The Finals.

If I don’t post this now, I will forever hold my peace, and that is a burden too heavy to bear, so I’m posting. Tonight, I watched as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors to become the NBA Champions, and in a strange turn of events, I found myself cheering on LeBron and his band of merry, desperate-for-a-title men.  Yet in the midst of it all, I never had the presence of mind to stop and think about what was really going on in my attitude towards people I’ve never even met.

We are all cavaliers, and we are all warriors.  To say that this NBA Finals wasn’t a battle both literally and nominally would be an oversight of the tremendous effort put forth by both teams.  As Christians, our war is often with ourselves and the sin that we shelter; James 1:19-20 (ESV) says: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Only after I composed myself did I realize and repent for being entirely un-Christian in my treatment of these public figures.  I was stirred too deeply when Kyrie Irving hit the dagger three, and I was too blinded to show compassion to Draymond Green, whom I’ve gone so far as to say I hated.

It reminded me of a message I heard in college (wow, I can refer to college in the past tense) about how sporting events stir us so deeply, and yet, the narratives weaved into these events pale in comparison to the passion of Christ for the lost.  I began to realize that I was living out the negative example provided in that sermon, and so, I’m grateful that God taught me a lesson through these NBA Finals; we are all part of one battle, and we shouldn’t glory in the sufferings of others nor should we boast of our own triumphs.  To continue drawing parallels to basketball, we should view life with a love of the game and all of its intricacies and complexities instead of just choosing a side to support regardless of rhyme or reason.  It’s only human nature to pick a side, but what can we really do at the end of the day besides propagate unnecessary ill will towards others in taking such stubborn positions? The whole Ayesha Curry situation, for example, is rather unfortunate; taking a side on it is subject to radical volatility, as people are moved to condemn critics as sexist because they’re trying to silence a female opinion while people who agree with her are seen as people biased for their own wellbeing.  We’ve steadily forgotten about the Christian decency that comes from the Gospel; the fruits of the spirit wither away in the heat of our momentary passions for “the love of the game” when we lose sight of the love of the Lord.

These Cavaliers and these Warriors are all of equally noble standing and fought an equally difficult fight; perhaps it’s weak to yield to gracious professionalism and pay respects to the performance they’ve put on for all of us around the world, but I think it’s worth taking a moment thinking about LeBron and how he’s a father with three kids (the memes are endless), Draymond and his mother, JR Smith and his family, and Steph Curry and his wife and children as just people put in a place where impossibly high standards are expected to be met on a regular basis.  At the end of the day, they’re just doing their job, and what a job they’ve done – we love them for what they do.  It’s easy to criticize referees, belabor complaints about rigging, and mock the maturity of the players on the court. It’s much harder to sit back and appreciate that it’s a beautiful drama we have the privilege of watching – nothing more and nothing less.  Let’s not let seven games of the highest level of basketball obfuscate our vision of who Christ is and what He expects of us in all circumstances.

It’s been a great NBA Finals; thank you, Cleveland and Golden State, for bearing with us.  Cheers to next year’s NBA season – go Spurs.

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This is Not a Goodbye.

To my beloved AACF Class of 2019:
I love you all. I’ve loved you so much, I’ve found myself thinking about you at random points of the day, wondering about how you’ve been handling the stress and excitement of freshman year. Last year, serving as AACF Core was probably the hardest year of my college career, and it really made me apprehensive about people who strongly chased after leadership; it made me wonder if I was even cut out to be a leader. This year, in all of you and Christ’s working through you, I’ve found the true joy that comes from serving – so much so that you’ve all been a part of my decision to pursue seminary and see God be glorified through the greater understanding and appreciation of who He is.  
You are all brilliant and you are all lovable in more ways than I thought possible from a single class of people, not to mention freshmen. No matter how insane my week was, no matter how little sleep I got, Thursday nights at the bottom floor of the UCen blessed me beyond belief. I am always greatly humbled whenever you encourage us freshmen Bible study leaders because I often feel like I come to learn from you all. You each have your own stories, your own values, your own character, but you all share an uncommonly powerful ability to love.  
I urge you to nourish your love with the true and full knowledge of the love of Christ. As you grow in AACF, assuming you stay, you’ll realize that Christians are not perfect people; in fact, they might be the furthest thing from that. Praise God that He is perfect while we are not though, am I right? Your love will be tested, but it is my prayer that you would remember that we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). In this journey you take during college, never change the one thing that the four of us have echoed: the desire to own your own faith and struggle for it. There will always be people who tell you how you should be or what you should say; know that the Word of God is provided so that you may grow and know what it is that God desires of you. 

Hopefully, some of you will try to read the whole Bible in a year next year, when I stop posting on AACF because the freshmen will not know me (spooky) because you’ve seen that God’s Word is worthy of love and adoration. 
So as we each walk our separate paths, know that I will always be here for you. To have just one year of this beautiful friendship would be a complete disappointment to me, as I’ve put so much stock in us seeing each other at your senior banquet, full of new and old stories to tell one another. I cannot promise that I’ll always visit at every event, but I will come see you all as much as I can, as you’ll be my last link to a changing AACF. 

 I’ve said this already, but I love you all so much, and I will miss every one of you. To the ones I didn’t get a chance to get to know, don’t feel scared to talk to me because I’ll talk to you first heh. To the ones I’ve gotten close to, let’s keep it that way. I’m living a cliché when I say that there aren’t enough words in the world to describe the depth of love that I have for you, so I’ll let “Everglow” by Coldplay do the job for me along with some lyrics to remember what we shared together. I found it fitting, and I hope that you take the time to listen to it now and again when you’re stressing for finals, feeling low, or remembering the times we’ve had. Thank you all for a wonderful year, and remember – this isn’t goodbye; I will see you all later. 
PS, this page is now yours! Use it to hang out with one another and plan cool events in the future for further fellowship! ^___^ ❤
“Like brothers in blood, sisters who ride

and we swore on that night we’d be friends til we die

but the changing of winds, and the way waters flow

life as short as the falling of snow

and now I’m gonna miss you I know”
“So if you love someone, you should let them know

oh the light that you left me will everglow”