We all put stumbling blocks before unbelievers can get to the stumbling block of the cross. Some of these are beyond our control, but others are within our powers of adjustment. The way we appear, our communication styles, attitudes, actions, and histories affect what others “hear” long before they hear the gospel. The faster we recognize this truth, the better we can prepare for for effective proclamation.
During my junior college years, I listened to “College Kids”, by Relient K, on repeat:
Someone, please save us, us college kids!
What my parents told me is what I did
They said, “Go to school and be a college kid.”
But, in the end, I questioned why I did
I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I knew I wanted more than the part time restaurant job I was working. Surely there was more to life than general level college courses, commuting, and serving food/busing tables. Add on top of that friends moving away for school, girls/dating, and not being sure of who I was in the church (or the church having a clue of who I was)… this was a huge transitory time for me.
(Oh no!) Not for me, not for me
Call it torture, call it university
(No!) Arts and Crafts is all I need
I’ll take calligraphy and then I’ll make a fake degree
I am thankful for those that God stirred up and called into my life during that time. He is faithful. I just didn’t always see His faithfulness as I clearly do now in retrospect. Little did I know that He was preparing me for bigger things. Bigger things like:
- Moving away from all that I ever knew (family, friends, etc.).
- Texas. TEXAS. The shock of Southern/Bible Belt culture.
- My wife. I met her within a month of moving/going to school.
For those in this period of transition, the church (as a whole) does little to help with the confusion. Once students leave the comfort and safety of the youth group, they are launched into church oblivion. This oblivion is somewhere between graduating high school and marriage. The church, inadvertently, preaches that marriage is the pinnacle; once married, growing a family becomes the next prize to be won. But where does that leave those in college? Forgotten.
Eighty grand later, I found out that all that I had learned
Is that you should show up to take your finals and your mid-terms
The party scene is kind of mean; I think it’s sick and twisted
The Navy showed up at my door and claimed that I enlisted
Some churches see the need and build college, young professional, and singles ministries (all of these are totally different ministries that should not be paired together) to bridge the gap till marriage. I am thankful for churches who see this need.
College kids want to be recognized, listened to, and accepted in the church. They do not want to be treated as second-class citizens who serve as babysitters. Nor do they want to be treated as the “forgotten”, in-between singleness and marriage. We, as the Church, have to do more. We need to change the messages we are silently/subtly preaching through our actions. We also need to point to the stable foundation that is Scripture. College students are hungry for truth (scripture), faith that has depth, and delicious food. And maybe even a chance to come over, hang out, and wash their clothes.
We can do better. I’ve learned that Satan speaks into the silent places the church doesn’t. So let us speak and do.
Beyond thumbing through Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life at my brother’s house, my exposure to his work has been limited. Bruce Ashford, writing for The Gospel Coalition, wrote a piece titled “Jordan Peterson: High Priest for a Secular Age“. I found this Peterson quote to be interesting:
The Bible is, for better or worse, the foundational document of Western civilization (of Western values, Western morality, and Western conceptions of good and evil). It’s the product of processes that remain fundamentally beyond our comprehension. The Bible is a library composed of many books, each written and edited by many people. It’s a truly emergent document—a selected, sequenced, and finally coherent story written by no one and everyone over many thousands of years. The Bible has been thrown up, out of the deep, by the collective human imagination, which itself is the product of unimaginable forces operating over unfathomable spans of time. Its careful, respectful study can reveal things to us about what we believe and how we do and should act that can be discovered in almost no other matter. (104)
As a History / Political-Science major, I was excited over the launch of Assassins Creed III. I even pre-ordered the game (a rarity for me). When all was said and done though, Assassins Creed III was a disappointment. So many ideas, poorly executed, with a game engine that couldn’t do the heavy lifting those ideas required. The end result was a buggy, slow-running mess, and I quit.
