Archives For May 2013

gay pride on campus

This is a fascinating read to understand the minds/hearts of many college students:

An Open Letter to the Church from My Generation – a blog post by Dannika Nash, a college student in South Dakota.

The post contains many insights on Millennials, including:

  • How deeply they are influenced and shaped by media (music, TV, Twitter) – especially in the new flat world

“So many of us were brought up in churches and Christian homes, and even if we weren’t, we’ve experienced the traditional Christian culture that just resonates from South Dakota’s prairie land. We know conservatism; we know tradition. But we also have Twitter, we watch SNL, we listen to Macklemore, and we read Tina Fey. We’re more in touch with the rest of the country than the Midwest has ever been.”

  • Their aversion to the culture wars (and hollow rhetoric)

“We want to hear about equality and love in a gentle way. We’re sick of the harsh words of both sides. Say what you want about my generation, but we can smell fake from a mile away.”


The bulk of the post deals with Dannika’s plea to the church to not make Millennials choose between God and equality for gay people.

“I was forced to choose between the love I had for my gay friends and so-called biblical authority. I chose gay people, and I’m willing to wager I’m not the only one.

So, my advice to you, the Church: You CAN have a conservative view on gay marriage, or gay ordination. You can. But I want you to have some serious conversations with God, your friends that disagree with you, and maybe even some gay people, Christians or not, before you decide that this one view is worth marginalizing my generation.

We want to stay in your churches, we want to hear about your Jesus, but it’s hard to hear about love from a God who doesn’t love our gay friends (and we all have gay friends).


A College Kid Who Misses You”


I know Dannika doesn’t speak for every college student. But I would venture to guess that she speaks for a majority of them.

Over the last year (really since the uproar over Chick-fil-A last summer) I’ve been intrigued by the rapid shift in public opinion on gay marriage, especially among college students. The latest polls show that, among young people, support for same-sex marriage is at an all-time high of 70 percent.


I agree with Matt Morton: “Most of us aren’t eager to go to war over moral, political, or cultural issues, when our primary purpose is to make disciples of Jesus.” But for those of us in college ministry, we NEED to be thinking through how we respond to this colossal shift in the audience that we serve.

For many college students this is a defeater belief – a “consensus belief that automatically makes Christianity seem implausible” – Tim Keller.


I haven’t formulated many answers yet. I think Matt’s response is a good start: asking students “would you be willing to first consider Jesus Himself before asking me about homosexuality?”


What are your thoughts?

How do we affirm an orthodox Biblical view of marriage and homosexuality while still loving gay students (and the majority of students that have gay friends)?

How do we address this issue without making it THE issue?


photo courtesy of UMaineStudentAffairs

This TED talk is a must watch for College Ministry and Cru City staff (or much quicker: read the transcript – TED has a great feature where you can read the transcript and click on a phrase to play the video at that point).

Some great insights:

  • As a culture we have trivialized what is actually the defining decade of adulthood
  • 80% of life defining moments happen by the time you’re 35
  • Your personality changes more in your 20’s than any other time in your life
  • So what do you think happens when you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, “You have 10 extra years to start your life”? Nothing happens. You have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition, and absolutely nothing happens.
  • The post-millennial midlife crisis isn’t buying a red sports car. It’s…many thirtysomethings and fortysomethings say[ing] about their 20s, “What was I doing? What was I thinking?”
  • I want to change what twentysomethings are doing and thinking.

And how about this vision for reaching college students and twentysomethings:

What I love about working with twentysomethings. They are so easy to help. Twentysomethings are like airplanes just leaving LAX, bound for somewhere west. Right after takeoff, a slight change in course is the difference between landing in Alaska or Fiji. Likewise, at 21 or 25 or even 29, one good conversation… can have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.

Watch here or click to watch on TED (and to be able to read the transcript):

HT: @guychmieleski for tweeting about it!

gospel centered life imageGood news! For the next few months the great folks at New Growth Press are offering Cru staff 50% off of the Gospel-Centered Life Bible Study.

The Gospel-Centered Life study is phenomenal. Incredible heart-probing, Christ-centered content. Click to see a GREAT sample chapter or here for an excerpt on how “The Gospel Propels us Outward”

GCL was written by a couple of former Cru staff – Bob Thune (now a pastor in Omaha) and Will Walker (now pastoring in Austin).


We use GCL with all of our freshmen studies every fall. We love it because we can know for certain that freshmen will come out of the fall having clearly heard the gospel EVERY week in Community Group. And it requires almost zero prep for student leaders.

And our plan is to use CGL part 2, Gospel-Centered Community, for all freshmen spring studies. Gospel Centered Community is being released in August and is a great follow up to GCL.

But CGL is not just for freshmen – it’s equally challenging material for upperclassmen studies (and staff!) as well.

We buy leaders guides for all our leaders and participants guides for everyone in our freshmen studies.


Here’s how you take advantage of this deal:

Enter the code “CRU” as the Promo Code at or in the World Harvest bookstore [UPDATE: the New Growth site is cheaper than the World Harvest site right now]. Also, if you prefer to call you may give “CRU” as the source code to whoever answers the phone and get the same discount.


They’ve asked that only Cru staff use this code so please respect their wishes.


The new Vampire Weekend album is streaming for free on iTunes and will be released Tuesday, May 14.vampires of the modern city

“Step” and “Ya Hey” are two of the best songs I’ve heard all year and will definitely be going on my “Top Songs of 2013” list once they’re released (you can watch the videos for these two below).

“Ya Hey” (read: Yahweh) is particularly intriguing.

In “Ya Hey” Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s Jewish lead singer “flips the script of the old question ‘If God really loves us, why do terrible things happen?’ Ezra seems to be asking ‘How can God love such terrible things?'” (quote)

Pitchfork (the de facto king of indie music blogs) named it a “Best New Track” and said:

Koenig stages a plaintive confrontation with his higher power, listing its non-believers, and shrugging: “America don’t love you/ So I can never love you in spite of everything.” This isn’t a breakup, but an attempt to see the other side in hopes of reconciliation: why should you show such love for the people who go such lengths to deny your existence, when you can’t even get any credit for it?

The scrambled, mutated voices on the hook play off the inpronounceable name of the Lord while flipping the title of perhaps the most beloved pop song of the past two decades. Such is the scope of “Ya Hey,” but Vampire Weekend put it within the grasp of anyone who wants it with another impossibly catchy song that skips along while carrying the weight of the universe.

The lyrics wrestle with God’s unending, unrequited love and grace for a people prone to wander and disregard a God who does not seem to answer:

And I can’t help but feel, that I made some mistake, but I let it go

Through the fire and through the flames, you won’t even say your name,
Only I am that I am.

Oh, good God,
The faithless they don’t love you,
The zealous hearts don’t love you,
And that’s not gonna change.

And I think in your heart, that you see the mistake, but you let it go

Here’s the video for “Ya Hey” with lyrics:


And here’s the phenomenal song “Step” off the new album: