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, and connect with him via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

*Originally published at:

(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:

AuthorBlane Young

The inspiration came on an NCC missions trip to Eastern Congo. Our team had divided up into groups, each focusing on a different task: there was the media team, the education team, the prayer team, and among others — the Fun Team.

Written by Bonnie Duncan   Facebook  ||  Twitter 

Written by Bonnie Duncan

Facebook || Twitter 

At first, I was fairly certain the Fun Team was a joke, a creative way to get out of having any concrete tasks. The two men on the Fun team were just that—jokesters who were rarely prepared for their updates at team meetings, but still managed to make others laugh anyway. It wasn’t until we arrived on the ground in Congo that I fully realized the importance of their contributions.

Despite the long days and emotional toll that comes with witnessing so much material poverty, the Fun Team was intentional about making sure the team members stayed in good spirits and were constantly encouraged.

From them, I learned an invaluable lesson: fun and encouragement don’t just happen naturally, but rather are cultivated through intentionality.

Our team wasn’t being led by two guys who happened to be funny, but rather by two people who made encouraging others a priority.

Though this experience, the Chi Alpha Fun Team was born. We have a Fun Colonel who is in charge of the team, and Fun Captains who help make it all happen.

Our goals are simple: to embrace whimsy and fun in an academic environment that often provokes the opposite.  We wanted to create an atmosphere of encouragement when we are often taught in class to criticize.

I think we forget that in the fast-paced reality of life, we have an opportunity to give the only encouragement some people may get that day. What a privilege. 

AuthorBlane Young

The following is a post written by Bonnie Duncan. She is currently finishing up her Campus-Missionary-in-Training Program and will be serving on staff next year with Chi Alpha at Georgetown University.

So I have this friend. His name is Geoffrey. Geoffrey the Giraffe to be more specific. You can follow him on Twitter here. He would never tell you this (partially because he’s humble, but mainly because he’s a giraffe and can't talk), but he is kind of a big deal.

He officially belongs to my friend Haydee, but we have a shared custody agreement. Now I could give you my 5 biggest tips for college freshman, but I’ve sort of developed a reputation for being that girl who never did the reading in class. But Geoffrey always did his reading, and is kind of just an all-around perfect giraffe so I’ll just let you in on a few of his secrets.

Create great memories, not just a great resume.  

To everything there is a season. A time to do homework. And a time to create memories. Finding that balance is important. Be intentional about spending time with the people you care about. Even if that means making sacrifices in other places. Like good old Mark Twain says, 20 years from now you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did.

Don’t be that person. Carpe Diem.

Find opportunities to serve others and love well

I know what you’re thinking. Geoffrey never said that. That I put him up to it because I’m an intern and it’s my job to tell people that. But you would be wrong.

Everybody comes to college searching for something. And so do you. Maybe you are looking for that one person who would drop everything to help you. Or that person you could call at all hours and they would be there for you. Or that person that simply encourages you with a note or remembers your favorite snack on exam day.

Don’t just search for that person. Be that person for others. Reflect the love of Jesus on campus in practical, but unexpected ways.

That’s Geoffrey. He showed up early to help us set up for our Alpha Course. Cause he wants to be more like Jesus.

Embrace whimsy

Some of you make be thinking. Geoffrey’s not real. Why is he giving us advice? To which I respond you need to back off (in Christian love).  

But really, college and this time of transition creates enough serious moments for all of us. Learn to master the art of embracing whimsy. Sometimes it’s exactly what people need.

Live. Laugh. Smile.

All the time. Or at least most of the time.

Figure out who Jesus is to you

There’s a part in the New Testament where Jesus asks his friend Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” To which Peter responded…

Yeah, I’m not gonna tell you what Peter said. Because it’s easy to base our opinion of Jesus on what other people say (even with our best intentions). We build our faith around great things like joining small groups and going to Church and Chi Alpha, but what would you say if Jesus asked you that question?

It’s okay if you don’t know the answer yet. But chew on it a lot these next four years when you have a spiritual family who can help you figure that out.

Your time in college is limited

Yes, that’s not exactly a tip and more a depressing statement. And yup. That’s a minute glass Geoffrey is holding. He really knows how to go for the jugular (in the most friendly way because giraffes would never hurt anybody).

It’s sad, but true. In 4 years you will be gone. And 4 years after that, all the students who knew you here will be gone as well. Which has the potential to be an extremely depressing thought. But you are given a great opportunity. And it starts with this question: are you here to make a difference or are you here to make a name?

The latter ends when you leave. But the former lives on in the lives that you touch. When I was a freshman, I had two small group leaders: Anna and Rob. If you’re a Georgetown student reading this, then you’ve probably never heard of them. But they inspired me to be a small group leader for others. And the cycle continues. And through Jesus, the outward reflection of what God has done in you creates a legacy that is bigger than yourself.

Be someone’s Rob and Anna.

AuthorBlane Young