Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Youth Group Blog

Youth Group now has a blog!

Go to the blog for summaries of what you missed in youth group, pictures, and extras. The first post has a list of possible names for a our youth group.... go give some feedback.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I <3 DC

Today was my first day back at school, and I'm actually really glad to be back. I'm feeling rested (spiritually, that is), and have a renewed excitement about my calling. I went to my first class, Gospel in a Consumer Culture, which is going to be really cool. Except that there's a lot of reading. I think this will be a good chance to make some social justice-y friends.

Class got out early, so I paid tuition, bought books, validated my library card, and found myself falling asleep in the student lounge with 2 1/2 more hours until dinner. I tried to take a nap in my car, but that didn't really work, so instead I drove down the street to Starbucks. I sat on a stool in the window and did some reading, but mostly I looked out the window and thought about how much I love being in DC. I would love to walk down every Monday, but I won't usually have enough time unless I come early.

The Starbucks is right across from the American University Law Library, so I was surrounded by the kind of humanities/social science major conversations that make me miss Mike Buck. There were also a few pockets of stubbly be-hoodied law student (read: guys in their twenties), so I may invite Marti to come hang out with me there sometime. Who knows, maybe I'll be sitting there someday and some Christian law student will come up to me and say, "Are you reading Following Christ in a Consumer Culture? I love that book!"

DC is just so pretty and full of interesting places, that I'm looking forward to the days when I'll be one campus enough to go out and explore.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Get Excited

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Harold Whitman

I have been following politics since my grandparents made us eat dinner around the TV during the 1992 Democratic National Convention. I became old enough to vote 6 days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and have watched American politics grow increasingly more polarized and fear-driven. I felt frustrated with politicians, because I didn't hear anyone talking who represented me. I have great respect for the hard-earned wisdom of seasoned politicians, but I wonder why 45 is considered young in Congress, when the minimum age is 25 for the HR and 30 for the Senate.

Lately, I've been more hopeful though... and even excited. I'm pretty excited about Gov. O'Malley, and I really like Sen. Obama. I really really like Obama. I like what he has to say. I like the integrity that he has shown. I like that he talks about his faith and recognizes that standing for justice and unity with others is part of being a Christian. I don't know if he is ready to run for president, or if the country is ready to elect him, but I am excited to see what happens. I also appreciate that he is using the internet (and Facebook!) to reach out to young adults.

Of course I am going to use discernment in deciding how much I want to get behind him. I was excited about Howard Dean because he also reached out to young adults (and was really enthusiastic), but I'm not sure I ever really saw him as president.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 15, 2007

South Africa Pictures

Since people have been asking, here's a link to my SA pictures!

Is (red) the new black?

During my tour of Robben Island, I found myself standing in a courtyard next to a picture of Mandela standing in that very same courtyard. I turned to Kate and said excitedly, "Nelson Mandela stood right here!" Of course it seemed immediately weird to me that I was standing in a place with such a dark history, acting like...a twelve year old at a Justin Timberlake concert.

In a culture where fascist regimes are reduced to action movie premises, and (Product) Red makes charity a fashion statement, I couldn't help but wonder if my passion for justice is fueled in part by the whole do-good fad.

But as I sat on a plane headed back the states, I remembered going to DC with my family in third or fourth grade. I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and thought to myself, Martin Luther King Jr. stood right there!

In the movie Adaptation, a character says, "It isn't who loves you that's important. Its who you love." As little kids we love people who represent things that impress us. When we get older we often chose heroes who impress other people. We pride ourselves on being hip or well-read or socially aware enough to admire so-and-so.

