Two things popped up on the geezeronthequad radar during the past year. One is that during this year, I made the 100th post on this blog. For those of you who slogged through all that, or most or some of it, I’m honored – and I hope the therapy is helping. For all who unsubscribed because they either disagreed with or couldn’t stand what I wrote, I get it. Some days I can’t stand what I write either. One day I flew off the handle in a tirade against what I was reading and hovered over the cancel icon until I remembered I was about to unsubscribe to my own stuff. But like it, hate it, not understand it or unsubscribed, you’ve paid a writer the highest compliment possible. You gifted me with your time spent in reading what I wrote.
Pop up number two came when I learned that geezeronthequad.com got into sixty-three countries in 2014! For all of you who didn’t want to get caught in the States reading this, that you would relocate overseas, assume new identities, learn new languages, battle new currencies and learn to eat bugs (if that’s what they eat wherever you are now) just to stay with me, humbles me more than you could know.
Today’s campus stands as one of the world’s most strategic and fertile fields of the Kingdom of God. One of my commenters said it well and simply – “The university rules the world.” They do. And many segments of the church have surrendered the field, retreating in the face of secular, humanistic, politically correct saber-rattling. Parts of the church simply sees campus ministry as pew fillers or people who can be enlisted to do church ministry that the church already ought to be doing itself. Think of those Sunday night services where the pastor needs or wants a break so they invite a student ministry leader to share what it’s all about. Think of the fixed smile afterwards that says, “Why don’t we see more of your students in this church?” Think about how you shook your head all the way back to the apartment and had to go to a chiropractor the next day.
I go to strange places to spiritually recharge. When I need to go somewhere I know I can find Jesus’ face and want to see the Holy Spirit ripple across the grass like a bulldozer driven by a Teamster on amphetamines, I go to university towns and campuses. Cambridge, Mass. East Lansing, Mich. Ithaca, NY. This fall it was Athens, GA. Walking the streets of both town and campus, cruising used bookstores (If they could put that smell in aerosol spray, I’d buy ten cases and stock in the company.) and jazz record shops. Driving three hours in the rain to Bowling Green, Ohio, to speak to ten students for free and fueled by twelve inch turkey subs from Subway – priceless.
Who are the people privileged to live under Christ’s hand in these places? First of all, students. There is simply no better place for them to live four or five of the most strategic years of our lives than on a secular campus in the company of other Christians. One draws fire in spirit and mind setting a trajectory for living the rest of one’s life for Christ that falls nowhere else. I John 4:4 says,”…greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Jesus is Lord over secularism, militant atheism, postmodernism, political correctness, hostile and misunderstanding student senates and anything else that lifts up its head against Him. He is also the Lord over the half million students touched by Christian campus ministry in this country alone every year. And He cries over and pursues hotly the multitudes more who don’t know Him and who find many ways to rush deeper into darkness on the quad.
Second and equally important are the student ministry workers, working full throttle and underfunded. A lot of you simply have no brakes – and that’s why Jesus has you where He does. Only your spirit can hold your heart; it’s too big for your body. I’m seeing the year-end newsletter from you and your families. “God has done great things..what a joy..here are their stories..thank you for your prayers and keep them coming…we’re forty percent in shortfall so if the Lord leads…”. So know of my prayers Cru, IVCF, CCO, Navs, Christian Union, CRC, Christian Challenge, Crossworks, BSU, Chi Alpha and all the locals and independents. As you drive around town where your school is and you see an older guy standing by the off ramp holding a cardboard sign that reads, “Will speak for Doritos”, be sure to wave. And keep reading even if it means leaving the country. I will try to write so as to make the move worth it. That way, next year I can color in Sri Lanka on my year-end map.