Sidewalk
Connectivity, Daily Life, What I Like

What I Like: “Summer Slacktavist” Edition

This summer has passed faster than the Millennium Falcon making the jump to light speed. And we’re not talking Episode V here.

Amid long days at the office, magazine deadlines, work trips, and making sure I got to church mostly on time Sunday mornings, I’ve actually spent a lot of time doing one of two things: walking city sidewalks and watching a lot of television.

So, I discovered this joy called Netflix, which people have been rightfully gabbing about for years. I started “Sherlock” on a Tuesday. Anthony and I finished all three seasons by that Sunday. And I, of course, feel no shame for this incident.

I even caught up on “Arrested Development” as far as I could stomach it, finished all available seasons of “What Not To Wear,” started “Firefly” and watched a few kiddie classics just to reminisce.

To make up for my massive amount of couch-space-hogged time, I’ve been walking three miles once a week. Never mind that it’s to get Jamba Juice. It was official outdoors time—minus the pine trees and the bunny rabbits and all those nature elements we enjoyed in Northern Nevada near Lake Tahoe.

But I digress.

After years of activism and volunteerism, this past month I’ve inadvertently joined the slack-tavist team. And with as zany as finding my place in this big, big city can be, I’m okay with calm for now. We all need some normalcy, huh?

Sidewalk

Today, from my couch, I’d like to share a few articles I’ve enjoyed this summer. Here are my favorite finds. Thank you, Internet.

1. Los Angeles — A Love Story.” As I struggle to find where I fit in LA after my big move last year, Laura Tremaine’s exposé resonated with me. I like the idea that it’s a city filled with “what if” opportunities, where “possibility falls off the palm trees.”

2. “Watch This 27-Second Video the Next Time Fear Lies to You.” In the words of my favorite comedian/business advice guy, Jon Acuff, “You don’t have to be amazing at everything.” Don’t believe it? Read this quick blurb, and watch 50-Cent “throw” the first pitch at a baseball game.

3. “Three Supermoons in a Row.” Science can just be amazing some days, right? Or some nights. Yeah, that too. Get your nerd card, and find out how NASA describes the visual phenomenon behind #SuperMoon2014. Psst! Next Supermoon is Sept. 9.

4. “Comic-Com Readies for the Last ‘Hobbit’ Film.” In light of the trailer debut for “The Battle of the Five Armies,” I’m loving Philippa Boyens’ final sentiments in this USA Today article: “It’s the ordinary, everyday folk, as Gandalf says in the first film, those are the ones who keep the darkness at bay.”

5. “Back Home” by Andy Grammer. Who is Andy Grammer? I don’t know. But I heard this song on the radio, driving home from work one day, and this chorus is meant for me. Right now. In this season.

Thanks for reading about what I like! Let me know in the comments below: What do you like right now? Favorite Internet finds or otherwise?

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Sketchbook with words: Move. This is the story of ... young dreamers, trying to move the world, the chaos that followed, and what's next.
Connectivity, Discover Your Dream, Stop Social Injustice, Stunted World Changers, World News

MOVE: In the aftermath of Invisible Children’s KONY 2012

Author’s Note: This post assumes the audience knows of nonprofit organization Invisible Children and its mission. For introductory information, please view the following videos: Who is the LRA, TONY: Lose All. Gain Everything, KONY 2012: Part 1, and KONY 2012: Part 2.

           

On March 5, 2012, nonprofit organization Invisible Children released their KONY 2012 video to kick-off their latest campaign to call for awareness, justice, and unification. Millions of viewers watched the film on YouTube, and millions shared the video via social media. A new era dawned. People knew, and people cared in mass numbers.

But with glorified success, Invisible Children and its Creative Director Jason Russell also faced scathing criticism. In the Western world, we have the privilege to share our dissent and to do so publicly with whatever words we choose. I am grateful for freedom of speech. But sometimes we forget who is on the receiving end of our verbal pitchforks.

In March, I watched with the world as Jason Russell, one of my heroes, fell beneath the weight of a burden he was not prepared to carry. I had met Jason briefly at The Rescue in 2009, and his messages of hope, his cries for creativity, and his inspiration for activism had empowered me with the knowledge that every life matters. As such, we each should do all we can to let everyone know they are valued.Sketchbook with words: Move. This is the story of ... young dreamers, trying to move the world, the chaos that followed, and what's next.

Sooner or later, we all have to MOVE.

I would like to invite you to peek further into this chapter of Invisible Children’s campaigns and the movement to stop the use of children as soldiers for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This film, MOVE, will illustrate the rise and fall of leaders. It will elucidate the emotions felt by those on both sides of the debate.

Most of all, I like it because it restores hope. If you’re looking to find hope in your own life or to bring hope to others, I think you will find you like it too.

