Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

College Students and Faith Trends

Posted 19 Jun 2013 — by nick
Category Blogs, Friends, GCM, Illini Life, Jesus, Ministry, News, Spirituality

A good friend and co-laborer of mine, Alan shared this article with me. I found it interesting – not surprisingly because it’s a topic near to my heart and calling – college students and their faith journey. The article claims that college isn’t quite the “faith shredder” it’s been made out to be; claiming students are 2.7 times more likely to say their beliefs were strengthened in college rather than weakened. A researcher speculates why this might be:

kid-prayingProfessor Smith observes three primary and very interesting reasons why the university is not the faith-shredder we imagine it to be:

1)    The increase in presence and effectiveness of campus-based ministries like Campus Crusade, InterVarsity, and Young Life.

2)    The increase of relativism and the decline of strict scientism, which allows for discussion of faith and spiritual speculation, similar to what Paul experienced at the Aeropagus.

3)    An increase in committed evangelical and Catholic faculty at secular universities in America who can serve as an encouragement and balance for Christian students.

Point number one is the most affirming to Amy and I. The work we’re called to do and giving our lives to is making an impact. Campus ministry is to blame for strengthening the faith of those that come to college. Now we just need to see numbers on students coming to faith in college. We have our own experience to measure against but would love to see wider stats on what is happening on college campuses.

Campus, a challenge to faith

Posted 10 Aug 2011 — by nick
Category Blogs, Jesus, Ministry, Spirituality

Often when I talk with folks about the work we do as missionaries on a college campus, I get this question:

“I hear today’s college campuses are really hostile to the Gospel, are you seeing that?”

I can only speak from my experience in the past 10 years at the University of Illinois, but certainly there has been a shift. The new atheists (as some have called them) have a strong voice, at times they’ve been hard to pick out against the hellfire and brimstone quad preachers of the past – both polar opposites, yet equally as hostile and alienating.

While I could go on and review many years of campus climate, I’ll let the words of James Emery White speak in this article. I believe they’re spot on.

I loved his conclusion:

“So this August, as you pack up your minivan or SUV to take your son or daughter off to college, give them one last word of advice. Not about binge drinking or safe sex, money management or proper nutrition. All well and good, to be sure.
Give them a word about their souls, and the importance of a grounded faith.
And then pray for them.”
James Emery White “Church & Culture Blog”


A Changing Demographic?

Posted 28 Jun 2010 — by nick
Category Blogs, GCM, Illini Life, Ministry, News

I scrolled across this article in my google reader this morning, admittedly I was behind on several of the key blogs I subscribe to. This post dates earlier this month from the ever insightful Chuck Bomar of College Ministry Thoughts.

What I find fascinating is how shocking these stats were to me. Maybe it’s the proximity to a major land grant university, complete with 40,000 students.

USA Today reports that nearly half of students at a four-year degree school don’t complete their degree within 6 years. Which translates to high drop our rates. And nearly half of college students attend a 2 year degree school such as a community college.

This got me thinking. I trust USA Today’s stats. The trends I’ve seen on campus are more students taking summer school classes at a community college where it’s cheaper, a higher pressure for students to maintain a part-time job while in school to offset the expense, more pressure for high paying internships in the summers. I’m sure the list goes on.

This demographic of college-aged students aren’t any different from you and I and our families. The economic downturn of the past few years has a lot of folks scared and we’ve tightened our belts in a lot of ways. I’m wondering how much of these changing stats are in reaction to such things.

Or maybe simply with the prevalence of online college programs and night school, our population of college students boomed overnight. Either way, I’m passionate about reaching college-aged people regardless of where they go to school (University of Illinois or otherwise).

Posted 23 Mar 2009 — by nick
Category Blogs, Family, Friends, Fun, Technology

Well I sure haven’t posted here in a while! Allow me to offer a bit of an explanation for those of you faithful enough to return to a stale site:

You see, I have this whole wedding thing going on and I’ve been quite busy planning with Amy and in what time I can steal away from work, ministry, wedding planning, running, Amy and so on – I’ve spent building a website.

The majority of the content on the site is about the wedding, to provide an additional place for our guests to go when they can’t find the save-the-date or wedding invitation. More info will be added as I have time.

If you’d like to follow the blog devoted to our wedding click here, or if you’re not RSS savvy here.

On Sarcasm

Posted 25 Mar 2008 — by nick
Category Blogs, Darkness, Light, Ministry, Spirituality

As of late the topic of sarcasm seems to rest heavy on my mind and heart. The Easter season has something to do with it – bringing me to remembrance of hope and joy and reason for celebration. For me these stand in strong contrast to a sarcastic demeanor.

