Conscious Q&E ~ Discussing Beliefs & BIG Questions with Children

Since Friday is a holiday, I'm sharing this a bit early! This week for Conscious Q&E, I'm tackling a question from my friend and spiritual exploration buddy Michelle over at EarlyMama.com.

Michelle's question was this: "How do I explain big concepts to my son, when I'm not even sure what I believe in?"

Check out the video below to hear my thoughts - and leave a comment below to tell us how you handle it!

Note: If you're viewing this email through Bloglovin' or Email Updates, Please click on the link to the post to view the video.

Conversations About Life & Death with Children

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Millennials + The Church - 5 Observations on Christian Millennials ( A Guest Post by Kristel Acevedo)

(Editor's Note: Today I'm welcoming Kristel Acevedo, blogger and graduate of Biblical Counselling to the blog. After many conversations in private, where I've picked her brain about Christianity and her own beliefs, I've asked Kristel to contribute to the Millennials + Religion series and share her thoughts on how Christian millennials are different than those generations prior. Thanks so much Kristel!)

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I’ve been a Christian for about 12 years now but it’s only within the past couple of years that I’ve learned that I’m also a millennial, and so are most of my Christian friends. I’ve also noticed over the past few years that Christians my age seem to be changing, we’re not quite the same as Christians from generations past.

It’s no wonder we’re different, the world is different. We’re living in a world of internet, “selfies,” and instant gratification. We’re wrestling with our faith and figuring out how to reconcile our beliefs with the realities of the world around us. 

Heidi asked me to share five observations about Christian millennials, so here we go. Please keep in mind that we are not all the same. There are different denominations and interpretations of Scripture, so please forgive the generalizations. The following is just my humble attempt at figuring this generation out:


A peak inside Kristel's Church

A peak inside Kristel's Church

  1. We are more open to adapting to the culture. Christian millennials are more likely to be okay with the legalization of same sex marriage, abortion under certain circumstances, and the legalization of medicinal marijuana. No, not all Christian millennials feel this way, but many do. Even if they are against same sex relationships on a biblical level, they may not have a problem with it on the civil level. Christian millennials seem more concerned with promoting love over doctrine. They want everyone to feel loved and included. 
  2. We have a fear of commitment. This manifests itself in several ways. Many Christian millennials are putting off marriage and having children. They know the weight and responsibility of these commitments and are delaying it much like their non-Christian counterparts. It doesn’t help that many of us have grown up in broken homes. They also seem to have a problem committing to one church. I see plenty of 20-somethings jumping from church to church or even from ministry to ministry within one church. Sometimes they commit to so many different organizations and ministries that they end up flaking out on one or the other. 
  3. We are passive. It seems we’re just waiting around for things to happen to us. We’re waiting for God to bring us the perfect mate or a really cool job. We don’t necessarily want to work really hard to achieve these things because...well, it’s too hard. So we’re just going to wait for God to bless us. Maybe we don’t even understand the value of working hard for these things because mostly everything has been handed to us. 
  4. We are connected. Thanks to the internet and our trusty iPhones we are connected to the world like never before. We know about the typhoon that wiped out a village halfway across the world before we even get out of bed in the morning. We see photographs of starving orphans in Ethiopia on Facebook. We follow missionaries in China on instagram and see the poverty they are helping to relieve. These things move us. We want to help. Social justice is important to us. Being able to view these travesties, even from afar, has made us more empathetic and aware. Sometimes this internet connectedness results in a lack of true local community; that’s the down side of the internet.
  5. We are leaving the church, but drawing closer to Jesus. So many Christian millennials are not satisfied with the Church. We have been burned by greedy pastors. We have felt embarrassed by the political leanings of the conservative majority. We have questioned whether the faith we grew up in is really ours. But even though many Christian millennials are saying “no thanks” to church, they are saying “yes” to Jesus Christ. We are finding our own way and figuring out where we fit in. It seems that Christian millennials are looking for a faith that’s more spiritual and less institutional. We want our faith to be rooted in both thought and emotion. Our approach is more holistic and ecumenical. 


Are you a Christian millennial? Do these observations ring true to you? What have you observed about this generation of believers? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. 



Kristel Acevedo is a wife and mom living in Miami, FL. She studied Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Seminary. She writes on her personal blog, Glowing Light, and can also be found on Facebook, twitter, and instagram. You can connect with Kristel on her blog, Twitter, IG or Facebook.





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10 Documentaries That Will Change the Way You See The World

I have a serious love for documentaries. I watch on average about one per week, so I have a pretty good repertoire under my belt.

