Week 3, Day One

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     For those of you who did not know, I spent yesterday not doing homework and rather, moshing and raving at Juice Jam 2014. What is that? Its just one of those School-sponsored Syracuse Parties where popular, or in this case, unknown artists come to Sktop Hill south of campus and just play bass-inundating beats with little or no real musical quality. Is it good? Ehh. Is it fun? Hell, yeah. 

     Being my first, yes first, experience with the party culture at Syracuse (apart from my stumbling, bleary-eyed friends at 1am all last week), I was partially caught up in the revelry that came with secondhand weed, thumping bass, and yes, bodies jumping up and down knocking into one another, but i also was partially shocked at the minimal pleasure I derived from it. Is this what everyone defines as the pinnacle of entertainment. Now I look back, and can’t help but think about all the plausible (and superior) alternatives.

     At about 4:15 pm, I left Juice Jam because I remembered I had church to go to. I said goodbye to my friends, half of whom were drunk, explained why I was leaving, and got on the shuttle back to campus. We laughed over the juxtaposition of events that made up my day, and I felt rather happy that I was completely comfortable going to church less than an hour after dancing with 4000 other people 60% of whom were high, drunk, in crop tops, or all three. Seems like what Jesus woulda done.

     So Week 3, Day One: I’m a little tired, I was up till 11:30 (which is early, I get it) because my pastor played Anchorman 2 in his backyard last night. Another vote in favor of Sinner-Centered Christiandom. I feel pretty good about the week though, maybe I’ll stay on top of my tasks this time around.

I like this life; its pretty posh, and I think if I do it right, I might be able to make an impact to those around me. 

Peace.

Calvin and Hobbes – Waiting for Godot

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This is a creative project that I made after finishing the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. The main characters in the play, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) are two hapless beings caught waiting for a man (Godot) who never appears. The span of the play consists of Didi and Gogo doing nothing other than sitting by a tree and considering the meaning of existence. Their situation reminded me of my childhood love, the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. The two characters go through absurd situations (a lot more than Didi and Gogo do), but their outlook is much the same: contemplative and existentialist. Moreover, many strips consist of the two sitting beneath a tree, conversing about the issues of life. Calvin often complains about the faults of the world, even the lack of entertainment in the summer. In this way, he is like Estragon, who refrains, “Nothing to be done,”. Hobbes is optimistic and the sage, just like Vladimir. Hobbes consistently is encouraging Calvin to see the brighter side of life. Here’s an example of Watterson’s genius:

NothingDays.jpg

What I did, was integrate the two stories. The characters in Godot are known for their bowler hats, as well as Gogo for his bare feet. And of course, the refrain “Nothing to be done,” drives the point home.

Here it is:

C&H - WaitforGodot

Position affects perspective

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Position is a funny thing. Where you stand has so much impact on your perspective. #DeepThoughtOfTheDay
Just coming back from my four-week-vacation-marathon, I’ve found my old world, my home, feels foreign.
I was sitting on the couch, checking up on my social media when I had the sudden realization that I must be behind schedule because of my laziness. I felt my pulse quicken and I resisted the urge to leap up and act immediately.

What am I supposed to be doing right now?

Nothing. Really, I had nothing to do. But because I had just spent a month reviewing my every action with a schedule, I felt like I was doing something wrong. In that position, I felt melancholy. I missed my friends who I had worked with, and I missed incessant activity. Last month, I was loving life.
In the same way, going to church was a surreal experience. I felt like I had no time for hearing about ministry, I wanted to do it. Again, after two weeks studying and practicing ministry, I say “It’s time to go!”. I have a new perspective.
Now here’s the crux, if you have a new perspective; do you strive to regain your first viewpoint, or do you embrace the new one?
When a man gets a new coat, he rejects the old and puts on his new one. He would be crazy to refuse a new coat and cling to his old one. Moreover, no natural man would not show everyone he knew his great new coat.
If you have a new perspective; pursue it! Tell everyone you know that you are new.

Identity Theft

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Identity is who we are, so obviously, then, it is our most personal trait. Who we define ourselves as must be our deepest, darkest, most whole definition of our existence; and in one way it’s true. Who we sculpt ourselves to be affects our existence, surely, but is it our identity? No.
As inhabitants of this world, we are the war-torn children of this spiritual age. We are children of God, yet made delinquent by Sin and misdeed. Our identity is clouded and stolen by our pride, bigotry, hate, and self-worth.

Our identity is a child of God, our Creator. Ideally we would accept this, take it as the foundation that it is and hold fast. Unfortunately, we are broken by our brokenness, and immobilized by our insecurity.

