Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Colleague Press'

9.7.17

Holding Together through Art

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Krista Foundation Press, Preparing To Serve, Sustaining Service, Arts & Culture, Post-Service Term Reflections

For our second annual art e-news, we asked Krista colleagues to riff on our conference theme, "Holding Together". Read on to see and hear how Spencer, Chasity, Richard, Linda and Doug captured holding together in the face of difference. For larger images, see slideshow at the bottom of this post.

Spencer Uemura, 2016 Krista Colleague, "Migrations"

 

Chasity Jones, 2017 Krista Colleague, "Black Infinity"

Submission
Embarrassment
Tongue Tied
Guilty
Obey Authority
Stay out of the way
Disposable
Ignored
Made an example out of
A Mascot
A token
Frustrated
Don't be caught taking a break or you will determine the work ethic of all people who look like you. So instead, I work myself to death.
Smile, even if you're tired
Pretend to be interested in everything all the time.
Survival is brutal- these lessons are vital.
I can never acknowledge the pain that threatens my life.
No permission to speak truth. Truth invalidated in every way possible- but so subtle.
Will my truth get me fired? Will my truth cancel all of these wonderful opportunities?
Have I obtained these opportunities because I am well trained in the art of relating to and pleasing the white faces that surround me.
They tell me I'm different- than the black people they've known previously.
This cuts me like a knife as I remember- I am no different because my people and I are ONE.

I am told speaking white is a gift.
But I miss everything that was stripped in order to maintain this pale skin face lift.
I've been brain washed, emotions repressed- colonized; my psyche occupied.
Because of this, I've separated myself from the people who sustain me,
From the mothers and fathers who raised me,
From the people who embody divinity....
No longer afraid of darkness, like America's taught me.
So I embrace the black infinity- which is the Alpha and the Omega.
I am an individual and stand with a community that the most descriptive words cannot describe its beauty and wonder.....
I often wonder how many shades of black and brown exist.
My heart is full as we together resist and RECLAIM all that was stolen
To my people, I am beholding
So I exist.....in this space as a testimony with no limits
Aware that every breath is an act of resistance.

 

Richard Murray, 2015 Krista Colleague, "Migrations"

The act of assemblage holds together disparate objects, creating new meanings. In the same way, I am holding together memories, ideas, people, and moments as layered lenses to create new perspectives.

This specific piece asks the question, "What is the potential for architecture to...?" I am on a journey to search for the remaining pieces to this question-

...create spaces for understanding
...foster community ownership
...empower communities of color

 

 

Linda Chastine, 2016 Krista Colleague

Dear Self,

You will learn that home is not a country or a city.

It does not lie between soiled sheets, where youthful giggles rise and inside jokes are created.

You will learn that it is not an innate feeling and does not necessarily deal in familiarity.
?
Home is not in the motherland. with the people that hold the skin tone of your kin.

Home does not reside in the place where fear was taught and your heart first broke.

You will learn that home is not another person. Your search cannot be found in nostalgia or recovered in replayed images and regrets.

Again.

Home is not a place.

Home is not a person.

Home is not your momma, baby brother, or grandma.

It's not your college town.

It is not your bed after a long day of surviving.

Home is you.

There's nothing profound, yet something so magical about that discovery.

Hold onto it.

When your home feels like a prison, revisit this lesson.

When home is something like a dry and barren land, write it letters. Let it know that you miss its comforts. and probably haven't shown it all the love it needs, but you're trying.

Cook it dinners that make it sleepy, feed it food that gives it energy.

Let it sweat it out when the pressure gets so much that it wants to leave its frame.

Redecorate it.

Show pride in it.

Boast about it.

Take a tour every once in a while. You might discover somethings you didn't notice.

You might find something that you forgot was there.

Listen.

Stop looking.

know that home is not a place or a person. but home is.

you.

 

Doug Orofino, 2012 Krista Colleague, "Envíame a Mí"

Listen Here

7.26.17

Welcome 2017 Krista Colleagues

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America

 

 

We are excited to welcome the 2017 Krista Colleague Cohort! Read more about each Colleague and their area of service here.

