Friday, August 01, 2008

INTER:VIEW - Jason Fullen

INTER:VIEW is a new feature of Todd Blog where I interview my friends to showcase how rockin' awesome they are. According to the rules of INTER:VIEW, the interview post with the most comments will win a free guest-blogging spot in the future.

#1. Hello, Jason.
First off, Todd, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to improve traffic to your blog by this interview. I know we have talked off-line about ways for you to increase traffic and this is a sure fire way to skyrocket your numbers. Also, as we agreed in our previous email, no compensation is necessary, however, it is expected. If you would, please send payment to my PayPal account. I think you know where to send it. Okay, I’m ready.

#2. How are you?
Well, I’m good. It’s been a busy summer though. You know as a Pastor to students, I have a pretty hectic schedule. Already this summer I’ve had a week of camp which included, hanging out with students doing nothing, making late night trips to Waffle House, and playing games til’ late at night. Not to mention the couple of times I’ve had students over to my house to watch movies, and the last minute camping trip to go boating & water skiing with friends. Then there’s my most recent mission trip to Pennsylvania with seven students where we ate out at Panera Bread, went to Starbucks, and went to a state park to swim. When you factor in all the hot weather, ranging from a smoldering AM temperature of 650 to a high of 800, it close to unbearable. I don’t guess I have to say it’s been grueling, but it’s obvious I’ve been overworking. I definitely need to take some time off to recoup. I could use a little R&R. It would be fun to have a week to just chill. Maybe even spend some time watching some movies, or hang out with some students, possibly go to the lake and ski or swim. You know – down time. Speaking of down time, I leave for vacation very soon – headed to the Adirondacks.

#3. Jason, among all my friends, you are definitely one of the most jovial. You never seem "down." I don't think I've ever seen you angry. I'm sure you get that way, but would you say rage is a rare emotion for you?
Rage is not that strong a temptation for me. I do get angry from time to time, but I’ve noticed if I get too angry then some minor things begin to happen. Nothing noticeable, just a few minor things like, instant enormous muscles, turning green, and my eyes turn a strange combination of colors. I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about though.

On a more serious note, I do try and keep an accurate perspective on things, and not just my perception of a situation. I recently lost my wedding ring on a boating trip. It was very sad to me and I could have really gotten angry about it. Instead of just sulking about it for days, I tried to bring myself back to the reality that it was only a piece of metal and that while it was of great value to me, I should just be even more grateful for my spouse and the time God has given us this far. I’m trying to walk in the reality that I don’t control much of anything and that my life is in God’s hands.

By the way, if any of you happen to be scuba diving at Lake Raystown in PA, and you find a wedding band, please return it to me. Thanks.

#4. Do you think there's any chance that, later on in life, you'll snap and start punching your loved ones?
Funny you should mention this; I sometimes wonder how far people are from insanity. I’ve had some crazy thoughts and we all do I suppose, but knowing how to dismiss them is somewhat tricky. What if one day one of those crazy thoughts slips by? One crazy thought gets by and you don’t get a second chance. This is very scary for me. I don’t ever want to do something stupid and live in regret. I guess as frail humans we all are only a crazy thought away from insanity. So to answer your question, it’s highly possible, but I sure hope not.

#5. 'Cause getting punched by you would be something. You're rather large and strong.
Okay. Timeout. I want to take this moment to address something that has gone on too long. Fat Jokes. Did everybody else get this question? No, probably not. Just me. And speaking of questions, # 5 is not even a freakin’ question, Todd. Now out of all the people in the world to call a spade a spade, it would be you and you are not asking a question here, you are making a declarative statement: “You’re rather large and strong.” What is that even supposed to accomplish? Did you think this was the best forum to address my weight issue? Come on, Todd! A private email simply stating your concern for my physical health and well-being would have been enough and perhaps even received! But NO, YOU HAVE TO GO MAKING A PRIVATE MATTER A PUBLIC MATTER AND BROADCAST MY WEIGHT OF 294 POUNDS TO THE WORLD AND NOT EVEN IN THE FORM OF A BLASTED QUESTION! WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING? NOW YOU’VE MADE ME CUSS! WOW, TODD! IF YOUR PUNK BUTT WAS HERE RIGHT NOW, (O GREAT, NOW I’M TURNING GREEN!) I WOULD HIT YOU SQUARE IN THE JAW!

