The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

5 odd conversations I have had recently

5 odd conversations I have had recently.
1. A conversation with a teacher at the school mentioned below in regards to the bad sportsmanship of a coach.  Strange that an email sent to specific people is floating around randomly…
2. A student who wanted to make sure it was okay to skip the annual beach retreat in favor of the mission trip.  And when we had the conversation, she lowered her voice and made sure none of her peers were around, as if she were questioning the foundations of our youth ministry.
3. A couple counselors who can tell I am pretty beat up right now and they know that doesn’t bode well.  Or at least they think it doesn’t bode well.
4. A friend of mine where we honestly debated about the need for church.  We both fell into the idea that we need Jesus’ people desperately but are pretty sure the church isn’t helping either of us very much; we need his people; everyone else can keep the institutions and the buildings.  And we are both working at churches.  Am I part of the problem or the solution?  I really don’t know sometimes…
5. A mom of a soon to be 8th grade guy who is moving away.  It is a good move for them professionally and they will be around lots and lots more family.  The family has done some global trips all over the world and, when asked to write about his favorite place, her son wrote about our youth group and our youth room.

5 best MCs of all time

5 best MCs of all time  (And, yeah, I am old school…)
1. Chuck D.  It is shame that we watch Flavor Flav become this strange icon of love and weirdness.  But in the old days, Chuck D.’s rhymes and Terminator X on the turntables are what made this white boy have a Public Enemy poster up in his room.  Best track: “Night of the Living Baseheads.”
2. LL Cool J.  Call this the durability award.  LL knew from way back how to do all kinds of tracks, like “I Need Love” all the way to the wars he waged with MCs like Kool Moe Dee to the humorous tracks.  Today’s younger MCs need to learn how to do a diversity of records.  No one is always gangsta.  His versatility and his ability to use that variety of styles made him a great MC.  Best tracks: “I’m Bad” or “I’m Gonna Knock You Out.”
3. Rakim.  For straight flow, Eric B. and Rakim were one of the best duos in terms of one holding a mic and one spinning the tables.  There early use of what became the staple sound of later East Coast gangsta rap proves how much they influenced folks, even to today.  Best track: “Paid in Full”
4. Will Smith.  Okay, hardcore rap fans will argue with this one because Smith has never put out that “hard” record that seems to be mandatory to be included on the “greatest of all time” list.  But what Smith has done and done well for years is produce funny records, fantastic dance records and an occasional deeper track.  Just because white people like your music doesn’t mean it isn’t great.  (Though one could make an argument about Barbara Striesand.)  Best Track: “Getting Jiggy With It”
5. Speech.  I know, most people will shake their head and be curious about this one.  But the truth of the matter is Speech makes great music, has insightful lyrics and deserves to be on the list ahead of others from the same genre, like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.  Best Track: “People Everyday”

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Senior Pastor Reading List

5 books I wish more senior pastors read:
1. “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning.  It would maybe help pastors who have stuck themselves into the “church as a business” mindset and help them understand that we are all dirty, wretched street urchins who are deeply loved by the Creator of the Universe.  And start proclaiming that message.
2. “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller.  Mainly because they need to understand to some degree how the younger portion of the world is starting to think, challenge and desire.  And Miller’s book is a great place to start.
3. “Dangerous Wonder” by Mike Yacconelli because we all need to regain our sense of awe.  When you are professionally religious, God-talk can overwhelm the God-life part.  
4. “The Wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen because it takes understands that leadership comes through servanthood and through our wounds, not against them.
5.  The Bible.  I know it is cliché but too many pastors preach stuff they read off websites without ever having to think about it critically, much less what it means to proclaim real truth.  We got too many people preaching the scriptures like they are a textbook and we need more preaching life on life.

Sunrise Service

Five things that I really liked about the sunrise service at our church:
  1. It was messy.  Sure, I could have worked hard, cleaned it up and made it into a pretty, shiny thing.  But students led most of it and it was fine.

