Sunday, September 14, 2008

Christian Ministries

Ben Currin
Intro. to Church Ministry
Dr. Jonas
Dec. 2, 2002


I learnt a lot about ministries this semester, especially about God’s call to people to partake in an area of ministry in which they feel comfortable. It is hard to adjust to the fact that God could call any mortal being to do anything, but after all we are His creation so it takes everyone to make the world go round and to help share in God’s work here on earth. It may take some people a longer time to accept their calling than other people. Sometimes a person can be unsure of why they were called in the first place and what they were called for. I’ve struggled with this for years, because I was basically called in high school to some kind of ministry, but I didn’t take it seriously until my Freshmen year here at Campbell in 1998---so it didn’t take that long to understand that I had definitely had been called, though I am still struggling with it.
When I felt called in high school, I had read a kiddy biography of Billy Graham (I think it was my brother’s) because our Youth group was going to His Crusade at the time and I wanted to know more about him and not have to read so much. (Side note: I think I read it after the Crusade actually...I don’t remember for sure’s a sign that I’m getting too old. I can tell that because in one of the section that Dr. Whitley taught he asked if anyone had used a record player and one other person besides myself raised their hand. Next year I’ll have 6 more years to go till I’m 30...oh how time flies). Anyways, I read that book and remember thinking that I could do something like that, because I liked to help other people. We went to Billy Graham’s Crusade in Charlotte and I enjoyed it so much that I went back the next night when it was the senior citizens’ turn to go.
After I had the thought that I could do something like Billy Graham, I thought that God was calling me to be a preacher, but I felt like how could that be---I mean I’m shy, so how can a shy person who finds it hard to talk to even persons he is close to---be a preacher. Me! Be a preacher! Ha, God must be joking! I wasn’t quick to ignore it totally though, because one night I went outside and preached out loud whatever was on my mind and let it disappear into the darkness of the night. It must’ve been a funny sight to anyone who saw me yelling about God, Heaven and Hell, Jesus and this, that and the other. I later thought that I’d wait and see what God wants me to do, because I was unsure that that was the direction.
So my Freshman year here at Campbell, I came into school as a History major, because I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist. I’ve always loved history anyways, because it always was my favorite subject in school, so I thought great be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. (I have the jacket, hat and bullwhip, so that makes me Indiana Jones to some degree)! I then had a rough time with my history classes here and Dr. Martin (Jim Martin) wasn’t much help. He put me in some of the hardest classes at the same time, so I did well my first semester here but by my second semester here I wasn’t doing as well. Before I even came, my mom suggested that I should major in Religion, but I was still trying to figure out my call at that time. I had Dr. Ballard my first semester for Intro. To Christianity and enjoyed that class so much that it planted another seed of interest in me. I then asked Dr. Martin if I could take another Religion class instead of Government my second semester and it just so happened that I got Dr. Ballard again. He is responsible for my changing majors, but before that I went through a lot of thinking. I think a lot, especially in the shower, when there’s time and at night before bed.
Not only did I have to struggle with these decisions but I also had to go from having a single room my first semester here to having a roommate my second semester here. It was hard enough to cope with these struggles, but then my roommate turned out to be a pot head and he got arrested and kicked out of my room. He blamed his getting kicked out on me. He said that I ‘kicked him out for being too loud,’ which was untrue because if anyone was loud it was me with my late night Rock & Roll listening. I didn’t even care what he did, because I understand why people use drugs and they do them for different reasons. Anyways, he spread a lot of “Rumours” (Fleetwood Mac reference) about me, when it was his on fault for getting kicked out of my room. So for me that was a very weird year for me, but I got through it with thinking and a lot of prayer, of course, I got through it just fine as well.