As a little kid, I admired MLK because he was brave and important and fought for civil rights in a way that is counter-intuitive to most people. As an adult, having heroes needs to amount to more than buying a Mandela t-shirt (which I did). The stories or our heros should challange us to look around and find ways to live out those characteristics that we appreciate. Otherwise, you're just another fan.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dancing Shoes and Blisters

Last night I actually went out! Marti's 24th birthday is this weekend, so we went out to Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar in Baltimore. We left there kind of early and went to Houlihans for dinner. We hung out there for awhile, and I got to tell them all about South Africa. Jen, having seen my pictures the day before, asked questions like "tell me about the seal!" and "were those lions in a zoo?" Jen and Rich told me all about house-hunting, and we all talked about Ashlee and Matt being engaged. We're still in this "Am I seriously a grown-up?" phase.

After that, we decided to go to Sonar, because I never get to go dancing anymore and they hadn't been in awhile. By this time, my feet were killing me, because the shoes I was wearing were too tight and I had never worn them for more than a few hours at a time. None the less, we walked over (I hobbled), and we got to Sonar around midnight. We left early, though, because instead of the Brit pop/indie rock/80's music that we go to hear, they just played typical dance music. I went back to Jen's and hung out with her and Rich until 2:30, which was fun and lo-key.

When I woke up and went home, my feet were swollen and blistery and could barely fit into my shoes. I think I'm too lame for going out, which I guess is why I don't go out much. Tomorrow I'm going back to my normal church routine after being away for a month. Its kind of weird that I've been away that long, and I should really be in bed, since I have church and 8:45... and 10... and 11:15... and 7. No wonder I never go out.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Where are the men?

So let me pause all of the introspective rambling and ministry talk to address something else that is annoying at least hundreds of Christian young women.

Lets say you are in a crowd of 200 Christians between the ages of 18 and 35.
About 90 of those people will probably be men. Maybe less.
Of the proposed 90 men, about 20 will be between 18 and 21.
About 50 will be 28 or older.
About 20 will be between the ages of 22 and 27.

Of the 90 men, about 25 will be single.
8 of the single men will be in the 18-21 bracket.
4 will be in the 22-28 bracket.
The rest will be 28 or older.

Granted, I made up these stats, but I'm basically reconstructing my observations at different conferences, seminary, life, etc. And everywhere I go, Christian women in their early-mid 20s are wondering where the single Christian men in their 20s are. The craziest thing is that of the small number of young Christian guys, a shocking number of them are married or in serious relationships (often with girls in the 18-21 bracket). Apparently we already missed the boat, and now we have to wait for the next one.

Theoretically, some of these relationships that are already in progress will fail, but Christians tend to marry pretty early. It seems like our only hope is to wait for the guys who will come to Christ after sowing their wild oats. In South Africa a guy we were talking to said that women today don't want to get married, and the women at the table loudly objected. Its not that we don't want to get married, its that we're not willing to make a beeline for one of the 4 single guys regardless of compatibility or shared interests. And plus, if you are a women in ministry your options are also limited to those who aren't opposed to/intimidated by women in ministry.

Jackie and I always say that if we weren't Christians life would just be depressing, because we can have faith that God has plans for us. And let me be clear that I know I'm only 23, and I am finally in a place where I enjoy being single. Still, I am perfectly happy with my '98 Civic and plan to drive it for another 4 or 5 years, but that doesn't stop me from following the developments in hybrids. So hopefully in the next five years or so I'll buy a hybrid and find the right guy?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dear Blog,

Today my brother made fun of me in the car because I have a blog. He says I don't know how to tell a story, and I told him that doesn't stop me. Then Troy said I always talk about crying in my car. So I went home and cried, and now I'm writing this blog.


Actually, then Kieron said that he was just kidding and he's read a couple blogs (of mine?). Troys says that most of the blogs he read on blogger were by people who were either knitters or pastors or both.

I went out to dinner with Kieron and Troy tonight, which was fun about a little profane. Kieron played his iPod and told us how every other song reminded him of a different dance in high school, etc. Then when I said "Save Tonight" reminded me of Kroonstad and started to tell them about how the guys I was with kept playing that song, and they said I always tell stories about songs. As if Kieron doesn't.

