About Neal

An expressive writer, talker, rapper, and kazoo player; passionate about the expression of wisdom, love, sports, and grace in today’s world.

Jesus and the Millenials

 

Have you heard about the Millenials?

Generation M

 

The “Millenials” means those Americans born after 1980 who began to come of age around the year 2000. According to the Pew Research forum, “fully one-in-four members of the millennial generation are unaffiliated with any particular faith.”

Before I identified as a Millenial, I was a Christian. The longer I identify as a Millenial, the harder it is for me to identify as a Christian.

We Millenials crave connection. I think every human on the planet craves connection but for Millenials we are so inundated with connections (through messages, screens, phones, social media, school groups, work groups, community groups) that we are weary of connections that are fruitless or based on false pretenses.

I, as a Millenial, am not anti-church. I am just not inclined to be as critical of the church as I am with every other source of connection – spiritual, physical, or intellectual.

There is much conversation about “Why Millennials are Leaving the Church” and “Why Millenials Love God but Not Church” and here are my two cents:

Millenials don’t want to talk about what we are not, we want to talk about who we are. We relate to a Jesus whose connections were meaningful and on a first-name basis. We crave to be caught up in action instead of talk.

Here’s an example of students at James Madison University living out Jesus’ call to love one another.

At our worse, Millenials have a tendency to become over-connected and under-developed from the weight of so much. Perhaps too, the church is suffocating itself under the weight of so much that can be argued about and neglecting our responsibility to the Great Commandment: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to love our neighbors as ourself.

I believe these three things:

– The message of God’s love for humanity offers the grace, peace, and belonging that humanity (even Millennials!) desperately need.

– The majority of millennials have thoroughly rejected the tenants of the shallow, narrow-minded, homophobic church.

– The more time that we waste our voice in futile arguments with these sinful churches the more we will be tuned out and deemed irrelevant too.

We must offer up a transformative song of love in our churches that is loud enough to drown out the arguments that millennials, you, and I are tired of hearing anyway.

Do you agree? What would this look like in your church?

Ray Rice: Now We See Him, Soon We Won’t

I am a Christian.

I like sports, and I have a daughter.

I have a daughter who will one day ride in elevators with the partner of her choosing and in a few months I will have a son who will eventually grow up to ride in elevators with the partner of his choosing.

IMG_3853 Christians, fathers, and sports enthusiasts all need to do a better job of stopping violence against women. The recent NFL scandal about Ray Rice battering his fiancé in an elevator isn’t going to get that done.

I have watched the footage of Ray Rice and Janay Palmer (now, Janay Rice) in the elevator; several times.

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I wonder what that says about me as a man, as a Christian, as a sports enthusiast, and as a father.

We fathers, Christians, feminists, and sports enthusiasts need to own up to this: the Ray Rice scandal is not so much about domestic violence as it is about the NFL covering their PR butts, the rage of media members who were lied to by suits who make millions of dollars manipulating the media every day, and the love of scandal.

I understand why I was drawn to the video.

I love scandal. I feel entitled to know everything there is to be known.

I am of a generation that expects that which is public to include all that was intentionally private and I spend embarrassing amounts of time calculating in my private time those photos, thoughts, and plans that I wish to make public.

But here’s what I wonder:

What exactly does this video footage change tell us that was not already documented?

In a few weeks, Ray Rice’s headshot will be lightyears from the news and the National Football League and its billions of dollars will be invested into winning some other public relations battle.

Domestic violence, however, will still go on. And on. And on.

My greatest fear is that the response towards this awful situation is spurned more by our craving to be in the front row for scandal than it is a concern for the human spirit.

And my greatest hope is that I am wrong.

This story began as personal for me because I have a fantasy football team, a subscription to the NFL Sunday Ticket, and I listen religiously to sports radio.

After reflection, however, it is personal to me because I am a father, a husband, and a Christian.

Sensationalized violence doesn’t fix the problem, it IS the problem!

Here’s what makes it better: Directing our anger towards domestic abusers as opposed to NFL owners and holding ourselves accountable as fathers, husbands, and Christians; not NFL commissioners.

The NFL is A problem not THE problem. Domestic Violence is the problem. So let’s do something about it.

What Would You DO?

The Gospel According to Flava Flav

Michael Tran

Ironic as it is:

 

 “Aiyo, these are some serious times that we’re livin in G
And a new world order is about to begin, y’knowhutI’msayin?
Now the question is – are you ready, for the real revolution
which is the evolution of the mind?
If you seek then you shall find that we all come from the divine
You dig what I’m sayin?

“Now if you take heed to the words of wisdom
that are written on the walls of life
then universally, we will stand and divided we will fall
because love conquers all, you understand what I’m sayin?

This is a call to all you sleepin souls
Wake up and take control of your own cipher
And be on the lookout for the spirit snipers
tryin to steal your light, y’knowhutI’msayin?
Look within-side yourself, for peace
Give thanks, live life and release
You dig me? You got me?”

-“He Got Game” (1998)

Amen.