All I Can Say is Wow!

Ok, I’m going to be approaching this entry pretty delicately. Last week, we had asked the teens what they wanted to study. A good majority of the kids gave as their preference other denominations and what they believe. I think that is a wonderful topic and very relevant to their lives and even ours as college students, young adults, or older. What do Baptists believe? How about Catholics? Pentecostals, Methodists, Lutherans, etc? When we talk to our friends who share the same faith as us, but approach it differently, do we really know how they arrived at the way they do things?

Well tonight was the first class. We had a few questions to ask of them that were standard fare for me (and I’m sure many of ya’ll) growing up. Questions like “What makes the Church of Christ different?”, “Why do we not use instruments?”, “Why do we take communion every week?”, “What are the steps to salvation?”… I’m sure you see what I mean by standard questions. I don’t about you, but I imagine most of our backgrounds involved being ready to give an answer for those questions… kinda like machines. Tonight was more or less meant to let us know where they stand and how much they know of their own background.

But all I can say is wow, how things have changed. For example, when we asked them what the steps to salvation were, one of the first answers we got was “You have to accept Jesus in your heart.” Now that is very true, if you don’t accept Jesus in your heart, you’re only going to be able to complete step 1 to salvation… Hear. You’re probably aren’t going to be able to Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized [and live faithfully] if you don’t accept Jesus in your heart. When I was their age… there wasn’t a single person in the room who wouldn’t be able to tell you that the steps to salvation were hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized. To throw in aspects of The Sinner’s Prayer, would have been unheard of.

We grew up knowing that we get authority to do things in church by one of three methods… Apostolic Command, First Century Example, and Necessary Inference. Of course, this has to be combined with the hermeneutic of the silence of scriptures. That’s an example of the kind of answer I was raised to give. Yet if we were to have said something like that in class tonight, maybe only one or two would have understood what that meant.

In a way, these kids were blessed to not have been raised in that legalistic mindset, but I can’t help to feel that maybe an injustice had been done to them, since they really didn’t know much about the traditions of the Church of Christ. One kid in particular didn’t even know that there were deacons at Laurel and what they did. If I was gonna stereotype this kid, I would normally throw them in with the other bright kids. But it wasn’t just this one kid… there were about 4 or 5 other kids near that also seem puzzled about deacons.

Ok, this class is going to be a fun class to help teach, but its also going to be pretty challenging. It was refreshing for me that in some of the discussions, it was suggested that we look at the original Greek instead of just taking the English translation for what it says. Feel free to share you experiences.

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Experimenting with DivX Web Player

If it works out, I may switch from the flash videos to DivX. Unfortunately, you’ll need to install the first time if you don’t already have it. (http://www.divx.com/divx/webplayer/) If you don’t know the story behind this song… its really long, but here’s the super compressed short version.
The first year I went down to Brazil, I broke my toe on the day before we were supposed to leave. A few weeks later, Chad broke his clavical while at the sand dunes. The second year, we were down there at the same time. Lori’s brothers, Joey and David, wrote this song. It was recorded with my camera which had a limit to how long each file could be. It was split into three files. This is the first time all three files have been joined into 1 file… so that will explain the jumps you might notice.

You’ve got to click the read the rest of this story to see the video. DivX is giving away a free license if you add their player to your website. I use DivX, but their webplayer doesn’t work as well as I would like. I need to figure out how to get it to validate as XHTML before I add more DivX Webplayer videos.

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Undignified: Some Songs Just Don’t Work A Capella

Has singing a song of praise ever had the negative effect on you? It had been a while since that happened to me, but it happened at Winterfest this year. The song is called Undignified. Its lyrics are pretty simple, they are based on 2 Samuel 6:

Verse 1
I will dance I will sing
To be mad for my King
Nothing Lord is hindering
The passion in my soul

Chorus 1
And I’ll become even more
Undignified than this
Some would say it’s foolishness but
I’ll become even more
Undignified than this
Leave my pride by side
And I’ll become even more
Undignified than this
Some would say it’s foolishness but
I’ll become even more
Undignified than this

Misc 1
Na na na na na hey
Na na na na na hey

Ending
It’s all for you my Lord

CCLI Song No. 1543572
© 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
Matt Redman
For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights Reserved. www.songtouch.com
CCLI License No. 496352

It’s sort of meant to be a fun, energetic song, but at Winterfest, it neither seemed much fun or energetic. First off, Church of Christ folks aren’t really known for getting undignified in their worship. Undignified calls for us to loose our decency and propriety in worship. Having previously experienced this song in an instrumental worship setting where it was uplifting, it was actually kind of a downer in an A Capella worship setting. I don’t blame Watershed for it though. Chris is a friend of mine back from my high school days. This song is just though to make it work A Capella. If you firmly believe that all things the Church does has to come from either direct command, apostolic/first century example, or expedience… Instruments are definitely an expedient on that song.

