The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Just wierd...

My Old Job.
I wonder if I can edit it to include the unmentioned expectations...

Discernment or Boycotts?

Discernment or Boycotts?

It is an interesting thing to me to watch the approach of the church in regards to controversial issues.  Obviously this week all around the world the Christian church lived in terror that the bad theology and history of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code movie.  So many folks encouraged a boycott of the movie.  (Because obviously, when Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell wouldn’t overcome it, He meant unless Opie Taylor was behind the camera and Tom Hanks with a bad mullet was acting.)

One of the things that I think is a major responsibility of anyone shepherding young people is that we have an obligation to help students discern, not boycott.  For example, if the church tells everyone to stay away from the movie The Da Vinci Code, people show up, as the 224 million opening weekend demonstrates.  So knowing that students are going to be some of those dollars, we need to teach discernment as the primary way we engage the culture.

So how do we do that?  Here are some of the things that I have done:
  • Take students to the movies or show videos and then break down the subtle messages of films.  Infamously, I did this with some of the female students for the film The Notebook.  It didn’t go well, mainly because I have a tendency to be heavy handed.

  • Ask to borrow student’s favorite music currently.  Tell them you want to listen to what they are listening to.  For church kids, they suddenly have to think about the lyrical things they are putting in their minds.  And when they pass on their music, I sometimes go out of my way to walk them through the things that I find lyrically on their discs.

  • Browse their ipods.

  • Read the magazines they bring on trips.  When you are suddenly reading to them some of the stuff in Seventeen or Cosmo, they suddenly realize how ridiculous it is.

  • Visit their rooms and talk about what is on the walls and why it is there.  Students and their rooms speak volumes about what is important to them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

All's Quiet on the Western (?) Front

Some folks have asked why I am not writing much during this time.
The truth is…I am still angry.  Frustrated.  Confused.  Dismayed.
And when I am all those things, I have learned it is best not to voice my thoughts, ideas or concerns in a public forum.  So I am being silent for now.

I definitely have some new job prospects.  If you are the praying kind, please pray that all the things I am feeling right now won’t be things I carry over to the next church I serve.  It would be unfair to them or me.  But several interesting jobs, including one where I would work for someone who would be a FANTASTIC mentor for me, which is something that I long for.  

Today is my first solo babysitting gig with my niece who is almost 2.  Have to survive around an hour and half.  If you know me, you know this is way outside my wheelhouse.  So you can pray for that too.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Job Search Update

Though I will soon take the time to wallow in my self pity, I have been busy and will offer up some updates so you can know what is going on and what to pray for.

My resume is up at Youth Specialties , which is the largest clearing house of youth ministry job openings. It has already generated some interest and I am prayerfully considering an interview in Ohio. Ohio is a long way from where I am used to but it may be time for me to get shaken up a bit.

I also sent out around 20 resumes via email to churches that had opening on Youth Specialties. So far I have started with UMC churches in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and a couple positions in northern Florida. If I could have my pick, there is a very healthy, vibrant youth ministry at a large church in a college town that I think would be an excellent fit for me. The last few years one of my greatest joys has been helping students prepare for a life of ministry and in a college setting that would be a no-brainer. But there are several great jobs on the list and I would be happy to have God put me in any of them.

The next step is to consider a denominational change. The South Carolina diocese of the Episcopal Church has a wonderful support network and retreat system that I have admired from afar for some time. I am going to try and get in touch with their coordinator in the next few days and see what openings they have and if my gifts would be a fit in any of them.

Lastly, the church that I worked for did finally come to its senses and is allowing me to say goodbye to students. Sounds like we are doing an open house, pool party thing on Saturday, May 20th from 6-10 PM @ Janey Allen's house. It should be the best way to handle it. It will allow me to say goodbye and it doesn't create a traffic jam of 100 people in one meeting, which could easily degenerate into a lynch mob. I want to do everything I can to start the healing process for the students and help them move into the next stage of their lives.

Philippians 1:6!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"I didn't hear no bell..."

In the words of the great Rocky Balboa, "I didn't hear no bell."

This week has been a hard one, as I was asked to give and did give my resignation from my position as paid youth director. There is a whole mess of things that brought it to the point that it reached. Long and the short of it is that I was asked to step aside and rather than start a war, I did resign and began the move into the next chapter of my life.

