I know this is a rather long post, longer than any I’ve written I believe, but I highly encourage reading all, one to avoid needless misinterpretation of things as is the custom of many, and because of the encouragement I leave you all with. It has been several weeks, since I have neither addressed fully the questions received, found the interest in speaking of, this topic, or out right rejected the typical urge of most humans which is the need to announce every single thing. Recently from many folks I received these, “What are you going to do?”, “What are you doing?”, “Why?”, “Will you go/come back?”, “Are you transferring?”, “What’s the deal?”, you know? All sorts of fun questions, and claims. Over the last several weeks I’ve been pretty occupied, and whilst in occupations since summer began, the world around me became much understandable, almost as if I had forgotten what it is like.
While at Central I have experienced everything I was never hoping for but also much of what I was hoping for, I have spoken volumes on how I have been encouraged, and how of all the good and the bad I have come to better grasp of the gospel I preach, that which is found in Scripture. There are a few reasons I have chosen to speak of this now, and not sooner or as I had initially intended never, and a few reasons for my departure and where that has led me to be.
Here’s some back story… my first year at Central was good, well relatively speaking, and actually before I get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to make a disclaimer that perhaps this may not sit well with some and perhaps may come across the screens of the kind of people who literally upon 25% into reading something come across a quick glance at a word that triggers them and so they block the person whose post they were reading, I mention this because I had that happen recently, what a pity. But any-who, I’m not sure what is the ratio or if there is any at all, or rate at which Central accepts nonbeliever students, and I mean like, NON believer students, but upon entering Central I had just the summer before had a major conversion in my life and I mean major, the likelihood any time earlier of me trading Baylor for Central well would have been pretty low, or me ever finding out of Central for that matter, but there I was at Central nonetheless, a newly born Christian straight out of Compt… sorry, Atheism. The place didn’t sit well with me at first, I mean I never really once wanted to befriend anyone from here, in fact I was quite afraid of being anyone’s friend from this place, and in many instances felt like I made a mistake going there, perhaps Baylor’s Religious Studies wouldn’t have been all that bad, and for a while I wrestled with that, I saw the absolute best and the worst of Christians while at Central, and always asked myself where do I fit in all this, what role do I have, why have I come to this place, I mean of all places… Central. Over time it became very simple, but carrying out that purpose was difficult, yes more irony I’ll get to why, see I was to preach to the one group who’s God, yes Jesus’ last prayer was 80% about unity within his followers, preach to them the very same, so that all silliness may be discarded and more priority on the things of God will take place, did I fail? Through a certain point of view I could see why it may seem as though I did, but I don’t believe so, see firstly it wouldn’t be my failing nor my success for you see it was all the Lord’s decree, if you will, I am merely a messenger, a slave bound to the Gospel, but I had some shortcomings. I often think of myself as David in this situation, in the respect that I saw a clear instruction of the Lord acted and the Lord gave me success in my call, but over time had a few rough patches.
I would have very much loved to have left in the best of terms, you see my first year was okay, there were a few real difficulties in my life most notably the first death of a loved one, my grandmother one of my greatest mentors and encouragers, not just the first death of a loved one but the first death with me experiencing it as a Christian, but this all produced endurece and perseverance, there was a semester I did not return, after my first visit to Ecuador I had many questions, and concerns, and sought answers, answers I could not find in that place I was in, at Central, ironic the environment, best suited to have answers didn’t have them, but instead the Lord guided me elsewhere and for that I’m grateful. So many days had passed and I returned in hopes of carrying out my final days at Central before I had to leave, many received me with a great and humbling welcome and love, and met many good brothers and sisters on my return, but all of that well was about to change, see my departure was delayed, see that semester was meant to be my last but I was dragged into what many people on the outside claimed was like a Disney teen TV show, and indeed I couldn’t agree more, it was all too… strange, and while in that whole strange dilemma I remembered why I had returned see the… ah yes here’s some more irony, see the truest form of Christianity typically tends to get better reactions from Atheist like I was, than other believers, ironic isn’t it? So when I attempted to get back at my duty while in this strange situation, it didn’t turn out all too well for other parties, but I won’t get into too much detail because it all happened and I have made peace with the interesting trials to say the least of days past.
I say all of this to get a better glimpse perhaps as I progress to my current state. My college days were never to be spent fully at Central, my days are not to be spent following a simple protocol in life, since I became a Christian I had always experienced change, change was by far the most persistent element in my life since the biggest change in it, so adapting and moving is no strange territory for me. Needless to say my time at Central was to be brief, Like Yoda did to Luke, he taught him all he needed to know for the task at hand, the Lord knows my case as he does for each and every one of His children, my case is different and it is meant to be that way, for all… different, yet with one common cause, to proclaim Christ to the entire world. Yes that hasn’t changed it is still in scripture it’ll always be in Scripture, that’s why I’ll never work in a church in the states as a pastor or accept a check for preaching the word or settle for the same old pattern of the west’s Christianity. The entire reason I am not returning, is because I was never meant to stay, simple, my duty is not to men nor an institution, but to God alone, my brothers will remain my brothers and my sisters will remain my sisters, but I must move. & yes I have enjoyed many days at Central others not so much, others, well I quite frankly ‘till this day can’t seem to understand, like why… nevermind.
