Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ripple Affects...

Hey all,

I've been coming into Campus Crusade for Christ's HQ, called "Lake Hart", for the last week or so, beginning to get situated for my job for the next 6 to 7 months. Today I was sitting in the National Campus Office area doing some work when the director of the Campus Ministry's Research and Development department, Keith Davy approached me.

He asked me if I had been hearing any of the stories related to the image survey, Soularium, that were filtering back from its use on campuses in the US? I told him "no", but I would love to hear them. These two stories turned into the highlight of my day.

I'll post them in the words of the people who related them.
The first one was at Michigan State:
One of the best experiences happened to Rana and Paul, two people on our staff team who are focusing on the Greek system. One day they were walking and praying for the fraternities and sororities and decided to knock on the door of the Alpha Chi Omega house. A girl answered and invited them in. (This does not happen, mind you!) Several girls gathered around to talk. The group kept growing, until close to 13 were huddled around the cards, choosing the ones that best represented their experiences, openly sharing their opinions, emotions, and questions. Paul was able to transition into the Gospel and seven of the girls prayed to receive Christ! One of the girls said, “We were just talking about this stuff yesterday and how we should start a Bible Study. And then you showed up!” Rana has been helping to get a Bible Study started from them—more than the original 13 girls have expressed interest. Please pray that it would get off the ground…the sorority girls are very busy, with many things demanding their time.
The other from Southwest Illinois College located east of St Louis in Illinois:
Last week, JB was sharing his faith at SWIC using an evangelistic tool called Soularium. Soularium is a collection of 50 artistic photographs that we use to help people express where they are spiritually through pictures. We ask students to pick three photos to describe where they are spiritually.

Jason, a SWIC student, chose a photo of a path, a photo of a barbed-wire fence, and a photo of a sunset to describe his spiritual state. He said, “I feel like I’m searching for God, like I’m on a path and I want to find Him. But…” Holding up the photo of the barbed-wire, he said, “I feel like something is standing in the way of me knowing God—something is holding me back, and blocking me.” Finally, holding up the picture of the sunset, he said, “Once I’m able to get through this barrier, the place I’ll be is a place of peace.”

Wow. How easy it was to share the Gospel with Jason after that! JB was able to explain to Jason that God loved him, and did have a wonderful plan for his life, but that he was right—there was something blocking him from knowing God. JB was able to explain that sin separates us from God, but that Jesus has removed the barrier! We can now have a relationship with God through faith in Christ. There at a picnic table outside SWIC’s main building, Jason placed his faith in Jesus.

As Jason was getting ready to go, he said, “I know so many people that need to hear this message. I’ve got so many people that I need to tell about this.”
It is sooooo encouraging to hear that people are using a creative tool that we had a hand in developing in NYC. A tool that is leading them into deeper conversations with people, even conversatons that are leading people to the Nazarene.

Peace,
Kirk and Sarah

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Inkling...

Hey all,

Most people, when thinking about The Inklings, think of its more famous individuals Lewis and Tolkien. Few think of one of its more shadowed members, Charles Williams. For years, I would give glancing thought to Williams and his writings leaving most of my energies for the bounding Aslan, and Frodo's four fingers. This left little desire to explore Williams.

But recently a friend, Luke Allsbrook, mentioned I should read some Williams, as he had many times before. But this instance I listened a little more closely and am a better man for it.
I tend to want to read an authors works in chronological order because I think it gives you a better sense of the writers growth over time...how they develop as a story teller. War in Heaven is Williams' first novel written in 1930. His theme surrounds the mythic Holy Graal and the selfishness and selflessness it engenders. Williams opening line grabbed me:

The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.
One of the best opening lines of a novel I've read in a long time. No need to persuade me any more, I'm hooked. From the corpse the mystery deepens into what Williams' novels came to be known as "supernatural thrillers". Williams is spiritual even "christian" without being uncomfortable. The characters seem natural in how they think about life and the otherworldly...it's a part of their lives as it is for everyone.

