Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Community Art Project

I thought I'd share the project we did at church this Sunday, in case somebody wants to do something similar. Our congregation made these paper butterflies as a sermon response activity. We used this craft as a guideline, and started each person with a pre-cut shape out of white copy paper. We used pipe cleaners to fasten the butterflies together, and to attach them to the yarn hanging from the cross.

We asked each person to color in their butterfly with crayons and also to write or draw something that symbolizes a prayer for renewal: in your life, in your community, in the world. At the conclusion of the service, people moved forward and hung their prayers from the cross.

I think the final assemblage looks great. In a future project, I'd like to work on being more intentional with the prayer aspect, but this was a fun way to celebrate easter together in an active way.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Check out my Student's Work

This semester I'm teaching a class on Rhetoric and Digital Media. I'm asking for students to immerse themselves in some kind of online content community for their project and work on self-made goals (such as traffic, followers, consistent posting). I gave them the option for me to share a link with my networks, so here are a sample of projects from my students who are doing blogs:

Cookies Cupcakes and Cooper (cooking and baking)
Dare to Love (social justice and faith)
DIY Design by Alexis
Bulled Predictions (financial advice)
Katie's Dance YouTube Channel 
Lauren (Ball_Hog) on Sports on Twitter

Here's a sample linkedin profile:

Beverly Evans

There are other elements to this project, and I'd be happy to fill you in if you're interested. I'm sure they'd appreciate your visiting and commenting!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Still Alive

So this blog still exists. I thought I'd revive it and post links to my writing that can be found elsewhere and maybe also do a little updating on our family life and reviewing various things. For today, I thought I'd link to some of my most recent posts at Think Christian:

Paul Revere, Sarah Palin and our Habit of Rewriting History

The Encouraging Poverty of a Recent Pew Study

with the very smart Rebecca Kuehl Don't Throw Out Three Cups of Tea with Greg Mortenson

Also, you totally want to buy my quotation marks book if you haven't already. Affiliate links found here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Favorite Music of 2009

Since I’m so late with my best music of 2009 post, I’m going to make it a top 11. They are listed with my most favoritest first, but in some cases the order is so close it’s rather arbitrary. Like last year, this list is unabashedly based on my personal taste and experience. Other albums with greater artistry no doubt were produced this year. I didn’t listen to them as much as these.

Oohs and Aahs by Say Hi

Say Hi (formerly Say Hi to your Mom) is Justin’s favorite band, and he doesn’t think this is their best album, but this one came out in early 2009 and never got knocked off my ipod playlist. It’s a kind of slow-burn traditional rock, which is not particularly fashionable right now but is always in style with me. Sometimes the chord changes match the content, and I love that. I think “Elouise” is a really great song and “oh oh oh oh oh oh oh” has a great dancey beat.

Ladyluck by Maria Taylor

I just discovered Maria Taylor this year and we got two of her albums which both feature pretty arrangements of nicely crafted songs. Taylor’s voice is comforting, her melodies are a good combination of listenable and surprising. Listen to “Cartoons and Forever Plans”

Curse these Branches by David Bazan

I liked Bazan’s work in Pedro the Lion before I even entered college. His lyris and delivery are often startling and depressing and meaningful. This is Bazan’s first album produced under his own name, and there has been some interesting discussion among critics because Bazan describes it as about his move from faith toward agnosticism. Some commentators, notably David Dark who I admire quite a bit, consider this to be a very faithful album. Its beauty is certainly stark and sad, but nonetheless it’s a very good album. Listen to “Curse Your Branches”

Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear

This album is decidedly derivative of some great bands in the 60s and 70s. This is both its weakness and its strength. I love the high-energy guitar breaks and Beach Boys background vocals. On the other hand, something that really makes me love an album is when it sounds fresh and different. To be fair, this does have a fresh take on these familiar sounds. “Two Weeks” is a great example, and an indisputably great song.

God Help the Girl

This is the soundtrack for a fictional film made of Belle and Sebastian songs re-recorded. It’s fun to hear these songs with a different singer, and they hang together well. Sometimes I like pretending my ipod is the soundtrack for the movie scene I’m in (my life seems to feature a lot of bus-riding scenes…) and this is exceptionally good for my hipster movie. Listen to “Funny Little Frog.”

