REFRESHED | October 2014
October 2014 | REFRESHED
from the editor… SCOTT NOBLE
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Ebola, domestic abuse: Hot topics in the news It’s difficult to turn on the TV, radio or look online and not see stories about Ebola and domestic abuse. For the past six months, the world has been gripped by the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which has killed thousands and has filled millions more with fear. Despite this fear, however, local nurse Carrie Jo Cain went back to Sierra Leone—a country where she spent much of her childhood—and trained hospital staff on proper procedures for treating infectious diseases like Ebola. Sierra Leone is one of three Western African countries where the outbreak of Ebola has been most intense. Read about Cain’s decision to go back and why fear is perhaps the biggest obstacle to turning back the spread of this horrendous disease. The NFL has been in the news the last several weeks as well. The nation’s most popular sport and perhaps most powerful business has been rocked by domestic abuse and child abuse allegations against some of its premiere players. Maria was a victim of domestic abuse. It started with verbal abuse and then led to physical abuse. Read about Maria’s personal story of domestic abuse and how she found help and a new life through the Christian nonprofit The Dwelling Place. There is a lot of other good stuff in this edition of “Refreshed.” We hope you’ll sit down, grab a cup of coffee and be refreshed.
VOLUME 1 | NUMBER 7
PUBLISHERS Lamar & Theresa Keener GENERAL MANAGER Lana Branham EXECUTIVE EDITOR Scott Noble PROOFREADER Lis Trouten CONTRIBUTORS Joanne Brokaw, Sam Helgerson, Jim Jackson, Kurt Linn, Wendie Pett, Jason Sharp, Colette and Jonathan Stuart, Doug Trouten, Yia Vang Copyright © 2014 Selah Media Group Refreshed is an independent, faith-based magazine published monthly by Selah Media Group. It is distributed in bulk, free of charge, to hundreds of locations throughout the Twin Cities metro region. For a 1-year mail subscription, send $24.95 to the address below or visit refreshedtwincities.com. Refreshed welcomes story ideas. All unsolicited material is subject to approval of the publishers and is not returned. Viewpoints expressed in Refreshed are those of their respective writers, and are not necessarily held by the publishers. Reasonable effort is made to screen advertisers, but no endorsement of the publishers is implied or should be inferred. The publishers can accept no responsibility for the products or services offered through advertisements. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising. ADDRESS ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO: P. O. Box 131030 St. Paul, MN 55113 E - MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE/FAX (763) 746-2468 ADVERTISING (651) 964-2750 FOUNDING CORPORATE SPONSOR
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REFRESHED | October 2014
6 From despair to courage
Woman finds new hope after domestic abuse
10 Ground Zero: Ebola epidemic Local nurse returns to Sierra Leone to train healthcare workers
15 Mixing rap and theology How Lecrae found mainstream success
18 ‘Left Behind’ rebooted DEPARTMENTS 15
COLUMNS 22 Doug Trouten | unplugged 23 Jason Sharp | sharp focus 24 Wendie Pett | here’s to good health 25 Yia Vang | at the table
26 Colette & Jonathan Stuart | marriage matters 27 Jim Jackson | purposeful parenting 30 Kurt Linn | inspired living 30 Joanne Brokaw | that’s life!
October 2014 | REFRESHED
From despair to courage Woman finds new hope after domestic abuse by SCOTT NOBLE
aria remembers the first time her husband hit her. The couple was driving in their car, and he punched her. The second time the physical abuse occurred, Maria’s 9-year-old son grabbed whatever he thought could be used as a weapon to hurt his mom—a broomstick and a knife—and locked himself in the bathroom. He called the police on a cell phone. “We started, obviously, really nice,” Maria said of their relationship and the marriage, which occurred in December of 2009. But things began to change after the wedding.
REFRESHED | October 2014
“Our work schedules were changed too,” she said. “He was working in the afternoon; I was working in the morning, so I wasn’t able to see everything he was doing. I just started to notice that he was kind of acting differently. He was more quiet than usual, and he didn’t want to eat. So a lot of things were changing. Then my son found a couple of bottles [of alcohol] underneath the bed …. It just got out of hand.” When Maria mentioned to her husband that he should consider getting treatment for his alcohol problem, he replied that he wasn’t an alcoholic and that he could stop drinking whenever he
wanted. As Maria became more involved with her church, she realized that her situation wasn’t healthy. “I talked to my pastor,” she said. “My pastor supported me and everything. He talked to my husband. My husband promised he was going to stop drinking. But instead of getting better, he kind of rebelled because I talked to somebody else about the situation. He wanted to keep everything under the rock.” Once Maria’s husband knew that her pastor was aware of the situation and others from church, he began to get more violent and eventually hit her.
But the emotional abuse was already occurring. “He was very mean to me, talking to me about … he knew I didn’t have a father,” Maria said. “So he was always saying, ‘You don’t know what a man is.’ Cause I said, ‘You’re not a real man, because a real man would not touch a woman.’ He said, ‘You don’t even know what a real man is because you never had a father. You never had a father figure, so how do you know what a real man is?’”
After the second violent confrontation, Maria knew she needed to get out. She went to The Dwelling Place, a Christian transitional shelter for abused women and their children. Residents are allowed to stay for 12-18 months while
they heal and develop the skills they need to live on their own and secure adequate employment. The women attend approximately six hours of classes each week at The Dwelling Place and then commit to 20 hours in the community for work, school and
volunteering. “When women first come, they are usually very broken, very emotional, very sad and withdrawn and depressed or angry—and understandably so,” said Jody Cowdin, executive director of The Dwelling Place. “It’s a normal reaction to the
How common is domestic abuse? The recent case involving NFL player Ray Rice has once again placed domestic violence at the forefront of our national conversation. As the NFL— and other areas of society—decide how to effectively deal with the occurrence and consequences of domestic abuse, here are a few important facts to keep in mind: Definition: “Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic abuse can vary dramatically” (Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). When does it occur? According to Jody Cowdin, executive director of The Dwelling Place, domestic violence can occur early on in relationships or after
many years. She reports that her organization has helped women who have been married for nearly 50 years. How prevalent is domestic violence? More than 42 million women in the U.S. have experienced “rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime” (Source: “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report” via the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Slightly more than 30 percent of women in the U.S. have been “slapped, pushed or shoved by an intimate partner in their lifetime” (Source: “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report” via the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Additional statistics on domestic violence: Between 30 percent and 60 percent of those who abuse their part-
ners also abuse children in their household (Source: Edelson, J.L. (1999); “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Woman Battering”; Violence Against Women; 5:134-154, via the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). “Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults” (Source: Strauss, Gelles, and Smith, “Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence” in 8,145 Families. Transaction Publishers (1990) via the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence). In Minnesota, at least 25 women lost their lives to domestic violence in 2013. At least six family members or friends were killed. At least 12 minor children lost their mothers to domestic violence (Source: Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women 2013 Femicide Report.)
October 2014 | REFRESHED
pain and the trauma. A lot of them have post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety issues and trust issues. It takes a while for the defenses to come and for them to start to receive truth and relationships that are going to be healthy and supportive.” Most of the women who come to The Dwelling Place carry lots of shame and judgment from their relationships. In fact, Cowdin said most women leave their abusive relationships seven times before they actually break free. Maria left three times before coming to The Dwelling Place. “I think the number one feeling that women have is shame, and fear of being shamed and judged and criticized as if they are failures as women and as wives, as mothers,” Cowdin said. “So they try
to hide a lot of that shame. Shame holds them captive a lot of times in kind of their own personal emotional bondage to what they’ve been through.” Maria arrived at The Dwelling Place with that sense of shame. “I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to get criticized by people,” she said. “You want to pretend to have a perfect relationship. It’s never going to happen. You have to be brave and speak out, get help.” Maria also believes that telling at least one other person about your struggles is key to getting the help you need. “Because when you start trusting at least one person, you kind of feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I let it out already. It’s not that hard,’” she said. “Then you can talk more about it, and you feel more com-
The Dwelling Place is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing and support services for women and their families who are escaping domestic abuse. Residents typically stay 12 months but can stay as long as 18 months. Some residents rely on The Dwelling Place for crisis shelter and stay only 30 to 45 days. The group provides: • Case management and transitional housing for women and their children. • Opportunities to develop skills that will help them in the workplace. • Opportunities for spiritual discipleship and personal growth. The program at The Dwelling Place includes five hours of classes each week and 20 hours of community involvement, which includes work, education and volunteering. The organization also offers support groups, individual and family therapy, life skills education, financial education and counseling, employment training, Bible study and a prayer ministry. To learn more, visit www.thedwellingplaceshelter.org.
REFRESHED | October 2014
“A Kid’s Guide to Understanding Domestic Abuse,” written by Jody Cowdin, communicates a difficult subject to kids in a language they can understand. fortable talking about it without feeling so much shame and pain. I think that ultimately releases you to seek help, to talk to someone like Jody.” The Dwelling Place is also a place where kids can talk about their own experiences. With a background in elementary education and training as a registered play therapist, Cowdin has noticed in her four years at The Dwelling Place that kids need their own measure of help and restoration from domestic abuse. So she wrote “A Kid’s Guide to Understanding Domestic Abuse” as a way to communicate to kids in a language they can understand. “We don’t often think about the kids,” Cowdin said. “If all they see growing up is, ‘There’s a victim and there’s an abuser, and I grow up to be one of those. I see my mom getting beat up, and she’s in pain; I don’t want to have that happen to me. My other choice is to become an abuser, but I don’t want to end up having the police take me to jail.’ Kids just naturally end up one or the other unless they know there’s a third choice.” The book presents that third choice.
