Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cornhole--a whole new way of life?

Today I attended the COGS Back to School BBQ Bash. I have to say it was an awesome event. I met some amazing students, had some great food (go Chef Dan!) and best of all, played the greatest of all games CORNHOLE. It's the kind of sport that makes one want to repeat its very name over and over... CORNHOLE,CORNHOLE, CORNHOLE. 

I think this was due to the incredible organizational talents and encouragement of COGS President (El Presidente) Lee Taylor. (Is this a Louisiana thing?) Now for the non-initiated amongst us, Cornhole is a legitimate athletic endeavor, used by many Olympic athletes to stay in shape during the off season. Here in VB, we have an entire league set aside for its enjoyment.

What, you might ask, does CORNHOLE have to do with our spiritual journey? Great question. Well, truth be told I think that some of his fellow COGS students thought El Presidente had gone off his rocker when he suggested this local popular past time for the Hoedown, and why is that? Background. Environment. Experience. (Good sense?) Certain thing seem natural to us because we grew up with them, certain things seem totally foreign because we didn't. 

That's what higher education is all about--sampling the traditions and thought systems of others who come from different backgrounds than ourselves. Take for instance something ALMOST as controversial as CORNHOLE...SPEAKING IN TONGUES. Where you come from, only the crazies did that. But you get to Regent, and somebody on your hall thinks that is the most natural thing in the world. You--you think that they have a demon and should be kicked out of your apartment. What is a student supposed to do?

Do what I did today--take a toss at a completely new game. Listen to the new rules. Examine unfamiliar equipment. Learn to keep score a completely different way. (what was the score in that game anyway, brother Lee?) In short--keep an open mind. Religious people are famous for being close don't add to the stereotype. Before you judge, listen.  Who knows, you may have found a completely new way of life. 

For instance in Mark 7-- the Pharisees were used to following strict rules of ceremonial cleansing. It was a game they played to make themselves feel holy. It was ok, in itself, but along came Jesus and his followers, and they were playing a completely new game. 
the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"

 What was JEsus' response? Did he apologize and wash his hands, so as not to offend? no.
9And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 

It is possible in our geographic and religious backgrounds to invent traditions of men that supersede the laws of God. We look down at others because they don't know the rules to our local religious games... "Don't cuss, don't chew, don't go with girls who do... and other such things."  Maybe we're looking down our nose at others who don't play our particular brand of local game (religious cornhole?) and so they are just not Christians...right? Wrong. 
Maybe we're just stuck in our own local version of Pharisaism. 

1. What religious traditions today do you think are just "rules of men" that might contradict the laws of God?
2. What religious/spiritual practices have you encountered that are unfamiliar to you? How did you respond?


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ok--I suppose in a blog it would be somewhat important to know a few things about the person speaking. Or typing. Or blogging. You get the point. 

My name is Richard Kidd. That makes me "rich Kidd." I know, kinda crazy, I've asked my mother if she were still on the drugs from childbirth. I'm not rich, by the way, but Rich Kidd is not such a bad name. (My dad is named Jerry, making me one of Jerry's kidds. you do the math) I was born in Washington D.C. while my dad was at the Pentagon. We moved to North Carolina, where we spent about 13 years. (Greensboro, Shelby) and then moved to good ole' Virginia Beach when I started High School. I'm a graduate of Kempsville High School (Go Chiefs!) From there I went west on I-64 to the College of William and Mary. (Go tribe! wait--please excuse that. The NCAA has ruled that Tribe! is 'hostile and abusive' to Native Americans. maybe I should say ' Go geeks in green!')

After graduating with a degree in history, I considered my career options:
1. Teach
2. Go to grad school
3. Drive a cab. 

I opted for # 2. That is, after a year and a half of youth ministry at a place called Williamsburg Community Chapel (which is a completely awesome church and one of the first places I saw demonstrated an incarnational ministry style where spirituality did not cancel out humanity, but rather completed it)  Stated simply, I loved ministry with Dick Woodward and Bill Warrick. They are still my spiritual heroes.

After that I went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (now Trinity International University) where I graduated with an M.Div. (Magna thank the Laude) Immediately afterward I married Bridget Mathias Kidd, a 93 School of Psych. and Counseling grad. (ok--now my serious lack of skills is showing because Bridget's pic that I tried to post landed all the way at the top...which I suppose is fitting, so we'll leave it. )

Then, to fast forward a bit,(as my kids say 'One, two, skip a few, 100)  I went to Houston, then back to Virginia Beach, off to Atlanta for a few years, then back to Virginia Beach--where I dipped into the business world for awhile. finally, I came aboard at my wife's alma mater--Regent University. 

So a word now on the title--"Are we there yet?" It's about journey. It's about how each of us is a work in progress. It's about how we as humans learn to walk through life with an awareness of the spiritual dimension of our existence--something the Hebrew Bible calls a "ruach" a spirit (or wind!) Such that right living in the New Testament is called "walking in the Spirit" And let me be the first to tell you that my journey has been anything but straight...I've had twists and turns, ups and downs...and more downs. But always, it is when I recognize the Jesus the Messiah is walking with me that I can look back and gain more understanding of the curves and the washed out bridges and the desert stretches where I've been. 

One of my favorite stories in the Bible tells of two men on a journey. They were discouraged, downcast, desperate because of the things that had happened to the man they believed in. Little did they know, that man was right in front of them.
Lk. 24:15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.

The trick for me is to ask God to give me eyes to see Jesus on my journey, and to receive his perspective, and the result is amazing.
31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and 
opened the Scriptures to us?"

I know that I want my heart to burn with passion, not be downcast in depression. But life is tough, and that's often our response. I'd like this blog to be a place where I share my journey--maybe you share some of yours, and we'll help each other, like these two men on the road, to see Jesus, and to hear his perspective, so that our hearts would burn within us with passion for the risen Christ. 

That's all for now...but here's a question. 

"Where are you going?" (aka- what's your story? )

Let me hear from you. 

post here , or send responses directly to

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogs Away

Have you ever heard so much about something but just never got around to doing it yourself? Like trying that new cereal you've heard about, or buying one of those pulsing toothbrushes that line the shelves at Kroger? (I recommend those by the way) Well, blogging is like that for me. I've heard about it, thought about it, figured I'd do it sometime, and now--here we are.

The occasion for finally getting around to it (like cleaning the garage, or some other chore that you know needs doing) was in this case my accepting a new position. I am the new Director of Campus Ministries at Regent University.

Hooray! It sure beats unemployment. My journey has been quite an interesting one, which I suppose some blog time I will get into.

As for right now, I am interested in connecting with students at Regent University. (sorry to all my non-student friends) Shoot me an email HEre are the questions I am interested in!

1. What is your opinion of the spiritual climate on campus?

2. What one or two things do you think would make the biggest impact spiritually on campus?

Give it a shot, and we'll do this blog thing together.