Mississippi Joins National Day of Prayer

-Abbie Walker, Editor

On Thursday, May 7, Christians all around the country will gather in schools, churches, businesses, and other public places to lift up their prayers to God during the National Day of Prayer. In addition to a main event in the nation’s capitol of Washington D.C., Mississippians have also responded to the call by hosting NDP events across the state.

The NDP is a tradition that predates the founding of the U.S.A. when the Continental Congress proclaimed a day set aside for prayer in 1775. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer, and in 1988, the law was amended to designate the NDP as the first Thursday in May.

According to a press release from the Mississippi Chapter of the NDP, the purpose is to “intercede” for the country, the state, and the community: “As our nation struggles with continued economic insecurity, vast healthcare change, and continual challenges to basic constitutional rights, citizens of the United States are preparing to exercise one of their most precious freedoms – the right to gather, worship, and pray to God.”

The theme for this year’s NDP is “Lord, Hear Our Cry,” emphasizing the need for every citizen to cry out to God in prayer. The inspiration for this theme is 1 Kings 8:28: “Hear the cry and prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”

“NDP has been around for a long time, since our founding fathers. It’s a tradition in our history; it’s a part of our heritage,” said Debra Brown, the state director for the MS National Day of Prayer and a high school teacher. According to the NDP website, “The mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.”

The NDP focuses on seven major areas of influence that the communities in America pray specifically for: government, family, church, education, military, business, and media (entertainment). With over 2 million attendees and 30,000 observances across the country, this event is a chance for believers to express their Judeo-Christian faith to the world.

Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX, will serve as the 2015 honorary chairman and give the keynote address at the national observance in Washington, D.C., which will be held at the Cannon House Office Building. While prayer will also be lifted up throughout the entire state of Mississippi, an NDP event in Jackson is scheduled for May 7.

Starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Mississippi State Capitol, there will be a time for children to pray over the state’s public safety officers and law enforcement officers. Families will also enjoy picnic lunches. From 12 to 1 p.m. the National Day of Prayer event will take place on the south steps of the Capitol as thousands lift up their prayers of healing and protection over their government, city, and community. Mississippi governor Phil Bryant and his wife will give the NDP proclamation. Mayor of Jackson Tony Yarber and others will also lead in prayer along with Vision United Ministries leading worship. Children will then release prayer balloons, followed by tours of the state capitol. Guests are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket. In case of rain, the Jackson observance will be held in the Rotunda.

“This year we are excited to have a time of prayer by children from across Central MS for our Public Safety Officers,” said Cathy McCraw, member of the MSNDP task force. “We prayerfully ask people to come and participate in this year’s event. We believe that the prayer that goes forth on May 7 will be a watermark in our lives as we appeal to Heaven for one another, our city, state, and nation.”

There is also a NDP event scheduled for 12:15 p.m. in Clinton in front of Clinton City Hall. While exams will be coming to a close for Mississippi College and many will have headed home by May 7, MC students are urged to either find an NDP gathering in their area or create their own. “We need volunteers to go into their county or city and create their own gathering,” said Brown. She encourages people to not just pray with those they know but to “move out into the area.” “It’s a great gateway to reach out to people in businesses or in the community without focusing on a certain agenda. We are simply praying for our community,” she said.

Those who are wanting to head up a NDP event in their own city are advised to post their event on the National Day of Prayer website so that others in the area will know about it. “Even if it’s just a small gathering, we want to know what ‘s happening across the state,” said Brown. “And we also send free resources and support throughout the year.”

Some hold gatherings with churches, youth groups, or schools the Wednesday night before as a way to prepare and rally for the next day of prayer. Brown said that the goal is to get more of the younger generation involved and create a “unity of the spirit” by people of all ages praying and gathering together.

Brown added that the NDP should be something that Christians celebrate continuously. “We are going to be standing in the presence of the Lord that day and exercising our freedom of religion,” she said. “It’s once a year, but it doesn’t have to be once a year.”

