Posted by: Brian Musser | July 11, 2016

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Posted by: Brian Musser | October 20, 2017

What is True? Who Do I Trust?

Question 4

Posted by: Brian Musser | October 16, 2017

Job Choices

So many of my most impactful conversations with students come when they are thinking about work.  The fact that Drexel students are always thinking about work probably increases those chances.  Drexel is a unique university where during a typical student’s five years here they will have 3 separate 6 month internships.  We call them co-ops.  If everything goes according to plan this allows them to graduate with 18 months of real work experience in their field.  For 6 months I minister to employees and then for 6 months I minister to students who are actively searching for their next co-op.  Drexel students are always thinking about work.  This allows me the opportunity to speak into that part of their lives more than most other ministers.

I remember this one student.  He was a special student.  Probably more than any other student he had the ability to make the Drexel system work to his advantage.  During his second co-op search he had two companies actively trying to recruit him.  The first was a government intelligence agency and the second was a private military defense contractor.  The student was double majoring in Physics and Computer Science.

The student was also a committed Christian who tried to process all his decisions through the lens of his faith.  Both of these opportunities were great resume building co-ops.  Both would open doors to a better career after college.  However, both caused concern with the student.  The government agency could not communicate to the student the specific nature of the assignment for which the student was being considered.  He would not know if the details of the job violated his morals until it was too late to back out of it.  He would have to subjugate his moral conscience to the government before taking the job.  That felt like a abandonment of what it meant to be a Christian in his mind.  The defense contractor on the other hand specifically told the student that he would be working on a new RADAR system.  The project was completely within the convictions of the student and he could work on it with a clear conscience.  However; the student knew that this particular contractor did have projects that he was against.  Could he work on a project that was morally fine if the company as a whole wasn’t?

When all was said and done the student ended up choosing the co-op for the defense contractor but more important than the end result was the process to get there.  It was amazing to walk with a student as they were seeking God’s will and wisdom in serious questions about their job.  He allowed the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and the counsel of fellow Christians to a help him with this decision.  Those couple of weeks did more to equip him to be a life-long follower of Christ in the work place than any other experience up unto that point.  Sometimes the faithfulness exhibited through making a decision is more important than the decision itself.

Posted by: Brian Musser | October 11, 2017

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Posted by: Brian Musser | October 9, 2017

Which Red Revolution

For a while, National Collegiate Week for Baptist Campus Ministries was split between two locations.  The one in the west at Glorietta, NM is still around.  But there was also a sister site in Ridgecrest, NC.  Since it was so much closer we could take groups of students to it.  It was always an adventure bringing students from Philadelphia into the South and having them connect with southern ministries.

I remember this one time when the cultures seemed to be in conflict.  There was a tall, young African American pastor on stage talking about his ministry in Memphis, TN.  From what I was hearing it sounded like a great thing.  But the more he talked, the more agitated the two students next to me became.  I started listening closer.  In my mind there was nothing wrong with what he was describing.  He was describing an inner-city ministry that was both changing people’s lives and winning people’s souls.  What was making these students so uncomfortable.  And then it hit me.  I heard it through their ears.

The ministry was called the Red Revolution.  It was about how the Red blood of Jesus Christ leads to personal and social changes that can only be described on the scale of a Revolution.  You see that was a great way to talk about things in inner-city Memphis, TN.  However; the two students next to me weren’t from TN, they were with us from Philadelphia.  But they weren’t even originally from Philadelphia.  The two students next me had been born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Philly.

The Red Revolution in a former Soviet State meant something entirely different.  It meant something to these two students that was antagonistic to what this pastor was describing.  The combination of hearing words historically associated with communist propaganda linked to a Christian message was creating extreme cognitive dissonance for them.  The language of their culture was preventing them from accurately hearing what the pastor was saying.

Now, to be honest, the two students sitting next to me were probably the only immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the crowd of 1500 students that day.  And it is my understanding that Memphis, TN does not have a large Ukrainian or Russian population either.  So this pastor wasn’t being insensitive within his context it was just a case of two different contexts crossing for a moment.  What we say and what people hear can be two drastically different things.

Posted by: Brian Musser | August 21, 2017

Friday Night Fundamentals

One of the blessings that God provided me when I was starting the ministry at Drexel is that Epiphany Fellowship was being planted almost at the same time.  It was a fruitful connection for many of my students to be part of the ministry on campus and then invest in a vibrant church plant like Epiphany.  I reaped many benefits from the opportunities several of my key student leaders found in that church as it started to hone their leadership skills for the kingdom.  I’m not sure what the ministry at Drexel would look like if the leaders of Epiphany had not Faithfully answered the call of God at the time they answered it.

I remember attending one of Epiphany’s Friday Night Fundamentals with a Drexel student.  These were intended to be small gatherings that taught interested folks what the church was going to be about before the church even launched.  Small was not the case.  The basement of the building was packed.  I’m guessing from a decade old memory that at between 50 and 100 people were there on a Friday night during primetime.

I don’t remember much of what was being taught.  It was one of the church’s core values.  But I do remember is when the African American student who came with me leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Do you realize you are the only white person in this room?”  I had realized that.  I whispered back, “Besides the teacher, I am also probably the oldest person in this room too.”  It was awesome to be in the heart of North Philadelphia with a room full of next generation African Americans on a Friday night going over the vision, mission and values of a new church.

That was very encouraging for me but my students comment got me thinking.  Unlike the some of us, most students have spent their entire lives in a desegregated world.  Elementary, Middle and High Schools have been diverse.  Every summer job and internship has had minority protection clauses.  Their college and university peers have included the nations.  Their TV show and movies were intentionally multi-ethnic works of art.  Their normal is diverse and for many of them a homogeneous group is the exception.  Unless they have grown up in the church.

Now Epiphany is much more diverse than it was back then before the launch but that is not true of the rest of the church.  The bad news is the lack of diversity in most of our congregations is just one of many reasons why the church seems disconnected from the next generations.   The good news when and if the next generation takes over the leadership of the church diversity will be the new leaderships new normal.

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