Some are bad, some are good, and some are so well done, that they leave a permanent imprint on my life. They challenge my thoughts, inspire me to be a better person or make different decisions, and ultimately, change the way I see the world.

Today I'm excited to share 10 documentaries that have helped foster a conscious perspective.

Some of them are brand new. Some are nearly a decade old. Some of them are focused on the big picture. Some are concerned with the human spirit. And I assure you, all are worth a watch.


10-Lifechanging-documentaries
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25 Beautiful & Inspiring Meditation Spaces

                                                 Source: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

                                                 Source: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

It's Conscious Q&E Friday, I know... But the camera gods were not with me this week and I could not get anything to go my way, so I took it as a sign that this week there should not be a Q or E. I promise to return next week though! (Submit a Q here.)

Instead, in anticipation of the May Meditation Challenge (still not too late to sign up!), I thought it would be fun to share some lovely meditation spaces that others have created. There is a wide range shown in the round-up. Some outdoor some indoor. Some using minimal pieces for adding meaningful touches, others use a ton of candles, statues and artwork. You can make it whatever you would like - that's the beauty of it!

I'm still trying to decide where I'll put mine - but I was thinking having both indoor and outdoor spaces would be great.

Click over to my Meditation Inspiration Pinterest board to check out all 25 spaces!

If you have a meditation space of your own, send it along, and I'll share it in a round up post. Hope to see you over on the Meditation Challenge Facebook page.

 

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The Art of Taking Life Less Seriously

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My all-time favorite quote is from Thoreau: "All good things are wild and free." You've probably come across it on Pinterest, a shirt, or a tattoo. It's a popular one!

Why the popularity? I think we're all just itching to feel both of those things: wild and free. We know we take life too seriously, but we can't help it. We don't know HOW to feel those things, which is, I think, why we lust for travel - it allows us to have a glimpse into another version of ourselves. A version that is probably a lot closer to who we really are.

I've been contemplating this quote and why I'm so drawn to it for a while now, and it came together recently when I re-read  the book Personhood, by the late author Leo Buscaglia. In it describes his parents (my heroes):

"My mother and father lived instinctively in the knowledge that life and living were arts to be celebrated. From outward appearances, they would seem to have little reason for celebration. They were penniless Italian immigrants attempting to make a new life in a friendless foreign land. They had neither the language nor sophistication to adapt easily to their newly chosen culture, but they took up the challenge with gusto, abandonment, love, faith, and a great deal of humor."

He goes on to describe their love of simplicity - their morning coffee, their arm in arm strolls in the evening - simple pleasures intertwined with hard work. And when they aged, it was no surprise that they handled that season gracefully. They understood death and all it encompassed was a part of life. In fact when his father became blind from illness, he said, "It's all right. If I'm given a little more time, I know my way in the garden and I can still feed the birds."

Buscaglia describes it as growing up in a "life-filled setting." Life-filled. Let that sink in and think about what it means to you.

To me it's the interconnection of love and life. One can exist without the other, but the two together make for a life well-lived.

How many people are living in life-filled settings? Since only a quarter of us consider ourselves emotionally healthy, I'm guessing not many.

So where is the disconnect in our society today? After some thought, I have a few ideas about where the wheels fell of for us.

 

1. Our culture is INTENSE. - There is so much fear pouring out of every news outlet and social media stream, we can't get away from it. And we generally have a difficult time living fearlessly. (Also a big reason why so many people fear death.)

2. We're too busy. - We are OBSESSED with being busy. It's glorified. Like you receive a badge of honor as a human if you're the busiest person you know.

3. We work too much. - Way too much! And who can blame us? It costs a TON to live! Which leads to....

4. We aren't self-sufficient. - Back in the day we had more time to cook food from scratch each night, sew our own clothes, and grow at least some of our own food. Being able to do these things on our own left less of a need for the outside income. Many people aren't even ALLOWED to grow food in their front yard property today, let alone raise a chicken or two for eggs.

5. The Pinterest perfect phenomenon. - We are all striving. Striving to do something better. Make something prettier. Be perfect and Pinterest-worthy. Striving does not equal life and love.

6. We have less faith. - I bet that Leo's parents were very religious. Their faith probably helped them make sense of the world.  Things are different for many of us today. We have doubts, we question the doctrine. All fairly commonplace today.