As the NDP event in Jackson draws nearer, volunteers are needed to help make it a success. Approaching churches in the area and inviting them to participate is a big way to help. There are also needs for volunteers who can assist with children’s activities, blow up balloons, set up and clean up for the event, and more.

To learn more about The National Day of Prayer, find an event in your area, or register your own event, visit nationaldayofprayer.org. For information about the Jackson Prayer Observance or to volunteer, email prayer4msndptaskforce@hotmail.com or pray4msndp@aol.com.

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“How are you” is not a statement

-Bethani Thomas, Opinions Editor

I hate when people say in passing, “Hey, how are you?” This is such an American thing. I don’t know why it happens. It boggles me to pieces, and it needs to stop. Obviously, stopping to talk to someone and asking how they are doing is not what I am referring to at all. It’s the keywords from my first sentence: in passing.

I say in passing referring to a state of physical movement past another person, whether stationary or in movement. Other words to describe this phrase could be incidentally or even coincidentally. This is a happenstance, momentary meeting, not a sit-down-have-a-coffee-and-converse-with-me extended moment. So why do we ask, “how are you” with hardly even a chance to catch the usually un-thought-out response of “I’m good!”?

Of course, I will once again state, as I have in other articles I’ve written, that I am also guilty of this strange phenomena of converting the question “how are you” into a careless statement—but no more.

This decision was made my sophomore year when I had an interesting conversation with an international student. This student from China asked me one day why Americans “didn’t care.” Immediately, I asked him why he thought Americans didn’t care, and who/what were they not caring about. He proceeded to explain how every American student he had met since arriving to MC would wave and give a “how are you” greeting when they saw him.

Of course, his awkward new-culture, broken-English response was to stop walking while trying to remember their name and work to quickly put together some kind of salutation that he had learned so he could say it correctly. But by that time, the student was had walked past and was gone and had not waited for any kind of response. The Chinese student looked at me questioningly and asked if he was doing something wrong, or if he had misunderstood some cultural cue or custom.

Up until that point, I had already thought about the flippantly used phrase myself, but had decided not to take offense when people I had met didn’t seem to care to follow through by hearing the answer. But when I heard what the foreign student thought and how he had felt after experiencing that situation several times, I felt an anger in me towards those who had made him feel inadequate. The anger was a little dramatic, but even then I vowed to stop asking people in passing how they are unless I plan or have the time to stop and listen to, not just hear, their response.

By reading this article I hope you realize the importance of having a genuineness behind your words. Words are vital to our existence, and can change the way people see us. So be real with your words, your greetings, and your questions.

Proverbs 13:3: “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”

What Young Christians Read

-Benny Warnick, A&E Editor

Some students read everything that they can get their hands on. Others won’t read much more than their class textbooks (if they even read that much). All that to say, Christian literature has been known to help a plethora of Christian students learn and grow in their walks with Christ. MC students voiced their opinions on their favorite Christian authors, ones that they find most beneficial for every young Christian to look into for personal reading.

Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, is a key figure in popular literature among young Christians. Author of such books as “The Explicit Gospel” and leader of the Acts 29 Network of church planting, Chandler emerged as a raw and authentic presenter of the Gospel message, challenging and encouraging the body of Christ to mold their Christian worldviews.

“What I love about Chandler is his passion to serve his readers and congregation to the best of his ability,” said MC student Wesleigh Taylor. “He is unashamedly honest; he doesn’t shy away from hard topics while bringing the truth of the Gospel, humor, and real-life understanding to his teachings. You are completely aware of his God-given ability and his humanness at the same time…he isn’t trying to fool people.”

Timothy Keller is another author with increasing popularity among MC students. Keller, pastor of Manhattan’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church and a guest speaker at MC in 2014, has received praise for his bestselling books “The Reason for God” and “The Prodigal God.” Keller’s focus on evangelism (in the midst of American urban culture) encourages the spread of the Gospel from city to city, realizing the importance of a grace perspective in telling others about Christ.

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            “Keller gives profound insight on how we rebel in various ways,” Grant Gilliam said. “His books give us a great interpretation of the constant love and forgiveness of our Lord.”

