I’m in the Bronx, New York City at Part of The Solution.

I’ll try to update periodically. Hope all is well with all of you.

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two steps forward, one step back

Furor Over Cartoons Pits Muslim Against Muslim

This is an intense article, partiuclarly because of the blacklash inside the Islamic world. I find it such an interesting fight, and then I think how it’s such a microcosm of any society, really. While we might not kill in our anger, we certainly find it easy to talk down to those we disagree with, even if they are members of the same family, country, or even religion. How many right-wing evangelicals will damn anything and everything that doesn’t fit their theological box? How many post-modern Christians reject their modern mother churches on the basis of their rejection of post-moderism? How many times do Protestants still toss barbs at Catholics and vice versa?

And how many times does Jesus look at all of it and say “you’ve got it wrong in the first place”?

While I doubt I’ll ever shake my conservative evangelical roots – nor do I ever want to – I do want to see what our world would be like if we as the Church proper began focusing on working together rather and dividing ourselves. We, as the Christian faith, have quickly become the parenthesis to a secular world, and have allowed ourselves to be at least complacent, at most comfortable with the idea.  Not to mention we’d rather find points to fight on rather than work with the sea of folks who know Jesus as a nice guy, and not as the transformer and redemptive power of this world.

And this is why I’m excited about Jubilee tomorrow.  Almost 2,000 college students gathered to find out who this Jesus guy is, and how they can incorporate his message of the Kingdom of God into everything they do.

In other words, to open the parentheses.

definition of my day

This picture reflects almost every singe day at Gannon. The tea cup, my radio that I use while I’m on duty, my computer, and the ever-growing stack of folders, color-coded to reflect each of the three major departments I’m responsible to (Orange – Campus Ministry; Yellow – Student Living; Blue – CCO).

One of the toughest things I’ve had to do so far in my life is create a job where none exsited. My job, as it’s done, has never been done prior to my arrival. The best anyone has to reference from is the two positions I brought together – an Assistant Resident Director, and a Resident Campus Minister. However, neither one of these really fit what I do. ARDs don’t have campus ministry responsiblities, and are almost always taking a full load of classes here at Gannon. RCMs don’t deal with discipline, rooomate conflicts, and basically anything Student Living related.  This is also the first time that anyone has had a full time Co-Op relationship with Gannon in the CCO. Often times, this is what invigorates me about the process – that I’m redefining something, and I get to help define and create a vision, and obviously one has to expect bumps in the road.

However, on days like this when I’ve worked the better part of thirty days straight, compiling 50+ hours a week, when I’m spending the next weekend on amazing (albeit tiring) trips to Jubilee and the Bronx, and when my body is finally starting to disagree with afformentioned schedule, I begin to feel the more irksome parts of my job – that I have no professional clout whatsoever, that I feel marginalized because I don’t fit into any pre-defined box, that ultimately what I’m doing will have been a holding pattern for three years, I’ll get my master’s paid for, and I’m out.

On days like this, I don’t expect pity, but maybe just a nod of agreement, and maybe a pat on the back. I struggle most with the feeling few folks understand what I’m trying to do, or my concerns make much sense. However, I must keep remembering “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

Tonight I have to take a long shower, make a turkey burger, do some paperwork for a program last Thursday, have my 1:1 with Colleen, and head to Atticus, the men’s group I help oversee. I’m hoping to create a page on this blog that maps everything I’ve done (and will do) at Gannon, for myself and for whomever takes my job after I’m done here.

picture 2 – redemption

NaturtiumThis is a picture of my Nasturtium plant, which I was certain had died. As I was getting ready to throw it away, however, I noticed a couple of green shoots still around. I started watering it again, and a couple weeks later it’s this. Though it may not look too impressive now, before long (if it did what it did when I brought it up in August), it will have found its way into my blinds and up to the top of the window.

Quote from “Emerging Churches”

I’m reading a book on the Emerging Church movement, and came across these words, and thought they were just ridiculously well written:

ReIMAGINE! (San Francisco) illustrates the pursuit of transcendence and immanence in the following way. Imagine that a person parachuted and is now floating down to a city. As this person comes closer to the earth, he or she sees defferent things at different levels. At 15,000 feet, this person might see the city as a beautiful green. At 5,000 feet, he or she might see it as green pixels, like a Seurat painting. As this person get even closer, her or she might notice that the green dots are people. Everywhere thsee kingdom people go, they leave a little green smudge. Keach kingdom person is an “incubator” of green and advocates greenness in the city.

Green is not a primary color – blue and yellow are. Yellow is the vertical axis, the spiritual axis, the pursuit of God. The higher it goes, the more faint it becomes. This is the sole pursuit of the Creator, of transcendence. Blue is the pursuit of creation, social justice, the good life, going good to others. It becomes darker and darker as one moves away from the center. Yellow people view God only as transcendent. Often, they are evangelicals and conservatives. With their focus on transcendence, they care about God but not about what God loves. Blue people love what God loves – they love the earth, humanity, the environment, and the sensuality of being human. They are liberals. With their focus on immanence, they don’t love God and they deny Jesus, but they long for the kingdom.

At ReIMAGINE! the focus is green.  Jesus is the ultimate green, for Creator and creation meet in Christ.  People are fallen and are either blue or yellow.  ReIMAGINE!’s task is to help yellow people add blue to their pallette (becoming tied to creation) and to help blue people add yellow (becoming tied to the Creator)…

I found this to be a great summary of my view of minstry at Gannon, because I can name individual after individual that can fall into one of those two categories.  I was very much a yellow person until I went to New Staff Training, met Alania Cronkright, and began to see that social justice is just as important to the whole Kingdom as my time in prayer and looking to everything beyond this world.

The emergent church movement, CCO, post-modern theology all boil down to this in my mind first: the rejection of any dualism that has been sought since the advent of modernistic ideals over a century ago.  I hope to write more on this, but I still have much learning (and duty rounds) to do.

a new blog

yes, i realize i’ve only had awra_boringname in livejournal for just a little time, but i’ve been really impressed by wordpress, and i think i’d rather work with something i enjoy.

for those of you already linked to my other blog, i don’t want to cause you all sorts of work in rearranging your link to my lj page, and it could very well be that many of you won’t read this one. but if you do, great.

in any case, welcome to my new blog.