The Thing About Yard Sales

by Robert Johns | May 4, 2016

written by Erin Diaz

I wasn't a morning person as a young gal (sort of like today), so my alarm clock going off at 6:30 AM would immediately send me into a state of annoyance. This particular alarm clock was going off for yard sale day at my house, which meant I would have to participate in a sort of clothing catharsis. I don't really like getting rid of things, yet I have a mother who loves interacting with people and a father who enjoys nothing more than throwing things away, and that combination led me to being involved with putting on many yard sales.

A yard sale is an intriguing event - ultimately, you are selling items out of your house that you once bought for a much greater amount. Why not sell the clothes on something like eBay or through a store like Plato's Closet? That would be less effort on the seller in multiple ways.

While they could be more work, yard sales are important because aside from getting rid of things that need to be purged from your possession, you are able to interact with so many people. There is something exciting about seeing that an item you no longer have a need for is one that someone else is excited about receiving.

When it comes to buying and selling at yard sales, there is something important not only in being a seller, but also a buyer. I can remember distinct times from my middle school years when my neighborhood would have a community yard sale and I would ride my bike from house to house, finding trinkets I didn't really need and purchasing them. I still remember some of the people that I would see each year, selling their items and striking up conversations with the shoppers. This is what a yard sale is to me: interacting with people and realizing that they can pass something along to you that you never knew you needed until that moment.

With our Community Yard Sale being on May 4th, Student Activities is really excited. We aren't only excited about Mama Crockett's, Golf Park Coffee (love that cold brew), and the awesome items that will be sold. We are excited about the interactions that people will have with one another while they search through and share items. And that's the reason we do what we do - for the fostering of relationships through events, even in a busy time of the year. 

Summer Reading - 2016

by Robert Johns | April 27, 2016

written by Robert Johns

I don’t love to read. I wish I did, but I don’t. I love the idea of reading though. It makes you smarter and the books you have look cool on the shelf (probably not the greatest of reasons). But, every once in a while I find a book that I really enjoy and it doesn’t feel like such a chore. So as summer approaches, don’t plan on watching television all day - pick up a good book. Here are some of my favorites...

What books are you planning to read this summer?

The Music Festival DL

by Robert Johns | April 26, 2016

written by Erin Diaz

As Coachella is wrapping up its 16th year, the topic of summer music festivals comes to the forefront. Over the next few months, America has been #blessed with incomparable lineups, and this post is an encouragement to not only attend one, but to be as prepared as possible.

A music festival is an experience that I would encourage everyone to partake in at some point. This past September, me and a group of friends attended Landmark Music Festival in DC. We were able to enjoy a variety of our favorite musicians and bands, from Manchester Orchestra to Drake to Alt-J to CHVRCHES. There were a plethora of artists that we collectively wanted to see, and with the festival only being two days, we had to make a game plan in order to make the most of our time.

Here are a few pointers that I learned from Landmark that I would like to think could be applied to most festivals:

Eat whenever you can.

The lines at the food trucks inside the festival were so long that I wasn't able to eat inside the festival either day. I didn't want to miss any artists, so I was hungry instead, which takes away from the experience. Make sure you come to the festival on a full stomach and if you have any sort of gap between bands then eat, eat, eat!

Wear clothes that you won't overheat in.

You don't want to wear a turtleneck to these sort of ordeals! It's hot and crowded, so even if it isn't hot temperature-wise, it's still hot because there are a billion people around you. Dress appropriately to the atmosphere, but of course, keep it classy.

Prepare yourself for interactions that may take you off guard.

One of my closest friends and co-supervisor Drew is one of the people who attended Landmark with me. He wrote a review of the festival and has some really good insight into what it meant for him to attend Landmark, which could resonate with many Liberty students.

Make a game plan with your friends about who you want to see.

This was really good for my friends to do prior to the event because we figured out who we wanted to see, which stage each band would be at, and how long it would take to go between stages. We also broke off into groups or even went to a show alone that we were interested in seeing, and it was helpful for us to establish this plan beforehand so that we weren't stressed out during the day.

Landmark was an experience I'll never forget, and I guarantee you that if you go to a music festival this summer you will have a memorable experience as well. Firefly, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo...we're coming for you.

