The Truth About Preacher Season

The Truth About Preacher Season

Why I'm a Christian but don't stand with Bible thumping-fanatics.
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Here in Boone, sunshine means Enos and slacklines, Chacos and tanktops, picnics and adventures on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Warm weather brings all the students who have been hiding in their warm burrows somewhere in the secret depths of the library out onto Sanford Mall. And, here at Appalachian, sunny days also mean the return of good ole’ Preacher Season.

“You’re going to Hell.”

“I believe in judging.”

“There is no hope in yoga.”



Some of my “favorite” phrases from these Bible-thumping men don’t have any spiritual basis. Instead, they are founded in anger and frustration. Many have labeled Christians as hypocrites because they see people like these fanatic preachers proclaiming a religion of love but spouting words of hate. Age, race, gender, sexuality, major, height, weight—you name it, you’re a sinner and you’re going to the Lake of Fire. There is no hope, no love in their words or message.

That is not Christianity. That is not the Bible. That is not my God.

Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship—it’s not about condemnation, it’s about grace. It’s not about how much wrong you’ve done or how much punishment you deserve—it’s about how much forgiveness you’ve received. Look at the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—Jesus came to seek and save the lost, the sinners. He came for the broken. His disciples were common men; his friends were prostitutes, thieves, drunks, and social outcasts. He hung out with sinners because the so-called “righteous” condemned him.

So if you would call the Sanford Mall preachers hypocrites, I would readily agree with you. Their message is so skewed by the hateful, harsh and condemning way they present it, that all hope, all love is lost. Plain and simple, they are offensive.

But Christianity, even when preached in love, is an offensive belief. It is founded on the principle that we’re messed up sinners. It’s founded on the principle that we can’t save ourselves. And it’s founded on the principle that we have to rely on someone else—a just God—to save us from the consequences of our sin. Unlike many other belief systems, Christianity is not about works. It’s not about what you have to offer or how good you can be. It’s not about being perfect. If it was, we would all be just as screwed as the Sanford Mall preachers claim we are. Christians (or at least the ones that have truly taken their faith to heart) accept that they will sin. And no sin puts you beyond grace, beyond forgiveness and salvation. Nothing you have done or will do can place you out of reach of God’s love. Nothing. At the same time, that’s not a free pass. God accepts and loves us—but not our sin.

As a Christian, my heart breaks for those men who stand there and scream their words of hate at us. They do not love the way Jesus loved. They are only hurting, only condemning. My God is a righteous judge who hates sin and loves sinners. The Sanford Mall Preachers seem to only love the sound of their own voice.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Smith

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Calling People Hateful Is Not A Productive Dialogue

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

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The political climate is rough. I don't enjoy commenting on it because of how controversial it has become. Every once in a while, however, I come across something that rubs me the wrong way.

As I was walking through campus the other day, chalked on the side of a cement wall was a phrase claiming the College Republican club on campus was a hate group. I don't know anything about the person who wrote this statement or anything about the College Republican group on campus, but I do know one thing: this statement is false.

Universities have become a breeding ground for intolerance.

Just because someone has a different opinion from you doesn't mean they are hateful. There is room for disagreement.

A psychology professor of mine once said something that impacted my perspective toward both political parties: "Both sides think they're right, but both sides can't be right." Both sides make decisions based on what they think is right. A person's opinion is not "wrong" if it differs from yours. It's just different.

It's important to recognize that people won't always agree with you, and that's okay. That doesn't give you the right to call them mean or hateful. It allows an entrance into discussion. Besides, if you want to persuade someone that your belief is more accurate, name calling won't get you anywhere. It will only cause the other person to view you as inconsiderate and unwilling to understand.

How can you convince someone to believe you when you won't listen to their perspective? How can you expect people to listen to you when you won't do the same in return? Not only is it important to recognize a person's beliefs, it's important to understand why they believe what they do.

In order for people to engage in productive dialogue, both sides need to listen to each other and respect each other. Tossing labels around progresses nowhere and doesn't benefit anyone.

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