Tag Archives: youth

Hope in Cynicism

27 Apr

Photo by Damien Katz

I often talk to a friend of mine (more like a little brother) who’s a freshman in college.  Though he’s been through some rough times, he still has so much passion and zeal for life.  Despite the bumps in the road, he’s willing to take on the world.  Another girl I know, same age, is even more fierce.  A guitar in one hand and a Bible in the other, she’s an amazing force of love and energy rolled into a petite frame.  The thing I enjoyed most about my years in youth ministry (and will enjoy about college ministry) is the absolute wonder with which younger folks have as they come into adulthood.

Way back when I was 19 (all of 9 years ago), I remember being so idealistic.  I looked at cynical adults with pity and wondered what they were like when they were my age.  I finally have an answer–some of them where probably a lot like me.  “The troubles of the world” strangled my idealism–an ongoing extra-martial affair, divorce, severe medical issues, car accidents, death, remarriage, breaking down of relationships, loss of trust.  Yet when I think about the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23), I wonder, how can the very real troubles of this world *not* strangle us?

“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22)

I’m not making excuses for foolish behavior; I merely want to point out that while parables are meant to teach, they are not always absolute.  They’re not as black and white as we’ve been taught to believe (in fact, in my Bible Jesus’ parables are red).  The truth is that no matter how big of a plant, nor how little; we all get strangled…but we do not all whither away and die.  We do get caught up in the troubles and the wealth of this world, and we hold on.

” A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
” (Isaiah 42:3)

Yet hope remains for the bruised reeds of the world.  Jesus quotes this passage in Isaiah when speaking in Matthew 12:20, which is a whole chapter ahead of the parable of the sower.  I suppose even those who are strangled (and bruised) have hope for redemption, hope for uh, hope.  Even in my cynicism, God will not break me, but He will choke the pride right out of me–even when “it feels like death to me” (Derek Webb quote!).

I wonder if idealism and youth go hand-in-hand, or if there’s hope for cynics.  I once heard an extended recording of Keith Green singing, “Lord, You’re Beautiful”.  He said that as he wrote that song in the wee hours of the morning, he prayed that God would give him “baby skin” around his heart again.  That’s my prayer, too, that I would have the soft idealism of my youth would return.  I’m not yet 30 and I feel so old, so beaten, so broken, like I’ve been alive forever but am now just starting to actually live.

Here and there, I see glimpses of it–that idealism, which is just out of grasp.  I chase after it like a little girl looking for fairies in the woods or a dog chasing a rabbit.  The thrill of idealism is in the hunt, isn’t it?  That’s the part that makes us start to feel alive again; the part where we actually start to care.  I want to throw off the shackles of apathy and run full force into wonder again.  Yet hurt holds me back, so I walk carefully between the shadows and the sunshine in the forest of possibility, daring myself to chase after my dreams, which are so close and yet so far.

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Waking Up with Everyday Sunday

24 Apr

Written in May 2007

By Amy Sondova Despite cell phone reception that went in and out, sleep deprivation, and the rigorous schedule Everyday Sunday keeps these days, BSW’s interview with front man Trey Pearson went on…via e-mail. Traveling from Duluth to Chicago in their trusty RV, Harvey the RV, the band noticed a funky odor, and that’s when drummer Kevin Cramblet discovered that he had left the emergency brake on while driving to the next stop in the “Generation Rising” tour. Amidst loud yells, raucous laughter, and general mayhem, Pearson laughed, “Welcome to life on the road, where every day’s Sunday.”

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, the band includes Pearson, Cramblet, guitarist Jesse Counts and the brothers Eikenberry, Aaron on guitar and Brandon on bass. Currently part of the “Generation Rising” tour, Everyday Sunday released their third album, WAKE UP! WAKE UP! in May 2007 to critical acclaim. In fact, two of the album’s singles, “Find Me Tonight” and the title track, “Wake Up! Wake Up!” have both reached No. 1 status on the CHR (Christian Hit Radio) charts.

On to the interview with Trey Pearson of Everyday Sunday (EDS)…

So, what do you think makes Everyday Sunday stand out from other bands in the industry?

Trey: I think we have an album full of songs that hopefully people will like as much as we do. Our goal was to make one of the best albums of the year. I feel like we did everything we could to make that happen, and made an album that hopefully people will really enjoy every song the whole way through.

How can I describe your sound?

Trey: It’s power-pop, modern-rock, post pop-punk, and any other term you would like to use to describe it.

