Thursday, February 15, 2007

Frozen Ocean

Last weekend UConn RUF joined RUF groups from Trinity College, Yale and the University of New Haven for our second annual winter conference in Cape Cod. As cold as it was, we had an amazing time. I saw something I've never seen before--a frozen ocean--and it was nothing short of spectacular. It looked like Antarctica. Interesting fact: When the ocean freezes, it freezes in waves (it's not flat). Incredible. My friend Abe Cho from citylife church in Boston was our speaker for the weekend, and he did a great job talking about how the gospel is meant to "dig up our roots" and transform us. The Spirit was at work in the Word--there were many tears shed as students (and campus ministers) began to look honestly at the bad roots that so easily become entrenched in our hearts, turning even "good" works into weapons against God. One of the more insightful things Abe pointed out is that when you look at your heart (instead of your good or bad behavior), you are seeing the motivation behind why you are doing what you are doing. For example, take something most of us would say was good fruit in our lives, evidence that God is at work in our hearts--honesty. Now think about how often for you telling the truth is motivated by either guilt or fear. Guilt: "I'm going to tell the truth because I don't lie, I'm not a liar, I'm just not that kind of person." Fear: "I'm going to tell the truth because I'm scared of the consequences if I don't," OR "I want this person to think better of me than they already do--I'm not lying, I'm just witholding information." Notice the root motivation behind the outwardly "good" behavior is bad. There is no gospel root at all. So what does good fruit look like then? It is honesty rooted in the freedom the gospel brings. And what does the gospel have to say about freedom? We are set free from our bondage to other people's approval. We are set free from our bondage to our sin. So we tell the truth not because we are good people, not because we are afraid, but because we love the God who set us free and who calls us to tell the truth even as He tells us the truth about our hearts. All of this is from the book How People Change by Lane and Tripp (, which I would highly recommend to you.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Arcade Fire in NYC

My friend C.J. (now the #1 coolest friend I have) emailed me last week to tell me he got us tickets to go see one of our favorite bands, the Arcade Fire, in NYC next weekend. Just how hot are these tickets? The band is playing five straight nights and all five nights sold out online in five minutes. Gothamist has a post about the show.

What is so great about this band? Well, one of the fruits of reading Seeing Through Cynicism is this quote:
In popular culture, modern knowledge has become "postmodern knowingness." Earnestness and seriousness are out. Frank Gannon wrote: "Something in the human mind says it's hopeless: The existence of God is something that human beings can never entirely discount, or entirely prove. Why torture yourself trying to answer a question like that? Get a hobby. Work out regularly. Eat low fat. Forget about what Yeats called "vague immensities"...Yet something deep in your soul says, Go ahead. Seek the ultimate answers. Maybe the human brain can actually "know" some transcendent divinity. Yeah. Good one. Don't hurt yourself, OK?
Keyes elsewhere quotes Robert Wright's The Moral Animal:

What is to be avoided at all costs in the postmodern age is earnestness, which betrays an embarrassing naivete...

University of Memphis head coach John Calipari sums it up well: "It's not cool to care." By postmodern standards, then, The Arcade Fire pulls up their pants to their armpits and LOVES linux. There is no irony. There is no winking "knowingness."

They sing songs about missing their parents.