Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympics: Faster, Higher, Stronger.... and Better

Now that the London Olympics have come to a close, it's hard to remember how I occupied my time before the games began a mere 16 days ago. I loved watching basically anything that aired on TV and I spent every free moment doing so. Despite the cringe inducing opening ceremony (Mr. Bean, you saved the night) I thought the games went rather well. However, if I had my way there would inevitably be a few changes to be made. Just in case the IOC and Rio 2016 committee members are reading this, I will list my suggestions below.



1. All men's events would be performed shirtless with the exception of weightlifting, shot-put, and greco-roman wrestling.... These athletes will be provided with full-body parkas.

2. The parade of nations will take place on a moving sidewalk. A very fast moving sidewalk.

3. The steeple-chase will include a fire pit.

4. Bob Costas/ Mary Carillo/ Ryan Seacrest won't exist.

5. The opening ceremony has to actually entertain more than just Matt Lauer.

6. All events will be aired live.

7. Javelin throwers will be blindfolded. 

8. Usain Bolt will have to say one nice thing about each of his competitors after each of his wins.

9. Ryan Lochte will realize his grill is utterly moronic.

10. Someone is required to explain why divers rinse off in the shower after each dive. 

11. Russian gymnasts get points deducted for smiling.

12. Debbie Phelps and Chico's design all the U.S. uniforms. Kidding. Debbie is more of a Talbot's   girl.

13. I get lifelong tickets to all events for the rest of my life. 

14. Baseball is reintroduced to the games and the gold is given to the American's by default.

15. Marathon runners have to shotgun a beer after every mile.

Hopefully my ideas will be taken to heart. By estimation, they should lead to a pretty flawless games. Until then, I guess I'll just have to wait patiently for Sochi.... and learn where Sochi is exactly.




Monday, July 9, 2012

Scene It: A Movie Appreciation Post

So, I've decided to make a post dedicated to my favorite movies. Most of my friends would call me a film-snob, but I prefer "cinematically selective." Actually, like books, I find films to be cathartic. To make my list, a great movie depends on several things; originality, writing, and cinematography pretty much make it or break it for me. Here are the top 15 movies that I couldn't live without having seen. I'm certainly no critique, but I think people's preferences say a lot about them. Be warned, spoilers ensue.

In no particular order----------------------------

1.Life As a House- This film is the perfect mix of wit, humor, and truth. A story about a broken family and a dying wish, it's lyrical but unpretentious, and a film everyone should see.


2. Top Hat- Ginger may bring all the beauty, but Fred brings all the class. Top Hat is funny and tender. The entire Art Deco motif of the movie is on reason in one-hundred as to why I love this film.Irving Berlin's iconic soundtrack also includes Dancing Cheek to Cheek, which is one of my favorite songs of all time. This scene makes Grace Kelly look uncultivated and crass.


3. Mystic River- This movie makes my list because the acting is simply outstanding. Clint Eastwood made this novel into a masterpiece by casting Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. The story feels as real as any.  Sean Penn plays the part of Jimmy Markum with perfect vulnerability (as seen below). It's pretty resounding. Most of all, the thing I love most about this movie is the fact that it's not predicable in the least. I dare you to guess the ending.


4. A Little Princess- When I was little I was obsessed with this movie. Based on the book "Sara Crewe" by Frances Hodgson Burnett ("The Secret Garden"), this film is magical and heart-warming. I prefer the 1995 version to the old Shirley Temple one. Frankly, it's more charming and much prettier to look at. I used to watch it every time I was home sick from school. It's the perfect movie for any daddy's girl, and the ending still gets me every time.


5.The English Patient- My favorite book adapted by my favorite director... The stunning rhetoric of Michael Ondaatje combined with the cinematic talents of Anthony Minghella make this film near perfection for me. The cave scene is heart-wrenching, but also really perfectly beautiful. Many might find this film too much of a sweeping 90's epic, but I love every second of it. How could a combination of Ralph Finnes, Juliet Binoche, Kristen Scott Thomas, Willem Defoe, and Collin Firth ever be bad. If you've never seen it, you should. The writing, acting, scenery, and music are all really as good as it gets.