New hope, new future
When Maria arrived at The Dwelling Place—as is the case with so many women who seek shelter—she was hurt, ashamed, lost and unsure of her future. She no longer had a home, a safe place to go back to or the loving husband she thought she married. But after her 13 months at The Dwelling Place, Maria has changed the course
of her life and accomplished many things. “When I look at Maria, I see someone who went through a very, very difficult time, but has this message of hope also,” Cowdin said. “You will get through this, and you will have a good life. Maria is now employed full time in a nice professional job with benefits and has her own house with her two kids and is doing very well.” While things in Maria’s life are healthy and hope-filled, she still is learning that not everything she wishes for has yet to come true. “I’ve also learned that God has His timing; it’s not on my timing,” she said. “I still have a hope that one day [her husband] and I are going to get together, and we are going to serve the Lord. The Bible talks about having faith even when you don’t see it. Faith is hoping for something you don’t see yet, but you know it’s going to happen. That’s what keeps me going. I have that hope; I have faith that eventually my life is going to be the way that I always thought it was going to be.” ■
DID YOU KNOW? • 1 in 3 women will be a victim of domestic abuse in her lifetime. • Battering is the leading cause of injury to women in the U.S. - more than rapes, muggings and traffic accidents combined. • The most dangerous time for a battered woman can be when she leaves or attempts to leave her batterer. • 70% of abusers also abuse the children in the household. • From 1998-2011, 301 women and 149 children were murdered in Minnesota alone as a result of domestic violence. • 50% of all homeless women and children living in America are fleeing domestic abuse. • Yet the U.S. has 3 times more animal shelters than shelters for women and children fleeing family violence. October 2014 | REFRESHED
Ground Zero: Ebola epidemic Local nurse returns to Sierra Leone to train healthcare workers by SCOTT NOBLE
hen Carrie Jo Cain heard about the most recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa—particularly in Sierra Leone—she said, “It was just like a knife twisting inside my gut, because I knew what Ebola meant.” As an emergency room nurse at Children’s Hospitals in St. Paul, Cain understood the severity of infectious diseases and also knew how quickly they can spread and the devastation they can cause. But Cain also has a personal connection with Sierra Leone and the thousands who are suffering through this latest outbreak. She has always felt at home in the West African country. Her
REFRESHED | October 2014
parents became missionaries to Sierra Leone when she was just six months old. For the first 12 years of her life, she lived on a college campus close to the country’s capital. “We didn’t have electricity,” she recalled. “Most of the time we didn’t have running water, but we had comfortable houses, lots of great friends on the Christian college [campus]. Still a very different culture, completely different culture, but it was really a neat experience being able to bridge the two cultures.” Her father was the principal and one of the leading theologians at the college, while her mother taught reading, writing and basic math, and helped develop a course that prepared women to be pastors’ wives.
Where does Ebola come from? While the origin of Ebola is unknown, many experts believe fruit bats are the likely host of the disease.
How many people have become infected and died as a result of Ebola? Cain came back to the States for junior high and then spent part of her high school years in Sierra Leone. As an adult, Cain has made her home in the U.S. The recent Ebola outbreak became even more personal for Cain as her family—Cain, her husband and youngest child—are in the midst of returning to Sierra Leone as full-time mission workers. The family hopes to move next year; and Cain will work at Kamakwie Hospital. So the Ebola outbreak hit home for Cain for numerous reasons. “Ebola is one of those words that, to people who have worked with any infectious disease, it makes our blood run cold,” she said. “Because of the severity of it, the virulence of it and knowing what it could mean in that setting without the infrastructure in place to deal with it, without the supplies and without the understanding of how its transmission is, it made me very afraid for that whole area.” As the disease spread over the summer, Cain knew she could help. Not waiting until next year when her family would return as full-time missionaries but now—in the middle of the horrendous disease outbreak. She has medical training, personal connections in the country and a love for its people. She wanted to return home and use her skills to help the people of Sierra Leone in one of the country’s most challenging battles in recent years. She also felt as if God was telling her to go now. “I want you to go do this, and I created you for this and this was why I’ve given you this life and this experience,” she believes God told her. “Now, go.” “What made me really feel like I had a role to play in this was because I am from both cultures,” she said. “I’m bilingual, I’m bicultural, I can cross a lot of bridges that a lot of other expatriates can’t cross just because they haven’t had the background that I’ve had. I knew that God was saying this is something He was calling me to do. I had a role to play.” And she did.
Ground zero of an epidemic
Cain left for Sierra Leone on August 26 on a 2-week mission to deliver essential medical supplies and lead training for hospital workers on how to treat infectious diseases like Ebola. When she arrived on the ground in Sierra Leone in late August, Cain realized almost immediately that in addition to the horrific epidemic of Ebola that was gripping the nation, the epi-
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 5,000 people have become infected with Ebola (Sept. 16 report). Of those, 2,453 have died. The death rate of 49 percent is noticeably lower for this outbreak than for past outbreaks.
Who is at risk?
Healthcare workers, those who come in close contact with infected patients, and those who may have direct exposure to deceased bodies (e.g. in burial ceremonies).
How is it contracted?
“Infection occurs from direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood, or other bodily fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people. Infection can also occur if broken skin or mucous membranes of a healthy person come into contact with environments that have become contaminated with an Ebola patient’s infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles.”
What is the incubation period?
The incubation period is from 2 to 21 days. Once symptoms begin to show, a patient becomes contagious.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include sudden fever, muscle pain and headache, followed by vomiting and diarrhea.
At what stage is it contagious?
Ebola becomes contagious once the symptoms begin to show.
What is the U.S. doing to minimize exposure/spread to U.S.?
President Obama recently announced a plan to send 3,000 military personnel to the area, as well as provide additional hospital beds, medical personnel and doctors. These efforts are aimed at limiting the spread of the disease.
When did it start?
Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreaks occurred simultaneously. Source: World Health Organization: www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/faq-ebola/en. October 2014 | REFRESHED
demic of fear of the disease was perhaps just as devastating. e got there—we “Within the first couple of hours that we got there right as night was falling—within the first few hours, the clearest sense I had was that Ebola is a horrible epidemic,” Cain said. “But even more than that is the epidemic of fear that has gripped Sierra Leone, and I’m sure Liberia and Guinea.” The fear Cain saw and experienced came out of a lack of education on the part of local residents. “Fear has just taken over, and there have been a lot of instructions or edicts given in the name of trying to protect or trying to keep safe, but they’re really no good at all,” she said. “All they do is build a bigger groundswell of fear, and then impede those that are trying to speak truth and speak facts and bring a true way to handle this. The edicts and that huge fear are just getting in the way of that.” Cain said that in Sierra Leone disease is believed to originate in the spiritual world. “[Disease] is part of the spirit world,” she said. “Illness is caused by somebody putting a hex on you, or ‘You’ve done something wrong to somebody and the spirits are going to get you.’ Illness there is seen as a real spiritual thing, not just as germs and bacteria.” Because of that, providing sound medical treatment procedures or options for people to prevent contracting Ebola can be challenging. However, that didn’t stop Cain. Her first mission when she arrived was to deliver much-needed medical supplies to Kamakwie Hospital and also to train hospital staff on procedures for treating infectious disease.
Acc According to the World Health Organization, nearly 2,500 people have died from Ebola during this latest outbreak—with just under 5,000 probable, confirmed or suspected cases. The numbers continue to rise, and officials currently do not see a decline on the horizon. One of the major concerns of health officials has been to ensure that those showing symptoms of Ebola remain isolated from other people and patients in order to prevent the disease from spreading. Continued contacts between infected persons and other people is a major factor in this outbreak. Cain wanted to make sure in her short time in Sierra Leone that the hospital was able to establish an isolation unit and be prepared for the wave of Ebola patients if it came to that part of the country. “We had tried to set up an isolation ward in one of the [hospital] wards, and there was nobody following what isolation meant—that it needed to be separate,” she said. “So this way we built a shelter completely separate from the hospital—like, 50 yards from the hospital but within the fence—and it is physically separate, and now there is a security guard who sits and nobody is allowed to go near.” Cain also delivered critical medical supplies and trained staff members on how to put on and remove personal protective equipment. She also helped ramp up “the infectious disease protocols in the hospital and did spot checks ad nauseam to make sure everybody was following them—like never touching a patient without gloves on and washing hands after every time you touch the patient, which just isn’t done there because there’s
Carrie Jo Cain traveled back to Sierra Leone, where she grew up, to help train healthcare workers on best practices for dealing with infectious diseases. Training included how to wear protective suits to prevent the spread of Ebola, which has spread across West Africa.
