Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


In all Fairness

I said I would be fair to Jonathan Leeman, and I feel I ought to keep that promise. I must be getting soft in my old age ;)

Friday night, I told Darren that Jonathan's presence at Boyce is missed far more than almost any of us realize. I didn't mean in regards to my own journey, either, even though I could have gone on at length in regards to that. No, the void of Jonathan's presence is seen most vividly in the lives of those who have no real idea of who Jonathan Leeman is, or what he was to so many. As Darren and I discussed the difference between this academic year and the last, I found my eyes opened to my frustrations once more, but this time seeing them in the light of Jonathan's influence...or lack thereof. What I meant by that was this: I can look back at my time at Boyce College thus far and see a tremendous amount of God's grace having been abundantly poured out through that relentless and rock-solid servant, Jonathan Leeman.

*Sigh*...when I say, "tremendous amount," I understate his influence drastically. Jonathan was a mentor to me when I needed one, yet he was more than that; he was a friend. He invited me to trust in him. Yet, along with that invitation he bid me not to trust in him, but in Christ. In doing so he won more than my trust, he won my fierce loyalty. Jewel would possibly classify my fierce loyalty as being the positive aspect of my stubborn nature. She would not be wrong if she did so :) I am fiercely loyal to my friends, to those to whom I know I can entrust my very life without question. Those are the friends whose desires for me I do not question, even though they hurt me. I know their motives are pure, yet I am aware that our hearts are corrupt. Still, the precious gift of friendship is such that I can rejoice in the sharing of life, even in the midst of pain. So it was with Jonathan...and so it still is.

The role Jonathan played while he was Men's Student Life Coordinator at Boyce went far and above the job description handed down by the institution. It saddens me that he's gone, because I know that the young men who have come to Boyce this Fall and who will be here in the Spring do not, by no fault of their own, miss Jonathan the way they ought to. His presence was calming, despite the apparently distracted nature of his thought process ;) His speech was encouraging and gentle, yet filled with conviction. His friendship...oh my...there is no price one could pay me to forget his friendship. I would say that of a few men, yet now I say that of Jonathan. Do you know why? He was constantly teaching me one thing, and just one thing. And even though I supposedly already knew this one thing, he would teach it to me anyway, because I would always forget it. What did he teach me? The gospel.

I've said it before that of my closest friends, there's often one word or phrase that pops into my head when trying to describe them. This word or phrase captures the essence of whom I perceive them to be, and I will probably always view them light of this perception. With Jonathan, I think to myself, "the gospel." He knew nothing else, he desired nothing else. He taught again and again of the preciousness of the gospel, of the single-mindedness that the gospel calls us to in Christ. How precious a lesson! Jonathan continues to preach to me even now that he's gone, for I hear his voice as it comes unbidden in the midst of severe trial. I hear his voice, and it speaks of the gospel!

My reasons for mourning over the void Jonathan's departure has created are personal, yet they are not selfish. I yearn for these young men at Boyce to know the fellowship that Jonathan offered, and to fall in line under his leadership. I long for them to savor and rejoice in Christ as they ponder the wonders of the gospel. I long for them to do that, for I see the lack on our campus.

Yet, as I ponder this, I find a motive even deeper than my simply wishing Jonathan were still here. That motive is a strange one: fear. Why fear? Oh, it's absurdly simple. It's a fear that shames me and yet moves me. *Sigh*'s a fear that's created by a feeling of inadequacy. With Jonathan gone, who does it fall to to minister to these young men? Chip? Yes, partially. Who else? Who else is going to make an impact on their lives on campus? Jonathan taught me far better than he realized. A large part of the gospel that he rigorously preached was love. We are called to love our brethren, to engage them with a love that goes beyond the bounds of comfort. He challenged me to love my brothers, to lay down my life for them. But you know what? With his departure, I feel the weight of that challenge far more keenly. Am I good enough? Am I strong enough? What if I can't find the words? What if they don't respect me? What if I don't love them? What if I can't find it in myself to even like them? Such are my fears. They're there, and they're real. The question is, what will I do with them? Will I stand as a petrified fool, unable to act? Or will I, still as afraid as ever, trust the Lord for the strength to love and serve my brothers?

I find the answer in Jonathan's life. He lived an imperfect life, yet in doing so, he still strove to point me to Christ in all he did. More importantly, he let me in on his fears, his doubts, his weaknesses, and his failures. He showed me that though they were there, though they were real, he still journeyed. Oh, and what a journey! Part of the charm of Jonathan Leeman is that he doesn't know how amazing he is; I'm glad. He wouldn't be Jonathan Leeman if he did ;)

posted by Bolo | 9:03 AM
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