Broken-down Poetry: April 2010


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Thursday, April 29, 2010


Today I talked to Cameron Strang, RELEVANT CEO, on the phone. As most of you know, RELEVANT and I had a bit of a falling out earlier this school year. I'm proud to say that's all over. I forgive RELEVANT and I think RELEVANT forgives me.

I've blogged about this journey for about a year. Last May the "fields died" and I decided not to pursue a job with RELEVANT. I've done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people since then. I've drawn conclusions - conclusions I'm still not happy with.

I don't think Cameron is the bad guy. I don't think RELEVANT is a horrible magazine. I think, though, that I was putting too much hope in a magazine created by human hands. Run by imperfect people.

I started reading RELEVANT when I was fifteen; I started "taking God seriously" when I was twelve. I was a baby Christian. RELEVANT was my connection with God. The same way it's hard realizing your pastor is imperfect, it's hard realizing your magazine and the people running it are too.

I don't know what to make of the research I did last fall. I don't know if it's true. I trust the people I talked to, but I want to trust Cameron too. He's passionate about what he's created - the same way I'm passionate about my writing (and this blog!).

I know this has taught me to trust God. He has good intentions; he challenges me for a reason. God didn't "kill" RELEVANT just to torture me. He didn't use me to expose the dirt of this company or anything like that. He used RELEVANT to teach me trust. He asked me, like Peter, if I love Him more than all of these, more than RELEVANT. When I finally said yes, when I finally believed what I said and moved on with my life (yay PLC!), God brought the fields back to life.

I forgive you, RELEVANT.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

... and overcomes conflict to get it.

I go home Wednesday - I'm halfway through college. I'm terrified; I'm sad. I love college - especially the learning - and I don't want it to end. But I'm beat. I'm sick of writing papers. I want to rest my brain.

In between writing this, I'm working on my final exam for Media and Society. We're supposed to comprehensively write about our approach to media literacy, using just about everything we've learned this semester. Dr. Perry suggested we start with a specific medium or issue and go from there. 

I decided to start with RELEVANT.

Seven months ago Kevin Erickson emailed me about his RELEVANT thesis. Six months ago I sobbed and screamed at God for killing my dream. 

But now I'm writing about RELEVANT and what it has taught me about media literacy and what I think Neil Postman would have to say about it. And it's forcing me to relive last fall. I'm rereading Kevin's thesis - yes, all 99 pages. I'm rereading my emails with former employees. I'm reading that email from Jason Boyett where this game started.

But you know what? It's okay. It's really okay. In fact, I don't want to work for RELEVANT. I think it'd be cool ... and I wish there were more magazines like RELEVANT out there ... but I don't need to work there.

I'm beginning to wonder if it was just getting  in the way. Maybe that whole experience was the "inciting incident" that got me from there to ... well ... Iraqi Kurdistan.


My mom said yes - I'm going to Iraq this summer.

God is good. How good? Let's see:

December: Lauren finds Preemptive Love Coalition internship
December: Lauren tells sister about PLC internship. Sister freaks out.
December: Lauren tells mom about PLC internship. Mom freaks out.
January: Lauren tries to convince mom that she can handle said internship. Mom says no.
January: Lauren prays a lot.
January: Lauren fasts Wednesday lunches.
January: Lauren applies anyway ...
February: Lauren buys passport
February: Sister finds out and freaks out.
February: Mom finds out and freaks out.
February: Lauren considers giving up dream.
February: Lauren reconsiders giving up dream.
March: Lauren can't sleep because she doesn't know what to do.
March: Lauren gets internship!
March: Sister finds out and freaks out.
March: Lauren still can't sleep because she doesn't know what to do.
March: Lauren tells mom about internship.
March: Mom says no again.
March: Lauren tries to reason with mom to no avail.
March: Mom gives Lauren a chance to "propose" the internship to her and stepdad.
March: Lauren prays a lot.
April: Lauren asks other people to pray.
April: Lauren proposes internship. It doesn't look good.
April: Mom contacts lots of people who know PLC. It looks better.
April: Mom changes her mind!
April: Lauren buys plane tickets. :)

I know I didn't handle that maturely. The praying part was good, so was the fasting, but the going behind my mother's back thing was not. The arguments and stubbornness wasn't good either.

But holy cow. O Jacob, you worm: I am nothing. This, this was all GOD. I can't even make it seem like this was my doing. GOD worked a huge miracle. 


I leave in less than a month. I'm not scared yet; I don't have time to be scared. There's so much planning I need to do. 

To think I was so sure I'd be planning for my RELEVANT internship this time last year.

Instead, I'm planning to spend the summer in freaking Iraq. IRAQ! Man alive. I get to work for a organization whose mission statement I not only believe in, but can be sure that they live up to it. 

