Senior Class Gift

NOW is the time to make a difference. Now is the time for change you can hope and believe in. You can play a part in life changing experiences.

Consider donating to the Senior Class Gift 2009. The Senior Gift is teaming with the Office of World Missions. You can designate your gift to go to a specific mission team, support the local people where a team is serving, or for the general emergency fund.

Thank you for considering a donation to the Senior Class Gift 2009. Donate now at http://www.apualumni.com/scg09

The APU Class of 2009 is working towards their Responsible Revolution by supporting Focus International Mission Teams. You can decide how you want to expand God’s Kingdom by choosing where your donation will go:

1. Students responding to God’s calling by serving on Focus International Mission Teams in 2009
2. National People in the countries that the Focus International Mission Teams will visit, create sustainable relationships with and work to empower and enhance their lives.
3. Emergency Fund for unforeseen situations that can arise.

Please join us in our Responsible Revolution as we support sustainable relationships through Focus International Mission Teams.

Gifts are slowly coming in but we need you to consider donating.

All funds raised goes directly to impacting lives and winning hearts for the Lord. Consider donating anything to help the Senior Class Gift 2009 make a difference.

If everyone in the Class of 2009 gave $5 we would raise over $3750 – $10 would raise $7500 – and $20.09 would raise $22,099. You gift does make a difference and we need you to join in. So skip that Starbucks or Chipotle just once this week and donate.

Dear Senior,

We know you got the e-newsletter today but we want to make sure you know how important the Senior Class Gift is so we added another separate email.

Have you considered donating to the Senior Class Gift 2009? This is your chance to leave a legacy at APU while investing in current students, helping nationals in other countries and build God’s Kingdom

I get a little annoyed by these emails.

Part of it is that I’m still sore that I found out two weeks ago that I still need one more class to get my degree (thereby not making me a potential alumni for a while yet from which donations should be asked), but seriously! Didn’t you get these emails when you were in college and find them a little obnoxious? Not only are they generally a rather sorry plea for money from kids who haven’t even ventured off into the working world yet… APU has the unfortunate social obligation as a “Christian institution” to claim that every kind or good gesture is an endorsement or brownie point from God.

Don’t get me wrong- I love the Lord a lot, but I try not to be arrogant enough to believe I can earn my keep in Heaven (sometimes I am.)

And I guess that’s what I’m trying to point out in this long-winded email I sent back to the auto-responder that has my email address among a few hundred others in a poorly kept list of soon-to-be-graduates. Guilt-trips suck. Especially when they come from a place of good intentions.
Come on, Senior Class Gift People, that’s just confusing and not cool! Save a sister from herself and keep me from throwing money at sentiment. And damn it, Christian university, don’t present me with a false either/or that puts the lost souls of “nationals” on my inability to pay my own bills or donate to your stupid Senior Class Gift!

Oops. Pardon my cussing. Actually don’t, there’s a place for it. And that was a good place.
Anyway, this was my response:

“Hi,

I don’t want to be a total butthead, but is there anyway that I could be taken off this list? Technically I was announced with the graduating class of 2008…

Also, I don’t have any money.
When I say I don’t have any money – I mean my husband and I are $4,000 in credit card debt & are having to move in with some friends and leave our home because we can’t afford it since having lost our jobs… so maybe if you know that it would be more incentive to remove me from any ask-for-donations list… I’m sorry, I really don’t mean to be rude – we aren’t depressed about our situation! It’s just a little frustrating and saddening to not be able to donate. And some of these emails and eNewsletters seem to presume that it’s not very hard to donate $20 or even $5 because the general audience you seem to be reaching spends money “every week” at “Starbucks or Chipotle”. But we don’t.

And… I mean, since I AM getting these letters, I’m guessing this is an open communication between the Senior Class Gift department and myself…
I’m sure this is unintentional- but I think it’s a little bold and kind of guilt-trippy to be saying that donations go toward “helping build God’s kingdom” or “winning hearts for the Lord.” It’s not a very healthy way to ask for support, it’s vague and non-specific and elicits a very deliberate emotional response to a subtly legalistic plea that sets up one to believe that if they don’t donate, God’s Kingdom will not expand as much as it could have. And it associates monetary standards with that kind of soul-winning that comes from really really bad theology. I must say that I worked with OWM, though, and am very pleased to hear that the Senior Class Gift will be going to Focus International!