Masters of the Burial by Amy Millan

This is a lovely, delicate album from one member of the supergroup Stars. Though Millan’s last album was more twangy than I prefer, I think this is a great example of soft country-pop that finds its way easily into my most-played list. One definite highlight is the countrified cover of Deathcab’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” Another good song to try is “Towers”

The Life of the World to Come by The Mountain Goats

Every track on this album is named for a bible verse, but you have to figure out what it has to do with the story on the track, which is often contemporary and confessional. I know, sounds like my idea of a good time. I finally gave it my undivided attention when I was doing this post, and it moved up in my estimation from the experience. It doesn’t jump out in shuffle, but when I finally payed attention it just bowled me over. I had to keep changing the song suggestion because every single song was so good, and in some cases looking up the story made it a lot cooler, like in “Genesis 30:3.” I also suggest listening to “Hebrews 11:40.”

No Line on the Horizon by U2

I really like when this list makes people want to listen to things they haven’t heard of, so I hesitated to include this album at all, but it’s pretty good. Typical U2: complex lyrics which work on more than one level, catchy hooks, dramatic rock posturing that somehow doesn’t make me want to puke when it is coming from Bono.

Crazy Ever After by The Rescues

Justin doesn’t like this one very much, but it got a lot of plays for me this summer. It’s poppy and fun and has some great harmonies. Perfect for car singing. Or house singing. Aren’t you excited to live with me, Justin? I know I’m not the only one who finds this album incredibly catchy though, I’ve heard it all over tv. Try “Crazy Ever After.”

We Were Promised Jetpacks selftitled

So first of all, this band gets like 100 points for having an awesome name. They are labelmates of the Scottish band that got my best album of the year last year, Frightened Rabbit, which also helps. Like Frightened Rabbit, the frontman of this band sings in his charming Scottish accent, and they have dramatic arrangements that build the emotional intensity in their songs, making them compelling and exciting. Perhaps not the magnum opus that was Midnight Organ Fight, but still well worth a listen. “This is my House, This is my Home” is a great example.

Still Night, Still Light by Au Revior Simone

Au Revoir Simone is an all-girl, all-keyboard band. As if that wasn’t enough, their songs are delicate and inventive, their lyrics are surprising and often joyful. Like most of the albums on this list, you will probably find it excellent or annoying. Try the song “Shadows.”

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Personal is Political: Ring edition

I thought I’d share some of the decisions Justin and I made in our engagement that we hope reflect our sensibilities and our beliefs about gender and relationships. I hope for this to be the beginning of a series on this blog about a variety of life choices that I see as political in some small way.

When Justin and I started talking about engagement, and looking at rings online we had fun looking at a wide range of things. I felt strongly about wanting a conflict-free gemstone, and about not spending too much money. We quickly learned that I couldn’t have both those things and also have a diamond. More shopping and some serendipity led us to a sapphire in a beautiful filigree setting that was already just my size, which I love.

The more we shopped for women’s rings, the more I wanted one. But one day Justin brought up how him giving me an engagement ring didn’t seem to represent our relationship very well. I agreed that the engagement ring tradition seems linked to traditions of status and marking ownership of a woman that doesn’t sit well with the way we see our relationship. But we were having so much fun shopping!

So we started looking for men’s rings. We wanted something that didn’t necessarily look like a wedding band, but that was still elegant and manly. We were excited when we found a designer on etsy who lives in Athens, GA whose work we loved, and I got Justin a ring in silver that we might replace with gold or platinum for our wedding bands.

Like a lot of the choices we are facing in our relationship, I’m happy with both of us having rings because it honors some of the elements of the tradition that I like: signifying our commitment in a way other people will be able to see and understand, honoring each other with a pretty gift. But it avoids some of the problems: irresponsible spending, unequal giving.

When I lay it out this way, it feels like a silly thing to spend so many pixels on. But I like that we made a few small unusual choices, and that they are weird enough that they sometimes bring up questions, which allows us to talk about our values.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

identity, advocacy and relationship statuses

It’s funny how some things become a part of your identity that you feel awkward when they change. I didn’t realize that being single and independent was one of those things until my recent engagement has forced me to rethink it.

In college I slowly let go of the idea that I’d get married soon after graduation. I had a few dates and several crushes, but nothing that would make me change my facebook status to “in a relationship” if we had had facebook in those days. In that maturing process, I realized that temporary or long-term singleness was not a terrible sentence, but one situation in which one can live well. I especially was aided in this realization when I considered some single women who were professors at my school. They were smart, fun, successful people who I wanted to emulate. If I could be single like them, then that wouldn’t just be okay, it would be great.