Lovers of classic Christian literature at MC note C.S. Lewis as a figure in profound thought and creative practicality for readers who love to think and analyze the many facets of the Christian experience. Most known for his “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, Lewis has also written a wide variety of literature with a more philosophical approach to life lessons regarding a walk with Christ.

“False pride is something I’ve been guilty of more often than I would like to admit,” said Chad Perry. “Lewis says in ‘Mere Christianity’ that ‘True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.’ That quote is a reminder that serving others doesn’t necessarily mean to make yourself subordinate to everyone else, but it does require you to realize you’re not struggling alone. You’re not diminishing your own self worth at all. You’re building on it.”

Many of the aforementioned books can be found at MC’s Leland Speed Library or at various Christian retailers such as LifeWay Christian Book Store.

Other Christian Books MC Students Recommend:

-“Love Does” by Bob Goff

-“The Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer

-“Because He Loves Me” by Ella Fitzpatrick

-“Jesus>Religion” by Jefferson Bethke

-“Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis

-“Desiring God” by John Piper

-“To Live is Christ” by Beth Moore

-“Crazy Love” by Francis Chan

-“Humility” by Andrew Murray

Source: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/08/meet-the-texas-preacher-who-survived-brain-cancer-and-may-be-one-of-the-most-prominent-pastors-youve-never-heard-of/

Source: http://www.timothykeller.com

The Development of Christian Music

-Griffin Wacker, Contributing Writer

Christian music is slowly but surely gaining more and more of America’s attention as the years progress. Tennessee Ernie Ford is definitely the first catalyst of the gaining popularity of Gospel music. He drug numerous fans into the world of Gospel by eventually selling 16 million records of “16 Tons” in 1958. As the genre gained popularity, the Grammy Foundation decided to add the first Gospel award to the Grammys in 1961. Charley Pride, the next key catalyst in gaining Gospel popularity with America, won multiple Grammys in both Country and Gospel music in the 1970s and 1980s, which spread around fans to other corresponding genres and even attracting more fans with his gimmick of being the only successful black country singer of the time. Now, even Gospel showing itself in the form of Rap, its supposed counterpart, shows nothing but a steady rise in the popularity of Christian music.

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Many people think the gaining popularity is because Christian artists are conforming to today’s style of music. “When analyzed, the music is getting more and more similar. While they still aren’t exactly the same style, Christian music is much closer today than it was in the past few decades,” Beth Haley, Director of Fine Arts and chorus teacher at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School said. Haley and Logan Anthony, a graduate student studying music at the University of Montevallo, tend to agree when Anthony said, “Just compare Rich Mullins to ACDC, Randy Travis, or James Brown. None of them are anywhere close to similar. But today compare Matt Maher to some country artists or light rock bands. While there are obvious differences, unlike before there are obvious similarities as well.”

There are a variety of other reasons theorized of why Christian music is gaining popularity. One is that artists today are less focused on being a successful Christian artist and instead focus on being a good artist that plays music that preaches the Gospel. Tom McDonald, theologist and Gospel music enthusiast, agree with this line of thinking. “Oh it’s not just music; it’s all forms of media: music, books, websites, and movies, whatever. The difference is noticeable when the person is trying too much to be Christian, rather than being Christian and focusing on making good material. If you’re a good Christian, that will show through your work if you make the work good.” Phillip Mark Golden, a freshman at Mississippi College, thinks it’s a slow massive conversion to Christianity in America. “God’s people tend to flourish and flock to him when they’re persecuted. The Christian faith is under attack in this country and history is repeating itself. It happened in the Roman Empire of the early Church and it’s happening now.” Golden said. “It’s becoming ever popular to be Christian where it’s not popular to be a Christian.”

Whether it is one, none, or all of these reasons, the fact stands that Christian music is gaining popularity. This is evident when musicians like Lecrae, For King and Country, Needtobreathe, and MercyMe attend a ceremony as credible as the Grammys, and if it keeps on the track it is on, Christian music is only going to get more popular.

