Christmas Caroling Done Right: Unity in Santa Cruz

I’d like to propose the Ambassador Model for Unity. I first realized this from the Multi-University meeting at Stanford, where most of the attendees were connected through my ambassadorial efforts. Second attempt of unity was the Multi-Church Caroling on December 10th. Let’s be real, most Christian groups are not organized well enough or are too prideful to be able to establish the right channels for unity. I mean, I’ve yet to see the honor, humility, and grace it takes to build true and lasting unity. This new model, the Ambassador Model for Unity (AMU), functions through authentic and lasting relationships, foregoing the “leadership” of Christian organization.

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Hearing God: My Calcutta, My Riverside…

It was Spring break when I was at Zwak’s place. On a Saturday morning, while waiting to hang out with my friends, Young and Pio, I was pacing back and forth having a conversation with God. The theme of the week seemed to be children, especially those in the city of Wilmington. It seemed like everyday I’d have a conversation with or about young people in the city. When I was young, I’d ride into school with a mix of people from the city and suburbs of Wilmington. I wasn’t much better off than anyone else on the bus, but I’ve always had an abundance of hope. That week I spent in Delaware, it was apparent that hope is what makes change possible, but where does one’s hope come from when change seems so unlikely?

How have we shielded ourselves off from the needs of our neighbors? Growing up, no one around me cared about other people’s problems. No one ever told me that there was anything I could do about it. I mean, what do you do? Why spend effort on something, when it won’t make any difference? I wrote about these worries when Pio had his birthday donation drive for the Haiti earthquake.

God highlighted a problem: “people in the city of Wilmington need change.” What happened after that wasn’t much of a solution, but more of a better idea of why and how these people need change.

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Children, Suicide Bombers, and That Place Between Privilege and Despair

Many people have heard of the invisible children in Africa, but there’s a recent TED talk about schools for children suicide bombers in the Taliban. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy worked with children under training and with Taliban recruiters for a year to document their efforts. Recruiters target poor families and promise free food, care, and compensation. 5 step process: (1) separate parents from children from poor regions, (2) teach the Koran heavily distorted with no access to any media, (3) make the children hate the world with beatings and harsh living circumstances, (4)  talk about the glories of martyrdom, (5) effective propaganda. First, the brain-washing and training … Continue reading Children, Suicide Bombers, and That Place Between Privilege and Despair

Benefit Concert to Help Bring Underwear Relief to the Homeless

Last night, I was at a benefit concert that was thrown by my dear friend and co-blogger, Chris Zwakenberg. He brought in a number of bands from the local community to perform and celebrate the cause. To get into the show, you must bring a pack of briefs or $5. This is the 6th year for “Brief Relief” and the turnout was really encouraging on two points: (1) that young people care enough to donate their time and money to fulfill a need and (2) this live-music event helps to makes local creativity more communicable and accessible. Here’s Zwak, Ike, … Continue reading Benefit Concert to Help Bring Underwear Relief to the Homeless

I've probably bought 30 copies of "Finding Calcutta"

Originally posted: May 26, 2009 Over last Christmas break, I went to a conference in Chicago called Following Christ. After one of the mornings, they announced that the Veritas Forum was giving away free copies of Finding Calcutta by Mary Poplin. Free stuff is music to a grad student’s ears, and I actually took two copies. Now, I study video games, b/c I grew up playing a lot of video games. You could say that I don’t read very much, and it’s been a while since I finished a book. I don’t know what motivated me to start reading this … Continue reading I've probably bought 30 copies of "Finding Calcutta"