Issues TFC Relationships May Face

I remember one fall day last year. I was in the cafeteria eating my food, when suddenly a student approached me, and with a concerned look asked, “are you okay.” Perplexed I asked, “what do you mean?” I was rather taken aback, and was unsure if something bad had happened to me that I was unaware of. He responded, “I see your girlfriend sitting over there with her friends, and you’re over here with your friends. I just wanted to make sure you two were doing okay.” I responded that we were fine, and that she has her own friends, and as do I, and that we can sit apart or together, that it doesn’t really matter. That began to get me thinking, perhaps there are some ideas floating around that are not the best for relationships. Everyone knows about the divorce rate for TFC graduates, but everyone seems to encourage any behavior or relationship toward marriage. So, I thought I would write over a couple things that I have seen happen to my friends, classmates, and occasionally myself .

The first issue is the “together always” syndrome. During my freshman year, a guy on our hall had recently gotten a girlfriend. After about two days, it was hopeless. He was never on our hall again. Whether it was homework, eating, or chapel, he was never away from her side. His friendships with the guys on his hall died out, as his girlfriend was his only time focus. Perhaps the greatest killer of friendships on the Toccoa Falls campus is your friend getting into a relationship. Yet, is it healthy to spend every possible second with one person? Is it healthy to not place any priority in friendships of the same gender? While I understand that it is fun to hang out with a boyfriend or girlfriend, at what point should it become unwise to spend too much time together? I have seen some couples burn out. They have spent so much time together that they want to be away from that person, but their lives have become accustomed to planning every moment with their significant other. Sometimes people would have relationship problems, but they would not have a close friend to confide in. Most often, breakdowns would start happening in their relationship. Perhaps, it would be wise in a dating relationship to work on maintaining friendships.

Another issue I wonder about as being healthy is thinking that they will be in a constant state of love. Marriage is not about being in love. It is not about feeling like you like the person. Marriage is about building a life and family together. It is not always going to be great. Conflict and fights are bound to happen. Not realizing that these exist, or truly opening one’s eyes to this possibility, I feel that is dangerous. I view it a lot like a friendship. I have a friend who I have been best friends with since junior high. When we first hung out, everything was fun. We would play soccer and talk about our small Lutheran junior high. Now, I do not have the “this is a new person to hang out with” syndrome, but I enjoy hanging out with my friend. We know each other, and know what we like to do together. We’ve had fights, we’ve had times running from the police , and we’ve had times laughing as we’ve tried to talk to girls. I think marriage is like this. It is enjoying building a life together and incorporating someone into your life through the good and the bad. The goal of dating is not to focus on getting to the married point, the goal of dating is to find someone you want to spend the rest of your days with. Some highlight the act of being able to be considered married. The ceremony is what they hold in high esteem, without truly understanding that they are going to grow old with another person.

Some people might ignore big issues in order to stay in a relationship with someone. Settling is perhaps a problem that affects many couples. Perhaps it is fear of being alone, or not wanting to feel like they wasted time, but people settle. I once knew of a couple that was in a relationship. They had dated for a while, and had no outwardly wrong problems. He had confided in a friend that he was not overly happy with her, but he would not end the relationship. After time, he felt he should marry her due to the time he had been with her. The years past, and he began to hate his wife. He felt tied down to a woman whom he never really wanted. He was not a immoral man, but he now found himself cheating on his wife, longing to have a relationship with a different woman. While anyone can work out a marriage with anyone, there are some who it is much easier to do with. If a person feels that they could do better or be happier with someone else, maybe it’s time to break up. Perhaps staying in a relationship is not the right thing to do.

The last and perhaps most dangerous is becoming physical in the relationship. I am not speaking of this as an ignorant youth, but as someone who has seen and talked to many people in many places. If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, how will becoming physical solve this? Yes, being physical is fun for a lot of people. If it wasn’t enjoyable, many people wouldn’t fall into this choice. I am not here to say what the line should or should not be, but rather to say what is wise or unwise. Becoming physical locks you into a relationship. It is a feeling of being obligated to see how things work out, and it also cements the other person to you emotionally. To those who claim to not feel anything from being too physical, perhaps you have never truly loved, or are with someone you have never truly loved. I am not trying to preach on chaste morals, but to say that in a relationship one should seek to make a harder choice and live more wisely. For every broken heart, there is baggage that will be taken along to the next person they will date. If that person truly loves you or is interested in loving you, would they not be willing to wait? Perhaps some of my greatest memories from past girlfriends is sneaking up onto a school roof, watching the hours fly by and we spoke getting to know each other better under the starlight.

