Christian College Environments [2]

Juices are flowing on this one and I think it's kind of fun.  If you haven't read the first post yet I'd encourage you to do so.  My desire for this series is simply to get thought going, for us to be able to have answers for the way we do things, and to take a look (hopefully a fresh one) at how we've been going about these environments.  I also want to challenge the idea that we simply continue doing what we're doing just because that's always the way we've done it.

My desire is not to bash these environments in any way - although I smile a bit when people think that's what I'm doing.  Believe it or not I do think these environments are needed today and this post will in fact show that (hopefully). 

That said, let me throw out this thought on these environments...

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Questions about Christian College Environments

I was at a Christian high school this morning.  Cool kids.  We had some good discussion - I was both impressed with some of their thinking and yet disheartened by confusion that was so evident in others.

You could say I'm becoming increasingly concerned about these environments.  Whether it be high school or college, I'm finding more and more confusion with those attending these  schools.  Whether or not it's the school's fault I'm not ready to say, but I can say that people in these environments definitely have some of the same confusions and struggles going on.

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College Life Episode 5 - Part II

picture-8Jordan: the all too conservative Christian kid from outside Chicago comes to a point of falling.  New Year's Eve he's out at a club, kissing a girl...but then can't handle his alcohol.  We see him throwing up in a toilet claiming to his friend that he could've had sex tonight if he wanted.  If his parents were so upset about his tattoo, I wonder what they said to him yesterday after watching the show.

Insight: We can clearly see a drift from previous convictions happening.  This shows us the dire need for churches to release leaders to walk with college-age people!  If there is a time to NOT drop people, it's in this time of new found freedoms and explorations, reevaluation of assumptions and beliefs, and a natural drift away from the convictions they were raised with.  More than ever college-age people need someone to pursuea relationship with them.
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College Life Episode 5 - Review

Due to some of the complexities of college-age life seen in last nights show, I’m going to break this review into 2 parts. In this first part I will talk more generally about the relationship to parents and tomorrow I will dive into specifics of each person.  My desire for this series of reviews is for us to think much more deeply about late adolescent/college-age issues and life.  This is clearly an area that has not been developed in literature (but there is more coming, I promise!), and consequently leaders in the church have not dove into this area enough.  

Last night we got a glimpse of the reality of all nighters during finals week, procrastination of study, pressure of getting the grade, and exhileration of being finished with the semester. The students go home for Christmas break, bringing home their laundry for their parents to do, and look forward to the annual family traditions of Christmas.  

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"College Life" - Review

Last night was a new episode of Mtv’s “College Life.” I’ll issue a re-cap as well as offer some insights into college-age stage issues.

Jordan - remember he’s from a conservative background.  He recently got a tattoo and his parents freaked out on him, threatening to no longer pay for school.  The tattoo isn’t finished, but he’s not willing to finish it out of fear of his parents.  He had a short phone conversation with his mom and she’s clearly still upset.

College-age Stage Insight: I think this shows us that although college-age people have more freedoms from parents that they still feel a lot of pressure from them.  There is still an element where they want to please their parents.   Some might point out this is probably due to him still being a freshman and may suggest that this would change as he gets older.  Of course that may be the case for some, but in general I would say it remains a pressure they give into throughout these years.

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As I write I'm confused, perplexed, name it.  Before I go too far here, I admit from the start that this post is about me getting this out - not as much of a help to others.  However, maybe this venting will touch something within you for the good.

Vent: frankly, I'm pissed. 

As a pastor I'm supposed to be a spiritual leader.  This means I lead in spiritual things and have the spiritual health of people in mind in everything I do.  Frankly, I'm getting more and more ticked off with "spiritual leaders" who don't care about the spiritual health of people, but rather through actions seem to focus on everything but that.

I'm hearing more and more people say that they've never seen spiritual leaders actually help them focus on their true spiritual health.  Giving purely head knowledge, yes, hear that.  Putting on programs, yes, hear that.  Focusing on behavioral issues, yep, hear that too.  Giving funny messages, yes.  None of these things are bad in and of themselves, but focusing on purely spiritual issues and moving people toward pure spiritual health is too UNcommon in church leadership today.

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Honest talk about homosexuality

Well, if there's a subject that's not dealt with very well in the church today, it's homosexuality.  But the fact is we ought to be paying much more attention to this.  In fact, many of you reading this right now are struggling with this.  This is why I'm writing specifically to you.

No doubt you're a bit confused about what to do with this, frustrated with every aspect of this issue, frightened of being rejected by those you love and maybe even angry with God because of all this.  There are times in which you wonder if it would just be easier to give in to the struggle.  Maybe you've dabbled in a relationship, maybe you've fully engaged in the lifestyle...or maybe you're seriously considering doing either.  Or, maybe you haven't engaged in a physical way with another person, but you consistently engage online with conversation and even porn sites.

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Join a "Divorce Fair"...?

I'm fully aware of the negative impact of divorce, how the divorce rate in the Church is no less than that of the world, and of the sanctity of marriage.  Frankly, growing up my view of marriage was this picture of myself.  If that was the image I had of myself I wouldn't want anything to do with me either.

I've felt the affects of divorce in my own life, with my parents getting divorced when I was 6 months old.  And, my dad is in his 3rd marriage while my mom just ended her 3rd.  So, I know the facts and feelings that come as a child. Thankfully things don't always work like that.  My wife and I have been happily married now for 8 1/2 yrs.  Hasn't always been easy, our feelings (key word!) have wavered for each other at times, but divorce is not an option.

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Sobering Encounter

Yesterday I was sitting in a Starbucks by my house, working on my message for this coming week.  I turned my head around and noticed a man in a wheelchair.  it was a heavy duty motorized chair and he had it reclined - laying down in it.  Never seen that before.  it wasn't some "out of this world" chair like the picture, but it was pretty high-tech.

I began to talk with him.  HIs name is Steve and he told me his story.  Well, at least a little of it.  Enough of it.

 Drunk driving 4 years ago put him in the wheelchair.  His truck flipped 4 times, each time collapsing down on him.  He was in a coma for 3 months, had multiple surgeries, and doesn't remember anything.  This was all told to him by those around him - doctors, family, etc.

After waking up from the coma, his wife told him it was too much for her and she was going to divorce him.  This was after 18 years of marriage.  A tragedy. 

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Every once in a while I have something happen that I think others might be interested in reading about. And, before it makes its way into a book, it usually ends up on a blog like this.