Thursday, April 25, 2013

Journal Entry: African Girls, Internet Fame, Christian Relationships, and A Video Flashback

Today I found out that one of the girls I'd met at the Dining Hall a week or so ago was in my Physics class. (I'll make use of fake names for the sake of privacy). I recognized Malela when I walked in, but mispronounced her name at first -- I remember the way names are spelled, and the way her name is written doesn't, in my Scandinavian perception, represent the way it sounds to say it. Conveniently, though, it's easier to say than write :) . I had met Malela when a friend of hers, Liara, had been kind enough to use a guest meal to get me into the dining hall for dinner. That was at my request, of course -- you gotta take initiative! It's very hard to get things you don't ask for. As it happened, I ended up being the only fair-skinned person--or guy, for that matter--at the table, though a subtle proof of the fact that I'm about as "post-racial" as you can get is that I didn't really take notice of that fact until about halfway through dinner, and it struck me as more of a curiosity than anything else.

Malela, Liara and Coral all came to dinner today, so after I got done eating with my first round of guests (dinner's a social event for me; I stick around and when the people I've eaten with leave, I go talk to another group, while I digest before potentially getting another course), I went over and joined them. I also recognized Fedora from the first time I met the girls. But I was surprised when another girl (they are ALL African) said to me ((by the way, this is kinda hard/messy to do without actually saying my name, but here goes)), "are you [that guy?]" As I may have briefly mentioned before, I have a bit of a reputation on campus because of my engagement in the university's online community. I'm always nervous when someone first says my name (usually I have no idea who they are at all), because I don't know if they're one of my "haters," or if they're going to want to shake my hand, or what. As it turned out, Ariana was all smiles, and said she'd like to talk to me more in person sometime. She even complimented me by saying my eyes were crystal blue, or something like that. I only mention this, because at least one other girl at the table, maybe two (I have terrible short term memory), also made the same compliment. Malela and Fedora suggested that my suggestion why was right--namely that they don't see such light-colored irises among the people they hang out with, very much, so I kinda stood out as very different. My eyes, of all things.

A brief lesson in being cautious to listen to rumors: the group of girls had somehow gotten the impression that I was a hardcore atheist, due to rumors and controversy due to my postings, so they were cautious to avoid bringing up religion or politics the first time we met. Somehow, Ariana or Coral realized I was a believer, whether by a direct question or seeing a pastor's email in the back of my notebook ('told you I had a bad memory), and everyone seemed to be surprised and a little confused. That's what unchecked rumors can do, even if people who hear them are fairly innocent with no ill intent. At the very least, as I can see from this experience, it makes even the friendliest people be suspicious of you. Now that that was straightened out, though, Coral (who, along with most of the other girls is a believer) made a number of "oooooh now it makes sense why you're so controversial" statements. It does make sense, doesn't it? Atheism isn't controversial at a public university. Christianity is. And when you think about it, that's really sort of sad.

Malela met up with me in the Library later in the evening to do online homework, and after finishing, we took another hour to chit-chat, and I invariably brought up thoughts on marriage and dating. She thought it was neat to run into someone who had put so much thought into mentally preparing myself for it, and decided to ask me what I thought about a "hypothetical" scenario in which a person might say they want to be with you, but in response to you choosing to wait, has decided to actively date other people. My response to that was to think that the person in question wasn't ready for a commitment, since they clearly didn't have the concept of exclusivity nailed down. I asked her if she'd passed along the Mark Driscoll sermon entitled "Marriage and Men" to this guy, and she hadn't heard of it, so I told her I'd email her the link. Then I biked home, yet to my dismay my allergy symptoms have kept me from being able to sleep, so I've actually pulled an all nighter. On the plus side, there's no chance I'll sleep in and miss my class.
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Below is the video sermon I referenced above. I'm vaguely aware of a minor level of controversy about Mark Driscoll because in his younger days he apparently let curses slip, but in all the videos I've seen of him he's been passionate but not untethered. Then there's an obscure video or two on youtube which indicate Mark's a "charismatic Calvinist," an interesting combination if there ever was one. I'm not aware of everything there is to know about Mark, but if it's any help, everything I've seen has indicated a strong regard for Scripture and orthodox theology; more to the point, this particular video is 100% on the mark. It's great for young women to watch to learn what kind of men they have the right to expect and the behavior that they should expect from them. But the video is directed toward men, particularly young single men, but also an urgent message to young men in irresponsible relationships. I've found it fantastic and have watched it no less than 4 times over the last few years in order to help ensure that I have a right perspective on marriage and masculinity.

I encourage you to watch it and to forward it to young guys you know.

~ Rak Chazak

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