Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Flowers & Big Weeds...

I guess you could say that AP FLOCK has officially split for the next 3 weeks...

SIDE ONE: The Little Flowers. (a.k.a. the girls... who will actually talk about somewhat profound topics, including ways we've seen Christ acting in our lives, what's been on our hearts, and that crazy thing known as "our future.")

SIDE TWO: The Big Weeds. (a.k.a. the guys... who will most likely discuss how they've felt Christ in their lives while playing Halo on PS3, funny lines from Family Guy, the beauty of the 3D tv, make a giant gum monster with Dubble Bubble, or just wear the gum container as a hat... Oh wait, that's what they did last week...)

It should be pretty successful (at least for side one, that is). And as much as we joke about you guys, we really do love you guys a whole bunch, but it'll be nice to get some deep conversations in without some of the distractions listed above. I guess we'll see how it goes... Little Flowers all the way. St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us. :]

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mom: "So what did you learn at FLOCK tonight?"

Just about every night when I get home from FLOCK, my mom asks something along the lines of, "So what did you guys learn at Flock tonight?" And let's just say that if I told my mom what Lainey said, I'd probably never be seen at youth group ever again... Kidding.

Well, the theme for the night was discipleship. Sara was talking about how we all have our own crosses to bear in life and how we have to live for the Lord in different ways depending on the challenges and obstables we face. Then she said something like, "And guess what? You can cheat. If you see someone else living in a way that you like or doing something that you like, you can steal their idea."

Then she was telling everyone the story of this awesome girl we met at Hope Faith Ministries on Saturday. So there was this woman who had a 9 year old son and they were living out of their car. They didn't have winter coats or really any warm clothing at all. The woman was getting some sweat pants and a coat at the thrift store downstairs, but they didn't have any more pants in her size. So this girl we met had on a really nice pair of like brand new sweatpants... She just took them off (and, yes, she did have shorts on underneath them) and gave them to the woman saying, "Here, you can have mine. I've only worn them like one time and they're really warm." It was absolutely amazinggggg.

So these were both good points that Sara made, but then she was like, "So when your parents ask what you learned tonight, you say..." And that's when Lainey said, "Cheat and take your pants off!"

We laughed for a solid 5 minutes after that comment. :]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"We were meant to live for so much more."

Jersey Shore. Two and a Half Men. The Bachelor.

The list could go on and on of shows that we find hilarious and entertaining. And it’s not just tv, it’s the media in general -- movies, music, internet...... Today’s society is shaping our minds to think that the things we see and hear in today’s culture are normal, acceptable, and appropriate. But are they? Umm, I’d definitely say no.

Are guys in real life anything like Edward Cullen or Jacob Black? Is Prince Charming really going to return my glass slipper from the ball? Is that ugly (yet somehow still somewhat cute) little frog really going to turn into a handsome prince? … Well, society has made children, teenagers, adults, everyone believe (or like to believe) that these perfect fairy tale endings are what we should strive for in our relationships. But the thing is, these relationships aren’t really love. John Paul II explains how there are two levels to an attraction: The first level is the “sexual urge,” where we find pleasure in the others’ qualities. That is the kind of shallow “love” we see in most movies and tv shows these days. But JP2 says we have to “rise above” this initial attraction and see the other person as a person, an actual person, so that we can become a “communion of persons” (us, the other person, and God... Like the Trinity). Until we can actually see that person for who they truly are, inside and out, we aren’t capable of actually loving them as a person.

So, this word “love.” We hear it all the time, we say it all the time, it’s everywhere. So what does love really mean? Well, some of the ways that JP2 describes “authentic love” are: selfless, true kindness, requires responsibility, rises above just the sexual aspect, virtue, friendship, sees the whole person, good will, total commitment, and self-giving. Dang. That scares me a little bit. If those are all the things we should strive for to truly love another, that’s some serious work. At AP Flock, we’d established that love is “truly wishing the best for the other person and helping them be the best person they can be.” Woah. In our discussion, this is where we brought up the aspect of responsibility (after all, the book IS called Love and RESPONSIBILITY). So what does that mean? It means we’re responsible for getting the other person to Heaven, responsible for helping them make good choices, helping them be the best they can be. Woah, again. That’s some serious responsibility right there. A little intimidated? I am.

So basically the point is, we can’t let today’s society make us believe that we should settle for anything less than what God has planned for us. Like the great band Switchfoot says, “We were meant to live for so much more.” We can’t be influenced by choices that we see people make on TV or in movies. Life isn’t like a reality show, it’s better. Because we have the ability to rise above and experience and engage in authentic love.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seriously? How old are we??

Well... Where to even start... ?
We had AP Flock tonight for the first time in quite a while. You know it's going to be good when Joe and Brian walk in together with their hoods up, and Brian just can't seem to stop talking about his brand new Adidas sweat suit (although it is pretty legit, I must say). So as always we started with the good old "happies, crappies, and weirdies" (but for some strange reason, Jane is usually the only one with a good weirdy...). Tonight, Joe had quite the happy -- a pretty extravagant story that went something along the lines of getting kicked out of Walmart and Target, going airborne after driving over a median in a parking lot, looking for cows for an hour, actually going cow tipping, getting chased by an angry herd of cows, his friends running into a barbed wire fence, and probably something else I can't remember. It was pretty fantastic.

Like they always say, "time flies when you're having fun." We must've been having a seriously fun time laughing at each others' stories beacuse before we knew it, we'd spend more than forty five minutes doing happies and crappies. Crazy, I know. So this left us another good forty five minutes to chat about JP2 booklet... And the two sections for the night were "Insecurity, Not Love" and "The Sexual Urge." Might I just say, I don't think I've ever experienced any more awkward "popcorn" reading than tonight. Every time we came across the phrase "sexual urge," Joe and Brian would popcorn back and forth so the conversation went a little something like this:

Brian: "The... Popcorn Joe."
Joe: "S... Popcorn Brian."
Brian: "ex... Popcorn Joe."
Joe: "ual... Popcorn Brian."
Brian: "Urge... Popcorn Joe."
Sara: "How old are we? Four!? Did anyone understand any of that??"

You kind of had to be there to get the full effect, but it was really was pretty hilarious. And in all seriousness, out of our ninety minutes, probably about twenty of them were spent in solid discussion about something other than nicknames for Jane's mom, Brian's dad's new 3D TV, how Sara and Mike are going to have some awesome costumes for their trivia thing on Saturday, how they'll have the Chiefs game on a huge tv during noon mass (she definitely meant to say during the teen lunch after noon mass...), how Kenzie and Justin will actually be at the game, or any other random/awesome things we talked about. So overall, not the most productive of nights, but I'd say we still got some good conversation in about how we can truly love others without using them for our own pleasure. Next week should be interesting, since we're talking about the section "More than Animal Instinct..." 

Oh how I've missed Wednesday nights in the SMA confrence room... :]