#6. Since moving away from Texas, you've gotten involved in hiking, biking and running. Has Maryland convinced you that Texans are lazy?
No. Maryland has convinced me that Texas is hot. I have enjoyed a new set of activities since coming to Maryland. It seems I have traded my rod & reel for a mountain bike, running shoes and a golf bag, however, it has nothing to do with lazy Texans. Having been in Maryland for nearly 3 years now I have had ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in new ways. I golf some, mountain bike when I can and try to run weekly. Rachel and I would like to run a ½ marathon in the fall. I have realized that in Texas these activities are possible, but maybe not as enjoyable because of the hot weather. Also, there is a ton of places to fish and hunt in Texas, and it’s not as easily available here. I’m also getting older, so I want to be healthy and let’s face it, fishing for catfish in a flat bottom boat while drinking Dr. Pepper and eating double stuff Oreos isn’t going to keep you healthy. That’s why I mountain bike or run while drinking Dr. Pepper and eating double stuff Oreos. – It’s way healthier.

#7. You're a middle school pastor. A very good one. What are the best and worst parts of serving young teenagers?
I’ll address the worst part first. The worst part of being a middle school pastor for me is having enough of a grasp on the culture and seeing the masses of young teens that are targets and they don’t know it. In addition to this is not being able to get the attention of a middle schooler to show them that they are being targeted. I don’t just mean by culture either, but also in the spiritual realm. I can see that middle schoolers with all their varying emotions, broken or blended families, identity and purpose seeking selves are being targeted for their money, desires, and ability to influence, for the sole purpose of creating profit for some company or in spiritual terms, drawing a student away from Christ. This is very painful to see and at times it feels so hopeless.

When I see families in the middle of a divorce, or see the pain of an addiction or see how some sin has crept in through some member of the family, only to tear up the heart of a 7th or 8th grader, I can get angry. I hate to see a student start coping with pain in unhealthy ways. As a student pastor, I honestly don’t get mad at the students as much as you might think. I often lay a lot of what I see at the feet of the parents. It seems that more often than not, good parenting produces some good character in a student’s life. Since I’m not a parent, I have to tread lightly here, but what I do know is that after 15 years of student ministry on some level, I have seen the power a parent has to influence their child to either follow Christ or to worship some ball, instrument, or the American dream, usually at the expense of living a less-than-faithful existence. The opposite holds just as true, and I especially appreciate seeing a parent teach their child how to excel in an activity while living a life that is full of faith and willing to make sacrifices for that faith. Watching the culture chew up a student is painful. Watching a parent stand by and do nothing (or worse, help culture) is almost too much to bare.

As to the best parts, well that’s easy. Watching students light up when they learn a new biblical truth and getting to witness it first hand. I love talking to students, making jokes and knowing that on the inside they are being drawn closer to Christ and that God is doing Kingdom work within them. It’s so much fun to me to sit and talk with a middle school student about spiritual things. And so rewarding to talk with a former student now in college and see all the things God is continuing to do. I love getting to talk to students and seeing the adversity they’ve overcome. Some have good parental support and others do not, but through it all, God is faithful to call students in a life of sacrifice to follow Christ and many students are answering that call. God has given me a passion for young students because of all those that cared so much for me while I was young. I’m truly grateful and feel called to return the favor.