I don’t think a lot of folks, especially younger fans, realize how taxing traveling, playing, and meeting lots of new people can be. How has that reality hit you?

Trey: Traveling can be exhausting. But it’s a dream job. We get to tour the world and play shows. I can’t complain. But I do love when I’m able to be home and hang out with friends, family, and church. And it’s nice because most of the time when I am home, I am able to just relax and put that time into those people.

Before making WAKE UP! WAKE UP! EDS did some soul-searching as a band—what can you tell me about that?

Trey: We were just all headed different directions in a lot of ways. And I had to go where I felt God wanted me to be. So we all had to make decisions if we were going to continue on with the vision of Everyday Sunday. I’ve been able to continue to keep that dream that God has given me, and He has made it so I can pursue it in a way that I am most passionate about and that is honoring to Him.

Ian Eskelin, producer of WAKE UP! WAKE UP!, is a personal hero to EDS. Is that because of All Star United (and their crazy cool live performances), his producing, or a combination of both?

Trey: Well, he was already a hero because of the influence he has had on us with the band All Star United. But even more so now because of the relationship we were able to build with this album.

After reading EDS’ lyrical explanations for the album, the title track sounds like it could be a bit autobiographical as you realized that EDS has a continued role to play in God’s story…

Trey: Ha. It didn’t really have to do with the band particularly. It’s a song as a call for all Christians to wake up to the life that God has called them to and intended for them to experience.

“Take Me Out” also sounds like your journey as a band. Did you happen to be reading the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis when you wrote this song?

Trey: The story of Jacob wrestling with God was definitely a major thought through my head as I was writing this song, and definitely has a direct connection to being that passionate about pursuing God.

“Find Me Tonight” and “Tell Me You’ll Be There” are in the same transparent vein as “Hanging On” (one of my personal favorite songs), which is cool because a lot of rock/pop—whatever you guys are—doesn’t necessarily bring that much transparency to lyrics, which has always been something that EDS has done…

Trey: I just try to be honest in everything I write about. The biggest goal in our songs is to connect with people in a way that they can relate to. So I figure the best way to do that is to be honest with what I’m going through or how I feel, and think that there are probably other people that go through the same things or experience the same feelings. But thank you, that means a lot when we hear how much our songs mean in other people’s lives.

Your first story song, “I’ll Get Over It (Miss Elaineous)” is one of those songs a lot of us can universally relate to—why did you decide to put a break-up song on this album?

Trey: I just thought it would be fun to write an overly emotional song about. Ha. I had several friends all going through similar experiences, and thought it would be an interesting story.

“Apathy For Apologies”—one of your favorite songs lyrically—why?

Trey: I just feel like I was happy about using all the words and phrases in a way that best expressed what I wanted to say in a creative way. I just really enjoyed writing it.

Some bands leave it to the album, but with EDS it’s also about the live show. I caught y’all once at SoulFest in 2003…it was intense. Why do you feel so strongly about your live performances?

Trey: It’s just as much a part of our band as our albums are. It’s what we want people to remember Everyday Sunday for.

Like a lot of other bands, you have a strong teen base—what do you think that youth workers should know about teens?

Trey: They need strong Christian people in their lives to look up to. I know they look up to bands like us, but they also look up to you. You have no idea how much impact and confidence you can really put into a teen to stay strong and to know God is there for them no matter what. I work as a full time youth sponsor for our youth group back home, and it is just as important of a ministry to me as anything.

Print copy of article.

Remix Culture: The Early Years

13 Jan

I’m sure this video has been all over youth ministry, youth culture, and many other blogs that have the word “youth” in them. But, until it showed up on YPulse this week, I had no idea it existed. Put together by the fine folks at the Center for Social Media, Remix Culture showcases the uses of mash-ups, mix-ups, and other fun stuff that media savvy folks are doing. You can watch it below (naturally it ended up on YouTube), or check out the original here.

And according to Recut, Reframe, and Recycle a study done by the Center for Social Media, this type of video production may be legal under the “fair use” doctrine (read study here). Here’s a quote from an excerpt on the report,” So when makers mash up several works—say, The Ten Commandments , Ben-Hur and 10 Things I Hate about You , making Ten Things I Hate about Commandments —they aren’t necessarily stealing. They are quoting in order to make a new commentary on popular culture, and creating a new piece of popular culture.” You can even download a PDF of the full report, see the videos that were studied, and gain more insight on media law than you ever wanted. I think the Center for Social Media is my new favorite website (after my blogs and Youth Ministry Exchange, of course!)

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