In Theory:

The first decade of the 21st century has come to a close. For you, what has been the most memorable experience of these first 10 years of the 2000s? What advice can you share with our readers to make this new year and decade a prosperous one?

The Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian: I cannot believe the first decade of the 21st century is coming to a close.

My belief is to live our lives, not perfectly, but to contemplate what we can do to be history makers. What legacy can we leave behind?

The most memorable experiences I have had in the first 10 years of the 2000s are in regard to raising my children to serve God.

My service to the Lord changed from individual to mentoring when I had children. I decided to integrate being a mom who served, to also demonstrating to them how to serve, modeling it, making it enjoyable and part of who they are.

Jesus told us to create disciples. My children would sit in their baby seats and watch as I practiced for services, had worship practice, would be around other members of my congregation as they visited our home, sat in the front pew when I preached or did a baptism, came to weddings I performed, and family funerals as they got older. They would take meals to people’s homes with me and pray when people were in need, sit in the room as I wrote worship music on the piano, and began to write their own at a young age. My oldest daughter sat through seminary classes at Fuller with me after getting an ice cream in the cafeteria — she loved it. We had fun doing these things together; it has became who we are simply because it was modeled. Mom was always close for hugs and encouragement, and it just became an element of our lives.

Today, my 10-year-old and I did a 45-minute devotional together — initiated by her. We picked a scripture to memorize, read it, then studied its meaning. We each got a sticker once we mastered it. We prayed together, and I thanked God for the blessing of my children seeking me out to learn even more about God. I truly attribute it to modeling, as Deuteronomy 4:9 tells parents to do.--The REV. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN is a marriage and family therapist at Vie Counseling Center in Pasadena. Reach her at (626) 351-9616, Ext. 181, or by e-mail at kimberlie.zakarian@gmail.com.


The Rev. Amy Pringle: Perhaps the most extraordinary moment of the decade was that toward its end, an election was won by someone using the campaign slogan “Yes we can!” when, clearly, so much that had happened in the decade had said “No, we can’t. We thought we could and we thought we were; but it turns out we’re not and we can’t.”

Many fine and wonderful things happened this decade. But overall, the bottom dropped out from under us, as Americans. Things we thought we knew, about our safety, our moral prestige in the world, our status as richest and happiest place on Earth, were all brought into question, if not toppled outright.

Natural disasters shook the planet, and came to places we know. And trouble leaped off the pages of the newspaper and raged through our living rooms, as our own jobs disappeared, and mortgages were threatened, and savings and pensions were lost.

But after all that was said and done — while it was still in fact happening — someone came along, toward the close of the decade, and mentioned hope. And while we had every right to sneer — and some did — a lot of us cocked our heads and listened.

Hope, you say?

Why yes, I believe I will. I think I do have another Camelot in me, somewhere.

I am an unabashed fan of President Obama; but even if you’re not, you’ve got to admit that it’s extraordinary that someone — anyone — could win an election in this country at the end of this decade with all its disasters, based on a strategy of hope.

Remember the old “Star Trek” series, and how it always seemed to end with some cheesy Captain Kirk speech about how the human spirit can’t be defeated, no matter how overwhelming the odds? I thought it was as silly as the idea that you could flip open a little box and talk to someone through it.

This decade has proven me wrong, on both points.

Here, then, is my thought and prayer for a new year and a new decade — Hope is possible. Yes, it is.--The REV. AMY PRINGLE is rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in La Cañada. Reach her at (818) 790-3323, ext. 11.


The Rev. Clifford L. "Skip" Lindeman: For me, the most significant thing that happened was the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in 2001. We are still feeling the effects of that attack, whether we’re flying on an airplane or staying at home. That attack — as well as the attempted terrorist attack that occurred on Christmas Day — has brought home the reality that there is a segment out there which really doesn’t like America or Americans very much. That segment consists of radical Muslims, a small percentage of Muslims worldwide. But that small percentage has made so many of us suspicious of all all Muslims, and that suspicion is a tragedy in itself.

I am reminded of what it must have felt like for so many Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941; most were patriotic Americans, but we as a country were suspicious of anybody who might be a Japanese sympathizer. It has to be tough to be a patriotic American Muslim these days.

As for what I recommend for prosperity in 2010, I haven’t a clue! I am not an economist nor a financial wizard. If I were, do you think I’d be a preacher?

But, seriously, as the biblical prophets urged, put first things first. What they meant was to get right with God before anything else. Jesus put it this way: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). In other words, trust God first, and God will supply what you need — maybe not what you want, but what you need!

Happy new year!--The REV. CLIFFORD L. “SKIP” LINDEMAN is pastor of La Cañada Congregational Church. Reach him at (818) 790-1185.


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