REFRESHED | October 2014
not a tap in every ward. So it means you have to physically walk out to the chlorine bucket and wash your hands. Well, that takes time and that takes energy.” Since Cain has lived in Sierra Leone and has visited several times in the years since her childhood, she has friends and colleagues who know and trust her. “I have established relationships, established trust relationships and collegial relationships … so it’s much easier to come in … and pick up right where we were and go forward,” she said. “They trust me, and I trust them and I know their skill level. It’s really easy to just come in and pick up and go forward.” Cain said even though she was visiting a country where an Ebola outbreak was currently underway, she was not fearful. She clearly understood her role as teaching and preparing staff. In fact, Cain said the staff was very protective of her. On past visits to the hospital, medical staff would say, “‘Carrie, come down and see this patient.’ ‘Come see this patient,’” Cain said. “Not once [during this most recent trip] did they ask me to come and consult on any patients. In fact, when I would come in the wards just to talk and do spot checks, they [would] always kind of shepherd me out of the area.” But with every patient visit and interaction, Cain wanted to make sure that Jesus remained at the center. She wanted to make sure that every patient had the opportunity to hear about Jesus. Regardless of the situation or prognosis, “speak Jesus into every person” was the priority of her trip to Sierra Leone—a place she will once again call home next year. ■
GETTING TO KNOW SIERRA LEONE Sierra Leone is a small country on the coast of West Africa. Freetown serves as the capital. The city has a population of about 1.2 million people, according to 2010 estimates. The total population of Sierra Leone is 5.7 million, according to more recent estimates. Sierra Leone declared its independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 and named itself a republic in 1971. During its 40-year history as a sovereign nation, it has undergone several leadership changes and military coups. Sixty percent of the population is Muslim, while Christians make up 10 percent, and those who adhere to indigenous beliefs account for 30 percent. The country is described as “extremely poor” by “The World Factbook,” as nearly half of its population engages in subsistence farming. Sierra Leone has substantial mineral, agricultural and fishery resources but its most recent civil war has prevented the country from enjoying positive economic growth. The current president is Ernest Bai Koroma, and he has served in this role since 2007. Sources: “The World Factbook” and www.infoplease.com
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Mixing rap and theology How Lecrae found mainstream success by SARAH PULLIAM BAILEY
e’s been crowned the “new hiphop king” and his newest album, “Anomaly,” topped iTunes and Amazon charts the day of its Sept. 9 release. He’s been invited to birthday parties for both Billy Graham and Michael Jordan and riffed on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with host Jimmy Fallon. It’s the kind of mainstream success that has eluded most Christian rappers. Then again, some people are still trying to decide if hip-hop star Lecrae is a Christian rapper, or a rapper who happens to be Christian. It depends who you ask, including Lecrae himself. “God has also raised up lowly, kind of insignificant individuals to do miraculous and incredible things,” Lecrae, 34, said in an interview. “We’re the Gideons, we’re the Davids. Even Jesus himself made himself of no reputation. It’s when you can link it back to God doing it, I think that’s what he loves. He’s not a megalomaniac, he’s deserving of glory and honor, and to use individuals that demonstrate that it was him, and him alone, it accomplishes his mission and that’s success.” While most Christian artists have struggled to break out of the Christian music subculture, Lecrae has found early crossover success — and a significant following among white evangelical elites. He navigates the tricky waters between rapping explicitly about Christianity while reaching a mainstream audience.
According to Billboard, he’s sold 1.4 million albums and 2.9 million track downloads. “Anomaly” hit Billboard’s No. 1 last week — a first for a gospel album and only the fifth for a Christian album. His acting debut in “Believe Me,” a film about a group of four men who try to con money out of churchgoers, received a short, positive nod from The New York Times. Some of Lecrae’s fans are worried the success could ruin him or at least soften his lyrics. But when Christian artists like U2’s Bono or Switchfoot find mainstream success, many Christian fans often latch on for good. In fact, while once shunning mainstream and creating its own music and entertainment subculture, American evangelicalism now values recognition and engagement in mainstream culture. “Lecrae is probably the hottest Christian artist alive right
now,” said Atlanta megachurch pastor Louie Giglio in his sermon on Sunday (Sept. 21) at his Passion City Church. Giglio recently ran into Lecrae in their hometown airport in Atlanta, praising the artist for his recent success. “It’s only hors d’oeuvres for heaven,” Lecrae responded.
No ‘Christian spy’
In a recent piece for ESPN’s Grantland, Rembert Browne compares Lecrae to filmmaker Tyler Perry, who successfully reached black and Christian audiences. “Because, in ‘Anomaly,’ like some of Perry’s films, the Christianity sneaks up on you,” Browne wrote, linking “Believe Me” to a string of other recent successful Christianthemed films. “It’s clear there is a market for Christian-themed pop culture.” Lecrae, who attends the start-up Renovation Church in Atlanta, isn’t sure what to make of the “sneak up” language. “Obviously, to the conservative evangelical, or the Christian, they hear ‘sneak’ and they think, ‘Why do we have to sneak?’” he said. “But when we hear that from somebody outside of the Christian culture, in many ways they mean that as a October 2014 | REFRESHED
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compliment.” “What they’re trying to say is that they didn’t feel like they were berated, or beat over the head, or made to feel like they were being patronized, or condescending. By no means am I trying to hide my faith, or disguise myself as a Christian spy.” If Lecrae is “sneaking up” with Christian themes, then his lyrics will slap listeners in the face as he regularly raps with explicit themes on faith. Anomaly’s song “Fear,” for example, includes lyrics from Psalm 23 and repetitive mentions of Jesus. I’mma tell that truth till it kill me And I’m chillin’ with my Creator Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus To all of my haters For the ones that think I forgot Him And the ones who won’t let me say I ain’t scared no mo.’ “Without saying it—because it wouldn’t be very Christian of him—the ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus’ is a cleverly devout middle finger to all of his haters,” Browne wrote in Grantland. “He’s directing it toward everyone who’s criticized him — for being too spiritual and for not being spiritual enough. This is what happens when you’re caught between genres. It’s this middle ground that makes Lecrae different. And that feeling different—not Christianity—is what this album is truly about.”
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REFRESHED | October 2014
Lecrae has received favorable attention in recent years from white evangelicals, particularly the neo-Calvinist Reformed crowd that is influenced by John Calvin, the 16th-century French theologian. Lecrae’s 2008 song, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” is the same title as a book from retired megachurch pastor John Piper, the high priest of Reformed evangelicals. “I think a lot of us became Christians in a hodgepodge, because doctrine was not a thing; we weren’t considering theology,” Lecrae said. “We were just like, ‘Hey, we love Jesus, let’s go.’ I’ll read this Piper book, and go to this T.D. Jakes
conference, we just absorbed everything. I think the Reformed doctrine just presented a lot more organized, drawn-out theology. I could wrap my mind around it, and it wasn’t as mystical.” Just as Lecrae is building bridges between secular and Christian audiences, leading evangelicals say hip-hop can bridge the divide between largely white churches and the changing world around them. “Maybe it’s about building a bridge in the other direction: a bridge of empathy for a largely white, middle-class church to a fatherless, economically forgotten, and sometimes angry youth culture,” wrote Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a cover story for Christianity Today last year. “If so, maybe it can help pull American Christianity out of its white middle-class ghetto and into the vastness of the kingdom of God—a kingdom that has room for both Jonathan Edwards and Jay-Z.” Lecrae can name-drop influential theologians with the best of them, including Piper, Randy Alcorn, Francis Schaeffer, Abraham Kuyper and Charles Spurgeon. It wasn’t until the end of his thought that he mentioned Martin Luther King, Jr., whom he references in his music. “I love looking back and being able to understand that nothing we are dealing with is necessarily new, just understanding how people wrestle with things historically and how I can apply that to the present,” Lecrae said. He’s also probably the only rap artist to drop the name of New York megachurch pastor Tim Keller, or Christianity Today executive editor Andy Crouch, into his lyrics. Both men, he said, “influenced me to think about how I get involved in culture, and how do I become a culture creator and not just copy it or condemn it or critique it all the time.” He has been praised for calling out the rap industry for being self-contradictory when speaking on racial issues like the recent uprisings in Ferguson, Mo. “Dear Hip Hop, we can’t scream ‘murder, misogyny, lawlessness’ in our music andthen turn around and ask for equality
ndjustice, ” he told Billboard. Racial reconciliation, he said, is grounded in theology. “I think racial reconciliation is really rooted in the reconciliation that we see in Scripture,” Lecrae said. “I think you begin to find yourself being reconciled to people all over the place, and just wanting to empathize with people from all walks of life, specifically as a Christian, to demonstrate the love of Jesus.” ‘A courageous message in a safe package’ Like many rappers, Lecrae, now a married father of three, had a rocky start. Abused and later abandoned by his father, his song “Good, Bad, Ugly,” raps about hooking up with a woman and helping her get an abortion. He said a police officer pulled him over, saw drugs in his car but let him go when he also spotted a Bible in his car, telling him to read it. Lecrae decided to mend his ways after he survived a crash
where his car had flipped over, he said. In his recent album, Lecrae indicts the spoils of Western excess, American exceptionalism and Christian hypocrisy. One of his friendly critics, Bradford William Davis, called his latest album “a courageous message in a safe package.” “They’re good, necessary subjects for the hip hop community to wrestle with, but nothing that the cut-rate ‘conscious’ rappers haven’t tackled before,” Davis wrote in his review for the Christ and Pop Culture website. “His presentation is clean, mostly safe, occasionally dated, and a little too predictable.” Lecrae isn’t bothered by his critics. “Talking about social issues, talking about love, talking about marriage, child rearing, those are all things that are explicit to who I am as a believer,” Lecrae said. “It’s not just the topics, necessarily, of salvation or sanctification.” ■
Free Concert featuring:
Jeff Deyo from Sonicﬂood with Jasper Nephew guitarist from Owl City
Saturday, Oct. 25, 7pm Crossroads Church 17445 Notre Dame St. NE Forest Lake, MN 55025 Love offering will be accepted
Religion News Service.
