Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Lindy Slam with Frankie

Last weekend was the Lindy Slam workshop with Frankie Manning. Simon, Kelli, Carlene and myself went together. For those of you who've never been to a swing dance workshop, it includes various classes and a couple dances each night.

The weekend began with Frankie Manning telling stories for an hour. Frankie Manning was born in 1914, and grew up while Lindy Hop was still in the development stages. He is currently 90 YEARS OLD and is still an incredible dancer. Better yet, he is one of the best Lindy Hoppers (sp?) in history. He showed us some clips when he was in his 20's - MAN, the speed at which his feet moved on the dance floor was amaazzzing. We were honored to listen to his stories for an hour Friday night. When Frankie finished his story time, we danced in the ASU ballroom until midnight. That night none of us had eaten dinner and were starving, so we decided to go look for a place to eat. We ended up fulfilled prophecy that night: You don't go to Denny's, you end up there .

Saturday was filled with classes. From 10am until 5:30pm we were working hard. Most of our classes were Lindy classes - if you didn't know this, I have a passion for Lindy Hop. I want to get good at Lindy. I will practice Lindy =). Before the dance that night, I went home, took a shower, then came back to dance the night away until 12:30am.

I met a lot of great people, danced with a lot of girls, and came away with much more experience. I'm that much more addicted to swing dancing.

Pics from the weekend!!!


Ah yes, the subject that can always guarantee comments.

The Lord has blessed me with being single at the moment. I am content with where the Lord has me for right now. However, I would not mind at all to be in a dating relationship.

Being single allows me time to reflect on what I find attractive in a girl, what dating standards I have, and how I would like a relationship to go.

For all you avid courtship folk in the universe, you will be interested in what I have to say next. While I do not consider myself one to hold to the courtship model, I have come to realize that I agree with standards often associated with courtship, as opposed to dating like the world. Let's face it, I am old fashioned. I believe a guy respects a girl by setting boundaries in a relationship and therefore focusing on non-physical qualities of the girl. Ya know what else? I am proud to hold to this view of dating. I couldn't imagine doing it any other way.

Random thought: one of my favorite songs titled, "Crazy for this Girl" by Evan and Jaron have a rad chorus:
"Would you look at her as she looks at me?
She's got me thinkin' about her constantly,
But she don't know how I feel,
And as she carries on without a doubt,
I wonder if she's figured out,
I'm crazy for this girl.
Yeah, I'm crazy for this girl."

Girls are great, aren't they?

Strange Encounter

During the first week of school I made my way around to the many clubs/fraternity booths. I stopped by the "Christians on Campus," had an interesting time visiting with the "Gay-Straight Alliance Fraternity," and had quite a long discussion with the "Newman Center" (Roman Catholic). I had just enough time before class to make a pit stop at the Episcopalian club.

I quickly asked for some information about their campus ministry. The woman manning the table proceeded to invite me to their "worship time with the Lutherans" on Wednesday night and handed me a flier promoting the event. "Unfortunately, on Wednesday nights I attend our prayer meeting at church. But I appreciate the invitation," I said. "Are you Episcopalian?" the woman asked. "I'm a Reformed Baptist," I said. Her posture changed. I could tell that my being a Reformed Baptist made her uncomfortable. Wanting to know what doctrinal standards their club professes, I asked for a doctrinal statement. "Episcopalians aren't focused on doctrine," she said in a firm tone.
You can imagine I was a bit perplexed! Did she know what she was saying? Does she know what doctrine is? Has she not heard of the 39 Articles that the Anglican Church uses as a confession of faith?

To further explain myself I asked, "Well for example, you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, correct?" She nodded. "...and that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone?" I asked. "Of course we believe those things. We're Christians," she said. "That's what I meant by a doctrinal statement - a list of what you believe about God, the gospel, Christ's Church…" I said. Now agitated, she responded, "I'm sure that if you Google Episcopalian you will find all the answers you are looking for."

