Archive for February, 2008
He says what his favorite dirty word is and what his least favorite sound in the entire world is.
Recently, I changed my profile pic back on my facebook profile. I did have the black ribbon up in rememberance of the people who lost their lives after the NIU shooting. I know a few people up there and a few alumni and the ribbon for me was a showing of solidarity.
But it’s caused me to think. Hopefully, this isn’t TMI, but I love Academia. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to teach because, at some level, it allows me to connect with students within the context of the mission of the organization (as a geek, I often interact on a very technical level). Beyond volunteering with InterVarsity and investing time with those students around me, teaching allows an opportunity to connect. But academia is a wonderful place because of its transitional nature; that my years in college shaped who I am today. I’m thankful for the community that was around me that showed me God, love, and what’s important. And, for right now, my passions and gifts intersect in the college campus; technology, thought, ministry, etc. I would hope that I’ll be old and grey and serving students and loving students well on some campus somewhere.
But for right now conversations are going on in academia on the issue of safety; and ultimately on some peoples minds is fear, especially today considering there was a threat of violence on campus and now no one is coming to classes. Believe me when I say that this is not bravado talking, but as I’ve thought what I would do if a gunman entered a classroom or came into the vicinity and I’ve thought that my goal would be to do my best to protect those around me. Mind you, I don’t want to be stupid and the likelyhood is that if I heard gunshots in another part of a building that I would likely try and find a way out of my immediate area. If I were put in harms way, if it were me or my students, I would do what I needed to do to protect them.
My goal for the 50 minutes or so I have my students on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is to ensure their saftey, to the best of my ability.
Honestly, I’ve been wrestling with this post for about a week now, considering everyone that reads it (or could potentially read it). The tipping point for me today was a rumor of a threat that happened last night mentioning today and as a result there’s been a substansial amount of absences in class. My 8 a.m. class was down by half and a number of the larger lecture halls are reporting the same. I just feel the need to say it:
I will do my best to ensure that people around me are safe.
Ideally, exercise for me for the week looks something like this: riding my bike to and from work daily, Raquetball 3 times during the week and then a treadmill with Melissa and Aidan. It’s not alot of intense stuff, but more moderate exercise spread out over the course of the week.
About the treadmill, we’ll we’ve been getting to know each other.
I got a chance to workout last night. And do you know what?
I’m…beginning…to…like…running. There I said it.
Seriously, running on the treadmill is getting to be kind of fun. It’s a bit frightening, but getting the right music and pace and it’s just a nice experience. My body’s not that tired, but I’m just a little afraid…
Melissa and I got out to see Saul Williams tonight at a Black cultural dinner. When Melissa and I have gone out and done really good dates we’ve found pieces of culture that reflect both of our strengths and passions. For instance, movies such as ‘The Matrix’ reflect sides of both of our interests. Well, seeing Saul tonight, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d not seen live poetry done well and performed live before.
What drew us in was a couple of things. For me, it was an interest in a guy who really did something inovative with his last work by releasing it for free, essentially, for a certain period of time. No less than that, he did a hip hop record with an Industrial artist. We also wanted to step into our future daughter’s culture and listen to voices that will speak into her world. Well, what we were met with was a good evening with a thinker. It was really refreshing to interact with thoughtful ideas and to speak University speak for a short time. Saul is definately a thinker and it was really enjoyable to see that.
He’s a huge Post-Modern thinker (that’s a capital P and M). It came through at certain points and it was really obvious, but yet encouraging because where he applied it at reflected an appropriate view of culture; of displaying the sheer injustice of the world and bringing the light of day into those dark areas. Obviously, he fell into the need to reflect upwards at point and for me that is where post-modernism fails. But yet looking at the power structure within the hip hop genre was relaly enlightening. I’m not going to do his argument justice, but thinking through a corporate presence within hiphop and the music business as a hegemony was an interesting angle to take.
It’s also refreshing to look at an artist who needs to fill a void in his own life. He was asked by an audience member at one point what he was listening to and he replied with an answer that I instantly respect; all artists that I find that are quality find they write to fill a gap in what they want to listen to as opposed to what exists. Those gaps tend to be places that are genuinely beautiful. And, honestly, there were moments of poetry that he recited that were just breathtaking.
Good art for me often reflects the Creator. Tonight was an excellent example of that–in the midst of the post modern rehetoric there were glimpses of a God who is passionate. In short, beautiful stuff.
The album, honestly, is not for everyone, but its beauty is growing on me. It’s a stronger album that is getting better with listens.
So, we had the epitomy of a family night on Saturday; it was honestly a blast to do. Steven Curtis Chapman played Decatur on Saturday night. He’s a huge advocate for adoption and has setup Shaohannah’s Hope, an agency who gives out grants for those wanting to adopt. During his shows he’s been asking people to bring in change to donate for grants. Shaohannah’s Hope shared the night with America World Adoption Agency, our adoption agency. So, the three of us volunteered to staff the booth that night and while Melissa sat at the booth with the others, Aidan and I walked around with a bucket and collected change. It was hillariously fun.
First, it was a fun environment for Aidan to be Aidan. You can imagine that a pro-adoption evening that cute little four year olds running around would be smiled at. Aidan was hillarious. He was a little nervous and unsure about holding the bucket at first, but ended up warming up to the idea, even wanting to hand out brochures at points as well. He would hide the bucket and at one point even walked up to a person and said ‘hi, I’m helping Daddy collect! We’re poor!’
The show itself was good. Chapman’s definately in the camp of Michael W. Smith for me in that I really never considered myself an avid fan, but I know a bit of the music and it’s singable and we own a few CDs and this was a very good show. He’s got a good stage presence, the production value is good and it’s creative. Fans had the opportunity to text in requests at the show and he performed a few.
The sell for adoption was cool as well. It was encouraging to hear his heart for it and to see the family at the end that got the grant. They looked genuninely appreciative of the opportunity and it was fun to see them get it. I really appreciated Chapman’s sense of ‘celebrity as currency’ and he spends his currency very well in promoting adoption and supporting those who choose to do so.
So, the big story for the night was Aidan and I after the show went down to the stage to watch the loadout and the drummer, Wil, graciously saw Aidan and passed on his drumsticks that he used that night. A friend of his came up and handed the drumsticks to Aidan and said ‘These are yours, enjoy!’ It was really kind and made Aidan’s night (as soon as I explained to him that he scored a set of sticks from a show) and he was really proud of the fact that he got them. Aidan took a look at the splintered, dimpled sticks and said ‘He pounded on these!’
(Aidan with his new sticks)