This attitude cemented itself as I moved to Georgia alone and discovered that academia is full of successful people in a variety of life situations, and 22 wasn’t very old to “still” be single. Living alone, I became proud of my independence. I killed my own bugs, assembled my own cheap furniture, made my own decisions about food and time and money (with advice and support from parents and friends, of course). I felt like this time as a single adult made me a stronger person, and forced me to rely on and appreciate community.

I began to feel so strongly about this perspective, that I started to get frustrated with the ways single adults were treated in church and spoken to and about in Christian literature. These were issues I finally wrote about on this blog and in an article for The Banner. I was surprised after the Banner article hit print that a lot of people contacted me about how much they appreciated the article. Maybe, I thought, this is an important project God has for me: help the church find new ways to love and include singles. I started to see myself as Bethany Keeley: singles advocate.

Then Justin went and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes, I love Justin and am excited to commit to him. And of course, I can still be married and smart and independent, and I can still be invested in community. I can still stand up for single people in the church, but I realize my new life situation makes me a little bit less credible on the topic. This is a perennial problem in identity politics: do you have to be in a certain identity group to write about it? I think the personal experience helps, but I also think attentiveness to the issue and passion is the most important. And all along my writing about singles has been less about me and more about a set of experiences, mine and those of friends. I don’t need to share someone else’s experience to help represent it.

I’m writing this post in part to clarify for myself why I’m worried about this, and in part to announce that this issue is still important to me even if it has become less personal. So, single friends, if something happens to you that makes you say “this is what is so hard about being single in the church,” please, tell me the story. I need anecdotes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Only in a College Town

So I just got back from seeing Angels and Demons with some friends at the theater here in Athens. The movie was good, not exceptional, but fine. A bit too much with the rotating camera for my poor stomach (a bit much with the gruesome for my stomach as well, actually) but I'm not a film reviewer. What I do want to comment on is what I experienced in the theater which I expect you would not find in a place that didn't have a large segment of researchers in the population.

First, the joke that got the biggest laugh was when Professor Langdon says "I could have finished my book if I had this! It would have sold dozens of copies!"

Second, soon after that, the woman he is with tears a page out of this only copy of a Gallileo book that has their code in it (instead of copying because there's no time). The entire audience gasped. gasped loudly. All the gruesome deaths in the movie? Less reaction than destroying the archive.

If I had any question whether this town was dominated by the university before, I do not any longer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Church Transitions

The worship service I have been helping to lead for nearly 4 years now made a big transition this week. We moved out of the Morton Theatre and into the fellowship hall of our church building. This is a good transition for us for many reasons. The new space enables a lot of community activities that the theatre space inhibited. It seriously cuts down on our set-up and tear-down time, and it saves the church money. I have long felt uncomfortable with the way leading church from a proscenium stage makes worship seem too much like a concert or show.

Nevertheless, transitions lead one to reflect on all the good things we are leaving behind. I’ve been thinking about other transitions from my life, and thought I should perhaps reflect on this closing era for me.

I remember vividly my first day at the Morton. I was adjusting to my new life in Athens, after living here for maybe a month. I was frustrated because I missed Centrepointe quite a bit, and hadn’t felt especially welcomed or at home in any of the churches I visited, though I did see places I could perhaps use the gifts I had developed in college, which was important to me. The only reason I went to the Morton at all was that a friend suggested it. I didn’t see myself in such a large congregation or such a rock-toned service. Within a week, though, I knew that God had prepared a place for me here. For one thing, it was the last week of the band’s violin player, Andre. I talked to Julie after church about playing and singing, and I got an email a few days later asking me to participate in an offertory. Even though I arrived alone and sat toward the edge, several people were very welcoming to me. I know that this hasn’t been everyone’s experience in this service, but it was a clear signal to me that this was my place.

Since then I’ve rarely missed a Sunday playing with some of the best musicians I have ever been around. I’ve learned a lot about the Christian life from the people I’ve met at the morton. A lot of those things have surprised me. I know that none of these things are changing in our new space, but the old theatre was special because it was the site of these important relationships that helped me acclimate to my current stage of life in the south.

Our first service in our new space had a feeling of excitement and community. I could see the people, and there was space for us all to hang around afterwards. I have really missed feeling like that fellowship time was encouraged. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the upcoming years. God has really shown me through this church, and through my previous church homes that there will always be a place for me wherever I move. None of these places are perfect, but they are all beautiful.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thinking Christian

I'm doing some blogging for Think Christian now, and my first post showed up today. I don't know if I will still use this blog. Definitely if I have things to say that aren't specifically about Christianity. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In the Banner

Check out this article I wrote for The Banner last summer. I'm so pleased it's finally published.