spring 09 semester underway

they call it the Spring semester, but going over to Temple didn’t feel like Spring today.  It’s nice to be back in school again.  I have some really great classes and love my profs.

I’m taking Intro to History of Africa with the same guy as last time (see earlier post).  5 books again, but this time about several different regions and not as in depth. The other one is Hip-Hop and Black Culture (African American Studies Dept).  The first class was so good.  There is a possibility that Philadelphia legend Schoolly D might even come in one class.



Schooly D now


pretty awesome.


Today I had my 2 finals, officially marking the end of the semester!  whew!  In some ways I now know why it took me so long to get back in college, in other ways I’m really siked to be taking classes.  It’s not always easy, but it’s really stimulating and deepening.  I definitely felt like an “adult student” today when I was really pumped to write an essay for 2 hours for my final in History of Southern Africa (thanks, Teshale!).  The question was to state Steve Biko’s ideology of Black Consciousness and his critique of White liberalism.  It was a treat to sit for that time with Mr. Biko and reflect on his inspiring writings and life.

Steve Biko, 1946-1977

Steve Biko, 1946-1977

It’s going to be nice not having to go to class or do all that reading, at least until late January.  Next semester I set up my schedule way better and have equally cool classes so it won’t be as wild as this one.

Remember, remember

The twelfth of September

A light, once bright was dimmed.

good to be home

what a week.  sorry that I haven’t posted anything.  I either didn’t have time or didn’t have any wireless signal (on the Turnpike you have to pay!)

One of the things was going out to western PA to pick up Abigail (our accordian player) and practice for 24 straight hours before we went over to Messiah College for a show.  The next morning I met Rod & Nate out in Grantham for a sort of seminar day.  Back in the Philly just in time for my cell meeting and then yesterday went back down Lancaster way for a nice dinner with more BIC kinfolk.  Today Christina and Bobby get married!

When it got late I started taking photobooth shots at practice the other day.

psalters practice

psalters practice

I still don’t know how to have it not be mirror image.

More about travels and ideas that were kicked around to come.

State Theology

While finishing up my second book for my History of Southern Africa class, Jesus has been mentioned quite a bit.  Since the beginning of the class, there has been the all-too-familiar notions of those in power using their concepts of God to justify not only their superior social status, exploitation of others, but their ideology of “this is the way it is”.  Notably the Afrikaners using a military victory over the Zulu in the Battle of Blood River (the Ncome River) on Dec 16, 1838 as proof that God prefers the European newcomers over the African inhabitants.

It took some theological unraveling for people to get the idea out of their heads that the State (no matter which one) was ordained by God-to be obeyed and if you rebel against them you are rebelling against God.

A Christian Dirce by Henryk Siemiradzki

I have had hundreds of conversation in my day about how to work with this excerpt from Romans 13 (when Nero was likely emperor) and how to make sense of it-mostly in the modern USA context. Responding to the same rhetoric that we hear in the States about how we are to go along with the governments and how military victories perpetuate our freedom, The Kairos Document was drafted in 1985 by over 150 clergy of all races and denominations.  They helpfully outlined how crazy such arguments to justify the oppressor are.

Continue reading

Tinariwen Doc online

I think I’ve been talking about this group for a while, and prob even posted about it.  I ran across this documentary about them today when I needed to return to the desert after a weird moment on campus.

I was talking to my classmate who came to the PM last night because he read about us in the PW article about our stories.  We were just reading one of the most intelligent arguments for Apartheid by Hendrik Verwoerd and had a class discussion about its ties to Calvinism in Nazi Germany among other things.  Fascinating.

As soon as we walk outside there are huge banners and large crosses with young people shouting at us to turn to Jesus. I don’t want to even get into it, but there were a few of them.  And I needed to get away from the coercion.

So while I ate my noodles, I found this short doc and got a sense of going back to the desert with one of my favorite Tuareg bands.  In this desert with Christ, I’m free to not have to judge people or be so offended by people acting like idiots.  I can let it go.  There’s a lot of sand.  One of the Tinariwen lyrics translates something like “I have never seen enough trees to make a forest.”  It’s can really be that simple.

just when I thought my life was rough…

My mind is not used to having exams.  Two in one day about tuckered me out, not to mention my right arm is about to fall off.  I feel tired, in a good way now that they are over.  I paid attention and participated in class, read the material, reviewed material, did at least okay (I think) on the exams.

When I’m tired like this I want attention.  I want sympathy.  I start to feel a little bad about my situation when the cosmic alarm clock rings while walking to my office this afternoon.