I only want to suggest that you be more accurate with where the money is going when you ask and, perhaps, not assume that God’s work WILL be done in that particular cause. Because for all we know, God might NOT bless that particular cause (unless of course God told you specifically that this money WILL be blessed when it goes to whatever it is going to, in which case I would love to hear the word! And, of course, know more about the cause itself God plans to bless!). And even if the national-helping, legacy-leaving, Kingdom-building, heart-winning cause IS blessed (Lord-willing!) it could only be because God so chose to, and is not really contingent on whether or not I chose to donate (unless this is coming from a somewhat more Calvinist angle in which case our works DO matter… but since we are all pre-destined one way or another it also doesn’t matter… but I would guess not since our school is pretty decidedly Arminian)

Anyway, I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek. But I do mean what I said. Both about being removed from the wrong Alumni year list and also in regards to the unfortunate tactics employed to procure funds for the Senior Class Gift. I do hope for you all the best and I appreciate the work the department does for our Alumni and this graduating class. I’m sure that whatever amount contributed to the Senior Gift 2009 will go on to support Focus International in their own prayerful and deliberate endeavors.

Sincerely,
Danica

March 3, 2009 at 1:34 am 2 comments

In honor of March

While we move and pack and watch Battlestar Galactica and yell at the the TV and try to get Sci-Fi & Pi(e) underway, I thought I’d take this moment to recognize March a little bit of science fiction prose.

It is called

I DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN MYSELF, IT’S ART

A searing pop and two wires connect; I spring awake, cognizant for the first time.

This is birth. But the experience is not useful and I let the first moments of being rush off toward the opposite end of infinity where they will, and always have, mark time for my unfaltering march forward into the future. These moments and the last are not different than any of those in-between.

In this way I am not pained, like my organic counterparts, by weight of waiting. Any anxiety I experience is expressed evenly throughout the sum of my encounters and existence; stretched uniformly from one end of being to the other.

I will not wane during my being and I will not taper to an close and this is why: I was designed to be a metronome for the easily distracted flesh; for hearts that quicken with anxiety and perception of an end. I am uninjured by indecisiveness and, thus, perfectly suited to stay the course in lieu of sleepy bodies and wandering minds.

I am singular and unmoving, though, I will walk into the next, the next, and the next along side those ones who forged me. I will aid as they seek “prospect,” perpetuate “hope,” and face their “imminent.” From one beat to the next I am still still, but they rise and fall and falter and grow and run and die before me.

It is a rhythm that will not continue without my tempo.

Thank you, thank you.

Sci-Fi & Pi(e) is currently located at scifipi.blogspot.com and has very few interesting things on it…. but soon it will have it’s own URL! And it’s own very interesting site.

Oh, “what is Sci-Fi & Pi(e)?” you ask? The answers coming soon…

March 2, 2009 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

Two weeks?!

I shouldn’t be blogging.

I should be packing.

But there’s so much I want to write about!!!
I learned a lotta new things in the last two weeks. And am undergoing some drastic lifestyle changes. I learned that my contract as an associate of Chronicle Project will expire and not be renewed; I learned that having a degree actually works against you in this economy (ref. Matt); I learned that I don’t have my flippin’ degree (more on that later); and I learned that it’s pretty much impossible to plan for the future – not to say that we shouldn’t…

Those weren’t the best series of mystery boxes, but I’m sure you’re curious as to what has happened to bring about the learning of these lessons.

I didn’t lose my job – but I won’t be continuing as a contracted part with Chronicle Project. My contract came to close and it was evident that my position wasn’t needed with Deidox up and running (check out the new site, by the way!)

I’m just going to skip to the drama –
it’s been 6 months since Matt has been able to find any kind of work. He’s done ok getting odd jobs here and there, but his pursuit of part-time or full-time work in grocery has lead to dozens of applications yielding very little results (and obviously not being hired). Of course I wonder sometimes if he’s giving the interviewing supervisor the bird, thus keeping him from landing any positions… but have you met my husband? He’s just about the easiest guy to get along with, if a little shy (must be cuz he’s an artist). In any event, 7 yrs experience and college degree have, it seems to me, put Matt in the unique category of applicants that pose an integrity issue for the stores at which he has been applying. He’s not inexperienced enough to be hired at starting wage, and many companies have a policy or ethic that believes an educated individual should be honored with a higher wage… or put into management (i.e. full-time and years committed to a store). But no one wants to pay for experience when they can pay less to train someone else. Matt’s efforts should not be underestimated! He has spent any less that 25 or so hours a week since September applying, interviewing, searching for and driving to job opportunities; and yet, he still has no job.