I respect a man who will publicly apologize for actions he realizes were wrong and accept the consequences. If anyone can fall that far and that hard, only to stand back up and ask forgiveness and dedicate himself to “Stop at Nothing,” well, then what Jason told me at The Rescue in 2009 is true: “Anything is possible.” So dream. Dream big. Imagine the world you want to live within. But don’t stop there. Stand up, say something, and urge people to take action with you.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Please, friends, keep it clean and keep it friendly. Comments will be published after moderator’s approval. Thanks.

Photograph and video: Invisible Children Inc.

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girl in a crowd
Scripture Study, Stop Social Injustice, Stunted World Changers

Do you know The Voice of Justice?

Welcome to Missions-Minded Mondays, the day of the week where I focus on Scripture, social injustice, and solutions.

girl in a crowd

Justice can be a tough and often touchy topic.

We have to learn how to view it in a moral sense, not in a political sense. Only then can we decipher what is true and what is good and what is worth pursuing with our words and actions.

I want to start our journey into the notions of “justice” and “injustice” with a call to discernment.

To do this, I’d like to encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the following video. It’s a brilliant piece of spoken word, created with a powerful message and directed intentionally for the screen. As you watch this, please consider the questions presented by its creator, Micah Bournes.

When presented with equally convincing rhetoric, can you discern the voice of justice from the voice of injustice?

When I first watched this video at a conference in Bend, Oregon, I shuddered. I identified with far too many ideas from “the other side.” Perhaps you can relate. But ultimately, as I examine what I really want for (not from) this world, I realize how my motives can be checked and corrected to instead be an advocate for true freedom.

Now the question becomes: How do we follow the call to justice?

Jesus gives the answer in Matthew 22:37-40. He lists the Greatest Commandments as this: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I would like to challenge us to redefine “social justice” to mean following the Greatest Commandments:

Love God. Love others.

Old Testament scholar Dr. Walter Brueggemann says: “Love of neighbor is a way to exhibit love of God.” As we go forward this week, let’s look for ways to do this. I’m thinking of this too.

  • How can I better love God?
  • How can I better love people?

As I discover the answers, I hope to not simply think about what I could do.

I want the courage to put these ideas into tangible actions.

I wish the same for you.

Let me know about your journey in the comments section below. What did you take away from this video? How do you plan to better pursue the voice of justice?

“Be not only hearers … but doers of the Word.” – James 1:22

Video: directed by Nate Salciccioli, starring Lauren Edwards and Micah Bournes

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movie theater ticket stubs
Connectivity, Daily Life

Tokens of the Silver Screen

The critics accused and ignited this ruse

that people want the lives of movie stars

with six cars, two kids, one divorce, and eight houses.

 

But we don’t want their fame. We don’t want their lives.

No, we can see that façade, that disguise.

 

The real battle isn’t with the actors or celebrities.

It’s with our need to be

who they portray in fiction stories, fantasies,

real dramas, and love crusades. We want

to be

their characters.

 

movie theater ticket stubs

 

We want to be scripted to be that free.

We want one problem—solved—then

Blissful eternity.

 

Let the credits roll and forget that whole

Mess called life, marriage, kids, school, work.

That might come next.

But the kiss is what matters.

The heist was successful.

The war has been won.

 

In movies, there is no PTSD, no criminal fee, and

no need to explore love in reality.

 

That’s what I saw, and that’s what I see, so

that’s exactly what I hope for

me. For my life, for my job, and

for my attempts at keeping my attitude cool with

my ruby red heels click-clicking.

“There’s no place like home.”

 

But that statement implies

I need a place to call home. So I better start spending, request

a mortgage to ascend the world’s ladder, and

dismiss the real Wicked Witch, the debt that’s piling high

as I repeat Dorothy’s line.

 

I know what I need

to be happy.

 

Don’t forget Allie Hamilton’s love story,

Princess Leia’s bravery, the transformation of

Anne Shirley, Jane Austen’s work, Belle’s inner

Beauty, and Selena’s glory.

 

Model Jack Sparrow’s recklessness, Aragorn’s adeptness,

Bond’s charm, Harold’s humor, Independence Day defenses,

and Danny Ocean’s ability to win it all

in the end.

 

Roll the credits, hit the lights.

Where’s my end scene?

 

That’s right. I forgot life didn’t

operate like a silver screen

where decisions are made in two point two hours.

 

The course of each character’s life was determined for

A reason: to inspire, to challenge, to mock, to encourage.

Isn’t that why we love the movies?

 

We see in the motion a mystery solved, some

part of our souls illuminated, and

some reason to believe

in whatever we were being asked to accept

as absolute truth.

 

Too often I prefer their stories to mine.

But I too am worth a story, one designed

specifically for me in this time by the

ultimate Creator, the demystified Divine.

The world is but our stage.

 

 

~ Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Ally Siwajian © 2012

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