Credit goes out to a student of mine from the past two semesters for really putting me onto this book
. Joel (who gets married tomorrow - congrats) leant me a copy but I couldn't find the time so I bought it. Well worth the price and one book that all youth ministry folks need to get.
Reason #1 - Love. I've been dating/married to Vivian since April 21st 1989. I'm only 35. You do the math. There is nothing so powerful as relationships founded in adolescence. Raina loves Craig into existence and vice versa. The ache of seperation, the thrill of touch - it all makes it here in a totally believable way. Don't get me wrong, I'm still deeply in love with Vivian, but the "I can't exist without her because she is more important than air" feeling of adolescence has long been asssumed. This book put me in touch with those feelings again and allowed me to see youth I work with with renewed light.
Reason #2 - Solitude. Bob Dykstra gave some lectures
at Princeton a few years ago that started with these lines, "I want to suggest in this lecture that adolescence is a necessarily lonely time of life, and that we, as persons interested in serving and guiding young people, should not be too eager to remove their loneliness from them." Dykstra doesn't want us to isolate kids but rather allow for individuals to develop as individuals. We have an obsession with groups, especially youth ministry. While we are all about one on one relationships, we still program primarily for groups. Relationships, even one on one, have the possibility of hindering the Creator from interacting with the created. Blankets has solitude and doesn't candy coat it or explain it away. Loners and individuals are good.
Reason #3 - The fragility of families. Beyond the fundamentalist parents, Thompson has a heart breaking relationship with his brother. As Phil is being lead into another room, innocently thinking that his babysitter has something fun for him to do, Craig remains silent. The drawings should crush you, especially if you are an older brother like me. Likewise, the real difficulties that Raina faces - bitch of an older sister, Down Syndrome sister and brother, parents divorcing with mom absent and dad trying too hard - put a face to the rather bland, "breakdown of family values" talk we so often hear.
Experience the book for your self.
Labels: book review, youth ministry