Thursday, October 28, 2010

My New Life Motto


            Wow..... I haven’t written anything on this stupid website in a month...  Not that I ever wrote more than three things anyways…  So much has happened to me over the last month, I no longer feel like a new student here at SNU.  I’m here and I’m working hard at being more “studious”, trying not to fall into my old lazy ways that I loved so much.  I started interning too!! I love my church, Choctaw Church of the Nazarene, but it’s this new intern job that’s made me think of my own position in an ever developing debate, that occurs between a fat man and a skinny lady inside my head…  The two sides always seem to be polar opposites; nobody from the left ever agrees with the right, there is no middle ground…

Is it better to have a big youth group, or a small one?

            The answer is yes.  Which doesn’t make any sense, but at the same time neither does the question.  Why would either side necessarily be a negative?  On the side of small youth groups the argument is that the smaller the group, the more intimate you can be with your students’ walk with Christ, which I find to be true to an extent.  But on the side of big groups, isn’t our calling as youth pastors one of evangelism? Even if we view big youth groups as evil things that inspire distractions and a lack of realistic Christian development, shouldn’t we at least acknowledge the fact that as ministers we are supposed to be attracting new members to Christ’s Kingdom?  Besides, what would you do if 300 extra kids showed up at the front door of your teen room? You deny them entrance? Impossible.  Try being a successful minister, or a successful anything, and deny the very purpose for your existence at the same time.  You can’t be a garbage man if you refuse trash past a certain point.  Not that people are trash… but Hopefully you get what I mean.  The point is, you can’t have one or the other by choice… a pastor can’t give up on a group of kids cause they’re too big.  If you have been blessed with a larger audience then adapt, it’s obviously what you’re being called to do.  And at the same time, if you feel that you would be more of a big youth group guy and you get a small one, then adapt to that circumstance. 
            There is no point in me saying I would prefer a big youth group or a small one.  I think that what ever I get, I got for a reason.  SOO Choctaw is a large group compared to what I’m used to.  So now I’m adapting, I can’t just say that I suck at it and participate less, who knows where I will be taken next?  Who knows where anyone will be next? 
            I guess the overall experience of life is supposed to be one of certainty.  Colleges expect you to have your major and be passionate about what job you’ll get when you graduate.  But those are stupid notions to even consider.  If you’re following a god of any standard you’ll realize that your path will be varied and it will change more on a daily basis if you want to listen.  Don’t limit yourself to something because that’s what’s expected.  If life has taught me anything so far it’s to expect the times where something is unexpected.  So I leave you with a statement that I hereby officially adopted just now: If you know where you will be in five years, then you’re an idiot.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Demon Hunter Christians vs. Chris Tomlin Christians


Oh Sleeper
So people like the “Christian” music genre here.  They like it a lot more than in normal places, like Orlando (I miss you!).  But what’s the point of that?  Seriously? I mean, I like worship music, but only for an hour every Sunday.  I don’t listen to Steven Curtis Chapman, or Chris Tomlin for musical entertainment.  So after thinking about this for quite a while, I can’t help coming up with a recurring thought: I do listen to Christian music, I just listen to Christian music inside of another genre of music.  Just because it’s not labeled Christian on the top of the iTunes window, doesn’t mean it’s not just as good as Toby Mac.  In actually, it means it’s (about) seventeen times more affective.



            Christian music as a genre holds no surprises.  It’s the same freaking chords and notes and rhythms over and over.  You could really just change the words of three different Chris Tomlin songs, and only four people in any given congregation would be able to tell the difference.  Lyrically there are three different types of Christian songs: asking forgiveness, illustrating someone else’s situation that God showed up in, and praise.  That’s really it.  Sure, sure, there are exceptions, so stop yelling at me, my over zealous, Christian stereotypes.  But the point is that it’s boring, musically, which is an opinion, and spiritually, which is a fact. 
Confide
            Now there are all the other artists who are not as known for their Christian principles and more known for their musical talent, or in my case, their tattoos, screaming, and heavy break-downs.  Several times I have been asked, “What’s your shirt say?”, and of course I’m wearing a band shirt with a zombie unicorn biting someone’s arm off, so their curiosity is normal.  But, when I answer, they reply with a look of disappointment, “Oh”.  At first I thought that they just didn’t know who the bands were, but I figured out, after talking to a few people, that the general assumption in a Christian school (specifically music majors that refuse to have any knowledge of worldly things), is that if the band isn’t known by them, then they are secular.  This is especially true if the band shirt has something “evil” on it (i.e. a skull, tornado with a chainsaw, or anything deemed violent). 
                       
