Author Info: Blane has served on staff at AU Chi Alpha for several years and became the Director in the Fall of 2014. This New Mexico native is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama but has fallen in love with the big city. He and his wife (Hannah) moved to DC to complete the DC Chi Alpha CMIT Program under Mike & Jen Godzwa. They are parents to a pretty amazing toddler, Jeremiah. You'll find him biking around DC in search of a coffee by day and pouring over a book by night. You can find him at www.blaneyoung.com, and connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

*Originally published at: https://churchm.ag/in-celebration-of-tedbillion/

(Posted after TEDTalks had 1 Billion total views)

What an incredible milestone! I can’t even began to wrap my mind around the number of servers required to make this happen. As people are being encouraged to tweet their favorite TEDTalks, I thought I would share four incredible ones that you may have not have seen yet.

Susan Caine: The Power of Introverts
Lately, my wife has been trying to convince me that I am an introvert like her. I’m still not sure if that’s true as I tend to be as loud and engaging as a used car salesman at a Christmas party. But the more I read the confessional and heartfelt comments on YouTube, the more I thought I should at least take a look. This talk is inspiring, eye-opening and empowering, whether you are an extrovert or introvert.


David Blaine: How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes
Where has this guy been? I’ve missed him! Anyways, in this personal talk about one of his biggest failures and accomplishments, we are given the privilege of seeing inside the mind of someone passionate about their craft. He is willing to make history despite the cost and so whether you are a fan or not, you will find this video worthwhile.

J.J. Abrams: The Mystery Box
If you’re like me, you miss LOST and there doesn’t seem to be a fitting replacement in sight. I even tried to get into Revolutions, but alas, it was not for me. I have probably seen this talk a handful of times but I continue to come back to it as I think about the importance of mystery as a communicator and creative.

Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happinness & Spaghetti Sauce
Who doesn’t like spaghetti sauce? Okay, there are probably lots of people. However, this talk demonstrates the brilliance of Gladwell and gives us insight into our desires, preferences and tastes.

What is your favorite TED talk? Which of the ones above did you most enjoy?


Originally published on December 1, 2012 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2a11YKO

Posted
AuthorOther

Author Info: Josh is passionate about studying the Bible and having deep conversations with college students at American University and Georgetown University. In his spare time, he can be found with a book, a video game, or outdoors in a hammock, normally fueled by caffeine. You can connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

The older I get, the more I realize that I like simple things. 

Simple meals. 
Simple dates. 
Simple technology. 

The last one is big. I love technology. I love being on the forefront of the newest thing, and I love when it is simple to use. Recently I had a conversation with a friend about the new trend towards 3D movies and virtual reality. It is intriguing to me that these things are becoming popular, but that there are many people who stay back from them due to the fact that it is more complicated than we are used to. I don’t want to have to put another set of glasses over my own glasses to watch a movie, or play a video game a specific way. Yes, I know that it is supposed to be more “immersive”, but to me, it is just complicating things that were fine to begin with. I’m only 26, but the older I get, the more I like things to just be simple. 

Simplicity. What is it about simplicity that we tend to be scared of? We live in such a complex world. If you don’t believe me, or if you don’t see it in the news, all you have to do is bring home something from IKEA and try assembling it. 

In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster talks about what seems to be this forgotten discipline of simplicity. He states, “The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle.” 

...a lot of times, when we have that much stuff, we begin to let stuff define us instead of letting Christ define us

Moving from a three bedroom house to a studio apartment has taught me a lot about how to live simply. Frankly, there is just a lot of stuff that we do not need. And a lot of times, when we have that much stuff, we begin to let stuff define us instead of letting Christ define us. We are living in a generation that is all about the stuff that we have, and does not find joy in living simply, therefore the identity of this generation is based in what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s not. 

Foster goes on to list ten principles on living simply, and ones that I have found to be very helpful in evaluating the discipline of simplicity in my life. I encourage you to read over these, and implement them in yours. You’d be surprised at how much more refreshing living a simple life can be! (Personally, #5 has had the most impact on me!)

  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  2. Get rid of anything that is producing an addiction in you, anything you can’t do without.
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
  6. Develop a deeper appreciation for creation.
  7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.
  8. Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech. (Matt. 5:37)
  9. Reject anything that breeds oppression of others.
  10. Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the Kingdom of God.

Published on August 4, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2anStIA

Author info: Blane has served on staff at AU Chi Alpha for several years and became the Director in the Fall of 2014. This New Mexico native is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama but has fallen in love with the big city. He and his wife (Hannah) moved to DC to complete the DC Chi Alpha CMIT Program under Mike & Jen Godzwa. They are parents to a pretty amazing toddler, Jeremiah. You'll find him biking around DC in search of a coffee by day and pouring over a book by night. You can find him at www.blaneyoung.com, and connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

Originally posted at: https://churchm.ag/how-do-you-define-excellence/

How do you define excellence? 