Williams writing reminded me another "Brit" who is also a favorite of mine, John Buchan, considered by some to be the father of the modern spy novel. Both carry tempos that don't leave you down for long but keep you wanting to see what's around the corner.

If this was his first novel I look forward to the rest.

From Mouse-town,
Kirk and Sarah

Friday, October 24, 2008

A quick one...

Hey friends,

We are here in NYC for 10 days helping out with an International Arts Movement event and catching up with folks before we return to Orlando on Halloween...spooky.

We will be having some more posts soon of our trip and also some news about our immediate and distant future. So stay tuned.

Peace,
Kirk and Sarah

Monday, October 6, 2008

1st Anniversary

Tonight marks the 1 year anniversary of our wedding. Last year at this time our reception was winding down and we were preparing to depart. We are grateful to God for all He has provided and that He has been so generous to us.

God bless,
Kirk and Sarah

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Monday, September 29, 2008

At our HQ...

Hello All,

Sarah and I live in Orlando, of course, which is where the headquarters for our organization, Campus Crusade for Christ, reside. From time to time we have the opportunity to go to Lake Hart, as it is called, to work and make connections and "check in" as to what is happening. On one particular day last week something kind of cool was going on. Enjoy.

Kirk and Sarah


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Friday, September 26, 2008

Gems in the morning...

I was up this morning around 1:30, reading and thinking about life and future and I came across this little gem from Image Journal:

"Faith asks art to be about something more than formal virtuosity and to consider that meaning itself is already inherently metaphysical, even religious. Art asks faith to become incarnate in the human condition without compromise - or evasion - and remain compelling." - Gregory Wolfe, 'The Four Cultures', Image journal number 58

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No more flooding...at least global flooding...

Hey all,

Just wanted to share a moment we recently had in our everyday lives here in Orlando. I am planning on putting up a much longer blog post soon giving a summary of what we've been doing for the last few months...so until that time I had a few small moments to share with you all. Enjoy.

Kirk...and Sarah


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why do we put paper on our walls...or in this case...pretty tiles?

As Sarah and I started traveling around the city using NYC's extensive subway system we started taking pictures of the designs and tiling that are throughout the stations. I was reminded of something cultural writer Andy Crouch said at the "Transforming Culture" conference in April. Well, it was actually something he asked..."Why do we put paper on our walls or paint them in colors?" There seems to be no apparent need for us to do such things. Does it really advance our personal health to pick "Tangerine Orange" or "flocked" wallpapering (which Sarah really likes) to put on our walls?
Good questions. Stop and take a look at your walls. Are they all the same color? Do you have stuff hanging on them? Why?

I think the designers of the NYC Subway system knew something about human experience...humans need beauty. You need beauty. Imagine if all our walls were the same color? We need to get away from what author Robert Barron called "our beige existence" (thank you Ian, for introing me to Mr Barron's work).

Maybe you need to paint a wall or find a wallpaper you like and use it? It isn't an accident that the Jerusalem to come will be paved in gold and adorned in gleaming precious stones.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A social moment on the summer project...

As I said we will be doing more updates since we've jumped right into the project here. The students arrive today but for the past two weeks we've been working with the project directors and the staff to get prepped for their arrival.

One of the days last week we had with the directors was a "day out" when we went to the Bronx Zoo. It was the first time we had been to the zoo and found it wonderfully enjoyable. this video moment below was a humorous moment in our day.

Enjoy,
Kirk and Sarah


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Monday, June 9, 2008

Catching up...but first...

Hey all,

I know, I know it's been a while since we last updated you all. So much has happened that it would be impossible to catch up.

Sarah and I have been in NYC for over a week prepping with the staff for the arrival of the students for the Arts Summer Project for 2008. It is quite exciting as we have close to 30 students joining us this summer, almost double from last summer.

I've already collected a lot to put on the blog so you may see a an increase in postings here at birdandkey. Let me satiate your desires a little with a post on our web site http://www.birdandkey.com. We have put on our site my first ever sermon at Lamar Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas, just east of Houston. Give it a listen, as I talked about the arts and the church. It was quite fun.