A Conversation while "Let It Be" was playing:
Me: Hey, remember on Sesame Street when they would sing this song, but they sang "Letter B" and had this big letter B that swayed?
Troy: Why would I remember that? When was the last time I watched Sesame Street?
Me: Well its been like 15 years since I watched it...
Troy: I wasn't even alive 15 years ago!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year

Well, I am back in the States again, and sitting in the Delta Crown Club at Atlanta's airport. For $25 you can sit in a special club where they give you free drinks, CNN, nice chairs, and a break from the rest of the airport. I sort of feel weird about this, but apparently my anti-elitist sentiments don't hold up to my anti-sitting in uncomfortable chairs and paying $4 for water feelings.

Anyway, here's list of pros and cons about being back in the States:

-I can plug in my laptop without smelling smoke, seeing sparks, etc
-News that does not involve tons of bizarre murders or false AIDS remedies
-my cell phone works now
-Just in time to celebrate more Dems in Congress!
-can go back to freely criticizing my country (you know how you're allowed to complain about your mom, but you don't want others to? That's how I feel about my country)
-Will see friends and family

-Am now obligated to keep up with my e-mail
-Vacation is now over
-Miss my friends in SA
-Now have to answer my cell phone
-Watching News does now involve hearing about American politics and Pat Robertson

And seeing as I've had so much time to think think think, here are my New Years' Resolutions (measurable goals to follow).

1) Adventure - I came to the conclusion that I need more adventure in my life, but that adventure is not just about doing things that are crazy, spontaneous and slightly irresponsible, but about taking advantage of every opportunity God gives me and getting the most out of it.

2) Reconciliation - I am going to make an effort to bring healing in as many parts of my life as I can.

3) Peace-making - This goes along with reconciliation, but is less specific. James 3:13-18 says that Wisdom is "peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others." Also that "All those who are peace-makers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness."

4) I hate to be cliche, so I really don't want to make the resolution to get into shape, but it was shocking how out of shape I am when I was walking around South Africa. I started to walk more before it got cold, and I would like to at least be able to hike when I want to.

Labels: ,


The Global Young Peoples’ Convocation has been awesome. It hasn’t been anything flashy (although the hotel is pretty nice), but we’ve had good speakers, and the focus has really been on finding our voice as young people. Meanwhile, some random things have happened. I chipped a tooth on a peach pit yesterday. I ran into and have been hanging out with Susie Barr-Wilson, who worked at Camp in 2001.

Once again, I am being told to wait. One of the speakers preached on Acts 2, and talked about how when the Holy Spirit came to the believers in Jerusalem, it gave the people a new talkativeness, a new liveliness, and a new fearlessness. Again, I am feeling God pushing me to be bolder, braver and more vocal. But then, at the end of her message, she said, “But don’t just go and tell the church that you’re here to do this work. Wait in Jerusalem. Let the Holy Spirit come upon you and fill you with a new talkativeness, a new liveliness, and a new fearlessness.” So… where is my Jerusalem?

We have gone to several museums and visited ministries, and there has been a lot of talk about peace and justice. Today one of the speakers was giving a talk about the Biblical foundations for Social Justice and Advocacy. He paused after speaking and forgiveness and reconciliation, and announced that “Just moments ago, Saddam Hussein was hanged to death.” He commented briefly on our sadness when any member of the human race suffers. I’m so relieved that he responded that way, because I don’t believe taking a life can bring healing to the victims. When we loose sight of the humanity of one person (even one who has done as many horrible things as Hussein), we lose a piece of our humanity. We separate ourselves from the fact that we too have oppressed and hurt and abused. And we have allowed it to happen.

I read recently that the Boers in South Africa were mistreated and put down under the British colonial rule. The Boer response was an Afrikaner pride movement that led up to Apartheid. I learned today that during the Anglo-Boer War, concentration camps were used to hold Boer women and children, and many died there. (Africans were also held in camps, although not as many). Oppression begets oppression, and until we find a way to end oppression, there will always be terrorism and violence and more oppression. Why don’t people get this?

Labels: , ,