Thursday, July 30, 2009

Small Ways that Lead to Huge Impacts through Music

The transformation quality of music is one of the palatable ways people make meaning out of life intrinsically. The sharing of music and what it means to us is one small way music makes a huge impact in the lives of others. It's the vulnerability that comes when we share our lives and our experiences through the music that touches our souls in reflection of the culture in which we live. That's a mouth full I know but we can all agree that music enriches us and teaches us. It can guide us too. For many including me, U2 has impacted lives through their music. U2 has also impacted Christianity. A good friend of one of my professors at school and a recent Facebook friend of mine, Greg Garrett has recently published a book through Westminister John Knox Press that highlights U2's impact on society, Christianity and on individuals. From Publisher's Weekly from the Amazon page on his book says, Rock music fans who have ever wondered if their faith and musical taste could ever be paired will be intrigued by U2's story and Garrett's theological analysis of the band's music.

Tonight, Greg listed a recent interview he did to promote the book on Public Radio. Below is the caption verbiage and link to the interview he did. Here's the caption on the KUT webpage as it introduces the interview of Greg Garrett's new book, We get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to U2: Sometimes music and the lyrics go beyond a catchy tune, and make a real impact. Austin-based writer Greg Garrett says while U2 is not a “Christian band” per se, their faith definitely leaks into their work. Greg Garrett is the author of We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to U2. — Jennifer Stayton

Check out the interview (click on KUT webpage above). It's short and and the interview is set for broadcast on the KUT (Austin's NPR affiliate) program, Morning Edition.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Simple Tugs at the Heart

The video below is currently being highlighted on Yahoo. It's absolutely amazing. This is the message I posted on Facebook to go with the video, "This dancing piece is absolutely amazing, touching and beautiful. The choreographer, Tyce Diorio, created this dance for a friend of his who was battling breast cancer. The piece was shown on the program, So You Think You Can Dance. It will take your breath away." Seeing pieces of creative artistry like this one is one of the small ways people can make huge differences in the lives of others. It's the simple things that bring glimmers of beauty. These reflective sparkles of God's grace and beauty through the human spirit are also ways small things can make huge differences.

Another example and aspect: If you look at Michelle Brunner's blog, she is doing a series on simple things. Look for her blog entry for July 23. See what I mean. :-).

Here's the video:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An interesting observation & simply water

A couple of nights ago, I was talking to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Claire. We're talking about the changes the Internet brings to society. She was pointing out her opinion that sometimes we cast such a wide net into the world, such easy access to information and communication, that sometimes it distracts us from those people that are closest to us....and thus ultimately distracts us from focusing our energies on one soul at a time, a community at a time, one neighborhood at a time. Our brains are not wired for the constant haphazard and chaotic dealings the Internet and social network sites tend to create (The downside of Facebook, you're so busy finding what others are doing that you're not listening to the person speaking next to you.) And this really resonated with me, she said, "Humanity has lost touch with its own humanity, trying to do too much, too fast." A number of years ago, I did all this research on the small ways people make huge differences in others lives. And the juxtaposition of that with the changing face of American Christianity. I interviewed heads of non-profits and church pastors. What I would like to do in the next few weeks is share some of this data and highlight recent ways people can make differences, locally and globally, all in the grace of making profound differences in others lives. I want to explore how the Internet, used purposefully, can help people make a difference. This first post is from an article I saw in the Times at the beginning of this week that talked about the non-profit called charity: water. A group of former co-teachers I taught with and I were having a conversation at the end of the 2008 school year. We were talking about what demarcates true poverty in the world. Definitively, true poverty from this standpoint is the lack of access to clean water. What struck me about this non-profit is that it helps people in under-developed nations learn to build wells so they can have access to clean water. The average cost per donation: $20. So, in honor of this first post of this series of thoughts, here's a link to the article; and here's charity: water's website,
And lastly, here's a few minute video on the charity and it's impact.

Small Ways to Make Huge Differences
charity: water

Friday, July 10, 2009

Buffy vs Edward

This video I found on one of the blogs I circulate. It's also circulating around the web. It's actually quite good (especially for a Buffy fan) and worth a look and a handful of minutes to waste. Sorry Twilight fans but Buffy is just too.....well you watch and tell me what you think :-). One more thing...look below the video for some thoughts from the creator of the video...interesting take and one I just might agree with...

From the designer of the video, rebelliouspixels, "Read my post on why I made this remix via WIMN: In this re-imagined narrative, Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's an example...Read my post on why I made this remix via WIMN:
In this re-imagined narrative, Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's an example of transformative storytelling serving as a pro-feminist visual critique of Edward's character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy's eyes, some of the more sexist gender roles and patriarchal Hollywood themes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed - in hilarious ways. Ultimately this remix is about more than a decisive showdown between the slayer and the sparkly vampire. It also doubles as a metaphor for the ongoing battle between two opposing visions of gender roles in the 21ist century."

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Human Spirit

Three summers ago, maybe it's four now, I interviewed a number of people of the small ways people make huge differences in others' lives. Note to self; I need to start posting the findings of the research and interviews from that summer. I digress for a second. This morning I was checking Facebook and I noticed my former department chair Vanessa posted a link to an article about a young man who survived devastating injuries from a fire that destroyed his home this past December (10 days before Christmas). This change in his life has forced him to give up on some high school dreams but not on life and what his future can hold. The article also shows the impact of others' kindness. My friend Vanessa and her students started a club based upon the movie, Pay It Forward. The club raised 17,000 dollars to help this young man and his family get back on their feet. This article from the Austin American-Statesman is truly inspirational from the standpoint of the resiliency in the human spirit, and in the kindness of people. Here's the link to the article.