Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Least of These

I recently read an article in the Baylor student newspaper where a student attempted to describe her political views by saying that she lined up with the conservative mindset on fundamentals but admired the liberal passion for equality. She said that she found it difficult to see how the "least of these" could survive without the assistance of state aid. While I agree with the sentiment of her description, I was surprised at the use of "least of these" in reference to the need for government aid.

The phrase "least of these" comes from Matthew 25:40. Jesus told the parable of the sheep and goats- comparing how God will one day judge us all like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Jesus says:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?'. . ."The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
-Matthew 25:35-37, 40

When I read this passage, I don't hear Jesus screaming for more government welfare and aid programs to feed the hungry and the thirsty. Jesus is not calling for big government. He's not talking about government at all! Christ is imploring you and I to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned. This is a command decreeing that God will hold us accountable for things we did for others. As believers we should be seeking ways to care for the least of these. I strongly believe Jesus would not be satisfied with American Christians for leaning on the Government to care for these individuals.

I really think it's time that Americans have a mind shift- especially believers in America. We need to stop looking for others to fix the problems of the least of these, but have a little faith that God might be calling us to do it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Political Frustrations

A very small part of me gets excited when the presidential elections roll around. I have found myself feeling that this election has the potential to be decisive. I am a big fan of Facebook, but lately I dread getting on the site. I have a couple of "friends" on there who like to update their status message everyday with some personal slam on republicans, or anyone who is not voting for Obama.

It drives me crazy, regardless of who you are voting for, when people make blanket statements like that on a public venue. Just because someone is voting for another candidate, does not mean that they are less intelligent or educated. Statements like that drive me crazy and I find them extremely immature and offensive.

Now, I'll be honest and say that I'm planning to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin. But, there was a point not long ago where I strongly considered voting for Obama. I'll give you more details about why I chose the candidate I chose at another point. But, I think that there are people who are voting for Obama who have very intelligent educated reasons why they are voting for him. There are also many people, in my generation especially, who are voting for him because it is the cool thing to do.

Regardless of your political affiliation I implore you to make sure you know why you are voting the way you are voting. I also implore you to not fall prey to thinking someone else is stupid because they are voting Republican (or Democrat for that matter).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some new goals

If you read my old blog, you might remember an entry back in January where I set the goal to run the Music City Marathon in the spring. Truthfully, I have forgotten about that goal, until I recently when I have had time to think about it some more.

Since life has slowed down with the start of school, I've been able to make running an almost every day occurrence. I have also found a couple of good running partners who are encouraging, but force me to run more than I think I am able. Recently we started running Cameron Park which is a beautiful park by the Brazos river with trails up hills and through beautiful trees.

After running along the river for nearly 40 minutes Saturday, I thought it was time to start making some serious goals.

1. Dallas 5k Fun Run & Walk

This is held in connection with the Dallas White Rock Marathon in December. A 5k is 3.1 miles, and should be easily doable by it's December 13th date. (The actual marathon is on December 14th, but I will not be ready by that time!) It'll be a great reward for a hard semester's work.

2. The Cowtown 10k

This takes place in Fort Worth on February 28th. This is close to halfway between the 5k (my first race) and the half marathon. Plus it's in FW, which I love. A 10k is 6.2 miles.

3. Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon

Good friends and the promise of a huge stack of french toast and hash browns from Pancake Pantry are on my mind when I envision the final of these races. It would be the first time I've eaten them and not felt guilty about the ice cream scoop of butter they put on the plate. (Plus the ability to say that I ran 13.1 miles would be pretty sweet too).

My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

On that note, I'm off to bed. I'm getting up to meet a friend to run at 6:15 in the a.m. Then we have a work "retreat" at Cafe Cappuccino, my local Pancake Pantry substitute. Not quite the same, but their french toast is also pretty yummy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricane Update

Friday afternoon we were briefed on what the University and departmental plans for responding to Hurricane Ike. We were told the most current forecast predicted 79 mph sustained winds and 5-8 inches of rain. This was supposed to have started before people woke up on Saturday morning, but the worst was to be between 12-5p.m. We were preparing for power outages, and possible tornadoes on Saturday. We moved everything movable indoors and prepared for the worst. And, the Baylor Bears were moved to an undisclosed location in a safer place.

