Sunday, March 26, 2006


you may have noticed the link to postsecret on the right side of this blog. it's a link to a blog where people send postcards of their secrets--secrets they've never told anyone before. the guy who runs the blog picks 10-20 every week to post on his site.

so what is it that draws people to send their secrets in to a total stranger? why do they want their secrets to be known? what need is this site meeting in peoples' lives? because it is meeting a need. the man who manages the blog is inundated with postcards daily. people are reading them all the time, and many people make a connection with the cards that are posted.

i've got to believe that part of the draw is that there are very few places in our society where it is safe to be human--to be imperfect--to have issues. at work we are expected to produce with an eye only to monetary gain. our homes are so busy that there is little time to make deep enough connection to be concerned with enabling those around us to learn and grow. and there is little grace. in the christian world there is often an expectation of perfection... you don't bring your problems to church. in the secular world there is more of an acceptance of non-perfection, and yet there is little concern with reaching outside of onseself to meet the needs of others, especially those who are mere acquaintances.

so my question is this... is this a need that the church should be meeting? is there a way that the church could become a community of grace and connection in such a disconnected society?

i can tell you for sure that it will never happen in a program-oriented environment. and it will not happen if the only thing that happens at church is the normal singing/preaching worship service. not that these things are bad in themselves, and not that they are not necessary for some purposes.

but somehow the world has changed so much that people no longer have true community. gone are the days (in most places) where people walk next door to borrow a cup of sugar. people don't know each other. at all. you can go into a social setting and be whoever you want to be, and come home & be someone completely different. you can be whoever you want to on the internet and make lots of internet friends who see only a one-dimensional picture of who you are.

but there is still a deep longing for connection, a desire to be known and loved unconditionally. i firmly believe that if we can figure out how to make the church that community of grace and connection, the church will be able to reach this generation. how to do so while maintaining a commitment to discipleship and a grounded theology is the challenge we now face.

Friday, March 17, 2006

adversarial indeed

so i had my law review interview this weekend. law review is the legal journal published by each legal institution. it's the journal that has rigorous requirements so that only the top students make it in. it's also the student activity that the most prestigious institutions require before you will even be considered for a position with them.

the interview was not pleasant--at all. out of all the legal interviews i have had this year, this one was the worst. it was everything that people don't like about the legal world. it was a committee of egos attacking my character and ability and willingness to contribute to the law review. it was rude questions and interruptions. it was simply horrible. i left not wanting to join. i left thinking that some of the editors had a personal problem with me. i tried to discern whether it was my grades, my writing style, my commitments to church and faith... i couldn't figure it out.

and then i started talking with the other students who'd interviewed. they explained they had somewhat similar experiences, though i'm not sure anyone else thought it was as personally directed as it seemed to me. so then i thought maybe the board was just trying to weed people out--people who don't belong because they won't work hard or aren't tough enough.

but then i had my final draft conference for the paper i'm writing for sumission to the law review, and my professor asked how my interview went. she then told me that though all her other students had the same experience, it was not typical of our law review interview. she basically apologized for the board's behavior and told me that she had already complained to their advisor and requested that something be done about it.

even during the rude questions and disrepectful attitudes, the committee kept asking me questions about being willing to sacrifice for a team and whether i would be willing to go the extra mile to make sure things were done. it seems counterintuitive to me though, if you're going for teamwork, that you would start out by disparaging your team members. somehow that doesn't seem like the kind of teambuilding that i would want to do if i were heading up the team. for all the competitiveness and adversarial nature of the legal world, i still believe that you get the best out of a team if they actually believe they are valued and respected and have something to contribute.

so i'm taking a position on the law review, but i'm not excited about it. i think there's a real possibility that it could be a horrible experience. but i do it because it has to be on my resume.

for the most part i've had a really positive experience with my school. i've had great professors, the other students have been interesting, and i have learned a ton. for the most part, my school actually has a collaborative atmosphere, meaning that though there's competition for grades and such, people really do help one another out. this is the kind of experience i would have stereotyped law school to encourage, but had hoped to never have to encounter. i suppose if it is the worst that i have to endure, then i will have gotten off pretty easy. but i am very disappointed in our law review, and am now looking forward to the day it will be over for me.

it will be interesting to see if it's really as bad as the interview made it seem.