See you soon,
Kirk...and Sarah

Friday, March 7, 2008

A New York Minute...

Sorry for the delay on the blog, we've been on the road since February 14th and had little time to update. We will continue our series on why the arts are important after a brief update on our trip to the Big Apple. The day after we arrived it snowed a few inches. It was wonderful to be back in the city and to see it in winter. It was a true test for Sarah as she had never been there in the winter time so it gave her a taste of times to come.

Several highlights were the IAM conference, which we will give a more thorough update later, and a moment we shared with our illustrator friend John Hendrix. I met John when he as a Masters student in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts. He became a fast friend and someone who was willing to mentor some of our students while he and his wife Andrea lived in NYC. John has become a noted illustrator over the years and has received wide acclaim for his drawings. You may have seen some of his work and not known it as he has drawn stuff for Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, etc. (please go see his web page, he's got skills http://www.johnhendrix.com)

Recently he did a job for the NBA that has become larger than he had expected. Sarah and I were honored to have been with John this past week when he saw one of the NBA illustrations in all its glory...here's what happen...WE LOVE YOU JOHN!!!

Kirk and Sarah

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Monday, February 11, 2008

The coming of the Conceptual Age...

February 1, 2008

This is our first of several installments to enhance the points we make in our newsletters starting in January. If you are interested in receiving our newsletters, please send us an email: birdandkey@gmail.com. We’d be glad to send you one.


Are we moving from the Information to the Conceptual/Creative Age? Daniel Pink thinks so. His book A Whole New Mind was released in 2005 and has received a lot of interest in our arts circles in New York City, and even within Campus Crusade for Christ.


His premise is that the US needs to change the way it does things in the world’s economy as this new Conceptual Age emerges. Pink posits that in the past - in the midst of the Information Age
- more “left-brained” type jobs were needed, jobs that required analytical, sequential, and linear thinking.

Pink writes that there are three things causing this shift away from “left-brained” dominance—abundance, Asia, and automation.

Abundance: Did you know that the “Self-Storage” business in the US is a 17 billion dollar a year business? Did you know that this particular business is growing at a faster rate in other countries? Did you know that the USspends more on trash bags than ninety other countries spend on everything? As Pink quotes in his book “the receptacles of our waste cost more than all of the goods consumed by nearly half of the world’s nations.

When I (Kirk) first read this, I was quite depressed…still am…we are a nation of abundance. And its this abundance that is creating a “glut” of sorts in our culture, a “glut” that Pink says needs creative minds to turn the abundance into something useful and beautiful.


Asia: In Asia, both east and south, Pink quotes:
[Computer] programmers and their counterparts throughout India, the Philippines, and China are scaring the bejeezers out of software engineers and other left-brain professionals in North America and Europe, triggering protests, boycotts, and plenty of political posturing. The computer programming they do, while not the most sophisticated that multinational companies need, is the sort of work that until recently was done almost exclusively in the United States – and provided comfortable white-collar salaries of upward of $70,000 a year. Now twenty-five-year-old Indians are doing it – just as well, if not better; just as fast, if not faster – for the wages of a Taco Bell counter jockey. Yet, their pay, while paltry by Western standards, is roughly twenty-five times what the typical Indian earns – and affords them an upper-middle-class lifestyle with vacations and their own apartment. (A Whole New Mind p.37What the West, particularly the US needs is to be creative…conceptual…and make new jobs with creativity—right-brain thinking—at the heart of these new jobs.
Automation: “Last century, machines proved they could replace human backs. This century, new technologies are proving they can replace human left-brains.” (A Whole New Mind p.44). Doctors are utilizing computers to assist in diagnosis. The legal profession is offering services online. And we can even do our taxes as fast as a “Turbo” engine, cutting out the need for accountants.

It becomes apparent that we’ll need some creative thinking to help us make new jobs, jobs that computers are replacing.


We won’t go into the rest of Pink’s book, you’ll have to read it yourself, but you may be asking what this has to do with what Sarah and I want to do in New York City?


