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Some Bad Advice, Some Good Advice and a Place to Start….

September 30, 2013

Coming back from a couple of weeks tromping around in the woods, I find that most of academia has begun the fall term without me. That means the pundits and other experts, the bloghounds and everyone else has already spilled their advice to new college students. However, in case we’ve been preoccupied trying to find space to stash a semester’s worth of ramen noodles, some people like Matthew Lee Anderson, Tim Darymple, Richard Dahlstrom and Guy Chmieleski are all worth a minute or two of our time. They’ve all been on campus and still live to tell about it speaking in moderately coherent English. They know the pitfalls, the pluses, where the bodies are buried and where to find a good brown spicy mustard at three in the morning. People who know stuff like this are simply indispensable at this stage of life.

But I can’t resist throwing in a little something of my own. Let me introduce Henry Venn, a pastor in England who, in 1777, sent his son, John, off as a new student at Cambridge University. His advice? “Rise early. Shun idleness. Read the Bible with prayer. Take care that your bed be thoroughly dry and lay for the first night in your waistcoat, breeches and stockings. Don’t let spiritual immaturity make you arrogant or excessive. Be chaste, sober and humble. Keep a diary. Study standing up. And every other morning attend your mouth and clean it well with snuff, which I find of great service to my teeth.” Doesn’t that just say it all? Could I possibly add anything to that?

Whenever I’m out-of-town, I can’t resist picking up the local Sunday paper. Splashed across the front page of the Nashville Tennessean, what to my wondering eyes should appear but this, this and this. Sex slavery, the exploitation of men, women and children for sexual purposes, stands as not only a major evil by itself but has been embraced by the current student generation as their cause. As I write, a major thrust begins in New York City called Price of Life. It aims to engage over 10,000 college students in the city with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, see over 1,000 of them embrace Jesus Christ personally and raise over $150,000 to be used combat the worldwide sex slave industry. We should pray and participate wherever we can. Which brings me to your campus. We don’t have to go anywhere outside our school to find women falling prey to sexual assault even though they may not be snatched into sex slavery. Almost one-quarter of all women attending college are sexually assaulted but only a little of over ten percent actually report. Just on these percentages, a lot more goes on than what the schools know about. And women who do report encounter threats, ridicule, blame, cover ups and patronizing, lukewarm response by authorities. One of the Geezer’s early posts every year involves sexual assault on women. Why? BECAUSE IT KEEPS ON HAPPENING! 

Sometimes jumping on a cause is like a high school pep rally. We jump up and down for a while but in a couple of weeks we’re back to plodding through our own stuff with our head and heart down. One group I spoke to ran through announcements and flagged a speaker somewhere focusing on social justice. One of the student leaders pumped a fist and shouted, “Social justice. Woo hoo!” Sometimes the cause can be a mantra where many talk but few do. I don’t care if it’s sex slavery or advancing literacy for wombats, you just have to take this Jesus stuff out on the street and get some dirt and dents on it. What about the sexual safety of women on our campus? Do we know what to do if a friend tells us they’ve been raped? You’ll find some help here and some more help and a good idea here. You guys are so smart that you can do nothing but improve on the idea in this old post. With all the other great and creative things you’re doing to let people know you’re on campus, what about standing up against the sexual exploitation and abuse of people on our campus, in our dorm and, maybe, one of our roommates? Jesus didn’t come to play it safe but plunged into human suffering up to the wazoo. His people at their best have always done the same. And after we’ve done that, we can always fall back on the traditional “snuff and floss” pack giveaway. If anybody does that, please email me at to let me know how it went.

If you think this might encourage or help a college student, then share, tweet, follow and all that social media stuff. If you would like to see this regularly, then write me at and asked to join something called Geezer 1. As part of it you will not only see each new post of but other stuff from the rest of the gang. They’re a bunch of sharp cookies. You will enjoy their stuff – stretching, funny, cool, sharp-tongued and yet gracious. Sometimes all this in just one sentence.

Please return your seat to the upright position and hand your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at

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