In a lot of places, it’s time for midterm exams. Maybe we could use a little escape? Here’s a good one. The plaque in the picture is mounted in a boulder at the top of Mt. Springer in northern Georgia. The brainchild of Benton MacKaye, a Harvard (well, of course) forestry agent, the Appalachian Trail stretches from Mt. Katahdin in Maine to Mt. Springer in Georgia. I’ll save us the walk (We’ll need our energy for studying.); it’s about 2200 miles long. Benton started out alone but the idea quickly gripped people, galvanizing their lives in new directions and demanding everything they had. And people laid it on the line. This wasn’t for piddlers.
So what does this have to do with the fact that we can’t decipher the notes we borrowed because we weren’t in class and the test roars in our face like a lion on garlic? And this class isn’t in my major. What good will it do me later? Excuse me, Dave, it’s time to change the IV bag of caffeine in my arm. Not so fast. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…: (John 14:6) If we’re reading this, we’re either a Jesus follower or are thinking about it. Either way, He brought us to this campus (even that community college when we wanted to go to the university with five-star dorms) because He wants to show us His love, truth, beauty, holiness and power. And small pieces of things that show how He wants these things to sparkle in the clay of our live in years ahead. He wants to grip us with tastes and tears that will make us hungry to follow the Jesus Way.
Now let’s talk about that class we had to take and don’t like. Whatever it’s about (The History of Glue, etc.), that class brims over with people ignorant of the love of Jesus Christ. Maybe one of them lectures up front. Whatever the subject is fits into the scheme of the Kingdom of God; it stands as part of His Creation which He loves and died to rescue and repair. He loves what sits in those notes. When it says in Genesis 1:31 that God looked over all that He had made and saw that it was very good, He was including (at least in embryonic seed form) even the things lying on those pages and embedded in those notes we drag ourselves to study. If we love Him, we should give what He loves a go. He use these things to stretch us for the miles ahead on the Jesus Way.
Blood Mountain sits near the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. It’s the last place hikers can get a bed, hot showers and a hot breakfast before they finish. Hikers going north can pick up any gear imaginable that they forgot. Tourists buy food and souvenirs. It holds an unusual book store where all those who finish the trail leave off the books they read along the way to get sold off to support the maintenance of the Trail. Blood Mountain is also a monument sacred to those who love the outdoors too much to stay out of it. Wires suspended from the ceiling hold hundreds of pairs of hiking shoes, names and dates written on the bottom. Rows of kits (large hiking backpacks) line the walls. A prosthetic left leg with a very worn out shoe fastened to the wall boasts of a very special accomplishment. People finishing the AT ship their gear back to Blood Mountain for display to say two things; I did it and so can you.
Jesus Himself calls us to walk this Jesus Way. More than with Benton MacKaye, no one can imagine where this leads. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Cor 2:9) In Rev.4:10, the elders cast their crowns before the throne of God. Their crowns represent who they are, all they’ve done or accomplished. Jesus Christ calls us to this Jesus Way and it’s a long walk. This part winds through our campus, through every class, football game and late night gab session. Someday we’ll finish. But right now we’re working on our crown. I don’t know that He will hang them across the ceiling of heaven (I doubt it.). But our story will say, “Upheld by the Spirit of Jesus and driven by my love for Him, I did it and so can you.” So get to work on that crown and open that book.
If we think this might encourage either a student or someone who loves them, then please share, Twitter, subscribe and all that social media stuff. If we already subscribe to geezeronthequad.com, then maybe we need to be part of Geezer 1, the Facebook clubhouse for all things Geezer. It’s a mix of students, student ministry leaders, professors, administrators, artists, writers, musicians, composers, pastors, theologians, broadcasters, booksellers, cultural thinkers and entrepreneurs and a few campus rats who think that Jesus Christ thinks that the university is a special place. You coming on board will make us better. Take a look and ask to join. If we don’t respond right away, resubmit since the Facebook dog may have eaten your homework.
Please return your seat to the upright position and return your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.
