Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thoughts on Kony

Here are two articles (below) I found that have a more "balanced" view of things. Back in grad school, when I heard about Invisible Children, I felt a little something fishy about it - i knew it was important be informed about certain causes, but the way this organization was doing it did not seem to hit at root causes - nor did it seem to be done in a way that seemed.... right. In other words, it felt emotionally manipulative.

Believe me, after I came back from the West Bank, I had all the gumption in the world to start a campaign like this. However, wisdom (and God) would say to not act rashly, but to wait, plead with God, and humbly acknowledge that there is more going on than you could ever be aware of. Not that you shouldn't be responsible for knowledge you now have, however.

Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the whole "justice/injustice" language and movement that has been so prevalent in America's youth is how it focuses (and demands) our energy on causes far away, and seems to excuse or not call to mind the even greater command from the Lord to love our neighbor HERE, where we are placed. Not that we shouldn't be drawn to certain causes we feel strongly about or feel called specifically to work toward.... But that our greatest commands are to love God, and love our neighbor. Especially those we come in contact with on a daily basis.

And below is what my maid of honor, Cecilia said:

Africans, in this telling, are helpless victims, and Westerners are the heroes. It's part of a long tradition of Western advocacy that has, for centuries, adopted some form of white man's burden, treating African people as cared for only to the extent that Westerners care, their problems solvable only to the extent that Westerners solve them, and surely damned unless we can save them.
The Atlantic covers news and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international and life on the official site of The Atlantic Magazine.
· · · 8 hours ago ·
  • You and 3 others like this.
    • Sarah J Baumgarten Abuhl Cecilia, read some of the comments to the article. I agree that this author has a point. However, the critics of his article certainly do, too. I'm not sure this is such a black and white issue (pun intended) as people want to make it seem. I'm grateful for the campaign since I and many others had never heard of this guy before.
      8 hours ago ·
    • Cecilia Collins I agree that credit is due for raising awareness in an unprecedented way, and it's certainly impossible for us to be aware of everything, everywhere. But the LRA is a decades old problem, so it's worthwhile to ask ourselves why we in the west care now? Why must we validate our consumeristic sense, of which I'm as culpable as the next person, to deal with the problem? See article, etc.
      7 hours ago · · 1

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept. 8

So, I'm back to blogging again. It's been a while since I've been on here and I attribute that to being overwhelmed (in an entirely good way) with the many things that have taken place since I last wrote.

As of tonight I have been dating a wonderful man for 8 months. We actually met two summers ago on a FOCUS camp where I was too emotionally-zoned out to notice him - and he was too focused on the kids to get to know me :) Fair enough. But when I was making prospective trips down to D.C., spring of '10, he had his eyes on me, and called dibs for me to be at the FOCUS meeting where he was volunteering. In the fall, let's just say we kept it professional - emails and calls about meetings and Bible studies. But a lunch date in November was really more than just a lunch date, and he would trek across the D.C. metro area to talk to me at parties when he could really only be there for a half-hour max. Then there was Brookwoods, which "sealed the deal." As he ministered to kids on the slopes, my middle-school girls were noticing that something was up between us. The last day of camp these girls asked me, and I might have told them a little bit too much information. Needless to say, the drive back on the bus from New Hampshire to New York City was filled with their jeering and poking fun at our "love." Aside from the middle schoolers, the time I got to spend with Luke on the bus proved that he was more than a good date, but a man that cared deeply about my salvation, and how I was growing closer to God through circumstances in my life.

Tonight we began a "Discipleship Academy" through our church - Church of the Resurrection in D.C. We meet with 10 other people at the church office for about 9 months on Thursday nights and go over various aspects of the Christian faith. Tonight we began a teaching from one of our pastors on The Apostles's Creed.

Also tonight, we were given a quote from Jonathan Edwards in the midst of some discussion about the concept of the Trinity: "There was an eternal society or family in the Godhead, in the Trinity of persons... it seems to have been God's design to admit the Church into the divine family as his son's wife."

Matthew, one of our pastors, also responded to a question concerning the mystery of why the Bible talks so little about the Trinity, though it is such an important concept. He said it would be like for him trying to describe his wife: He would never be able to describe or define her in a way that would do her justice. There is so much to her and it would be almost impossible to explain her fully to anyone. That is why perhaps, he said, the Bible leaves out a "definition" of the Trinity.

I'm going to look forward to these weekly teachings - this oasis of edification.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This Christmas

It's been awhile since I've updated this blog. Life in DC has been fast-paced and action-packed - and yet this schedule and routine that I have invigorates and excites me in a way that not many seasons of life have before. I participated in many fun activities this past Christmas season. It snowed right before Christmas, which transformed the already beautiful National Mall into a winter wonderland. It was just enough snow to abate mass hysteria in a city that really doesn't see snow that much. I went to a delightful Christmas concert in the National Cathedral featuring St. Albans School, National Cathedral School, and a St. Alban's college from Pretoria, South Africa. The highlight of that concert was watching the lower school choirs mimic the choreography of the South Africans from their perch in the nave balcony. I also participated in my own church's Lessons and Carols service. My mom and good friend from Philly drove down that day to see me! In addition, I entered in two very special times of prayer that a guy from my church organized for Advent. A couple of us from our church met at his house on the hill to pray to ready our hearts for advent. We used the Book of Common Prayer and then a devotional.