October 2014 | REFRESHED
Review: “Left Behind” rebooted by MICHAEL FOUST Of all the jobs in the world, moviemaking surely has to be one of the most challenging ones—especially when it comes to filming subjects no one has ever seen or experienced. For instance, what should a scene look like in which millions of Christians around the world are raptured, from earth to heaven, all at once? I’m not sure, either, but “Left Behind”—which hit theaters Oct. 3—paints a remarkably believable picture. It alone is worth the price of admission. “Left Behind” is actually not a sequel to the first three films but a reboot of the very first one, which was released in 2000 and starred Kirk Cameron. The films are based on the best-selling books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The biggest name in the newest “Left Behind” is Nicolas Cage, who does a fine job playing pilot Rayford Steele. Other solid performances are given by Cassi Thom-
Eastwood son catches ‘Perfect Wave’
Scott Eastwood, the son of famous actor-director Clint Eastwood, made his own splash this summer with the release of “The Perfect Wave,” an international film about surfer-pastor Ian McCormack. The younger Eastwood’s previous credits include “Gran Torino” and “Flags of Our Fathers.” The filmmakers created a partnership with the grassroots website Tugg, which allows local communities to host their Macdonald describes “The Perfect Wave,” which also stars Rachel Hendrix (“October Baby”) and Cheryl Ladd (“Charlie’s Angels”), as a “love story with four pillars:” a mother’s love, a young man’s love for surfing, first love, and most importantly, God’s love. “This film shares the amazing story of God’s plan for Ian’s life and reminds viewers that no matter how far you run, you can never outrun God’s love,” he said. It was tapped for three awards at the
REFRESHED | October 2014
Nicolas Cage is pilot Rayford Steele in “Left Behind,” an end-times movie from the New York Times Bestseller ‘Left Behind’ series by Tim son (Chloe Steele) and Chad LaHaye and Jerry Johnson. Michael Murray (Cameron “Buck” Williams). The newest “Left Behind” has a bigger cult to get a large group of people to look budget than the original one ($15 million excited or scared, all at once. compared to $4 million), and that’s evident Overall, though, it’s a solid film, and it’s on the screen. The special effects, for infar better than the first installment. stance, are solid. “Left Behind” will, of course, spark anThe movie starts strong and provides other discussion among Christians about solid character development for the lead the End Times. After all, the movie’s viewcharacters, and it also ends on a strong point—called “pre-millennial, pre-tribulanote, presumably setting up a sequel. tion”—is not shared by all believers. Some Fans of the series certainly will enjoy it. Christians say the Bible doesn’t teach that The movie’s strongest moments come believers will be spared from the tribulawhen the characters are one-on–one, as tion, and still others say there won’t be a when Cage’s character is talking to Buck tribulation at all and that the next major Williams, and when Williams is talking to moment in redemptive history is simply Chloe Steele. the return of Christ. But the film struggles a bit when it tries As Christians, we all certainly believe to show scenes of chaos. The same forced that Jesus is returning, and hopefully strive crowd shots that often plague sports movto be ready for that day. “Left Behind” does ies are also at play here, making some of a good job reminding us of that message, the scenes unbelievable. It’s simply diffione on which we all can agree. 6th Annual Pan Pacific Film Festival, bringing home the nod for Best Cinematography.
Nigerian-born actor David Oyelowo is filming what is expected to be the biggest role of his career to date, portraying Martin Luther King Jr. in the Lee Daniels biopic, “Selma.” According to Allied Faith & Family the movie also stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Oprah Winfrey and Carmen Ejogo. Oyeolow is in familiar territory, having also starred in Daniels’ “The Butler,” the 2013 hit which also featured Winfrey. Other credits include “The Last King of Scotland,” “Red Tails,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Lincoln.” Open about his deep-seated Christian faith, Oyelowo, 38, took a leap of faith when moving his family from Britain to Los Angeles because of the limited
amount of roles for black actors there. In an interview last year with the UK’s The Independent Oyelowo acknowledged his committed relationship with God. “I literally heard God speak to me about how much He loved me,” the actor said. “That voice never abated. Like any relationship, it becomes deeper. It’s a hard thing to explain—it’s like explaining love to someone who has never fallen in love.” “Selma” will open in limited markets Christmas Day, with wide release planned for early January.
Running your divine race by SCOTT NOBLE “Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win,” By Christine Caine. © 2014, Zondervan, 179 pages, $15.99 Have you ever felt as if your life is a race? Sometimes you feel like you’re in first place, the path is clear, and no one has the ability to catch you. Other times you feel as if you are trailing the pack, your best efforts to gain on them is thwarted by your lack of preparedness for the race. In her new book “Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win,” Christine Caine uses the analogy of the Olympics and the relays to make the connection between athletic races and the race of life. In several recent Olympic games, relay teams that were favored to win the race—and the Gold Medal—had bad exchanges of the baton and were unable to perform as well as expected. In relay races, the exchange zones—the several feet allotted for the passing of the baton from one runner to the next—are the most critical elements of the race. Get the exchange right, and your team has a good shot to perform well; mess it up, and your team either falls behind the leaders or is in danger of being disqualified. Some teams drop the baton and thus are disqualified, while others successfully pass the baton but since they completed the pass outside the exchange zone, they are disqualified as well. Caine writes: “In the divine race, every believer is called to run, and the only spectators are those already in heaven’s grandstands. Our race isn’t confined to a 400-meter track; it covers all the earth. It started before we got here and will con-
tinue after we are gone, so jump in and grasp your baton and run.” Caine is a preacher, teacher, author and activist and the founder of A21 Campaign, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking. “Unstoppable” is filled with personal stories of Caine’s life and applications from her background and personal struggles. She argues that many Christians feel dissatisfied with their current spiritual condition and thus lack the preparedness to run their own divine race. She believes that many new believers are unsure how to move forward in their divine race; others are burned out from living busy and self-focused lives; some no longer see the church as a relevant entity in society; and still others just don’t feel qualified to be used by God. In response, she writes: “God has an eternal purpose for the whole body of Christ and a divinely chosen part for every single believer. He has uniquely designed and selected each and every believer to fulfill his or her purpose.” Caine spends the majority of the book tackling all the objections people might
have for engaging in the divine race. “Unstoppable” is a fairly quick read. Caine writes as if she is talking directly to the reader. She includes numerous personal experiences in which most people can relate. Each chapter builds on the previous one. However, the integrating component of running a race and the baton exchange analogies can get redundant after a time. Nevertheless, for those who feel as if their lives have hit a lull or they don’t know where God wants to lead them or they feel overwhelmed by life’s busyness, Caine provides some helpful fodder and spiritual encouragement. Christians are familiar with the admonition to run the race—of life and faith—that God has prepared for each and every one. Caine builds on that case and makes it personal for every believer. Caine believes that our first birth destined us to failure, since we were born into sin. However, our second birth— when we were born again in Christ—destined us to win.
… our second birth—when we were born again in Christ—destined us to win. “And so, in the victory of Jesus Christ over sin, our eternal victory cannot be stopped. As we run in God’s divine relay, we are running in assured victory. We do not run for victory but in victory. We are part of Christ’s triumphal procession, because Jesus has already won and His Spirit lives in us.” “Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win” can be purchased at a local LifeWay Christian Store or online. October 2014 | REFRESHED
community news Churches partner together for movie presentation
EAGAN — South Metro Missions, a group of evangelical churches in the south metro, will host a movie presentation Oct. 17 to 23 at Regal Cinemas in Eagan. The group of churches works together on various outreach opportunities in their communities and abroad. “A Matter of Faith” follows the story of a young girl who is influenced by her college biology professor to consider evolution and the origins of life without God as the creator. The girl’s father becomes concerned about his daughter’s changing perspective and becomes involved in the situation. Show times are 1:00 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. South Metro Missions consists of numerous individual churches that partner together on outreach opportunities abroad and in their own backyards. For more information about South Metro Missions, call (952) 221-3730 or visit www.southmetromissions.org. For more information about “A Matter of Faith,” visit www.amatteroffaithmovie. com.