When I find myself being really sarcastic I also find myself being very critical. Other people’s sarcasm and critical spirit infects me, I know this to be true, leading me to believe the same goes for the other direction. When I’m reading blogs that are overly sarcastic and critical of the Church and others, I fall into agreement and it builds divisions in my heart between myself and others trying to follow Jesus. In a community I find a critical spirit to be a slow, dry, rot, deteriorating the foundation and threatening collapse.

Today, in google reader, I unsubscribed to a blog I enjoyed at first for it’s witty satire and tongue-in-cheek-ness. Since that honeymoon phase all posts have continued in the same sarcastic vein with rare glimpses of hope and hardly any encouragement. The decision to stop reading comes in hopes to keep my spirit from being divisive and to keep it from being crushed under the weight of a bleak outlook on life and the Church.

This is something I’m still working through, I don’t know that I’d say sarcasm is always wrong and always hurtful, I think I’m just coming to a realization that it’s often a cheap laugh and at someone’s (or organization’s) expense and therefore hardly edifying.

What do you think?

Now playing: jon foreman – In My Arms
via FoxyTunes

I’m So White

Posted 12 Mar 2008 — by nick
Category Blogs, Friends, Fun

Recently Amy brought it to my attention, with the help of this blog, that I am white. Examples of my whiteness: being a vegetarian, running marathons, snowboarding, listening to public radio, a love for indie music, a love for the outdoors, the list goes on and on. Basically reading this blog I feel pretty pegged.

They nailed it today though: Outdoor Performance Clothing.

I walk around with a smile wearing my ARC’TERYX fleece or my Mountain Hardwear conduit softshell, knowing my jackets are super sweet even if others don’t know the logo or the brand and that I paid more for them than you would think reasonable. A grin and kinship sparks when I see another gear nerd sporting their outerwear and we sigh at the frat-boy strutting in his North Face fleece oblivious to the fabric technology and engineering that has gone into his pop culture status symbol.

A related blog, I’ve found pretty hilarious: White Whine, IE things white people whine about.

Now playing: Snow Patrol – Chocolate
via FoxyTunes

Dost thou Pisseth Against the Wall?

Posted 10 Feb 2008 — by nick
Category Blogs, Fun, Jesus, Scripture, Videos

I usually avoid posting twice in one day since it can tend to cause posts to get lost as the noise floor of your daily input raises. This post will be brief:

I first saw this video on Walk The Razor, one of Noel Heikkinen‘s blogs and then later on Tall Skinny Kiwi. Can you say viral video?

I laugh when I watch this but later I find it just sad.

Blog Samples: Jesus

Posted 04 Feb 2008 — by nick
Category Blogs, coffee, Jesus, Scripture, Social Justice, Spirituality

Thanks to Ben for sharing this post on google reader. Its from Jesus the radical pastor, John W. Frye’s blog. Reading this I felt convicted as I sipped on my Morning Blend Starbucks coffee. I resonate with John here, I don’t think Jesus would like me much, nor I Him. Much has been given me, what am I doing with it?

Would the Radical Jesus Like You?
“In the Gospels I usually identify with all the people Jesus serves. I think that he both liked and loved them. But if I am honest, I should see myself in those groups that didn’t like Jesus and I don’t think he liked them very much, either.”

Now playing: Ray LaMontagne – Be Here Now
via FoxyTunes

Blogging Brain Fart

Posted 31 Jan 2008 — by nick
Category Blogs

Multiple times since my last post I’ve sat down to write on here and watched my words run from me. The culprit may be the busyness of work, or the full routine of life, or maybe I just simply don’t have anything to say lately. Even as I write this now I find myself debating if I’ll post.

“Will this one get scrapped like the past three or so post attempts.”

All that to say, the reason I’m posting now is to keep the habit of getting some thoughts out, even if they are just ramblings about why I haven’t posted lately 🙂

A Silent House

Posted 26 Dec 2007 — by nick
Category Blogs, Family, Technology

Each time I visit home it weirds me out how early things shutdown in the suburbs, coffee shops close at 10, streets are eerily quiet at 9, house lights extinguished around 10. This activity isn’t weird to my parents, it’s normal even to age 22 sister who has joined the suburbia middle class working force. On campus, life meanders on until 1am or 2am on nights I don’t have to work the next day, on nights I do, usually until 11:30.

I came across this xkcd comic tonight and it fit this feeling like a glove.

Happy Christmas All!

Now playing: Clemson Impulse – Insomniac Mix 1
via FoxyTunes