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Captain's Log

This was an exhausting day... up at 8:00 to meet people for the K-State/KU football game at 9:00, standing in the stadium screaming like a madman until 2:00, rushing back to the campus center to change out of purple and into crimson, turning the OU/Texas football game on, screaming like a madman until 6:30, eating a Chipotle burrito, watching a movie, and now getting ready to turn in. It's a hard life, but somebody's got to do it.

Oh, and, ahem.... BOOMER SOONER.

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In other news, during my half hour of being at home today before now, I unfortunately learned of yet another way the division in my faith movement is continuing.

A number of years ago, a winter break retreat for college students was created by a Church of Christ in the southeast and held on a Gulf Coast beach each year. This retreat began to grow and now is a massive gathering of state school college students from all around the southeast and other parts of the nation, now known as the Gulf Coast Getaway. It now has over 2,000 college students coming every year and, in my opinion, is one of the premier worship events backed by Churches of Christ, and I would say rivals many of the large worship events of the larger Christian world. I have had the privilege of being there for it at the Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida, and it is amazing. The next one will be January 18-20.

But, today I come across some information for a thing called Encounter Campus Challenge, which is apparently a Church of Christ thing too, at... take a guess... Edgewater Beach Resort, Panama City, Florida. When is it? Wait for it..... January 11-13!

Wha?

So, I poke around on the website to get some more info. This is the text of the "about" page in its entirety:
This is the Middle Ground you have been searching for. We want to serve and worship God without all the controversy. ECC is focused on what is right instead of what is wrong. Our goal is unity. It is our desire to provide an atmosphere comfortable and free from controversy. As such we ask everyone attending ECC to “consider others more than themselves” and focus on unity.

We humbly request just worship– no instruments, no clapping, no controversy. Look forward to seeing you at ECC.

Obviously no direct accusations on this site itself, but apparently Gulf Coast Getaway is focused on what is wrong instead of what is right. Apparently Gulf Coast Getaway is built upon controversy. Apparently Gulf Coast Getaway goes beyond worship by allowing people to express themselves as they wish... including clapping.

But what makes me want to cry is that the following statement is being proclaimed as a goal of a Christian gathering:
It is our desire to provide an atmosphere comfortable and free from controversy.

I am trying to imagine God meeting with The Son before his descending out of the spiritual realms into the person of Jesus Christ and reminding him: "Remember, it is my desire to provide an atmosphere comfortable and free from controversy."

I am trying to imagine Jesus Christ standing before the disciples, charging them with the task of carrying the message to the lands around them and ultimately to the entire world, but adding "but make sure you provide an atmosphere that is comfortable and free from controversy."

I am trying to imagine Paul thinking about his next trip into Athens or sitting down to write the Corinthians or the Galatians, and making a note to himself: "Make sure you provide an atmosphere that is comfortable and free from controversy."

I am trying to imagine Jesus Christ climbing up the hillside to address the crowds before him, and Matthew chapter 5 now reading like this: "I am Jesus. Follow me and I will make you comfortable and you will not experience controversy."

I'm also trying to imagine Jesus, or Paul, or ANYONE in scripture saying, "Make sure you all worship in exactly the same way at the same time and that you do nothing except sing, in approved four part harmony, the words set before you in the hymnal. Any emotion of any kind, especially that which results in rhythmic expressions of the hands is strictly forbidden. Oh and, worship is only what happens between opening and closing prayer. If anyone of your spiritual family ends up varying from these decrees in any way, you are to immediately disassociate yourselves with such evildoers, as they are only trying to destroy uniformity, er, I mean unity." Actually I think this is in 1 Fullofcrappians chapter 6.

But most tragic of all is the sad betrayal of one of their own stated goals: unity. They seek unity by way of separation. We now have two groups, who I honestly believe each want to serve God in the best way possible, doing essentially the exact same thing in exactly the same place, at almost exactly the same time. Who is the one promoting disunity - the ones following the vision given to them by God for an event to effect the lives of college students or the ones doing an event whose entire identity is about not being like the other event?

Somewhere Satan is sitting in a comfy chair in the corner smoking a pipe and laughing his head off.


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Blogger Matthew Vaughan - 5:17 PM

Hey Cary. Give me a call sometime soon (I lost my phone and no longer have your number). I have related frustration that I would like to get your opinion on--not online.    



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