Category Archives: My Generation

Why I Cried

Last night I cried. Overwhelmed by emotion, I was sad, elated, confused, and oh so thankful. I have never felt so much meaning and purpose in a single moment. Just thinking about it now brings me to tears. 

Last night was closing night of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, this year’s Spring Musical at my school. I played the part of Caleb Pontipee, one of the seven backwoods brothers who learns about etiquette and gets himself a girl. I was the dumb brother and I loved every minute of it. I was able to make people laugh with my mannerisms and then turn around and sing and dance with people that are much more skilled in those departments than I am. I put so much work into this production and now that it’s over, I’m still not sure how to think straight.

After the last curtain call, Mr. Batchelder, our amazing Director, brought the seniors up to the front of the stage and talked about us all individually. When he talked about me, it all came crashing down. A wave swept me up on the inside and forced its way out my eyes. While he was explaining it to the audience, I was imagining my theatrical career at James Madison.

My sophomore year, in drama class, I could not deliver a monologue in front of my class because I was so scared. Just the thought of performing in front of people terrified me so much that I made myself sick and stayed home from school for a week. That was the worst week of my life. I was so depressed and did not want to live. By God’s grace, my mother helped me out of the depression and Mr. Batchelder encouraged me tremendously and gave me the confidence necessary to perform in front of others. The next year, I tried out for the Impressive Clergyman in The Princess Bride, got the part, made people laugh and had an absolute blast. That year, I was a salesman/dancer/townsperson in The Music Man. Next was Sir Galahad in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail then Caleb Pontipee.

My journey rushed through my mind, paralyzing me in a state of raw emotion.

And so I cried.

I cried because I was so happy to have the oppurtunity to be in those plays.

I cried because I was so sad that it was over.

I cried because I’ll miss acting on stage with my friends.

I cried because of all the times I laughed.

I cried because of how much I’ve grown.

I cried because I was so thankful for all the encouragement.

I cried because being on stage made me feel special.

I cried because I could not hold it back.

I am crying now because this is so meaningful.

What KIVU Is All About

I apologize for not having anything up yet for the Morocco trip. I’ve been working on a video and my editing stuff has stopped working on two different computers. I hope to have stuff up before the end of the week. In the mean time, check out this promo video for Kivu. Kanakuk Colorado, the summer camp I’ve attended for the past five or so years is branching out under the new name Camp Kivu. I’m way stoked about the move. Kanakuk has been an awesome experience in my life and a major player in my walk with my Father. However, the change will allow for some super excited new things to happen. The video is really good and explains the vision perfectly.

Changing Course

Why Social Justice Is Popular in the West Today:
1.  We all long for a better place in this broken world.
2.  The world’s problems are no longer hidden from our view.
3.  Our wealth has not brought us satisfaction.  
4.  We want to play a part in the global village.
5.  We think we have the answers to the worlds problems.

Why Our Efforts are Severely Misguided:
1.  We have an incorrect definition of poverty.
2.  Assisting others feeds our own ego.
3.  Helping the less fortunate feeds our “God-complex”.  “I’m here to save you.  I have the answers to your problems.”
4.  We think we can “quick fix” the worlds problems through championing catch all statistics with financial commitments. (As if lack of money is the only real hurdle)
5.  We look down upon the poor as inferior.  We have stripped from them their voice, dignity, and worth.
6.  Our answers are more in the form of quick handouts and relief work, rather than an investment in relationships over time with genuine holistic programs to implement change.
7.  We view these problem one sided.  It’s a spiritual or material issue.  Give them your religion or give them your money.  We don’t see the complexity of their issue. 

A lot of the thoughts I have are not mine at all. They are ideas from other people that I put my own spin on. This post is no exception. The two columns above are from Luke Parrott’s blog. Most of the things he writes about are also things that I think about. So when I saw his post, I knew I wanted to write about the same thing because it’s a big deal.

Organizations like Toms and campaigns like (red) and One are awesome and for sure they have their place in the social justice world but they cannot be the only front or even the main front. They do their jobs well enough (to get people excited about helping others and to aid with big picture problems) but they also create a false sense of finality. For example, people, perhaps more subcontiously than contiously, think that once they’ve bought a pair of Toms that they’ve “done their part” in helping others.

Big organizations and campaigns like these have a way of stripping away the dignity of the people they’re serving. It’s hard to see the people behind the problem. They seem somehow below us when we’re helping from so far away.

