Word to the Wise: Christian Wisdom, Pt. 9

I’m no stranger to making stupid choices. In my senior year of high school, I decided to date one of my best friend’s best friends just to make my best friend angry. I wanted revenge for something they did to me. So, I sat down in front of my youth pastor with a few close friends during a staged How I Met Your Mother-esque intervention and excitedly told them my master plan. Their reactions were as incredulous as you can imagine, and they told me how stupid I was, like true friends are supposed to do. My plan unsurprisingly crashed hard a few months later when the girl I started dating ended up cheating on me, but my friends were still around to listen to me vent late into the night, like true friends are supposed to do. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About: Contemporary Christian Music

Every day on my way to work, I play music. When I’m at work, I play music. When I’m doing dishes or cooking, I play music. There’s little that I do that doesn’t include music. And music plays a huge part in American culture. Radios, malls, and restaurants continually pump fresh new music into our ears. It’s pretty hard to escape music in America. But lots of Christians have grown up being told that that’s exactly what we should do as believers; I grew up essentially being told that secular music is bad and Christian music is good (remember those charts saying, “If you like this artist, listen to this Christian artist”?). My natural inclination now is to reject Christian music altogether, and I don’t think I’m the only college-aged Christian who feels this propensity. But should this be our response? Maybe we should reconsider our musical tendencies, so let’s talk about contemporary Christian music.

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Cross-Centered Relationships: Christian Wisdom, Part 8

If you’re one of my friends, it should come as no surprise that I’m pretty bad at keeping in touch with people. I promised one of my best friends, Andy, that I would call him two weeks ago and I haven’t yet. My friend Nick and I were supposed to call each other over a month ago and catch up, but that never happened either. I haven’t talked to my brother in close to six months, and my sister and I have only exchanged several short text conversations in the last year. Even a few minutes before I sat down to write this, I ended a 30-minute call with my parents with no idea of what’s going on in their own lives because I talked about myself the entire time. I just don’t care. Or, rather, I care more about myself than other people. Continue reading

My Youth Pastor Is My Hero: Christian Wisdom, Part 7

There’s a picture of my former youth pastor, Mike, that’s permanently embedded on my mind. Fifteen of us were in Honduras on a short-term mission trip with my church in 2010, my senior year of high school. We spent the whole week mixing countless bags of cement and laying floors in dirt huts. Halfway through the week, all 15 9th-12th grade, white, middle class American high schoolers realized they couldn’t keep up with the locals. We were all beat. One night, my youth pastor received a call from his wife back in the states that his youngest daughter, then 4, laid on a bed in the ICU struggling to breathe. I’m not exaggerating when I say that she was minutes away from death. We spent the night in prayer, asking God for safety for his family, healing for his daughter, and wisdom for the doctors. Instead of leaving early to be with his family, Mike stayed for the rest of the trip because he trusted God to take care of his family in his absence. It was a tough four days. The picture I love shows him riding in a 15-passenger van in the middle of the beautiful tropics of Honduras staring out the window. It’s as if he was asking “Why?” Continue reading

Let’s Talk About: Your Smartphone

You’re probably using it right now as you read this. It’s most likely the device you spend the most time with, possibly even more than with your friends and family. It’s not a stretch to say that lots of Americans like their smartphones a little too much, and Christians are not exempt from this proclivity. But as a Christian, have you sat down and thought about how you’re using your smartphone? The quick response could be that the Bible doesn’t say anything about smartphones, so they’re free game. But behind that statement is the lie that the biblical story doesn’t speak into every aspect of life. We should strive to love God more and more by examining all areas of our lives, including our smartphone usage. So without further ado, let’s talk about your smartphone.

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Don’t Be Such a Chad: Christian Wisdom, Part 6

“Don’t be such a Chad.” That phrase has entered my vocabulary within the past month and a half due to the cringe-worthy, hit show The Bachelorette. On The Bachelorette, 26 guys compete for one female à la Hunger Games without the violence. Well, normally without the violence. The current season of The Bachelorette featured one of the scariest time bombs of testosterone I’ve ever seen, a dude named Chad. When he wasn’t filling his luggage with bricks to use as weights, drinking protein shakes (and then comparing people to said shakes), and eating plates and plates of random meat he found around the house, Chad spent most of his time arguing and belittling his fellow housemates. Because of his gargantuan size, Chad had no fear pushing people around. He even verbally threatened another housemate that he would find him after the show concluded. Needless to say, everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Chad packed his bags and headed out.

It’s easy to point fingers at such obvious examples of conflict when it’s highlighted on national television. But I can easily see Chad in my own heart. Continue reading