National Lutheran Choir begins 2014-2015 season
MAHTOMEDI AND WAYZATA — The National Lutheran Choir will open its 2014-2015 schedule with performances in Mahtomedi and Wayzata. The choir was founded in 1986 by Larry Fleming and aims to preserve and promote the heritage of sacred choral music. The group performs, leads workshops, publishes and records new music. The first concert of the 2014-2015 season will be held on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. On Sunday, Nov. 2 at 4:00 p.m., the National Lutheran Choir will perform at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Faith Community in Wayzata. The new season will include nine performances and also welcome a new assistant conductor. Adam Reinwald previously performed with the men’s vocal ensemble Cantus and is nationally recognized as a vocal chamber artist and
REFRESHED | October 2014
soloist. For additional information on the National Lutheran Choir and its new season, visit www.nlca.com or call (612) 722-2301.
New book explores the relationships between wrestling and faith
TWIN CITIES — Michael Fessler, a Twin Cities resident and former wrestler, recently released a new book titled “Faith and Wrestling: How the Role of a Wrestler Mirrors the Christian Life.” The book explores the interplay between the life of faith and the role of a wrestler. Fessler writes, “Faith and wrestling have the tendency to contain somewhat of a mutual interplay, in that wrestling appears to be a physical mirroring of what so many of us combat with spiritually. And a great number of wrestlers have found it pertinent to express their faith alongside their competitive arena.” “Faith and Wrestling: How the Role of a Wrestler Mirrors the Christian Life” can be purchased at LifeWay Christian Stores or online.
Group to offer several new events this fall
MINNEAPOLIS — MacLaurinCSF, a Christian study center located on the University of Minnesota campus, will sponsor several lectures and events this fall focused on Christian scholarship. On Friday, Oct. 17, the group will hold its 19th annual Paul L. Holmer Lecture with Patrick Deneen, whose talk is titled “After Liberalism: Imagining a Humane Post-Liberal Future.” Deneen is the David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His books include “Democratic Faith,” “Democracy’s Literature,” “The Democratic Soul” and “Redeeming Democracy in America.” In addition, MacLaurinCSF will host
“C. S. Lewis and the Drama of Creation” with Philip Rolnick of the University of St. Thomas on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 4:00 p.m. at its house on the St. Paul campus. The organization is also hosting several additional lectures and events this fall and winter. For a complete list of events or for additional information about MacLaurinCSF, visit www.maclaurincsf.org or call (612) 378-1935.
New art exhibit focuses on ‘paper quilts’
SAINT PAUL — The Olson Gallery at Bethel University will host the exhibit “Mike Cloud: Paper Quilts” through Dec. 19. The exhibit will feature paper quilts, works on paper, which the painter completed between 2008 and 2010. “His ‘paper quilts’ and collages are made from deconstructed images by photographer Annie Leibovitz,” according to an announcement from the gallery. “The works explore the functional distance between the literary, biographical and documentary tools of photography and those of synthetic abstractions.” The Olson Gallery is open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For additional information, call (651) 638-6263 or visit www.bethel.edu/galleries.
Ministry seminar to focus on relationships
BLOOMINGTON — Youth Leadership will host a one-day seminar titled “Ministry Would be Great if it Weren’t for the People” on Thursday, Oct. 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The seminar is $70, or $80 if lunch is included. According to the event organizers, “Come spend the day understanding how to work alongside of people that are very different than you, deal with conflict when it happens, and wrestle with why leading change in the church is so hard.” The seminar will be led by Tiger McLuen. For more information and to register, visit www.youthleadership.org.
events calendar THRU OCT 28 “Out of the Shadows” series for women dealing with issues of abuse or relationship problems (past or present). Light the Way Church, 7000 Jamaica Ave. S, Cottage Grove. $10 material, free childcare • (763) 242-9181, hidinghurtinghealing.com
OCT 2 • THURSDAY Neon Steeple Tour with Crowder, All Sons & Daughters & Capital Kings in concert, 7pm. University of Northwestern - St. Paul • (651) 631-5151
OCT 3 • FRIDAY Christian Recording Studio & Band presents Artists, Rising Stars & Sing Along at Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812, krystalclearmusic.com New Life Family Services, “Celebrate the Vision,” banquet and silent auction. Featuring former abortion clinic owner Carol Everett, 6pm, Crowne Plaza, St. Paul • RSVP www.nlfs.org
OCT 4 • SATURDAY Understanding the Times 2014 Conference with Dr. Ed Hindson, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Pastor Steven Khoury & Jan Markell speaking, 9am5pm. Grace Church, 9301 Eden Prairie Rd., Eden Prairie. $8 lunch ticket. Presented by Jan Markell & Olive Tree Ministries • (763) 5594444, olivetreeviews.org
OCT 4-5 • SAT-SUN Marriage Encounter. Mount Olivet Conference Center, Farmington • (651) 454-3238, marriages.org
OCT 5 • SUNDAY Harvest America with Greg Laurie, music by MercyMe and Phil Wickham, live streaming worldwide from Dallas, 6pm • harvestamerica. com
Women of Faith, Fri. 7-10pm & Sat. 9am-5pm. Xcel Energy Center, 199 Kellogg Blvd. W, St. Paul • womenoffaith.com/events/revival-2014st-paul
An Evening with Steve Green, 6pm, Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, Various rates. By Music for the Master • (651) 638-6333, musicforthemaster.com
OCT 17-23 • FRI-THU
NOV 9 • SUNDAY
“A Matter of Faith, movie presentation by South Metro Missions, Regal Cinemas, Eagan. 1pm, 3:30pm, 6:30pm, 9pm • (952) 221-3730
Hope Sunday Evening Concert Series presents John Gorka in concert, 5:15pm. Hope Christian Church, 4911 Hodgson Rd., Shoreview. $5-7 • (651) 486-6202, hopmn.com/Concert.htm
OCT 21 • TUESDAY Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. Seminar “Genetic Entropy” with James K. Walker speaking, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, MN Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 • tccsa.tc
OCT 24-25 • FRI-SAT Mission Possible, Friday 7-9pm, Worship Time/ Preaching & Saturday 12noon-3pm, Teaching/ Service/Community Outreach). Amazing Grace Assembly of God, 1237 Earl St., St. Paul • (651) 408-5124, (704) 493-4171
OCT 25 • SATURDAY Jeff Deyo, from Sonicflood, in concert, with Owl City guitarist Jasper Nephew, 7pm, Crossroads Church, 17445 Notre Dame St. NE, Forest Lake. Free • crossroadscovenant.com, (651) 464-2195 “Living Well With Mental Illness: Equipping the Church,” presented by Elim Faith Community Nurse Network, 8:30am-12:30pm, New Hope Church. $25 includes lunch • (952) 259-4461, elimcare.org/fcnworkshops
OCT 29 • WEDNESDAY MacLaurinCSF hosting “C.S. Lewis and the Drama of Creation,” with Philip Rolnick • maclaurincsf.org, (612) 378-1935
The Oakridge Gallery of Gospel Art, “Pray, then, in this way” The Lord’s Prayer exhibit, Oakridge Community Church, 610 County Road 5, Stillwater • agapearts.net
National Lutheran Choir, 7pm, St. Andrews Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi • (612) 722-2301, nlca.com
OCT 13 • SUNDAY
National Lutheran Choir, 4pm, St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Faith Community, Wayzata • (612) 722-2301, nlca.com
MacLaurinCSF 19th annual Paul L. Holmer Lecture with Patrick Deneen, “After Liberalism: Imagining a Humane Post-Liberal Future” • maclaurincsf.org, (612) 378-1935
OCT 17-18 • FRI-SAT Prophetic School of Graham Cooke, 9am. Learning to hear His voice more intimately. Arising House, 1700 Hwy 96 W., St. Paul. $85 • (763) 323-3414, arisewomen.org/events/ arising-house/
NOV 21-FEB 15 Triple Espresso, a highly caffeinated comedy, The Music Box Theatre, 1407 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis • tripleespresso.com, (612) 8741100
NOV 22-23 • FRI-SAT Mission Possible, Friday 7-9pm, Worship Time/ Preaching & Saturday 12noon-3pm, Teaching/ Service/Community Outreach). Amazing Grace Assembly of God, 1237 Earl St., St. Paul • (651) 408-5124, (704) 493-4171
DEC 5 • FRIDAY Christian Recording Studio & Band presents Artists, Rising Stars & Sing Along at Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812, krystalclearmusic.com
DEC 6-7 • SAT-SUN Marriage Encounter. Mount Olivet Conference Center, Farmington • (651) 454-3238, marriages.org
DEC 7-JAN 4 The Oakridge Gallery of Gospel Art, “The Word of God” exhibit, Oakridge Community Church, 610 County Road 5, Stillwater • agapearts.net
DEC 13 • SATURDAY Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith with full symphony orchestra, 7pm, Target Center, Minneapolis • ktis.com
Music for the Master presents
An Evening with Steve Green November 8, 2014, 6 p.m.
