Friday, April 20, 2012

Let Your Voice be Heard

Photo from Kony2012, © April 2012

This year in my eleventh grade Bible class, we have been studying the Minor Prophets and the Gospel of Matthew, among other books of the Bible. My students have taken what they have learned to heart and have sought to apply it and put it into action. One of my students, Chiara Siano, has taken the charge from Micah 6:8 concerning justice very serious. Micah 6:8 instructs us to, “do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Chiara loves Jesus and seeks to serve Him in obedience to scripture as she walks humbly with Him; she loves His mercy, and does justice in His name. Today Chiara came to me with the following post about the injustices done at the hands of Joseph Kony. She has challenged me, to get the word out by posting the following article “Let Your Voice be Heard.” 

I have taken Chiara’s challenge and have posted her article below. I have also taken the challenge and supported Kony 2012 at the request of another student Loic Frisch. Loic approached me back in March about getting the word out and supporting the cause, Loic is in my eleventh grade Bible class as well. Here was my response to his request: “Loic, I personally just took action to join you in this cause. This is my twitter and Facebook status right now: ‘Because I teach students who put their faith into action, I Just made a donation to Invisible Children for Kony 2012’ Thanks for putting your faith into action! In Christ alone, Mr. Pruitt

Chiara and Loic understand that they are learning about the scriptures and the life and teachings of Jesus, not just to know some information, but also to know Jesus, to grow in Him, and to deepen their relationships with Jesus. This relationship with Jesus has changed how they live their lives and they seek to make a difference for God’s kingdom work in this world. As Chiara and Loic serve the least of these, they serve Jesus. Just as Jesus says in Matthew 25:37-40, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

May we answer the high calling of our Lord Jesus and serve His children well in justice, in mercy, and in humility. These youth have set the example and have laid down the challenge. May we see the opportunities to serve and seize them as they have and may we follow their good lead. 

Here is “Let Your Voice be Heard,” by Chiara Siano:

Let Your Voice be Heard
Guest post by Chiara Siano

If someone set out to make you famous, what would you say? If someone wanted to make your story known to the world and make you an internationally known person, would you like it? Well, Joseph Kony would. In a single breath, he would deny that opportunity. So, why does Kony not want the world to know about him? 

Who is Joseph Kony? He is a warlord, a Ugandan warlord, who, in the name of god, destroys and kills. Kony is the head leader of the LRA, otherwise known as the Lord's Resistant Army. This army, who claims to be of god, acts like they are of the devil. Since 1986, it is estimated that Joseph Kony has abducted at least 104,000 young children. To make sure that they have no means to return, they kill their families as well as their neighbors. Often, when killing, Kony hacks off body parts and burns the homes of civilians. Then, he turns the children he captures into child soldiers and sex slaves. The girls turn to prostitution, and boys to murder, for the rest of their lives. 

What would you do if someone abducted your child? What would you do if you were turned into a child soldier or a prostitute? What would you do if the village or city you grew up in was destroyed and burned? What would you do if you witnessed all these acts Joseph Kony had committed every day of your life? Jason Russel, the founder of Invisible Children (, has placed himself in these children's shoes, in these parent's shoes, in these people's shoes. He refuses to sit by and let these children suffer. He, minute by minute, day by day, week by week, is working towards the arrest of the infamous warlord, Joseph Kony, by making him famous. He is a person as human and capable as you and me. He has made Kony famous. If he can do this, why can't we do something? Why can't we make a difference? Why can't we make our voices be heard? 

Well, we can! Tonight, an event sponsored by Invisible Children is occurring called Cover the Night. Tonight, hundreds of thousands of people are going to create awareness by covering walls of cities in posters, promoting awareness about Kony. Go to to learn more about this movement, to buy these awareness posters and share them with your friends, to donate to this cause. You can also contact your state representatives or senators and urge them to do something about this situation. Show that you care and someone will show these children that they care. 

Who knows, maybe solving this problem will lead to the collaboration of our world to solve all our other problems. Attempting to stop Kony is not just the end of a murderer's path, it is the beginning of these children’s' lives. This will spark our inspiration, our motivation, and our hope that we can and will make a difference. Share your voice! Be part of the solution! Show that you will not stand for this, and together, we will make a difference. Together, we will make it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sustainable Youth Ministry Study Guide Review

Photo from, © April 2012

In 2008, Mark DeVries wrote one of the best youth ministry books available in the field, Sustainable Youth Ministry. This book influenced churches all over the country with a sound theology and understanding of the workings of youth ministry. The practical tools and insights that DeVries provided have increased the effectiveness of many local church youth ministries.

In April, 2012, Youth Ministry Architects published The Sustainable Youth Ministry Study Guide as a companion to Sustainable Youth Ministry. Created by Abram Kielsmeier-Jones and Mark DeVries, this study guide is the perfect companion to the book and is ideal for training a leadership team and developing partners and key stakeholders in youth ministry in the local church.