I am not trying not knock on anyone’s relationship, but wish and hope for the best for everyone as they seek to find someone they want to be with forever. Every person can always strive to have a healthier relationship, and perhaps some have gleaned some useful information from this. In all things, do it for the glory of God. People look at the relationships of Christians, are we representing ourselves well? Are we living different than the world, or adopting and practicing the same standards? None are perfect, but it is that we are fighting. We are fighting to become more like Christ in a world that opposes him. We are fighting to have the type of relationships that Christ desires for us.

SGA 101: Part 1 of 2 Vice President

What they’re doing:
Talon:
What was the main reason that inspired you to run for SGA executive?
Emily:I love the position of VP (working with the Senate to get ideas flowing from the student body!), and as a member of Executive Council now, I love the atmosphere of it and experience I pick up!

T: As a leader of SGA, what are your goals for the upcoming year?
E:Creating a family-like environment for the SGA Executive Council is very important to me – the more comfortable we are with each other, the more fun and productivity will happen! Also, like we said in the campaign, leadership development. I am very inspired from the freshman class’s energy, and we’d really love to harness that into some really passionate campus leaders.

T: Any fears about the upcoming year on SGA?
E: Mostly just excitement! There are definitely areas on which I am trying to improve before next fall, the usual college student struggles: time management and maintaining relationships. More specifically, continued communication between SGA, the administration, and the whole of the student body.

T: Any social event ideas already being planned for next year?
E:Nothing specific, but the current Executive Council is working on getting a dancing proposal approved. That endeavor is for an event next month, but we’re working hard to see more next year!

T: What goals do you have for the spiritual emphasis of the student body?
E: I love the spiritual emphasis organizations we already have on campus: Spiritual Formation, the Prayer Team, Breaking Free, just to name a few. As another branch of Student Development, we’d like to work mainly with Spiritual Formation; Amy and her team certainly have a wealth of knowledge and we’d love to learn!

T: What direction would you like to see the student body move concerning chapel?
E:We’d love to get some really innovative chapel speakers, but that means creativity on our part too (who to contact, budgeting, etc.). We’re excited to brainstorm with our soon-to-be-decided Council!

T: As a head of executive SGA, what advice would you have for underclassmen looking to be involved in SGA throughout their collegiate career?
E: Coming to events is certainly the easiest way! However, if they are looking for more defined leadership positions, class councils are great training.

T: What is life like as an SGA member?
E:Life is full! We get to work with all facets of campus and represent the students. It’s a lot of responsibility, but we are all committed and love it!

Who they are:
T: Hometown and Major?
E: Marietta, GA
Interpersonal and Public Communications major

 

T: Reason why you are at TFC?
E: My grandma told me about it! Haha But really, it’s the community that got me here – there’s nowhere else on earth like TFC.

 

T: Most embarrassing TFC moment willing to admit for an article in the Talon?
E: Last year, I fell up the stairs walking back from the library in the dark. The worst part was that a senior tried to console me by saying he always does the same thing – such a lie.

T: Best TFC memory?
E:Oh man, that’s a hard question! Living in Letourneau, you will get your share of awesome memories: 80s party, crazy late night pranks, getting in trouble with Cathy… But I’d have to say going on all those outdoor adventures I never got to experience living in the city! Going on hikes, traversing the side of Curahee, or jumping off a 40-foot cliff!

And winning VP, of course.

T: Favorite Aramark food?
E: The chocolate chip cookies!

T: Favorite Professor?
E: It sounds cheesy, but I love the comm professors! It’s never a drag going to those classes. (Even Western Thought and Culture with Wanner)

T: Favorite hobby?
E:  I’ve always loved photography, and I love just being outside on a pretty day with my friends, hiking or hammocking!

T: Favorite Sport?
E: Soccer. Watching or playing!

T: Favorite book or author?
E:  I’m one of those crazy Harry Potter nerds. Hardcore.

T: Favorite type of music or singer?
E: Lately, I’ve been listening to Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club, but also Ingrid Michelson. My taste is a little everywhere!

T: If you had 2,000 dollars and had to spend it in a 24-hour period, what would you use it for?
E: It’d be fun to try to spend it all at a thrift store, so I’d try to find the biggest ones around! But first I’d buy a killer Junior/Senior dress.