Forget Halloween…it is SOOOO yesterday. Christmas gear and stuff takes over store shelves like a creeping bread mold. So here we are with the first geezeronthequad Christmas Store. Students shoppers for Mom and Dad have already played out that large tin of popcorn, the sausage and cheese package from the kiosk at the mall or the another T-shirt from the campus bookstore where we can further deplete the money that our parents may have put in our campus account instead of cracking into our own hard cash. Buying them a Christmas gift with their own money…it has a certain mildly admirable shrewdness but you can’t do this for four years.
I keep telling people that Geezer 1, the online playhouse for geezeronthequad.com holds a lot of sharp cookies and here they are. Browse around and don’t hesitate to pick out something nice for yourself. If you really want some fun yet tough holiday choices, go to that Christmas book megastore (The store isn’t mega but the inventory and spirit are.), Hearts and Minds Books, where Byron Borger will give you an across the board 20% discount if you say you thought of it here
BOOKS AND WRITTEN STUFF
Jeremy Pape – Worship Revealed: A Thinking Worshipper’s Primer
Chuck Gutenson – Church renewal, justice and the common good.
Brenda Salter McNeil – Social justice and Christian witness.
Trevin Wax – Christian teaching, church renewal and apologetics.
Phil Callaway – Humor.
Steve Lutz – College ministry leadership.
Kathryn Stegall - Biblical equality for women.
Guy Chmieleski – College students and campus ministry leaders.
Tim Dalrymple – Sports.
Karen Zacharias – fiction, essays, social commentary.
Lisa Sharon Harper – Christian witness and social justice.
Scot McKnight – Biblical theology.
Owen Strachan – Biblical theology and cultural comment.
Sonny Lemmons – Mr. Mom Dad and spiritual journeying.
Kelly Monroe Kullberg – Campus ministry, apologetics and worldview.
Randall Balmer – Christian History of US, cultural commentary.
York Moore – Evangelism and social justice.
Harold Fickett – Bio, Christian cultural thought and living.
William Edgar – Apologetics.
Con Campbell – New Testament theology.
Thomas Joseph (composer) – Contemporary classical music for solo, small ensemble and orchestra.
Con Campbell – jazz.
Steve Swartz – acoustic/electrical atmospheric.
Bill Carter - jazz.
Daniel Justice Snoke – praise and worship.
Greg and Rebecca Sparks – contemporary Christian, contemporary issues, praise and worship
Songs of David – jazz. Home base where a lot of Christians in the jazz world show their stuff.
Mark Altrogge – artist, landscapes with surreal color.
I think this is everyone from Geezer 1 who floats in the crushed asteroid belt surrounding geezeronthequad.com. But maybe to keep yourselves sane on campus, you crochet pot holders with the faces of early church fathers on them. Or you have scored the hymns of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley for that tuba band you play with on weekends and your first CD is out. Maybe you’re breaking out a new cookbook for campus ministry (How to fillet a wildebeest with accompanying veggies for forty students coming to your house in fifteen minutes for a last-minute fellowship. You’ve done this almost a hundred times.) Then get yourself in here with whatever you have or do that could top the twenty T-shirts Grandma already has from our U. If we do art of any and all kinds, music, cook or write and I’ve left you out, email me at email@example.com. Disclaimer: This isn’t Craigslist: I won’t meet you at a dingy taco stand to see if I want to list your old socks (However, most of our old socks might be better than some of the socks I’ve seen on campus.)
As I suggested, we might also want to check out something nice for ourselves as a target of post holiday cash. Spread this around on social media or share it with your tribe. Tis the season. Back soon with a regular post from geezeronthequad.com.
A little blast from the past as we’re in the mountains of northern Georgia. Back with the fresh stuff in mid October.
Originally posted on geezeronthequad:
I discovered something; I stumbled across it the other day while paging through some theological literature. It was Loren D. Estleman’s “Sherlock Holmes and Dracula.” (Okay, so theology crops up in some strange places.) Early on, before the game is afoot, Dracula pays a visit to Holmes and Watson in their apartment on Baker Street. The following dialogue ensues.
