“I Can Understand That”

Warning: This article sounds pretty Post-modern…

Lately I’ve been thinking about the commonly used phrase, “I can understand that“, in the context of a person’s having a moral failure of some sort. I’ve said it so many times and not thought about it too much. Don’t we all? Imagine someone who can’t accept the fact that she won’t get to spend forever married to her husband because when they get to heaven they will no longer be wedded to one another. I can understand that. Imagine a father wanting to kill a man after he murdered and raped his daughter. I can definitely understand that (couldn’t you?). Imagine a teenage guy catching one glimpse of a pornographic image on a computer, coming back in naïve interest and subsequently falling into a powerful addiction for years. I can understand that.

But what do we mean when we say it?  While I intuitively probe around in the mental state that occurs when I say those words, I get this line of thought: “I can definitely see how it would be incredibly easy for this person to fall into this, and thus I do not judge them.”  Or maybe something like this: “I can see, from my perspective, how this choice could seem desirable and compelling to this person at the point he or she made it, so I do not “judge him or her.”

But if there are some moral failures to which we are content to apply the personal descriptor “I can understand that”, does that mean that there are some that we honestly can’t understand? For example, I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to do something like what Adolf Hitler did. I don’t understand why a person would get the ideas he did, why he would try to exterminate such a large group of people, and etc. I also can’t understand why any person would want to bully people. Bullying people goes so against my nature that I get a sick feeling in my stomach at the thought of it. I can’t mentally bring myself to understand that desire.

I will point out, however, that all of these truths about my not being able to understand actions seem to proceed from my introverted and non-forceful personality type. I am not a bold person. I am naturally so dependent upon people’s approval that I can’t imagine ridiculing my peers. Now if the fact that I cannot understand why a person did something proceeds not necessarily from the heinousness of the act but from my inability to grasp why they would do such a thing, it seems to me not a problem on that person’s part, that I cannot understand them, but on my own. Notice, however, how we seem to reject all those who commit immoral acts which we cannot understand, while being far more lenient on those who commit immoral acts that we can understand.

My point is this: we apply the label “I can understand that” to immoral acts which from our perspective we can understand happening, but the fact that we can’t understand something is a measure of our own lack of insight, not a measure of how much we ought to separate ourselves and society from a person or group. We must come to a point where we realize that for all actions (immoral or not), these actions appeared worthy of choice to the people who chose them at the time (if not so, they wouldn’t have performed them!), and are thus “understandable” at least to someone (and if you were in that situation with their biological equipment and personality, you would likely do something very similar). I’m not trying to claim that these things aren’t wrong. Sin is sin, and it is to be eradicated from our lives. But we would do well to realize that sin is not what is publicly abhorrent, but rather, “whatever does not proceed from faith…” (Romans 14:23) To put it more bluntly, in judging the moral character of other people and their acts by how well we do or do not understand them, we set ourselves up as the judges of good and bad… a job typically reserved for the omniscient and eternal God.

Now consider the implications of this: are there not certain individuals that we tend to “shy” away from because of the “weird-ness” of their actions and demeanor? Are there not certain individuals or groups whom we subconsciously consider inferior to us because of the moral failures in their past and present? Perhaps it would do us and others good to consider that our lack of understanding of others is due to our own lack of insight, rather than the so-called “inferiority” of others.

In addition to all this, I think you can extend this principle into practicing tolerance of other’s beliefs. I cannot understand how some people choose to be Hindus, but I’m sure if it was explained to me I would be enlightened and far less likely to consider Hindus inferior. In the past I did not understand how a person could buy post-modern philosophy concerning morality hook, line, and sinker. But then I almost did, and now I understand. I had an arrogant phase last year where I wickedly made fun of those who took a stand on the age of the earth different than my own. But then I almost became a member of opposing line of thought last summer, and now I can understand them much better.

Given that we understand others’ actions a lot better when we’re either nearly put in their shoes or actually are put in their shoes (metaphorically, of course—don’t steal shoes!), we should always give consideration to the unknown. Maybe there is something I don’t understand about my atheist friend that causes him to do what he does. (Maybe he’s right about a lot of things, and I could learn from him?) Maybe there’s something about those who disagree with me that I don’t understand. Let’s make this our mindset, so that we may follow in the steps of Christ himself, who said “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. (Matthew 7:3-5)

Eagles Take Regional Championship

The magic continued for the TFC baseball team this past weekend as the Eagles captured the NCCAA Division II South Regional Championship winning the final game of the tournament 8-3. After a receiving a bye on Thursday, the Eagles started the tournament on Friday by defeating Florida Christian College 7-3. With the win, the Eagles extended their 12 game winning streak and improved to 28-15-1 on the season. Sophomore Justin Key pitched a complete game for the Eagles and Junior Corey Warner dominated at the plate as he hit three doubles in the game. Senior Cory Klassen also had a great day at the plate driving in 3 runs.