7.26.17

A Decade Later: Your Whole Self Comes Home

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Arts & Culture, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

How to interpret "holding together" through worship and music at the 2017 conference? Maren Haynes Marchesini '07 chose the three-part song "Standing Stone". Chanting together I will be your standing stone/I will stand by you powerfully embodied differences held as a whole.
 
The PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology is exploring holding together in her home state of Montana, where she and husband Michael '07 moved after years away. "You don't really go home again," she says. "You bring your whole self and all your experiences when you move back, and see everything differently." Drawing on what she learned about immigrant justice at the worker-run Day Labor Center in Tucson, her training in multicultural music, and her time as a church music director, she looks at Helena through the lens of race, class, gender, and community. Talking with neighbors and relatives, "I am opening up that part of myself that recognizes that we have a lot of values in common, in spite of starting on different sides."
 
As one of Helena's only ethnomusicologists, she has been enthusiastically invited to share her gifts in the symphony, schools, and college, and will relaunch the city's Children's Chorus in partnership with a local arts organization. She hopes the chorus will nurture kids' curiosity for music, people, and traditions from around the world. "In a place as culturally white as Montana, that would be a huge thing."

 

12.18.16

Advent: Week 4
Sharing Traditions in West Kalimantan by Calista Yates

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press

Gatherings, feasting, merriment fill the weeks of Advent anticipation. Calista X shares the distinctive ways she has celebrated with friends in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Consider how you can extend the good will of this season into the new year, especially with people who share different traditions, values and beliefs.

"I live in the world's most populated Muslim country, I am in an area that is primarily animistic with large pockets of Protestant and Catholic Christians as well as Muslims and Buddhists. Christmas in America means gathering with your family. Christmas in our part of Indonesia means gathering with friends and neighbors. It is all about community. With many, many Christmas services starting in late November and running through early January there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate Christmas with your community.

Christmas EveOn Christmas Eve we gather for a long service at the church that starts with traditional music, lightening our candles, and hearing a sermon. About two hours into it, things switch to a more upbeat tempo with musical performances and dramas until late in the night. After that a large group of us heads to the hospital where we visit, sing and pray with each patient and their family who is still in the hospital over Christmas. We also give them a gift. Then we welcome Christmas with a meal at one of our senior doctor's houses.

 

On Christmas morning, after church ends around 11 am, we start visiting. Visiting our many friends and neighbors lasts for at least a week. We go to each of neighbor's or friend's house to share greetings. They serve cookies, snacks, and drinks and if you are a close friend or someone important you will get a rice meal with vegetables and meat, usually a pig that they have butchered the day before. For some the visit doesn't last long because we see each other regularly but for others this is the one time of the year we may see them, so it is always good to catch-up on their news and hear their stories from the past year like who got married or who had a baby etc.

One of the things that stands out to me about this time of community though, is that Muslim and Buddhist people come to visit their Christian friends during this time. They take the time to honor that friendship during their special days. There is a separate table for halal (prepared according to Muslim guidelines) food though so no worries about the Muslims eating pork :) This practice is then reversed during Idul Fitri when Christians visit their Muslim friends and neighbors and the same with Chinese New Year. During each of these holidays, there is a chance to ask for and receive forgiveness for any wrongs done. Then you eat together.

I wish I had a picture of this happening but I don't as we are all busy talking when we get together. I will attach a few pictures though of Christmas here. Small versions as otherwise our internet won't be up to being able to send it :)

Calista
West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Christmas eve at the Hospital


Calista Yates, '04 Colleague, served as a Medical Nurse and Trainer in West Kalimanthan, Indonesia. In 2013, she returned to West Kalimantan, serving as a nurse midwife and mentor with WorldVenture.   

 

12.10.16

Advent: Week 3
Seeking Beauty in a Challenging Environment by Peter Bittner

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press

 

Peter Bittner Advent 2016

 

"Preparing for the Christmas season during my Fulbright year in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia meant seeking beauty in a challenging environment, with horrific air pollution worsening every day." Peter Bittner

The season of Advent invites us to ponder the meaning and practice of global citizenship. Advent calls us to more deeply live out the connections between our lives and the impact on our neighbors locally and around the world. The prayer flags pictured in the first Advent reflection manifested that connection, sending intentions of peace, justice, hope everywhere the winds blow.

