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The Fraternity of Christ

Fraternities and sororities are typically college groups that use Greek-letters to name their organization. The origin of fraternities in the United States began with the founding of The Phi Beta Kappa Society. On December 5, 1776, Phi Beta Kappa was launched at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. While movies like Animal House glorify fraternity life, the Bible speaks of a spiritual fraternity.

Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor, 1 Peter 2:17.

The first semester of my freshman year in college was a blur. I pretended to be a Christian during and day and partied with a couple of friends from my dorm every weekend. For the first time in my life, I was one of the most popular people at school, getting invites to parties at a number of fraternities. When pledge week came around, it didn’t think it was necessary as I already had my crew to roll with and hang.

Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, [h]born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now. 10 Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. 11 But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother [[i]in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes, 1 John 2:9-11.

When I returned for the Spring semester, half of my floor funked out. Feeling empty and ashamed, I decided to join as many Christian groups as possible, including the Black Student Union Bible Study. During a retreat on the campus of James Madison University, I rededicated my life to the Lord. Over the next four years, new friendships developed and prospered, welcoming me into the Fraternity of Christ.

by Jay Mankus


All is Not Lost

Classic movies tend to provide quotable lines which become part of pop culture.  Although some get more attention, one that comes to mind often goes unnoticed.  In Animal House, Kevin Bacon play Chip Diller who plays a character similar to a ROTC college student.  During a parade high-jacked by Delta Tau Chi who were recently kicked out of school, Chip tries to maintain a panicking crowd.  As people begin to run down the sidewalk, Diller cries out, “all is well, remain calm.”  Unfortunately, Chip goes trampled as his words got drown out by fear.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! – Psalm 37:7

If you turn on cable news or talk radio, not much has changed.  It’s almost as if networks seek to scare people, trying to out do competitors.  This ambulance chasing mentality will continue until the public stop listening, watching and get news in some other manner.  In fact, the times I tune out the world and other outside distractions, I feel great and tend to hear God’s calling much clearer.  Therefore, all is not lost, especially when you slow down to be still before the Lord.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him, Psalm 62:5.

When I lived in Chicago back in the mid 1990’s, I attend Willow Creek Community Church, just down the road from our apartment.  Pastor Bill Hybels spoke about the importance of finding a quiet place each summer to spend time with God.  The Psalmist above provides a similar message.  Despite any silence you might experience, waiting for God’s presence either through prayer or reading the Bible sparks spiritual growth.  Sure, everyone has their days, weeks and months in the dark.  Yet, in the stillness of the night, the Holy Spirit still speaks truth to convince individuals that all is not lost.

by Jay Mankus


Films that Persuaded a Generation

1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

While cable television first became available in 1948, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the Home Box Office was made available to greater metropolitan areas.  About the same time, 1982, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released nationally in theaters.  After going undercover in 1981 at Clairemont High in San Deigo, California, Cameron Crowe received the material he needed to complete this script.  Subsequently, this film persuaded a generation of teenagers to alter their values.  Instead of falling in love, sex became the ultimate goal of a relationship, fueling the sexual revolution that began at Woodstock.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body, 1 Corinthian 6:18.

2. Animal House

Four years earlier, National Lampoon magazine created a movie based upon Chris Miller’s experiences as a fraternity member of Alpha Delta Phi at Dartmouth College.  Additional influences came from Harold Ramis and producer Ivan Reitman during similar encounters of fraternity life in college.  Although this comedy was meant to laugh at these endeavors, a generation of college students were inspired to emulate similar practices.  Since art often imitates life, ethics, faith and morality are being discarded or put on hold until fantasies and the pleasures of this world have been satisfied.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever, 1 John 2:17.

3. Fatal Attraction

This final film is geared toward adults, for those individuals who have considered, contemplated or fallen into an extramarital affair.  In the 1987 thriller, Michael Douglas hooks up with a woman, Glenn Close, when his wife and daughter are away for the weekend.  When Close becomes obsessed with Douglas, this fatal attraction takes a toll on his life and marriage.  While couples initially flocked to the theaters to salvage their marriage, conviction and guilt did not last long.  Nearly thirty years later, fatal attractions seem to be a weekly occurrence either in high schools, college or the work place.  Somewhere along the way, these three films have persuaded a generation to abandon Judeo-Christian values for humanism, secularism or to satisfy worldly desires.  May a new film or movement shift the tides of change to prevent Americans from slipping closer over the edge toward hell.

by Jay Mankus


Not A Laughing Matter

Comedy and humor have been turned upside down over the past 50 years in America.  If you examine sitcoms from the last 5 decades, you will find that each entertainer tries to push the envelope a little further than the person before them.  Somewhere between the 60’s and 70’s, Hollywood crossed the line, leaving courtesy, dignity and honor out in the dark.  As cursing, indecency and swearing have replaced natural wit in recent years, the content of most comics is not a laughing matter.

When I read Genesis 9:20-24 today, I was reminded of the days of my youth.  If this event took place in the early 80’s, most of the audience would be in shock, not sure how to respond.  Thirty years later, souls have been desensitized by the acts of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21.  Films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Animal House have stolen the innocence of our children’s generation.  Thus, instead have following in the footsteps of Shem and Japheth, our culture is now laughing with Ham.

It’s only fitting that the father of the Canaanites, Ham, became the thorn in Israel’s side.  In fact, God demanded that the Israelites destroy the Canaanites so that their life style would not corrupt God’s chosen people.  One of Jesus’ disciples has given us a new command today, to live in the world, but not of it, 1 Peter 2:11-12.  God doesn’t want us to become Amish and move to Lancaster or Puritans who isolated themselves from society.  Rather, we need to be salt and light, Matthew 5:13-14, refraining from laughing at inappropriate jokes, yet enjoying good and decent comedy.  I am just as guilty of the next guy or girl, smirking at comments made on talk radio as I drive to work.  However, its time to stand in the gap, Ezekiel 22:30, defending the principles of the Bible, Psalm 1:1-2, by proclaiming this is no longer a laughing matter.

by Jay Mankus

Thank You, May I Have Another?

Although its contributed to the moral decline of America, National Lampoon’s Animal House contain several classic movie lines.  In an attempt to join a fraternity, Kevin Bacon degrades himself to become a member, famously saying, “thank you sir, may I have another” spanking.  Another funny, yet perverted movie, Airplane possesses another hilarious moment.  When the character Striker confuses his name with a command, repeated by a person from behind, leading him to punch the lady in front of him.

While woman are likely offended by this scene, God refers to a different kind of striking in Psalm 141:5.  Unless I am wrong, the Lord appears to adorn the notion of being hit hard by the truth.  In fact, King David feels so strong about this, he urges the godly to accept being struck my righteous individuals.  Since my mind often remembers movie lines, my first inclination of this passage was to proclaim; “Thank you, may I have another.”

The Bible encourages individuals to seek out the truth by testing the things that you hear daily, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.  The disciple whom Jesus loved eludes to this in John 1:3-5, painting the picture of God’s Word being light that shines into the dark places of this world.  Thus, to be hit or struck by a spiritual truth should be perceived as an act of kindness.  Instead of being soft, Christians should toughen up, learning to embrace correction and rebukes.  Therefore, the next time a friend speaks a word of constructive criticism respond like an eager student, “thank you, may I have another?”

by Jay Mankus

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