Chris Reynolds 's Articles

Something Corporate: Suggestions for CSU's New Stadium Name


When interviewed in 1996 about the building of Hughes Stadium on Bureau of Reclamation land near Horsetooth Reservoir, changing the then 30-year plan to build it just south of Moby Arena, former Colorado State University president William Morgan said, "A football stadium is only used six times a year, and that was just a waste of space on the growing campus."

This argument — and it is a very valid point — supports the vehement opposition to spending huge amounts of money for an on-campus stadium. However, this would also be a counterpoint for those worried about crowds and parking: It’s only six days a year. That leaves 359 days to thoroughly enjoy the Choice City.

To add to the controversy, there is now talk of the university selling the stadium’s naming rights to a corporate sponsor. I am a little afraid to even use the “c” word in this choicest of all cities. It is a bad word around here, and the irony is not lost that the city known co-ops and hyper-local would have a corporate sponsor for the home of its treasured Rammies. I, for one, am excited about the stadium (an alumnus that lives about five miles from campus) and am excited to visit campus for games. They may have to win me over, though, on this sponsor-named stadium idea. There may be some options that I, as a long-time resident of Fort Collins, could get behind or at least tolerate. So I have devised a few sponsors and naming suggestions to help out my alma mater:

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Purchasing Power: How God Determines What Is Valuable in His Economic System


I went to school to study zoology and become a veterinarian. I quickly changed my major to philosophy. After being asked by my brother when I would begin accosting strangers in the park, I realized that I needed a marketable skill. So, I added history — obviously. As it turns out, my life's academic work and training is as a social "scientist" and teacher, with economics being my greatest academic passion.

Like all "sciences," economics is primarily a study of what is true. Jesus came to testify to the truth (John 18:37). Good economics, then, should lead us to exactly what Jesus came to tell us. Economics is at the very heart of the gospel and all of reality.

I teach my students that economics is defined as "the study of decision-making in the face of scarcity." Shortly after this definition, we talk about time being our most scarce resource. You cannot gain any more of it and it is quickly running out (unless you are Justin Timberlake).

In a word, economics is the study of value.

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Pining for the Sudden Joyous Turn of Christmas


I love Christmas music. I constantly bombard my students with it from before Thanksgiving until "winter" break begins (which has, thankfully). They grow tired of it, but I never do.

Especially this year, the idea of Advent and Christmas cannot be overindulged. The last three weeks since Thanksgiving have felt like an entire semester. At the high school where I teach, a student committed suicide; administrators thwarted a student’s plan to attack the school, which was eerily similar to the attack at Arapahoe High School; and we were in a "lockout" a week ago because of a potentially violent sheriff’s department incident right outside our school. The sentiment in our office has been, "We just can't catch a break."

To further my bemoaning, our big, dumb black lab, Jimmy, had a run-in with a bottle of ibuprofen and has spent nearly two weeks at the vet. He looks pathetic but will probably pull through (my bank account, on the other hand...). Oh, and my wife has an ongoing and frustrating health mystery/crisis. I just need a break.

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Same Gospel: Answering Macklemore and the Heart of a Generation


If you are like me, you may be growing tired of the constant debate over gay marriage. I don’t know if this is the best response, but you can only hear the same canned arguments lobbed back and forth between talking heads and angry politicians before you’re ready to unplug the internet, TV and just let go of the entire thing.

This debate permeates everything. I was reading an article about the new iPhone the other day and the comments at the bottom of the post devolved into accusations of “homophobia.” Several minutes later, after emerging from the comments thread, I thought, “Wait … wasn’t this about the new update for my phone?”

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Despicable Me: On Public Education and Being a Sinner

Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us. – Charles Spurgeon

Close friends at Summitview have more than once referred to me as “cheeky.” I assume that this is a British term that encapsulates all of the best parts of wit, sarcasm, cynicism and humor. But maybe I am being optimistic. At my worst, “cheeky” is a charitable description of my nature. I can be straightforwardly cynical, rebellious and quick-tongued. I have a desire to break from stereotypes and confront people's perception of the way the world works. So often, this is purely sinful.