As I walked to class, a sense of sadness came over me. I felt sorry for that lady and for that ministry. What she was able to provide for me (rather, what she wasn't able to provide for me) said more than any doctrinal statement she could have handed me. Running through my head was 1 Timothy 4:16, "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." I know that I have cited this passage many times, but I will continue to cite this verse so long as professing Christians are apathetic towards God's truth.

I'm not a supporter of para-church organizations because I believe ministry should be done within the context of the local church(es). Certainly God can work through particular para-church organizations, like this Episcopal group at ASU, but I believe the reason these groups suffer when it comes to doctrine is because they have no elders at local churches to hold them accountable. When we depart from God's model for church government, we needn't be surprised why our ministry suffers.

I will be praying for the many people I met that day - including the Episcopalian woman. May the Lord grant many opportunities for His people to share the gospel at ASU this semester. May we follow after Paul's example when he wrote, "For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory" (2 Timothy 2:10).


Skewl started. It's keepin me busy - which is why I haven't updated my blog in soooo long. I tend to get more accomplished during skewl (but not blog entries, hehe). This is because I usually don't go out on weeknights so I can wake up in time for class. I've got interesting professors, nice classmates, I look forward to the semester.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Encouraged by Arminians

I'm not big into "Christian" music these days, which is why I had not heard the cd my mom was playing in the car. It was a band called Casting Crowns. They seemed to have some talent, so I copied the cd to my puter and listened all the way through.

I recognized a few of the tracks which happen to be common praise songs in many churches. I was jamming away, listening to the cd, when track six started to play. The words were very moving. Here's the song:

Here I Go Again
Lyrics by Mark Hall
Music by Casting Crowns

Father, hear my prayer
I need the perfect words
Words that he will hear
And know they're straight from You
I don't know what to say
I only know it hurts
To see my only friend slowly fade away

So maybe this time I'll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear is tearing at my words
What am I so afraid of?

'Cause here I go again
Talkin 'bout the rain
And mulling over things that won't live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance to tell him
That You love Him
But here I go again, here I go again

Lord, You love him so, You gave Your only Son
If he will just believe; he will never die
But how then will he know what he has never heard
Lord he has never seen mirrored in my life

This might be my last chance to tell him
That You love him
This might be my last chance to tell him
That You love him
You love him, You love him

What Am I so afraid
What am I so afraid
What am I so afraid of?
How then will he know
What he has never heard

(c) 2003 Club Zoo Music / SWEC Music
(Admin. by Club Zoo Music) / BMI.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

***Disclaimer - Obviously, this song is not theologically sound. The artist is not shy about their Arminian theology. I disagree with their approach to evangelism: telling people that "God loves them" ... especially equating this somehow with preaching the gospel. That said...***

I was encouraged by this artist's passion for evangelism. The author of the lyrics, Mark Hall, is plain about his desire to see his friend(s) come to know Christ in salvation. What a wonderful desire this is!

This song has inspired me to renew my passion and my zeal for the unregenerate. I want to see the lost saved. As Christians, we ought to boldly proclaim the gospel of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"Here I Go Again" was based on two passages of Scripture:

2 Cor. 5:16-21: "16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

and Romans 10:14: "14How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?"

Romans 10:14 has been a favorite verse of mine for many years now. As an Arminian I gave a certain emphasis to it, that Casting Crowns seems to place on the text as well. As a Reformed Christian, I now recognize that God has not only predestined the ends, but also the means to reach those ends. God has elected some for salvation, and we are the means God uses to proclaim His message. For indeed, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Because we do not know who the elect are, the general call of the gospel is for every individual, knowing the Lord will save men "from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9). We should strive to follow after Paul's example: "Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory" (2 Timothy 2:10).

The gospel should be our greatest concern. We need to study the gospel. We should be prepared to explain with clarity the basis for our justification before our holy God (justification by faith alone, imputation, etc). Is there any reason why we should not be passionate for the good news that saved us from our sins? I will conclude by citing another favorite evangelism passage:

"3Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).


Monday, January 03, 2005

Have We Graduated from a Beginner's Level?