“The night is cold and I am not so young as I once was,” Dracula said. “May I come in?”
“Please do. Perhaps you would care to join my colleague and myself in some whisky. Watson, a glass.”
“Thank you. I do not drink alcoholic beverages,” he said stepping in.
You know what this must mean? Count Dracula was a Baptist. And you know what else? When Anne Lamott discovers a new adverb that blasts her out of the doldrums of writer’s block, she dances around making noises like James Brown. I wonder if…
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A little vinegar of soul of mine following the great report from IVCF.
Originally posted on geezeronthequad:
Martin Niemoller is a pretty cool guy. He’s dead but we aren’t really cool until our coolness outlives us – and his does. He captained a German submarine in World War I and earned the Iron Cross, first degree, Germany’s highest military honor. After the war, he became a Lutheran pastor and initially supported the young upstart, Adolf Hitler, in his rise to power. As Hitler did not take long to begin to show his true colors, Niemoller became more and more outspoken in his criticisms and, along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others, helped to found the Confessing Church. He spent 1938-45 in Dachau and other concentration camps. He also wrote about why he did what he did and maybe the most penetrating thing he wrote goes like this.
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the…
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So many of you who get geezeronthequad have written, played, composed, painted, photographed and otherwise to your God-given creativity to make some great things. So many, in fact, that this year we will have the first “geezeronthequad” Christmas Gift Store. I am making the list now and checking it more than twice because I don’t want to leave you out. The gang surrounding “geezeronthequad.com” and Geezer 1 on Facebook is an immensely gifted group and we want others to know how they can be blessed by what you do for Jesus Christ.
The Christmas Gift Shop will even include some who have dropped out of all things “geezer” – some running away screaming in the night (I hope the therapy helps.) and some to save their academic careers (which I understand). So if we have a project, some nifty bit of creativity to finish, lets’ get to it. Maybe we’re arranging John Zorn’s Christmas Album for our church handbell choir. Maybe our praise band is covering Frank Zappa’s bootleg underground southern gospel album. Maybe we just haven’t pulled together “Favorite Cookie Recipes of the Ante-Nicean Church Fathers”. Let’s get things moving .
We have been noted here for a touch of ironic or sarcastic humor. BUT WE ARE REALLY DOING THIS. If we know someone off the radar whose creative, prophetic, edifying gift could enrich someone’s life this Christmas, send them along. But, remember that this isn’t ETSY. I will edit all outside requests. We’re looking for edgy, organic and Christian and they do go together. Otherwise, please go to Family Bookstores or CBD.
You can respond to the blog below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My salute to the professors who survived me…and respect to all the ones who never had to.
Originally posted on geezeronthequad:
In college, I was a slacker. I skipped class, didn’t study as hard as I should have and tried to make up for it the night before the test. I finished with a 2.60 GPA. It would have been lower but student teaching saved my tail. When they called my name at graduation, I grabbed that diploma like the number two guy on a mile relay team grabs the baton and we were out the side door. We were down I-80 to celebrate at the International House of Pancakes before anyone realized what a terrible mistake had been made. I got my act together in grad school and, in retrospect, grew serious respect for the profs who endured me.
Being a prof isn’t easy; first you have to survive grad school. If anyone reading this is thinking about grad school, read this first. Getting a PhD is almost like monasticism without…
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Fall on campus, the new term, brings out strange animals. The one place where we can see them all comes right off the bat at whatever they call the mass gathering of every campus organization at our place. It’s a high visibility blowout where everybody shops their group. No matter what it’s called, it translates out to “This Club Wants Your Body”. Four different things usually are at work here. One, it’s a great place to hang out and enjoy the campus atmosphere. Two, because of number one, a lot of people go there to check out the new guys/girls on campus. Three, we can pick up a lot of free stuff – notepads, pens, food and drink, cup cozies. If we score a mug, give ourselves five stars. It doesn’t really matter just so it’s free, right? And four, new students are trying to decode this new college experience while some upperclassmen may be looking to change some things up. And the new groups we attach ourselves to will help define and redefine us as persons. And just who are these people? Some are professional (Corduroy Taxidermists). Some are political (Republican Druids). Some are athletic (A Capella Ping Pong). Some are artsy (Descendants of the Monkey Gods Performing Arts Troup). Some are academic (Nerds for Cream Cheese Calculus). Some special interest (Atomic Chess Fiends). And some unexplainable (Fig Newton Line Dancing, Zen Yahtzee and, my favorite, The Zombie Quilt Guild. (I want one of their t-shirts!) Some of these are real and some I made up but we can’t tell, can we?