Recently, I was confronted with the idea that I tend to play the villain, unknowingly, perhaps because there is an area of my life where I am treated as the villain. In the animated movie Despicable Me, Gru is a loveable bad guy who relishes the role of the villain – doing his own thing and living by his own rules. (Spoiler alert!) Through a series of hilarious circumstances, the film finds its conclusion in the three daughters that Gru adopts and how their love shows him that he does not need to be a villain. Love overcomes his rebellion. It can even overcome “cheekiness.”

We (myself, Summitiview, the church and society) tend to vilify others. We literally make them “other” than us for whatever reason, and the “villains” end up trying desperately to find identity in the label or stereotype that we give them. They cannot possibly be like us, so they don't even try.

I am a public school teacher. I am seen as “other.” There are several of us here at Summitiview (and I don't presume to speak for them), but sometimes I feel like a villain. According to parts of Christendom and conservative America, I propagate the lies of liberal government institutions and polish the brass on the sinking ship. I work for six hours a day, nine months of the year and get gold-plated benefits because of that evil union. Once I am tenured it is impossible to fire me. I don't let kids pray in school. I support the teaching of evolution and rewrite history. Character education in my classroom includes birth control training, keeping the public displays of affections to a minimum and making sure that no religious group gets as much of my time as the Mother Earth Club or Rainbow Club.

Is this how we see public educators? Is this who I am and is this what I am wasting my time on? Whether its members of my own church asking me, “How can you do that?" or through the political rhetoric of favorite Christian media outlets, I am a villain.

We vacate entire sections of society because they are villains and then expect something to change.

Recently, I was honored at a Mormon banquet for public educators. All of the graduating seniors in the area chose one teacher to honor as the most influential teacher from their childhood. Most of us were public school teachers, and some were dance teachers or coaches. I felt like Gru in Despicable Me. It was the first time in a long time that I didn't feel like the villain. Someone helped me let my guard down. I realized that I didn’t need to be “cheeky,” cynical or rebellious because that is not my identity anymore. My identity as the mischievous civil servant was changed to that of someone far more valuable.

I do not want to sound like a bitter school teacher. I was on the other side of this equation for once, and the one thought that popped into my mind that night was, “Shame on us.” Shame on me. This Mormon congregation did a better job than Jesus' church sometimes does in telling educators that they are not villains. We disagree on more things than I count, but one of their students spent five minutes honoring me and bridging the gap. Every elder and leader in the church nodded in approval, and before I left, every one of them looked me in the eye and sincerely thanked me for what I do. I cannot know their motives, but I do know that I felt much more welcomed than I have felt at my own church in a long time.

I am not trying to accuse anyone, but it gave me pause to ask the question: “How often to I vilify others?” Do I take the political rhetoric and cultural stereotype as the whole description of one of God's children?  I don't vilify public education but I vilify plenty of other things. I may even at times vilify those who have these misunderstandings about me. This is mutually assured destruction. 

I know that when I make someone into a villain, I am not saying, as I should rightly say, that they are a sinner, but that somehow their sin is greater and more devious than mine. I do not want to bridge the gap between me and the villain – showing someone their rebellion and their worth, their need for a savior and that I appreciate what they do. 

What am I afraid of? That I may get some of their sin on me? If that is the case, then they should be more afraid of getting some of my self-righteousness on them. 

The bottom line, and after weeks of reflecting upon this, is that it is not about me at all. I create villains out of “them” when my fears supplant the power of God. When we act out of fear, selfishness and the desire to just win the argument, the only possible outcome is self-righteousness. Somehow my life choices have purchased for me a better standing in the sight of God and the world than “theirs” have. When my standing before God is purchased only at the Cross of Christ, then no one is any more a villain than I am. The Cross is truly the only bridge between sinner and holy God, as well as between sinner and sinner. 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:18-21)

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