  2. The real-ness that came from student’s hearts.  We had three people share what Easter means to them and all of them nailed the idea of resurrection in their own lives.  It was real and honest and something we need more of.

  3. The thanks of the people who came.  Some people just carry more weight with me, people that you know love the church, care deeply for Jesus and are growing.  Those folks said thanks and it meant a lot.

  4. The prayer chapel.  It was built on the backside of our property in the last year by a scout for his Eagle scout project.  It was really nice and really perfect for the service.

  5. No hymns or hymnal!  (Just kidding…sorta.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

High School Coaches

(Here is a letter I wrote to the local school board and Superintendent following an ugly incident on Friday night.)

Dear members of the Coweta County Board of Education and Superintendent Bass,
I am writing to you as a concerned citizen. In my work with young people, I am weekly on the campuses of your middle and high schools all across the county, being a fan at games, plays, concerts and the many, many activities that you provide for young people in our county at the middle and high school level. I am greatly impressed with the quality of leadership and dedication that most your staff provides.

However, I am writing today because of an incident that happened at Fayette County High School on Friday, April 14, 2006, following a game between East Coweta's male soccer team and the same team from Fayette County. Following East Coweta's win in a hard fought game, and the team having delayed the traditional shaking of hands by taking a "victory lap," the lack of sportsmanship was heightened when a "community" coach threatened violence on members of the Fayette County soccer team as well as the coaching staff on the other team. It took several students, other adults and the head coach to calm the man involved and even then, he proceeded to use vulgar gestures at the other team, while taunting them and trying to instigate physical violence.

Athletics teaches our young women and men many valuable lessons about character, integrity, hard work and discipline. For the most part, I have seen those ideals in the sporting events I have witnessed over the last 4 and half years I have been in Coweta County. But this incident was unacceptable. It demonstrated a complete lack of class, dignity and character that we need to expect from mentors of our young people. When students, 14-18 year old young men, are trying to restrain a grown adult male in an incident, there is a serious, serious issue, not to mention liability.

I write to ask for you to inquire into the incident. The rumor floating around is that the community coach was insulted by a Fayette County player, possibly even spat on; even if that is the case, he should have approached the opposing coaches with dignity and asked for their intervention in the situation and sought resolution that way. Regardless, giving people "the finger", screaming at opposing coaches and players and ripping off one's shirt is exactly the kind of example we don't need to put before our young men.

Secondarily, I ask that you consider the qualifications and expectations of these "community" coaches. I wish I could email the community coach directly, however, there is no system of accountability; East Coweta High's website lists only the head coach involved. We need men and women who are examples of character, class and dignity, both in victories and defeats. We should never have to walk away from the fields of our schools and schools we visit ashamed of the actions of our coaching staffs, the players or the fans of any Coweta County school. Unfortunately, on Friday night, that wasn't the case.

5 Things Churches Shouldn't Tolerate

(Note: For a while, I am going to try and blog in list form, obviously with some of my thoughts thrown in.)

Five things churches should never tolerate:
  1. Weak-ass lemonade.  I mean, as much potlucks, fellowship night dinners, etc that churches do, each church needs a lemonade guru who know the exact amount of powder, water and ice to add.  Nothing turns people away from churches with weak-ass lemonade.  It says “Hey, we care enough about you to give you tap water with a hint of lemon powder.”  Shameful.  The best lemonade in the world ought to be at churches.  

  2. Bad soloists.  I don’t care who they are, what dirt they have on the music minister or whatever.  If they suck, don’t let them sing in a leading way.  Especially if it happens repeatedly.  And they sound like dead country music singers.  Especially country music singers that no one under 45 years old cares about.

  3. The guy who vaguely threatens people in church leadership meetings.  This should draw an automatic figurative and maybe literal beatdown.

  4. White people choirs trying to do black people music.

  5. Open-ended questions in children’s sermons.  It is just asking for trouble.  Kids didn’t head down upfront to play 20 questions where you hope they can get “Jesus” somehow as one of the answers.  Teach them something quickly.  (Side note: no “children” sermons with adult agendas.)