Youth Leadership seminar, “Ministry Would be Great if it Weren’t for the People,” 9am-4pm, led by Tiger McLuen • youthleadership.org
NOV 1 • SATURDAY
OCT 17 • FRIDAY
Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. Seminar “Brilliant: Mankind Made in the Image of God” with Bruce Malone speaking, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, MN Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 • tccsa.tc
KKMS presents Clean Comedy Night featuring Triple Espresso, 7:30pm, Music Box Theatre, 1407 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis. $25 • kkms. com
OCT 30 • THURSDAY
OCT 5-NOV 9
Hope Sunday Evening Concert Series presents Monroe Crossing in concert, 5:15pm. Hope Christian Church, 4911 Hodgson Rd., Shoreview. $5-7 • (651) 486-6202, hopmn.com/Concert. htm
NOV 18 • TUESDAY
NOV 25 • TUESDAY
NOV 2 • SUNDAY
NOV 7 • FRIDAY Christian Recording Studio & Band presents Artists, Rising Stars & Sing Along at Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812, krystalclearmusic.com
Benson Great Hall
on the campus of Bethel University 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul, MN 55112
NOV 8 • SATURDAY
EVENTS ONLINE For more events and community news, please visit www. refreshedtwincities.com.
For tickets, call 651-638-6333 Or visit www.musicforthemaster.com Artist’s Circle: $27.25 | Reserved: $22.25 At-the-door: $27.25 | Groups of 10+: $17.25 (includes a $2.25 processing fee)
October 2014 | REFRESHED
plugged in DOUG TROUTEN
Is the Ice Bucket Challenge going to cure ALS? Yankees’ first baseman Lou Gehrig is remembered today mostly for the disease that ended his career—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In a passionate goodbye to the sport he loved, Gehrig said, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” If only Lou had lived to see the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Apparently we can cure this disease simply by dumping buckets of ice water on our heads! If only Lou had known, he could have arranged to be the coldest and wettest man on earth, then played for a few more years. The Ice Bucket Challenge is an online video craze where people dump ice water on their heads, then challenge others to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to ALS research. Several things about this puzzle me: • Why don’t more people make donations? The people in the videos are getting soaked to avoid making a donation. How does that help? Maybe the creators of this craze should have called it “The $100 donation challenge” (although this would obviously not be as popular on YouTube). • What does ice water have to do with ALS? Should we be pouring ice water on people with ALS? Does pneumonia somehow displace ALS? The videos rarely explain how all of this helps cure the disease. • How did extortion become an act of charity? The soggy participants challenge others, basically demanding, “Your money or your warmth!” It’s true that the challenge seems to have spurred giving to ALS research. Donations are up, as are new donors. Awareness has soared, thanks to a viral video campaign that has been called
REFRESHED | October 2014
the “Harlem Shake” of 2014 (“Harlem Shiver?”). The charity that is the main beneficiary reports an additional $100 million in donations as a result of the craze. Still, funding cannibalism is a concern. A dollar donated to Cause A is a dollar that’s not available to Cause B. The Ice Bucket Challenge could hurt rather than help if it steers giving away from more worthy causes. Is ALS research the best use of charitable dollars? If a goofy video is the best way to determine what medical research gets funded, maybe it’s time for some other diseases to step up with their own video challenges. Fill your pants with Jell-O to fight mumps? Eat a cockroach to battle lymphoma? It makes just as much sense. ALS is a terrible disease but is responsible for only about two deaths per 100,000 people. Compare that to malaria, which has death rates 80 times higher in parts of the world, and can be substantially reduced with simple measures like mosquito nets and insect repellant. Heart disease takes 130 times more lives. Stroke 45 times more. Even colorectal cancer causes five times as many deaths (we can only hope that we don’t start seeing videos of celebrity colonoscopies on YouTube). Hats off to those ice bucket folks who also make a donation. But studies find only a small percentage do so. The others, at best, have raised awareness of ALS. The people watching the videos have done even less. It’s an example of what some critics call “slacktivism”— replacing genuine involvement with a goofy stunt, or with a simple click to “like” a video. The danger is that it makes us feel we’ve done something worthwhile and can therefore check “something
worthwhile” off our to-do list. There’s a corporate version that is on my current pet peeve list. Increasingly, when I’m paying for a purchase I’m confronted by a clerk who asks if I’d like to donate a dollar to the organization designated. I just want to buy my gas or burger—not wrestle with choices regarding charitable giving. I’ve started asking if the company is going to match my donation. If they are, I might consider a gift of my own. But if the company’s idea of charitable behavior is just to turn their minimum-wage employees into panhandlers …, I’ll pass. There are many worthwhile ways to donate your time and money and make the world a better place. But if you think pouring ice water over your head is going to cure a disease, you’re all wet. Doug Trouten, Ph.D., is a professor of communications at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.
sharp focus JASON SHARP
My most difficult leadership challenge I have great difficulty leading â€Ś me. No matter who you are, how much money you make or what your life has brought, you are a leader. Since leadership brings influence, you (and I) have responsibility to lead others in a healthy and productive way. Unfortunately, we cannot do that if we first arenâ€™t leading ourselves, and that is perhaps the most difficult of tasks. Hereâ€™s something that has been challenging me as of late: the organization I lead will only grow as much as I do. I love that. I hate that! Unfortunately, I believe that. By â€œorganization,â€? I donâ€™t necessarily mean KTIS-FM, although that is part of who I am. I also lead my wife, two children (ages 15 and 12), a small group Bible study from church and my sonâ€™s basketball team. Iâ€™m not any busier than anyone else. Iâ€™m also not more important than anyone else. We all wear many hats and juggle numerous responsibilities. I also have no right to speak into your life. You donâ€™t know meâ€”I donâ€™t know you. But if you would be so kind as to allow me, Iâ€™d like to challenge you. Think about this: Whatever your â€œorganizationâ€? is, the people you lead and the loved ones with whom you have been
given influence are counting on you to develop your leadership skills (and your spiritual muscles), so that they can also grow in their leadership. Itâ€™s a â€œleadership trickle-downâ€?â€”theyâ€™re depending on you! So, how are things? The ultimate success of a leader is determined by how well he or she masters the inner life. You know, the stuff that is going on deep down inside of you that only you and God are aware of. We can mask it, we can hide it, and we can tell ourselves that itâ€™s not really there. But unless we give attention to it daily, we are unable to build a firm foundation from which we can exercise our influence. Iâ€™m not much of a handyman and thatâ€™s a generous understatement. I am horrible at anything that requires a fix. Itâ€™s honestly embarrassing how bad I am at it. Whenever I try to repair something, I destroy something else and am left with two messes I have to pay a professional to clean up. Have you ever tried to raise a window on the top floor of a home only to find that it sticks? Experts say that when a window jams while opening it, it is a sign of a foundation problem.
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In my limited knowledge on the issue, I assumed that a flooded basement, not an upstairs window, was the sign of a faulty foundation. You know, something big, drastic and obvious that would help justify why I have water up to my ankles. Not being able to open a small upstairs window? No, that wasnâ€™t on my radar for what could become a big, expensive problem underneath my house. Itâ€™s true in our lives, too. We secretly make one bad decision that may seem small at the time, but itâ€™s evidence that we have a problem in our foundation. Most of what we do is seen by others and is â€œabove ground.â€? We make public decisions every day, and itâ€™s no secret what those decisions are. But then there is the foundation, work that is not seen by allâ€”or by any. Giving attention to the issues of selfleadership will enable us to build a firm foundation from which we can exercise leadership on everyone in the various â€œorganizationsâ€? in our lives. As difficult as it is, we need to constantly and consistently be working on our foundation, every day. I think weâ€™ve all seen headlines recently that prove that too many cloak-and-dagger decisions eventually pile up, and then our basement floods and our secrets arenâ€™t secret anymore. And while itâ€™s easy to look at someone else and judge how well they are leading themselves, itâ€™s more difficult to apply these principles ourselves. Howâ€™s your foundation?
Jason Sharp is station manager of 98.5 KTIS in the Twin Cities. Follow him on Twitter @ KTISjason.