We have a lot stacked against us in this world that we've stepped into. And it's not really anybody's fault. The older generations just wanted to see prosperity after suffering through the wars and the Great Depression. Who could blame them? The problem is that as humans we have an inability to stop while we're ahead. We can be easily blinded by greed and convenience. But that's besides the point. What I'm trying to say is that we need to own up to our role in the life we've created. We need to pinpoint exactly what is holding us back if we want to fully step into wild and free mode.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror,  my reflection stares back as a woman in her eighties. Skin a little loose but soft, warm eyes that are filled with love for the generations of children that Jay and I have played a role in creating, and a hint of sadness from the losses that are so inevitable throughout life. That glimpse of what I see as my future self brings me right back to this moment. With my family young and here now. Our dreams still growing and shifting. Our future bright ahead of us.

There are challenging times, yes. Times where we need to be serious. Times where bad things happen to good people and it's stressful and awful and tragic. But most of the time we need to take life a little less seriously and enjoy it. You know? Really enjoy it. Try to experience wild and free every day. Over a meal with good friends. During a game of tag with your kids. While strolling down the street, arm in arm  with your partner. Every single day.

 

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7 Thought-Provoking TED Talks About Spirituality, Religion, Faith & Science

I go through phases where I watch a whole lot of TED Talks and then retreat in to No-Thinking land for a bit. And then I forget all about them until it dawns on me that I haven't watched any in a while and the cycle continues.

I know there is a lot of hate out there for TED these days. I get it, people are mad about the censorship that is happening. But as usual, I just don't get the extremism. There are still TONS of great talks that deserve a moment to shine. Today I'm going to share 7 with you focused in some way on spirituality, faith, religion and/or science.

They're all thought-provoking and share a wide range of perspectives and ideas.

Hands down my favorite talk here is Lesley Hazleton's The Doubt Essential to Faith. In it she reveals that she was writing a biography on Mohammed and learned during the most pivotal moment - his decedent from the mountain - he was not filled with conviction, but rather, doubt. She has so many amazing insights that translate beyond religion but touch on ALL belief systems.

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Conscious Q&E ~ Getting to the Root of Fear

How often do you ponder BIG questions?

Life and death. God. The presence of something greater. Questions that so many of us have.

Sometimes they go away on their own, sometimes they linger leaving us desperate for answers. But there is one thing I know for sure: not everyone likes to talk about this stuff. It can seem intense to people - because there is so much fear surrounding everything.

But that won't fly here. We're going to open things up and really get down to the bottom of whatever it is you're questioning.

Today I'm excited to introduce you to a new weekly series on the blog: Conscious Q&E (E for Exploration.

Here is the deal - you send in your questions (top right of this page), and I will help you work through them using whatever knowledge and resources I have. It's that simple.

Continue below to catch the first segment. This week we're getting to the root of fear.

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Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone - A Review

Well... Biz Stone really got me with this book.

First impressions weren't promising - the tone of Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of a Creative Mind is very informal, maybe too informal, I thought. It's almost like reading a long blog entry, and I like a little more sustenance when I'm reading a book. Not wordiness per se, but fluidity. And as I continued flipping through the pages, I realized Biz would probably admit without hesitation that he isn't much of a writer - and he's okay with that.

When I really got into it the book, I realized the Biz and I, we have a lot in common.

I don't want to necessarily say impulsive, but when it comes to creativity, then yes, impulsive works. So impulsive really, that we do what a lot of people would see as irrational things. (Ie. emailing Evan out of the blue, etc...). So, you know... impulsive creatives unite.

 

Here are a few highlights:

"Asking questions is free. Do it!" - pg 33

On creativity: "Creativity is a renewable resource. Challenge yourself every day. Be as creative as you like, as often as you want, because you can never run out." pg 32

On the value of emotional investment: "You know in your heart something's worth pursuing; you're not sure exactly why, but it doesn't matter. Success isn't guaranteed, but failure is certain if you aren't' truly emotionally invested in your work." pg. 51

"I could bear any struggle if my work was bringing me joy." pg. 51

 "Once true passion hits you, you can recognize all the times in your life when you were chasing the wrong dream." pg. 52

 

Along with the inspiration, I found it fascinating to see how the birth of Twitter unfolded, what Mark Zukerburg is really like in person, and what it was like to work at Google. I also found it shocking that he blatantly calls these people out in the manner he does - but hey, it's his book.

Biz is a good storyteller, that is what carries the book. The stories of his youth are particularly interesting to read. But the biggest takeaway for me isn't the biographical content, it is being able to listen to someone who chose an non-traditional path in life, never sacrificing the desire to do meaningful and passionate work, tell their story with some perspective. To be able to feel in my bones that he is writing the truth when he writes: "So often people follow a career path without thinking about what really inspires them." (pg 51)

So yes, Things a Little Bird Told Me was a good read. If you're up for some laughs and some serious inspiration, pick up a copy here.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

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