Praise GOD - he knows what he's doing. 


Saturday, April 17, 2010

only by prayer and fasting

"But if God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?" I answer, What if He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most?


I never share prayer requests. I don't like to. When Dr. Huckins asks for ours in Practicum, I never make eye contact. I think it's because in youth group everyone tried to one-up each other. Your mom's sick? Well, mine just died - beat that! And I don't want you prying into my personal space.


This season has been filled with doubt. I don't know what I believe. I know some things, and those things I hang my faith on like a hat. Others, like prayer, I don't know what to make of.

But I'm going to live them out, like Jayber. This blog will testify to that.


I want to intern at Preemptive Love Coalition. I've wanted to since December. I thought God was finally going to give me a break - let me have a big story to live out. RELEVANT died. This was it.

Then, Mom said no. 

She said no in December, but I applied for the internship anyway.

She said no in February when I bought my passport.

She said no in mid-March when I got the internship.

She said sigh maybe in late March when I begged and pleaded and cried and came up with logical reasons why I should get to work with PLC in Kurdistan.

(I'm realizing how persistent I can be - to my own demise.)

So I prayed. Reluctantly. I didn't have anyone else pray except Molly, Lindsey and my college group at home. I didn't ask Dr. Huckins to pray. I didn't ask Dr. Bence to pray. I think I asked Dr. Perry to pray, but that's it. 

I didn't ask people to pray because I didn't believe in prayer.
(And maybe I still don't.)

Then Mom said that she would think about it, that she might consider letting me take the internship. She started asking me questions like how I could pay for it and how long I'd be gone. I was hopeful; I asked more people to pray.

Maybe God did have a hand in this after all.

I asked Molly to pray, of course, and Lindsey. I asked my dear friend Jason to pray and Austin and Matt. I asked the other PLC interns and the president, Jeremy, to pray. People on Twitter told me that they were praying for me and for my mom. 

I prayed for the dead saints to pray for me because that seemed like a very Catholic thing to do, even though I'm not Catholic.

And God has moved. 


I don't think God's only moving because we're praying. I don't think that's what Jesus meant when he said, "Where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." I think that Jesus shows up when I'm alone too.

I think that praying for others and asking others to pray for you is a humbling experience.
I think it transforms you more than it spurs God to answer in your favor.


We must ask that we may receive: but that we should receive what we ask in respect of our lower needs, is not God's end in making us pray, for He could give us everything without that: to bring His child to his knee, God withholds that man may ask.


Maybe that's the point. Maybe the ask-not-because-you-have-not is God's way of getting us to talk with him. Not only that, maybe it's his way of making us rely on others, to think outside ourselves. I can't ask people to pray for me out of pride. I can't do it. I have a huge pride issue, but if you're going to pray for me, it's got to be for a legitimate reason.

I need to need you.

And praying to the saints? Maybe I should save this for another blog post, but I think there's something - uhh - transcendental about asking saints to pray for you, to intercede. Not because Christ can't do it. But because you can't do it on your own. You need help. You need the saints. Dead and alive ones.

I say this again: it's humbling. Especially for someone who doesn't like sharing prayer requests, to know that David, a follower on Twitter, is praying for me is humbling. He owes me nothing. He has no ties with me. He doesn't know my age or hair color. He just knows my situation and we share the same God.


I fast a meal a week. I don't like talking about that either because I'm afraid that sounds like I'm bragging. To help: this was Lindsey's idea.

Every Wednesday at noon I pray instead of eating. Sometimes I stay in my room; sometimes I go into the NHC chapel or sit outside; sometimes I drive to Tree of Life. Sometimes I can stay focused, sometimes I can't at all.

But I'm not eating during this time. It's just me, my "worship music" playlist, my Bible, my notebook ... (wow, this list is long) ... and God. Just us. Hungry.

Maybe this works. Maybe it's like prayer and it's more about the communion, less about the results. Who knows. I do know that when Matt texted me one Wednesday, right as I entered the chapel to tell me that he was fasting with me, I felt loved and cared for and humbled.


Mom's going to tell me Monday if I can go to Kurdistan with PLC. I'm confident that she'll say yes, but I don't know for sure. I also don't know if Dr. T is going to approve it as an internship so I can get loans to pay for it. I don't even know if CitiBank will pay for it.

So pray.


If for nothing else, for the support system it's bringing me and my family and the other interns.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jayber Crow, p. 54

I said, "Well," for now I was ashamed, "I had this feeling maybe I had been called."

"And you may have been right. But not to what you thought. Not to what you think. You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out--perhaps a little at a time."

"And how long is that going to take?"

"I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps."

"That could be a long time."

"I will tell you a further mystery," he said. "It may take longer."