Saturday morning I woke up around 10:30 and looked out the window. Anxious to see what a hurricane looked like first hand. All that greeted me was a very gray sky. The rest of the day there was some minor strong winds and sprinkles. No strong, sustained winds, no strong wind.

I spent the day being very lazy in my pajamas. The biggest news of the day is that my refrigerator broke and all the stuff in my freezer dethawed. But Baylor Facilities came to the rescue with a new fridge.

What I find very ironic is that my parents' house had stronger winds from Ike than did we. And, part of one of the trees in the yard fell on their house. Did I mention my family lives in Kentucky? You can read my dad's account of it here.

Today is beautiful. The sky is the most beautiful blue and the temperature is mild. The weather forecasters say that it should be in the 50s this week. Let's hope they are more correct than they were with the storm predictions!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm about to meet Ike

In case you haven't heard, there is a pretty strong hurricane headed towards Texas, and his name is Ike. Waco is pretty far inland (200 miles roughly) so we aren't in too much danger of being washed into the gulf. However, we do have to worry about lots of rain, wind and refugees. This means we're going to have flooding, possible tornadoes and lots of empty isles at the grocery and packed hotels.

I'm one of the hall directors on call this weekend, so it should prove to be interesting. I'll keep you posted- I've never really been through a hurricane!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Football Games, Spa Nights, and Strawberry Fest, Oh, My!

It's been a busy, busy few weeks here. We opened the halls on the 20th of August and classes started on the 25th. Once the halls opened life seemed to settle down a bit. Since the 25h I have been busy meeting with my community leaders and graduate assistants.

I am loving my life here right now. I have the opportunity to work with some great students and really enjoying the studious nature that they all have. I work with the Engineering and Computer Science Living Learning Program which means 80% of the students who live in my building fall into one of those degree plans. I also have a lot of the female athletes in my building. I was a bit intimidated by working with these students because the discipline and intelligence that is required to be successful in ECS is much different than that which was required of me as a Psychology and Religion major in college. However, I feel that I have found my groove with these students. They seem to respect my honesty about having no idea what the titles of their classes even mean (i.e. Partial Differential Equations. . . really?!). They try to explain to me what it means and seem comforted that it's ok with me if they also have no idea. Plus, several of them have discovered that I have an extensive writing background and I anticipate editing a lot of papers for my very math minded students.

I also am teaching a University 1000 course here on campus. This is similar to a freshman seminar class at other universities, but is tied in with the chapel program at Baylor. I have a class of about 15 freshman women and I couldn't be happier. I had considered asking for a class of women, but knowing how large of an undertaking the assignments were, I chose not to. As fate (or perhaps the hand of God) would have it, I got that class anyway. The woman who supervised my internship experience here last summer was in charge of the class/professor assignments (she had to assign each student manually to a class, which is a large undertaking when you have over 3000 new students). The assignments left several group of all women, and she put me in one of them, knowing that I would see it as a neat ministry opportunity. I have loved my time talking with these women about "spiritual practices" like service, humility, attention/intention, sabbath, friendship and integrity.

On a sadder note- I am constantly reminded of how little attention college students pay to the world around them. As I was finishing coffee today with a dear friend, we walked out of the coffee shop to see that a student on a bike was hit by a student in a car. Who knows which, if not both, of them failed to pay attention. I constantly see students walk and out into the path of a car without even stopping to notice that the car is there. Accidents like this could be avoided if people paid a bit more attention. (P.S. The student who got hit was seemingly alive and alert. He was also wearing a helmet, which is very unusual. The girl appeared to have been turning her car onto a street when she hit him, which hopefully means she wasn't going that fast. her windshield was severely dented and cracked though from the biker. She was VERY upset. Say a few prayers for all those involved. I cannot imagine what either of them are going through.)

On a much happier note- enjoy a slide show from my recent football game adventures!

Soundtrack of My Life

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