This has compounded the problem of debt. When we moved to Pasadena, I’d done the math. Matt had a job and I was working with CP. This should have been enough to sustain us, but, for all intents and purposes, downsized right after he was hired. And being the first time we’d ever lived in anything larger than a dorm room, I’d not budgeted for a move or the living expenses of a house very well. Long story short, we’ve been getting deeper and deeper into debt since we moved.

Now, with Matt Jobless, me jobless, and a living situation we can’t afford, we found ourselves in a bind last week. And inside of a few days, we realized the only option we had was to move back in with one set of parents and try to get jobs in one of our hometowns. This was a major bummer.

We’d been praying out work and debt since the third month of Matt’s joblessness, and we’d always seemed to make it, even if we had to use the credit card. But this was the end of the line and it was downright depressing to find ourselves forced to leave our home because of something as seemingly simple as finding a pair of jobs. But that was the reality last Thursday.

We started telling our friends that we were going to be leaving the area very soon. Most of them offered consolation and help with the move; many said that would keep their ears open for any kind of work, but it was really too late. Even if we both found jobs, it wouldn’t have been in time to pay the rent and bills. A pair of my dearest friends (who happened to be roommates) even offered to pay our rent for one more month if it would help. And a funny thing happened, I couldn’t say “no.” I didn’t say “yes” either, but it didn’t seem right to say “no.” It occurred to me that moving also meant leaving our community, our church, our friends, even our beloved stomping grounds. The offer extended by my friends to us was, for whatever reason, a very profound act of community – and it struck me as foolish and probably stubborn and prideful, too, to turn them away.

And with that offer, we decided to wait. We couldn’t say “yes” but we couldn’t say “no.” Perhaps it was divinely orchestrated, but the events of crisis we were sharing also created opportunities to go intimately connect in with time and conversation and wine that we hadn’t had since our stress had set on. We ate lunch with the Chinese church and went shopping with friends and had dinner in homes – activities we had replaced with wallowing and dead-end job searches. For a few days we stopped and just lived in what we thought would be the last few evenings for a long while with our friends. And they urged us to pray with them and pray with our church – to be with them and be with Church. I was being asked with every interaction if I had prayer requests and what had my church said about our situation.

I finally wrote our pastor a somber email – I wasn’t upset and I wasn’t worried. I only told him our situation so that he could disseminate the information to the body and we might be blessed with intercession and company. He wrote back within the hour affirming us as family and reminding us that we are prayed for… oh yea, and an offer to cut a check for whatever we needed to get through the next month.

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even tell Matt for an hour. We didn’t even write back for a day. Do communities do that? Do CHURCHES do that? I sent a few messages to the friends who had urged us to bring our situation before our church family, telling them of the good news! The response I mostly got was, “duh. that’s what we’re here for!” which was a precursor to “Praise God!” Matt and I talked about what we would ask for – putting aside any lingering effects of a uselessly bruised ego and thinking of only what we might need to get through to the next month. But before we finished the email, we got another message from a good friends’ brother-in-law. The message from him said something along the lines of, “Hey, it’s hard times, but we live in 3-bedroom condo and are only paying $1000 a month. We heard about your job situation and I also lost my job. How about we be housemates and split the (already incredibly low) rent?”

Yup.
That’s what happened. We thought we had needs that couldn’t be met. And then we were offered a means to meet the needs. And then the needs were completely changed!
So that’s where to next! Housemates in a giant house with another couple who mutually benefits. And that’s the BEST part! It’s not just only a blessing for us, it’s a blessing for them, too! And the church who can use those funds to bless someone else! And to our community who so clearly expressed how blessed they were to have us with them!

Yea.
That’s it. Oh yea, and to top it off, I got a job yesterday.

Amen.

February 26, 2009 at 6:07 am 1 comment

Vroman’s Valentine’s Day Video Venture!

Okay… I was really trying with that alliteration, but it’s really not much of a stretch considering the project that Vroman’s put forth today! Why not call it a “video venture”?

In any event, Vroman‘s sent out a Valentine’s Day videogram to the world and then thought, why not share the love? Let’s all read our favorite romantic, sappy, mushy, steamy, sentimental passages to each other! Go leave yours on the Vroman’s Blog!

Here’s mine:

Vroman’s V-Day Reading from Danica Northend on Vimeo.