Futral to Speak at Evangelism Lecture

-Megan Cole, Reporter

On Feb. 2-3, the annual Evangelism Lecture will be delivered at Mississippi College. This year, Mississippi College alumnus Rob Futral, the senior pastor at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison, Miss., will be the guest speaker.

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The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2 in Anderson Hall East at the B.C. Rogers Student Center and will continue on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m. The event will end with a luncheon following the second part of the lecture. All students and staff are invited to attend, listen, and learn as Futral delivers a lecture to further students’ understanding and knowledge of the importance of evangelism. Futral will also be speaking for Mississippi College student chapel on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

Rob Futral graduated from Mississippi College with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies. Futral continued his training at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned both a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages and a Doctorate in New Testament and Greek. In 2010, Futral also received the Young Alumnus of the Year Award from Mississippi College.

Futral comes from a long family line of ministry. His grandfather, the late Guy Futral, Sr., served as a Baptist preacher, and his father, Jim Futral, is the current executive director-treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. Futral’s family consists of his wife, Kimandria, and his three children: Trea, Rivers, and Ridge. In 2012, Futral wrote his first book, The Greatest Week in History, in which he studied the Gospel of Luke’s account of the Passion Week.

The MC Christian Studies faculty’s passion for developing and growing Christ-centered lives inspired the Evangelism Lecture many years ago and still acts as its driving force today.

“I like the term ‘Evangelism’ in the title because our main purpose in religion is to reach men for Christ,wrote the Lecture’s founder, George E. Emmett. “Although New Testament and Evangelism are specific entities, background material for this subject covers all of the Bible and religion and there would never be a real limit as to what anyone wished to discuss.”

The fund was created in 1969 by Emmett, who was an anesthetist from Dallas, TX. Emmett led a God-centered life, and that focus was reflected in his decision to name the fund after evangelism rather than himself. He believed that the “better way to name the fund would be to leave the title free of any personality either current [in 1969] or past” and avoided “name[ing] after persons who [were] instrumental in creating” the fund.

The lecture’s history reveals the center of what the Evangelism Lecture is all about: a sole focus on Christ, which the fund will surely seek to maintain in the years to come.

Lighting of the Quad brings Christmas cheer to MC’s campus

-Alexa Jenkins, Copy Editor

The Campus Activities Board welcomed Mississippi College students to a “Candyland Christmas” themed Lighting of the Quad on Dec. 2. Guests were welcomed by CAB members to walk among Christmas trees and through a gingerbread house for cocoa and cookies. This year, for the first time, Lighting of the Quad was hosted as a community event for the city of Clinton, and a large turnout of MC students and Clinton families attended.

LOTQ3

The evening began with a telling of the Christmas story by professors Ivan and Mary Ann Parke, whose lively and truth-filled account was enjoyed by many. They were followed by CAB Chairperson Hunter Sandoval, who took the stage to welcome visitors and explain the various aspects of the event.

CAB has adopted the Lighting of the Quad as a night of philanthropy—a way to give back to the community. A collection of Christmas trees was admired by the guests and donated the next day to the 4 C’s, a local charity that will give the trees to families in need. Students also filled a sleigh with donated t-shirts for the fourth year in a row. These shirts will be sent to a missionary in Nicaragua, who will distribute them as needed. The final way that Lighting of the Quad was used to give back was through their t-shirt sales. Event t-shirts were available for students to purchase, and proceeds were given to the Make-a-Wish foundation.

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In addition to celebrating the act of giving this Christmas, Lighting of the Quad also provided a fun diversion for students as finals week nears. All of MC’s clubs and tribes built gingerbread houses to be voted on by the students. Laguna took first place this year, followed by Civitan in second place and Nenamoosha in third. Guests also enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies, and other sweet treats as they mingled and listened to music provided by a variety of MC musicians.