Aris Allen WingtipIt had been far too long since I'd been swing dancing. Two weeks to be exact. So you can imagine I was a bit nervous and a bit rusty (no pun intended) for Saturday night =). But I put on my new Aris Allens *that's them* and went right to dancing. Simon and Kelly looked wonderful - people were Ooohing and Aaahing! The three of us practiced our moves diligently.

A group of friends also came to Kat's Saturday night: Kyle, Adam, Janet, Melinda, Jessica, Becca, Sussy, Jessica, Jill, and Mike (did I miss anyone?). I did my best to dance with most of them. Everyone did great. Other than my friends, there were a lot of new faces that night. I'm glad to see new folks interested in swing dancing.

The highlight of my night was most definitely dancing with Debbie. Debbie happens to be one of the best dancers at Kat's Corner. We've bumbped into each other enough to become friends. She has been very patient with me while learning Lindy Hop. Believe it or not, I think I am at the point where I no longer bore her with my lead, lol. She's always ready with helpful pointers, and new moves, yay. After doing Lindy with her, I was out of breath and exhausted. But well worth it. Lindy Hop r0x0rz!

After the morning service, Simon, Kelly, Summer and I had our Lindy Hop lesson with Jonathan. Jonathan taught us some new stuff with Charleston, and a difficult move with Lindy. This was the best Summer and I have done together. Near the end of our private lesson, Jonathan made a comment in passing: "This is an intermediate move, but totally leadable with those who have never done it, including beginners..."

I spoke with Simon and Kelly tonight, and we all seem to agree that Jonathan, our instructor, no longer considers us beginners! What a complement! Made our day.

Lindy Hop. It's fun. Everyone should do it.


For all the years Smallville has been on the WB, I hadn't seen an entire episode ... that is, until two weeks ago. Kyle has been a fan of the series for quite some time and purchased the first 2 seasons on DVD. Kyle's been letting me borrow them. It only took the pilot to get me totally enthralled in the Kent family currently residing in Smallville.

On New Year's Eve before all my partying began, I finished watching the first season. Let me say that if Kyle did not own the second season, I would have gone nuts. The final episode of season 1, episode 21, ends abruptly in the middle of lives and friendships being threatened! I cannot imagine waiting for 6 months for the next episode. I would have gone insane. And yes, I am slowly making my way through season 2.

Clark Kent, Lex Luther, Lana Lang, Chloe, Pete, Mr. and Mrs. Kent, and others make up the main cast. Lex is unquestionably the most intriguing character. I look forward to seeing the development between Clark and Lex's friendship.

Did I forget to mention that Smallville always has sweeet music playing? Remy Zero's "Save Me" is the theme song for the show.

Now for some big news: I think I'm going to begin reading a few comic book series. Definitely some Marvel series, and possibly the Superman series. I'll keep ya posted. Yes, I am keenly aware of how much of a geek this now makes me. What are you talking about Case? We've known you were a geek for some time now. I know, gosh! =) Spidey, I know this is your field of specialty and all, so I'm sure I'll be approaching you soon enough to talk about uber-geeky stuff, lol.

Finding Neverland

Kyle, Fernando and I saw "Finding Neverland" tonight at AMC Mesa Grande. This was me and Kyle's (is this gramattically correct?) second time, and we both enjoyed it once again. Johnny Depp does a fantastic job playing J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. Kudos to Kate Winslet playing the part of Sylvia - while I'm not a big fan of Winslet, she played her part well. Sylvia's boys were incredible - Freddie Highmore playing the part of Peter was undoubtedly the other star of this film. Freddie, in fact, will be playing Charlie in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005), at the request of Johnny Depp.

Last year when "Peter Pan" arrived in theaters, I quickly became a fan of this classic story. Like any fan, I read the book that the film was based on.

Finding Neverland is a tear jurker, for sure. But the movie sheds some interesting light as to how Barrie came to write his tale of a place where kids never grow up - in a magical world called Neverland.

Okay, enough sappy stuff =). I highly recommend this movie.

*two thumbs up*