March 14, 2009

Off to Israel

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:29 pm by actualkingdom

So I’m leaving for Israel in a couple days and a friend asked if I’d be posting about it.  Maybe.  It’ll be here if i do.

October 1, 2008

A real update

Posted in D.J., life, Missy, Nonviolence, Reconciliation, Springfield, Things I care about, Travel, Xavier at 6:53 pm by actualkingdom

So, Missy told me that someone asked how I was doing.  They didn’t know because I don’t post anymore.  So Dave, this is for you.

A House

We closed on this house two days ago.  It seems like a real strange time to buy a home, and frankly, we weren’t planning on it.  But we started looking around a few months ago, knowing that we were planning on staying in the area for some time.  When we saw this house, and saw its very undervalued price, we thought we might as well make a bid.  And we did, and got pretty lucky I think.  It’s a great old 1921 house that’s had only two owners.  Of course, the bathroom and kitchen hasn’t been touched in 50 years…

My job

So, for those that have spoken with me, you know that I’ve been working for the past 6 months or so with The ARIA Group, a conflict mediation organization in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  Aria is basically my boss, Jay Rothman, me and a collection of independent associates that work with us from time to time.  So for all intents and purposes, it is just Jay and I.  Jay has been doing conflict work for the last 25 years and has developed both the methodology we use and the technology to support it.  While both of our main interests are in the field of identity based conflict, we also do the typical consulting type work – organizational visioning and planning, conflict mediation, etc.

The identity conflict work has taken Jay all over the world and is beginning to do so for me as well.  I just returned from a two week trip to Northern Ireland and Germany.  In Northern Ireland I was reconnecting with some contacts from last year in an effort to begin developing a theory of practice around “Intra-Group Pre-negotiation.”  Jay has found that in many mediation instances, the intervention fails because neither constituent group has any sort of shared goal or consensus within themselves, much less with the antagonist.  So we want to begin developing a methodology to address that.  In Germany, we were working on a project to train Middle East facilitators.  ARIA is combining our methodology with that of two other groups to develop a new methodology to train facilitators to work in the Middle East and Europe.  The picture above is our workroom at the University of Hamburg…showing the chaos that ensues when you try to merge methodologies.  I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but because of restraints from our funding agency, I can’t describe the project very much.  I can say however that the project is led by a couple of fantastic individuals and that if it achieves its goals, it will make a significant impact on the region.  This project alone will likely take me back to Germany at least once next year and then to Jerusalem in September.  There were two other projects we worked on in Hamburg, one of which is helping the University of Hamburg develop a new educational offering (BA, MA, or Certificate) in Peace Studies to their students.  There is a movement in the EU to begin standardizing a course list for all postsecondary education for EU member countries.  Included in that is a big push to include peace and conflict studies in the curriculum.

I’m amazed I even have this job.  I literally have it because I sent Jay an email.  The long story is that as I was getting ready to leave Xavier with my MA, I began writing experts in the Conflict Resolution field to ask how a theologian might be able to get in and begin working.  I was referred to Marc Gopin, who is the director of ICAR at George Mason.  It’s the premier program in the US, and probably in the world.  He told me to get a certificate, and I let him know there was a program 15 minutes from my house at Antioch McGregor in Yellow Springs.  He said, “Get in touch with my friend Jay Rothman.”  So I did.  Jay was in Israel on a Fulbright program, but when he returned, we had coffee and I jokingly told him I wanted a job.  We came up with the idea of doing an unpaid internship for 6 months, which instead turned into a part time job in two, and now full time.  It’s been pretty amazing…serendipity abounding.

D.J.

So we’ve had DJ now for more than a year.  We got her last July and she’s now almost 17 months old.  She’s a pretty amazing little girl.  Still very easy to care for, very fun, and (parental bias aside) very bright.  Our time with her has been exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, endearing, sorrowful and joyful.  While the situation we find ourselves in often leads us to dark places, having her in our lives has been amazing.