We think we can quick-fix the worlds problems. We take away the complexities of the issues. We want to donate a million pairs of crocs to kids in Rwanda but what we don’t realize is that that would more detrimental than helpful. What would that mean for the local economy? The street venders who sell shoes? What will happen when the shoes are gone and the kids no longer have callous’ on their feet and cannot walk the same paths they could before without hurting themselves? The point is that there are things that need to be thought through. Social justice is a complex thing.

There are a lot of problems in this world that need to be solved but more importantly there are a lot of people who need someone to care about them. Perhaps the most effective thing to do is to go, as followers of Jesus, to these different communities around the world and simply live and share life with the people there. Serve them, find out about their lives, be their friend, see them as human beings, love them unconditionally.

If the big social justice problems of this world are going to be solved, it’s going to happen with a holistic approach. One that cares just as much about the people affected by the problem as it does about eradicating the problem. It’s got to be about the people. Not the problem. Not us. 

The answer the world’s problems is Jesus. I believe that wholeheartedly. He came into our world to serve and as His followers we should figure out the best, most effective way to do the same.

what’s our role in the Solution?

A couple of days ago, I woke up to a wonderful dream. I was sitting on a street corner with some old friends and we were talking about the problems in our world and what our role was in the solutions to those problems. It was a great discussion. Sadly, that’s all I remember. No details. No divine revelations from God. Just a good conversation.

Even though I can’t remember anything specific from the conversation, I can’t help but think about it. For a couple days now, it’s been taking priority my mind. There are so many problems with our world. At K-CO, we talked about what breaks our hearts and how those things propel us to move and shake. At one point, we split up into groups. Each group talked about a different issue that broke their heart. Conversations centered around things like Genocide, Poverty related issues like lack of Clean Water and Malnutrition, Medical issues like Malaria and AID’s, Sex Traffiking and the Objectification of Women, Abortion and Divorce, Depression, and many other issues that span the globe.

I wish I could have been a part of each group. My heart breaks for all of the issues. These are the things that break my heart. The things that make me move.

I don’t think any grand ideas or bold revelations came out of those conversations. But they were good conversations to have. To get people to think about the problems and what they can do to help. My generation is a pretty cool one. We care about a lot of issues. We are not prepared to sit by as people hurt. We may not be quite ready to change the world but we’re talking about it. We’re moving towards it. We want to get there and we’re working at it. We want to change the world for the better. We want to be a part of something bigger. Something Godly. Something good. We want to help people.