I’ll have to see what the teens thought. Maybe its just because I’m getting old, but I usually have a good feel for what the teens like, so I don’t think that is it. Here’s a mashup of Undignified and Napoleon Dynamite I found.

Mount LeConte in the Winter

This past weekend Bryan came up with the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ’s Young Professionals Group. They were having a retreat in Gatlinburg. Of course this meant that a hike was definitely in order. I had suggested that we do a shuttle hike from Elkmont to Treemont. In terms of difficulty its pretty easy, so it would open up the hike to more people. As of Saturday morning, we really hadn’t settled on a hike yet. He had suggested going up Mount LeConte via Rainbow Falls and go down the Bull Head trail. In terms of difficulty, it is a very difficult hike and definitely shouldn’t be attempted by novices. He didn’t know how many people would come and they wouldn’t have transportation, so I took one of the vans.

Well it turns out it was only me, Jon, Bryan, and another guy from Brentwood Hills named Justin. It turns out we didn’t need the van at all, but better safe then sorry. We ended up deciding to the Mount LeConte hike. Bryan had checked in with the ranger to see what conditions were like near the top of LeConte. The Ranger said conditions were clear and that crampons weren’t necessary to get up LeConte. Deep down inside, I knew better. The ranger was right though… I did make it up LeConte without crampons.
Frozen Stream
After meeting up with Bryan and Justin, we end up leaving the hotel just after noon. We got to the trail head around 2:15 and started our trek up Rainbow Falls. (Note to self… never start up LeConte any later the 9:00.) Shortly after starting the trail, it goes along side a creek. As you can, the creek was mostly frozen over. There were lots of really cool places like that along the trail.
Rainbow Falls
After about an hour and half, we arrived at Rainbow Falls. As you can see in the picture above, at the foot of the falls is a huge ice pile. That picture really doesn’t do it justice. If you’ve been to Rainbow Falls and you know how high that rock wall is, you’ll have an idea of how tall that ice was. For those that haven’t been, that ice pile was about 25 feet high. Also, after arriving to Rainbow Falls, Jon knew his back was hurting him and it would probably slow him down from reaching the top, so he went back to the van while the rest of us continued on.
Snow!
It wasn’t long past Rainbow Falls we started to see snow on the trail. This was my first hunch that perhaps things were gonna get worse and we should all just turn around right now. The snow wasn’t so deep, that it hampered much, but were it is cold enough for the snow to stick, it is also cold enough to freeze over any water that the trail my pass over.
Frozen Trail
There would be almost 10 places where we would encounter ice. In some places, it would be a frozen stream we would have to cross, in other places we would have to go up or down the mountain off trail to get around the ice patch. A number of them didn’t leave much room for error. If you fell, you’d probably drop 80 feet of the mountain. Surprisingly, we only had one person fall and that was on one of the safer ice patches like what is pictured above.

About 4:00 we arrived at the junction of Rainbow Falls and The Bull Head. We knew we didn’t have much time left, so we opted not to climb the remaining 400 feet to the summit and go down The Bull Head. The hope was that since The Bull Head gets more exposure to the sun, so there would be less ice. That just wouldn’t be the case. There just wasn’t a way around the ice on the Bull Head. In a couple of places the only way to cross was to glissade across. Also about this time, my right leg started to cramp up and my camelbak hose had frozen over. Note to self… always clear the water out of the camelback hose when the temperature is below freezing.

About this time, the will to get off the mountain and back to the heated van took over. All of us sucked up any pain we had pushed forward. About 5:40 we arrived at The Pulpit. I was pretty physically and mentally drained when we arrived there. I think we took about a 10 minute break there. I was so exhausted, I didn’t feel like getting pictures around The Pulpit. As it was starting to get dark, we got our lights and pressed on. About 6:45 or so, we arrived back at the van.

The past few days are the sorest I can ever remember a hike leaving me. Sunday, it hurt just to walk around. I still had sore legs on Monday and Tuesday as well. By Wednesday, most of the soreness had gone away and I could run again.

BTW: If you want to know the password for the previous post, just request it via email or instant messenger. I’ve just got it protected because I don’t want search engines to index that post.