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Levi the Poet: A Man of Many Words: Part II

The Beginnings Tour came to Toccoa Falls College on October 7. Levi the Poet, Glowhouse and Lowercase Noises are the artists involved in the Beginnings Tour. The Talon was able to interview Levi Mcallister, known better as Levi the Poet, before the show began on Tuesday. Levi Mcallister is a spoken word artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He started Levi the Poet in 2009.  He has released 3 albums, and will release his fourth album, Correspondence (a fiction), on November 17. We asked Levi about a variety of things, including the tour, his art and community.

The Talon: You just got an album funded on Kickstarter, what was that experience like?

Levi: It blew my mind; I did not expect that to happen. Frankly, I did the Kickstarter thinking that it probably would not work. I never wanted to do a Kickstarter, whether that was out of pride or not, I just never wanted to do it. However, financially my wife and I had these goals to release this project, and it has been quite a while coming, but we needed help. I never wanted this to be “You guys fund this or else you are never getting an album” , and that is never what it was. I am incredibly humbled by the people that came alongside and instead of saying “Oh cool bro, thanks for asking for more money”, they said “Man thanks for giving us something to be a part of”. That is a perspective that I had never taken before, and that was very humbling.

The Talon: You talk about a lot of hard stuff in your poems. How are you so authentic in a world that tends to be very surface level?

Levi: I never was and never will be anyone’s savior. I think a lot of people treat is as though I have all the answers because they can relate to my poems, but I do not have all the answers. I believe in who Jesus is, and I believe that Jesus was far less surface level than the culture that proclaims to believe that Jesus is. However, being vulnerable is more of a secondary purpose. When I started doing the poetry, whatever it was about was because it was stuff that I was going through. It wasn’t supposed to be some activist thing, some awareness thing or something edgy. It was just my life. That is all it has ever been. I just want to do art that I think is good, and the content that I have put out has been that so far. I just pray that the Lord uses that and it honors him.

The Talon: TFC is a small community of young adult Christians doing life together. What piece of advice would you give to people living in community like this?

Levi: We are supposed to be in community, and you can be really alone even inside your “community”. You need to maximize the opportunities of where you are at, regardless of where you are. Scripture talks about walking in the light as he is in the light, and that takes work and effort. It takes being vulnerable. This is especially important if you are a Christian that proclaims Jesus has covered all of our sins. I think in our minds we believe this, but functionally we do not act like it. So there is a lot of shame, brokenness and fear in those communities. For example, I talk about porn addiction a decent amount because that is something that was I big part of my life growing up. I think the Church should be the one place where it can be talked about. Often the thought is “Oh man, I can not talk about this, I am in a Christian community”. That fuels more fear to try to be as good as you think that you should be, as opposed to being as honest as you can be and asking for help. Walk openly. We need one another; we are not created to live independently. We are created to be the image of God, and he exists in a triune community with himself and the other persons of that trinity. I just really believe that we exist for community. Do not shy away from being honest, because this is the perfect place for that.

 

To learn more about Levi the Poet, Glowhouse or Lowercase Noises visit the following websites:

http://levithepoet.net/#home

http://glowhouse.net

http://www.lowercasenoises.com

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Levi the Poet: A Man of Many Words: Part I

The Beginnings Tour came to Toccoa Falls College on October 7. Levi the Poet, Glowhouse and Lowercase Noises are the artists involved in the Beginnings Tour. The Talon was able to interview Levi Mcallister, known better as Levi the Poet, before the show began on Tuesday. Levi Mcallister is a spoken word artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He started Levi the Poet in 2009.  He has released 3 albums, and will release his fourth album, Correspondence (a fiction), on November 17. We asked Levi about a variety of things, including the tour, his art and community.

The Talon: How did Levi the Poet start?

Levi: I was writing and journaling a lot since the beginning of middle school. A lot of that was because I was introverted, and did not really want to talk to anyone. It is ironic that Levi the Poet is what it is now, because a lot of it began with those journals that were for myself, being created into performance pieces. I do not even know if I really decided to start Levi the Poet. I’m sure there was a point where that happened, but I really feel like it happened out of nowhere. Some friends knew that I was a writer, and they knew that I liked other poets and people who did similar things to what I am doing now. They invited me to do that sort of thing at a local show in Albuquerque, and then I started doing some more local shows. Then some of the bands that were touring nationally invited me to come out on the road with them. I started touring with a death metal band named In the Midst of Lions, and they were the first dudes that gave me a chance to go out on the road.