I thought about my Religion classes that I had that year a lot and every night I seemed to have discovered something new and so I’d write my discoveries down in song format---both secular and sacred. I didn’t mention it before, but I have been writing song lyrics since high school, but I was making up stuff before then in my head but paid little mind to it. I wish I had written them down. I actually remember one that my sis and I made up together while walking on the beach---we were staying at a neighbor of ours beach house at Myrtle Beach---we have a place at Wrightsville Beach but we were at Myrtle Beach that time, because we were offered the place and took the opportunity. I must have been around 5 or so, because my sister was still in a stroller and I don’t think my brother was born yet, but I can’t recall if that is accurate or not.
Anyways, we made up this short little ditty: I was semi-singing: “Sarah Reese’s Pieces, walking down the street/Sarah Reese’s Pieces, walking down the street” and my sister joint in with: “La, la, la, amiga/La, la, la, amiga” and that was our little song! Not much too it on surface value but now that I’m older I understand what I was doing. It is about being homesick to some extent because I was thinking about Sarah, our babysitter at the time (she still comes to our house, but now she’s more or less just the housekeeper). So that explains the Sarah part, the Reese’s Pieces part was because I like Reese’s Pieces and I guess Sarah did too, also, I may have just eaten Reese’s Pieces as well. The walking down the street part is easier to explain, we were walking down the beach, so that was that. My sister’s part is basically explained as her trying to copy me, but she was too little then to comprehend many words, but I’m not sure I’d have to ask her what her part means. Our song could also be about a made walking down the street. I was thinking about Sarah, because my dad was playing with a mop earlier so it made Sarah come to mind.
These were just a few of the pieces of the puzzle that I’m just beginning to see. By my Sophomore year here, I began to see how God was leading me to being a writer, because I wrote and still write all the time, so I put two and two together and began to realize that maybe writing is what I should pursue. God gave me the talent, so why not use it for Him---besides English is one of my favorite subjects. I’ve enjoyed all my English classes here, except for Dr. Shelly’s class. Dr. Tate has been the most helpful to me in the English department here and he is like the Dr. Ballard figure for me here in that department.
This semester has taught me a lot more about God’s call and I am still discovering new things and writing up a storm though sometimes I still question things. I have yet a lot more to learn about my life, but I have been through so much already. I often wonder if life really matters, because I’ve been at death’s door more than once and you can die anytime, so why bother with life---this is one of many spiritual frustrations that I’ve had, along with trying to get out of school but finding I haven’t accomplished much. This is my fifth year here and I’m tired of school, but I keep pressing on. However, it seems the more I keep going, the more it seems that I’m gone to be stuck here. I did a forty-three page research paper for Senior Seminar this year, but it was all in vain. These are the kind of things that add to my spiritual frustrations.
You see, I had missed two classes of Senior Seminar already for being sick and I was trying to print up my research paper for that class, but was having printer problems, so I was faced with a lose-lose situation. Either way I would fail, if I should up without my paper or if I skipped. I hadn’t planned on these problems, but it happened. I was editing my paper and needed to re-edit some more and so I started trying to print my paper at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the Thursday that it was due, which gave me plenty of time to print it, if it worked right. But it didn’t work right, first, my printer wouldn’t print the page numbers and then it wouldn’t print the pictures for my presentation. It finally printed right at 3 am on Friday. I had printed copies for everyone in my class as part of my presentation and in all that time I wasted two packs of computer paper, so just about 1,000 sheets of computer paper were wasted and thrown all over my room. I wanted to just lay there in die and bury myself under all that paper.
I went to explain my absence from class to Dr. Greene that Friday, in hopes that he would understand, but to no avail---he failed me, so I wasted a lot of money, time and effort on that class. Oh well, I guess, I’ll just have to retake Senior Seminar with you next semester, Dr. J. Anyways, these Cat Stevens like lyrics seem to best describe my feelings at the time when I was dealing with that situation and what all I went through with Dr. Greene:

He said: “you’ve missed one day---over the line,
You’ve fouled it up pretty well, this time.”
So what’s the use of working hard, anyway,
Day after day, only to end up in an early grave?
Why must useless bureaucratic rules count for anything,
Just because you say they should, say they should?

Well, I’ve been out looking for the meaning
Of that one myself and still you keep saying: “the boy’s done no good,”
“The boy’s no good.” I wish you would realize
That life doesn’t go on to be classified
By matters of whether or not you’re absent just one measly time,
Over the line, over the line, you stepped over the line.

‘Cause I know for sure that what’s fair isn’t measured by time,
It’s measured by how well you use your mind.
He said: “work hard and you’ll get behind
A desk like mine, a desk like mine.”
But why work to sink low, to lose your wealth and become poor
Then lose your health and sink further down in life for sure?

Because I don’t want to fade away, I don’t want to be that kind of man
To make so many plans, when no one really gives a damn,
Anyway, anyway---where nothing really matters what you’ve done,
The further down you go along, the harder it is to get out of where you’ve come
Through the gray snow descending in your brain, wherever you may go---
There’ll be thunder pounding on your head about to explode, so row your boat

Anywhere. I’ve found it hard to turn back time, to seek comfort in my mind,
Because for what it’s worth, the more I think, the more pain
It brings, so what does it matter anyway, when all my thoughts are in vain, they’re in vain.
He said: “you don’t know what you did, you shouldn’t have missed, this time.”
But why face the wrath of society, when I was bound to lose, either way,
Whether or not I made it across the finishing line that day?

He said: “you’ve missed one day---over the line,
You’ve fouled it up pretty well, this time.
I wish you the best, I wish you success,
But what’s done is done; you missed, you failed the test.”
But why make that the reason why I’m still searching for the purpose of my life?
For I may die, tonight....

© 2002T/H Songs, Inc.
© 2002 GB Lyrics, C.O.

As I mentioned before, sometimes I wonder if everything is worth all the effort, especially school, because you can put so much into something and go so little out of it either that or no one pays any interest. I get things out of school, mind you, it’s just that I’ve done so much with little reward for what I’ve done. Oh yeah, this summer I sent some lyrics into this place and at least got a letter of interest back, but it was too expensive to have that person set my lyrics to music. I have been getting into music composition myself lately and have composed some pretty nice things for a beginner. I, also, did set some lyrics to one of my compositions, but I’m still pretty much in an experimental phase. Anyways, I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning a lot.
I’ve learnt that God can use me in any way he wants with my writing abilities, I don’t have to be tied down to just sacred stuff, I can write secular stuff as well and end up in a U2 type deal. An example of how I’ve applied what I’ve learnt in school and of my faith can be shown best in these two songs that I wrote:

The night was looming quietly over the land as everyone prepared for the fall
The church folks were all drilling through a doctrinal wall
Now, I was standing there assessing the scene, must have been a hazy dream
All of a sudden someone spoke said: “the devil is in humanity”
Told me I must be gone, back on across that waterfall

I took my boat, I drew a moat, drew up some of that water stream
Thinking about all those hypocrites falling over to foreign countries
While those foreigners are starving and begging on the streets
The evangelists are getting fat off of feed and all their collected money
And those poor hungered foreign souls die unsaved at their feet

Well, religion is a funny thing, causes so many people to fight
Over everything, now, what’s dark and what’s light
And what’s wrong and what’s right
Evil is a mystery, how could something so bad come from something so good
Someone said to me: “the devil’s got his hold on you” I dunno, but evil would

So I ran out of that room, my clothes, all tattered and torn
Cast out into religion’s ill blowing storm
Like a child that never even had a chance of being born
Oh, what causes people to do the things that they do
Must be some kind of other god-like force outside of creation breaking thru

Well, if there is one and only God and He creates all things
Then where did that other force come from, from heaven falling
Into our world, well God is good and all that He creates is good
So where did the devil come from if he causes bad in the neighborhood
Did he create himself or did God create bad all along from nothing

Then someone said: “all these questions in your mind are a sign
That you’ve already been damned to burn in hell for all times”
Well, who said hell was even fire or below, deep inside the dirt
And who said heaven was in the sky above the earth
And who said that either one was even a place outside of time

Well, I walked on down that road to Jerusalem, the road was hard
And weary like all those spiritual pains in my heart
Well, I know it was all those preachers and lawyers of the world
That nailed Jesus up on that heavy cross as the clouds whirled
Around in the sky and that holy veil ripped and split apart

Well, I hurt easy, I can’t even swallow my pride
I’m cast adrift, right here amongst the Great Divide
Then someone said: “you can’t be human, because you’re a Religion
Major, you can’t even have bitterness and ill feelings
Religion majors aren’t suppose to feel like humans” then all the tides

Of humanity fell all around me and choked me around the neck
Swallowed me up inside, it’s to other people, I can’t connect
So I kept on going through that river of life
Thinking ‘bout all the world’s miseries, all the world’s strife
And all those things that people keep hidden up inside

You know the devil is the world’s scapegoat, an excuse to use
Whenever they don’t want to admit when they’re wrong and untrue
Someone said: “the devil made me do it,” when it was they, themselves
Whom did what they did all along, because they couldn’t pull through
And handle their life being pushed up on someone else’s shelve