October 2014 | REFRESHED
here’s to good health WENDIE PETT
Power by the hour No time to be strong and healthy? Unable to find even an hour a day to get fit? Really? Time management is necessary in every area of your life. Granted, you can’t actually manage time as it is constant, but you can manage yourself within time. If you don’t have a handle on juggling how you spend the minutes of your day, it’s time to focus on the one area that most deserves your attention: your health. Practicing healthy habits—eating well, exercising often—is essential for living life to its fullest. A fine line exists between talking the talk and walking the walk, and oftentimes that line is more than visible. Carving out the time necessary to improve your health is crucial to an effective fitness program. Fortunately, there is a way to maximize the most of your allotted time. We all start the week with the same 168 hours. What matters is how we use those hours. At any given moment, we have the opportunity to progress: mentally, physically and spiritually. To make the most of your time (and the most of your life!) consider doing what I have done. In a notepad, write down every time commitment anticipated for a full week. Break down the hours into generous portions for each of your activities: e.g., 8 hours a night for rest, 40 hours for work, plus 10 hours of travel time, 1 hour per meal, 1 hour a day for housework, quality time with children/family and 2 hours a day for relaxation/meditation. Having built in more than enough time for each activity, I ended up with a bonus of 17 hours a week to spend on an exercise program or something similarly useful. I challenge you to evaluate your time in the same manner and make fitness
REFRESHED | October 2014
a real priority in your life. Break your days up into actual minutes of how/where you spend your time. And be honest: list all the ways you waste time too! Build in time for relaxation/meditation as a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle, and then evaluate the numbers overall. This will allow for adjustment in the way you spend your time. By taking stock of your hours each day, you will realize how much extra time you have. Realistically, you could assign 8 to 10 of those hours to exercise, especially if you do something active on a daily basis. You can also shift the focus to make fitness part of your hourly life. Whatever it takes mentally, physically or spiritually to push yourself forward in personal growth, allow a small increment of time for every hour. Think of it as gaining power by the hour. Did you know that there are simple moves that can be performed at a desk, in the office or while away on a business trip? It’s all about getting creative and realizing that you don’t require equipment to see real results. While on a phone call or on a break, find a wall and perform a wall sit. Your back should be flat against the wall while your knees are bent into a 90-degree angle, making sure that the knees do not go out past the toes. Put all your weight into your heels, tensing your leg muscles. Hold for as long as you can. You will work your way up to 2 minutes. It’s very effective for the buttocks and legs, and it doesn’t take long to perform the move. Now try this: Reach your arms
out side side straight ht o ut ffrom ro rom om si sid ide de tto o si sid ide de ((as as iiff saying “I caught a fish this big”). Using tension from fingertip to fingertip, bring your arms slowly together to have the palms of your hands meet in front of your body. I like to imagine squeezing against one of those exercise balls to create more tension. You will utilize the same tension as you bring your arms back as far as you can to squeeze the shoulder blades together. This is a great move for your chest, arms and back. Performing exercises throughout the day is just as important as eating throughout the day (5-6 small meals)— it increases your metabolism! So think of power by the hour to give you more energy, burn more calories and to create a lifestyle where you manage your time, and it doesn’t manage you! Your time is now! Wendie Pett is a nationally-renowned fitness expert and coach, mother, TV host, speaker, author and creator of the Visibly Fit™ exercise program. Learn more at www.wendiepett.com.
at the table YIA VANG
In search of the perfect burger For the last two years, I’ve been trying to figure out what it would take to make the best burger. I’ve been trying every burger joint that I can. (In the interest of full disclosure, let me note that I only judged the burgers themselves. I didn’t take much h note of the fries or other side dishes that accompanied the burger.) With every new w burger experience, I took notes and remembered what I liked and didn’t like about it. t. I ventured from small all hole-in-the-wall places to upscale dinning ning establishments. Att times, I would go back and try the burgurger again to compare re it to other places. I went to my test est kitchen (my home kitchen) n) and started to reverse-engineer the burgers, removing or putting g things back in that I liked. This process went on for about two years until I believed I had arrived at the epitome of a good burger. This is, I believe, the best burger that can be made. Some may disagree. There are four components I look at when trying to make the perfect burger. In no particular order: the bun, the meat, the condiments and the cooking method. The bun is very important to the structure of the burger. Many burgers fail because the bun cannot hold up to keep it together. It gets soggy and falls apart when you pick it up. But some buns are too thick, and it tastes as if you are chewing leather. The next item is the meat. The way the meat is ground and the blend of the ground meat (80 percent lean, 20 per-
cent fat) is important to the juiciness of the burger. The condiment is important to enhancing the flavors of the burger. (Remember, it is supposed to enhance the flavor, not take over the burger.) The last component I look at is the cooking method. Is the burger grilled on a flame broiler, over wood
or is it seared on a plancha (Spanish for flat-top grill)? Cooks and chefs may disagree with me on the bun, the condiments and the cooking method, but one of the most important components we would all agree on is the meat. The meat has to be an 80/20 blend and come from high-quality beef. The patties have to be between 6-8 ounces for the meat to cook properly. The grind of the meat must not be too fine and not too coarse. The meat must not be handled too much because the heat from your hands will start melting the fat and cause the meat to be tough when cooked. The meat must be cooked to a
nice medium and allowed to rest for at least five minutes before eating. No matter how great all the other components are, the main point of a burger is the meat. The meat of the burger is what makes the burger. When burger, the first comdescribing a good b ponent mentioned is the meat. It is the structure that binds the burger together. As I look into my life, I see that I ma thing the main need to keep the main thing—just like the burger. A.W. Tozer wrote in his book “The Attribute tributes of God,” that “the man w who comes to a right belief about God is reliev relieved of ten thousand tempo temporal problems.” It’s sso true that we need to find a right view of God. He is tthe main staple in our life. T There is no substitute for Go God in our lives. We can try to make our jobs, our fam family, our friends and even our worldly possessions the center, but a at the end we find l ti more. ourselves wanting Having a wrong view of God and not keeping Him as the center of your life is like eating a great burger and then all you talk about is the lettuce. It would be as silly as eating this burger and raving about the bun. The point of a great burger is that not all of it is about the meat. The other components help elevate the meat. The Yia Vang graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a BS in Communication Studies. Shortly after, he went on staff with Cru. He is currently the Lead Kitchen Ministry Coordinator for Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. October 2014 | REFRESHED
marriage matters COLETTE & JONATHAN STUART
What are you hiding? Last month, we attended the wedding of a couple for which we had done premarriage work. It was an idyllic day set along the Mississippi River at Boom Island Park. Being young, hip people and a bit untraditional, they arrived on their bikes as the ceremony started, and parked them at the rear of the gathering. When the minister began his words to the couple, he referenced them as standing naked. After some nervous laughter, it became clear that the minister was charging our friends to come to one another as they truly are: warts and all. Later, this got us thinking about things married people deliberately try hiding from one another. Though in a sense we stand most bare before our partner and he or she gets to know the real us, there are still things that we would prefer he or she not see. It seems to us that hiding in marriage comes in at least two major areas.
trying to conceal? Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, has written about the way that marriage, when at its best, is a picture of how a loving God accepts us even when we might not be able to forgive ourselves. A partner who knows you did something stupid but doesn’t judge and still accepts you can be such an incredible comfort. Since our spouse probably knows the things we don’t like about ourselves, he or she can often provide the graceful embrace to meet us in that pain. The second way we hide in marriage was illustrated in the summer TV series “Married at First Sight.” Four experts picked matches based on several assessments, and the participants agreed to get married to whoever was chosen. They did not meet until they walked down the aisle! It was interesting on several levels, but what stood out was one participant who kept repeating how shocked she was that her new husband wasn’t more open. His guardedness seemed natural to us since he hadn’t been given the time to grow and trust her. Sometimes, however, even when we have every reason to share our true selves, we shrink back from full disclosure, still protecting vulnerable parts of who we are. This second area of our hidden selves is one that we have personally identified in our own marriage. It has historically been difficult for one or the other of us to dream together, sharing what we personally want or hope to see in the future. At times, our fear of an incompatibility has crippled us from opening up and giving a full picture of what is in our heart. Thankfully, we’ve come to see this
… isn’t it true that false fronts and lies are often more injurious to our partner than the original actions we are trying to conceal? First, we might conceal evidence of behavior we aren’t proud of, such as our spending patterns, fast food wrappers or what we have on our electronic devices. This could also include things from our past that we have never totally owned up to or wanted to address. By not walking things out into the light, we rob one another of opportunities for accountability and healing. Our guilt and shame cause us to hide ourselves from discovery for fear of their rejection. However, isn’t it true that false fronts and lies are often more injurious to our partner than the original actions we are
REFRESHED | October 2014
pattern and have grown to be aware of it in ourselves when we start wanting to hide again. If you are hiding something, remember that cover-up behaviors and selfprotection are actually working to sabotage the intimacy you hope to maintain through concealment. The idea of connectedness was displayed perfectly by the young couple we know who got married. At the end of their beautiful ceremony, they got on a tandem bike and rode off together, tin cans clanging behind. They left the bikes they had separately arrived on and united their pedal power, thus signifying their new commitment. What a cool picture! Here are a few suggestions for getting honestly “unclothed”: 1. Compose a letter to your spouse. Pour out what has been going on inside your head. Identify feelings, goals and personal things you may not have shared previously. Exchange these letters at the same time or read them to one another. 2. During a quiet moment, take turns completing statements such as: • I wish I would have told you sooner about … • Something I’m really afraid of is … • An experience/thought I recently had and wanted to share with you was … Jonathan Stuart, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. He specializes in training and mediation services. Colette Campbell, M.A., is an adjunct faculty member, speaker/consultant and coach. She offers workshops on connecting to your calling, working with differences, and workingbetter2gether.