The Talon: You are on tour with Lowercase Noises and Glowhouse until the end of October. What has been your favorite part about the tour so far?

Levi: Both of the guys I am on tour with are good friends of mine and my wife, Brandi. I think that we are becoming better friends through this tour. One of the reasons that I am so excited about this tour is getting to introduce them to people. I say that as if people do not already know about them. Andy’s project, Lowercase Noises, already has a really large following in that style of music. He also has done a lot of work in helping equip independent musicians. Alex from Glowhouse has done a lot of tours on his own. I have never considered this my tour that I was bringing someone out on. This was an idea that all three of us had, and thought would be really cool. We have all done things with one another for a while, in regards to our projects. For example, Alex and my wife did all the musical work with Seasons, and Andy produced it. It is really neat to have friends out on tour, especially friends that have worked so closely together. I have enjoyed having other likeminded people out on the road with my wife and I. Having that community is great.

The Talon: What is the hardest part about touring?

Levi: I think for me I am constantly fighting some sort of battle inside of myself about what makes a tour worthwhile and what does not. My goal and my hope is that I can share art with people and share hope with people. I wrestle with when I have done that well, and when I have not. There are a lot of internal and external, practical and very impractical worries that I go back and forth on.

 

To learn more about Levi the Poet, Glowhouse or Lowercase Noises visit the following websites:

http://levithepoet.net/#ho

http://glowhouse.net

http://www.lowercasenoises.com

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Peace in Reliance

Think back to the year before you left for college. How many times were you asked this question: “So, what are your plans after high school?” If you had an experience similar to mine, you were probably asked that question several times, and it may have left you wondering – why is this random adult talking to me?

I hated being asked that question because it meant an awkward conversation with someone I did not know. Furthermore, answering a question that I did not have an answer for. This question terrified me. I felt as if the rest of my life needed to be decided right then, and I was not prepared to do that. I witnessed several of my friends leave for school knowing “definitely” what they wanted to do with their lives. But me? – no clue.

Asking a 17-year-old, “What are you going to do for the next 40 years?” is an absurd question, and the wrong one. A look into scripture reveals that God cares much less about our occupation and more about our relationship with Him. Specifically concerning the future, He cares about what is occupying our hearts and minds.

A little over a year ago I was struggling greatly with what the future held for me, and God led me to the following passages. I vividly remember a feeling of incredible peace that came from the knowledge in these verses.

James discusses planning for the future in James 4:15 when he says, Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” James is clear that our primary concern needs to be God’s will rather than our own desires and plans.

Proverbs also mentions this in chapter 16 verse 3: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” The shared idea in these two verses is that we should be less worried about what we want to happen, and more interested in what God wants for our lives.

Matthew 6:33 is another amazing verse regarding worry and planning. In this passage Jesus is talking about simple things men worry about such as clothing, food, and water. He follows these things by saying, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus clearly states that we should first desire Him before anything else, and that includes the rest of our lives.

God showed me through these verses that what I needed was faith and reliance on Him, rather than simply knowing what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I doubt I am alone in experiencing the pressure and anxiety that accompanies the uncertainty of the future. However God does not want us to live a life of tension but rather of peace and dependence on Him. The verses here support that idea. We each have one responsibility: seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

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Look to the Geese

Now that you are a college student, community is incredibly important to form. You may being pondering the questions of “How?” and “Why?”  One of the answers is in the sky…look to the geese.

It is proven that as a goose flies with other geese, they are able to help each other reach their location faster and with great ease. When it comes to Toccoa Falls College, as a community, as we desire the same goals and values, we are able to partner together and reach the end goal quickly and more efficiently. Just like the geese, we must understand how important it is to surround ourselves with those who are seeking the same goal. The reason that this is important in community and to the geese is because when one becomes tired and worn down, they can depend on the others to continue toward the goal.

With that being said, it is easy to say that geese have a sense of commitment and dependency to their gaggle. From observation, we, as a community on a campus, are in need of these two aspects. Looking back to the geese, whenever one is sick or injured, there are two other geese who will leave the formation to care for and help the sick and injured goose. Once, the injured one is better, they will fly together to catch up to the bigger formation of geese. Community, on our campus, is lacking the sense of dependency because there is a “shortage” of commitment. When we see someone hurting, we need not ignore them because we are afraid of losing sight of the end goal. We must be bold and confident to help those who are hurting and have lost sight of the end goal. As Christians and a community, we must show our commitment to each other by being dependent on them. Even though the goose who was hurting and vulnerable may have needed help and was depending on those to support him, he trusted them that they would be there. Who knows, that goose may have been the leader of the formation, committed to leading them to the end goal. We, Toccoa Falls College students, need to express ourselves with commitment, which in hand, leads to dependency on our community.