This week, the image of sunrise over Ulaanbaatar shows the reality of one vital and often overlooked aspect of our connection with Mongolia. Whatever the distinctions of our daily patterns and situations, as living creatures we share the breath of life. In the frigid winter, lifegiving winds do not blow through the valleys of Ulaanbaatar. Smoky stench and poisonous pollution collect in the cold air. Human produced particulate air pollution chokes the life of residents, especially the most vulnerable, infants, children and elders. Particulate rates leap seven to 20 percent higher than World Health Organization guidelines. The rates of infant mortality and pregnancy loss skyrocket.

As we anticipate God coming into the world wrapped in vulnerable infant flesh, we acknowledge the mothers, infants, children and elders who are threatened by human-made environmental crises across our planet, from Mongolia to Michigan.

With every breath our prayers fly to surround them. Our concern, awareness, commitment and accompaniment breathe fresh energy into the communities where we live and distant communities as inexorably connected to us as the air that sustains us. Together with all of creation we groan with eager longing and endure the birth pangs of all that will come alive within and among us. We are enlarged in the faithful waiting, enduring the struggle in joyful expectation (Romans 8:19-23).

This writing was inspired by Peter's recent piece on the air quality public health crisis which made the cover of The Diplomat here.

 


 

Peter Bittner, '13 Colleague, is a current student at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, where he reports on global development, environment, and health. Peter is passionate to not only help share countries' unique developmental stories but to contribute to their success via collaborations with local leaders. Peter has traveled in Mongolia extensively and documented his experiences through a successful Kickstarter project exploring Mongolia's widening rural-urban divide via photography and narrative writing.

 

11.30.16

Advent: Week 2
The God Who Comes Over for Dinner. by Annie Mesaros

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press

 

Peter Bittner Advent 2016

 

As I read scripture, I'm struck by the persistent theme of God's people continually asking God to be near them and awed by the ways God chooses to respond. Finally, God-ever mysterious-shows up in a backwater town, occupied by a violent empire, as a baby.


For this, the third year of my seminary program, I'm interning at Thank God for Sex, an organization committed to a community approach to healing religious sexual shame. One of the nasty myths we're combating is the notion that flesh is evil and we need to practice hypervigilance in a never-ending battle against our bodies' natural impulses-our sexuality.


But Jesus didn't hate bodies. First of all, God makes humans embodied and called the entirety of the created order very good. Secondly, God generally operates in a kind of body-optional existence, and in Jesus, God opts in.


The last supper image pictured here is a mural behind the pulpit of the church I attended in Papua, Indonesia, during my service year with the Mennonite Central Committee. It's not a picture of Jerusalem-it's Jesus in Papuans own home, the lowland forest of Papua, nestled into the foot of the mountains. It includes all kinds of Papuan residents-different tribes from the island, but also colonists and occupiers. There are women, men, and gender-ambiguous folks. And you're there too, in the seat that's been left empty.


Immanuel is with us, eats with us, and even feeds us with his own body. This-in his culture that is almost as purity-obsessed as our modern Christianity can be. He heals with touch even though a distant thought or word would suffice-even though it will discredit him in the eyes of purists. He makes a point to feed people and wash their bodies. He invites touch from a woman who steps outside her social boundaries to bathe his body in oil and tears and dry him with her hair.


I suppose I could Google why our elections take place in November, but instead I prefer to imagine it's a divine intervention that serves to elevate our awareness of our need for God to BE HERE NOW PLEASE BECAUSE I CANNOT EVEN WITH THIS GARBAGE. It's a reminder for Advent that will last us all year long.


Bodies are collateral damage in the vitriol of U.S. politics. Not unlike Jesus' culture that was concerned with who's in and who's out, we are either actively in the process of legislating or threatening to legislate the dehumanization of our bodies and others. Rights to health care, marriage, citizenship and residency, faith, and reproductivity make effective weapons because they're so intimately critical to our personhoods and our humanity.