6. Love, Actually-A story about stories, this movie has an amazing cast and is extremely well written. In fact, Mr. Bean, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Collin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, and Laura Linney are just a few of the title characters. Despite being more appropriate for Christmastime, I find myself watching it often. British humor combined with a healthy dose of romance and realism make for an extremely entertaining couple of hours. A couple of hours very well spent.


7. Elf- "Elf"may, in fact, be one of the most quotable movies of all time. It's splendid. I have never in my life met someone who didn't love this movie. That would be unfathomable, because only the most angry of elves could ever hate a movie so full of happiness.


8. The Fall- One of the most visually stunning movies I've ever seen. Really, this film is a bed-time story seen from the imagination of a little Romanian girl. What most impressed me about this movie is the fact that it contains little to no CGI. It's the definition of eye candy.


9. Almost Famous- "Almost Famous" is a story that everyone wishes they had for themselves. Based on the Director, Cameron Crowe's, own experiences writing for Rolling Stone and touring with the Allman Brothers, this is a coming of age story filled with great writing and an even better soundtrack.


10. Midnight in Paris- Pedantic as it might be, this Woody Allen film is meant to be seen by those who love history, art, music, and celebrity of the past century. As per usual, Allen uses witty dialogue and humor to showcase his storytelling skills. This one is for the romantic dreamer in all of us.


11. Shawshank Redemption- I'm pretty sure this one makes everyone's favorite's list. No explanation needed.


12. Fever Pitch- A movie all about being a Red Sox fanatic. What else can I say? It's not only hilarious, but it was filmed during that fateful 2004 season when the Sox finally reversed the curse. Maybe it's not as intellectual as my other choices, but that's why this is my list and not yours.


13. Good Will Hunting- Another movie set in Boston. Really, what I love most about this film is how genuine the characters are. Robin Williams does a great job of being a great counterpoint to Matt Damon. I can watch this one on repeat and pretty much never get sick of it. It's amusing and smart, stirring, and everything I love in a movie.


14. The Green Mile- Okay, the truth is I can barely stand to watch this movie. As much as I love it, I'm not that much of a masochist. Never has a film reduced me to tears the way this movie has. Literally beginning to end, I'm a blubbering fool, but nevertheless, it's an astonishing story with great characters and acting. If I feel brave I might watch it again soon. Oh, another reason to love this movie is the tribute it plays to "Top Hat", which is also on this list.


15. A League of Their Own- I love baseball. I love Tom Hanks. I love to laugh. What else can I ask for in a film? If you haven't seen this one you need to crawl out from under the rock you've been living in and rent it now.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Sign, or Two, or Three

Today, on a bit of a whim, I decided to go book shopping. It was rainy outside, I had little to do, and books make me happy (BOOM- justified!). I always like to look at the "religion" section at my local Barnes & Noble just to see if there are ever any relevant books on Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, as time goes on I find there are less and less books pertaining to The Faith, and more and more books dedicated to any particular quasi-faith that someone decides to dream up. I was equal parts amused and horrified by a book entitled "Where Has Oprah Taken Us: The Religious Influence of the World's Most Famous Woman". I mean, in what world does that merit an existence, let alone a spot on a shelf right next to The Bible?...... How sad.

This is a joke, right?

Anyways, after some perusing I decided to return to my favorite spot in the religion section. I'm a bit of an enthusiast of C.S. Lewis' writings, both as a contemporary Christian apologist, and as lyrical genius. Although I have read many of his books, there was one title in particular that caught my eye. I felt compelled to buy it.... and so I did. I really think it was something that I was meant to read in this moment of my life.