Then some philosophical misogynist gynecologist stood up
Said: “I’ve got the Truth” but all those people stoned him to death, because
They didn’t want to hear it, the Truth hurts worse than all the pains
The world could ever bring inside our bones, brains and our veins
Well, there’s too many hateful people without love, it’s insane

Someone else said: “Adam and Eve were real” but if incest is a sin
Then what about them, how could they bear all the world’s men
All the world’s races and if Jesus is the only righteous person ever
Then what about Job, how could he be righteous too, no he never
Could be, unless the Bible contradicts itself just like all persons

Do---well, some people said the devil made Hitler kill all those Jews
But I think it was religious brainwashing, I dunno about you
Even Luther, Protestantism’s patron saint, hated Jewish people
And he was another man of the fair church, of the fair steeple
I dunno what his problem was, unless it was religious untruth

Others claim that Catholics aren’t even Christians
But Catholic people were Christians, way before them
Then some people claim to live in our skin and bones is a sin
But skin and bones is the mark of being human
Well, everyone is human too, but even so you can have religion

Whatever religion you want too, to get you by
Until the day, whatever date it is, that you may die
Well, you haven’t felt anything till you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes
Felt all their pains, seen through all the different sides of their Blues
Well, Jesus did just that and He gave all His life

© 2001 T/H Songs, Inc.
© 2001 GB Lyrics, C.O.


My love is like the grave, I want to enter in
And rise above it, when we begin a-new
So my love, let me die in you, tonight, in your eyes of blue
So that I may become alive, once again
Let me in your temple to taste the wine
For it’s there that I’ve been seeking for to find

Eyes like rain and lips like smoke
In you lies my only hope
Building up and destroying time
Is the only way to make up your mind
In this electric ghost land, where we wander and fall

My colors have all gone gray from trying to find my way
The more you push me away, the harder I’ll try
To reach you with my intimate prayer inside
For you can kick the darkness outta the night, until it bleeds like the day
In this electric ghost land, where we wander and fall

It’s a little too much for me, a simple touch helps me to feel
For in your eyes like wine, I have found what is real
There the Truth and the Light shine
In the colors of your mind like a sacred sunshine
In this electric ghost land, where we wander and fall

My love is like the grave, I want to enter in
And rise above it, when we begin a new life
So my love, let me die in you, in your arms, tonight
So that I may become alive, once again
Let me in your temple to taste the wine
For it’s there that I’ve been seeking for to find

In you, I’ve found my salvation, my celebration
My benediction, my conviction, my holiday
My first aid, my secret dreams, my convocation
For in you all my fears and pains are taken away
In this electric ghost land, where we stumble and fall

In you, I’ve found the shelter over my head
The comforter for my bed, my broken piece of bread
In you, there’s a communion of faith that tears away all doubt
In you, I’ve found my exit, my only way out
In this electric ghost land, where we stumble and fall

In you, my candle can be set a-glow through an icy winter rain, through snow
Selfless deliverer, fill up my flask with your soul’s wine
Self-full giver, I’m standing at your bars, save me from dying
For you are the only one that I really want to know
In this electric ghost land, where we stumble and fall

My love is like the grave, yeah, my love is like the grave, I want to enter in
And rise above it, rise above it, when we begin once more
So my love, let me die in you, die in you, tonight, it’s all I’m living for
(To be tied down to you, so that I may be truly free)
So that I may become alive, become alive, once again
(And so that we can become what we were made to be)
Let me in your temple to taste the wine, your sweetly divine wine
For it’s there that I’ve been seeking for to find, seeking for to find..............

© 2002 T/H Songs, Inc.
© 2002 GB Lyrics, C.O.

The first song is a Woody Guthriesque song that should be the anthem for every Religion Major who deals with sharing what they’ve learned in school with people in their church, but they find out that those people don’t have as free of a mind as they do. The second song is one I wrote for my Senior Seminar presentation and uses the Lazarus theme and the Christian theme of resurrection in a way to illustrate symbolically the spirituality of love and sex.
In conclusion, this is just a long brief summary of what I’ve learnt this semester and semesters before about ministries and God’s call and how I’ve applied some of what I’ve learnt to my life.

Forgive the typos---this was a rough draft.

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