Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rockbridge, Home Away from Home

40 some miles into Virginia is my favorite place on earth.

This weekend is one my favorite weekends of the entire year. I am lucky enough to have grown up in young life in the Cincinnati area where I have tons of connections and friends that are leaders attending the Ohio Region Leader Weekend at the young life camp Rockbridge in Goshen Virginia. Two of the last three years I have been blessed enough to go on this awesome weekend where you basically get to hang out with some of the greatest people I know at the greatest place I know; worshipping, learning, playing, and mostly laughing with each other.

Young Life camps are special places but Rockbridge holds a very specific place in my heart.

Here are the reasons:

When I was freshmen in high school this was the first place I heard the Gospel in a relevant way that penetrated my heart. I accepted Jesus that week and started my journey to follow him. I can remember exactly what it felt like to hear and FEEL for the fist time God's love wrap me up in his warm blanket.

When I was a senior, just after my crazy and "prodigal son" end to a senior year, I went back as a camper/leader. The week was extremely life changing because it came at a time when I was broken into a million pieces by my own sin. Hearing a Gospel of Grace and Reconciliation filled in the cracks of my brokenness and since then I have been following Christ exponentially.

It was also that week that I decided to come back a few weeks later to be on Work Crew at the camp for the month of July. I cant really put into words what 5 weeks working in the "pits" (or as a dishwasher) did to my spirit. This was the first time in my life that I actually FOLLOWED and walked with Jesus daily. I had to. The days were long, hot, gross, and all together physically draining. Not to mention emotionally draining from working side by side people that I really just didn't like but was trying to love. We wouldn't get done until midnight some days and would pull left over food from our hair as we laid in bed to sleep only to wake up and start over the next day.

All that said, the 5 weeks were unbelievable and I got to a place where all I wanted was to be in God's will, for him to do with me whatever GOD wanted from me. I've always been in this state since then, not as pure as it was on work crew those 5 weeks. But when I am at Rockbridge there is always an overwhelming desire to be in the midst of God's will, grace, and love.

God has moved mountains in my life and continues to transform me daily. But, so much change and transformation has occurred while at Rockbridge that when I return it is like a spiritual return to Mecca. I see the rock I sat on during my twenty minutes, the hobart that I washed dishes in for 5 weeks, the bench where I posted up every morning to be with Jesus, and the frisbee golf course where I bonded with life long friends.

I cant wait to hang out with important friends. Whether they are old friends, new freinds, or friends that never leave I am very excited.

I also CAN NOT WAIT to play frisbee golf.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Quote on the Importance of Scripture

"Scripture thus gives us depth to our understanding of the world around us.
Indeed, unless we look at the unseen powers behind the material things we may readily be deceived."
-Watchman Nee, Love Not the World.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hope in the Spill

31 days after the explosion of the BP oil rigger there is still oil pouring into the gulf of Mexico.

Did you know that BP actually has a link on their website where people of the general public can fill out a form with their ideas on how to solve the crisis in the Gulf?

There is to much of the blame game going around, rather I want to be optimistic and hope that this disaster (which is more of a f*** up that could of been avoided by stronger government regulations, more integrity on the corporations part, and so on) will be a turning point in what I will call the sustainability movement.

The sustainability movement is a culmination of individuals, organizations, governments (some), non-for profits, NGO's, businesses, and corporations (some) all working with a perspective on the interconnectedness of life and interwoven nature of the world's injustices. They deny capitalism that merely enlarges the gulf between the rich and the poor, the work for peace over war, and they are stewards of the environment rather than destroying and pillaging human's life sources for the economic gain of a few.

Every movement has moments of what social movement theorists call moments of "moral shock". Examples of this are Emmett Till's murder and Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat on the bus.
The ladder was a calculated act that the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement planned to use as a spark to inspire the bus boycott and advance the movement all together. But the Emmett Till case was a tragedy that was not planned but a direct result of the injustice of civil rights. The Civil Rights movement leaders used the murder of Emmett Till case to display the seriousness and the immorality of the injustice plaguing America at the time. Both of this cases were moments of moral shock that the social movement used to advance the goals of the Civil Rights movement.

All this is to say that I really hope that this disaster will be a moment that we will look back on as a moment of moral shock that set in motion real changes that sustainability movement is working towards. If not, well, what a waste.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How Butler Went all the Way

Dr. Fong wrote a great article that was posted in the "Chronicle of Higher Education" (whatever that is!) about how Butler's journey to the national championship that transcend winning and how special the journey was for everyone involved.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

21 Today

Since, probably age 18 people have been assuming that I was over the age of 21. Maybe its my old soul, the gray hairs coming in on my chin, or my mature swagger. Whatever it is, officially today, I finally LOOK my age.

Bengals, Team of Redemption

I love when professional or college teams are more than just a unit of guys with one goal in mind: to win the championship. What made Butler's run so special was that the team's goals and style of play transcended their ultimate of goal of winning a championship. My other favorite sports teams is the Cincinnati Bengals. And for the longest time I hated and loved th
em for the sole reason that they were MY hometown team. I rooted for them yea
r after year even amongst little success. Now, I have another reason to root for the Bengals. They also have become a team that is out to do more than just win games.

They have become a team of second chances. A haven where players desperately seeking a second chance can get redemption. Numerous players that were at the end of the road because of not living up to potential, off field issues, drug violations, or a combination of all those, have made there way to the Bengals hoping to get a fresh start playing the game they love.

Recently, the Bengals have picked up one of the most infamous NFL players of this decade: Adam "Pacman" Jones.

Adam was drafted as a freak athlete with freak speed. But his NFL resume has been plagued with off field violations that led him to be completely suspended for t
he 2007 season and half of the 2008 season. Thought to be a lost cause, the Begnals will be giving him a contract in the hopes that he can contribute to their success. He was quoted saying to Bengal's defensive coach Zimmer, " Coach, I just want to play."

So lets look at the some of the players that have been given second chances with the Bengals:

Cedric Benson: Was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round and was never able to become the running back he thought he could be. Attitude problems and confrontation with players and coaches of the Chicago Bears. When he was arrested 2 times in just five weeks for alcohol related charges he was finally released for the B
ears. Last year with the Bengals we had an all pro season and was the 8th leading rusher in the NFL (playing in only 13 games). He was the Bengals work horse and heart soul of an offense that lead the Bengals to the playoffs.

Chris Henry had numerous personality issues and was suspended numerous times. But Mike Brown kept giving him second chances. Teammates, family, coaches and management all proclaimed the Chris had turned his life around last season, until he died tragically.

Others include: Larry Johnson, Tank Johnson, Cedric Benson, and Chris Henry. This are all players that succeeded and redeeming their lives and football careers.

Matt Jones is another player that was picked up this year. He came out of the draft as 6 foot 6 inches athlete that was fast, really fast. But he was sidelined then eventually cut for drug related violations. He will now have a second chance with the Bengals.

I might be forgetting some people? So if I am help me out.

Either way I think I have proved the point that the Bengals have really become a beacon in the NFL for players that have serious talent but that have made bad choices to come and get a second chance.

Think about in the movies when there is the character who goes on a rampage because his family, wife, children or whatever have been taken away from him. He will always say at some point in the movie something to the tune of, "Ive got nothing to lose, so stay at of my way." Well, that is what the Bengals are full of, a bunch of guys who have lost everything (as far as football careers go) and who have everything to gain with a second chance. I think that coupled with the success we are building off last year could mean huge things for the Bengals in this upcoming season.