"A Grief Observed" was written by C.S. Lewis after the loss of his beloved wife. You see, Lewis so loved his wife, he married her despite the fact that she was terminally ill with cancer. He so loved his wife, her death nearly took him away from the Faith that he spent his life studying and defending. The book is profound and full of pathos, and Lewis has the uncanny ability to take his grief and examine the rationale behind his thoughts. His doubt of the benevolence of God, is eventually turned around into defending the true nature of God; A good God who loves all mankind. His arguments come naturally to himself as he works out his grief on paper. What was most compelling to me as a reader was the sense that Lewis came to his conclusions because of his grief and not despite his grief. It made him seem so human, and it made his arguments for the loving nature of God all the more valid.

C.S. Lewis and wife,  Joy Davidman
I, of course, have not suffered a loss like that of C.S. Lewis. However, there were parts of this book that made me relate to the inner-plight that Lewis suffered. There are several excerpts of this book that spoke to me, and I was stuck at how elegantly Lewis is able to explain how your own mind can be your own worst enemy. It can be the one thing that magnifies your worries, and in doing so, takes your thoughts away from God...

“I once read the sentence 'I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache an about lying awake.' That's true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer."

 Furthermore, Lewis is able to explain that we are not tested by God to see how faithful we are. God is not a cruel sadist who tries to push us until we break. On the contrary, He challenges us to make us realize how strong our faith is. It's only in these realizations that we can grow. 

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” 

 Most notably, Lewis made me realize that it is my own inner-panic that may be keeping me from hearing what God wants to tell me. I can't really tell you what it meant to read this and realize that  desperate implorations and constant mental churnings are a possible (and probable) hindrance to any sort of progression within my own life. It is self-actualizing and somewhat shameful at the same time...

“The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just that time when God can't give it: you are like the drowning man who can't be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.” 
  
On top of everything else, today I saw two more things that really made me think that God was trying to tell me something. One was a Facebook post from a Priest that read...

"Focusing on yourself will never reveal your purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny."- Dr. Rick Warren. 

The other thing was a marquee in front of a Church that simply said "The only thing keeping you from happiness is your ego." I couldn't help but laugh at how true that one was. 

So I suppose if I pray for God to guide me, I better be prepared to accept whatever He has to say.............


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Foresight Without the Future

When I was little, I would often sit and daydream about what my life would be like as an adult...At least, this is when I was naive enough to think that my early twenties actually warranted the title of adulthood. In my young, wistful mind I had it all figured out. I would be married, with children, by 28. My steady, power-driven job would pay me a hefty, yet substantiated salary. I would move away from Tulsa to a bigger and more worldy city. My varied travels would make me cultured and knowledgeable, yet sympathetic to the plights and needs of others.

Well, guess what.....? My elementary school self would have kittens if she knew how things actually turn out.

I'm at a point in my life where I need want direction. As little as two months ago, I still somehow managed to believe that I had my life all figured out. I am as passionate about education as I could ever imagine being, and I know I'll be great at my job (my completely hypothetical job, that is), but I'm in a serious rut right now. 

I feel like everyone and their dog has had an amazingly revelatory year. I, however, feel like the same person that I was last year- but with a degree. My best friends seem to know where they are going. Their trajectories are set, and over the past year or so, they have been presented with opportunities that have taken them to a new place in their lives. People that I've grown up with are beginning to get married and have babies... in that order.... and on purpose.... It's all very unnerving and very exciting at the same time.

I don't believe in fate, but I do believe that God has a plan, of sorts, for each of us. My question and fear is, what if my aspirations in this world are not aligned with what I'm supposed to do with my life? I feel uneasy about the future. I don't know if I'm missing my calling- not that I have any inkling as to what that calling may be. Although I know what I want my calling to be, how can I be sure I'm not missing out on something that I may be better at or happier doing. Do I wait for a sign, or do I take my chances and just go for it? I'm not self-centered enough to think I'm the only person who's ever thought of these things before, so someone out there must have some answers. I guess it all boils down to this; how do you stop existing and start living? I know that I can do great things with my life. I know that I can multiply my talents and bring something more to the table. What I don't know, is how you actually take a leap.... and which way to jump.

When in doubt, Cross it out.

