Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hey! I'm a college grad

I'm sitting here in Ohio, I'm a college graduate, I have a small job, I'm still searching for a good job. I've had a few interviews. I actually have a phone interview tomorrow! Crossing my fingers for this one! This is what is going through my head constantly. How many other recent college grads feel the same way? I really hope most of you do, because if not I would think something is wrong with me...
I started this blog my freshman year of college when I moved from small town in Tennessee to the suburb of Chicago. Moving to the suburb (Naperville) my chance to say I'm finally living in a city, little did I know Naperville was def. not the Chicago experience I had dreamed of living. Now that I have completed my 4 years of undergrad, I ask myself what is next? What other rule of life should I accomplish? I have grown to realize that there are no exact rules in the way you should live your life. Just because I was told you go to school, get a degree, then get a good job doesn't mean that is the best way to go about your life. This summer I have decided to enjoy the 2-3 month period of not working everyday. I will most likely never have this time again. I have been living it out in Chicago: going biking on lakeshore trail, shopping (or mostly window shopping on Oak Street), sleeping in, swimming laps, laying out on the beach, sewing, traveling to see family members, concerts in the park, volunteering with several urban ministries.. job application, job application after job application. I assume starting September I will be working full time, but just because I always started school in late August/ September doesn't mean I initially need to follow that schedule. I most likely will, because for my mindset to fill more accomplished I would be working, but again there is no set schedule to completely live. It very much is a strange feeling.
     This blog was started to create a book of blogs for a college student, now that I have completed my undergrad career at North Central College, I will continue to bring rich experiences and advice to my friends from the other side of the spectrum.. from the perspective of a day in the life of a college grad.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Peace, love, and justice: a dialogue

[Dialogue written and presented for Community United Methodist Church of Naperville, IL for vocational discernment service on July 21, 2013. Also posted at Red Poppy Fields.]

Joe: This is Kacie. She is southern girl from just north of Nashville, Tennessee.

Kacie: This is Joe, He is a Pensyltucky boy from the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

Joe: Kacie knows just about every country song on the radio and about every Nicholas Sparks-inspired movie in the theater.

Kacie:  Joe is not afraid of camping in the mountains where there are hundreds of bears, plus he is a big sports fan, maybe not the Chicago bears but definitely a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Joe: Kacie is an artist. She is very visual, very tactile. She sees scenes of color and texture and transforms ordinary things into works of art.

Kacie: Joe is very intellectual. He uses big words, mainly because his head is always stuck in a book. It’s a beautiful site to see him so concentrated on his reading. He reads books by authors like Paul Tillich and Alice Walker.

Joe: Kacie is also very passionate about justice for women.

Kacie: Joe is also very passionate about justice for workers.

Joe: And so it makes perfect sense—

Kacie: That we met in—

Both: Washington, D.C. at Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

Kacie: I feel that we both have a call to advocacy, which means joining with the voices of the poor, the weak and the marginalized to make change in our nation and world by speaking stories of truth in our communities to our local, state and national leaders.

Joe: We’ve both had strong religious experiences where we felt transformed by God—what John Wesley would call “justifying grace”—but we also continue to feel the Spirit move us toward acts of mercy and justice for people around us. Wesley called that part “social holiness.”

Kacie: One of the biggest issues we advocate for is poverty and food justice. We both help with a student and homeless ministry in the South Loop of Chicago. We have a community meal with students and people from the streets, make sandwiches together and walk the streets with our friends to pass out the sandwiches.

Joe: There’s this one community off Lower Michigan where about a half dozen homeless people usually sleep. Someone wrote a Bible verse on the wall there. We always drop off a couple of sandwiches for the folks there. Last week, they were all gone and the Bible verse had been painted over. We figure that the city had evicted them for the Taste of Chicago and a movie someone was filming.

Kacie:  This is community, and we feel like we are part of the community. We are all equal, and deserve equal treatment in our society. We go to our local, state and national leaders to remind them about our friends on the street. These are the stories of truth that make up our society.

Joe: Jesus and his followers also spent much of their ministry among the sick, the poor, the socially marginalized. As two followers of Jesus Christ in 21st century Chicago, we continue to practice ministry with our friends and neighbors—Black, white, Latino—

Kacie: Gay, lesbian, transgender—

Joe: Native born and immigrant—

Kacie: Rich and poor.

Joe: We are all one in Jesus Christ.

Kacie:  Last week I completed my internship with Bread for the World, a national organization that works with churches to end hunger through advocacy. I am using this training to start a sewing ministry for homeless women.

Joe: And I’m in seminary, making my way through the process of becoming a United Methodist pastor. I’m finding ways to incorporate God’s call for justice in acts of preaching, teaching, and service.

Kacie: One thing I’ve done in response to my call to justice is write letters to my congressional representatives. I was able to do this through Bread for the World’s offering of letters program.  I invite you, too, to write a letter to your member of congress on issues dealing with food justice or just an issue you are very passionate about, especially if you cannot travel to DC or Springfield. Get a group of friends together and write an abundance of letters. This is definitely a way to raise your voice and speak for justice.

Joe: If you’d prefer a more direct action route for justice, I encourage you join with me and my friends at IIRON, a regional community organizing network. We’ve set up shanty-towns in Federal Plaza, had flash-mobs at the Apple store, and occupied abandoned properties to show how too much money is going to excessively wealthy corporations at the expense of our friends and neighbors.

Kacie: Even though Joe loves brown and his Carhartt jacket—

Joe: And Kacie loves pink and lace.

Kacie: Joe is very talkative,

Joe: Kacie is a bit more introverted.

Both: We both have a place at the Lord’s table with—

Joe: Peace

Kacie: Love

Both: and justice.

Kacie Greer and Joe Hopkins outside of Sen. Mark Kirk's office
 in Washington, D.C. They are now engaged and plan to marry in 
June of 2014.