The 500 Foot Wall

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 6 Comments

Derek and Amber are postmodern college students. They have entered your church for the first time, hoping to find spiritual reality, but a 500-foot wall appears to be blocking their way into the sanctuary. From the “narthex,” you spot D and A. They look out of place here at church—baggy clothes, tattoos, tongue rings, I-pods. Confused yet confident. An unmistakable …

Bob Osburn on whether to send students to a secular or Christian college:

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 2 Comments

[Dr. Osburn serves as executive director of the Wilberforce Academy, which trains students to be redemptive change agents in their home societies http://www.wilberforceacademy.org/. ] Rick:    Why should a Christian student consider attending a secular college? Bob:    Exposure to a wide range of views and voices.  This is essential if students are going to recognize how distinctive is the Christian voice …

Tribalism and Your Church

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 15 Comments

Does the name Ludwig Wittgenstein mean anything to you? It should. Wittgenstein was a mid-20th century philosopher who gave us “language games.” That is, the way communities use language is similar to a game, and every community gets to make up its own rules of the game. Two other philosophers of note, John Dewey and Richard Rorty, added a pragmatic …

The Rule of Non-Imposition

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 2 Comments

One of the inviolable doctrines of the postmodern university is what I call the rule of non-imposition. It means that no group on campus can impose its understanding of the world on any other group. Picture the university as a huge bowling alley, with every lane occupied by a different group. These groups, or “tribes” as they’re often called, could …

To Inculcate or Evangelize?

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 6 Comments

The danger in giving parental advice is manifold. First, it implies a direct cause-effect relationship between parenting techniques and children’s behavior. Second, it can leave parents feeling guilty over wayward children, often falsely so. Third, since Sharon and I got lucky with our own kids, it gives the impression we really knew what we were doing. With those qualifiers, I …

On the Atheist’s Lap

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 1 Comment

My daughter Kelli was an inquisitive, expansive thinker right out of the chute. I remember one time she asked me why God wouldn’t show himself if he was actually in the room with us. And why Florida was so far from Minneapolis. When atheist Benjamin Pierce came to dinner one evening sporting a long beard, Kelli hopped into his lap …

Permissive Parenting

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 7 Comments

Citing two separate studies, Christianity Today magazine reported recently that 60-70% of young adults who were active in church as teenagers are spiritually “disengaged” by age 23 (Ja ‘10, p24). I attribute these alarming statistics, in part, to extremes in Christian parenting, both strict and permissive (see my post of last week on strict parenting). Some of you have protested …

Strict Parenting, and two fine resources

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 8 Comments

“Strict,” of course, is a relative term. Strict parenting could range from being simply conservative and attentive to highly rigid, even oppressive. Following are some benefits and dangers, in my opinion, of strict Christian parenting. First the good news:•    Parents establish a moral/spiritual foundation in the home.•    They instill a sense of confidence and well-grounded identity in their children.•    They …

Preparing kids for college

Rick Mattson Uncategorized 13 Comments

Depending on which statistics you believe, the rate of Christian students losing their faith in college ranges from 40-80%. Whatever the exact figure, I can tell you what I’ve seen in my 28 years of campus ministry: it happens “a lot.” Going AWOL from God in college often happens in two ways: Kids from strict backgrounds start partying. They’ve been …