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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Strongman

As a part of being on the OCF Student Advisory Board, we were all given this book called StrengthsQuest. Within the book, there is a code to sign on to the SQ website and take a Strengths evaluator…or something of the sort. So, I took it, and this is what it says my top five strengths are, starting with number one.

I highly recommend buying this book and taking this test. Once you know your strengths, you can go through and find strategies for cultivating success with a focus on your individual strengths. It’s really, really cool. Order at the SQ website.

And, I’m really interested. So, I ask those who know me personally, whether very well or just fairly well: How accurate do you think this is?

Leave comments…


Restorative
You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. You may prefer practical problems or conceptual ones or personal ones. You may seek out specific kinds of problems that you have met many times before and that you are confident you can fix. Or you may feel the greatest push when faced with complex and unfamiliar problems. Your exact preferences are determined by your other themes and experiences. But what is certain is that you enjoy bringing things back to life. It is a wonderful feeling to identify the undermining factor(s), eradicate them, and restore something to its true glory. Intuitively, you know that without your intervention, this thing—this machine, this technique, this person, this company—might have ceased to function. You fixed it, resuscitated it, rekindled its vitality. Phrasing it the way you might, you saved it.

Connectedness
Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.

Belief
If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics—both in yourself and others. These core values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities. This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your Belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.

Developer
You see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason. When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth—a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps. For you these small increments—invisible to some—are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.

Positivity
You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation. Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious. Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure. You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit. You inject drama into every project. You celebrate every achievement. You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it. Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.

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Back in December, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dn. Nicholas Belcher, the keynote speaker at the 2007 OCF College Conference. This was done right before he had to leave with his wife Sonia and their four-month-old son to visit the grandparents in WV to give them their first in-the-flesh encounter with baby Andrew. As we got closer to wrapping, Sonia looked very impatient and worried that they wouldn’t get out in decent time. All the while, she bore the look and the personality of kindness. It left me wishing that there had been more time so I could introduce myself properly and get to know her more than that one moment.

I remain wishing. And I will remain so, sadly.

Last Wednesday night, Sonia Daly-Belcher suffered a pulmonary embolism that resulted in her death. This is news that affects many people—OCFers, SAB, and a few of the graduates from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York, where Dn. Nicholas graduated in the class of 2003 (I believe). Not to mention countless friends, family, acquaintances, and untold numbers of campers from Orthodox summer camps, where Dn. Nick is known to love dedicating time in service. Plus, students from Holy Cross Hellenic College in Brookline, MA, where Dn. Nicholas works in the office of vocation.

Pray for the Belcher family and for the repose of the handmaiden of God Sonia. May her memory be eternal!

And if ANYONE is interested in making donations of any size to a fund that has been established for baby Andrew, you may contact me here and I’ll be happy to provide that information.

I finally did it.

About 7-or-so months ago, I began wondering if I needed another space on the Intertubes to be a repository for the random things I want to comment on or share that, somehow, just don’t fit here at twelve:one.

You can now find this place at geekymusic.tumblr.com. It’s called “The Extra Lettuce,” and it’s what’s known as a Tumblelog. Follow along or just check in sometime…you never know what you might find.

And credit goes to my friend Dn. Kyrill for the blog’s title. It just fit so perfectly that I had to steal it. 🙂

We Are a Revolution

I was there.  I was in on the revolution from the start.  Take a minute to see through the eyes of my good friend (and fellow Student Advisory Board member) Christina as she explains…

—-

We are a revolution. Five months ago, these were the words spoken by Christine to inspire us to allow the ministry of OCF to change our lives—to raise our expectations for ourselves and our future. Her words fired up joy and excitement in our hearts that we carried home with us for months. Later, though, we found that some felt as if the idea of a “revolution” was contradictory to our Orthodox way of thinking, but I believe we all knew that these words were not spoken with malice or negative intent, and I hope that I have captured in what follows at least a portion of the truth we felt about our revolution.

The word revolution conveys multiple connotations:  in the context of revolt, we think of it as a change in structures—a move toward positive ideals to better a community. In this way, we—OCF—are a revolution of campus ministries. Across the continent, we are in the process of changing the way Christian ministry exists in the forum of pluralistic, secular education. We are there to make known the Church of our Fathers, the Church our Lord established over 2,000 years ago. We are there to promote not only good moral values and knowledge of the Faith, but more importantly the Love of Jesus Christ in all men’s lives. We can choose to be like other college ministry groups that approach Christianity too often with missing pieces, or we can bring fullness to the hearts of young people who are desperately seeking for a single, unmoving Truth.