You may still not be sure how this example could look on our campus, but here is an example: The Justice Campaign. It is a group of students, seeking the same desire and goal: to bring awareness and to end sex trafficking.  We will be able to unite and encourage each other to not lose sight of the end goal. When we partner together, we are able to show our commitment and dependency on each other.

We, as a college community, need to look to the sky and remember it is safe to be dependent and to commit and to partner together.

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Birthdays Become Consumer Days

Birthdays are wonderful days to celebrate life and happiness, but recently they have become so much more than sweet celebrations. Birthdays have become entitlements to being the superstar of one’s special day. Of course birthdays should be centered on the birthday girl or boy and their new year of life, but there is no excuse for getting everything they ever wanted, or worse, for them to pout and whine for not getting what they apparently deserved. Birthdays were once about being with loved ones and having the time to feel the warmth of hugs and kisses. Nowadays, birthdays become all about expectations that must be met or else no one loves them. There are lists made months in advance that bullet every single thing that must be present as a present. Birthdays have become focused solely on spending money instead of time. In today’s culture many people receive gift cards as a birthday gift. The gift card guru website, Gift Card Granny, states that “Birthdays are the most popular occasion to buy a gift card with 81% of consumers purchasing gift cards for a birthday.” That is an extremely high amount of consumers spending a couple of tens of dollars to replace something sentimental. Gift cards do not, and should not, substitute for love. A hundred dollar gift card to Wal-mart does not prove one’s love. People think that putting a high price on a gift constitutes their affections but as Jessie J puts it, there really is no space for money when you want happiness. Based on the website MyHeritage’s statistics from Dear Santa letters, children from 1913 asked for simpler items such as nuts and oranges. Society today takes such minuscule items like fruits and nuts for granted. Today, children would cry if they saw an orange under their Christmas tree, or a bag of nuts for their fifth birthday.

Birthdays should be about the person born that day, but the person born that day should not be expecting anything at all. People will do things to make their loved ones happy, but a materialistic gift is not always the best gift. Of course everyone wants the latest smartphone or tablet, but not everyone can afford such things. People who care may not think the best gift is a thousand dollar MacBook, but they will put thought and effort into their gifts. Sometimes a small card made by hand means much more than a few hundred dollars. Birthdays have become materialistic and that should never be the case. Yes, people want to celebrate another year of life, however gifts should not be the main goal. Birthdays should be sacred days where the person feels love and happiness just being with the people around them. There is no way money can truly buy someone happiness. Happiness does not have a price, so birthdays should not either. Being able to live another year should be the best gift of all; in many third world countries there are children who hardly get to see their first birthdays. Birthdays should be reminders about how much someone cares. Birthdays should be counted by laughter not by how many zeros there are on the receipt. People today do not understand that a warm hug means much more than a warm North Face jacket. There is a priceless aspect in genuine love that no amount of gold could ever replace. People were born to be loved. People were all made special and each birthday should be for the purpose of making someone feel special. The amount of thought and care that a person puts into a sweet surprise has more value than all the gold in this world.

Birthdays are wonderful days to celebrate wonderful people. It is a time to remember the goodness of life and the joys of relationships. It is a day to reminisce the past years that have flown by. It is another day to treat loved ones with care. It is the day where one person becomes a princess or a prince, but it is not the only day in the year where that should be the case. There are always at least 365 days to celebrate someone’s life, and people should utilize every second to do so. No matter whose birthday it is there is no entitlement to presents and money; there is no need to waste hundreds of dollars on a single day. Love is the only thing that needs to be given on a birthday. Whether it is an orange, an iPad, or just a peck on the cheek, everyone should be grateful for the thought and love given to them.

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Me. God’s Spoken Work

Step away from the task before you, step away from that looming to-do list, take out your head phones, and turn off your phone. Find a space where you can just be, a place outside of friends, outside of relationships, and outside of responsibility.

Ask the question: Who am I?

Consider your name, your full name. Your parents gave you this name when you were born. This name links you to all forms of official identification. People usually refer to you with this name. You introduce yourself using this name. But this name is not you. Even if your parents had chosen a different name, you would still be you.

Consider your physical appearance. You were born with a certain ethnicity, gender, and familial position. You have a certain eye color, hair type, and skin tone. You identify with a certain body type. But your physical appearance is not you.  You can change all of these outward appearances and still be you.