The upcoming PS4 remaster of Assassins Creed III has me intrigued. I’m wondering if the game engine has been upgraded? I’d love to play through this period of history. Maybe protagonist Connor has been given some hugs/love to help with his sour disposition? Maybe not. I guess we’ll soon see.
We minimize and reject portions of the story God is telling through our lives. Stuffing those experiences, those moments we don’t want to talk about, away.
Wounds become scabs. Ready to be made raw at a moments notice. A simple comment made; A scene from a TV show. Pain discovered anew.
Walking grief is the new norm. We don’t even know that we are living in this manner, sick. Ignoring the bigger story God is weaving. Denying that pain has occurred. Until one day, someone speaks truth. Giving light to the darkest depths of anguish.
Expectations rule us. We perceive that others do not want to hear what we are going through.
“They are sick and tired of us talking about this,” we say.
A pit of lies.
And yet we live in denial of the story being written. Telling God that He is not there in that moment. While failing to realize that He has never left.
It’s jarring to read about video games one day and then infertility the next. It’s uncomfortable.
Welcome to JohnnyBGamer.
2015 has been a roller coaster year.
Should Men Put Video Games Away As “Childish Things” For Their Wives / Girlfriends?
I have known countless guys who have given up their favorite hobby due to a spouse or girlfriend disapproving– I am sure that this is true for the female species as well. Once upon a time, these guys enjoyed playing video games. They used them to drop stress levels, rest, and relax. For some reason though, chemistry, the alignment of the stars, who knows, they end up coupling with someone who disapproves/looks down upon their hobby. So they have to quit, have to walk away from something they love to be in love.
We’ve Been Real With One Another
Longing For That Missing Person
Social media is filled with photos of babies. Beautiful children who are all snugly and cute. While I am excited for my friends and family who are pregnant, there is always this void that gnaws at my soul.
We’ve Shared In The Joys Of Parenting
Best part of our day was in the backyard. Wyatt wanted to go outside and play Transformers. So we each picked a weapon. I grabbed a foam sword, he grabbed a Nerf gun. Somehow we never got around to playing. Wyatt was too concerned with making up rules, structure, to our play. I got bored. So I grabbed his gun and took off. There were tears over my dual wielding weapons.
“You can’t have two!”
We’ve Read Some Great Books
Scary Close – Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy
I first discovered Donald Miller in college. I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t sure about my Christian faith anymore. There was a disconnect between the Christians I read about in the Bible and the Christians I met everyday. Tired of the hypocrisy, I found honesty in Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. Someone was finally writing from a perspective that felt authentic. God used Miller’s words to remind me of the freedom we have in Christ; He used Donald Miller to bring me back to Him.
We’ve Called Each Other To More
A Call: Moving Beyond Artificial Relationships
Surface level relationships will never go beyond the surface. Diving equipment, time invested in person, allows us to get to know one another better. Being purposeful in our pursuit, this is key. We have to make time to have time to spend with others; We have to get over ourselves, move beyond technology.
An invitation to go for a walk, time set aside to enjoy nature and listen. Spending the lunch hour eating with a friend. Time invested. Physical time. We need more of this. We need to do this.
I’m not sure of the places we’ll go in 2016. But we can explore, share, and be real together. Here is to another great year. Happy New Year!
“He thinks he is a god.”
Have you ever had one of those conversations that validates everything you’ve ever thought about a situation and yet bugs you to no end? I had one of those this weekend.
While truth was spoken, biases and human perspective muddled the exchange.
If I have learned anything over the years, I have learned that:
- A person is a person no matter how they talk, treat, or otherwise engage you. This is a hard one, but as a Christian I believe that we have all been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This requires us to treat those who treat us poorly with a measured level of respect.
- Villainizing a person due to them holding you to a higher standard than you are used to is a coping mechanism. Do great work from the start. Don’t cut corners. Don’t try and cheat your way through a job by using slight of hand.
- Most importantly, sympathizing with someone over a tough situation is okay. A kind word goes a long way.
Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24