26 October, 2005

Conclusions on Heart-Guarding...

“Be sure to guard your heart.”

What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? For many Christians in our generation, we instantly think about dating, or for that matter—kissing it goodbye. It reminds us that we shouldn’t give our hearts away too quickly, because the possibility of someone unmercifully breaking or trampling them is an unfortunately great possibility. Joshua Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” put this new spin on the phrase when he preached that young people should guard their hearts by not giving them away to a member of the opposite sex prematurely. Since the book, published in 1995, swept the nation’s youth and singles groups, young people have clung tightly to Harris’ advice. With over 800,000 copies in print, a generation of college students now exists that have been firmly taught to “guard their hearts” and in so doing may reap the consequences of fear and inability to be transparent in developing relationships.

The concept of “guarding your heart” has become so engrained in us that we assume the idea of protecting ourselves is naturally rooted in the Bible. Interestingly, the Scripture commonly used to support this ideology is completely unrelated to the idea of self-protection. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” Read alone, the Scripture might be interpreted as: be on guard not to let yourself get carried away in your emotions, because everything else in your life will be affected. But if one chooses to read on in the passage, one can see verse 23 in its context. Solomon writes verses 24-27 in exhortation to his son. “Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously. Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet and all your ways will be established. Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.” Proverbs never discusses guarding your heart because it is fragile and can be easily broken. It discusses guarding your heart because of its true nature. This is observed in Jeremiah 17:9: “the heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick—who can understand it?” Solomon firmly pens the words “guard your heart” to encourage his son to guard his heart from sin, not from emotion. Because the heart is “desperately wicked” Christians must be constantly vigilant of the sin that can creep up in our hearts, where no one can observe it except the Lord and ourselves.

Unfortunately, the challenge to guard the thoughts and motives in our hearts has been replaced by the warning to guard ourselves from opening our hearts to receive the possible disappointment inflicted by others. By studying Harris’ idea even more, one can see how it is contrary to the very nature of God. Harris’ ideology purports that it is biblical for people to isolate themselves in fear under the guise of “guarding their hearts.” Scripture clearly teaches that no child of God should be living fearfully as we are to put our trust, dependence, worth, and expectations on Him alone, which in turn frees us up to love others without condition. Decades before 21-year-old Harris penned his advice, theologian, author, and educator C.S. Lewis expressed his thoughts on “guarding your heart” in his classic collection of apologetics, “Mere Christianity.”

“If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

So before passionately implementing the idea preached by the next popular Christian dating book, I encourage you to find your worth in God. Do not fear the future. Open yourself up to someone. And try not to let another one of Solomon’s proverbs become a distorted Christian slogan.

23 October, 2005

Oh, and a question...

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the topic of "guarding your heart." Growing up in youth group, reading books like "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" I had always heard that young people should "guard their heart" in relationships....and not just "give it away." This past summer when I was studying at Focus some of my professors were adamantly against this "guarding your heart" that Joshua Harris and his cronies speak of...seems that C.S. Lewis agrees with my professors: If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. --C.S. Lewis
Lately I've had a solid 5 or 6 people implore me to "guard my heart." What are your thoughts?

Oh Hey...

So there's probably like .05 people out there who still are optimistic enough to even see if I've updated this silly thing...I'm so sorry! Life has been busy, blah blah blah. You don't really want an explanation. Here's what's been going on with me:

Last weekend we wrapped "Once On This Island," the musical in which I played the goddess of earth...you kind of have to see the show to understand my role, but maybe I'll be able to post some pictures some time... Everyone in the cast are storytellers, and we each take on characters as the show develops. 4 of us "gods" are the main story tellers (Mother of the Earth, God of Water, Goddess of Love, and Demon of Death) who describe the main character's plight to prove that love conquers death.
Island was definitely the most difficult show I've ever been a part of. Constant singing (belting) and dancing... I was on stage a solid 90% of the show. I also sported some crazy sparkly green lipstick...supposedly under the stage lights it looked cool. One of my roommates, Jonea Vanlandingham, designed and built all the costumes herself. She actually received an Irene Ryan nomination in costume design for the show. It was definitely well deserved.
As soon as Island opened, we started rehearsals for "Guys & Dolls" which is proving to be soooo much fun. My role is much less time consuming (I'm basically in the ensemble) and there's a lot less pressure and expectations to meet, so its nice to have a trade off in that way. There's also quite a bit of partner dancing and flipping around...AND I get to wear a blonde Marilyn-Monroe-esque wig for part of the show, and a long black wig for part of the show...both hair colors that I would never be able to pull of in real life...woohoo! Also, Halloween is coming up and some of my friends from theater are hosting a party where you have to come as a character from a show...ideas are being tossed around currently...don't want to give anything away. For now I need to rush off and work on the second half of "Pride and Prejudice" (due Tuesday for my English Novel class) before Guys & Dolls rehearsal later this afternoon. Hope this little update has sufficiently quelled your inner longings of knowing what's going on in my life. ;-)

