Friday, February 27, 2009

Treatise Revisited

Woah, woah, woah, kids. I think I've almost come to half of a conclusion to part of my treatise question.

I asked a great friend whether he was a complementarian or an egalitarian. His perfect answer: "both."

I've been mulling this over and looking at it from a hundred different ways in my mind and I've almost come to a conclusion for myself. Last time I wrote on this (some five months ago), I didn't really have a conclusion because my head and my heart had different inclinations. Head said there's no reason why I should defer to a man considering my own intellect and generally rational approach to issues. Heart said yeah, but I want a man to step up and take responsibility and be a leader. My problem was reconciliation of these two organs and I think I've done it.

I think the feminism movement has had a bad effect on men. For everything it has done to promote women and equality of the sexes, it seems that many of the men who give way for this not only let women step up, but do in fact themselves step down. Put a different way, they seem to think that there's no room for both men and women to be simultaneously in first place.

Obviously there are some who aren't so passive (e.g. the friend who got me thinking about this). But I think that, with my general faith in women, I am confident that women can rise to the top without help, without any kind of affirmative action or bias in their favor. Men don't need to give up leadership in order for women to claim it as well. I have no worry for women because I'm dead confident that hell yes, I'll be a strong, influential leader. No problem there. What my heart was wanting is for men to be men. Be leaders, be strong, be influential. Rest assured, I will be too. In fact, you'll have to step it up to compete with what I have to offer. But you sure as hell better step it up. If you don't, it's almost just as disrespectful as discrimination against women.

Yes, I'm a libertarian. It all comes down to liberty in the end. Unfortunately, feminism has become to equality what a tariff is to free trade; it demands preference for one sex over the other rather than judging a person based on their individual qualities.

The question is this: if girls would be women, would boys be men?

I've never struggled with the concept of equality in a marriage. If both husband and wife are single-minded, rational, loving individuals, who does it matter who's "right"? They'll work it out in the end. What my heart was not wanting was for the man to be the weak one, deferring or abdicating any leadership responsibilities to, well, me. Not that I'm incapable. However, I would see him as not living up to his full potential and would therefore have less respect for him. And respect is pretty close to being #1 on my list of required emotions in a relationship (yes, rationalism and emotions meet!)

So my perspective is thus: I know what I'm capable of. And if we're in this together, I don't want some gimpy guy dragging me down. So you just better be prepared to match my effort, heck, maybe even make up for some of my weaknesses. Complement me. We'll complement each other.

, my friends, is egalitarian complementarianism. And that is where this part of the treatise concludes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking Ahead...

The Economist says our man Bobby Jindal is already a contender, supposedly. I honestly can't believe he's only been in office for a year; he's done so much good for the severely depressed state of Louisiana already. He's had some misses too, but we'll see where he goes for the next three years. Anyway, I'm glad he's around for now.

Keep an ear out for Jindal's response to Obama's congressional address tomorrow night.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stimulus vs. Spending and all the other things they want you to think

In Commentary Magazine, John Podhoretz wrote about the stimulus plan and all the ways that Obama and the non-economists on Capitol Hill think that almost $800 billion will improve our economy.

Towards the end of the article he points out that the concept of government spending in order to help the economy is so shallow, seeking to fix the symptoms rather than the disease. But isn't that what politicians seek to do?? They want results and not only that, but results that are clear and obvious in time for the next election year. This isn't cynical--it's reality.

But as Dr. Mitchell was saying in macroeconomics yesterday, the business cycle of recession/trough/expansion/peak is a fluctuating cycle that lasts some ten years. Pelosi said, "I don't think we can move fast enough." Well, Nance, unless you can change time itself, get over it. Big (and natural) processes take time and time doesn't accept bribes--even to the tune of 3/4 of a trillion dollars.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Re: Addiction

How did Obama convince anyone to imagine that huge, monstrous spending could possibly be responsible??

James Capretta of NRO on the stimulus bill:

The contention that these programs, once started or expanded, will revert back to their previous levels of activity, or even disappear altogether when circumstances warrant, runs counter to all experience and common sense. Program enrollees, local school boards, health researchers, university administrators, IT firms, transportation-construction companies, and countless new government contractors and employees will soon be ready to argue that disaster awaits any attempt to return government to its pre-stimulus size.
(full article)

The stats in that article are astounding. Read it.

overcommitment = arrogance, cowardice, and exhaustion

When people ask what I'm involved in, I am always hesitant to rattle off the list.

Besides five classes, I have:

- spring break missions trip (now SIFE, too)
- station manager for the media department
- Echo
- teaching assistant
- Randomly Famous (start-up business venture)
- small group leader
- Ethics Bowl competition
- applying for internships...

To be honest, the hours that I should put into all of these would maybe overflow the actual week, and at least knock virtually all sleep out of the equation.

