Campus Life

I’m in a Nashville hotel, talking to Jimmie Lee Sloas and Gordon Kennedy, the two rockers who call themselves Dogs of Peace. During the interview, I ask:

“Who’s had the greatest influence on your Christian life?”

Gordon looks up and says softly, “Chris Bonds.”

Who?

“Chris Bonds. I went to school with him from the third grade through my senior year,” says Gordon. “He had muscular dystrophy and was always in a wheelchair.

“Me and the other kids took turns pushing him around the playground. We were told he wouldn’t live much beyond 18. We knew we were watching a guy who might die just when the rest of us were getting ready to graduate . …

“You know, all the time I knew him, I don’t remember seeing him frown. He was so positive and upbeat. Even when a kid would say something cruel, he was always forgiving.

“Chris lived longer than expected. He died a few years ago. After his death, his mother was going through the stuff in his room and found a poem. …”

Gordon pauses and tries to clear his throat. His eyes are watery with tears. He coughs gently, then continues:

“Part of the poem goes:

I come to the knowledge/When the envying is stilled/That perhaps this is the position/That God wanted filled “As I think about these lines, I think about Chris on the sidelines, wishing he could get in the game and play with the other kids. But then, as the poem tells it, he came to grips with his role in life . …”

Gordon’s voice suddenly goes very soft. Then he whispers, “His life showed me so much about what it means to be a Christian . …”

In this issue of Campus Life, you’ll find a special section titled, “Popularity: Is It Wrong to Fit In?” These six pages offer a new way of looking at popularity. As you read this section, I hope you’ll think about Chris Bonds and the impact his life had on Gordon Kennedy.

I also hope you’ll think about some of the people at your own school who aren’t considered “cool” or “popular.” Maybe they’re the ones who could have a lasting impact on your own life. And maybe you could have a lasting impact on theirs.

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