Tuck in Your Shirt and Comb Your Hair

Ever feel really out of place? Just feel like you don’t fit in at all? Hanging out with some high schoolers has given me that feeling recently. I went to a concert the other night, one of these local, underground punk things. It only cost $3 to get in. I was wearing the same thing I wore to church that morning–which isn’t as bad as it sounds–my Mother did frown at me when we walked out the door. My faded jeans, year and a half old sneakers, and a nice sweater that made it church-acceptable. Of course that’s not exactly standard dress at a punk show.

I stood there near the back of the crowd, just looking around. Baggy jeans, wallet chains, piercings everywhere imaginable, a few tattoos, either punk rock or ancient thrift shop T-shirts, purple hair, skater shoes, and the like. Nothing I haven’t seen before, but of the entire crowd, I was the lone minority. Makes you think a little bit. I couldn’t help but wonder how many conservative church leading Christians would frown and scoff at this room full of “Christian punks.”

We tell the world that Jesus is for everyone, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, etc. But do we really accept everyone into the house of God? Or do we demand that certain people tuck in their shirts and comb their hair?

The Responsibility of Parenting

A girl cries on the phone, her father yelling in the background, and an ambulance echoes past outside. The tears drip to the floor, and she has to go. Choking back the sobs, she hopes to escape to her pillow, dreading another run in with the rampaging parent.

Parenting is one of my biggest fears. Who am I to bring a child into this world? I hardly have anything figured out myself, and I’m supposed to be ‘Daddy Knows Best?’ Quite frankly, I think few daddies know best nowadays. Am I the only one who seriously thinks about parenting? It’s not like it’s something that will happen soon, but it is probably down the road eventually.

It seems like every one else in the world just has children. No one stops to think about what they’re doing. It seems like it’s been that way since time began. When people are having sex they don’t stop to think that they could be bringing a child into the world. Not that I have any experience, but I think that’s what makes sex so holy. At least ideally. Most people today toss it around like a dirty rag, and the result is bad parents, forgotten children, broken marriages, and the current scandal in Washington. Not only is sex a physical symbol of the union between two people, but it’s the beginning of life. Everybody else on the planet seems to miss that fact and the result is people bringing children into the world without thinking about it. Do I know anything about raising a kid? No, but who cares, I’ll have three.

I think being a parent is one of the most underrated responsibilities in the world. Being a husband or wife is probably a close second. When you become a parent, you and your spouse (it does take two) are bringing a life into the world. A life that you are responsible for. A life that relies on you. Not only until it learns how to walk and talk, but it will rely on you until the day you die. Does anyone else realize the magnitude of that? That child is your creation. Your act of love. How can you just flippantly have a child and not realize the responsibility involved? Sure, society tells us our role is to get a job, get married, and have kids. But the responsibility still exists. Sadly, few pay attention to that responsibility, and the result is devastating our society.

Coming up on Christmas, it amazes me to think that God is also a Dad. He’s not just the Father of the Christ Child, He is our Father. For all the parents who ignore their duty, there is One who fulfills it. For every lonely, deserted, teary-eyed child out there–there is a Daddy who loves them.

“I didn’t even know who God was, until He told me He’s my Dad/ And it’s just because He loved me/ And He’d rather die than live without me/ He loved me and He’d rather go through hell/ than go to heaven without me/ And I love Him and I’ll stay with Him until the end of time/ One thing I know God gave His life for mine/ He will always be, will always be/ He will always be there” -The Supertones, “He Will Always Be There”

Christmas Break

Ah… it finally snowed today. There’s nothing like stepping outside and hearing the snow and ice crunch under your feet. Crunch, crunch, crunch. It’s just not winter without it.

Well, today I finished all my work for finals. I’m done. WAHOO! Tomorrow I turn some stuff in, and begin the 12 hour trek home. Home. A chance to get away from all the busy-ness at school and relax. Yeah. Relax.

(you can tell it’s not gonna get too deep today)

I think Christmas break can’t be fully realized until you’re in college and can understand the joy of the semester ending and heading home with no responsibilities. In high school there was always that one teacher that would give you a Christmas break assignment. And you always went back to the same classes. Not anymore. Now when it’s over, it’s over. You go home and don’t have to think about those classes ever again. That’s what I call a break.

Blogging and Racism

Whew. Nothing like losing your voice while singing praise to God.

I learned something about this Daily Ponderings deal today. People will remember what I write and hold me accountable for it. I guess that’s a good thing, but it’s kind of a slap in the face at first. But if you think about it, it’s really me slapping myself in the face.

So, on a totally unrelated tangent, I have an 8:15 final tomorrow, and I’m going to bed. So I leave you with a totally unconnected and thought provoking quote:

“When you look at me, you don’t see a man. You see a black man.” – Carl Lee Haley, A Time To Kill.

When I think about that, I realize that the only hope is in the line of a Rich Mullins song:

“My Deliverer is coming…

Where’s the Snow?