But oh, I'm not proud of this list. At the moment, I'm thoroughly embarrassed by it. Are you kidding me?? Perhaps it's impressive and maybe I'm even being somewhat effective in all of these positions. But this campus is filled with students who can't say no, who are all supposedly suited to leadership roles, and who are too caught up in what could be to appreciate what's happening now. I'm just another one of those. And no one sees past my "dedication" and "enthusiasm" and "intelligence" and "discipline" to see what's really happening--

I'm too arrogant -- I think that the other people involved in each of these are too dependent on me and would be devastated if I quit.
I'm too cowardly -- I couldn't stand the embarrassment of actually admitting that I'm over-committed and perhaps didn't anticipate what I've got myself into.
I'm dead tired -- sleep for the last three nights has been 5 hours, 3 hours, 5 hours, and I'm probably looking at 4 hours tonight.

I suppose I do enjoy all of these things, for the most part. I can't pick any one item that I would want to give up right now. And some true satisfaction came last weekend when I was putting together my resume. Yeah, baby--show it off to the people who care.

But really, I eagerly look forward to the day when I can pour myself into a single project or plan or goal. Then I'll have free time. In my free time, I will love people. And that will be my life.

*oh, one good thing is that my attitude never gets down. Yeah, I'm being introspective right now and I'd rather be sleeping, most definitely; but the women on my wing all notice that I have joy and laughter even in my stress. The frustration radiates through my back and neck and shoulders, but fortunately doesn't affect my smile. Nice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Always Knew "Rock the Vote" Wasn't Neutral

So the non-profit that is constantly seeking my generation's input in politics is taking a stance on the stimulus issue. Considering that they spend most of their resources in seeking the vote of college students, it's curious that their endorsement is so uneducated and I'd bet none of them ever took a basic economics course. But college kids and senators make the same mistakes sometimes in becoming hooked on legal addictive stimulants, whether coffee or so-called "recovery packages."

The mass e-mail of the week said this:
"Earlier today, President Obama signed into law the economic recovery plan, the biggest and boldest investment in America’s economy we’ve seen in 40 years.

Seriously, this is a big deal. Our economy is in freefall - we lost 3.6 million jobs in the past year - and a major fix is needed, now.

President Obama’s plan will inject billions of dollars into the economy - almost all of it this year and next - which leading economists say is desperately needed to create jobs and get people spending again. ...Democrats and Republicans alike have made clear the plan will help stop worst case job losses and budget cuts in their states."
They then go on to cite all the "big and bold" things the stimulus package will supposedly do for us (though they do neglect to cite how we'll pay for it all.)

As much as I could nit-pick this whole little e-mail apart, I think the thing that stands out to me is the bit in the middle paragraph, "a major fix is needed, now." If there's anything I've learned in my recent love affair with economic thought, it's that practically speaking, you can't make big changes now.

They all talk as if the economy is a single-celled organism that can be revitalized within four years (conveniently in time for Unfortunately, the quick-fix benefits don't outlast the consequences. Problem with this $787 billion stimulant is that, just like your favorite grande Americano with an extra shot and no room, the effects wear off...and you're left with a pretty damn horrible headache in the end.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are you trying to tell me that things actually work out sometimes?!

Okay. This is a story if I ever heard one.

Last October, I went to the generic Spring Break Missions meeting with no expectations. I heard about all of the locations and trips and I didn't really feel particularly drawn to any of them...until I explored the Nicaragua trip a bit more. It's a missions trip for business majors and Spanish majors (of which I am neither) and it was quite a leap of the imagination to think that I would be accepted to the trip. But I applied anyway and also e-mailed Dr. Hadley Mitchell, economics professor and leader of the trip. This is what I said to him:

My interest in business is both personal and public service-oriented. One of the reasons business and economics are so fascinating is because they are a perfect example of how individual actions impact the rest of one's community and the rest of the world. In both individual and community life, I believe stewardship is one of the key ways a Christian, a true follower of Christ, is set apart from the world.
First, my personal interest in business comes from a desire to use my personal resources
talents and financesfor God's glory. For example, I am currently acting as director of media relations (drafting business plans, investor letters, and other technical writing) in a growing entrepreneurial endeavor with a few other TU students. While our company's public goal is to assist artists in the business world, our private goal is to create a stable resource to serve and finance non-profit missions organizations. We are not only filling an immediate and practical need, we are also seeking to ultimately do God's work.
Second, I am fascinated by the impact of business and economics on government, international politics, and missions. The influence and reach of economics is so broad that I think Christians fail too often to realize how much potential we have to minister through business. To come into a community and bring food and medical care is a wonderful imitation of Christ's love for people with great material needs; but I think we can do even more than that.
As Frédéric Bastiat said, "Life cannot support itself." However, by fostering communities that are self-sustaining—whether by digging wells, teaching agricultural techniques, or developing local businesses and creating jobs—Christians can fight for the life and well-being of the poor with a long-term perspective. When we enable and encourage people in impoverished communities to support themselves, we show them that they are valuable
both as children of God who deserve the basic necessities of life, and as contributing members of a community, with special abilities and purposes who can support themselves and their families. This offers not only the means for life, but also a reason to live.