We believe in a God who made Godself vulnerable to hunger, exhaustion, and death just to be near us in a world rife with uncertainty and violence. A God who actively chose to get dressed in human flesh in order to walk up to us, treed in a crowd, to say, "Come down from that tree-I'm coming to your house for dinner."


Come, Immanuel, and show us your way. Maybe after we eat?

 

 


Annie Mesaros, '09 Colleague, is a theologian and writer in Seattle, working on her MDiv at The Seattle School. You can read more of her musings at anniemesaros.com or by following her dog on Instagram @twmesaros.

 

11.23.16

Advent: Week 1
photos by Ross Feehan

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press

In this season of transition, when our nation more directly than ever faces into the future with uncertainty and trepidation, we journey together through Advent. The Christian church calendar designates the four weeks before Christmas as Advent, a season of hope and of longing. Not simply anticipation of Christmas with its lights and gift exchanges and cheery music, Advent is also an opportunity for the community to look honestly at life from the view of God's desire for creation. These weeks we cry out for the afflictions in our world, yearn for the power of God to set us free, and reach out and deepen hope by confronting evil and fostering change.

Ross Feehan Advent 1For several years the Krista Foundation Christmas card has featured art from different places in the world - a mural in Central America, South African figures, images from varied U.S. artists, including Krista Colleagues. This year we invited Krista Colleagues to submit images and stories particularly from Asia a region not yet highlighted on our Christmas card. Through these weeks of Advent we'll share some of their submissions, to inspire our longing and hope. The global lens expands our perspective and helps us recognize the extent of God's family and the vast reach of God's love.

This first week of Advent we ponder images contributed by 2013 Krista Colleague Ross Feehan who spent time with Jesuits in India. Prayer flags are a Buddhist tradition especially in Tibet and Nepal. The flags bear prayers and writings of peace, compassion, and wisdom for all. The wind is thought to spread their good will to every place and people. Let us keep every people and place in our prayers for healing, peace, mercy, justice and joy.

P.S. yes, that is Mt Everest in the background.


 

 

 

8.12.16

A Decade Later: Skills for the Classroom

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Education, Intercultural Development, Education, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

Lisa Villano 2016Sharing life alongside people with and without developmental disabilities at L'Arche Tahoma Hope Home in Tacoma inspired Lisa Villano '06 to embrace a career in special education.

"It can be easy to under-recognize the significance of cultural differences in the classroom," she shared at the recent Krista Foundation conference. To better understand and support her Native Alaskan students in Fairbanks, Alaska- and to avoid misinterpreting their behaviors- Lisa works hard to understand her own culture and perspective.

"For example, I instinctively expect a student to make eye contact. To me, it shows respect. But in many Native Alaskan cultures, to show respect a child should look away. If I don't know my own cultural tendencies and am not open to other perspectives, I disempower my student." By supporting her students' strengths and needs and equipping them with tools they need to navigate the world, she hopes her students will get the high quality of life that they- and all kids- deserve. 

8.12.16

Our Shared Experience: Spencer Uemura '16

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Advocacy, Homeless Advocacy, Community

2016 Colleague Spencer UemuraMoving to Omak, Washington to serve as case manager at a shelter for people experiencing homelessness and mental illness, Jesuit volunteer Spencer Uemura '16 got an earful of "us/them" thinking. Well-intended friends warned him to be careful of this unpredictable, sometimes scary population.

Listening to backstories of trauma, abuse, and neglect at Shove House was humbling. When an 88-year-old priest told Spencer that under similar circumstances, he too might turn to alcohol and drugs, new viewpoints and a new story began simmering. 

Previously, Spencer thought of himself as serving on the margins. "But that notion comes from the perspective of someone who thinks they understand where the center of society is," he says. Now he recognizes that while everyone has difficulties, "there is so much joy in our shared experience." As he moves toward a career in social work, he continues learning "to have an open mind and to first approach people with a mindset of love and understanding, rather than having my judgments at the forefront." 

6.29.16

Welcome 2016 Krista Colleagues

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Preparing To Serve

We are excited to welcome the 2016 Krista Colleague Cohort! Read more about each Colleague and their area of service here.