Learning to curate

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Learning to curate

May 19, 2022 - Mark Turman

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Our mission is to help mobilize a movement of culture-changing Christians whom God can use to ignite the next Great Awakening.

Culture-changing Christians:

  • have a healthy relationship with God,
  • understand the times we live in (culture),
  • and seek ways to use their influence for God’s glory and people’s good.

In short, they are seeking to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13–16) with, through, and for Christ Jesus by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

One way we are seeking to accomplish this mission is to connect believers to biblical, cultural, and practical truth. Our desire is to serve as a credible filter in this information age, to help pastors, leaders, and believers get to the best materials to equip them to equip others.

In this way, we are seeking to be curators.

What does it mean to curate?

Until today, I thought curators only worked in museums. I like museums, at least many of them.

There is an inside joke about my family dragging me out of the Oklahoma Bombing Museum and The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas that retells the story of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, six months after I was born.

A few years ago, I found the 9/11 Museum in New York so intensely moving that I had to leave after an hour.

Maybe there’s a theme here!

I looked up the word curate.

The first definition is “a member of the clergy in charge of a parish” and “person charged with the care of souls.” It’s not a word we use in most evangelical churches but one we should claim nonetheless.

The broader and more typical meaning today is “one who has the care and superintendence of something” such as a museum or a zoo. Okay, you can stop running now to the comparisons between your church and a museum or a zoo!

3 curated suggestions

In seeking to curate for you I want to offer three things.

First, our ministry called Christian Parenting is led by my new friend and coworker, Jill Jefferson. You’ll find a multitude of great resources for your family and church.

One thing I love about it is the Christian Parenting Podcast Network. I love good podcasts, and I love magnifying the voices of people who are doing great things in Christ’s name. Jill has assembled twenty-five quality podcasts! Her goal is simply “to offer a quality podcast for parents at every stage.” Check it out and share it with your people! The ChristLife (John 10:10) begins at home (See Deuteronomy 6).

The second recommendation I have is also a podcast, the Good Faith podcast hosted by David French and Curtis Chang.

Chang is a former pastor who now leads a ministry called Redeeming Babel. French is a former religious liberty lawyer turned cultural analyst. The most recent episode was a compelling interview with Kara Powell, the executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Seminary. This was an important and insightful discussion about the rapid rise of anxiety and depression among America’s teens. (Denison Forum associate editor Mark Legg has also written on this topic in “Why are teens sadder, lonelier, and more depressed than ever?“)

One tool Powell offered was how to talk to a teenager about anxiety. Parents, youth pastors, and youth workers can follow this simple ABCD strategy.

  • Ask: Ask your teen, “On a scale of one to ten, how anxious are you feeling?”
  • Breath: Teens need training on how to control their physical and mental responses in the moment when anxiety and panic are rising.
  • Center on Truth: Help anxious teens think through the issues they are facing, offer up facts calmly, and then guide them toward God’s truth and promises in the Bible.
  • Develop a team of fellowship: Anxiety grows in isolation. As Jim Denison reminds us, “isolation and independence are spiritual suicide.” Fellowship is a core purpose of the church (Acts 2:42). Koinonia, the Greek word for fellowship, means “a caring gathering.” That’s something every pastor prays and works for his church to be. How urgent is the need even among the youngest among us!

Last, I learned in a fresh way from my friend Steve Smith the difference between sympathy and empathy.

Sympathy is shallower. You can tell when someone is just being sympathetic if you share a hurt or fear and their response starts with “At least___________”.

It’s better when we empathize with others when they share a hurt or a fear and respond with something like what Powell offered in the podcast, “That stinks but I think you can handle it.”

There’s lots to learn and lots to share. I hope these are helpful to you this week.

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