Archive for February, 2008

Maybe a slight exaggeration, but Steven Spielberg has officially quit helping China with the Olympic program due to their involvement in Darfur.

Spielberg wrote:

“I find that my conscience cannot allow me to continue with business as usual. At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur.”

The press release continues and says:

For me, the Olympic Games represent an ideal of brotherhood designed to bridge cultural and political divides. I am committed to building bridges between peoples and I saw, and continue to see, the Beijing Games as an opportunity to help ease some of the tensions in the world.

Darfur activists around the world are very excited about this move. This is not a boycott of the
Olympics, but an effort to raise awareness about China’s role both good and bad (mostly bad) in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of individuals in central Africa.

Dream for Darfur
has more resources and information specifically connecting China, the Olympics, and Darfur.




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I’ve struggled a little lately with what to write about… things have been fairly busy. Sometimes I miss the freedom of joblessness, but definitely enjoy going to work and knowing that I’m helping create change in a school. Sometimes it seems like I’m not really doing much but sitting around playing phone tag and going to various trainings. This is all good and is part of the Americorps program (not the phone tag), but it is very different.

I feel like things are starting to get into a rhythm, especially as I find more tasks and ways to engage in the school community. It is interesting because a lot of the book knowledge I have is now a little useless since I’m engaging a foreign population with very different cultural norms and ideas.

But things are going really well. We like our new house and our nice neighborhood. The cold is getting tolerable as well. I ran outside this morning despite -7 actual temperature. It is a fact of life, just like the crushing heat of summer. It is funny how it can be bitter cold with no new precipitation, then every time it warms up it snows! That is the plan again for this week it looks like. We are making progress and most of our boxes have been unpacked, but there is still tons of stuff laying around that needs to find a home. Now that Christy is working (still doing orientation) she doesn’t have a lot of free time to clean/decorate either. The problems of real life! We haven’t done a lot lately since we’ve been spending a lot of our free time at home unpacking.

I guess that is a good ramble for now!

Ever heard a sermon in the round? This is the place to go if you want to hear one! We went last night (they replaced Sunday morning services with Yoga and Prayer and meet at night!) to Solomon’s Porch a church in South Minneapolis as we continue our search for a new church home. It meets in an old church with the stained glass still there. The pews have been removed and replaced by couches and chairs forming a circle around the middle of the room where a stool is.

It is very focused on community and is very oriented to allow everyone to share insight and input. It is a very art driven church. We met some people and sat on a couch in the back. The worship band only plays song’s they have written – actually pretty good stuff.

Tonight a woman showed photographs of her song, alongside words written about Jesus in the Bible. It was focused on how our lives follow a similar path to Jesus, we just need to look and see the holiness of little moments. It was a great way to see how Jesus really is every where and inside everyone. You know the whole created in his image thing. (For my Indiana friends, it is like Common Ground only a little more artsy and communal focused – I don’t know an Ohio parallel, but similar to the Rockin’ Fish – so maybe their new ministry the Loft?)

The “sermon” was actually pretty good and thought provoking. We might go back to hear him finish the series. Each week everyone is invited to help prepare the sermon through discussion and study. Doug, the pastor, took the Beatitudes from Matthew 5, pulled them apart and briefly compared them to Christ’s final days during the Passion week.

He said that during that week Christ experienced each of the 8 points:

  • the poor
  • those who mourn
  • the meek
  • those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
  • the merciful
  • the pure in heart
  • the peacemaker
  • those who are persecuted because of righteousness

Some very interesting stuff to ponder during the Lenten period.

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From the Perspectives National Office:

We also wanted to pass on to you this prayer request from a Perspectives class in Tennessee, so that we may stand in prayer by fellow Perspectives students and leaders who are hurting.

One of the tornadoes that hit earlier this week went through Jackson, TN. A Perspectives class was beginning that night in a church about 6 miles away from Union University, with about 20 students from Union University attending. While they were at class, the EF-4 Tornado came through and destroyed a number of dorms on campus, damaging every building and (according to the news) over 90% of the cars.

Will you and your students pray for these Perspectives students in Jackson, that they may be a blessing to others, that the emotional drain they are sensing may be comforted by the joy of the Lord, and that their housing needs may be met. Also, pray for strength and wisdom for the Coordinator, Task Force, and Regional Director.

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It is hard to believe we have been in Minneapolis for 4 weeks already. The time has definitely flown by. We have really enjoyed our time here so far and have had some fun and unique experiences.

The major updates are:

1) Christy has a job! She’ll be working on a Postpartum unit at one of the local hospitals. She’ll be working with mother’s and their babies in a much different environment than she was used to at IU’s Medical ICU. She is very excited about this position and chose it out of 3-4 other offers. It will be about a 15-20 minute commute. She will start her orientation on February 4th. It is an 8-hour shift with rotating nights and days (every other week).

2) We moved into our new place! We had to stay in an extended stay hotel for the first 3 weeks while the landlords finished everything up for us to move in (we knew this ahead of time and planned accordingly). We moved in right on schedule and flourished while living in such close quarters at the hotel! It was a bit of an adjustment after having gotten used to living in and commuting to and from the suburbs, but we are very excited about this place and the neighborhood and exploring it further. After we get all the boxes unloaded and the house decorated I’ll get pictures and maybe even a video!

My job has been going well. The first week was orientation and then the second was just getting familiar with the school and being in a school environment. It is very different working in a school as opposed to the “business world”. I’ve already been to the principal’s office more in 3 weeks than my whole life (she’s my supervisor)!! I have slowly been getting used to interrupting classes to talk with students or ask a teacher a question. Most have been pretty nice and are getting used to seeing me around. My office is located in the same section of the school as the Somali English Language Learner classrooms so I have gotten to know some of the students a little bit as well as the Somali teachers. I’ve also been helping with Student Council and have gotten to know some of those kids pretty well. We’ve got some big things planned and one of my major tasks is to try and get Somali families more engaged with the school! I have also been getting used to riding the bus and waiting in the -34 wind chill for it to arrive!

Speaking of Somalis we are taking a Somalian Language and Culture course through the school’s Community Education department. Its a 6 week course on Saturday mornings. It is a small class and we learned the basic history of Somalia and a few words during last week’s session!

We have had lots of fun. We explored the frozen Minnehaha Falls and its surrounding park, went the Art Institute for their Third Thursday free event, saw a couple of movies at a 1950’s styled discount theater, saw ice and snow sculptures, explored gyms (landing at the local and amazing YWCA), and visited a variety of churches – including famous author John Piper’s.

I guess that is pretty much the update! I feel like I’m forgetting something… be sure to follow my blogs for the latest up-to-date stories and insights. http://blog.teamcrossworld.com http://www.teamcrossworld.com/blog or http://www.teamcrossworld.com/running/ The second is my running blog. And lots of pictures here.