A very wise person recently brought up the notion that The Faith is directly concerned with the present; the Kingdom of God is here and now, and it resides in all of us. I loved hearing this... but it also scared me a little bit. I realized that I'm spending so much time concerning myself with my future, that I might be missing my present. I don't want to be the only thing standing in my way. I need to be grateful for what I have before what I have can be multiplied.

So, I can't promise myself that I'll live in the moment 100% of the time, but I can certainly try. Maybe my answers actually do lie in the present. I wish things could be like the Book of Daniel and the Hand of God would come down from the heavens and write a clear, unambiguous, grammatically correct message on my wall (granted I would like it to be under less macabre circumstances).

Okay, so I know that that is unlikely, but I am hopeful that something will come my way that will reaffirm my calling. Until then, it's all about the here and now.

---------------------------------

Speaking of signs... I just stumbled upon this Bible passage, and I will leave this inner-discussion at this....

"She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future..."
-Proverbs 31:25


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Considering- Camp Emmanuel 2012


It’s around this time of the year that my mind feels most like a cool, deep lake; a place where there is plenty of sustenance and the clarity is remarkably inviting. I say this because I had the distinct pleasure to attend Camp Emmanuel, a Greek Orthodox youth camp, for my twelfth year. It was my fifth year as a staff member, and I cannot even begin to put in words the appreciation and admiration I have for this program. As it heads towards midnight here, I have two choices…. I can feebly attempt to explain my thoughts, or I can let them go to waste as the hours go by. I chose to write this in hopes that when I am old and grey, my memory of camp will never fade. 



-----------------------------------------

Really, none of us are born lost. We are all born in communion with God. We have no choice of it…. What we do choose in our lives is every subsequent step we take away from God; from the point of our births to our deaths. The thing that makes camp such a resonating life experience is that it is one of the few places on this earth in which we remind ourselves just how much we miss God in our day-to-day existences. We remind ourselves that no matter how fleeting and distant our meetings with one another are, they are somehow the most important relationships that we have in our lives. We love being faithful to God much more than the alternative, and in doing so, we love each other through God. 


One of my biggest fears in this world is the having the feeling that "I am alive--- but so what?" It’s a rare kind of fear that, instead of inhibiting your actions, it forces you to extend yourself to become something greater than yourself. I’m not sure if I’ll ever become whatever it is that I think I need to be, but I do know that I have the chance to mean something to someone else through this camp program. Camp isn’t somewhere that I go to recharge my spiritual battery. It’s not like I try to live a life in which only one week of the year is focused on being a true Christian. Instead, Camp Emmanuel gives me hope that I can make something out of my life, and that by God’s grace, I can do it in a Christian manner. 


Unfortunately, mine is one of the first generations raised without God. My contemporaries live in a world with strong religious impulses, but with nowhere to channel them.  I see people struggle with loneliness and aimlessness all the time, and I thank God that I have The Faith to direct me through life. The Church guides me, and most importantly, it gives me hope that I can be a person of great faith. 


Furthermore, the Church gives me hope that I am not in the thick of this life alone. I’ve never been good at telling people how I feel about much of anything because it makes me feel unguarded and awkward, but the sentiments I have about my faith and everything it has given me are nearly impossible for me to hide. It would be an injustice of massive proportions to even try. My secret is that I yearn for God, and there are moments when I know that I can no longer make it on my own. Camp Emmanuel, and all of those who have aided in its ministries, has shown me that we are all communal in our needs and experiences. It’s a breath of fresh air, and it’s enough to keep me fighting the best way I know how. 


When most people hear about others talk about their heroes, the feeling must often be lost in clich├ęd phrases and sentiments. Every time I hear someone talk about their heroes, I smile knowing that I have more heroes than most people will ever know. In fact, I think the word "hero" devalues how I feel about the people who I have come to know and love through camp. Every clergy member, every camp director, every staff member, and every friend that I have come to know at Camp Emmanuel has become a saint in my life; A champion of The Faith. I mean that from the very bottom of my heart. To know that there are people in this world that pray for you is one of the most comforting feelings there is. When I think of the people who I have come to know through The Church, I can’t believe how blessed I am. I know that I’ll be 80 years old one day and still laughing and telling stories about my friends and family that I have made at camp. You’ll never know how many lives you can change with your own.