I left about a week before Christmas to drive north to Philly to spend the week there with my family. My brother and sister-in-law came in right before Christmas from Boston. The break was super-relaxing and quiet.

Brookwoods, the FOCUS middle school Winter House Party in New Hampshire started with a bang, but I will leave that update for another blog entry...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Political Awareness

Ever since I've moved to D.C. my political awareness has been uncovered, like shoots coming up out of the ground after a long winter. I took a looong hiatus after coming back from the West Bank because my heart was dangerously polarized on several issues, and to spend any amount of energy on the stances I had taken after time in the Middle East would have wasted time.

However, coming here has given me freedom again to explore these interests. Time has healed a lot of what was "roughed up," and now I'm in a city where it is normal to explore these things. After having been so affected by anger and hatred in a war-zone, God seemed to shut out all other options except to "love your enemies." And in my heart, whenever I thought about my time there, that's what I tried to do.

I don't know if I'm ever going back there again, but I know that as I revisit these issues and begin to discuss them with people (like a guy from my church who just came back from a trip to Israel/West Bank), I have to keep certain things in mind, as I was reminded this morning as I read a quote from Philip Yancey's "The Jesus I Never Knew." He says:

"A political movement by nature draws lines, makes distinctions, pronounces judgement; in contrast, Jesus' love cuts across lines, transcends distinctions, and dispenses grace. Regardless of the merits of a given issue - whether a pro-life lobby out of the Right or a peace-and-justice lobby out of the Left - political movements risk pulling onto themselves the mantle of power that smothers love. From Jesus I learn that, whatever activism I get involved in, it must not drive out love and humility, or otherwise I betray the kingdom of heaven."

Monday, September 27, 2010

First Day On The Job

(taken at the National Cathedral, hanging out before the meeting at St. Alban's)

It started when I poured orange juice into my cereal.... ahhh...

But then I ground some coffee beans and had a glorious quiet time in Isaiah 3 and a chapter from Elizabeth Elliot's "Keep a Quiet Heart."

It really isn't my first day on the job. I've technically been "working" on the ground here in D.C. since the 9th of September - but this was the first day of the first week of school meetings.

Tonight was the D.C. Upper School meeting, which currently combines high-schoolers from St. Alban's and National Cathedral - about 12 students tonight. We decided this year to host the meeting on campus, which we hope will attract more "drive-bys" (students who stop in for the pizza.. and then will hopefully stay).

Tonight was a great meeting. After "getting-to-know-you" introductions, and a traveling Pictionary game, Kendra led a study on the Psalms, specifically Psalm 19:1-6. We spoke about how we can get to know God through creation, and how He desires a relationship with us.

My favorite line from the evening came from a 10th grade boy from St. Alban's, a rower. Kendra asked, "How have you seen God in creation?" He replied, "Ok, this might sound kind of cheezy, but have you ever seen a newborn baby?"

This is NOT what I expected from the mouth of a 10-graders. This kid is awesome. Of course, all these kids are awesome, and they remind me again of what a privilege it is to have a front-row seat, watching God in their lives.

A Need for Older Women

This morning I was acutely aware of my need to pour out my heart to an older woman. Though I have an amazing confidant in my mother, and have women I can call - it means a lot to have someone HERE. The busyness and excitement of D.C. which continue to thrill and encourage can make it very easy to put this kind of thing off, but there are still things (there always will be) for which I need immense wisdom and prayer.

Elizabeth Elliot included this quote in her book, "Keep a Quiet Heart," which encouraged me greatly as I begin regular school meetings this week:

"Say not you cannot gladden, elevate, and set free; that you have nothing of the grace of influence; that all you have to give is at the most only common bread and water. Give yourself to your Lord for the service of men with what you have. Cannot He change water into wine? Cannot He make stammering words to be instinct (imbued, filled, charged) with saving power? Cannot He change trembling efforts to help into deeds of strength? Cannot He still, of old, enable you in all your personal poverty 'to make many rich?' God has need of thee for the service of thy fellow men. He has a work for thee to do. To find out what it is, and then to do it, is at once thy supremist duty and thy highest wisdom. 'Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.'" (Canon George Body, b. 1840)

I'm excited to see who comes along. In New Haven I had former workers in the Middle East, like me. This week I hope to attend a community group from my church on Thursday, and maybe begin meeting in a "triad" from church as well - "a group of three people (women) that gathers weekly over a set period of time for intensive discipleship through prayer, transparency, accountability and Bible study." -that sounds intense! But I am assured that God will provide what I need as I seek it.