If physical appearance is not the factor that makes something real, what does make it real?

Look at a small piece of creation near you. Name it; touch it. Water, the lichen on the rock, that ant, the yellow jacket…not the name, not the appearance…so what is it?

Who are you?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

He created…He who is outside of name. God has no name that defines His being. We reference Him with names, but He exists outside of these names.

He created…He who is outside of appearance.

Genesis 1:3 reads, “And God said.”

When He said, things came into being! – “and it was so” (1:9c).

What He spoke came into existence.

“So God created” (1:27).

He spoke, and He created.

“God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over…all the earth,’” (v26).

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (v27).

Who are you?

You are God’s spoken word.

You are God’s act of creating.

Pause. Let this soak in. Picture yourself in your mind’s eye. Strip away your given name; strip away your physical appearance. And just be God’s spoken work.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ec. 3:11).

You are God’s spoken work. As God spoke and created, He gave each creation a purpose. For example, when He made the stars, He “set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness” (Gen. 1:17-18). He has given you a purpose.

To reflect His image. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, God has renewed His covenant with you. By accepting His gift of salvation, you come into relationship with Him, and the Holy Spirit works in you to mold you into the image of Christ.

Your works have no weight in who you are. Just be. Rest in the God-spoken, God-made being that you are. Rest in knowing that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Mentally, put your name back on like you would a piece of clothing. Bring back your physical traits. Remember the position God has placed you in where you serve Him. But never forget the you that is at the core of all these things.

You are God’s.

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Homecoming 2014

Friday, October 10

Homecoming Golf Classic
10:30 a.m. Apple Mountain Resort and Golf Club, 901 Rock Ford Creek Road, Clarkesville, Georgia. The 18-hole tournament in a two-person Lauderdale format with a shotgun start. Fee includes green fees, cart, Chick-fil-A lunch, golf balls, TFC logo towels and tees, and prizes. Cost is $55.00

On-Site Registration
1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Gate Cottage

Alumni Board Meeting
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. President’s Dining Room

Women’s Varsity Soccer Game
5:00 p.m. Soccer Field. TFC vs. Johnson University FL. No charge. Eagle Club concessions will be available.

Homecoming Tailgate Picnic
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.Soccer and Baseball Pavilion. Now in its 9th year, this event has become an annual tradition. Good food for alumni, students, guests, and the entire Toccoa Falls family. We will have a tent set up with tables and chairs for all to enjoy! Cost is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children ages 2-10.

Men’s Varsity Soccer Game
7:00 p.m. Soccer Field. TFC vs. Clearwater Christian College. No charge. Eagle Club concessions will be available.

Crowning of Homecoming Queen
7:45 p.m. – during halftime of the men’s soccer game under the lights.

TFC Sweets and Treats
8:30 – 10:00 p.m. Earl Field – center of campus. Come to the tent on Earl Field for delicious sweets, treats, or a cup of coffee. Complimentary.

Saturday, October 11

Alumni Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Parkerson Student Center. Reunion classes ending in “4” and “9” will be recognized, and certificates will be presented to the 50th and 60th year reunion classes. The TFAA president will report on behalf of the Alumni Board. Cost is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children ages 2-10. Childcare is available with preregistration.

Gathany Museum Open
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Gathany Museum. The museum will be open for Homecoming participants to tour.

Campus Lunch Buffet
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Parkerson Student Center. Cost is $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for children ages 2-10 (pay at the door).

Homecoming 5K
12:00 p.m. Meet at Gate Cottage for the 22nd annual 5K run or walk through campus. Cost is $15.00 and includes a dri-fit shirt.

High School/Academy Reunion Luncheon
12:30 p.m. Gate Cottage. Enjoy an open mic time with former classmates. Always a favorite! Cost is $10.00.

Duck Race
1:00 p.m. Meet along the creek below Forrest Hall. Buy a rubber duck to benefit a student organization. Come cheer your duck to victory as it races down the creek. Prizes will be awarded. Cost is $1.00 per duck.

Women’s Varsity Volleyball Game
1:00 p.m. Lois DeLany Gym. TFC vs. Piedmont International University. No charge. Eagle Club concessions will be available.

Campus Dinner
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Parkerson Student Center. Cost is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children ages 2-10.

Women’s Varsity Volleyball Game – Honoring Seniors
5:00 p.m. Lois DeLany Gym. TFC vs. Johnson University (TN). The seniors on the volleyball team will be honored during the match. No charge. Eagle Club concessions will be available.