Her final trial date is Nov. 24th.  It was due to be Nov. 17th, but was pushed back a week.  From the tone of the judge at the pretrial yesterday, I don’t think there will be any more delays, barring any disasters.  I am more hopeful than I have ever been that she will be with us after the case is over.  Again, without giving too much information, it doesn’t appear that anyone in the case, aside from her mom and lawyer, are going to be asking for the kids to be returned back home.  I don’t really know what that means for the other children.  I worry about them some.  There are three siblings together who will stay with their foster parent until they can be adopted together.  And then there is DJ’s oldest brother, who has a lot of emotional issues with which he struggles almost constantly.  He is a wonderful little boy, also very bright, who simply doesn’t know who he is supposed to be attached to emotionally and how to deal with his conflicted feelings.  We don’t know if his foster parent will adopt him and we worry about where he will go.

DJ continues to be a light for us and we are looking forward to our days together.  This next month will continue to be stressful (and I will continue to blame my thinning hair on the stress of having a child and of this added situation) but we are prepared for a good sigh of relief around thanksgiving.  We certainly this year will be thankful for our daughter.

September 27, 2008

It’s been a while, but

Posted in Film at 12:36 am by actualkingdom

So.  I’ll give a real update in a day or two just to let you know how things are going.  A lot has changed.  And apparently, I’m still getting like 100 hits a day, which is not a ridiculous amount, but strange considering I never post.

The only thing I want to say right now is this:

The two movies at the top of my list right now are “Once” and “The Thin Red Line“.  Yes, there are others that critics say are better.  There are others I may say are better.  All I know is that I am emotionally overwhelmed each time I see each of these…and I’ve seen each probably 10 times.

July 23, 2008

Not that anyone still checks this, but

Posted in History, politics, suffering, Violence tagged , at 11:29 am by actualkingdom

this is worth posting:

Radovan Karadzic Arrested.

Short Video of his crimes

March 24, 2008

Easter Liturgy

Posted in Film, Hope, Music at 2:21 pm by actualkingdom

For the first time in a few years, we divested from our inherited practice of watching Shawshank on Easter.  We watched “Once” instead.  If you haven’t yet seen it, I can only tell you that is has displaced almost every other movie I love.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcAodj6NYb8

March 15, 2008

From Wright’s new book “Surprised by Hope”

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:36 pm by actualkingdom

pg. 229

“Second, to see evangelism in terms of the announcement of God’s Kingdom, of Jesus’ lordship and of the consequent new creation, avoids from the start any suggestion that the main or central thing that has happened is that the new Christian entered into a private relationship with God or with Jesus and that this relationship is the main or only thing that matters.  (Some currently popular Christian songs seem to suggest this rather too frequently, as though the main thing about the gospel were that Jesus could take the place of my girlfriend or boyfriend.)”

February 29, 2008

And the video

Posted in Film, Music at 1:02 am by actualkingdom

here’s the video of the acceptance speech, though I don’t know how long it will last.  The AAMP has been asking them to be removed from YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pPe-1CBgng

February 27, 2008

This is worth posting

Posted in Film, Music at 10:49 pm by actualkingdom

http://youtube.com/watch?v=a_YmnXGGFZY

And they won:

Glen Hansard:
Thanks! This is amazing. What are we doing here? This is mad. We made this film two years ago. We shot on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in front of you people. It’s been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the Academy, thanks to all the people who’ve helped us, they know who they are, we don’t need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Thanks.

Marketa Irglova:
Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you.

January 31, 2008

I had a giant hamburger last night…

Posted in Ethics, suffering at 1:59 am by actualkingdom

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/01/30/undercover.slaughter.video/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

 i need to stop ignoring this.

January 23, 2008

Done?

Posted in Blogs at 10:22 pm by actualkingdom

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve not posted on here in quite some time.  I simply haven’t had the desire to.

 This probably isn’t one of those “I think my blogging era is done,” or “I’ve realized I’m doing this for the wrong reasons,” or even “This form of communication is false and killing community.”

I’m simply saying I haven’t felt like posting.  It may because of the writing I’m doing on the thesis.  It may be because I’ve been spending more time focused on my wife and D.J.  Or it may be because I don’t want to do it anymore.  Who knows.

We’ll see if I come back to it.  For now, maybe I’ll just start posting photos, since I want to get more intentional about photography after my thesis is done. 

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