, engage parents, plan a retreat, counsel teenagers, [and] relate to our own families” (Dean 2001, 17).  Everything that follows in Starting Right builds off of this foundational premise of firmly rooting ourselves by identifying our theological rocks.  Building on this theological foundation, Starting Right is developed into a well-organized manifesto of practical theology for those who minister to youth, beseeching them to put their core theological beliefs into practice as they minister to adolescents.  My own ministry practices in youth ministry have been greatly tested and affected by the ideas presented in this book.

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