Micah Mandate

The Magazine of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University.

A Summer of Social Justice

Posted by admin April - 29 - 2013 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

Summer is a season of freedom for many students. Some students go on mission trips, some work, some play video games and others go to the beach. No matter where students may find themselves, they still have an opportunity to engage in social justice. Even at the beach, even while working and even while playing video games.

 

We contacted many of Trevecca’s beloved professors in the social justice program (with the addition of Dan Boone, university president) and asked them a question: “What is a practical way that students can engage in social justice this summer?” Here are their responses.

 

Dan Boone, University President – Find a high school student who seems to have a calling to social justice. Mentor the student and recruit him/her to the Trevecca social justice program. You may shape a lifelong servant for the work of God.

 

Dean Diehl, Instructor, Music business – Buy Local—support small businesses!  Go into economically depressed areas in your hometown and support locally-owned businesses in those areas. 

Small, locally-owned and operated businesses keep jobs and dollars in the local community.  Large chain stores siphon money and jobs away from local communities and require poor workers to spend more time commuting and less time with their families.  Even if you have to pay a little more to shop at these stores, it is worth it!  Stop paying the huge cost of everyday low prices!

 

Chris Farrell, Professor, Biology – “Have anyone call and catch me.”

 

Don Kintner, Professor, Psychology – Ride your bicycle to an urban neighborhood you have never been to before, wherein a majority of the people who reside there do not look like you, and/or you have heard unflattering reports about and therefore shunned (even in your automobile).

Hang out in the neighborhood’s haunts and nodes and restaurants. Talk to the people who live and hang out there. Listen to their stories and share your own.  You will find that there is very little difference in your struggles and hopes and dreams!

 

Kathy Mowry, Associate Professor, Mission & Christian Education – Summer is a time for sweet tea, icy Coke or iced coffee!   In America, we spend so much discretionary money on cold drinks in the hot months.

I would love to challenge students to become familiar with a huge need in the world: the problem of Gender-Based Violence in Kenya and beyond. Join the Facebook group for the Kenya Gender Based Violence Project. Learn about what they are doing to change the lives of women in that corner of the world.

Consider giving up all purchased drinks for the summer.  Drink from your reusable water bottle, and save all the money you would have spent on beverages to send to this project (or another project that motivates you). Drinking water heals your body, and it will bring healing to others.

 

Leroy Pepper, Associate Professor, History & Political Science – Do something to help provide clean drinking water for people in under-developed nations (donating to Blood:Water Mission is easy: www.bloodwatermission.com). Spend at least a day or two working with Habitat for Humanity in your locality.  Volunteer for at least a day or two at a local food pantry or kitchen for the homeless. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

 

Joy Wells, Associate Professor, Sociology & Social Work – My suggestion is to look for a way to “be present” with someone that is “under the radar” like a senior adult, person with a disability, etc. and periodically spend time with them. Much can be learned from simple steps.

 

Laurie Woods, Assistant Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice – My suggestion is for students to visit places of worship of other faiths, particularly Muslim mosques, in order to better understand the people we serve. We need to understand where others come from instead of judging them.

Plans change for Castanea

Posted by admin February - 1 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

Jason Adkins and the Castanea community have changed their plans a little since the project began in 2010.

 

Originally, the group planned on restoring an apartment complex located at 12 Garden Street in which they could live side by side with men and women transitioning out of homelessness and cycles of poverty.

The Castanea Community Center at 12 Garden Street. (Photo by Jordan Taylor)

 

Castanea wanted to invite people in to be a part of their community by living life alongside them, sharing in prayer and meals.

 

“We started out as an intentional community, and we’ve become more and more unintentional as we’ve gone along,” Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, said. “It feels like the right thing to do.”

 

Now, they are going to only be purchasing one half of the complex. There will be four condominiums in their half and each will go to a different family within the Castanea community.

 

They aren’t abandoning their dream of working with people who can’t afford to live in healthy housing, however.

 

In fact, Adkins believes that their ideas of turning the property into an urban garden and farm, along with loving their neighbors, are still possible even though they won’t own the whole complex.

 

This is because the other half is being bought by Urban Housing Solutions (UHS), an affordable housing provider in Nashville.

 

UHS received a grant from the state, specifically targeting environmentally friendly building to create affordable housing around Nashville, including Chestnut Hill.

 

The Castanea group hopes to sell one half of the apartment complex to UHS for $50,000 – $60,000, which will cover the final costs of their side.

 

“If it’s [sold for] anything less, it’s gonna jeopardize the project,” said Adkins.

 

The only thing that remains a question for Adkins is whether or not the actions of Castanea are going to actually be beneficial to the Chestnut Hill community.

 

“We could see the neighborhood actually become very racially and economically homogenous,” said Adkins. “As you fix up a place, you make it a target for investment.”

 

With UHS’s system, only candidates who qualify for affordable housing will be allowed to move into their units. This guarantees that people who really need the housing will be able to get it.

 

With the presence of UHS, the residents of the left half of 12 Garden Street will be unknown to Castanea until they meet.

 

Published with permission of TrevEchoes

Trevecca calls for fast after showing Flow the Film

Posted by admin November - 13 - 2012 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

While many people hold the belief that bottled water is more pure than tap water, a documentary showed more purification is done to tap water.