If we are in fact heading toward a creative/conceptual age, then the church has an opportunity to cultivate these creative and conceptual…right-brained – minds. What better place to find those minds than in the art world of New York City? Perhaps they could be found in the arts circles of your communities as well?

Peace,
Kirk and Sarah

Friday, January 25, 2008

Boston Winter Conference 2008

We wanted to post a video that was a good summary of the Campus Ministry Conference, the Boston Winter Conference 2008. We worked it during the week after New Years. This video was shot and edited by a college student, David Gannsle, a junior at Messiah College majoring in film. His mother and father, Greg and Jeannie, are on staff at Yale working for the Rivendell Institute for Christian Thought and Learning (http://www.rivendellinstitute.org/). Enjoy.

Kirk & Sarah
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Holidays 2007

Hello Friends and Family,

This will be a particularly long entry as we have four weeks to catch up on due to our holiday travels…so sit back and relax…

We just got back to Orlando last Wednesday night and it wasn’t until last night that both Sarah and I finally emptied our suitcases…it feels good to have everything put away. We are now settling in for a few weeks here in Florida planning and prepping for our next two trips this spring.

70 YEARS AND STILL A KID

So, what have we done this past month or so? Well, in early December my parents came down to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday. Apparently my mother wanted to go to Disney to celebrate 70 years of life…always a kid inside, huh? For an entire day we visited both Epcot and Disney World (Mom really wanted to see the Castle). I had never been to Disney during the Christmas season so it was interesting to see how it was decorated. A highlight was taking in the mosaic mural that is in the tunnel that goes through Cinderella’s Castle. If you have never seen it when visiting Disney World it is worth a close look…the quality of the whole piece is tremendous.

For a few other days my parents assisted us in taking care of some small home renovation projects. Sarah has been working on the condo for several years and had completed most of the big projects. But, there are still a few minor projects needing completion like, door knobs, painting, and hanging small cabinets, etc. It was great to have my parent’s assistance in this for a short time.

STRIPED STOCKINGS AND THOMAS THE TRAIN

On our way up to Maryland for the Holidays we stopped by Waynesville, NC to visit my friend Luke and his family. I had met Luke back in my early days in New York City right after he completed his Masters in painting from the New York Academy. He is a talented painter and he and Renee his wife have established a great home in NC complete with log fires in the fire place and 4 wonderful kids. Check out his work at http://www.lukeallsbrook.com. He has a show going on right now through February in Georgia: Mary Pauline Gallery, 982 Broad Street, Augusta GA 30901, www.marypaulinegallery.com

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The whole family was in Maryland including my sister, Stacey and her husband John. We had several opportunities to see friends and supporters including a “Campus Crusade for Christ at Towson University” reunion and a reception my parents held for both Stacey and myself for those unable to attend our weddings. It was wonderful to be able to connect with friends and allow them to meet my beautiful wife.

BEAN TOWN” AND THE COLD-er NORTHEAST

On January 1st we traveled up to Boston for the annual Campus Ministry Winter Conference held in the downtown area. About 300 students from schools all over New York and New England gathered. I assisted as much as I could with the content for the Main Sessions as well as teach a seminar on the arts and Christianity. This year at the conference we were able to hang some of the art that was produced from last summer’s art project in conjunction with the conference “Prayer Journey”. Sarah helped a bit with this and we both helped with the breakdown of the exhibit.

TAR-HEELS AND PALMETTOS

Finally, on the 6th of January we began the long trip down the East Coast back to Orlando. We traveled down to visit some friends in High Point (Lilly and Audie), North Carolina, and from there we visited one of the Tribeca Arts Track 2006 students we befriended (Stephen Crotts) and his family in South Carolina.

And finally we arrived back in Orlando last Wednesday night – tired, but grateful to be safely home. I wish I could go into more detail about our trip but I fear the length of this entry would bypass sanity in order to accomplish that. But please know that now that the holidays are over our blog entries will be more frequent.

We both hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Peace,

Kirk and Sarah

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