Archive for the ‘ Creativity ’ Category

Dreams Come True

– Ben Leiter

This may seem like a childish thing to say, but it actually happened to me just recently.  Anyone, when they are a kid, always has dreams of becoming something great in their minds: a fireman, a policeman, the President.  My dream ever since starting to play the drum set in eighth grade was to be in a band.  I’m not talking your everyday school concert or marching band or just a volunteer group at a church, but in a genuine band.

My best friend at the time, being quite ambitious, said he would learn guitar, and would make one of his friends learn bass.  Needless to say, that never happened.  I was in high school marching and concert bands all throughout high school, played at my church on Sunday mornings, and found myself quite often just playing drums in my room to songs on my iPod.  I was beginning to think I was stuck in the musical world of an amateur drummer.

About two and a half years ago I met my friend Aaron Milbourn.  He is quite the character, and I was even more ecstatic to find out that he had his own band, Flight of the Fallen, with Tyler McCoskey.  Even before then, I had given up on my dream of being in a band, but I was still excited to meet someone who shared the same passions as me.

About a year ago now, Aaron asked me if I would play djembe for a song on his EP, Unshakeable.  Of course I said yes, and after recording the one song, I set up my drums because he just wanted to jam.  I was beside myself at this point and just had a blast.

Aaron and I really did not talk much until about a month ago because I was busy in school, and he was moving locations due to a job change, which he was now settling into.  However, he called me one night out of the blue, and said, “…me and Ty were talking, and we were wondering if you would want to record drums for our new album.”  His drummer had become busy beforehand and now attends Rose-Hulman, a little far of a drive.  My mouth moved; no words came out.  It was literally a dream come true

I think in this day and age people begin to think too realistically and lose hope for what they had dreamed of becoming.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  So feel free to dream of what you want to do in life.  There is hope that, one day, someone may just surprise you and your dreams will come true.  Oh, and did I mention that the name of the album I recorded for is ‘There Is Hope’?

The Economy of Grace

– Topher Endress

Being at a school like Purdue (or Vandy, in my case) allows us opportunities to see some of the big hitters of the corporate world.  We get the chance to rub elbows with recruiters for major worldwide companies, meet with alumni who have seen wild success and listen to the frontline of information concerning the economy – both from those in the working world and those studying it.  Of course, our schools are big enough to offer several alternative options of study in case rampant capitalism isn’t your ideal field.  And, as I will argue through this post, it shouldn’t be – at least in terms of Phi Tau.

Solidifying my position as a non-technical nerd, I’ve been spending my Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings in an early morning ancient Greek class (it’s ok, I’m jealous of me, too).  Among the few things that I have learned from this class are two words, which we love to join together in English:

oikon nomy: home name. Rendered in English as “echo nomy,” or economy.

The original conception of economy was not one of dollars and cents.  Economy instead meant considering the needs of a household or family unit.  I believe that it is worth our time to consider how we view ourselves and our brothers in the economy of Phi Tau.

Is the economy of Phi Tau one of capitalism?  Do we look to our brothers and our organization for personal gain?  Is the economy of Phi Tau one of Kenynesianism, where the desires of our men are held in check by the pragmatism of our bylaws? How do we consider the value and usability of the fraternity?  After all, we affirm that each man has inherent worth, and I think we can safely assume that the abstract parts of Phi Kappa Tau (Ritual, creed, the membership in something larger than oneself, having 90,000 brothers, etc.) and the potentials of Phi Tau (networking, opportunities for leadership training, chance to work at SeriousFun, etc.) all have value.  So, the men, the abstracts and the potentials all must be categorized into a coherent system, or economy.

I will say that I think this can be done better by someone smarter than I.  However, I will do my best to create a system that works and is true to our chapter.

The Abstracts of Phi Tau are tools for teaching

There is much to be learned from studying most things.  However, our Creed, our Values, our Ritual and any other writings or Phi Tau knowledge is intentionally shaped to hold more weight than a cursory glance would indicate.  We have some dense documents and studying them in depth will prove fruitful.  We as initiated brothers have an obligation to foster deeper understandings of Phi Kappa Tau, and that comes in large part by participating in and studying what has been handed down to us.  The tools for learning how to lead, love, serve, learn and grow are all before you now.

The Value of Brothers should be considered above all in terms of grace

America is known for it’s insistence on free-market capitalism as the way to prosperity.  I’m not going to argue that case on a macro scale, but I will certainly make the claim that too much of our lives are dictated by this thought pattern.  Based on the Abstracts of Phi Kappa Tau, I believe that when it comes to our interactions with our brothers, we should not be shaped by the free market, capitalist, quid pro quo mentality. The value that each man brings is not a commodity to be bought, sold or controlled.  First, recognize that you are only in control of yourself.  Then, give of yourself with zero expectations.  You don’t need anything in return for sharing your gifts with your brothers, your house, your oikon.  Instead, work to ensure the livelihoods of each are taken care of.  Our market-based perception is easy and readily permeates everything.  It is safe to give with the expectation of receiving an equal amount in return.  Grace means giving without respect to being repaid.  Men of Character are not safe.  Go outside of the system and give everything to community, charity and brothers.  The Economy of Grace is radical and shocking. Be radical.

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/586129
I really like this song – this small section can be encouraging and galvanizing.  Don’t let the nature of how others run things keep your from growing. This is a war against the norm!  What are you waiting for?  Why don’t you break the rules already?

The Potentials of Phi Tau are rewards only reaped after experiencing the Abstracts and Value of Brothers

I have heard several men try to recruit others (myself included) into fraternities.  Their main selling point is potential – large alumni/networking bases, leadership training, seminars, etc.  Sure, these are great things.  But by focusing on them without recognizing that our basis for having any Potentials is understanding our Abstracts and valuing our Brothers, they did a disservice to the men they ended up recruiting.  Not only is fraternity life not simply a club to join in order better one’s lot easily, the Potentials available are really only available to those who understand the Creed and live it out through an Economy of Grace.  Who can truly learn to lead without first serving?  And who can learn how to serve within Phi Tau without a knowledge of what Phi Tau stands for?  Serving, learning and growing are important, but each is far more edifying when you have reason to base your actions on.

I believe that if we re-categorize what we can gain from Phi Kappa Tau and place those benefits more or less linearly into this model, we will see that the Economy of Grace – built off of our Ritual, Creed and other Abstractions – will lead you to a better experience during your time as an undergraduate brother and will help the Potentials that can better you as a Man of Character materialize.