In a perfect world I’ll have the chance to show my personal saints just how much they have changed me for the better.  

But really, the most remarkable testament to the importance that Camp Emmanuel has played in my life is how it has changed me. It has changed me into wanting to continue its legacy and ministries to the youth of the Metropolis.  I may be twenty-three years old now, and beyond the years of a camper, but I cannot deny or turn away from the place that has molded me into the person that I now have the potential to be.

Maybe I’m just a kid who can’t face growing up, but all I know is that I love camp with all of my heart. As long as it will have me, I will always have something to give to Camp Emmanuel.
-----------------------
We all have our place. Camp Emmanuel is mine….. and it’s all of ours.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Revolutionary Revolution- An Objective Essay

I think it's fair to say that no one in their right mind would ever call me a "bleeding heart" or "gullible." I'm the kind of person who, when checking their Facebook, reflexively blocks anyone who posts a "re-post this if you know someone with insert-situation-here" status. Admittedly, my thinking then gears towards how the heck is that going to help, or, what a complete farce.

Over the past few days, I've seen my newsfeed explode with myriads of "Kony 2012" posts and re-posts from friends both young and old. This time, instead of automatically brushing off these posts, I actually did something I rarely do.... I took the time-29 minutes total- to watch the "Kony 2012" video. My interest immediately piqued over the film which was produced by Invisible Children Inc.

This morning I woke up to a Facebook post from a dear friend which was in reference to the Kony meme (although I would liken it more to a movement). The picture, as seen below, made me chuckle, but it also made me think. How exactly is "Kony 2012" different than any other Facebook meme?... and is it at all?



For those of you who either live under a rock or are not a member of the Facebook generation, let me give you a quick synopsis of the contents of said video. The short film essentially explains the horrific plight of Ugandan children under the rebel regime of Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. The ultimate goal of the "Kony 2012" movement is, according to Invisible Children Inc. "to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice."



I have been reading a lot on people's apparent outrage at the viral tactics and message of "Kony 2012" as well as Invisible Children Inc. itself. I was leaning towards the notion that this film was made and re-posted by a bunch of TOM's wearing, unwaveringly liberal kids who really knew nothing about the situations and intricacies involved in Uganda and other parts of Africa, but something in me was strangely caught up in the whole idea of the film. I decided to research the topic, organization, and apparent opposition of the movement in order to educate my self on the subject.The following are issues to consider when watching the film.

1. Allocation of funds- Invisible Children Inc. is a NPO that is independently audited. From my research, about a third of all monies is allocated to those in Uganda, a third goes to maintaining offices, and a third goes into campaigning. Fair enough if you ask me, and it's all online for anyone to read. As a Christian, I always cringe when people say things like "don't give that bum any money because they'll just drink it away." I was always under the impression that Christ didn't say give alms to those you deem worthy. It's my duty to show mercy to others, it's on their conscience as to how they receive and use their gift. However, when speaking of an organization, you have the opportunity to research their motives and finances. People act as if Invisible Children's financial allocations are a shock, but frankly, you are a fool if you don't research an organization before you donate to it regardless of how popular it is.

2. Support for military intervention- The film calls for American military aid to capture Joseph Kony and dissolve the LRA. What most people don't realize is that the Ugandan government that preceded Kony was oppressive as well. However, Obama has indeed sent a small number of soldiers to Uganda to assist with LRA resistance.... In my eyes, this was a legislative placation. A "let's send enough people to get concerned American's off our backs without investing any real effort into the situation" type of solution strategy. However, there is no guarantee that endorsing the Ugandan military efforts against Kony will change things for the better. Ugandans are finally being able to create sustainable and successful lives for themselves, and many would prefer to be aided in their local economic efforts than the supposed efforts of a corrupt government and military.