Painful. I guess that is where I am at on the whole thing now. For the first day and half I kept waiting for someone to say that they were pulling my leg or to have the cameras pop-out and say "Surprise! You are on candid camera." But it just isn't going to happen. And the hurt, pain and sadness I feel for students and adults who I love deeply and who love me deeply aren't just going to go away.

But, like the great Rocky Balboa said near the end of Rocky V, "I didn't hear no bell." I certainly feel like I am in the midst of getting the crud kicked out of me. But it isn't over. Not by a long shot. I am very much certain that I am going to pick myself off the floor, dust of my sandals and find a new church to serve. No matter what men and women may say, my call is far greater. I know what I am called to do and who I am called to be. Being dismissed from one church isn't going to change that.

So, if you are the praying kind, pray for my friends who are being left to pick up the pieces of a situation that they didn't create and that they weren't consulted on. When I arrived at Cornerstone, one of the things I said was that I felt like my highest goal and most important use of my time would be to build a team of adults to minister to students. 4 years later, that group will keep doing exactly that and I could not be prouder of them. The kids come first and they are demonstrating that love and dedication in ways far better than I ever could. If they are the largest part of my legacy at Cornerstone, then I am humbled by the way they honor me and what I taught them by continuing on in the work God has called them to. (It isn't and never was about me...)

Pray for the students who are devastated. They are shocked, hurt, and feeling like the church has betrayed them and their hearts in a major way. Pray that they would fix their eyes on Jesus and that He will carry them on. (It isn't and never was about me...)

And lastly, pray for the folks who are rejoicing in the midst of the mourners. (It isn't and never was about me...)

And I will close with the words from a David Wilcox song:
"Look, if Someone wrote a play
just to glorify
what's stronger than hate,
would they not arrange the stage
To look as if the Hero came too late
He's almost in defeat
It's looking like the Evil side will win,
so on the edge
of every seat,
from the moment that the whole thing begins
It is... Love who makes the mortar
And it's love who stacked these stones
And it's love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it's love that wrote the play...
For in this darkness love can show the way."

Friday, May 05, 2006

High School Graduate Wisdom

5 words of wisdom I would pass on to graduates…
1. Don’t ever date someone with orange skin. If your friends can say these words “She’s Hulk Hogan orange” then the relationship will always end poorly. (Are you listening Matt Leinart?) BONUS advice: Stay away from anyone named Paris or Tara

2. Never, ever answer your youth pastor friends “What are you doing tonight?” with the answer “I am a part of the meat rubbing team.” Stupid BBQ

3. Ignore whatever your college dorm policies are. For the most part, they are asking other students to be the enforcers, which never, ever works well. If the RA enforces it, then he is the jerk and bad things happen.

(Bonus story: During my freshman year at UGA, our RA was a pretty good jerk. So one weekend when he went home, we found crazy Wayne sliding some yellow discs under the RA’s door. When asked about it, Crazy Wayne announced that it was his own urine, frozen and sliced for this purpose. So every time the RA went home, he would come back to puddles of urine. He must have had the lock changed 10 times that year. And at one point, he threatened to do DNA tests (can you see he was a jerk?) so Crazy Wayne started using his girlfriend’s urine. And yes, we started calling Wayne “Crazy Wayne” before this point.)

Double bonus story: In order to get out of a bad rooming situation, break a window, say you broke it in a fight and pay the $25. It is amazing how well this works.

4. Learn how to survive on minimal amounts of food. At some point in your college life, you are going to squander your wealth. Maybe on that date with that one girl who is too high maintenance, maybe on too much pizza. It will happen. And when it happens, you need to be ready. The college dream team of Ben, Chris and myself scrapped together $20 and lived on a warehouse size thing of pancake batter for 2 and a half weeks during my junior year of college. At the end, we were just mixing it and eating it raw. I really, really think Ben decided to marry then-girlfriend Grace when she came over and cooked us Hamburger Helper one night. That’s right- Hamburger Helper was a significant milestone in their relationship.

5. In the words of the great Tripp McNeely, “Oh, that, and bring rubber flip-flops in the shower. I got warts all over my feet.”