Coolness Redifined

Over and over again I am amazed at the amount of time I waste, as well as many others that I know. We’ve all wasted time–precious time. I’ve wondered so many times what the source of this wastefulness is, and have come to some conclusions. These conclusions, will challenge both of us in our sinful bodies as we fight the war against the devil (which has already been won.) Our lives do not need to be wasted! We need to take hold of each and every moment we’re given, and fight the good fight in “peace” times and in war.

First of all, it seems Christians get “stuck in a rut” when they do not feel the enemy closing in. They put down their defenses, and the enemy takes advantage of the open gates in front of them. This happens all to often and all too easily.

I know a large part of my readership is made up of teens and parents of teens (and even ex-teens! What do you know?). We all know, right now, it is easy to take your eyes off of Christ, especially when things are going well. If we are not being persecuted or in trouble we are “slacking off” in the fighting department. We need to seek God and ask him to help us to continue fighting the good fight. It’s tough, I know. But we need to strive to be a great witness for Christ in all places at all times to all people.

Another thing that pierces my heart and makes me hang my head is when I contemplate on the present definition of “cool.” Everyone wants to be cool. And to be cool, you must dress like your friends. So much for being different.

Quick example: today, we went Christmas tree hunting, and two doors down there’s a semi-large field. It had just started to snow, and some of the neighborhood guys we’re playing football. What struck me were their admirable efforts to stay “cool” (figuratively and literally) in such harsh conditions. Shorts, two shirts, tennis shoes, and lots of mud and slime from football. It’s amazing what people will do to fit in.

That thought that we need to be “cool” is so prevalent in our society today. Be different, yet like everyone else.

But what is really “cool?” Or perhaps, a better question would be “what is truly great?”

Let’s travel together to the shores of Iwo Jima for a moment, and put aside that cheap word “cool” and watch for a moment the bravery and the carnage.

First, let’s take a look at the life of Jacklyn Lucas:

He’d fast-talked his way into the Marines at fourteen, fooling recruits with his muscled physique…Assigned to drive a truck in Hawaii, he had grown frustrated; he wanted to fight. He stowed away on a transport out of Honolulu, surviving on food passed along to him by sypathetic leathernecks on board.

He landed on D-Day [at Iwo Jima] without a rifle. He grabbed one lying on the beach and fought his way inland.

Now, on D+1, Jack and three comrades were crawling through a trench when eight Japanese sprang in front of them. Jack shot one of them throught the head. Then his rifle jammed. As he struggled with it a grenade landed at his feet. He yelled a warning to the others and rammed the grenade into the soft ash. Immediately another rolled in. Jack Lucas, seventeen, fell on both grenades. “Luke, you’re gonna die,” he remembered thinking…

Aboard the hospital ship Samaritan the doctors could scarcely believe it. “Maybe he was too young to die and too tough to die,” one said. He endured twenty-one reconstructive operations and became the nation’s youngest Medal of Honor award winner—the only high school freshman to recieve it.

Ray Dollins, fighter pilot at Iwo Jima:

The first wave of amtracs headed for shore. The Marine fighter planes were finishing up their low strafing runs. And as the last pilot began to pull his Corsair aloft, Japanese sprang to their guns and riddled the plane with flak. The pilot, Major Ray Dollins, tried to gain altitude as he headed out over the ocean so as to avoid a deadly crash into the Marines headed for the beach, but his plane was too badly damaged.

Lieutenant Keith Wells watched it from the amtrac…”We could see him in the cockpit,” Wells said, “and he was trying everything. He was heading straight down for a group of approaching ‘tracs filled with Marines. At the last second he flipped the plane over on its back and aimed it into the water between two waves of tanks. We watched the water exploding into the air.”

Military personel listening to the flight radio network from ships could not only see Dollins go down; they could hear his last words into his microphone. They were a defiant parody.

Oh what a beautiful morning
Oh, what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a terrible feeling,
Everything’s coming my way.

William Hoopes of Chattanooga:

As a rainy morning wore into afternoon and the fighting bogged down, the Marines continued to take casualties. Often it was the corpsmen [medics] themselves who died as they tried to preserve life. William Hoopes of Chattanooga was crouching beside a medic named Kelly, who had put his head above a protective ridge and placed binoculars to his eyes—just for an instant—to spot a sniper who was peppering his area. In that instant the sniper shot him through the Adam’s apple. Hoopes, a pharmacists’s mate himself, struggled frantically to save his friend.

“I took my forceps and reached into his neck to grasp the artery and pinch it off,” Hoopes recalled. “His blood was spurting. He had no speech but his eyes were on me. He knew I was trying to save his life. I tried everything in the world. I couldn’t do it. I tried. The blood was so slippery. I couldn’t get the artery. I was trying so hard. And all the while he just looked at me. He looked directly into my face. The last thing he did as the blood spurts became less and less was to pay me on the arm as if to say, ‘That’s all right.’ Then he died.

Every teen needs to understand what being “cool” is. It is a totally different definition from that cheap word we use.

Why aren’t we being like these boys at Iwo Jima? Why aren’t we fighting like that in a battle that is so much greater than all the wars ever fought on this globe?

Our thoughts of “cool” are so misconstrued. Are you willing to change your definition? Are you willing to not only change your definition, but also spread the word to others, whether in spoken or written word?

This all reminds me of that statement that you may have heard: “Do Hard Things.” These young guys knew what was “cool,” they did hard things, and they did their best for their country. We must do so much more for our God.

John Piper puts it well:

“Oh, that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk, and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy–as precious as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not God answer?”

If only God’s people would call my His name, and humble themselves and pray.

When Christians are not feeling pressed by the devil, the slackening in their defenses, resulting in sin and a lack of fervor for spreading the gospel. Another thing that has happened in our society is the emphasis on “cool.” True “coolness” or rather “greatness” is shown on the shores of Iwo Jima. Why aren’t Christians doing so much more for a cause that is so much greater than American democracy?

Are you willing to be an Agent for God?

(Second image from here, and that last link is for you to listen to the Agent)

5 responses to “Coolness Redifined”

  1. I believe John Piper told those stories in “The Blazing Center” DVDs. Our church watched them this summer. Great post on what Christian teens should do instead of just trying to fit in with everyone else!!


  2. Lindsey says:

    Wow…wonderful post, Tim! 😀 It’s so true, and really makes you think. Thank you for putting such effort into this post! 🙂 And yes, I think John Piper DID tell those stories in The Blazing Center- our church watched the DVD’s too.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I was almost sure I had already commented on this, I just got a hit to my blog from here. I’m with the guitar 😀

  4. […] I can’t say enough to relay to you how much I appreciate our troops, past and present, and those who have been willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Those who have died will live forever in our memory, and in the minds of those families who have lost so much. We lift them up in prayer today, understanding that even though they have lost a loved one, so many have gained. Our country would not be here today if we did not have men who were willing to die for our United States. […]

  5. Kristen Stoltzfus says:

    Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I never can read those kind of stories without feeling so proud that these great men (who really were ordinary men, in the beginning) were Americans. Oh, God, keep your protecting hand on the men that are fighting today!

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