T: Any advice you have for underclassmen or incoming students?
E: Get involved with something you are passionate about and don’t let haters get in your way!

Showing Genuine Faith to Unbelieving Friends

“Someone asked, ‘Will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved?’ It is more a question with me whether we — who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved.”
-Charles Spurgeon

I remember long ago in my life to the days of high school, thinking to myself, if I am a Christian, shouldn’t I be drawing people into the gospel. I thought, I have friends who don’t know God, but it seems as if none of them are becoming Christians. I thought then, perhaps I must learn how to save. I wanted to be a competent Christian. I must learn how to evangelize. I wondered to myself, what is it that is missing that causes me not to be able to get my friends to want Christ? I could give them the pamphlet and lead them through the Romans Road, but that seemed to work the best in overseas short term mission trips. What then was the answer?

Toccoa Falls College is home to a vast array of students. Some come from rich homes, some from slightly poorer. They are students versed in the Holy Scriptures, months into their spiritual walk. These students who are in all different walks and pursuing different life goals, how do they answer these questions? To find this out, I asked a couple of students various questions. Some of these included: “how do they perceive you and your Christianity,” “what do they think of God,” and various others.

Gabe Martin is an everyday student at Toccoa Falls College.  In his life story, he talks about having three or four close friends who do not know Christ. This is not a number of people who are unsaved that he knows, but strictly a number of close friends who he says he can interact with.

He began talking about how his friends viewed God. He said a lot of them are not quite sure if God exists. Gabe said he felt that it was intellectual reasons holding them back. Like most of our culture today, it seems as if many people hold intellectual reasons or the hypocrisy in the church against it. Martin said that his friends respect him and his views. He said that they view his faith as genuine. Even if the answers are not quite as cut and dry as a text book, he is open to addressing them. He said, “[its] not always easy answers.” Due to this, his friends see his faith not as a result of upbringing or environment, but genuine.  Because of this, they now see that God does not have just bad apple.

Martin said it was awkward in the beginning. He said for one of his friends, he started by talking about the book, Blue Like Jazz. For those of you who haven’t read the book, I’d recommend it. It’s funny, and at the same time insightful. During a coffee grab, one of Martin’s friends told him he was atheist. He didn’t let that bother him or make him cast judgment. He was a friend to this kid. In his coffee shop endeavors, he emphasized separating Christ from bad Christians. His parting remarks on speaking to unbelievers were this, “have no anger, have civility in your conversations.” He spoke of showing kindness and not living your life in a dichotomy.

Student Tyler Spence echoed these ideas. He said, “[people] are no different than people here. They’re asking the same questions we ask.”He felt that respect and understanding were key. His friends viewed his Christianity not as hypocritical, but as genuine. His conversations with people who don’t know God usually hinged around asking the questions, “why would a good God allow this or that to happen?” His parting advice, stay focused on lost friends. He wants them to not feel forgotten.

Student Kelsey Hardin has also had some interaction with unbelieving friends. She said they respected her, and also tried to be careful about the language they used around her. They knew she was a Christian, and respected that. Since knowing her and her family, she says her brother-in-law is more open to the Christian point of view. The advice she gave was about letting your actions speak, and live out your faith.

So what is the answer? If we are Christians, does are faith cause others to want what we have? What does our love do? Do we have agendas when we love? Do we live out two lives, one in church and one at play? Does our faith promote hate, or does it promote love? Do we live out our faith because our subculture has made it appropriate? Do we live and love by the same culture that withdraws from the other? Do we read our Bible of a God full of love for us and use the same Bible to judge and perceive ourselves as better than others? If we are the light to the earth, why is our light not shining? They say that those who are the closest to us truly know who we are. You can fool a stranger, but it is much harder to fool a friend, a brother, or a loved one. Is your faith genuine? How are you improving in Christ? How are you achieving self-betterment? When our schemas, desires, self-fulfillments, and social spheres are taken away, is what’s left still praising God?

Perhaps it rests in love. We are all in this race called life together, and are all made in the image of God. Martin has changed the views of a handful of people. Imagine if every Christian on earth lived out a life of love? Imagine if your life caused just three others to want to be more like God. Anyone can hand out a pamphlet and take five minutes to talk to someone, but are we strong enough to take a lifetime of commitment towards our fellow humanity, God, and ourselves?

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one” – John Lennon

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