But I don’t want us to miss the wide variety of Christian groups on our campus. They might be more subdued than the groups listed above, maybe not, but they will be easier to figure out. In some stripe or flavor, they know Jesus Christ. And not just the Jesus living inside their head but the Guy Who claimed to be God, lived on earth and died to absorb all the penalty, punishment and scarring of our screw ups (what the Bible calls sin). He’s amazing and He would like to amaze us with what He can do in our life. And they will surround us with a network, a community, of people who are right where we are and who will love us while the whole gang of us stretches and gropes toward wholeness. And you might get a hot dog. Even as we read this, “This Club Wants Your Body” Day probably has come and gone but we still have a stack of flyers from groups that caught our eye and one of these Christian groups might be there. Even if they’re not, the Christian groups on our campus won’t go away. We’ll see their chalk on the sidewalk, more flyers on campus and dorm bulletin boards, giveaways in mailboxes, weird skits in the union or on the commons and booths at homecoming. Or maybe they’re just the people who smile and always speak as we stumble downstairs in a coma trying to navigate our way to that 8 AM class. Just who are they and why do they do that? One way to find out; they aren’t shy about where they can be found.
I say this especially to new and transfer students who already know Jesus Christ. Most campus ministry leaders know what it’s like to have a church contact them saying that one their own hits campus in the fall. Would they contact that student and invite them to their group? No campus leader I’ve known in thirty years of speaking on campuses would turn that down. A friend of mine got one of those calls, went to the dorm and knocked on the door. The student answered with one hand wrapped around a beer and the other around his new girl friend. The student leader spoke briefly, left a flyer and never saw the student in the group although more contacts were made. Later, the home pastor fired off a hot letter to the campus guy saying he’d talked to this student at Thanksgiving and the student said no one had contacted him. Strangely…some students don’t pack their faith off to college; they leave it in the drawer at home along with that Christian graduation book many don’t read. NOBODY WHO READS THIS BLOG WOULD DO THAT SO I SPEAK HYPOTHETICALLY.
If we already know and follow Jesus Christ, we will soon find out that we can’t make it alone on the college campus. As exciting as the college experience can be, it’s also tough in many ways. We need some help. In the Bible, Paul compares the church to the human body; each person is a unique and necessary part. Some prominent while others are unseen. No part can make it on its own. Body parts unattached to whole bodies go bad pretty quickly. We might be a toenail, a nose hair or one of the bones in the inner ear. Important, yes, but not by ourselves. We need to get into a campus Christian group and find a kidney! They have spleens, eyebrows, pinkie fingers…and a place for you because they need what we bring. And Jesus make it all breathe and live. Okay, they might not call themselves the Blue Cheese Rangers for Jesus but our soul will grow muscles and our lives will begin to smell like Jesus a little more. And, thankfully, not like blue cheese. Good hunting; the Lord already has our place saved and will move heaven and earth for us to find it.
If you think this might encourage a student or someone who loves them, then share, subscribe, Twitter and all that social media stuff. If you already subscribe, you might want to think about joining Geezer 1, the Facebook online clubhouse for geezeronthequad.com. It’s a mix of students, student ministry leaders, professors, administrators, artists, musicians, writers, composers, booksellers, broadcasters, theologians, business professionals, pastors, cultural thinkers and entrepreneurs as well as a few campus rats who think that Jesus Christ thinks that the university is a special place. Take a look. Just ask to join or send an email request to email@example.com. If the Facebook dog eats your homework, we will ask you to resubmit.
Please return your seat to the upright position and turn your infrared night vision goggles in to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.