Oh, let’s see… what to ramble about today? I spent my entire day Christmas shopping. Kind of ironic, considering yesterday’s comments, but don’t worry—I didn’t buy anything on anyone’s list. Considering the insanity I witnessed today, yesterday’s ramblings are much more valid. What a stupid way to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

And while I’m busy being cynical, where’d the snow go? I’m attending college in Minnesota, of all places. The least you could do is provide a little bit of snow. I put 160 pounds of salt in the back of my truck at Thanksgiving, expecting some snow before Christmas. Some bright entrepreneur out there should import some snow and dump it in the local parks. Then us kids could have some fun.

Disclaimer: Today’s Ponderings are an example of what shopping during the Christmas season can do to your brain.

Christmas Shopping

I went Christmas shopping tonight. And I’m a little confused, which is to be expected. How is it that Christmas has become so filled with greed? I e-mail my parents a list of ‘gimmes’ and continually add to it as I see stuff I want. I was looking around—tonight in fact—and I saw a CD that looked really good. It just came out, and I didn’t have a chance to put it on my list. Well, I don’t want to pay for it myself, after all, it’s almost Christmas. So I’ll just tell my parents to add it to my list. That’s about the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard.

Continue reading Christmas Shopping

Leave Left Behind Behind

This is only serving as a study break today. Yeah, I admit I just had a half hour pizza break, but since then I’ve been grappling with a printer situation that has left me all but happy. So it’s 11:40 and I haven’t started studying for a major final tomorrow. No big deal (Oh wait, my parents read this sometimes!)—after all, I just need to review. Yeah, that’s it. Review.

You know what burns me? Marketing. I suppose it’s one of many things. But I feel like going off on a tirade, and that’s my victim tonight. Yesterday while surfin’ the web I came across the Left Behind web site. For those of you who haven’t heard of these too-popular books, they’re a series of end times fiction. Basically your Christian version of a John Grisham series. If he wrote a series. Fast paced plot, characters worthy of Tom Cruise, and absolutely no literary value. That’s basically what the Left Behind books are. I think God has called us to something greater. Not only that, but they vehemently support a pre-tribulation view of rapture, ignoring the idea that we’re only humans and don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Sure, we have the Bible, but it doesn’t exactly spell it out for us. Sure, it talks about the future, and gives us some great clues. But to say this is exactly how it’s going to happen is foolish. The main point of argument here is between what’s called pre-trib, mid-trib and post-trib, all beliefs that only vary on when the rapture occurs in relation to the tribulation (I know I’m getting a little theological on ya, but bare with me). My basic point is that these books are endorsing one of these beliefs as solid truth—these beliefs aren’t worth basing your faith on. Heck, the idea of pre-tribulation rapture is only a few hundred years old.

It just shocks me that some people want to take this book series and turn into a major movie production and try to show Hollywood that Christian films can succeed. Now I have no problem with good, moral movies, but I do have a problem with a movie that is trying to represent Christianity with a belief that is anything but universal. Not only that, but let’s just scare everyone into accepting Jesus with visions of Armageddon.

But what I find worse than all this is the marketing. Not only is this a seven book series, but they’ve already spun off a ‘teen fiction’ version of the books. And on the ‘Left Behind: The Movie’ web site, you’ll find these two phrases, “Will you be ready for the moment of truth? TO ORDER, CALL 1-800-XXX-XXXX.” Yep, they’re right next to one another. Is that implying that in order to know the truth of Christ you have to buy a T-shirt?

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m in the same category as some of these people. And we wonder why people laugh at Christianity.

(Hey, over Christmas break I may be just bored enough to devote an entire web page to the ramblings above! So stay tuned.)

Why Do We Tear One Another Down?

Arg. Papers, finals, stress. Somebody shoot me. It’s the ever-joyful end of the semester, and the teachers are just piling the work on. Or maybe it’s all my procrastination catching up with me. Probably the latter, so here I am, enjoying the hell weeks of college. And yet I still find time to do this—I’ve got to keep my sanity somehow Mom, gimme a break.

You know, friends are cool. One thing I’ve learned since coming to college is the value of friendships. Your friends will make you who you are. Friends can influence you and provide insight in ways you never thought imaginable. I only bring it up because last night some friends and I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. learning the value of the relationships we had.

Considering that, I have to wonder why we are so often entertained by sarcastic and witty comments that only serve to degrade others? I’m only teasing—but are you really? Someone told me that every joke is half true. Think about it. So what’s the point? Is the laughter worth the strain on a valuable friendship?

With that in mind, I’m gonna take another leap (Kevin’s Daily Ponderings now become Kevin’s Daily Segues) and wonder why we humans always have to be so negative. You know, if we were just a little more positive, and didn’t cut each other down, and had a good attitude—life would be a lot more fun. So what am I suggesting, that we all join the local Optimists club and sit down to a round of half full drinks? I don’t think so.

I’m just saying that we should stop a minute and think about what we’re doing. I walk down the halls of Bethel College and my eyes wander from person to person, judging. I glare at that girl who annoys me, and exchange understanding glances with my sympathizers. I slam my roommate, and laugh, thinking he can handle anything. The last thing the Body of Christ needs, and the world in general, is more of these walls and barriers. Wouldn’t life be better if we were all friends?

It’s sad to think that we won’t achieve that until eternity—but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.