Joan and I finally went out to the Grand American to have a lunch that our connoisseurs from church rave about out at the shooting complex where the Grand American was taking place. We would end up having the best hamburger we ever had at “The Butcher Block” stand from Sparta. This was always accompanied by a mountain of home made ice cream from the farming community. The rain forced us all to closer quarters where we ended up sitting with a teacher from Trico who recognized me and a retired Sparta math teacher named Gary Ebers. It turned out that Gary was in charge of hiring for the event and asked us why we were not helping them out. He asked us to fill out an application for the last three days because his university students were leaving. We did and would end up working the last 3 days of the show as scorers for the different shooters.
Ebony gave me some SpartaHigh School history concerning Gary Ebers. He had talked about teaching math while were waiting out the rain in such a way as to make me wish he had been my math teacher through high school. I always managed with a B, but I never really understood the “whys” of it all. By the time I got to college I would end up dropping out of the math class because I could see it was all repeating: I would do the work but not really ever get it. This is a long way of talking about Gary Ebers the math teacher who was able to inspire the students of Sparta to learn math. His motto, anyone can learn the math. He was the teacher to teach them. The Sparta math team would win state 10 years in a row under his leadership. Ebony said that the 11th year when they came in second the entire auditorium applauded when they came in second instead of first.
So let me get back to connecting this with “one minute bible studies”. I was assigned to a group of young men. The job is to keep the machines in the traps filled and running and score the shooters. As I approached the group of young men the first thing out of one of there mouths, Al, was: “you did a bible study with me”. What a great way to start out the 3 days of work with the group. When properly staffed you would do two groups and take a break. I noticed all the guys were living on their phones and I couldn’t believe they were all facebooking it and as it turned out they were all playing their shooting games. They could play their game at home and then continue playing the game on their phone. These games are what their conversations revolved around.
I reached a conclusion, rather right or wrong, I am not sure, but I concluded that the lives of these young men revolved around games and porno. That Saturday after our 3 days of work we went out on an outreach to do our one minute bible studies with people. There was a group of about 8 guys at one house so I went up to them and did the one minute bible study. This led into a conversation about their lives and their futures. I threw out the conclusion that their lives revolved around playing games and porno and they didn’t even blink. They were all between 17 and 19, a couple had just worked the gun show but really they didn’t have a lot going on in their lives. What shocked me was that there was absolutely no protest when I mentioned games and porno as if though that was the most normal thing in the world. One guy would ask me when watching porno became sin which led to a discussion about the difference between the make believe and the real thing. It ended on a good note and an invitation to be one of the Spartan 300 here in the little town of Sparta as we try to turn the world upside down with the preaching of the gospel.
That was last week, so last night I had the Arp’s and Ryals, two pastoral couples, over for dinner. After dinner we took our coffee and drove around Sparta. I saw a group of young people in a front yard so I decided to do a one minute bible study with them as a demonstration of the outreach to my pastor friends. The kids knew what was happening as soon as I got out the car and the two most active kids jockeyed for position to be the one to choose the bible study. It was then that I was knocked over by what one of the young girls said. She let me know that she knew what the 10 rules of dating were. That is the title of one of the bible studies that we do. I asked her what they were. She answered without missing a beat: “Rule #1 is: Do not fornicate and rules 2 through 10 are: refer to rule #1.” While this was going on the mother would be checking on them from the upstairs window and when she heard I was the pastor from the Potter’s House doing a bible study she encouraged me to continue and then let me know that she knew the ten rules of dating also.
So what lessons of life can I gleam from all of this. One is that young men are in desperate need to have a reason to live past games and porno, even though as Glen from Instapundit argues, it is the reason for the reduction in crime rates across the country. The other was the subtle influence that our bible studies are having in the community. It has been two years now and I have stopped keeping a running total; but when that girl and her mom could acknowledge something from those bible studies it just reinforced everything I believe about the church, the word of God and outreach.