I was wrong. Prayer walk at the Northfield High School was organized by student Maria Olson

In the discussion attached to my Sept. 1 blog post, Dan Clites organizes a prayer walk at the Northfield High School; it’s a Trojan Horse, two Northfielders pointed out that the prayer walk was organized by Northfield High School student Maria Olson.

Brent Bielenberg wrote:

I hesitated to write into this blog, but I did feel that there are some wrong facts in your reporting of the prayer meeting that need to be brought to light.

First, it was not Dan Clites, Rejoice!, or TN that organized this prayer walk at the school. It was a 16 year old junior girl who attends Emmaus that organized it. In fact, the same thing was done last year around the same time of year, also organized by her. She called me (I am the youth pastor at Rejoice!) a week before the date to ask if we would promote it via our email and our website. I believe she called other churches including her own and did the same. She told me it was opened to youth, parents and anyone else who would like to pray for the school. Afterwards, they were invited to her house for a bonfire. I was not there because I forgot (great youth pastor) but it also was not one of my youth leading the group and technically not a Rejoice! youth function.

The only connection she has to TN and Rejoice is that I went to school with her dad. Their family attends Emmaus and they have never attended a TN meeting. This is a pretty typical youth group activity in many cities throughout the US and world…

David Henson wrote:

Griff, I appreciate your blog but you are in left field here. The girl who organized the prayer walk this is a friend of my wife’s and very sweet. Her father has a campus mission to St Olaf…

In retrospect, I should have inquired further once I saw the video of the prayer walk posted on Northfield Patch. The accompanying text to the video got it right:

Maria Olson - Northfield Patch videoMaria Olson, a soon-to-be Northfield High School junior, organized a prayer walk Friday night that took place outside of the school.

Several members from various church congregations joined her in praying for the students, teachers and school in the coming year.

My apologies to Maria.

15 thoughts on “I was wrong. Prayer walk at the Northfield High School was organized by student Maria Olson”

  1. Griff,

    I have been around the Christian community a lot since getting married and I think in general they are less materialistic than average and the media in our country runs on the sponsorship of businesses interesting in selling more “material.” For this reason the media tends to focus on extreme Christian individuals and positions that while minor in Christianity create conflict within society. Homosexuality is a good example. Male homosexuality is mentioned in the bible negatively (female I am not sure is mentioned at all) but is treated no differently than heterosexual promiscuity. Abortion, never addressed specifically in the bible, is another example. These issues are not obsessions at churches and are being shaped as much by the media as by Christians.

    My thought is, in addition to just furthering these stereotypes, the alternative media might want to explore other aspects of Christianity. There are some 38,000 denominations all who have a different focus on the biblical text and live that out in different ways.

    1. David H. Regarding your characterization of the media.

      Lawyers and the media.

      They are two of a kind.

      Both make their money

      Off conflict and crime.

      Perhaps to have peace.

      We need to be mindful.

      Of their agendas and motives.

      And that they may not be helpful.

    1. David L, I was tempted to apologize to Dan Clites but thus far, have decided to resist that temptation!

      As I previously mentioned, he didn’t mention Maria in his website announcement about the prayer walk. Nor did he mention her to me in my 30 minutes of arguing with him at the event. So I’m suspicious.

      I’m convinced that he intends to follow the Elk River/Ed Silvoso/Chuck Ripka/Rick Hereen blueprint for getting his type of prayer into the public schools and other public institutions. If he would totally and publicly disavow this, then I’d be inclined to apologize.

      1. Griff- Are you really serious about this?

        …getting his type of prayer into the public schools and other public institutions.

        That seems like establishment of a state acceptable religion.

      2. John, no, sorry for the confusion. I’m not saying that Dan is trying to get any public institutions to officially adopt the practice of prayer.

        The Elk River model is what I’m objecting to.

      3. Griff- That is the way I understood your comment, and that is what is raising my eyebrows. It seems that your objection to the Elk River model (actually, it is just the great commission in Matthew) is that prayer and Christian principles are being introduced into the public sector- schools and government. This is simply a response to the vacuum that has been created over the last few decades with the removal of Christianity from the public sector. It is said that nature abhores a vacuum.

      4. John, it might be best to continue this discussion in the other thread where I just posted this comment about teaching character education and moral values in public schools.

        But I’m curious about Rick Hereen’s presentation at the recent Transformation Northfield prayer breakfast. Did he address the more recent troubles in Elk River with the bank and at the high school?

  2. Hey Griff, I am with David on this one. I think it is Dan Clites you owe the apology. But hey, good effort…even if it started with a “I’d apologize..if only he’d….” I just want you to know, I’m rooting for you Griff….I know you can do it. smile.

    1. Hey, good to have you chiming in here, Nancy. My intervention at the Goodbye Blue Monday evidently worked!

      I can appreciate your “rooting” for me to apologize to Dan. I sure hope you don’t turn that into a prayer. I’d really be conflicted. 😉

Leave a Reply