07 October, 2005

Everyone has their story.

As submitted to the Liberty Champion...

Everyone has their story.

This is a truth I thought I had really grasped a while ago. In high school I had the privilege of being a part of a youth ministry that welcomed people who had been blessed enough to have grown up in a loving Christian home as well as teens who had been through any number of difficulties: struggles with homosexuality, pregnancy out of wedlock, drug abuse, sexual abuse, running away, etc. I’ve always been thankful that God saw fit for me to have seen a lot at a young age. When I was 8, my parents sat my 10-year-old sister and me down and told us that a man we knew well had made some poor choices and that he was dying of AIDS. 4 years later before I had even made it to middle school the disease had taken his life. When I was 15, a girl in my youth group that was only 12, called me crying because a boy down the street had just convinced her to lose her virginity. When I was 17 I prayed with a girl who had been molested for years by her father —a man who happened to be in the ministry. I think that these relationships gave me enough insight to know that I was immensely blessed for having never experienced these things myself. For some reason God let me see these wounds in others, without having to go through the pain and scarring these experiences leave on their victims.

Here at Liberty, it is easy for us to put our peers in categories. “Oh he went to public school.” “She’s from one of those legalistic churches.” “He didn’t get saved until he was 19—he probably partied like crazy.”
Many times people who have seen less, or who consider themselves to be ‘conservative,’ or ‘deeply spiritual,’ or who are avid loyalists to the ‘Liberty Way,’ take a “stand” by making sure they are disassociated with people who may appear to have different values than them. These people who are deeply committed to Christ-honoring behavior are generally well-respected on campus, and for good reason. I have no doubt that the Lord smiles on those who take delight in His commandments. But he also takes delight in those who are actively loving the broken—which is also commanded. There are people every where on this campus who have been through painful, scarring experiences. Some of them have been victims who had no choice. Others are simply victims of making bad choices. Either way, these people should not be placed in the category of “rebellious,” “trouble makers,” or “anti-authority.” People begin to act out the titles put on them. If someone is constantly referred to as disrespectful, or disappointing, soon he or she will begin to act the part and believe there is no opportunity for change.

These are precisely the people who need those of us who have been spared from things like abuse and addiction to pray for them, love them, and help carry their burdens. Just as Romans 12:15 tells us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”
We, the blessed young people who have been spared from abuse and painful experiences, must remember that we were born with a sin nature as well and would be just as capable of having made wrong choices had we gone through the experiences others had gone through. For clarification, I am not saying that any one has the right to blame poor choices on being a victim. I am simply saying that those who have not made poor choices should invest not only in people who have grown up under similar circumstances to their own, but also those who have a rocky history.
Everyone is a culmination of their past experiences and the transformation that Jesus is completing in their lives. Everyone has their story.

05 October, 2005


My life is full these days. Full of people. Full of memories. Full of changes. Full of theater. Full of life.

So we opened “Once On This Island” last weekend and despite a few technical difficulties it went great! There’s simply nothing like performing on a stage and telling a story. My roommate was so touched by the plot that she cried twice throughout the performance. It is so amazing to take part in an art form that can move someone in their core. For me, musical theater is that thing that I would rather do more than almost anything else. For some of you it’s playing guitar, for others of you it’s graphic design, or getting lost in a book…doing that which you are passionate about. I had a bit of an epiphany regarding my passion for theater when I had 3 friends go to New York and sit on the front row to watch “Rent.” Being fully conscious of the fact that they had an extra ticket and a spare seat, I knew that more than going to watch a show, I wanted to be in one. I would rather go to a rehearsal than to see a Broadway show. I think that’s passion.

My parents came in town this past weekend to hear the Chamber Singers sing and see the show…I love them.