CAB members Elizabeth Rogers, Jarvis Stampley, and Emily Boyd were recognized at the end of the event for their work putting Lighting of the Quad together. Their efforts are appreciated by many MC students. Several mentioned the tradition that Lighting of the Quad has become throughout their time at MC, and everyone was excited to see the community participate in this MC tradition. Students and families alike enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate with loved ones as the semester and the year nears an end.

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Why I won’t celebrate Santa Claus with my kids

-Abbie Walker, Editor

I’ve decided not to do Santa with my kids (whenever I have them, that is).

People may tell me I’m unAmerican or that I’m going to ruin my kids’ lives or that I’m going to be the worst parent in the world, but before anyone throws me under a bus, let me explain why.

I have nothing personally against the fat man in the big, red suit. Honestly, I think he’s a pretty cool guy. He’s jolly, eats cookies, and spreads Christmas cheer by giving gifts to children, and I think that’s awesome. But there’s another part of Christmas—the most important part—that makes me believe Santa isn’t quite as great as people think.

Ultimately, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a time for family and friends to get together and rejoice in the arrival of the Savior of the world. I love Christmas traditions, and I think spending time during the season preparing for the coming of Christ is a wonderful thing. We should get excited about the greatest gift the Lord has given us! Bring on the Christmas music and deck the halls because the Messiah is coming!

But often the one we are really waiting for, the one we are actually excited about, is Santa. And while the tradition of Saint Nicholas started out as a Christian act, it has become something that has contributed significantly to the commercialization of the holiday season.

When I hear my young nephews talk about the holidays, it revolves around their Christmas wish lists. In fact, isn’t that what we all ask kids during the month of December? Not ‘Are you excited about the coming of Christ?’ but ‘What do you want for Christmas this year?’ I can’t blame my nephews for their focus on the material things when our culture has made it all about the temporary presents.

While my childhood was not scarred from receiving presents on Christmas from Santa, I wish my family had put more focus on the religious aspect of the holidays. Instead, I feel that all the emphasis on ‘being a good girl’ and making a list of things that I wanted only contributed to my earthly, selfish nature. I wish my parents had sat me down before the holidays and said, “This time isn’t about you; it’s about Jesus.” However, today’s society tells us that Christmas revolves around ourselves.

Not only does Santa contribute to this selfishness, but he almost cheapens the true meaning of Christmas. We have Santa, who gives children physical gifts based on whether or not they are good. In comparison, we have Jesus, who offers eternal life and unconditional love for everyone. How confusing is that for a child?

In addition, Santa has almost been given God-like characteristics. “He sees you when you’re sleeping; He knows when you’re awake; He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” But don’t we tell children that God is the only one who knows everything and watches over them? How are children supposed to understand the love of Christ when Santa is being made out to be better than God because he gives them whatever they ask for?

While I don’t think celebrating Santa with children keeps them from accepting the Gospel, I do think it makes it a lot harder. Santa is essentially robbing children (and adults) of focusing on the Lord during Christmas. Not to mention, the whole charade of Santa is essentially parents lying to their kids.

I recently heard about a child being sent home from a church daycare because he told another kid that Santa wasn’t real. I don’t know about you, but I find this to be really sad. Here we have a kid whose parents decided to be honest with him, and he is being punished by not buying into the lie of Santa. We have this fear of ruining a kid’s childhood by them not believing in Santa, but I don’t think we care enough about them believing in Christ.

I have nothing against ole St. Nick by himself, but if he is trying to push Jesus out of the Christmas picture, then yeah, I do have a problem with him. That’s why, when I have kids, I’m planning on kicking Santa out of the equation entirely. I’m going to explain to my children, “This time isn’t about us; it’s about celebrating the most important gift—Jesus.”

And when it comes to gifts, I like the idea of giving them ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.’ Gifts are used to express our love for others, but they should never be the main priority. Instead, Christmas should be spent giving to those in need and serving others. “We love because He first loved us,” should be our focus during the holiday season.

Some may think I’m being extreme by not celebrating Santa with my future kids, but if there was something possibly keeping your child from truly understanding the Gospel, wouldn’t you block your chimney too?

