Monthly Archives: March 2012

make kony famous

For about a week everyone was crazy about discussing the Kony 2012 video. And then it all just … stopped. Which is a shame, because even though people were divided and entrenched, at least we were talking about Uganda and slaves and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Which summarizes my thoughts on the video: people were learning, people were talking.

A friend sent me a Critical Analysis of the video, written by a man who lives in Uganda. And of course, these sorts of things were all over the place, from videos of the Ugandan responses to the Kony 2012 video, to activists seeking to transfer the conversation to their own cause, to rich white Americans criticizing Invisible Children. What they all have in common: they miss the point.

The criticisms aren’t false, they simply fail to see good.

Yes, it takes white hipsters to make other white hipsters care — but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue worth caring about.

Yes, the issues presented are surface-level — but Americans refuse to know the horrific truth (just ask anyone who has ever written for a Christian publisher).

Yes, it’s over-simplified, and although Dr. Branch (who, abstaining from social media, fails to understand the way social media are used) “helpfully” offers to share the syllabus from his undergrad course, I’m willing to bet we aren’t going to be able to rally the necessary forces by first asking them to commit to 40+ hours of research.

Yes, we are white people trying to help Africans — but are we really going to hide behind the criticism of “white man’s burden” and label this an African problem (you know, like the Holocaust was a Jewish problem)?

Yes, there are other dire situations in the world, and even in America — but we must not be paralyzed with indecision.

Yes, Ugandans are offended and angry with the video — but they aren’t (and don’t understand the paradigm of) the target audience; they tolerate much more reality than Americans will. Should we risk comparing their reaction to the video against their reaction to an uncaring, silent world? Or would that be easier to bare, for it is already the established norm?

Let us not cease to care simply because there are problems with the Kony 2012 movement. Let us not permit rape, slavery, mutilation, and murder to continue simply because the founder of Invisible Children was vilified for his good intentions and collapsed under the pressure. Let us not forgo our political power simply because we are of a different race and paradigm.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?1 John 3:17


lent iii

The most surprising thing of my Lent experience is realizing how narcissistic I had been. I wouldn’t wear the same shirt within ten days because I was worried someone would notice. We just passed the 5th Sunday in Lent, and no one has yet acknowledge that I’ve been wearing black v-neck Tshirts every single day. Considering my school can often feel like a fashion competition, it is incredibly freeing to know with the certainty of knowledge that comes from lived experience: no one notices, or at least, no one cares.

Although, I’ll admit it: I’m ready to be wearing color again, to be able to play through style. Originally I thought that on Sundays (or “Feast Days” as Keller and I have taken to calling them) I would wear only white or gray. This Feast Day I wore a blue dip-dyed skirt with a green T to church, and then changed into neon pink jeans, a chambray shirt, and a multi-color necklace. I may have diverged from the plan a little bit.

Which is good. Part of the season of Lent is about building anticipation, about looking forward. And I’m doing that. Not obsessively, but it will be nice to have color in my life again. The metaphor feels appropriate.

assignment: a prayer in celtic style

A Prayer for Women

“By a woman and a tree the world first perished.”

I wish, O Son of the living God,

eternal, ancient King,

for reconciliation between the sexes,

that I might answer your calling.

I pray, O Son of the living God,

eternal, ancient King,

for —

I wish —

that —

Mother, Child,

Goose of the Wild,

Keep me from despair,

Hear my prayer.

I pray, O Child of the living God,

eternal, ancient Queen,

for compassion in men’s hearts

that they could view women as clean.

I strive, O Child of the living God,

eternal, ancient Queen,

for a new paradigm, not princess or bitch,

that views women as strong and not mean.

I hope, O Child of the living God,

eternal, ancient Queen,

for society to know women have worth

after their children are weaned,

or at least after the age of eighteen.

I long, O Child of the living God,

eternal, ancient Queen,

for rest within the body that is me,

that I may be serene.


A few nights ago, we watched Magnoliaand are still talking about it. One of the questions Keller posed was how the three coincidences – “the account of the hanging of 3 men . . . and a scuba diver . . . and a suicide” – in the opening and closing have relevance to the rest of the film?

I was doing some research about what other commentators have said. I found one really helpful and insightful piece on the film that helped explain much of the Exodus allegory. On the topic of the coincidences, the author writes that they mean “perhaps nothing.” Just a trick to distract the watchdog of our mind. “We are encouraged to accept the fact that these things happen all the time, and that we shouldn’t over-think any of it.”

