The Connoisseur

The Connoisseur

Dangers on Criticizing The Church

A wine tester will develop a certain preference of quality. Humans have the habit of criticizing to great detail so they may only expect quality, or at least desire it—Humans naturally are connoisseurs. This is, in itself, is not of bad quality. In its inherent purpose, it drives humans only to produce the best of results. Although, it is important that we do not fully apply this connoisseur practice to our faith, specifically within the Church.

We as college students, generally freshmen, are searching for a church to attend here for the next four years or even longer. After visiting numerous churches within few months’ time, we train ourselves to have specific desires out of the church. In other words we ask “Is this church going to impress me?” A list of standards starts to form in our heads. We start to go down the checklist and if a single check is missing, we start to question if we would continue to attend this church. Instead of letting the spirit lead us, we let our eyes, ears, and all our senses create an impression. In this exercise, the attender is letting that which is material influence what is spiritual. C.S. Lewis addresses the issue in Screwtape Letters, a book on spiritual warfare from the perspective of a demon, “Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches…”. Deciding to attend a church should have nothing to do with our comfortability or compatibility—honestly the only question we should ask is, “Is this church sharing the Jesus’ Truth?” If we begin to front the church with numerous questions such as: Is this church Calvinist or Armenian, do they believe in the practice of heavenly tongues, large or big, topical or scriptural; I have found with in my first few months we, students are generating shallow and extremely materialistic standards of the church. These qualifications range from the style of worship to whether or not if they have a café in a close vicinity. C.S. Lewis continues on the topic of the dangers of church criticizing, “…The search for a ‘suitable’ church makes the man a critic where the Enemy [God] wants him to be a pupil. I have found myself making or even criticizing elements of my current church. God has fortunately convicted me of my habit. The Father showed me, “Blessed is the man who loves the Bride, not because of Her beauty, Her sweet voice, nor Her wise words, but loves Her for Her heart.” So I pray, LORD let us not store up wants from your church but fulfill what You desire of Your Bride. Let us be servants rather than those who want service. For God, You sent Your Son, the greatest servant to walk this earth, on our behalf. I pray the church follows Her teacher in His practices. Amen.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.


Two days ago, I arrived back in the States from a two-week study abroad trip to Germany and Poland. This trip was entitled Experiences in International Justice. On this trip, we studied the Holocaust and its consequences through the lens of criminal justice. This trip changed my life in so many ways.

Firs, I really connected with all the other students on my trip, so I know that I can find friendship and understanding in them because we shared this experience.

Secondly, I discovered a newfound respect for life and need to work towards a more just world through learning more about Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust. We visited three infamous concentration camps: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don't know if I can explain to you the emotions I experienced, but I would like to try since I think it is very important to share my experience with others. It was so surreal to be in a place where millions of innocent lives were taken away. Seeing where the many Jews, Roma, and many other groups slept, worked, suffered, and died really put my life into perspective.

It got me reflecting on what I have to be thankful for, and the problems that I feel are a too big deal to handle. Nothing I could ever go through can be compared to what those poor people went through. Because of this realization, I have become empowered to do what I can to help those who are suffering and who do not have anyone to stand up for them. I know I can't effect change all over the world, but I want to help others in any way I can, in my community and in my future career as a Forensic Psychologist, as well as with my friends and family.

I also have been inspired to be a torch-bearer for the memory of the victims as well as the Holocaust itself, so that something like it never happens again. Knowledge is power, and so being educated about what happened and how it happened can help us take a stand for what's right. Because not everyone has the privilege to travel to the concentration camps as I have so I have an obligation to share my experiences there with the world. I do not want the victims to disappear, from the Holocaust or any tragedy. From a criminal justice perspective, it was also very interesting to read more about the perpetrators, how normal people can be so violent and destroy fellow humans without remorse. I think it is beneficial to study them because it shows that anyone can become overwhelmed with power and let it go to their heads.

My trip to Germany and Poland was an amazing experience that expanded my mind and my world, inspired me to continue down my chosen career path, and gave me great friends. I hope that everyone has a chance to study abroad and always be curious and open-minded because it will do so much good for you.


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