hands

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

last year as a kamper…

wow!!! i just spent two weeks in bayfield, colorado, having the time of my life. this was my last year as a kamper at k-colorado and it could not have been any better. i had by far the best cabin of guys i’ve ever had in my five years as a kamper there. the twelve of us (10 kampers, 2 counselors) hit it off pretty quickly. coming from all over the country, we bonded incredibly. throughout the term, we were able to open up the deepest parts of our hearts to one another. we shared everything from our stuff to our struggles. we became brothers. we became close… real… true… friends. we had each other’s back. we loved and deeply cared for each other. it was an amazing community. a great family. along the way, we had many great adventures. every kamper chooses three specialties that they get to do thoughout the term. i picked rock climbing, lake fun & sun, and institute. during the three days of climbing, we bouldered at turtle lake and top-roped at x-rock and in cascades which is one of the more beautiful places on this planet. the wheather was pretty horrible (or awesome depending how you look at it) at the lake. it was extremely windy, ghastly cold, and the waves became whitecaps. i did some jetskiing, mostly with my buddy caleb. it was a fun time. most of the time was spent sitting around on the dock or in a boat ride listening to explosions in the sky. it was pretty chill. it was also a great time to just slow down and experience God’s beauty around the lake. the last specialty i chose, institute, is very unique to k-colorado. it consists of teaching from andy braner or luke parrot about worldview, apoligetics, religions, origins, sex, dating, culture, media, humanitarian issues, global crisis’, community, discpleship, and many more things. the part that i did was mainly focused on discipleship as well as the global community and issues that it faces, and we actually went out into the local community and did some service work. we talked about what breaks your heart? the things that make you get up and move. the things that make you pound the the table in rage. the things that make you cry out. we talked about poverty, genocide, sex traffiking. we talked about what we can do about these things. actually, i, along with some guys from my cabin, are in the process of creating a company that can help out with some of this stuff. more on that later.the last day, we (about 60-80 of us) went to nearby durango and cleaned up some mountain biking trails. it was a really cool thing to be a part of. all of these kids taking a whole day to clean up a trail that they will probably never use when they could be doing some crazy activity instead. it was just really cool. about every other night, we had parties and they were off the hizzy!!! the first one was the 90’s party. we all dressed up in jorts and sweaters and flat-billed caps and lame mustaches. it was quite the spectacle. very funny. we went to a gameshow called double dare and got slimed. then we went and danced to every kind of music imaginable. it was so fun and crazy. the next party was the best. it was the goldrush party. every year at k-co, their is a western party. the name changes but the party is exactly the same. we all dress up in our best cowboy and hicktown garb and then we have a barn dance. we eat steak with our hands, learn about five or six dance steps and then head to the barn. every guy is strongly encouraged to dance with a different girl every dance. it is a great way to meet people and to get everyone involved and feeling special. once the song ends, the guy spins the girl, says thanks for the dance and then walks to the outskirts of the crowd and picks another girl who isn’t dancing. they then dance and talk and have a grande ol’ time. it’s a staple of k-co and for good reason. the third party was the masquerade. we made silly masks, watched a hard fought duel, and listened to phantom of the opera music. it was actually really fun despite the non-manly aura of the situation. the dance wasn’t just opera music. we had some good stuff playing. the last party was perhaps the most epic. it was the pirates vs. ninjas party. we played some huge warball games and raved the night away. it was fun and tiring. we also had a guys and girls night. the girls probably watched a movie and ate chocolate and cuddled up in blankets. we, the men of the camp, had commando night. each cabin paired with another cabin (8 with 1, 7 with 2, etc…) and then preceeded to embark on the biggest mission of our lives. we had to deliver our glowsticks to strategically placed commandos around the camp. we waded through chest deep freazing cold water, trekked through a freezing stream for hundreds of yards, and ran for our lives as paintballs went whizzing over our heads. once we completed our objective in record time, we learned that the counselors had betrayed us and were now hiding in the woods with our glowsticks. we had to find them and bring them back. it was one epic night of running, darkness, stealth, teamwork, encouragement, bravery, and mud. so good. we also had something called k-life which happened on the non party nights. we had worship music. by the way, i have never experienced a place that can even begin to compare to worshipping through song at k-co. there is nothing ornately special about it. it is just real. it’s usually just a guitar and maybe a lap drum. but the voices are amazing. not great, just special. anyways, their would be a speaker everytime. the most meaningful talk for me and my cabin was that of nate friend. he just opened up to us. earlier that day, he got slight pneumonia while saving a neighbor’s boat at the dock. so he said right up front that he wasn’t able to prepare as much as he’d have hoped for the talk but he was just gonna let God speak through him. boy did God speak that night! nate spoke about how his mother had struggled with depression and suicide for a very long time and through some very intimate stories nate just opened up. he let us see who he was and what was really going on in his life. i will never forget that night. that night, jack, one of my cabinmates, opened up with us about the sorrow and fear and pain in his own life and that’s what sparked our unity and brotherhood. from then on, everynight, we just opened ourselves up for each other to see. that is how life is supposed to be lived. every morning, we took some time and walked with God, literally. we just walked around and talked with Him in the midst of His beautiful creation. it was the greatest way to start off the day. we culminated the term with the annual ultimate frisbee tournament. my cabin’s first game was one for the ages. we came back from 4 – 0 to beat the oldest cabin 5 – 4 in overtime. it was great. sadly, we lost our next game. after the tournament ended, the parents came and we did the whole closing ceremonies thing. it was kind of weird knowing that it was my last time experiencing all of that as a kamper (because my school gets out so insanely late, i cannot be a kamper first term next year because i have to graduate). it would’ve been downright sad but i know my time with this camp is far from over. next year kanakuk colorado becomes camp kivu (kivu is a lake in rwanda and literally means big). it will basically be the same with some stuff added on. the reason it is changing is because andy, the director, has a more global and expansive vision for the camping experience than what is offered under the umbrella of kanakuk. he is looking into music camps and surfing camps in the u.s. as well as many international camps. there will be many facets to the new ministry and i am extremely excited for the change. next summer i hope to work at camp kivu doing whatever they need me to do. i cannot say enough about the community and family that is in this place. during the two week term, God united people from arizona to missouri to cairo, egypt into one big family of believers. it is how life is supposed to be lived.

What Breaks Your Heart?

