The New Beginning


This week started a new semester, a new chance at learning new material.  New and old faces pass us in the hallways, and this is a new beginning for The Cross-Between.  This summer, I worked almost every day.  I didn’t go on vacation, just worked and worked, I didn’t even leave town, except for some training I underwent.

You would think it would be a great time to write, to get a lot out of my head, but it wasn’t. I was always tired from work, I was always stressed over finances, and when I wasn’t tired or stress, I’d go outside with a lighter, and make a bonfire in the fire pit, or go hiking on the AT (Appalachian Trail).

This summer I failed as a writer.

But the summer is over, and now in school, I feel that the rhythm of school and the focus of learning gives me ideas to write about. The rush makes me want to write, and when I write for class, I find ideas within that I could write about here.  I will be writing a lot this year. I have two communication writing classes, one on news writing, the other on editorial. I’ll be writing in the opinion section for the Liberty Champion (the school newspaper), and here, The Cross-Between.  I take The Cross-Between seriously, and even though my summer didn’t show it, this semester is going to be a great time to regurgitate the things I learned this summer.  One thing I learned, make sure when you create a hootch out in the woods during Army training, use a mosquito net along with the ponchos.  Stupid mistake!  I could have enjoyed many more hours of sleep with a mosquito net.

This new beginning to the school year is also part of my long journey to becoming a successful and published writer/journalist.  The next step, is my journalism degree, and after that finding a humanitarian type organization or magazine somewhere around the world that needs a journalist. On this journey, I will have The Cross-Between, and keep writing. This summer was a three month break, but I’m back and will keep this adventure going.

Grace and Mercy


What is mercy? What is grace? Usually I would give a definition to explain what they both are.  I might reach into the mind of theological professors to find out what they believe grace and mercy are.  But today, I’m not interested in what the definition is.  I don’t need to know what others think they know about it.  Today, I have some real life situations I’d like to examine to show you what grace and mercy are.

Sometimes I get tired in my theology class, so I bring fruit chew candies to my class to keep myself awake. I decided I would offer two of my classmates a piece of candy.  The first guy declined my offer, and wouldn’t take a piece of candy.  The second guy accepted my offer without hesitation, and I gave him a Starburst.  But what if, in the minutes following, the first guy decided he did want the candy?  What if he changed his mind?  Would I have given him the candy? Would he have had the courage to ask me again? Or would he have waited until I again offered the candy?

In the movie Training Day, starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Dr. Dre, and Ludacris, there’s a great example that I’d like to use.  At the beginning of the story, Ethan Hawke is a rookie police officer and is about to get a one day evaluation by Denzel Washington. Denzel wants to evaluate him to see if he’s good enough to be on the undercover drug team.  Denzel is sitting in a Diner, and Ethan walks in and sits down. Denzel then offers Ethan breakfast, but Ethan turns down the breakfast.  After a few minutes of them sitting there and having a conversation, Ethan decides to get some breakfast after all, but Denzel yells at him, and tells him that he messed that opportunity up, and now, can’t get breakfast.

This scene in Training Day is a great example of what God’s mercy and grace IS NOT LIKE.  If we deny the grace God has for us, but ask for it at a later date, He will not hold out on us.  No matter when we ask for it, He will have that salvation for us.  Denzel Washington had no mercy or grace, and when Ethan Hawke asked for breakfast later, he wasn’t allowed to get any.  But when we say no to God, say no to God, say no to God, and then say yes to God, He is there with open arms.  God’s love is so abounding, that a sinner, someone who denied Christ, someone who spat at the name of God, can be saved.  That’s what we see with Paul in the Bible.  He murdered Christians, and laughed at Christ.  He hated these followers of Jesus, and did everything he could to put them in jail, and have them executed.  But when he realized Christ was the Saviour, and that he had been wrong, God did not hold out his mercy and grace.  God’s salvation was freely given, because God’s grace and mercy covers all.