Collegian Debate: Mandatory Chapel

Argument 1: Andrew Rock- Against Mandatory Chapel

Most MC students are rankled by being forced to attend Chapel if they want to graduate. Many of us don’t like standing around waiting to scan out or listening to bad speakers during precious study time. These issues are real, but the problem with Chapel goes far deeper than annoyances. I hope to make a basic case against the fact that MC forces its students to attend.

The main issue with Chapel is not that it’s boring or annoying, it’s that it is mandatory. If you don’t go to chapel, you don’t graduate. This creates a problem simply because people don’t like being told what to do; it goes against what Robert Heinlein called “that streak of anarchy which was the birthright of every American.” Obviously, this argument could apply to any of MC’s rules, but it is a problem for Chapel in particular. This is because forcing people into things will alienate them. Not everyone at MC is a Christian, and being forced to attend worship can drive people away.

As “A Christian University,” we presumably have a duty to share Christ, not to drive students from Him. This means loving and serving others, not forcing them to listen to us! One must accept Jesus personally—He said that no one gets to the Father except through Him. But how has a relationship like this ever been built by force of power, whether that power comes from a sword or a grade book.

However, the deeper issue is compounded by the fact that the services are often poorly done. Not only is everyone forced to attend, but some of what people hear drives them away from Christianity. Many of our speakers are boring at best and enraging at worst. For example, following the Chapel session about homosexuality, there was a firestorm of controversy and some students felt the speaker had slandered them. All of this was done in the name of Christ. It is difficult to convert someone if they feel they are being attacked and stereotyped. Thus, one can see that requiring people to attend Chapel is a recipe for disaster, given that we force them to listen to divisive messages.

I have heard counterarguments to these points. Some argue that it makes sense for MC to require Chapel, as it can expose people to the Gospel and save at least some souls. While I understand that God can work through Chapel, think about what this argument implies. By saying that we have to force people to hear the Gospel, we assume that no one will share it with them otherwise! We assume that a person will go through four years of a Christian college without their fellow students mentioning Jesus. The answer to this problem is not to force people into Chapel, it’s to do our jobs as believers and share the good news.

If it is necessary to mandate Chapel, then we need to live like Christians. This will mean sharing Christ with our fellow students, even if it seems awkward or like there is never a good time. I struggle with this myself, but if we can get out of our comfort zones, we can be missionaries in our own classrooms. The more we do this; there will be no excuse for requiring chapel.

Mandatory Chapel is a problem in and of itself, simply because people don’t like being forced to do things. This issue is worsened by the fact that Chapel speakers can be anything from boring to enraging. All of this combines to alienate people from Christianity and make them less receptive to the Gospel. While it is well-intentioned, this policy needs to go, and it should be replaced by Christians living as the Bible commands and sharing Christ with those around them.

Argument 2: Hannah Richards- Pro-Mandatory Chapel 

For the average undergraduate student at Mississippi College, Tuesday morning holds a special sort of frustration. Throughout four semesters, every enrolled student is required to attend chapel once a week on Tuesday from 10:50 to 11:40 a.m. For some, this is simply a mental break from the stressors of college. Unfortunately, for many others, this time is considered a total waste—time that they could be using to do other, much more productive things. Even as someone who is in favor of the required chapel, I easily see both sides of the equation.

What I also do see is all the good that this required chapel has done for campus. During this fall semester, Dr. Pratt and the rest of the faculty and staff in the Office of Christian Development have striven to bring in speakers to deal with important, radical issues. Many would say they have succeeded. Several months ago there was a rather controversial chapel that occurred dealing with the male perspective on homosexuality. The speaker’s opinion aside, the chapel was a constant topic of conversation for students who were present and even those who were not. This is exactly the purpose of chapel. It stretches us far beyond the hour we sit inside First Baptist of Clinton. The goal is to teach and to educate, as well as to spark discussions on campus that extend far beyond Tuesday morning.