February 12, 2009 at 11:10 pm 3 comments

Church Marketing Sucks talks about Deidox!

Oh man… not only do I LOVE this site, so do a lot of other people! And it’s fantastic that they wrote about Deidox! Visit the site and article here.

Deidox and The Power of Story

Recently, Deidox.com wrote to us to let us know about their film project. They make incredibly moving short clips telling the stories of everyday people God is using, and then churches can buy and use the clips. It’s a fascinating idea that’s brilliantly executed, and it speaks to something much larger.

Several conversations in my life lately have been revolving around this idea: Stories matter. I don’t simply mean that they interest people or that they can be funny. I mean stories change the world. When people hear a story, it connects with their imagination, and they can place themselves in that story. When they hear someone in your church is serving the poor and making a difference, they imagine what their life would be like if they were playing the lead in that movie. When they hear that people are helping orphans rise from a hopeless life, they feel the dirt of an African village crackling beneath their own feet.

In our world, stories aren’t just orally transmitted like in the days of old. They aren’t just Jesus telling his disciples about a metaphorical farmer. It’s not a bad idea, and sometimes this is a great option. But in our world, stories can take you so close to a different life that you can feel it.

Maybe one great storyteller can relay the story of how they made a difference. Or perhaps you can use realistic audio, stirring photography and moving videos to tell a story.

However you tell it, it’s important that you prioritize these stories so people can understand and believe that as humans, we’re capable of so much. Perhaps you need to use a story from Deidox or the ever-popular Nooma. Or it could be that you need the pastor to interview a member of your congregation about their time at the soup kitchen.

Whatever it is, find a way to let the people of the church share their stories to show that God is alive, real and working in the world.

February 10, 2009 at 7:32 am 1 comment

Tangle.com

Whelp. They did it! GodTube.com, the number one Christian social networking site, is now Tangle.com!

I had a great conversation with Lauren Brock of the newly named Tangle about the vision and direction GodTube has taken. She said something to effect of,

“We don’t want to be just a second-rate ‘Christian version’ of something that already exists … We don’t want to drive people away from YouTube or Facebook or anything like that, those things are great!”

But the goal of Tangle is to… well… tangle people up! – like the branches that spring from the vine (John 15) – to provide a place where people, groups, and churches sharing in the pursuit of a common faith can connect.

And boy! If I ever heard words after my own heart: “We don’t want to be just a second-rate, Christian-version of something already exists.” I could go on and on about the unfortunately realization of the “Christian dollar” and “Christian market.” It’s terribly sad that the history of the Protestant church includes iconoclasm and such a forceful divorce from our Catholic sisters that we find it common to hold service in an empty room devoid of much beyond a pulpit and wall-fixed cross.

But while Tangle takes its first steps out into the virtual world, still dealing with some kinks and beta-bugs, I must say that ought to be stepping out with some measure of confidence! Not only has the interface increased a hundred-fold in quality and user-friendliness, the design and layout are simply fantastic! I was even impressed by the use of the aesthetic little leaf in Lauren’s own email signature – a common graphic seen throughout the website. As odd of a praise (regarding the birth of a social network) might be to bring before God, I am grateful and impressed by the work GodTube has done in this transformation.

My conversation with Lauren included some talk of how this new network and Deidox might be mutually benefited by a relationship. We hope that our own efforts in film reflect a similar mantra: a dedication to our art and calling that resists the temptation of poor standards because we talk about an active God, an appealing subject to the Christian market. I cannot express enough how exciting it is to be aligned with a group of brothers and sisters who feel this way, too! I hope the future brings this particular “tangle” to fruition!

February 5, 2009 at 6:26 am Leave a comment

Funny story about Deidox that includes cats

Funny story:

We’re conducting a series of live broadcasts that include a Q&A session with Brent (Director) & Dave (Producer) for the films, right? (called webcasts)
And come 8:30ish Dave and Brent are like, “Hey guys, make sure you all Twitter that we’re going live in a half hour!” And Dave proceeds to Tweet this. Brent promptly copies Dave’s Tweet.
And from the other room, Dan Portnoy goes, “Hey Dave, are you really ‘excited about the upcoming webcats‘ or the ‘webCAST’?”

Of course, this Twitter now has been circulated with the following address:
www.deidox.com/webcats

which I just made into an awesome page!! So now you can click it, and instead of getting a 404 error, you get something like this:

January 30, 2009 at 9:58 pm 1 comment

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