Archive for April, 2009

“It’s been some time since we last spoke, this is gonna’ sound like a bad joke…”

April 28, 2009

This morning was the last chapel of the semester and our speaker was Coach Don Meyer. Not only does he have the most wins as a coach in NCAA division 1 history, he received most of those wins here at Lipscomb University. He spoke briefly about character, growing up and about the people you surround yourself with, and during his speech, he cited three types of people that you want in your life: a “Paul” type, someone who is older with experience to mentor you and help guide you in life, a “Barnabas” type, someone who is the same age as yourself and helps keep an eye on you and hold you accountable, and lastly a “Timothy” type, someone who is younger than you that you can help teach and mentor.

In retrospect, I don’t suppose that I previously realized that I have these types of people in my life. Scott has certainly been the biggest influence in my life of practical, daily Christian living; he is four years older than me and it has been my blessing to have his friendship and wisdom as a resource in times of need. Jeremy and I have been friends since middle school and I sometimes wonder where my life would have gone if he had not been my friend from 7th grade all the way through graduating from Darton College back in Albany. Stephen reminds me so much of myself at a younger age, he has his passions and ideas, and he longs for peace in certain areas of his life, while at the same time having a strong love of a good fight. In Stephen, I get to see some of the lessons that God was trying to teach me when I was his age, and I get to learn simply by helping mentor him through life.

God calls us to family, harmony and fellowship with other believers. I can’t help but think that it is for this kind of mentor/student relationship that we truly benefit as people when learning from each other; not simply just in our small groups with people who are the same age as us or with those who are in the same stage in their life, but people who are where we want to be, people who are with us now, and people who are standing where we once stood.

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“Head under water and you tell me to breathe easy for a while.”

April 21, 2009

                In the news recently there has been some ruckus over the comments that Miss California made concerning Homosexual marriage rights. If you are unaware, during the Miss America Pageant, Judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, asked if Miss California believed in gay marriage, she said, “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

                “I was floored,” Hilton told ABCNews.com Monday. “I haven’t said this before, but to her credit, I applaud her for her honesty. However, she is not a politician; she’s a hopeful Miss USA. Miss USA should represent everyone. Her answer alienated millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their families and their supporters.”

                I would ask Mr. Hilton, “If there was a chance that you wouldn’t like her answer, why would you ask her a loaded question?” I think it is horribly unfair to the contestant, Miss Carrie Prejean, that he ask a question of a sensitive nature and then penalize her when she gives an answer to contradict the one that he wanted to hear. I have never cared much for beauty pageants; I think they are silly and pointless, but I do acknowledge that the idea of Miss America, or any pageant for that matter, is to represent what that country believes and embodies. The majority of this country does not believe in recognizing marriage as that of anything other than a man and a woman, and while I do understand how certain minorities may be upset at this idea, welcome to the fundamental principle of Democracy.

                As long as this country has existed, whether for good or bad, it has been run by the majority. My own opinion of Homosexual rights withstanding, if a state or a person disagrees with your own minority view, don’t be offended, you are in the minority after all. It seems to me that this judge cost Miss California the title of Miss America, all for the sake of not being “his” Miss America, but in his pride, he fails as a judge. Judges should be fair and unbiased, hence why they are chosen as the person who presides over the case or contest. I would make comment about the Mr. Hilton’s profession being that of a gossip blogger; He spends his life talking about other people’s business, but I won’t chase that white rabbit in this particular blog.

                Now, I don’t want it misunderstood that I “hate” homosexuals. I’m not going to say that I have best friends who are homosexual, but I certainly have had many acquaintances over the years who subscribe to that way of life, I did work at the GAP for 3 years after all. I’m not homophobic and I don’t “gay bash”, but I do disagree with that lifestyle choice. That doesn’t make me or anyone else who agrees with me a bigot, narrow minded or hateful; it simply means that I don’t agree with that viewpoint.

“What exactly do you say, all the time that I’m away?”

April 21, 2009

Lately the idea of fellowship has been on my mind a lot. I know that right now college is exactly what I am supposed to be doing, and I cannot begin to describe how much of a blessing that Lipscomb has already been to me. I’ve made some good friends here in Nashville, and while I know that I will miss them over the summer, I’m really looking forward to being home and seeing those that I’m closest with.

Albany, GA is home to me. As Han Solo says in Star Wars, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.” Albany is small and run down in places, even downright dangerous in some parts of town regardless of the time of day, but it is where my family is. Now when I say family, I mean those that I am related to by blood and my closest of friends, you know the kinds of people you can be completely honest with about anything and everything.