And within our own ranks, OCF can strive to be the beginnings of a stronger, better structure of Orthodoxy in America. By the Grace of God, we can bring together people from all backgrounds in one Baptism, in one creed, and in one Lord. We can work side-by-side in earnestness and love across jurisdictional lines to achieve an ever-needed peace and understanding within the Church. In this way, we are a revolution against the ways in which we ourselves have broken the communion established for us by the Church.

A revolution can also be a war—a revolt against some ruling power. For us, this is not a new battle we are fighting—we are rebels against the world and its demonic ruler, as were the apostles, the saints, the martyrs. We are called to be warriors in the army of the Lord of Hosts—members of the Church Militant. Our battlefield is abstract and our enemies are not always apparent, but we must put on the armor of God and fight the righteous fight. We must be revolutionaries of the flesh—allowing God to work in us and through us to bring transformation to the fallen Creation.

But most importantly, a revolution expresses a turning around. For us, it is the path to salvation—the road of repentance. It is our dire need to fall down before Christ with tears of repentance, knowing who we are, and begging for forgiveness. And in this moment we realize, we are not a revolution. We are not the changing force; we are not the real Soldier. In fact, we find that we are the battlefield and even sometimes the enemy. And while all that we do through OCF and through our own lives may someday produce beautiful fruit, we will have done nothing of significance—it is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who truly transforms and glorifies. In our most honest moments, we realize that He is the revolution. He is our revolution.

They Might Be Giants has to be one of my favorite groups. And this has to be one of my favorite songs of theirs.


Image: Animatic Media

Lately, I’ve been battling with maintenance over a small roach problem that is in more rooms than just mine (so don’t just blame me, mom). I’ve let them know several times that I keep finding one here or there. They keep spraying…I think…but the roaches won’t leave. Or they come back. Either way, yuck. I hate older college dorms 😦

Well, in trying to get rid of them myself, I came across a pretty nifty site that is perfect for ADHD-riddled students like me. It’s meant for kids, but with all the pretty colors and cartoon-like roach prevention tips (not to mention that it’s pretty useful), I can’t help but recommend it to all the college students out there who are suffering the same problems as I am.

Help! It’s a Roach!

This is a poem by my friend Kevin Paul.

 

Fireside

I like cold beer and noisy housewives

and little kids with rosy cheeks

who tell the truth. And good friends

who embarrass me and see all the things

that made me blind. I want to hold your

hand and walk in the park and get caught

up in your wheel of life. A thousand

little universes, the peaceful kingdoms,

the soft places to land.  I want to find

your comfort, that easy fireside existence.

I’ve seen so many glimpses of that tender

moment, soft sunlight in straight lines,

desire, and the most vulnerable of  hopes.

Apparently, they are pirating everything humanly possible in China:

paultan.org>>Egg Piracy in China

From the press release:

——

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2008

OCF Reacts to Shooting Tragedy at Northern Illinois University.

Thursday at Northern Illinois University (NIU), a black clad gunman emerged from the stage of an auditorium classroom opening fire, killing six students and injuring 13 before turning the gun on himself, taking his own life.  Four students remain in critical condition. This is the fourth school shooting this week.

One of the students injured, a Greek Orthodox Christian and OCF NIU chapter student, is in stable condition and was released from the hospital Thursday evening.  OCF is deploying its Executive Director, Fr. Kevin Scherer and a team of IOCC Frontline clergy responders to this crisis.  Most of the members of this critical response team responded less than a year ago when tragedy struck Virginia Tech, where 33 students were left dead.

“This is a horrible tragedy, we must assume that this can happen on any campus at anytime; therefore, it is imperative that our ministry be prepared” said Fr. Kevin Scherer who heads the Campus Ministry organization of the Orthodox Christian Churches in North America (under SCOBA). He continued to point out that gunshot wounds are not the extent of the trauma in situations like these; that in fact, the mental and spiritual effects can be just as substantial and in need of acute therapeutic attention.

Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims.  OCF is asking its thousands of students to reach out to their brothers and sisters at NIU and keep them in their hearts and prayers.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official campus ministry program of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). OCF works to keep students connected to the life-giving teaching and experience of the Orthodox Church. It supports over 260 local chapters throughout North America and involves thousands of college students through its programming, including the College Conference and Real Break. Additional information on all the OCF programs can be found on the OCF website, http://www.ocf.net, or by calling toll-free, 800-919-1623.

For additional information:
OCF Director of Communications
Chip Southworth
chip@ocf.net (904) 338-3346

Here’s an ad for an upcoming OCF event at UT.  Come and check it out if you get the chance.  7 pm on Thursday Feb. 21