I take an entirely different view: the narrator is seeking to demonstrate that what we name ‘coincidence’, what we think of as highly unlikely or unusual situations, are in fact around us every time — if you cast a wider net. It’s easy enough to see and share the vignette of the hanging of 3 men named Green, Berry, and Hill who murdered a resident of Greenberry Hill. But to show the interconnectedness of everything and everyone – well, we normally don’t take the time and effort.

Which is where the rest of the film comes in. The lives of these characters interweave in such ways that the actions of one ripples throughout the others. Between stories, parallel themes abound. At no time does the audience think “What are the chances of that?!” – the “coincidence” is entirely believable in a way situations that we name as coincidental simply are not. And yet … the previous champion of What Do Kids Know? is stopped by an officer who is dating the cocaine-addicted daughter of the host of the show, on which a new contestant is experiencing the same exploitation of the previous champion. A young boy who offers clues to that same officer finds a woman passed out in a car who happens to be married to the dying producer of the show, whose nurse is attempting to contact his son. All of the children are exploited by their fathers. Two of the fathers are dying of cancer. The rain of frogs effects all of them as a judgment and a mercy.

The interweaving is not concise enough to make us immediately name it a coincidence, but the viewer cannot remain blind. As the narrator pulls back the stories of the three coincidences, the question of scope is raised. If we had enough time and eyes to see, would we see such interconnectedness everywhere? And if such interconnectedness is everywhere, is it truly coincidence? Rather than feeling encouraged to not over-think it, I feel the desire to over-think everything, to have eyes to see.

That helpful article I mentioned earlier? I really enjoyed it, which is unusual for me in reading about films. In the middle of reading it, I looked for who the author could be. Scroll to the top, no name listed. Scroll to the bottom:

“Shane Hipps is student at Fuller Theological Seminary where he is earning a Masters in Divinity.”

Shane Hipps is also the teaching pastor at my home church, Mars Hill. He has encouraged me to work on my Masters of Divinity, which I do at a school that used to be called Mars Hill.

What a coincidence.

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the vows

We wanted traditional vows, but couldn’t find any that were fully satisfactory. The first ones we came across, the man promises to ‘love’ and the woman promises to ‘respect’, which had implications of inequality and priorities that we don’t hold true. Others omitted pieces we viewed as important, such as the symbolism of the rings, or reflected aspects of a relationship that aren’t true for us. In the end, I took a bunch of different forms of traditional vows and merged them into one. The only problem was that I hadn’t realized how much longer they would take to say than to read — and how easily I would start crying. Because of the many post-wedding comments on how beautiful and thoughtful our vows are, I thought it’d be good to post them here.

The Vows

[Kate/Keller], I take you to be my [wife/husband],

To have and to hold from this day forward,

To share the joy and sorrow side by side,

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,

In sickness or in health, to love and to cherish, ‘til death do us part.

I humbly give you my hand and my heart

As a sanctuary of warmth and peace,

And pledge my faith and unconditional love to you.

I will be yours alone as long as God allows us to live.

I love you today, and I promise to love you tomorrow, always and forever.

I will honor and respect you, comfort and cherish you.

I will stand by you as God guides us to do His will.

Just as this circle is without end, my love for you is eternal.

Just as it is made of incorruptible substance,

My commitment to you will never fail.

This ring I give you is a token and pledge of my constant faith, bold hope, and abiding love.

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lent ii

Refraining from style has been easier than I expected it to be, and in some ways more joyful. I spend less time in front of a mirror, less time frowning at my closet and my body. I wouldn’t say I’m moving towards loving my body as it is, but at least I’m not actively hating it. Gratitude for the little improvements.

There was a day when I so wanted to put on eye shadow and more stylized black clothes. I didn’t, but the desire forced me to confront the ways I use fashion to present myself to the world. I don’t need to be open about my emotions; my clothing does it for me.

One struggle: I had ordered a dress for a wedding and had to wait all week for Sunday, feast day, before trying it on! When I did, I was surprised at how much joy it brought me. It’s colorful and floral and flouncy in all the best ways. I jumped around the apartment for a little while before hanging it away until the wedding.

Dress I purchased from Modcloth