Last week I knocked out “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. Typically, I like the idea of books, but when it comes down to actually reading one, I’m prone to dive into the first 100 pages or so and then let it collect dust on a shelf. “Crazy Love” really grabbed me and challenged me. Plus, my trip to Vandy gave me a good bit of flight time to do some reading.
Chan used a great analogy to describe our walk with Christ. He compares our relationship to an escalator going down. If you’re just standing still, than you are back-sliding. Instead, we need to keep running forward, making a little progress at a time, all the while, drawing some strange looks from bystanders as we plug along. As a Christian and someone who has run up an escalator the wrong way, I can appreciate the analogy.
What I saw during my visit to Texas A&M brought to mind this comparison. The men of the Gamma Chapter do many things well. They have a large pledge class, a solid campus presence and strong leaders in office prepared to turn control over to more capable leaders. Still, the officers keep running up the escalator.
They know they’re not perfect. They have their share of flaws, but they’re not ready to accept them as who they are. Complacency is a disease. We can be so quick to take a break and pat ourselves on the back, and the next thing we know we’re standing at the bottom of the escalator.
The first night of my visit, we met at Dr. Sean Mcguire’s house. Dr. Mcguire is the faculty advisor for BYX at A&M, as well as a former member of the Gamma Chapter. His wife was kind enough to provide us with a home-cooked meal while trying to get their two small children to bed at the same time. It was a great opportunity to get to know the guys personally and see how they interact with each other, with the exception of chaplain Max Heller, who blamed his mom for making him late.
We chased down the lasagna with a tall glass of officer meeting. This was my fifth visit, but this was the first time I have gotten to sit in on an officer meeting. I was able to learn a lot about the chapter and the officers during that hour-and-a-half. I dodged a bullet this week because I was told these meetings have gone 3 and 4 hours in the past.
The officers had their share of healthy disagreements in their decision-making process. When we talk about iron sharpening iron, we have to understand that it is a rough process. The metal collides and the sparks fly, but, in the end, we’re much improved. When you put six men with six different personalities in the same room, this head-butting is inevitable. I would have been more concerned if they weren’t challenging each other. As president Jeremy Rathbun described the situation, it’s like they’re looking at a homeless man and wondering if they should help him put on his pants or jacket first. They’re all working toward the same goal. They just have different methods of getting there.
Monday morning meant long hours at Barnes and Noble doing one-on-ones with my officers. They can turn into a grind when you’re having very similar conversations about BYX over and over, but Max kept me on my toes by taking me down to Best Buy to look at TVs. It is such a blessing to sit down and hear these guys’ hearts and where they come from. To wrap up my conversations, I try to pray with my guys. I have trouble praying for every officer, by name, every day. So to sit with them and pray personally for them has meant a lot to me.
I had some time to get worked by pledge captain Colton Brooks in disc golf that afternoon. Fortunately for him and his Chacos, he only had to wade through a muddy wooded area once looking for my disc. My short game is what killed me though. The round of frolf made me realize how much I missed the random sports I could play at any point in time during college. But any time I get to spend in my officers’ worlds is a good time.
I capped off my visit with pledge meeting followed by chapter meeting. I loved that the pledges all have white BYX polos and the actives black. It was a very clean and distinguished look. Only one word can really describe their dress code, and that word is “legit.” They look every bit the part of the social fraternity we are. I felt like something as simple as matching shirts was a great show of unity. Little things can go a long way, and the dedication of this chapter to make those major and minor tweaks should reap great rewards in the coming semesters.