Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Many life decisions are hard. What career will I choose? Whom should I marry? When should I marry? Is it the right time to have kids? Paper or plastic? All of these, among others, are difficult decisions, some of which left me near paralysis in terms of making them. Today I am faced with another question which leaves me feeling perplexed, frozen, and altogether unable to choose: which books do I take to my church office? You see, I have limited shelf-space. So, do I bring Barth's Dogmatics? The obvious answer is yes, but what if I need him at home for something. Then what? Of course, I should bring my commentaries, but those who know me well also know that I work best late at night, so I may actually need them at 2:00 am, and how will it look to the cops if I am heading into the church building at that time? A no-brainer would be my youth ministry texts. But again, as I start writing articles for various youth ministry publications, as I hope to do, might those too be more well-served at home? I've narrowed it down to these two for sure: my Bible (of course) and my greek NT. Otherwise I've packed two boxes full of the aforementioned books for a trial run. I've never felt so uncertain about a choice in my life. Pray for me.


At 3:58 PM , Blogger WTM said...

I'd go with keeping everything at the church. Needing to think ahead to what books you will need at home on any given evening should serve as a reminder as you seek to maintain good work / home boundaries.

The only exception is the Dogmatics...keep those as far away from the prying eyes of church busy-bodies (and every church has some) with enough knowledge of the theological landscape to do harm but not good.

At 4:30 PM , Blogger Erik said...


Read a bit more carefully. I can't keep everything there because we have limited shelf-space. I share an office with the other youth pastor, which means we share shelf space. In any event, I hear you about the busy-body looking through my shelves. I think I could adequately defend having KB on my shelf, but perhaps its wiser to choose my battles, eh?

At 5:59 PM , Blogger WTM said...

Ah, well, I can't be blamed for not knowing exactly how limited your shelf space is. :-)

As far as Barth is concerned, perhaps it is true that wisdom is the better part of valor.

At 4:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erik, here are a few of the resources that I have come across that are worthwhile.

Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation by Neil Howe (Author), William Strauss (Author). They also wrote a book called "Generations" that has a broader focus but is solid.

Books are great but I would put the shift conference on your Calendar now as a must. April 9-11. Plus I'll be there which means we could talk in person and maybe share that pint that is long overdue.

If you want some stuff that has a conservative slant you could look at the stuff that Ron Luce has put out, "Battle Cry" and "Revolution" by Barna. Not really my cup of tea, and I'm guessing not yours either. You might find these good resources on how to identify a way forward in being counter-cultural with regard to the current youth movement in our country.

If you want more I've got more but This is a good start. -Tom

At 3:26 PM , Blogger Carn-Dog said...

Hey did your blog look change a bit?

I'm sure you'll end up taking the right books. Are you already in MN?

At 5:45 PM , Blogger Erik said...


Not yet in MN. We move on Friday, and should probably arrive in Mankato on Sunday evening or Monday sometime.

And, yes, the blog did change looks. Once school was done, there was a day where I didn't have anything to do, so I taught myself how to add links (took me longer than most) and thought such a happy discovery warranted a new look.

Sexy, eh?

At 10:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too like the look of the new blog and will pretend I didn’t receive a link primarily because I haven’t touched my blog in ages. That brings me to something else. I vaguely recollect that you mentioned that I would get a copy of your thesis and you would update us as you went along. Now I certainly understand being busy, having a kid and all that jazz but how is it that I never received a copy of this if you had enough time to learn how to cut and past html code? Erik, I do hope you realize how much I have enjoyed our conversations. So I’ll ask you point blank. Is something up? I feel a little like you’ve been trying to avoid me in a weird sort of online way. (However, if I have learned anything from our little foray into cyber based dialectic theology, it is that I am really good at miscomunicating, even better at assuming, and a genuine master of human fear especially in regards to looking stupid).

P.S. If you come across anything else in your cue from the sociological realm of youth in our county that is worthwhile, I too would love to hear about it. I really think the books by Howe and Strauss will serve you well. Some have complained that they don’t adequately take into account the present sociological problems of our country and the events of September 11th. I would have to disagree with that analysis myself, I think they might offer one of the only sociological platforms available to understand and predict to some extent the effects of these events and issues.

And how is Soren? haven’t heard anything of the lad in a while.


At 6:04 AM , Blogger Erik said...


Nothing's up. Send me an email at and I'll answer your question better. Seriously, though, nothing's up.

I'll send you a copy of my thesis too. It turned out much shorter (only 40 pages or so) than I had originally set out to do, and didn't deal with nearly the amount of stuff I wanted to either. However, it was a good beginning point for further research. I'll send you a paper I hope to get published in a Practical Theology journal too.

At 8:59 AM , Blogger Bridgette said...

Erik, I think you should invest in the Harry Potter series and keep them on your shelf. I know a number of our kides were into them when we were doing youth ministry :0)...

...this is a joke, of course.


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