One of my neighbors wanted to talk.  Two days ago, his 5mo old son died-apparantly of some sort of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (although he is suspicious of some sort of neglect) and last night his nephew got shot in the face and stomach by Kensington High School.  He had his spleen removed and for the foreseeable future will pee and poop into a bag that he will wear by his hip.

My friend and I got to pray.  He is having his daughter 302 him tonight so he can get the help he needs.

In a moment that I feel such a need for sympathy, there is an opportunity to give some.  God works in these moments.  Sometimes I just walk by this neighbor, sometimes we talk.  Today I was going to walk by but at the last second turned around to shoot the breeze about the Phils.  Thanks, God, for a wake up call.

college becomes less fun…

1.  when it’s exam time.

2.  when I have 2 exams in the same day, like tomorrow, for instance.

3.  when I don’t have as much time to study as I would like.

Last time around I did a lot of crammage.  That seemed like a good idea.  Nowadays I like to do all the reading when it’s assigned and take a lot of notes.

I still haven’t quite made up my mind for which essay to write for my History class.  Here’ my choices.
1.    History of African societies of Southern Africa
a.    Identify the three major groups of people in Southern Africa (San, Khoi Khoi, Bantu)
b.    Write an overview of their history from the beginning until the 20th Century.  Or after you describe them you can focus on one or all three.

2.    History of Europeans in Southern Africa
a.    Which groups came and why, how, and who did they become?  Dutch/Afrikaner
b.    Focus on one of them or each one in detail.

3.    History of interaction between Africans and Europeans in Southern Africa.
a.    mid 17th century to the present
b.    peaceful, amicable relations between the two based on trade, treaties, alliances.  It could be particular to Zulu/English relations.  Gaika taking the English to fight against Makanna, for example.
c.    1838 Afrikaner-Zulu conflict
d.    1879 British-Zulu conflict.

They are all nice and open-ended.  However, I don’t know if I can remember all these names and dates, and I have 50min in which to write it so I really have to focus.  I’m leaning to the first one because I’m most interested.  The second one I think is the easiest, though, and the third has too many possibilities and I’m afraid I’ll not give enough detail.

a yard with weeds is a yard, indeed

I never feel like cleaning my back yard.  It’s not usually that fun.  Especially on days like today, when I came home last night with quite a bit of anxiety.  When I get jammed up, I usually start believing that there are these big, scary things that are what is causing the anxiety…kind of like the overgrown monster-like clouds of bushes and weeds.

I feel overgrown.  I feel overtaken.  I feel out of control.  I feel the anxiety.

When I actually make the time to let God in there-he leads me to slowly pull away the little junk that is connecting all these great plants (which makes them seem junky to me).  He leads me to get a trim.  He leads me to kill the poison ivy, he leads me to whack weeds and fight back the weird weed-trees that grow berries.

You may not be able to tell the difference below, but it feels a lot different to me.  Even the prayerful act of clearing out this junk helped a lot.  The dying poison ivy in life isn’t all gone just yet, and there are still weed-trees trying to overtake the yard…but it’s enough for today.

also movin on up

My next door neighbor Mike told me yesterday that his band Philadelphia Slick just got a show next Friday at Temple opening up for Nas.  Pretty big deal for them.  The show is at the Liacouras Center, $25 w/Temple Id-liimit 2 per student (hey, it’s homecoming.  btw, I didn’t hear whether I was on the prom court this time yet).  Let me know if you need a Temple Student to get your tickets, although said student is not willing to pay for you.

They are a 10pc hip hop crew with soul/funk/R&B/Philadelphia Sound feel, 2 MC’s.   Lyrically they dabble in social consciousness and everyone I’ve met in the group is pretty chill.

Philadelphia Slick on myspace.

Become a fan on Facebook if you want here.

now would be a good time to crash

Being about as active as I can be is nothing to me.  Lily has been on and off sick all week, I started battling a few days ago.  I thought that I was going to lose the battle today…but alas…

I used to run until I dropped-I would slow down when I got sick.  It was “all on” until I was “all off.”  I’m trying to learn how to not be so drastic, so dramatic, and not get surprised by the reoccuring fact:  no matter how great I feel and no matter how well everything seems to be going for me:  life is hard.

Although now seems to me like a good time to crash-to avoid some difficult situations, I think I’m gonna try and adjust slightly and keep going.  Part of that adjustment is keeping points in the day (not just in the morning or before I go to bed or something) have a regular time to turn to God and give it up.