Well hear this rant my naysayers:
August Burns Red
            The music I listen to is more life changing and “Christian” than anything Toby Mac, or Switchfoot, could ever come up with.  Why?  Because they aren’t afraid to get in your face about anything.  A Christian is supposed to do more than just worship God and ask for forgiveness, we aren’t called to sit and pray all day, singing “Our God”.  We are called, as Christians to be witnesses and life changers for Jesus.  The loud, chugging guitars, screaming vocals, and overly complex drum beats are just tools used to present the message in a way that non Christians will benefit more from.  No atheistic person wants to listen Michael W. Smith because he’s a known Christian artist, and just plain boring.  However, people who hear a band like August Burns Red will think of what it sounds like, not what their stereotypes are.  So a Christian band with a secular following will have a bigger impact on non Christian life style than someone who never gains any fans because no one really wants to hear the same songs over and over again.  No one needs to hear the same praises over and over, that just becomes repetitive, and not meaningful sometimes you need to listen to something with some spiritual substance, and power. 

“This kind of music can truly be a weapon against the spiritual warfare that kids face these days. I don't want to knock other Christian artists, because they all have their place, but if we were speaking metaphorically, what kind of weapon would you call contemporary Christian pop, and what kind of weapon would you call Christian heavy metal?” –Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter





I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old- what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
                                                                             -Psalms 78: 2-4

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SNU's Christianity Demographics

So Once again, I’m starting to observe the crazy people around me, still getting used to the nonsense that this school has to offer, (nonsense in the form of general craziness, not negative nonsense) and I have now been able to classify the religousness (made up word) of the school into three categories.  And those are:
  • “I don’t give a ****" (mostly football players),
  • “I’m here so I guess I’m Christian”,
  • “I am in love with Jesus” (as in I have no other friends except my Pok√©mon and Jesus),
  • the regular Christian people (me),
  • one kid who says Muslims are the same as Christians, so he can be either… (WHAT?!)


I just felt compelled to share this with all of you…

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ministry Majors Aren't All What You Think

So, I’ve started my ministry classes, well let’s be honest, it’s only one class, and I have been observing the freshmen around me.  And they all seem almost completely different from the type of personality that I hold, but some seem almost fake.  So let me classify the type of people I’m speaking of.  The list below is the views and opinions of a few of the ministry majors I’ve noticed.

     1.      All ministry majors MUST list their favorite genre of music as Christian, and their favorite artists must be either Chris Tomlin, or Steven Curtis Chapman.
     2.      All ministry majors have to be as energetic as possible no matter what the time of day it is, but they also still have to complain that they’re tired.
     3.      All ministry majors must appear to be sinless, but claim to be monsters.
     4.      All ministry majors need to be as friendly as possible, specifically the girls, almost to the point of intrusiveness
     5.     All ministry majors need to be as active and physical when worshiping as possible, but only when it’s a song that’s catchy…
     6.      When worshiping with other ministry majors, they must compete to be as physical as possible, meaning they will actually have to be more active even if the song isn’t catchy enough.
     7.      When faced with political opinions, a ministry major must be far right republican.
     8.      Ministry majors should pay more attention to sermons in chapel than to Sample’s lectures in class.
     9.      Ministry majors think that SNU was built to satisfy them, after all it IS a Christian school.
     10.  If you aren’t wearing your faith as outwardly as possible, to the point of awkwardness, then you aren’t fit for ministry… (go sit over there)

Now that I finished making this list up it seems rather negative.  But I guess that’s just how I view a few of the people in my class.  It’s not reflective of everyone, by any means.  But it’s kind of a lesson to the fakers, if you like to put up a front of false Christianity, you’ll fool a lot of people, but some of us can still tell.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So The Other Day...

Well maybe it was more like the other month... I picked up all my crap and I moved to Oklahoma.  Too bad I'm still not used to this no-man's land, that is Bethany Oklahoma.  The Ministry is my future sighted profession.  I can't for the life of me figure out why I would be wanted to minister to other people who are so fragile and insecure in nature, as all people are...  I'm generally not a subtle person, I talk with a certain mix of boldness and a lack of thought process, the type of thinking that makes the average person stop themselves before they say something overly harsh.

But alas! the odds of me turning back now are fairly slim.  Nothing short of a full change of heart will be able to convince me to return to sunny Orlando.  And by the way, I don't think that would be all that bad.  I mean sure there would be all those people saying "I thought you were called by God!!" and all I would be able to say back is... "Yeah well I guess he was speaking in spanish cause it's easy to get confused when the maker of heaven and earth speaks softer the sound of a small breeze."  Or maybe it would be easier and quicker to just reply, "You try doing what I did, you will fail. Suck it."  But anyways, even though I would have to deal with all the surprised reactions to my failure, and the past nay-sayers cheering on my loss, it would still feel worth it in a way. I could return home.  I left all the people I know behind! The family, the friends, the girl...

But enough of the pity party, who likes coconuts?