#8. I'm going to ask you to be totally honest here. It's a well known fact that you love rap music. I'm going to ask you a question now and I want you to shoot straight with us. How much did you LOVE dcTalk's "Free At Last" album?
Okay, honestly I LOVED “Free At Last” A LOT! It was so much fun to hear and feel the cadence of the lyrics as they flowed from the stereo. It was especially freeing to hear rap music that I knew Tricia Ann (Ed. note - "Tricia" is Jason's mother.) wasn’t going to get all “up in arms” about! And it sure beat having to take my stereo and move the antenna all around looking for a Houston station to play just 1 rap song. Back in the day, you couldn’t find a rap song on any local radio station if you wanted to. “Free At Last,” made me free at last. Especially since Beastie Boys, Fat Boys and RUN_DMC were already banned by Tricia. J And while a do enjoy Rap music, I really can’t think of any rap songs on my Ipod. However, this conversation has made me want to download some Lecrae.

#9. Back when we were kids, your claim-to-fame within the youth group was your ability to rap the lightning-fast bridge of dcTalk's "Jesus Is Just Alright With Me." If you had to, could you rap it today?
Actually, I don’t think I could. I think a few months back I was somewhere and heard it and thought I was going to jump in and look all cool with the words and nothing was there. I would need a 3-4 warm up rounds and then I’d be ready to spit.

#10. Do you still stay up way too late?
Yes. I’m trying to do better, but I stay up way too late.

#11. Does it still take four alarm clocks, all set to different times and different alarm times to wake you up?
I’m down to 2. However Rach is still at 4.

#12. Thank you, Jason, for your time.
Again, this is not a question, but since you avoided the whole fat joke digression, I’ll let it slide. Thank you for asking. Remember, just like we said in the previous email, Paypal is fine and I will try and mention you in my next book, just to throw you a bone since I’m a good guy and all. Peace.

Like what Jason had to say? Tell him!


Melissa Lee said...

What do you mean, "what is an AG blog?" I never said anything about an AG Blog. I said an AG POST - but not an AG Blog. So where did you even come up with an AG Blog? And even if I did say AG Blog why would that be so hard to understand?

AG Blog.

Btw, read your interviews with your friends. Time to try something new.

I love your wife,

P.S. And no, you're not the only man. Scott writes in. As does some guy named David from Lufkin. Don't know who that is, though.

P.S.S. I'm in a really bad mood this morning. Can you tell?

Todd Wright said...

What I mean to say was WHERE is an AG blog.

I figured it would be cool to readh what he has to say.

Thanks for commenting.

Robert said...

I love this man!

Todd Wright said...

Come on, folks, let's give Jason some love here!

There's some good stuff there - the whole Dr. Pepper/Oreo thing...that's comedy, gang.

And just throwing one's weight out there? Dare I say, "gutsy?"

Susie Moore said...

Jason is hilarious, brilliant and relevant and alot of other really great things and I love having him as a friend!

Artie said...

Big guy.. I like big guys.. I weigh in around 320 so you're not that big. I did catch the underlying jab in that question #5 though.. so insensitive..

rk said...

Jason has long been my hero, and he knows it. It's really no one else's business, this relationship of perfectly appropriate affection we share, but I felt it was necessary to tell the world (or at least the people who read this blog) about it, seeing as how Todd has forced his friends to vote for each other.

This is no way represents a loss of affection/admiration for robert conn. Robert introduced me to babe's, so he will always hold a beloved spot in mine heart. But he's getting more votes, and i'm a "to each as they have need" guy myself.

Jason, I'll always be welcome on your couch. And i mean that.

Jessica said...

thanks for interviewing Jason. he is really quite amazing. i loved the whole portion of the interview where he spoke of the worst/best things about being a middle school pastor. it was insightful.

i liked his humor, too. i just can't get enough :)

jodie said...

I, too, have always wondered how Jason is so good at keepin' his cool. Great question...even better of the reasons Jason is one of my role models.

However, I won't be following his footsteps when it comes to hobbies: no mt biking or Dr Pepper (aka cherry cough medicine) for me!