Hugging banned!

This has to be close to the baggy-pants story I posted on quite a while ago. It might not be quite as stupid, but it comes close.

The basic deal is that hugs over two-seconds long are prohibited at a middle school in Arizona. I understand that people don’t want to see teens making out in the hall ways of school. You might even convince me that such things distract from the education that is supposed to be taking place. Even so, this idea that you can start legislating things like hugging is simply crazy. I’m really curious to see the teachers with the stop watches monitoring the halls ways, “Oh! That was a 2.3 second hug, detention.” I realize that in reality no one is going to do that–but if that’s the case, what will reality be? Three seconds? Four? At what point does setting a time limit to hugging work? I understand the underlying issue, but the rule itself is not meeting that issue. It’s just creating ammunition for jaded bloggers to use for attempted comedy.

I’m tempted to announce a new rule for our youth ministry this Wednesday, “no hugs over 2 seconds,” just to see what responses I get from students. I really would like to sit down and have a conversation with the principle who came up with the 2 second thing.

/me walks off shaking head


Article published

I’m very excited to announce that an article of mine has been published at It’s not the print magazine, but it’s a step in the right direction. Apart from the excitement of having an article see the light of day on something other than my blog, I’m excited because I think the topic that the article focuses on is worthwhile, and needs to be discussed in youth ministry circles. Now, I don’t have any delusions of grandeur. I don’t think a single article is going to start a revolution in youth ministry circles. But hopefully it will cause some of us to begin thinking.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you all may have on the article.

Of papers and research

I am, by no means, an expert researcher. Although there are days when I can think of nothing I would rather do than lock myself in a room with an unending pot of coffee and read grammars, articles, commentaries, and other similar works on the Hebrew Bible I have not yet had the opportunity to do that. Indeed, at some point I’d need to come out of my room to talk to students (read: adolescents, read: teenagers) about what I’ve been learning. It would be a truly great existence. However, that isn’t the existence that I have. Not that I mind overmuch. But I digress.

I have just had my paper topic fully approved for my Anthropology course. I will be writing on “Technology’s Interaction with Adolescent Identity.” I realized from the start that the topic was quite broad, but I narrowed it down to three areas – The Internet, Video Games, and Cell Phones. I further subdivided those areas into Social Networking and Instant Messaging, Online Multiplayer Videogames and “local” multiplayer video games. However, I’m finding to my utter and complete horror that there is painfully little research on this topic. There is plenty of research on video game violence. Obviously a lot on adolescent identity. A smidgen on technology and adolescents. But very little connecting these areas. I did find a dissertation from TEDS, and a MA Thesis from Florida Institute of Technology. Also, several dissertations from South Africa. I’ve also found a few books and a couple articles that I actually have access to. I’ve managed to get my hands on three of the books through interlibrary loan.

I do understand that I could just change my paper topic. But I’m actually extremely interested in this topic. So, if anyone out there who happens to read my blog knows of some books, articles, reports, memos, interviews, or anything else that might prove useful to me I’d love to hear about them.

For the record, I’m aware of the following resources:

Digital Generations
by Buckingham and Willett
by Holloway
The Mobile Connection by Ling

As for articles, I’ve found the following:

  • Journal of Youth Ministry Fall 2002 “Entering Their World: A qualitative look at the changing face of contemporary adolescence” Chapman R. Clark
  • Theological Education Issue 1, 2005 “What Does all this (technology) mean for the Church?”
  • Theological Education Issue 2, 2005″What does all this (technology) mean for the Church? –a response” Michael G. Bausch
  • Journal of Theology for Southern Africa March 2005 “The Church and the Culture of the Networked World” Stuart C. Bate
  • Journal of Youth Ministry Spring 2003 “Identity Formation and the Challenge of Individuation in Youth Ministry” Malan Nel

So, anything not listed above I’d love to hear about.

Go directly to jail…

At least that’s what seems to be the case if you wear baggy jeans. Well, baggy jeans that show your boxers. I personally find this completely and utterly laughable. I’m so happy to know that some old local politicians (by old, I mean above 30, because apparently you lose all ability to reason after that age) have decided that cops should be policing what people wear. I hope the citizens of some of these areas are happy that their jails will be filled with teens who have done nothing more than let their boxers show. This is a law worthy of Orwell. We had RAs that did this at Davis, and we laughed then. There is a whole lot that the government should be doing – and making certain fashions illegal should not be high on that list. Perhaps I will one day propose a law that you be fined for wearing a tie. Why? Well, because as we all know – people who wear ties are white homophobic middle class business men who exploit the poor, lie in court, commit hate crimes, and otherwise ruin society. (Note – this is hyperbole, and meant simply to show that laws based on fashion (or, in the case of ties, a lack thereof) are perhaps best left to individuals).

Now that I’ve got my initial rant out of the way, let’s look at this a bit more objectively. There are teens who wear saggy pants. I know some teens who wear saggy pants. They are intelligent. They get good grades in school. They also skateboard. Why should they have to pay $500? Why should they be interviewed and questioned as to what they hope to do with their lives? They are perfectly normal teens. I think, as citizens of America, we have to ask if this is really worth the fight? Why make a law like this? I honestly cannot see the harm that society is facing because of saggy pants. I’m trying to be objective here. I must conclude that this law is being created because some people do not like the saggy pants fashion. I am therefore forced to conclude that this is an example of those in power exerting their influence to make the world conform to what they would like it to be. This happens often, but I’m not sure if it’s healthy.

There is a bit of rebellion in me that wants to go to one of these cities, walk in public with saggy pants showing six inches of my boxers and when I’m interviewed by police as to what I’m doing with my life, and if I’m employed, explain that I have a college degree, graduated Summa Cum Laude, am currently attending graduate school, am currently employed as a youth pastor, regularly give to charity, seek to keep students off of drugs, teach students to avoid breaking the law, etc, etc, etc. I’d really like to see the reaction. I mean, six months in jail because you wore saggy pants? Okay – but I have to be honest and say I have a really hard time taking this seriously.