If Christ’s word had not been preached to me I would’ve never been at Central but perhaps worst off, would have been still a vicious enemy to the ones I now call my brothers and sisters. I know this is a long post and if you have made it this far, bravo, you’re a champ, I wish I could’ve done what I was set out to do better, but even the worst of circumstance the Lord means for Good, and the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and from the circumstances I was in, that I wish I was never in, and from the discipline of the Lord I have learned much, which takes me to the previous year, the most fruitful of all, the fall of last year I had spent in good fellowship with a couple of my most beloved brothers, whom I esteem much, both in discipleship and in much joy, and then likewise this previous semester, spent in truly incredible fellowship with a few brothers and sisters of mine, and an incredible visit to my brothers and sisters over in Ecuador, and some incredible small moments with visiting some of my beloved friends’ families, and that same semester actually for the first time in my life developing true and honest feelings for an incredible girl, dare I say at the time really liked if you’re into corny language, and learning to grow from that experience to be able to have a healthy relationship regardless of the outcome, and it was so, due to both our circumstances things weren’t going to go toward a romantic relationship but instead remain as brothers and sisters in the Lord Christ Jesus, and it truly was one of the best learning experiences in my life, nothing to complain about. Much of last semester was indeed wonderful, which leads me to my current state, now I’m on a different path, a path that for a good period I must walk alone, ‘till I meet one down the road whom will aid me and I them, till I am called elsewhere where I’ll meet those whom I’ll commune with.
Did I fail, no! The very contrary is true, my time was up, I now am called elsewhere, and oh the Lord put before me some good honest men and women who heeded the convictions the Lord set in me, my reach was not great as I was hoping but that is also because I hindered myself with my own restrictions I put in friending. A few good men come after me, those few who are greater than me, I say this to humble myself before the Lord and before his works, I know there’s a few good and honest men, faithful and humble men who yet remain, loving and compassionate men, whom the Lord gave to me as brothers, whom I shared in wonderful fellowship and encouragement, joy and truth, but above all Love, and those good men the Lord has entrusted that ministry to, the ministry I once had while at Central, these men will not carry my legacy for I have none, but that of Christ Jesus our Lord. I know good things will come from their faithful service to the Lord and I know things will change at Central, for the better, for the Kingdom’s sake, not for the sake of the denomination, or of the best interest in marketing, or the sake of trends or sake of more students to attend, but solely that God Himself alone is glorified!
See yes there’s a lot of established good at Central and a lot of potential good, and a lot of that potential ignored. I won’t be the person who praises all of the institution but I also won’t be the guy who flat out bashes all of it, see both are wrong the place isn’t a utopia nor a horrid place, no; in fact, I believe the place is mostly great, but like all things humans create a tint of arrogance quickly follows. While at Central I saw one of the biggest lies proclaimed mostly almost entirely by students, and people ate this lie, that somehow the world is too bad that basically everyone not at Central or not a Restorationist is incapable of understanding the Gospel or simply rejects it all together but, my friends I am living breathing proof that even the most hardened atheist can comprehend, and not just make mental assent but have faith and submit to the Lord. See while at Central I saw much of what I was hoping to be and much of what I understood not to become, and of all I’m grateful this is not a complaint but a report if you will. Yes Central is a wonderful place, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t have its major faults, I speak primarily of the student body who make up the majority of Central who essentially represent Central, yes Central, but see that’s already wrong, see it is not about Central nor the denomination associated with it, and certainly not about neither of the students, RA or not, or It’s little student council program, it has always been and will always be about representing Christ, by how we love one another, care for one another, love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and all of our strength, how we forgive, how we love those around us, and so in doing all this represent Christ! But of all this we can improve on, seek more wisdom and truth, more grace and love! For somehow and some odd reason Jesus chose to show himself to the entire world through fools who at one point knew him not but now do, he entrusted the greatest mission ever given to mankind to seemingly incapable and quickly to forget creatures, but yet if History has proven anything is that together as one body, it is more than possible, and so our duty is to do as He commands! My friends, I do miss some of you, and certainly miss the fellowship with my brothers when we would commune every Wednesday night in my room, to break bread, have fellowship, encourage one another, pray for and with one another, love one another. I’m called elsewhere now, but know that those who come after me, a few of the good men I tagged are now those who speak to you, so listen to them, for they bring the same message Christ pleaded to the father all those years ago,
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”[John 17:20-21]
Central was an overall good milestone you could say, had I not had the wisdom, guidance, friendships, brotherhood, the Love of my good and incredible brothers and sisters who are professors like Reese, The Summa’s, The Welch’s, The Harper’s, The Poznich’s, The Curtice’s, Pelfrey, and a few more, and that of my few student friends my beloved brothers and sisters, I would not have had the wisdom gifted to me by my Lord, that was birthed by the experiences and fellowship I received, while at Central! I had my major fault, in that I was a little too strict or careful in whom I friended or trusted, though I still think for good reasons but I am certain it is a protocol I can greatly improve upon without compromising the joy at hand or the gospel or the fellowship, so my encouragement is to be one just as Jesus and the Father are One, that by being so the world may know that the Father really did send Jesus, and that as John writes, they may believe! God bless and keep you all!