Before we take hold of Jesus, we are lost, obliviously taken by the rule and reign of earthly power and our identity is hidden. But by beautiful sacrifice Jesus frees us and binds up our wounds; and in that moment, he reminds us of who we are: Sons and Daughters of a loving King.
When Jesus’ presence falls on us we see it as a new stain on our clothes. It is a mark that will draw too much attention and make people stare. It will effectively embarrass us. In an attempt to hamper embarrassment we wipe and scratch and rub at the stain, but what good does it do?

Imagine spilling ketchup on our white shorts. You can rub all you want, but it will do nothing but make things look worse.

Now think about society’s definition of a Christian. Do you see a person who claims broadly about knowing God, but wipes away their knowledge when you ask a question? I do. And it makes me sick.

My challenge for you and I is to live all in, and forget about hiding our greatest gift; if necessary, forget about what people think. I want to be a Jesus-follower: I want to do the stuff and answer the hard questions.

So begins the outpouring

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Bill Hybels, in his book Creative Leadership, writes,

“Vision leaks…”

So too does one’s relationship with Jesus, one’s openness to the Holy Spirit, and one’s leadership strategy.
I’m here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for my fourth year at Project Timothy. (PT is a Christian teen leadership boot camp.) I cannot wait to hear what God has to say and what I can do, therefore, I’m going to be posting my thoughts here. Whether they be profound, profoundly un-so, or somewhere in the middle, I’m keeping you updated.

Me-Day

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My birthday is coming up, and in the last few weeks I’ve decided there are two ideas about Birthdays. One is held by 99% of society, and the other is held by me and another select few. The commonly associated belief about one’s birthday is that it’s your day. You can choose the meal, the activity, and in return, everyone else would be ecstatic to give you a gift. It’s my Me-Day. Sweet, right?

Over the years, my mom continues to jocularly insist that my birthday is about her. I won’t get into all the gory details of her argument, but she believes it to have adequately enough truth for the point to be made. She says it’s her day.

Now most of us would choose to agree with the former ideology, quickly laughing off the latter in the hope that she’s not really serious, and doesn’t expect us to buy her gifts. Personally, I’ve accepted it as correct for all of my life. For the last few weeks I have handed out birthday wish lists, thrown obvious hints among my family members to much hilarity, and come to the overall conclusion that “Me-Day” is coming.

That is, until I heard the most recent rendition of my mom’s humor. It set my mind into motion, questioning what made our culture decide we need a day for our personal laudatory servitude? I conceded that I wanted one, but in the realm of pure objectivity, it’s my mother who bore me, why doesn’t she get any praise on Me-Day? Why doesn’t my True Creator, who knitted me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13 ESV), get an annual day of abject adoration?

In the grand scheme of things, it’s wrong that we forget to. I tried to get that in my head in the recent days, and I’ve found that I am happy. I realize that I love my family. And I am just as happy to come home to them, spend an evening with them, and worship our God together. I do not think Me-Day is for everyone in my life to celebrate me, it’s for me to celebrate everyone in my life.

Be Majestic

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Don’t we all just want to be majestic? Don’t we all want to stand at the prow of our metaphorical ship and look out, undaunted by the torrents and waves and pirates we will inevitably face? When i look at the picture at the top of this page, it think that. It think of majesty.

By the way, the picture is from Cranberry Lake at 7am (I woke up waay before the rest of my family and took pictures … Such is my life) The picture is of a waterlogged tree stump that was nested in the water, and it was just chilling, so I took some cool pictures.

I think we all have capacity for greatness, but that–like the questionably true concept that we use a fractional amount of our brains–we don’t activate what’s in us. My belief that God is the controller for that release. That we are incomplete without his Holy Spirit, and we thirst for ‘the greatness water bottle’ without Him.

I’m a straight-A’s student, I try for greatness in every class, even the ones I hate. (Ironically, those are usually my best grades.) This tends to lead to some confusion on my part, when I try asking God what I should do for the day, or for college, or for a career.

I have been taking a high-level, extracurricular science class, and even though science is nowhere near my top career choice, I’ve found my self really enjoying it. On Saturday, I went and spent three hours ‘practicing’ food sciences. Translation: I made a loaf of bread and fudge from scratch. It was so much fun and it was totally abnormal from what I would have expected a fun Saturday to be. I had to sit in a classroom, listen to the application of chemistry (I hate that stuff), and extrovert (which is my repurposed noun as verb to describe meeting and conversing with people I have never met or chosen to talk with previously). In theory, it would be something I would dislike and choose to ignore God for a while because of it. I effectuation, it was a highlight of my week!

Coming home, it made me wonder what i should do, since I realized I could really succeed in the sciences or in culinary school. This irritated me, since writing was where I had focused the most. God can’t just change that– it’s distracting!

The inner turmoil hasn’t reconciled yet, obviously since i can’t even finish that train of thought. The reality is though, that I can’t do it on my own. I need the Holy Sprit not only to focus my skills, but also to be able to sit on the prow of that ship and sail in the direction He wants me to go. I need the Holy spirit to be great.