purposeful parenting JIM JACKSON
Are your kids responsible or spoiled? Parents are naturally inclined to protect their children from disappointment and failure. But in modern America, it seems the inclination has become quite a problem. A team of UCLA researchers has recently concluded that American parents are far too child-centered, and that far too many kids are “spoiled.” They found in a study of 32 middleclass families that parents put far more effort into making kids happy and keeping them comfortable than in teaching them responsibility. As a result, kids in these families are growing up less prepared to take care of themselves and others than ever before. p It’s our experience at cted Families that Connected udy is a fairly acthis study curate depiction of famirywhere. lies everywhere. Not so long ago it ferent. For all was different. an history, of human ve been exkids have pected at young ages to do what they could to help their family survive. In other words, ontributions their contributions ecessary to were necessary thers afloat. keep others nd values Faith and assed naturalwere passed ugh this proly through cess as children and parentss shared in the sibilities of responsibilities -day life. day-to-day ry child was Every an assett because hild was every child anotherr worker in or force of the labor mily or clan. the family lt significant Kids felt not justt because
parents said “I love you” at bedtime or sent notes in their lunchbox, but because they knew that if they didn’t do their part, others would suffer. Until the past few decades. The concept of being needed is now absent in most American homes. Instead of growing up to believe they are here for others, kids grow up to believe that others are here for them. Parents’ well-intentioned efforts unwittingly reinforce this. Add to the mix a child’s selfish nature, and we’ve got a real problem on our hands. Welcome to what some sociologists call the “Age of Entitlement.” Once p a time it was normal for kids to upon say, “Please” and “Thank you,” and they were conscious that they y were contributors to the welfare of others. oth hers. They now generally say, “I deserve e what I want, when I want it, without withou ut earning it, and I’m bitter if I do on’t get it.” They don’t believe the world is i theirs to manipulate for their own pleasurable purposes. Your family can be different! The way to change this cultural epidemic is to change what happens in our homes. The first key to countering this trend is to recognize the God has built all humans to work for the benefit of others. So give your kids meaningful jobs as early and often as they are capable of carrying them out. Give them jobs that if not done will result in consequences for other people. Help
them understand those consequences both before and if (or when) they occur. As much as possible, set up systems and structures that truly depend on the child’s participation. Being needed gives kids a healthy sense of significance and purpose. Practically, are you willing to take the time now to train your 2-year-old to set the table? Can you make it fun and enjoy the results? Are you willing to give a 5-year-old the responsibility of preparing and serving breakfast or helping with the laundry? Are your pre-teens involved in and needed for household maintenance and repairs? These are all developmentally approp priate, but very few kids are expected to ful fulfill these kinds of responsibilities. Of course, if you’re in your easy chair rea reading the news while the kids do the wo work, they will feel more enslaved than inv involved. So roll up your sleeves with the them as an example of working to bless oth others or taking responsibility for yoursel self. And if you work together to bless som someone else—even someone outside the family—be sure to tell stories about how everyone’s contributions blessed oth others. Make a practice of these things, and you’ll be well on the way to developi oping a strong sense of the value that you your kids are responsible, and that they can be a blessing to others. So get to work inviting your kids to join you in being a blessing to others. It ma may be the most important thing you can do to combat selfish entitlement and grow a healthy sense of significance and responsibility in your kids. Jim Jackson is the cofounder of Connected Families, author, speaker and parent mentor. Learn more at www. connectedfamilies.org. October 2014 | REFRESHED
inspired living KURT LINN
A living hope One year ago, as I write this, was an extremely difficult time for me and many of my friends and family. The Minnesota State Fair had wrapped up, another Labor Day weekend enjoyed with family, and school had begun when I received a call from Dan, one of my closest friends for the past 31 years. His wife and two boys were out of town visiting family. He needed a ride to North Memorial Hospital. The pain was unbearable, due to the cancer that was spreading through his body. He would not be returning home this time. Within a 10-day span in early September 2013, I lost three dear friends to cancer. My heart ached greatly, and the tears throughout those days showed the grief and deep sadness within. A pastor I worked with told me that at this stage of my life, one really begins to hate the “C” word. It’s not just grandparents or parents; now it’s peers. Cancer had just taken the lives of three wonderful people whom I loved. Don, almost 80 years old, was my first mentor who discipled me in the faith. Gary, in his late 50s, became a trusted friend during my pastoral internship. And Dan, 50 years old, I had met in my first year of college. We became lifelong friends who would see the lives of each other unfold with relationships, marriage, children, work, ministry, mountaintops and valleys. During those days of trial, we cried a lot, sat in disbelief, told funny stories, gave big hugs and reflected on our relationships. And most important, we held close in our hearts a timeless mes-
REFRESHED | October 2014
sage of great hope, a living hope. We proclaimed it to one another! This one message is what brought such great peace and healing. That message is simply and powerfully this, “Jesus, our resurrection and living hope!” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials ….” (1 Peter 1:3-6). Peter, an apostle of Jesus, knew of this hope of the resurrection in Christ. Peter writes that this living hope, that you and I can experience, is first of all given to us because of God’s rich mercy toward us. What a great and merciful God who wants to give us living hope in this life! And Peter writes further that we can rejoice in this living hope—a genuine rejoicing, even in the midst of various trials. That is a hope I desire to know and live out! The apostle Paul also experienced and taught of the solid foundation of hope we have in Christ through the resurrection. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that without the death and resurrection
of Jesus, our preaching is in vain, and our faith is futile. Without the sure message of the resurrection hope that we have in Jesus Christ, there truly is no hope or joy in living, and death wins. But I was rejoicing a year ago, and I rejoice today that death is swallowed up in victory and death has no sting! In Christ, and in the power of His resurrection, there is hope. A living hope.
A genuine hope that sustains you and me in these days that unfold before us, and a hope that brings life, not death. What trials have you faced or are facing that have you seeking for a sure and living hope? It’s not a matter of “if” you and I will face various trials, but rather “when” and “how often.” Life happens. I want to encourage you that in the midst of whatever you are facing—the difficult trial you are weathering—there is a living hope. This hope is found only in Jesus Christ and His resurrection! My friend, Dan, clung to Christ and was a witness to the living hope one can have in this life and life forever more. Live on in hope! Kurt Linn is pastor of The Crux, a new cell-church plant in the Twin Cities. He and his wife, Kim, and their children live in Roseville.
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October 2014 | REFRESHED
that’s life! JOANNE BROKAW
The unsung celebrity Normally, I like to write something amusing for this column, but in September my hometown of Rochester, NY was rocked when police officer Daryl Pierson was gunned down while trying to apprehend a suspect, the first officer killed in the line of duty in this city in more than 50 years. I’ve been reflecting a lot on honor and sacrifice, so instead of blathering on about nothing this month, I’d like to share a piece I wrote a few years ago about a soldier I met in an Ohio airport. He looked like just another freshfaced, Midwestern college student heading back to classes after spring break. Tall and handsome, dressed in jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and baseball cap, he was surrounded by what could only be his family, gathered together to send him back into the big world. I was returning home to Rochester, New York, after spending three days in Dayton, Ohio, for the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Conference, where we’d been encouraged to see the humor in the mundane, the laughter in our surroundings and the comedy in our pain. Maybe that’s why I noticed the young man. A woman who I assumed was his mother was wrapped tightly around his waist, reluctant to say goodbye, a gesture I was all too familiar with whenever I used to send my daughter back to college, an entire hour from home. I was with two other women from the conference, chatting and laughing, and the young man ended up behind us in the security line. I leaned across our group and tapped him on the arm. “Where are you going that your family is going to miss you so much?” I asked with a smile. “The DMZ in South Korea,” he responded politely. It took a minute for that to sink in. The DMZ is the Demilitarized Zone. He
REFRESHED | October 2014
wasn’t a student. He was a soldier. Suddenly this wasn’t so funny. I looked beyond him, and noticed that his family was still gathered beyond the security ropes, his mother teary-eyed and wringing her hands, not daring to take her eyes off her son for even a moment lest she lose him forever in the crowd. I leaned back to the young man. “What’s your name?” “Kyle,” he replied. “I’m going to pray for you, Kyle,” I promised, and turned around, not sure what else to say. We were directed through different security lines, and Kyle was through the checkpoint before me. As I met up with my friends and we headed to the coffee shop before going our separate ways, I saw Kyle off to one side putting his belongings back into his carry-on. I wanted to stop and talk to him, but I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to run back and tell his family that he would be OK, but I didn’t know if that was true. So I said nothing, and headed for the coffee shop, where I found a group of reality TV celebrities who had been in town for a charity event. Chatter and laughter poured out into the terminal, and fans were getting autographs and taking pictures. I had my picture taken just for kicks. As I put my camera back into my bag, I looked down the terminal and noticed Kyle walking by himself to his gate. In an instant, the contrast between the pseudo-celebs and Kyle became all too clear. I was standing with a group of people who were admired simply because they’d been on television, enduring a month on some tropical island, eating coconuts and rice, and battling each other for a cash
prize and the chance of product endorsements. They were surrounded by fans who wanted to shower them with attention. And here was Kyle, headed out to endure a real bout with survival. Real enemies, real sacrifice, real danger. And no one noticed him. I know almost nothing about Kyle. Surely, he is someone’s son. Quite possibly, he is someone’s brother. Very likely, he is some young woman’s Prince Charming.
You are more than any television survivor, more middle-American than any Average Joe. You, Kyle, are my hero. But I know now what I want to say to you, Kyle. You are the foundation upon which this country is built, young men and women willing to leave behind safety, security and family so that I may remain at home and enjoy the fruits of freedom, even if that includes watching mindless television and writing columns just for laughs. You are more than any television survivor, more middle-American than any Average Joe. You, Kyle, are my hero. I missed my chance. You are the real celebrity, and I should have had my picture taken with you. Award-winning freelance writer Joanne Brokaw spends her days dreaming of things she’d like to do but probably never will— like swimming with dolphins, cleaning the attic and someday overcoming the trauma of elementary school picture day. She lives with two dogs, a cat, six chickens and one very patient husband. Learn more at www.joannebrokaw.com.
October 2014 | REFRESHED
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