Good, huh? Yep. But to no avail. Weeks passed and I heard literally nothing about Spring Break, whether I was accepted to any trip, much less my first choice. Then just before J-term break, I received an e-mail informing me that I was accepted to the Chicago trip, my 3rd choice.

Now it's two weeks into spring semester, I'm a little on the swamped side, and spring break is rolling along...until yesterday when Dr. Mitchell interrupted my lunch at the DC. He just sat down at my table full of 2nd South girls and started talking to me and I was thoroughly amused. He recommended a book, saying something like "I'm going to suggest this to all of you..." and I thought he meant my macro class. Then I realized that he thought I was going on the Nicaragua trip. I told him that I wasn't accepted, that I was going to Chicago instead. He just said, "It's warmer in Nicaragua." Basically, he said there's a spot open and he wants me to come. WHAT?!

At first I was thinking that it was impossible--heck, you can't back out of these things! Once you accept, you're in. Then I get this e-mail today, saying that Dr. Mitchell requested that I join the SIFE trip to Nicaragua. SHEIZ! No kidding.

So although it was a hard thing to "abandon" Chicago, it was really an easy choice to make. I don't hastily credit God for bunches of stuff that happens, but some things "work together for good" like I could never even imagine. This is absolutely sick.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I survived today (yesterday).

I honestly wondered if I would... but I did. I guess that's comforting.

Question --
If we hope for the best and prepare for the worst, what are we supposed to expect?

So, I have this playlist called "Six Songs" because there are six songs in the playlist. (It used to be called "Five Songs" because there were only five, but I added one tonight. I am very tired.) They have some sick lyrics and no doubt. Recent addition to the playlist is Re: Stacks by Bon Iver. "Your love will be safe with me."

Also, I decided that coward + thrill-seeker = anxiety/personality disorder (except that I don't have a personality disorder. I'm just a paradox.) But don't worry. We'll deal with that in no time. Still, why are some people so supremely intimidating?? Hm.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I think I would like skydiving.

I used to wonder what my "boggart" is. That's Harry Potter language for "greatest fear." Conclusion: rejection.

That doesn't mean much for most people. Heck, everybody probably fears rejection, to some extent or another. But I approach it a bit differently.

I'm afraid I like risks. I like to throw myself out there, whether or not there's any surety that I'll live to see the end of it. There's this song that I love a whole lot about a guy who's girl leaves...and it's really confusing, actually, but a great song nonetheless. There's this line that goes, "My love, will you take my hand and run?" But the more brilliant part of the whole thing is that the song that precedes it on the album is called "So Afraid": Under my skin, I'm shaking and I can't get out. I am so afraid that I'll find myself alone...looking for a hope.

So obviously, I'm a thrill-seeker. I like those opportunities that scare the hell out of me and those people who are so darned intimidating because doesn't that make the successes all the sweeter? Veni, Vidi, Vici.

It's not always that way, of course. Sometimes it's downright devastating. Yes, with every failure, my confidence is shaken, I suppose, but never broken.

So this is my new motto:

Is it worth the risk?
Then risk it all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Want to be a Producer!!

Why do people expect little answers to big questions??

current big question: what do I want to do with my life?

Now, I'd be an idiot to think that God is going to give me some tiny, incredibly specific answer to that question. There are a hundred million things I'm interested in, dozens of places I want to go, and several things I'm pretty good at. It seems like a needle-in-a-haystack question. One pin among a billion little pointy straws is hard to find and I think the process would be painful, if it was even successful in the end.

But God has certainly given me a broad answer and through unexpected :) people. Producer. Haha... yes, that could mean almost anything in this world. Producer of big-budget motion pictures, producer of media resources for non-profit organizations, business management, public relations for a think tank, etc. etc. etc.

My adviser, my professors, my intentional friends, and my unexpected friends have all told me that I have the qualities of a producer. (My mom wouldn't believe it, considering my disorganization at home, but I think that's a totally different situation.)

So, I guess that's truly comforting. I know what general direction I'm headed in my life, but it's not a teensy-weensy, narrow, one-step-in-the-wrong-direction-and-you're-doomed kind of path. I have lots of choices I can still make. I'm not tied down. And that's a damn good thing, because I'm a pretty free spirit.

current big task: exploring internships that integrate public policy/economics, media, and producing.