A Reminder, An Encouragement

by Robert Johns | April 25, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

A reminder, and also an encouragement:

“Christian art is the expression of the whole life of the whole person who is a Christian. What a Christian portrays in his art is the totality of life. Art is not to be solely a vehicle for some sort of self-conscious evangelism.”*

Francis Schaeffer said this 43 years ago in his book “Art and the Bible”, an exceptionally helpful little book (it’s just under 100 pages) and an essential read for its explanation of the Christian’s relationship to the arts, whether that person is an artist or a consumer. Ultimately, he is arguing that the themes in art produced by a Christian do not have to be specifically Christian, or even religious, in nature. It is a good reminder that the content of a creative work does not have to be explicitly, overtly Christian for it to have significance, beauty, or value.

Of course, the content or message of a creative work is important, especially when presented in an artistic medium. Schaeffer warns of the dangers of great art that has an “untrue or immoral message”; we tend to lower our defenses in response to artistic beauty, and so it can have devastating consequences in leading people astray.** His point, though, is that art’s value is not dependent on its Christian-ness. He puts it more bluntly: “Too often we think that a work of art has value only if we reduce it to a tract.”*** He simply points to the world around us, which shows that God did not deal only in “religious” objects, but in nearly unending variety and style****. Beauty is evident in nearly every detail in all creation, something we are able to imitate when we create our own works.

This idea of beauty in creativity touches on another idea that perhaps is more important: finding joy in creating, or the pure enjoyment of, works of art. But for now, we think this is an important point to remember as we watch, learn from, and discern our way through the various creative works we encounter, Christian or otherwise.

Schaeffer also offers a good encouragement to those of you who are Christians doing various creative works: use your imaginations to their fullest, and resist the pressure that is often placed on you to produce only that which can be rubber-stamped as “Christian”. As he argues, an active faith has already informed and continues to inform a Christian’s work, and that will show through whether the subject matter is a bowl of fruit or the fruit of the Spirit.



*Art and the Bible, page 88

**Page 66

*** Page 54

****Page 88

Preview: Literary Movie Night

by Robert Johns | April 19, 2016

written by Brian Shesko

Student Activities wants you to read more. We also want you to watch movies, so what better way is there to sort of combine those two things than by coming to our Literary Movie Night. Join us on Friday, April 22 on the lawn outside the Vines Center starting at 9 p.m./darkness for In the Heart of the Sea and Macbeth (2015).

First up is In the Heart of the Sea, the Ron Howard-directed, sort-of disappointment from last year. However, consider two things:

  • For what it’s worth, there is a sizeable gap between the critical reception of the movie and the overall IMDB user rating of the movie.
  • For what it’s actually worth (in dollars), In the Heart of the Sea didn’t have any help by being released the week prior to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Adapted from the non-fiction work of the same name by author Nathaniel Philbrick, it is the story of a whaling ship, the Essex, sailing in the early 1800’s which was attacked by a sperm whale and (no spoilers here!) may or may not have sunk. Unlike the real story, the movie version has an outstanding cast, anchored(!) by the Moby Dick of hunks, Chris Hemsworth, the always outstanding Brendan Gleeson, and the quite good Cillian Murphy. With tons of mega-budget effects and the always compelling storylines of man vs. nature and man’s will to survive, we say In the Heart of the Sea was sort-of disappointing not because it isn’t good, but because it failed to live up to its mega-budget expectations. Still, it is a spectacle and a very intense movie experience.

The only way to follow up the story that inspired Moby Dick is with Shakespeare, and last year’s Macbeth is as good a movie as there is to fit the bill. Michael Fassbender adds his name to the list of excellent actors who have recently portrayed Macbeth, a list that includes Patrick Stewart, Kenneth Branagh, Sam Worthington, and James McAvoy. His performance is outstanding and leads the way for all of the outstanding actors in the film. Certainly, the cast is one of its strengths, with Marion Cotillard (Lady Macbeth), Sean Harris (Macduff), Paddy Considine (Banquo), and Jack Reynor (Malcolm) giving excellent supporting performances. The other obvious strength of the movie is the cinematography, carried by the natural beauty of the English and Scottish countryside in which the movie was filmed. It is mostly true to the original material, though there are several moments that diverge from Shakespeare’s text. Additionally, we should mention that this movie is rated R so it is a more mature viewing experience than other movie versions of Macbeth. But this film is outstanding overall in its portrayal of one of the greatest stories ever told, and so we are confident in our presentation of it.

As usual, our Movie Night is free to attend, we provide free popcorn, and other concessions are available for purchase. Please contact us with any questions or concerns, and be sure to check out our website for more information about our upcoming Movie Nights and other events.