Abram Kielsmeier- Jones has been in ministry for over a decade and I have had several opportunities to collaborate with him and to sit in on some of his staff meetings and trainings. Abram values discipleship and leadership and takes great care in training and developing leaders, parents, and students while nurturing their relationships with Jesus. It is exciting to have a youth minister and developer of leaders of this caliber writing the study guide for Sustainable Youth Ministry. He implemented this study guide as he developed it. This work is not just a compilation of theoretical ideas; it is practical, and its value has been proven in the field.

The Sustainable Youth Ministry Study Guide is a thirteen chapter, downloadable, PDF book that follows the outline and structure of Sustainable Youth Ministry. The study guide breaks down the chapters into easy to understand chunks that convey the main ideas of the book for time conscious parents, ministry leaders, and volunteers. The questions asked in each of the chapters help leaders to determine how best to apply the book and its insights to their unique ministry context and to think critically about youth ministry. The suggested prayers at the end of each chapter help to focus the readers on the Sustainer Himself. The study guide is easy to read and to follow and is consistent in design, layout, structure and quality.

Sustainable Youth Ministry is a must read for every youth minister and pastor, and I highly recommend The Sustainable Youth Ministry Study Guide as an addition to the book to help train parents, ministry leaders, and volunteers in the local church. I am very excited for the impact that this tool will have on youth ministry when coupled with Sustainable Youth Ministry the book.

To find out more about The Sustainable Youth Ministry Study Guide, Sustainable Youth Ministry the book, or Youth Ministry Architects, please visit Youth Ministry Architects at

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Review of Total Truth

Photo from, April 9, 2012

A Review of Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, By Nancy Pearcey

"They mean to tell us all was rolling blind, till accidentally it hit on the mind." – Robert Frost

The theologian and minister A.W. Tozer is quoted as saying, “Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” While this is true Christian thinking, it would also have to be equally true that nothing less than a whole person can make a whole Christian. Both must be true. This would include our mind, our thinking, and our vocations. Nancy Pearcey addresses this point in her book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity.

In Total Truth, Pearcey addresses the issue of the false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. The divide between the sacred and the secular is a false dichotomy. This is dualism and a plague, according to Pearcey, which does not reflect a true Christian worldview. Pearcey seeks to recapture the idea, which our early church fathers had, that “all truth is God’s truth” and that this truth is to be lived out in every area of our lives. She states that the “total truth” captures all of life and reality. We are to be integrated and whole human beings, living in the world, while living out our faith consistently in a manner that brings glory to our God. As the Apostle Paul puts it in Colossians 3:17, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” This is a more accurate picture of a life lived by a whole, and integrated, Christian.

In Total Truth, Pearcey defines what a worldview is. She defines it simply as the understanding of the entire human experience. Pearcey explores Christian worldview, the understanding of the whole human experience, through the lens of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. She states that “the Christian worldview alone offers a whole and intrical truth.” It is through this perspective that we properly understand and live out our Christian faith in the world fulfilling the “cultural mandate.” Pearcey describes the living out of a Christian worldview, and the fulfilling the cultural mandate, as a “higher calling,” which entails being creative with our lives and work. It is in this higher calling, that we help restore our full humanity and begin to live out of a truly Christian worldview. As Christians, we are called to “creative effort extended for the glory of God and for the benefit of others.” Pearcey states that we are to be “Participating in the work of God as agents of His grace.”

Our job as Christians, according to Pearcey, is to apply the finished work of Christ on the cross to all of our lives. This integration of faith and life is what all Christians are called to and this is what scripture speaks about in the grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. This “total truth” of the Christian life does not allow for fragmented thinking, false dichotomies, or disintegrated truth. A better reflection of a Biblical and Christian worldview is one without division of public and private, sacred and secular, or fact and feeling. Our beliefs are to be integrated and our faith must be reflected and integrated in every area of our lives, especially in our thinking. As Charles Malik put it, “The problem is not only to win souls but to save minds. If you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover you have not won the world.” We cannot and must not divorce our faith and our thinking.

Any alternative to this holistic, “total truth,” Christian worldview, or any alternative to Christianity, according to Pearcey, is religion and the worship of idols. Having a false worldview demonstrates a misunderstanding of the true character and nature of God, and in effect, this leads to worshiping a false god, or idol worship. If we are to participate in the liberation of Christianity from its cultural captivity, we must not yield to the cultures “gods,” or look at the one true God falsely. When we yield to the idea that God’s universe, and all the truth therein, is not His own, we neglect God and are no longer worshiping the one true God, or living from a Biblical and Christian worldview.

Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth addresses all of God’s truth, or “total truth,” and addresses living from a Christian worldview in four sections. In section one, What's in a Worldview?, she talks about a Christian worldview through the following chapters: Breaking Out of the Grid, Rediscovering Joy, Keeping Religion in Its Place, and Surviving the Spiritual Wasteland. In section two, Starting at the Beginning, Pearcey addresses philosophies or origins and differing worldviews in these chapters: Darwin Meets the Berenstain Bears, The Science of Common Sense, Today Biology, Tomorrow the World, and Darwins of the Mind. In section three of her book, How We Lost Our Minds, Pearcey explores the predicament that we find ourselves in, in modern Christendom, in these chapters: What's So Good About Evangelicalism?, When America Met Christianity -- Guess Who Won?, Evangelicals' Two-Story Truth, and How Women Started the Culture War. In the final and fourth section of her book, What Next, Living It Out, Pearcey applies these sections in her final chapter, True Spirituality and Christian Worldview.

At the end of Total Truth, Pearcey includes several helpful and insightful appendices, appendix one, How American Politics Became Secularized, appendix two: Modern Islam and the New Age Movement, appendix three, The Long War Between Materialism and Christianity, and appendix four, Isms on the Run: Practical Apologetics at L'Abri. Then, she includes an exhaustive section of notes. Next, she includes a thorough recommended reading list. Finally, Nancy Pearcey ends her book with a helpful Study Guide.

Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey, is a fantastic book on truth and living from a Christian and Biblical worldview. This is simply a must read for anyone in education or ministry, or anyone who is looking to think and live rightly, Biblically, holistically, and from a Biblical and Christian worldview. This is a very important work as the culture has shifted, and continues to shift, to a postmodern and to a post Christian thinking and worldview. We must think rightly about all of God’s truth and all of God’s creation. Nothing less than the “total truth” will do as we seek to participate in the cultural mandate to help liberate Christianity from its cultural captivity as we think rightly and live Biblically from a solid Christian worldview.


Pearcey, Nancy. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition), Crossway Books, Wheaton Ill., © 2004, 2005.

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Col 3:17

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Go On, Saint Thomas – An Art Review

“Go On, Saint Thomas,” Photo courtesy of Jack Baumgartner, © 2006

To learn more about Jack Baumgartner, or to see more of his paintings and artwork, please visit him here at The School of the Transfer of Energy.

An Art Review of Jack Baumgartner's Go On, Saint Thomas,” and resurrection reflection, by Robbie Pruitt.

John 20:24-29

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (See John 20:19-29)

Belief and doubt are common to faith and to life. The resurrection assures us, but resurrection is no easy concept to grasp, and is no easy picture to paint.

In “Go On, Saint Thomas,” by Jack Baumgartner, we get a glimpse into the consummation of faith and doubt with Jesus and Saint Thomas meeting after Jesus’ resurrection. What appears to be the account of Saint Thomas putting his fingers into the side of Jesus can easily be construed as a humble embrace between the doubt of man and the Love of his God.

As in many other Biblically themed works by Jack Baumgartner, we see the curtain being drawn by the hand of the “Omniscient Storyteller” giving us a glimpse into this scene. We also see the white banner being pulled by Christ into this landscape. This image weaves together the common narrative, which connects this moment and the entire storyline of God’s work of redemption and restoration from Genesis to Revelation.

In the background of the painting, we see what looks like a spot light illuminating the scene and the dark background, which looks like a large circular stone that would cover a garden tomb. In the center, we see Jesus with Thomas, in what looks like the beginning of an embrace. In the foreground of the painting, we see ten daisies representing the other ten disciples. All the disciples, minus Judas, are represented here. The flowers also suggest we are outside the garden tomb, they are also reminiscent of The Garden of Eden, and they foreshadow Eden’s perfect paradise restored in resurrection.

In the upper right-hand corner of the painting, we see a window revealing a blue evening and a section of a full moon helping light the darkness of the painting’s “stage.” The window suggests the scene is referencing the upper room, where we know Thomas meets his Lord (see John 20:19-29). This occurs a week after Jesus has defeated death and removed “death’s sting.” Now, He reveals Himself to His disciples in their prison-like tomb of doubt, death, and despair. Jesus reveals His Resurrection Life to them. The Son of God illuminates the darkness in the resurrection morning, and now transforms doubt into belief and death into life.

Jack Baumgartner captures this moment of Thomas’ “resurrection” in the Resurrected Christ’s arms and assures us all of our own resurrection in the midst of our sin, death, doubts, fears, and uncertainties. Just as Jesus transcended death and the grave, He transcended the locked doors of the prison tomb-like locked upper room. Jesus freed His disciples and He frees us from our sin, from our fears, from our prison tombs of death and doubt, and He leads us into the light and life of the resurrection morning.

As always, Jack Baumgartner packs so much movement, color, beauty, and Biblical imagery into his art, and “Go On, Saint Thomas” is no exception.

For other reviews of Jack Baumgartner’s work see below:

Jack Baumgartner - Jacob Wrestling the Angel of God, © 2009. “Jacob Wrestling the Angel of God- Art Review,” by Robbie Pruitt, © September 2011.

Jack Baumgartner - Jacob Wrestling With God, Painting, © 2011.Stone and Knee: An Art Review of Jacob Wrestling with God,” by Robbie Pruitt, © December 2011.