Tag Archives: Christianity

One Life

A while ago, I wrote a post called “Ten Words” about saying a few words to a lot of people, trying to condense the things that matter most in life into just a sentence or two.  I was under the impression that I had done all the thinking about that post that I was going to do after I hit “publish”, but then my Dad left a comment with a lot more to consider.  On the surface, his comment addressed a flaw with my answer, a flaw that I had wrestled with a lot before writing the post, but as I returned to that train of thought I realized that there was a bigger issue, a problem with the question itself.

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Pathos: Adam Beckmeyer

It’s been a long time since I’ve conducted an interview with one of my friends to post on the blog, so I am thrilled to present to you a new Pathos feature with my good friend and fellow second cook Adam Beckmeyer.  He warned me when he sent me his answers that he does a lot of rambling and derailing and gave me permission to edit him, but those rabbit trails are part of what makes him who he is (and many of them are quite convicting), so I’m posting the unvarnished, uncensored interview for your enjoyment.  Good stuff after the jump!

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Interview with the Newton Part 2: Questions from Tek

I finally watched that Daniel Ingram interview (which was splendid, by the way), so now my subconscious seems to be content to sit in the corner humming the new Coldplay single and let me write in peace.  Hooray!  Now if I can just stay away from Hyperbole and a Half for more than fifteen minutes at a time…

Anyway, since I answered all those stellar questions from my friend Adam Swensen in yesterday’s post, I’m finishing off our little interview today with some equally inspired queries from the broniest of bronies, Tekaramity!  Let’s do this!

1. What do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your life? Yes, “God’s plan” is an answer, but I’m looking for a certain specificity. Have you established yet any goals you’ll be looking to reach long-term? Do you know yet what approaches, tools, talents, and allies you’ll need to reach those goals?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a best-selling author.  I still have a book bound in cardboard that I dictated to my mom when I was three years old.  It featured a brave knight and a princess and a baby named Penelrocker, and at the end I told her to write “look for more adventures of the prince and princess coming soon!”.  Sadly, that series was discontinued, but I held tightly to my love for  storytelling and my desire to be a famous writer.  As I matured, however, I realized that becoming famous is never an end, it’s a means,and if I were to gain all the fame in the world and use it as a means to make myself feel good then I would have utterly wasted my life.  In God’s hands, however, fame becomes such a powerful tool for influencing the culture, and as I caught the vision of how He could use me if I were both a best-selling author and a sold-out, fully-surrendered Christian I knew that that was what I wanted to pursue.  In many ways, I’d like to live a life much like that of John Green, a successful author who leverages his fame to, in his words, “decrease worldsuck and increase awesome”.  I want to proclaim the gospel, help the hurting, challenge the apathetic, and encourage the disheartened, and I want to use my passion for writing to do it.  I want to reach the world in big ways, and the only way I can do it is through perseverance, dedication, the support of my friends and family, and the power of my God.

2. Why do you write this blog? Put simply, why do you believe what you say matters to your reading audience? This isn’t a confrontational question, mind you, nor is it an assault on your writing or mindset therein. This is simply opening a venue that allows you to explain the blog’s purpose and the dedication driving it.

This is a question with which I’ve been wrestling for some time.  I started this blog as a place to post samples of my writing, and it’s slowly evolved over time into the eclectic mixture of posts that it is today.  Lately, I’ve really lost track of what exactly I’m trying to do here, and my writing has suffered as a result.  I’ve been overcritical, like if there’s any chance that someone might not like what I’m writing then it’s not good enough, and I end up spending hours writing stuff I don’t even like.  Finally, I sat down and thought about it for a while, and I realized that I’ve lost sight of why I started writing this blog.  I don’t write to impress anyone or to garner a lot of views or to become some kind of Internet celebrity.  I write to practice, I write to stretch myself creatively, and I write in the hopes that, by sharing my life and my experiences with others, I can bring them some measure of the encouragement or inspiration or laughter or guidance that God has given me.  This blog’s purpose is to brighten the day and nourish the soul of anyone who happens to stumble across it, and the best way that I know of to do that is to be myself and love God with all of my heart, and to let that come out in every post I write.