Joseph Kony: In hiding since 2006

3. Campaigning methods- The third problem many people have surrounding the "Kony 2012" movement is mainly targeted at viral "Hollywood" campaign methods, and whether or not they are actually effectual. If the goal of "Kony 2012" was to make him famous for being the ICC's most wanted war lord, then I think it's definitely working.

4. Misleading viewers- Another issue with the film is that is misleads people into thinking that Northern Uganda is still being terrorized by Kony and the LRA. In fact, the LRA has not stepped foot in Northern Uganda since 2006 and has subsequently moved to the jungles of surrounding nations (still committing horrific crimes, nonetheless.) Also, in the film mentions that there have been 30,000 children kidnapped into the LRA. Some people are saying this is an exaggeration. The LRA's army is currently small, but this 30,000 reflects the total number of children abducted in the 30 years of the LRA..... This fact is not to undermine the actrocities commited by Joseph Kony, but it is meant to inform you that Ugandan children are no longer being kidnapped by Kony.

5. Foreign policy and formulation of a plan- There are technical issues and concerns regarding the capture of Joseph Kony and foreign policy of both Americans and Uganda. Seeing as how Kony is in hiding in the jungles of Uganda's surrounding nations, there is the issue of how those nations will respond to and assist Uganda's military. Also, if the United States sends military aid to the fairly unstable Ugandan nation, what is to say that it won't backfire against us in the future. Does anyone remember Afghanistan? Furthermore, won't we have to kill Kony's child soldiers to capture him? Will the LRA's existence end just because he is captured? I don't have the answers to these questions, but they are legitimate and should be explored.

Hey, where did you guys get those guns!?

6. Rehabilitation- Although this hasn't been a public concern, it has occurred to me that these boy soldiers have undergone unthinkable mental, physical, and emotional trauma and may not be able to assimilate back into society with ease. How can they just simply return to their families and villages if they are rescued? Is there an organization that will provide rehabilitation and services to those poor boys for their own well-being, and the protection of their families and neighbors?

Many people believe that my generation is definitely a generation of apathy. We are the generation who likes to buy a pair of overpriced canvas shoes in the name of "charity" because it helps us feel better. We can do something without actually doing much of anything.... And that's the way we like it. We believe that wearing a yellow rubber bracelet with a catchy word on it makes us a humanitarian. We are so shrouded in our own microcosmic society, we forget that a lack of awareness and sympathy only continues to create a buffer of apathy within our privileged nation.

Regardless of whether or not I support Invisible Children, "Kony 2012" is genius; a revolutionary revolution. It has taken advantage of the Facebook era and the generation of apathy, and it has used it to its advantage. As I stated before, if the goal of the movement was to raise awareness about the LRA, it is certainly working. In fact,  I bet you can tell me the name of the LRA's leader without looking it up just from reading this post. As of Thursday morning, over 36 million people have watched the "Kony 2012" film. Assuming that a few million of those are repeat viewings, there are still millions upon million of people who have been been touched by the message of the film. I mean, even I, the most cynical of all cynics, was made curious enough to further research the situation.This video appeals to the ethos of young, malleable people with a heart. As they say..... "The old are conservatives because they have brains, and the young are liberal because they have hearts." I have been hearing a lot of "Kony 2012" proponents saying things like, "isn't doing something better than doing nothing." In a simple world, the answer to this would be yes. However, many believe that diligence and precision is the crucial to solving a foreign policy issue.

I'm not even fully convinced that the folks at Invisible Children Inc. realized what they were doing. They have revolutionized the way that young people think that they can take action in this nation. I completely agree that if 36 million people are aware, at least some will act in some small way, be it singing the "Kony 2012" petition (www.kony2012.com), writing a congressperson, donating money, or even telling a friend. It's both very exciting and engrossing.