The Eagles then lost their first game on Saturday of the double elimination tournament falling 7-5 to FCC, as FCC had advanced through the loser’s bracket. The loss set up the championship game against FCC which the Eagles won 8-3. Junior Micah Ellington started the game pitching for the Eagles and senior Nate Bowen relieved Ellington with one out in the fourth. In the fourth inning, with the score tied 2-2, with two outs, freshman, Zach Warner nailed a two-run double scoring Wesley Warren and Josh Ward. Senior Cam Fulcher then drove in Warner with a single and the Eagles led 5-2. Bowen gave up a solo homerun in the top of the 6th inning, but the Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the inning when junior, Andrew Thorne and Cory Klassen both hit shots to deep left doubling off the wall giving the Eagles an 8-3 lead. After the game Bowen commented on the season and the regional championship. “I have had a great year on the mound, but I know it’s nothing more than God blessing me my last year of ball. The championship game was a lot of fun, but I knew I couldn’t make a lot of mistakes because Florida Christian is well coached and disciplined team.” Bowen also was sure to give credit to Thorne and Sophomore Jordan Coullaird for making awesome defensive plays along with giving credit to the rest of the defense for their outstanding play.

After the game, the Eagles were presented with their first Regional championship banner since 1995 and All-Conference honors were given. Thorne received All-Conference Honorable Mention. Sophomore Dylan Charles, Couillard, Bowen and Zach Warner were named to the All-Conference first team. Zach Warner was also named Freshman of the Year and Bowen received Pitcher of the Year. TFC Head Coach Justin Pollock also earned Coach of the Year.

The Eagles have now earned the right to defend their NCCAA Division II championship from a year ago as they will be traveling to Ohio for NCCAA Division II World Series. When asked about going to nationals with a chance to repeat Bowen said, “The team needs to stay focused and humble because all the teams there are great and are fighting for the same title. Expectations for the team are high this year, but nothing will be met if we forget the basic fundamentals of the game. As a team we realize this is an awesome opportunity and will never forget to give God the glory for the talent he has blessed us with this year.” GO EAGLES!

7th Time’s the Charm

The president search is finally over! In these past few weeks, both students and the supporters of the college have been able to meet our new president, Dr. Robert Myers. The search has lasted much of the school year, and taken hours of collaboration then even longer to pray for direction from God.

Numerous people were used as part of the decision making process.  Among these people were teacher representatives Dr. Kieran Clements, and Mrs. Gina Bailey. Both were part of the core group in the search committee. Each had challenges and expectations in the search. Dr. Clements found that the hardest part for him was to consider all the qualifications and information of the applicants. Mrs. Bailey admitted that the hardest part for her was to keep the process a secret, especially to her husband. Even more challenges came with the search, and the responsibility was enormous on each member of the team. Lane Arnold, the student body representative, felt the pressure as well. According to Lane, “It was as though the vote of nearly 800 students was on my shoulders.” Despite all of the representative having different challenges and opinions of what they found important in a president, God led the final vote for Dr. Myers to be a unanimous agreement. After the long months of searching, praying, and waiting, the representatives agree that they would certainly help with the search again. However, they emphatically stated that another search should not be necessary for at least a decade!

Last Friday, April 27th, Dr. Myers spoke in a special introductory chapel. In it, the student body realized, we have a “ninja cop” for the new president. We were impressed by his resume and inspired by his words. He challenged the attenders to change Toccoa Falls College from being “the best kept secret in Christian colleges” to being at the forefront of Christian education. He also informed the attenders of his current hopes to develop the college educationally. He wishes to incorporate a nursing program and post graduate education. He admitted that there are not set plans to incorporate his dreams for the college, but he clearly indicated that glorifying God will be the primary focus in implementing all of these aspirations for the college.

There is so much more to learn about Dr. Myers than anyone would expect. If you would like to know more about the new president of our wonderful campus, you are in luck. The TFC website has a general article about him (http://www.tfc.edu/archives/8223).Tech-savvy may be a good way to describe him, but his passion for life must be experienced by more than second-hand information. If you would like to learn more about him from a firsthand perspective and missed the chapel that he spoke in, the following links are great for just that purpose. Dr. Myers has a blog (http://robertmmyers.wordpress.com/) a twitter (@robertmmyers), and a Facebook.

