Prayers from Mock Convention (pt. 2)

Gracious God,

Thank you for the opportunity we've had here today. While we've been working this morning, we trust that you have been at work in us and in the world. Thank you, God.

We want to see change. We want to join you in changing this country and the world. But who are we to do this?

Are we people who will act justly
or people who will do anything for victory?
Are we people who will love mercy
or people who will seek power?
Are we people who will walk humbly before you, God,
or people who will strive against you to the bitter end?

The results are not final and none of us yet know who we will be. But we know who we want to be.

Gracious God, as we leave this convention, guide us to the Way, the Truth and the Life that will lead to justice, mercy and humility.

Keep us safe and make us holy.

Thank you, God.

In your great name we pray,

Prayers from Mock Convention (pt. 1)

Gracious God,

We know that you love the students gathered here this morning. They are creative and intelligent, beautiful and strong, honorable and generous. Truly, they are made in your image. We appreciate them and worship you. You are amazing!

This morning, we hear you call to us "to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly" before you. But we confess that we often consider justice too costly, mercy too weak, and humility unelectable. We know this is not right; it's not your desire and it's not our desire. But this is the way it is. Please intervene, Lord.

We need you.
Our candidates need you.
Our parties need you.
The whole world needs you.

Please help us "to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly" before you.

As we enter into this morning's activities - learning, politicking, having fun - we don't exactly know how justice, mercy and humility will impact this process, but we want it to. Help us, God.

In your name we pray,

The Moral Witness of the Church

Dr. King presented one of the greatest identity-calls anyone has ever heard. Every year, I try to re-read his powerful "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". I'm moved every time I read it.

This year, the below quote spoke to me powerfully this year. As we think through our life as a witnessing community, let us listen to Dr. King.

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators"' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide. and gladiatorial contests.

Resources to help with work

Check out the Renewing talks from Redeemer NYC.

Check out Lauren Winner's article on cell phones: "Against the Cell".

Check out Derek Anderson's article on perspective: "The Everything Trap"

Conference Details

Greek Conference
"Find out where Christianity and Greek-life connect."
When: Feb. 22-24 (2nd weekend of Feb Break)
Where: Greensboro, NC
Who: Greeks!
Cost: $50 (We'll scholarship the rest)
Register now! (Click here!)

Winter Conference
"Get the Word Out"
When: Feb. 8-10
Where: Rockbridge - Goshen, VA
Who: Anyone
Cost: $25 (We'll scholarship the rest)
Register now! (Download form off of Facebook: Winter Conference 08)

What happened to Work?

A horrible crime has been committed. Our relationship to work has been vandalized. I currently have three persons of interest (ie. suspects). Who should I investigate more intently?

My Current Persons of Interest:
- Technology
- Politics
- The Fall

Technology (height: shorter; weight: lighter)

Is technology behind the vandalization of our work?

New technologies give us tighter connections to the world around us. Think about how Facebook and Blackboard influence the way you do your school-work. Blackberries, cellphones and even pagers fill the working world. We can work anywhere, but now work follows us everywhere. Through technological ever-presence, work invades our lives.

The impact of technology on work extends to the macro-level as well. Technology has brought about big changes in the way the global labor market works. Jobs for humans have been replaced by machines. Jobs require more training, more specialization, more work-before-the-work. And so work has become more complicated and - for many - less rewarding.

Work invades our lives in new and more complicated ways every day. But the broken relationship to work is not limited to brilliant college students in rural Virginia in 2008. Places in the world without our technology feel this breakage. People throughout history have felt this breakage. The problem goes deeper and has been around longer. Technology may be a conspirator, an accessory to the crime even, but not the mastermind.

Politics (both right and left handed)
...Is the government not doing enough?
...Is the government doing too much?
...But there are problems with work across geography and history

Don't rush through Rush!

Tired feet drag along the Colonnade. Students go to class, but struggle to pay attention. Their minds drift, replaying last night's conversations. All 100 of them.

How can someone have 100 conversations in one night? Contact evangelism? Speed dating? Bartending? All of these seem like possibilities, but that's not what folks spent last night doing. This week is Rush Week (aka Formal Greek Recruitment Week). Rush week has taken a friendly, highly-relational campus community and made it...even more friendly?

Authentic connection seems rare during Rush. As people move from conversation to conversation, rushing from house to house - literally rushing - something happens. Rush stirs up our longing for deep relationship.

That longing - the longing for deep, authentic relationship - should resonate with us as Christians. This longing is stirred for us during worship, during silent retreats, during times of trial and temptation. God meets us in our longing, at the point of our longing. In our loneliness, God gives us himself and his church. This is what we have. This is what we extend to our friends.

So, don't rush through Rush! In all of your 100 conversations, you have an opportunity to extend to your new, potential friends a much-missed authenticity. You might have opportunities to present the gospel. You might have opportunities to listen in a Christ-like way. You might have opportunities to pray. Keep your eyes open. Don't rush through Rush!

Welcome back, servant-God!

Winter term has arrived! Friends reconnect on the hill, Small Group Leaders plan their first gatherings for the term, and the Large Group team wrangles some great ideas to help us go deeper. What is God doing during all this?

God is serving in the rush parties.
God is serving in the dorms.
God is serving in the classrooms.
God is serving in the dining hall.
God is serving the faculty.
God is serving the students.
God is serving the staff.
God is loving.
God is active.
God is a servant-God.

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Let us also look for opportunities to serve.