Annual Alumni Basketball Game
7:00 p.m. Lois DeLany Gym. See our varsity athletes take on former players. No charge. Come cheer your team on to victory!

Coffee at the Falls – an exclusive event for alumni and parents.
9:00 p.m. Gate Cottage. Enjoy hot drinks with a sweet treat. You will also have a unique opportunity to see Toccoa Falls in lights. Complimentary.

Sunday, October 12

President’s Prayer Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Gate Cottage. Come join the 2nd annual breakfast hosted by Dr. Robert Myers. He will share from his heart about the Lord’s leading for the future of Toccoa Falls College. Seating for the breakfast is limited. Cost is $10.00. Childcare is available with preregistration.

Gathany Museum Open
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Gathany Museum. The museum will be open for Homecoming participants to tour.

 

As taken from http://alumni.tfc.edu/homecoming/schedule

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Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk where Jesus walked, or to experience scenes from the New Testament in real life? This dream has become a reality for a group of nineteen students and professors who will be traveling to Israel during the Winterim semester of 2015. The fourteen-day trip, taken every few years, includes visits to Galilee, Capernaum, Jericho, Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, and a variety of other locations mentioned throughout the New and Old Testaments. Not only will those attending the trip be able to visually experience places and scenes from the Bible, but they will be able to physically experience things such as being baptized in the Jordan River, swimming in the Dead Sea, and traveling in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. The majority of time will be spent in Jerusalem and around the Sea of Galilee, places where Jesus spent the most time during His public ministry.

The professors who are attending the trip to Israel include Dr. Kevin Burris, Dr. Don Shepson, and Professor Joyce Griffin. Dr. Burris has travelled to Israel twice before and most enjoys visiting Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee. “This was one of Jesus’ bases of operation during his earthly ministry. Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and spoke to the Roman centurion about his servant here.” Dr. Burris marvels, “I love to see the old city, but what I love most is going down to the Sea of Galilee at night and sitting at the boat dock. As you look over the sea, you see the lights of small towns and especially of Tiberias. I like to read the Sea of Galilee passages, pray, and just be silent. Few experiences have moved me like this one.”

Above: The remains of a Synagogue in Capernaum, a place where Jesus often taught. (Photo Credits: Sam Truong)

Above: The remains of a Synagogue in Capernaum, a place where Jesus often taught. (Photo Credits: Sam Truong)

Above: A boat crossing the Sea of Galilee, the site where Jesus taught many of His parables and performed many miracles. (Photo Credits: Craig Salmon)

Above: A boat crossing the Sea of Galilee, the site where Jesus taught many of His parables and performed many miracles. (Photo Credits: Craig Salmon)

Among the students who plan to participate in this life-changing experience is Miguel Gomez, a Junior at Toccoa Falls College. He shares, “something I really want to soak in is the fact that the events that took place there changed the course of history and the entire world.” Gomez, like other students traveling to Israel, are hoping this will be an enlightening, yet humbling experience in more ways than one. Students and professors will have the opportunity to watch stories from the Bible come to life. “There are so many places in the world to learn,” Dr. Burris shares, “but Israel is the only place you can see the Old and New Testaments come alive everyday.” He adds, “As I stood on Mount Carmel for the first time and looked down at the Kishon spring, the reality of God’s great victory of the prophets of Baal through Elijah overwhelmed me. I have always believed the Bible stories implicitly, but when I stood where they happened, I believed even more.”

Sarah Casey, a Senior at Toccoa Falls College, is most excited about one aspect of the trip: being baptized in the Jordan River. “I am most looking forward to being baptized in the Jordan River because that is the same place Jesus Christ was baptized! I can kind of imagine Him being baptized right beside me. There is a beautiful closeness that I can’t describe.” The one thing above all else that Casey desires is to fulfill her dreams; “to travel where the greatest love story ever told took place.”

This Study Abroad trip to Israel is most assuredly an experience of a lifetime. It is not often that an opportunity as beautiful or as enlightening as this crosses one’s path. Although the excitement of the trip is overwhelming to those who are participating, Gomez maintains a realistic mindset as he adds, “I encourage that everyone pray for the safety of those headed over on this Study Abroad trip and for the situation and circumstances that are going on there just as much, if not more.” Dr. Burris also asks for prayers from a different perspective as he shares, “I find that I always leave with a heavy heart knowing that I need to pray for the believers in Israel and for God’s word to penetrate the hearts of the Jews and Muslims of Israel.”

Dr. Burris also shares a final word of advice for those who were not able to attend this trip, but who look forward to going in the future. “The trip will change you! Go and you will want to go back!”