3. Suppose there exists someone you’ve personally known for quite a while (preferably much of your time alive) whose contributions into your life you really ought to acknowledge verbally more often. Acknowledge that individual, describe what that person has done for you, and explain what you hope you can do to return the investment. Be bold.

As it just so happens, someone like that really does exist, and his name is Pastor Derek Max.  Pastor Derek, I first came under your leadership as a cripplingly insecure Junior Higher.  I had almost no friends and even less confidence, but you saw that there was more to me, and you gave me the encouragement I needed to open up and overcome my shyness.  As I grew as a person and as a Christian you took time out of your life to study the Bible with me, to take me out to lunch and talk about life, to push me to reach for more.  Even when I couldn’t make it to youth group for two years in a row because of other responsibilities, you made it your mission to include me in your life.  I remember one year when I didn’t want to come to Fall Retreat.  You called me up at home and asked me why not, and you wouldn’t take any of my weak excuses.  That weekend turned out to be one of the most important of my high school years.  You gave me opportunities to use my gifts to serve the youth group, and you worked alongside me as I wrote and taught and offered me advice on how I could be better.  Your love and guidance have been fundamental in making me the man I am today, and I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever thanked you for it.  So let me say it now: thank you, Pastor Derek, for showing the love of Christ to a loner and helping him to become a leader.  I know that the only way I could adequately return your investment is to pay it forward, to invest myself in the lives of hurting youth and give to them the same gift of friendship that you’ve given so abundantly and selflessly to me.

4. Why is Photo Finish so amazing!? (I want lots of mature analysis on this one!)

One ridiculous accent + one pair of fantastic sunglasses + several quotable catchphrases + epic personal background music that follows her around everywhere = best secondary character of all time (sorry, Luna fans).
In layman’s terms, she has… DE MAGICKS!

And now, it’s time for me to sleep.  After all, tomorrow I have the thing at the place, and I don’t want to be late.  Thanks for the great questions, Tek and Adam!  I GO!

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Song of the Week: Something More (Augustine’s Confession) by Switchfoot

There’s nothing I like more than a little old-school Switchfoot to liven up a Wednesday afternoon, but when that Switchfoot arrives during a class it reaches a whole new level of greatness.  That’s right, during Christianity and Western Cultures 1 Dr. Bryan Litfin paused in the middle of his lecture on Augustine, right after describing Augustine’s garden conversion (read Augustine’s account in “Confessions” sometime, it’s incredible) and said, “There’s a song by Switchfoot that sums this up pretty well.  Let’s listen to it”.  He put the lyrics up on the screen, sat down at his desk, and played “Something More (Augustine’s Confession)” for the entire class.  I didn’t think I could possibly love that class any more than I already did, but I should have known that our crowd-surfing, globe-hopping professor had more up his sleeve.  I’m not sure what to expect for this week’s Friday Film, but with Santa Claus slapping heretics on Monday and Switchfoot today, it’s bound to be good.

All that to say, this week’s song of the week is “Something More (Augustine’s Confession)” by Switchfoot, a stellar song that perfectly captures both the emptiness with which Augustine wrestled and the conclusion that he reached: there’s got to be something more.  Enjoy the song, check out the lyrics, and don’t forget to leave your favorite songs in the comments below to see them featured as song of the week some time.  Have a great Wednesday!

Augustine just woke up with a broken heart
All this time he’s never been awake before
At 31 his whole world is a question mark
All this time he’s never been awake before

Watching dreams that he once had
Feed the flame inside his head
In a quiet desperation of the emptiness
He says

Chorus:
“Theres gotta be something more
Than what I’m living for
I’m crying out to you” (2x)

Augustine
All his fears keeping falling out
All this time he’s never been awake before
Finding out his old dreams aren’t panning out
All this time he’s never been awake before

But he’s mad to be alive
And he’s dying to be met
In a quiet desperation of the emptiness
He says

Chorus

Something more

Hey, I give it all away
Nothing I was holding back remains
Hey, I give it all away
Looking for the grace of God today

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