It has been a long process with a huge reward. Nearly every person that I asked regarding having him as our new president agreed that we have full confidence in his abilities and leadership thus far. He will start work officially on August 1, but until then, the general feeling can best be summed up from Lane Arnold, “We got our man.”

Gospel Fest 2012: Giving Worth to the King

Gospel Fest 2012 was a worship experience to remember. On April 21st, over 200 people gathered to worship God through various means. From singing, to interpretive dance, the night was filled with praise even after the service was over.

Variety does not even begin to describe the evening. People drove from hours away with the longest driving time being five hours to attend. People with incredibly different backgrounds sat next to each other. Both professors and students sang the same songs, and sat next to each other that night. Even community members joined the TFC choir to sing praise. The crowd truly resembled the family of God

The night began with an abundance of different performances. To begin the night, the Redefining Artistic Worth club quite impressively interpretive danced. Shane Alzden then rapped for the glory of his Savior. The night continued with Zikerion Davis, merely a child, singing for a supportive crowd. When he was nervous, the crowd cheered him on, and he undeniably received the largest applause of the night. After him, our very own Angelica Little used American Sign Language to translate a song. The Mt. Zion Baptist church choir worshiped through tribal music, and old hymns. The TFC choir then took the stage to lead corporate worship. The choir also consisted of members from Mt. Zion. Using contemporary music, the choir rambunctiously yet sincerely sang their hearts out. Sophomore Taylor Clegg emphatically stated that this was her favorite part of the night. I would have to agree as well. Most of the songs were not very well known to me but that did hinder any part of worship, and the variety of music was truly appreciated.

After the time of praise and worship, Pastor White from Mt. Zion spoke to the crowd. His sermon was specifically about living a life of worship. He began with a strong definition of worship by taking apart the root words associated with it then using their definition as a platform for the rest of his sermon. Using passages such as Isaiah 6 and Revelation 22, Pastor White emphatically stated that our lives should be centered around giving ourselves to God and His kingdom. White also used his testimony and numerous examples like that of Abraham and Isaac to support his point. He ended his homily with an alter call then an encouragement to the attendees to live for God’s glory and not our own.

The night was truly one to remember. If you were unable to attend because of the other events that occurred that night, you should certainly consider attending the next Gospel Fest. Tom Walker, the director of the event, was thoroughly pleased with the events and turnout of the night. He was most pleased with the authenticity of the people who attended, and the praise that was given to God despite different backgrounds and denominations.  An even bigger event is planned for next semester, and Mr. Walker is looking for more volunteers to participate. If you are interested in participating next year, joining the RAW club or talking with Tom Walker are great places to start. I hope to see you at the next Gospel Fest, I know I will be going!

A New Age: The Digital Age

Whenever word got out that David Crowder *Band was, pardon the pun, disbanding, the music scene was undeniably shaken. Unless you lived under a rock, you would at least have heard of the band in the past twelve years since its beginning. Even on secular Pandora stations, their songs are played. After their last CD as a band, Give Us Rest or (a requiem mass in c [the happiest of all keys]), was published this year, the question was posed, “What’s next?” This question was asked by both the listeners of their music and the band members themselves.

The answer for the band members turns out to be quite simple- continue making music. In basically every interview about the parting of the band, it is stated that this was not a new or forced idea for them. They had a goal set for six CDs and did not feel like God was calling them to make more than that as DC*B.  The “B” in DC*B got together and decided to continue the band and call it, The Digital Age. This new band seeks to find artistic worth in all things, and embrace how information is now processed. In a parting interview with Christianity Today about the new CD and end of the band, David Crowder revealed just how different making music has become, “What’s weird about this record is that about 85 percent of it was done with all of us in separate locations.” According to him, the only songs recorded with all of the band present were the bluegrass songs, and they were the first ones recorded. The rest of the process was done in separate locations by different members of the bad and production team. You may wonder what the relevance of this information about the assembling of the CD. It shows clearly that we truly are in a completely different age when it comes to making music. Entire CDs can be sent across the world without any carbon copy, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating new sounds and musical patterns. The Digital Age members seek to harness this new reality.

The question of “What’s next?” still lingers in the air for the fans of DC*B music. Both David Crowder and The Digital Age will make music for some time to come. I do not know what Crowder will be doing individually, but he has expressed much interest in still creating music for the Church. The Digital Age is working on an album, and there are two songs already online for free. One is a new song named, “All the Poor and Powerless”. Their website is http://thedigitalagemusic.com/main/, and they have a twitter account. These guys are making great music so far, and it is always a plus to be ahead of the trend nowadays. So, why are you still reading this? Go look at these guys for yourself!