However, if some students still dislike the policies of chapel, they should be grateful that MC has chosen to have chapel only once a week instead of three times a week or every day of the school week as does some other schools. As a student at a Christian school, a school both endorsed and funded by the Southern Baptist Convention, the standard for chapel and Biblical education was set far before you moved into your dorm. As an adult, you were made aware of the expectations set forth by the administration, and chapel attendance was one of those standards. MC wants for the chapel experience to be as educational and interactive as possible, but even if you don’t take advantage of that, the expectation for attendance does not decrease.

People so often forget that Mississippi College has a once-a-week stage to literally say whatever they want, and they have made the conscious decision to bring in speakers who will spark conversations on campus. Every chapel and every speaker brought to campus is an invitation for students. MC is inviting them to interact with the material, both in and out of chapel. Many of the speakers this semester have also held follow up sessions. In addition, many of these speakers come truly wanting to connect with the college students they are speaking to.

Instead of being resentful for the hour per week taken from their schedules, students should be grateful they attend a school where so many resources are so easily available to them and realize that our school is private; therefore the requirement of Chapel is completely understandable and expected.

The Cracks of Brokenness

-Bethani Thomas, Opinions Editor

Kintsukuroi, meaning “golden joinery” or “to repair with gold,” is an ancient art in Japan in which broken pottery is rejoined or fixed using a silver or gold lacquer. The rare paste fills the cracks of the once destroyed bowl or vase, not only making it whole again, but producing an almost entirely new creation. For kintsukuroi to be successful, the artist must have a finished work that is actually more appealing than before it fell to pieces, communicating an understanding that it is more beautiful for having been broken. Also, realizing that the filling in the cracks is made of gold or silver, we see that it is a more valuable piece because of this process of restoration.

So here is where you think I am going to write a deep article about the Lord breaking us and the beauty that ensues from this process and how glad I am that my cracks are filled with the valuable blood of Christ, etc.—but I’m not. You can google kintsukuroi and read about that on someone’s ilovejesus.wordpress.blogspot.whatever. What I’m going to tell you is that in my experience brokenness is nothing like that. Brokenness is never partial.

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Christ bled profusely for us, from his head, from his side, and even from his pores (Luke 22:44). Do you think that He meant for this precious life-giving blood to simply fill in our small cracks? I look at the picture of the restored pottery and see two percent usage of the gold, and then still about 98 percent of the old pottery still existing. If someone were to call that bowl a valuable piece because it contains gold, I would agree. But if someone were to say it was made of gold, it would be a lie.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone that is in Christ is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.” But the most crucial part in my opinion is the very beginning of the next verse. It reads, “All this is from God…”

This is something that so many Christians daily struggle with. We think that righteousness is something we can muster up within ourselves and get good at and show to the World. We think that our faith is something we find in Christ but then it becomes our ever-tiring responsibility to grow it and nourish it. We rely on the gold-filled cracks to be our identity in Christ and see ourselves much like the piece of pottery that really is not a new creation, but still contains big shards of its former self.

First, that is not Biblical brokenness in salvation. Throughout the Scripture we read that our good deeds do not amount to anything without Christ. In our human nature the righteousness we produce is like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). If we do not have Christ in and through us and are not relying on him, not only will our plans constantly fall through and our life be foggy and unclear (Proverbs 3), but we will be compared to, “whitewashed tombs,” clean and spotless on the outside, but dead and ugly on the inside (Matthew 23:27).

Second, that is not how God sees us. In his eyes, we are complete new creations. The valuable, precious blood of his son, Jesus Christ, has literally bathed us clean of our sinful selves. We are non-existent in Christ. If we have experienced salvation, all He sees is the blood of Christ, or to match my ongoing metaphor, the gold. And this is how he values us.

I constantly find myself reaching for righteousness instead of godliness. I find myself trying to be the right Christian I suppose I should be, but not even listening to the Holy Spirit, or acknowledging God’s words in his Book of Life.

Brokenness is never partial and is never completed. But I pray, that as a piece of pottery, my life would be nothing but cracks. I pray that God would break me so much and continue to fill in those cracks with his life, that I would look nothing like Bethani, but that the new creation would be all that the world sees.

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