I thought yesterday how the early church must have been similar to this idea; after all, they were meeting in small groups in people’s home sharing meals with one another, bound by a common, fledgling faith. They must have been very close and open with one another about their thoughts, ideas and emotions. How much easier would it have been to confess to one another when something weighed heavy on their souls or comfort one another in times of heart ache and pain in a setting like that?

Our churches today are still called to that same kind of fellowship and love, in the same way we are called to comfort our “family” and to confess our pains and sins to one another. Don’t we all want to tell the people we are closest to all the things that we are going through in our life?

“I’m on my way, you’re here to stay, I’m on my way and you’re okay.”

Well Intentioned Dragons, part 2

April 20, 2009

Reading this book has brought me to occasional points of outright irritation with the people mentioned in these stories. My pride is offended at the idea of someone outside of my close-knit circle telling me what to do and when to do it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that we let the bickering and politics of a few run some of our churches into the ground. My Scottish heritage stirs my will and desire to fight when I think about experiences like this; I have after all been through something similar to these stories in a church before.

Recently in class however, Dr. Black, one of my Bible professors here at Lipscomb, was leading a discussion on politics in the church and he sighted Acts 21 in which Paul seemingly jumped through hoops for some fellow Jewish believers. The same Paul who is characterized by his no non-sense approach to ministry and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is showing a sign of good faith to the Jews at the time by participating in a Nazarene vow (Numbers 6 for anyone interested in reading up on the subject of a Nazarene vow).

After listening to their questions and concerns that to me seem worthless and unimportant, Paul goes along willingly with no complaint. I know that my first reaction would have been to simply walk away from them and to blow them off in the same way I would a telemarketer; so I ask myself, much like chapter 7 of Well-Intentioned Dragons, when are the people critiquing you right in their critiques? Are we not supposed to listen quickly and slow to speak and be angry?

No one likes to be told that they are wrong, no matter the situation, but I know that I could take it a step further and listen not only with a more receptive heart, but a less deaf ear. As the book phrases it, we should consider the spirit in which the criticism is given and be patient with those speaking to us regardless of the subject matter…yes, even the telemarketers.

“perfect boys with their perfect lies, nobody wants to hear you sing about tragedy.”

April 15, 2009

I recently spoke with a female friend of mine here at school about her break-up with her boyfriend. She talked about how broken hearted that she was and about how much she thought that this guy was the one. I sympathized greatly to say the least. After we had finished our coffee and I had returned home for the evening, I thought about what she had said, and about relationships in general. Do we as people see what we want to see in other people, hoping that our fantasy will become reality?

I know that people are made for relationships, God said himself that it wasn’t good that man be alone, so He made woman, but why do we constantly go into interpersonal communication with our guard down? We are imperfect people dealing with other imperfect people, so why should we not expect to be hurt by other greedy, selfish people. Maybe God has allowed our relationships to become this way to show us what it is like for Him to deal with us…

“You have turned my mourning into dancing.”

April 12, 2009

 I sometimes think about the idea of being a part of God’s story. From the first testament (old) to the second testament (new), this idea of a divine meta-narrative can be seen, one in which God pursues His people not for any reason other than He loves us unconditionally. In the All-Father’s divine man-hunt, He even goes so far as to send Jesus to earth; a move that He knew would end painfully but was nonetheless for the best of all involved.

Jesus, while in his time in this frail mortal coil, loves all, serves people, meets needs, heals the sick and even teaches those around him to do the same. He does all of these awesome things only to be sentenced to death by the very people he came to enlighten and redeem, and not only that, but he is deserted by his closest friends in the time when he needs them the most. Peter himself, often the most outspoken and dramatic of the disciples, denies Christ three times as Jesus is being put on trial for his fabricated crimes.

None of this should be new to most people; we have all heard the Sunday school stories of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but today while in Easter service at a church here in Nashville I heard something that I had never really considered before. Obviously Peter felt guilt and shame over his actions, I think it is safe to say that anyone normal person would, but how awesome is it that for both him and the rest of creation, that God’s story does not end there. It doesn’t end on a low note, not with shame and failure, but with joy and newness of life. The resurrection story is like that of our own spiritual lives, we might fail and fall flat on our faces, even to the point of outright brokenness, but God gives us a another chance to say that we love Him, every single time we screw up without fault, forever and ever amen! Peter’s story is that of every person, from Adam to Israel and down to us in our everyday lives, but even yet still while we were sinners, Christ still died for us.

Happy Easter you say? It is a Happy Easter indeed. Hallelujah.