Thursday, March 25, 2010

ειρήνη [Peace]

So breathe in with faith, and out with his peace,
May the gospel of Jesus, may the gospel of Jesus, may the gospel of Jesus
Wash over me.

-jimmy needham [the Gospel]



...I love how the Gospel doesn't just give me forgiveness, love, and life after death...I love that it gives me peace in this current life. Some sort of order to my chaos. A voice that tells me, I'm going to be just fine, regardless of how many exams, projects and events. Regardless of how marked up my planner is.

Regardless.

I am loved ...regardless of my actions, good or bad.

I am forgiven ...regardless of my awareness of each sin, or my confession even.

I am at ease ...regardless of how crazy my life gets, because I sense this Peace. I love this Peace. I know this peace.

and because of that wonderful "regardless" equation.... I am free. So free. And it is the best feeling in the entire world and I really just want everyone to feel it.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is this freedom?

On Monday, I got back from spending a few days in Florida with family. While I was there I got the chance to spend some time with my brother in-law's mom. We started talking about Nuru and other non-profits I am a fan of, and then she shared the organization she is working on starting in Chicago [she recently moved to GA but is still helping from a distance].


She showed me a presentation, and truly, I was in total shock. I know gun violence is an issue in our country, especially larger cities, but I was completely ignorant when it comes to the extent of how it affects our children.

As she shared stories of real people, children she knows, the statistics on the screen began to haunt me. Statistics like,

The number one fear of 2nd graders in the school surveryed in downtown Chicago? Being shot.
--Of 500 surveyed, 50% have a friend or relative that have been shot at, and 33% have lost a friend or relative to gun violence.

--Or as one article I just read talked about a 13-year-old who knows nine people, including 3 family members who have been shot at.

These children are scared to walk out of their house. And their artwork? Well, I will let you see it for yourself:


Photobucket


Photobucket

These are from second-graders. That means they are probably 7 or 8 years old....7 or 8 years old....that is astonishing to me.

Then tonight, as I listened to a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled "Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence" there was a very powerful section that stood out when MLK was discussing why he had to speak up against the war, here it is:


"My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent."


And then it came full circle. What message are we sending to our children today? 36 cents of every dollar goes to military funds. Check out this pie chart .

It was also MLK who said,

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom... "

..truly though, I know some say freedom lies in everyone being able to buy a gun, but I wonder if these kids feel free? Are they free when they are afraid to go to the library? Are they free when their little minds are dominated by fear when they are trying to learn?

and even those of us who don't live in this severe of a situation--think of how many ma scares occur. The latest in Alabama. Should we really have to fear such violent crimes? Is this freedom?

These are questions in my mind....I just feel like there has got to be a better way. And until I die, I will be seeking that Better way.

for the entire article mentioned above [where I got the stats and pics] click here:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/1093215,CST-NWS-prisoner06.article

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Be Hope to Her.

Last year when I committed to being the campus rep for this event, I imagined a low-key little gathering of the usual committed folks who desire change for the better.

As planning began and excitement built..a lot of people began to come to the meetings. And before I knew it, I was surrounded by an incredible cast of caring individuals and watched in awe as the duo of Nick and Miranda worked with such zeal and passion.

Then came day before the event...I got incredible sick, throwing up and the whole 9 yards. And the morning of, as I stumbled out of bed with not noly a slight tinge of possible "hey i may vom" feeling due to the virus inside of me, but also a bit nervous to se just how this would all pan out...after all 2 of Nuru's staff were there, waiting..expecting..hoping.

In a very dramatic way, I arrived just in time to begin. I really can't describe exactly how I felt as I walked through Buskirk field and peered forward to an array of beautifully arranged bright yellow buckets surrounding the fountain. I couldn't help but feel the happiness well up inside of me, and then as I approached and saw the amount of people--people who cared!!!!--gosh..it was just... amazing.

And the event itself really doesn't need to much explaining...a truly hubmbling experience to put it lightly.

So..the point of all this? I am more than ecstatic about this year's event. I have seen what happens when we come together with passion. I have seen what a 30 minute walk can do to people. I have seen people become Hope to others while hope was also re-introduced in their own lives, too.

In tribute to all my excitement and giddy-ness...AND since sign-ups start tomorrow, here is the promo video for Be hope to Her! Hope you enjoy :)