I have not been able to write for some time. It was not because I had nothing to write about. Actually, I probably had about ten topics bouncing around in my head that I wanted to be fleshed out on this blog. But every time I tried to write it was like my brain went dead; just shut off on me. I was getting pretty frustrated because I knew I had stuff to say but for some reason the words could not leave my thoughts. I wanted to write about how I felt God was calling me for something big but unknown. I wanted to write about Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. It’s a book by Carl Medearis, a good friend of my Dad and a truly earnest follower of Jesus. I wanted to write about BoneMan’s Daughters, Ted Dekker’s latest book. I wanted to write about taking pictures (a newfound hobby of mine), creating things, the end of the school year and many other things. But I just could not get the words out.

Today, I was looking through the different blogs I read regularly and I found an article entitled Turning the Pages to a New Chapter by Luke Parrot. In the article is a really cool speech he wrote. And in his speech he asks a question that that kind of hit me upside the soul. 

What breaks your heart?

brokenheart

The things that break your heart are the very things that feed your passions. What are the things that keep you up at night?  What are the things that disturb you the most?  What do you get most passionate about?  What makes you pound the table?  What puts you on the edge of your seat?” – Luke

So I’ve been thinking about it. What breaks my heart?

When I went to Rwanda and saw so many orphans who would more than likely never know what it feels like to be loved by a father and a mother. That broke my heart. 

Knowing that there are about 150 million orphans in the world I live in. That breaks my heart.

Knowing that something around 25 thousand kids die everyday because of dumb stuff like not having clean drinking water or enough food or clothing or shoes to protect their bodies. That breaks my heart.

I cannot even begin to understand suffering. Oh my gosh!!! I cannot stand being comfortable. It does not bring me joy or intimacy or faith. It provides an escape from the harsh reality that cultivates real, gritty good. Living in comfort breaks my heart.

When kids are treated like dirt because they are poor. That breaks my heart.

When kids are brainwashed and made to kill. That breaks my heart.

When kids are torn away from their innocence and sold into prostitution. That breaks my heart.

When the church is focused on pushing a piece of legislature that will further their agenda rather than focusing on loving the people they are trying to fight. When teenagers are looked at as nothing more than a nuisance. When family members bicker and fight over stupid stuff. When I do not understand how much God loves me. At the end of movies when they pop the big question and it is “Do you want to move in together?” instead of “Will you marry me?”. When I drive onto the freeway exit and the homeless guy is standing there and I want to talk to him but I cannot because I am too busy and scared. These things break my heart.

“Allow Him to break your heart for the things that break His heart.  And in that brokenness you will find your way.  You will find your path.” – Luke

I hope the things that break my heart are not just “me” things but that they have been put there by God. I think the ultimate thing in life is being a part of what God is doing and I think He has given me the passions that I have so that I can be a part of something that He is doing or is going to do. I just don’t know what it is yet. Maybe it is happening right now!

A Day To Remember

obama-hope

Well… like it or not Mr. Obama is now President Obama. Like it or not change will come. I, for one, am extremely excited. I don’t necessarily agree with his viewpoints on “hot-button issues” but that is not the point. Today was not about Republican vs. Democrat or Conservative vs. Liberal or “Christians” vs. “Others”. It was about Hope. It was about coming together.

It’s great that we have a black President. It says something about our nation. We’ve come so far from where we used to be. It’s another chapter in our history. I love it but I can’t wait for the day when it won’t matter that our President is black. Won’t it be cool when we as a nation vote a man into the Oval Office and he just happens to be black. I think it would be great. I don’t want to downplay today’s significance in regards to race or the suffering that has occured because of it, it’s just that it gets old for me. I don’t care if someone is white or black or yellow or brown or red or blue for that matter. It means nothing to me. I hate the stereotypes. They bug me because they are handicaps. I understand that race forms a certain identity. I just wish it didn’t have to be that way. We are all created in God’s own image and that is the greatest, most assuring  identity I could ever imagine.

I am happy for President Obama. I will do what I can to support and encourage him as he leads our country through turbulant times. I will pray for him, not because I think my country is going down the toilet because he will be leading it but because he has huge responsibilities that will be overwhelming at times. I will pray for him because he will need God’s hand to guide him. If he is to give lasting hope to this nation he will need to experience the unimaginable hope only found in Jesus.

This post was a little bit of a ramble. Sorry about that, oh well. Here is the video of Pastor Rick Warren’s prayer this morning. It’s really cool. That’s a horrible, ridiculously generic way of decribing it. It was anything but generic, in my oppinion. Breathtaking would be better. Father, My thoughts echo those of Dr. Warren’s.