Monday, September 19, 2011

asset-based community development

What I love about Youth Art Team:

It's an example of asset-based-community-development (ABCD). Individuals and the team consider the gifts and ideas they already possess to offer the community, as well as what God can create new from their collective effort to build a better community.

On this field trip to Des Moines, IA, on Saturday, the team had time to learn, be inspired, have fun, and to dream about what they might do next together that would help create greater beauty, health, and wholeness in Waterloo-Cedar Falls.

The girls outside of the Des Moines Art Center. We had a great tour inside!
We toured Freedom for Youth Ministries and saw what some of the students were making and selling in their welding shop.
Here, in the woodworking shop at Freedom for Youth Ministries, a student named Swedie, showed a few of the Art Team a fish-shaped chair that he's been learning to make and sell.
We also learned about the coffee roasting business that Freedom for Youth students have begun. They sell the coffee to local churches and businesses in the Des Moines area.
The Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines had amazing sculptures (and an awesome hill to roll down besides!)
Our field trip ended with a Camera Scavenger Hunt around downtown Des Moines. Here, one of the art team members fulfilled this item, "Take a picture of an art team member who looks as tall as the Principal Building, Iowa's tallest building."
Thanks, Des Moines, for helping us experience God's beauty and creativity together in your city!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Youth Art Team encounters Des Moines

Check out to learn about yesterday's big field trip to Des Moines, Iowa. I'll also post on it this week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

exercise on segregation

On a drive to a swimming party on Sunday, I randomly asked my 12 year old son what he thought was a solution to America's race problem. His answer, "We have to congregate. We live in our separate neighborhoods and separate worlds.....we have to come together, live together, for anything to change."

Take a couple of minutes to try this online exercise on segregation:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

dear white person

post written by another dear friend in our group...

Dear white person,

I can't deny the fact that I feel uncomfortable around you, that I feel a bit "less" when you are in the room. Not because I feel this way of my own accord, but because I've been taught that this is how I should feel. I notice that all I know to be good and right is white and all that is dark and corrupt looks like me. My super heroes don't look like me, my role models are the personification of a distorted image and I see a perpetuated place for me among the "lost causes" of society. If I can be even more honest with you, I hate being a charity case, I hate being at the mercy and pity of what I have come to see as my great oppressor. I feel I can't progress without your permission, for you hold all the keys. Though I speak your language, celebrate your holidays, learn of your history I can never be your equal. I feel everything I do is to earn your approval. I try to speak better, grow smarter, excel higher all in some misplaced attempt to prove to you that I am worthy to be your equal. Your sympathy for my plight is as my sympathy for my dog. I will feed him, bathe him, care for him, leave him in my home, defend him... even love him. But he can never be my equal, for he is a dog and I am a man. My hope is not that you would accept me, but that I would accept myself. That all I do would be for the glory of God and not for the pleasure of men. I would be wrong and unjust to blame my entire plight on you, for every man must bear his own burden; however I can't escape the fact that I live in a society that makes being young, black and male the criteria for poverty, prejudice and prison. I am all those things, but I also have one more strike to add to my three... I am also uncompromisingly and unapologetically a Christian, and in this Ifind my identity. In this I take my seat at the table of brotherhood. I have ceased looking for you to tell me who I am or to ascribe me my value or to attribute unto me worth, for my Savior fills my cup and I thirst no more. But fear not, for there is a place for you at this table as well. The one who saved me a seat has also saved you a seat. Love covers a multitude of sins and where sin does abound grace does much more abound. Receive me as your brother, embrace me as your equal, cherish our diversity, and rejoice in our differences; for truly, how boring would it be if everyone brought the same dish to the feast at The Table of Brotherhood. So May we feast and feast well together as brethren.

Sincerely, yours in Christ

The Black Man.