You’ve heard it before and you’ve probably used the term as you trained volunteers. I know that I have.  At times, it feels like the perfect word to describe the efforts of a well-orchestrated team accomplishing a project but at other times, it feels like a source of frustration as it is ever elusive. But what does it really mean? How do we actually define it?

Sure, I could quote Webster’s or lookup something from Seth Godin but I think my concern over the term being used in the creative arts arena is that it can’t be defined. Or better yet, it can be defined in a multitude of different ways.

It’s not quantifiable and even though spreedsheets aren’t always sexy, they at least provide us objective means of evaluation and feedback. Now, I am in now way going to try and create a system by which we grade our projects and creative endeavors. However, I do want to make an observation.

Everyone has their own working definition of excellence as defined by their experience. For instance, if you asked me about a moment when I witnessed excellence in church communication, I might mention the time that I saw an interactive, multimedia presentation in the middle of a Christmas service. However, you might mention a moment in which you were served communion, while an orchestra played behind a chorus of singing children.

Everyone has their own working definition of excellence as defined by their experience.

I know, the illustration is not perfect but I hope that it illustrates my point. It is difficult to use the term excellence as a goal when the definition is so varied. People will come to believe the project is complete or more than satisfactory while you are scratching your head wondering how in the world they considered the project anywhere near completion. Sound familiar?

Now, I must admit – the term can seem helpful at times. And no, I don’t think we should remove all mystery or idealist values from the creative process. I just think that, for whatever reason, the term can become the proverbial carrot, always out of reach and never grabbed. Or worse, it can wind up being used as an easier to swallow synonym for perfection. If that’s the case, then those around us will be robbed of times of celebration which I believe are crucial to both a team dynamic and a creative individually.

For the majority of us, I don’t think we mean for this to happen. I know I don’t. But I’m just unsure of how to use the term to effectively communicate expectations. Perhaps the solution is to define it and invite others to utilize that definition. I’m not entirely sure. I’m merely asking if there is a better way. A way in which we can facilitate art to a certain standard without every having to critique a piece with the words, “It just doesn’t feel or seem right.”

How do you navigate this? What are ways that you’ve seen the term used?


Originally published on November 29, 2012 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2arVxoe

Joel Kimpela is a recent graduate of Georgetown University. He was captain of the football team, but more importantly, led the Transformers men's Life group for 3 years. He now works for Oracle in Northern, VA and is volunteer staff for Chi Alpha. You can follow him on Twitter

I met my fiancé in Chi Alpha at Georgetown University. As an 18 year old freshmen in college, it's not as if I went to school looking for a wife but God granted me a “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17)  when He introduced me to Kimberly Portes. She was beautiful, loving, caring and most importantly she loved Jesus. 

During our Chi Alpha Mission trip to Atlanta, Georgia freshmen year, I witnessed Kim love, serve, and pray for the people we came across. Her passion for Jesus and people attracted me in ways that I could never have imagined. Over the course of our spring semester, I watched Kim’s faith grow tremendously. Her passion for justice and equality challenged my way of thinking about the world around me and the kind of role our God played in all of it. 

The more I got to know Kim that semester, the more I was drawn to her. We began to spend a lot of time together that year and our conversations, whether serious or silly, always flowed with such ease. Kim and I started dating our sophomore year of college. As the very first Georgetown Chi Alpha couple, we prayed that God would make us examples of a healthy relationship on our campus. Funny thing is, I believe God answered our prayers when He allowed us to be interviewed by Georgetown University’s Take Back The Night campaign this past semester. When asked what a healthy relationship looked like we said:

"A healthy relationship is selfless. For us, a healthy relationship is centered not around the other person, but around God. We find it easier to love one another when our value is found in God. In our relationship, we are reminded we must love one another similar to how Christ loves us--selflessly and completely. We learned that the more we seek and fall in love with God, the more we have the capacity to love each other in a way that honors our own stories." 

I think that generally some people may have a skewed image of marriage. The thought of being committed to one person for the rest of your life may scare some folks. I know that it scarred me at first. But I learned that in marriage, “God calls you to display the love that God has shown you to the precious person made in his image that he has joined you to.” Marriage is the best picture that describes how God's love for us looks like despite our sinful nature. 

Kim and I are now engaged and on June 16th, 2018 we will become one with the name Mr. & Mrs. Kimpela. Our prayer is that God will continue to teach us both how to best love one another in the way that He loved us. With a love that is persistent, sacrificial, and forgiving. 


Published August 2, 2016 (Updated at 4:23pm) • Short Link: http://bit.ly/2ahCtt8