I am interested to see how this meme will progress over the next days, weeks, and months. My hope is that Kony is found much sooner than later, but the current backlash towards Invisible Children is both interesting and concerning. Seeing as how this is a viral campaign, I can see it actually burning out before any potential change takes place. Just as with any super virulent virus, such as Ebola, the virus replicates and kills its host so quickly, it cannot "jump hosts" quickly enough to spread worldwide. Many epidemiologist consider this phenomena to be something that has kept an Andromeda strain illness from wiping out human kind thus far. I wonder if this Kony movement is also so quick-spreading that it will fail to keep momentum into the future. If there is one thing American "slacktivists" are good at, it's having the uncanny ability to push current events out of our minds as quickly as they came in. Only time can tell how "Kony 2012" will progress.



I believe that our society is so quick to jump to conclusions we often don't even know what we are supporting or denouncing. "Kony 2012" is successful at this current level because of this characteristic. However, I also believe that the backlash surrounding the movement is also populist in nature. I'm not even sure if a lot of people really know why they like or why they dislike Invisible Children's efforts......

So is this effort simply the answer to the "White Man's Burden," or is this truly our duty after the "White-Man" colonized and burdened African people? The issues that face Uganda and Central Africa are extremely intricate and technical, and we cannot brush any of these off. Cultural diversity, politics, religion, socio-economics--- they all feed into each issue regarding Uganda. I'm not here to sway you to support or denounce the Kony movement, but I am asking you to put some thought in what you do. We can't look at this as a black and white issue, (both literally and figuratively) but we have to include the needs of the Ugandan people. Maybe we should figure out a way to give these people a platform to express their thoughts on the film whether it be good or bad. Would anyone be willing to listen?

Ultimately, whether or not you support Invisible Children is really not the issue, because not one of us supports Kony's terrorist methods. The issue itself is in the plan to capture Kony. If you believe that "Kony 2012" can actually change legislation in this country, then more power to you. However, if you are in opposition of Invisible Children, will you simply put the issue out of your mind in true American fashion? There is nothing that says you have to be a part of "Kony 2012." To me, that does not matter at all. The question is will you simply brush off the atrocities in Central Africa? Will you propose a way to change the world, or will you simply be another "slacktivist"? Maybe you have the solution to the problem....... You could be a Facebook post away from changing the world for the better. It certainly seems that in today's technological times we have the power to be heard..........

So what will you say?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Miss Misery

Okay, Okay... So maybe you all are sick of hearing about how much I miss everyone from Ionian Village. But, if you let me explain myself (or if my previous post wasn't proof enough), you would see that there are some perfectly validated reasons as to why I would lie down in traffic to get to go back tomorrow.

Reason #1. I miss sitting around and talking for 3+ hours for every meal. People just don't do that here.



2. I miss having Konstantine order our meals for us. Now when sitting at a restaurant, I am overcome with a sense of dread from my impending decision making.



3. I miss the dry heat. Oklahoma really sucks in the summer/always. Humidity is the bane of my existence.



4. I miss the tour bus. I slept so hard on that thing, it was like mobile Ambien. I'm like a case-study for insomnia now that I'm home. I also miss the parties in the back of that bus.



5. I miss counting the times a day in which John would find an excuse to take his shirt off.

 

6. I miss walking into a Church and literally not being able to speak. I couldn't describe the things I saw if I tried.



7. I miss laughing all day 'til my cheeks hurt. Every other thing out of everyone's mouths was hilarious.



8. I miss imagining what kinds of adventures the twins were getting themselves into.



9.  I miss the sea. The closest I get to the sea here is when I fill my sink with water to wash my face.



10. I miss Father Chris' Greek language lessons... Particularly his lesson on ordering water finding a life partner.



11. I miss the bartenders loving me. I forgot how expensive the bars here are.... Especially when you don't get 4 rounds of shots or 3 bottles of wine on the house.



12. I miss Helen's impromptu dance lessons and Sophia's turtle stories. Both are equally entertaining.

 *Note: No photograph could do either of these things justice.

13. I miss the whitewashed campgrounds. Everything was so simple and so quintessentially Greek.


14. I miss seeing something that impacted my faith every single day whether it be a relic, an icon, a Holy Mountain, or even just a chat in the woods.




15. I miss everyone. The 17 best friends that anyone ever had.