Thursday, November 23, 2006

Why Jill Phillips is one of my favorite songwriters

"Working hard to tie up the loose ends
So hard to decide who you let in
Put your best foot forward with a grin

I can see the fear behind your eyes
Wondering if someone will recognize
You’ve grown tired of keeping up the lies

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ‘cause
Nobody’s got it all together
If you want to be like everyone else well
Nobody’s got it all together

I have seen the darkness of my heart
And found a love that taught me its too hard
To walk through life and not let down my guard

What good is it to say please savior come
If there is nothing you need rescue from
Life is something no one has a corner on

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ‘cause
Nobody’s got it all together
If you want to be like everyone else well
Nobody’s got it all together

When the parts that are self righteous
Start to disappear
Every other life is
Just another mirror
And life is way too short to run and hide

Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself ‘cause
Nobody’s got it all together
If you want to be like everyone else well
Nobody’s got it all together"

- "Nobody's got it all together"

Title track from Jill's new CD. Check it out. Ask for it for Christmas... I am.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekends in Boone and things I've been learning

This weekend has epitimized a classic weekend in Boone for me, and I will definitely miss weekends like this next year after I graduate I think. This morning I slept in a bit, then went to Espresso News with Craven and did some reading out of More than a Carpenter. I've come to enjoy reading and getting coffee at Espresso News more this year than I have in past years. I think part of the reason is because I realized how close it is to the Comm. bulding... but besides that, their coffee, and atmosphere really is better than any other coffee shop in Boone in my opinion. This afternoon I went over to Foster's to watch the Michigan vs. Ohio State game. I decided to pull for Michigan a few minutes before the game, but even though they lost, it was an amazing game that did not dissapoint in light of all the hype around it. Well, tomorrow I'm headed to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship for the first time in probably a month. I've only been there a handful of times this semester because I've been out of town so much on the weekends... whether doing stuff with Crusade, or running half-marathons, or visiting family. But, the Lord has been teaching me a lot recently through a number of different ways about the importance of community in the Christian life(one of which was the recent Boundless article on Christian webcasting, another was a passage out of the book "Serious Times" by the President of Gordon-Conwell, and finally Reggie in his talk at Crusade Thursday when he talked about having a critical spirit). So much of my college career has been me trying to 'work out' my walk with the Lord on my own, in the sense that things that supplement, whether books, or articles, or even podcasts/sermons... those things unfortunately can become the things I rely on most in my walk. And as a result, I think I have begun to see church (or the message on Sundays) in a sense, as merely a supplement to my faith, rather than a foundation for it, and a place, or community to pour myself in to. A verse that has come to mind recently is Galations 6:6, which says, "One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches." This command implies a response from me towards those who teach, whether on a Sunday morning or Thursday night. And it makes perfect sense, because then we start building a foundation for growth. If I am just consuming, consuming, consuming, truth becomes knowledge, and growth becomes stagnent. So often, I do neglect that response, and am not kept accountable for truths I am being taught... and I like the word accountable there, because we should be held accountable for biblical truth we learn, because scripture does hold utmost authority in our lives, and also because we should be sharing what we learn with those around us. But, just imagine the type of affect it would have in our lives, and in our communities if we started taking Galations 6:6 seriously. Things left unsaid would start being shared. Apathy could be replaced with action... and even awkwardness at church, with sincere care for others. I guess what I'm trying to say is, when my life becomes privatized, individualized, independent of the church, and divorced from authentic relationships that is when I am most prone to falter in a number of different ways. When I don't feel like going to church because I'm feeling ashamed, or guilty, or even apathetic, that is the time I should go, because I need the sharpening and encouragment of fellow believers, as opposed to turning on my ipod and listening to the latest sermon, by the most renowned pastor. In doing that I forget the God has placed me in a wonderful fellowship, for a greater purpose, with ordained leadership, in order to grow closer to Him and impact those around us for Himself through the church.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

My editorial article from The Appalachian (Nov. 15, 2005)

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

I recently saw the movie Hotel Rwanda for the first time. I thought the movie was so well made, I decided to watch it two nights in a row.

What I appreciated most about the movie was how real it was. The movie depicts the very real conflict between the Tutsis and the Hutus in a very bloody period in Rwanda during the early 1990s.

Unlike most movies, there was little resolve for me after watching it, because I could not stop thinking that the events I watched, although some probably loosely based, really did happen.

I came away from the movie awestruck, feeling guilty even for how safe I feel here in America, and in my house here in Boone.

I started thinking how my life would be radically different if I had grown up in a place that appeared to completely disregard moral standards and the preciousness of life.

I also came away from the movie feeling as though something had gone completely wrong in the world for atrocities like this to occur, and in varying degrees, occur fairly often.

It seemed to me that somehow things were not always supposed to be this way.

What I mean by this is, what are we to think about the reasons for atrocities such as those depicted in Hotel Rwanda, and what about the constant struggle we all seem to have in staying within the lines of the law, or of moral standards?

Is this struggle merely relative to our surroundings, or upbringing, or is there a natural tendency within each of us to struggle to do what is right?

I believe that we as humans are capable of doing great things, like revolutionizing, and being activists in a society that needs much change.

But whether something so foreign to us as genocide, or something more familiar to us like choosing dishonesty over telling the truth, it seems we continually come up short in producing in ourselves, and in others the type of change that is both continuous and contagious.

In his book “Blue Like Jazz,” author Donald Miller writes, “I think every conscious person, every person who is awake to the functioning principles within his reality, has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in the world on group think, on humanity and authority, and starts to face himself.”

One of my favorite sections of the book is when Miller writes about how after he protested a speech for the president, he realized, “I am the very problem I had been protesting.

I wanted to make a sign that read ‘I am the problem.’”

While I have never been much for rallies or protests, I can honestly relate to Miller’s feeling that beyond problems with policies, legislation, administrations, or politicians, lays a deeper problem within my own heart.

I so often overlook my own shortcomings in loving those around me and constantly pass out excuses and judgment like raffle tickets.

Although I may not commit atrocities in my lifetime like those depicted in Hotel Rwanda, the desire to place myself above others and my failing to treat others the way I want to be treated is nevertheless there.

So in that respect, I am hardly different in matters of the heart with those who committed the heinous crimes in Rwanda.

Miller says in his book, “It is hard for us to admit we have a sin nature because we live in this system of checks and balances. If we get caught, we will be punished.

But that doesn’t make us good people; it only makes us subdued.”

I have come to the point where I know that all the goodwill I can muster up within me to love others better can not produce a change of heart in my own life or in others.

I believe however there is someone who loves me relentlessly, even in my shortcomings, and in that truth my hope is found.

Michael Beahm, a junior journalism major from Greensboro, is a news writer.

(I thought I'd post this on my blog, even though it is from last year... because the only other place it is, is on the archives of The Appalachian newspaper online). Hope everyone has a good weekend. Be thinking of me Sunday morning if you would, as I will be running in the Wilmington half-marathon with my roomates. - MB