Earlier this week, Trevecca held a video screening of “Flow,” a documentary about the world’s growing privatization of water, questioning ‘Can anyone really own water?’.

“Watching that film, at the end of it, I feel like I’ve come out of a fist fight,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator.

The screening was hosted in partnership with Blood:Water Mission, an organization that is fighting HIV/AIDS and water crisis in Africa, and the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

The film said the United Nations estimated it would take about $30 billion dollars to provide clean water for the entire world, while Statistics Brain estimates the annual sales of bottled water alone is $15 billion.

In many situations, the solution to this crisis doesn’t require the world’s wealthiest people to save the day.

“In many places what we need is not a billion dollar answer, but a thousand dollar answer,” said one of the authorities in the film.

The film is aligned with beliefs that the social justice center holds about water and they are encouraging students to take action by trying a 30-day bottled drink fast.

In place of bottled drinks, students will drink tap water and can pledge to save all the money that they would have spent on the bottled drinks to give to Blood:Water’sprojects in Africa.

The film showed the injustices both in bottled water and tap water.

The only student response after the film was a question on what to drink instead of bottled water if tap water is an unjust system as well.

Mike Lenda, U.S. programs director for Blood:Water, responded by saying that replacing the bottled drinks with tap water is more about saving the money.

Another way to contribute to this fast and to save money is to use refillable water bottles like a Nalgene or CamelBak.

There are now black water taps around campus for students and faculty to refill their bottles.

“Water is a gift from God and should not be a commodity,” said Adkins.

The idea for the film began when Irena Salina, director, heard Robert Kennedy, Jr. talking about certain American industries that were polluting many rivers and waterways in America.

“I was shocked to hear that some of these free flowing contaminating agents often end up in the human body,” said Salina on the film’s website.

The film began with the intentions of covering the pollution and commercialization of water in the U.S., the access to water for poor people in other countries, the human rights issues in the whole thing and the celebrated spiritual aspects of water.

FLOW is asking people to sign the petition to adopt Article 31 into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Article 31: Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance,” quotes the Article 31 website.

Q&A with Shane Claiborne on Politics, Faith and Apathy

Posted by admin November - 7 - 2012 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

Tuesday was the first time most Trevecca students could vote for a president. The political power that students have was not limited to that one opportunity.

 

Students vote every day with the choices and decisions they make, according to Shane Claiborne.

 

Claiborne is a popular social justice activist and author of “Jesus for President” and “Irresistible Revolution.” He took some of his time to answer a few of Micah Mandate’s questions about politics, faith, apathy, and policy.

Photo pulled from The Simple Way

 

He started by talking about how he and The Simple Way, an organization that he co-founded, perceived their place in the political scheme.

 

The backdrop of everything is God’s Kingdom coming on earth.

 

Rather than endorsing any candidate, we’re asking them to engage.

 

Engagement is certainly not restricted to one day every four years. We vote every day with what we align ourselves. It’s how we live on November 7th and November 10th.

 

Rather than seeing voting as casting our vote for a new messiah, we’re actually to do damage control. We’re looking to try and minimize the impact of principalities and powers.

 

One of the things that we do is that we don’t wait on politicians to solve all of the world’s problems. We get that vision from scripture. “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.”

 

The real question for us as Christians is what would it look like if Jesus is in charge?

 

With the early Christians, every time they were saying Jesus is Lord, they were saying Caesar is not.

 

How we live each day, in Philadelphia, there’s a whole new thing about welcoming immigrants and helping folks get documentation.

 

Photo pulled from The Simple Way

There’s 20,000 of us that are trying to help each other get our medical bills paid for each other.

 

Mother Theresa wasn’t just pro-life. She came alongside kids with teenage mothers. She became known as mother because of that.

 

To be pro-life in our neighborhood means what do we do when a 14-year old gets pregnant.

 

To love our neighbor as our self, it affects how we hold our possessions, etc.

 

I want to know how someone is proactive and how they are going to walk with people.

 

 

Students on campus don’t seem to be incredibly interested in this whole election process or politics in general. To some, it could seem apathetic, and to others, it seems like they just blissfully ignore politics. What do you think is really happening in this?

 

I think there’s a reason especially young people are dissatisfied. There’s a dropout rate from the elections of young people that’s astronomical.

 

One,  I think we remember the culture wars of our parents when it was as if there was only two issues that mattered: abortion and homosexuality.

 

When you’ve got two parties that are funded by corporations, for a Christian, you get really conflicted because there’s not a consistent ethic of life.

 

If you think of the Democratic Party, then you have the issue of abortion. If republican, then there’s militarism and capital punishment.

 

If you’re not voting for someone, you’re voting against someone.

 

I do think that some of those changes can start to come.

 

We’re spending $20,000 a second on militarism.

 

Neither candidate is really talking about decreasing the military budget. Young people are increasingly suspicious of that.

 

Maybe instead of blowing up the world 10 times, we could just blow it up 7 times.

There’s millions and billions of dollars going to a party race. You might as well just auction it off.

 

So after this whole movement of Jesus for President and learning about the politics of Jesus in theology class and having really thought through all of this, I think there are some people who really want to vote Jesus for President. But during this election time, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos or we just feel conflicted by voting when we really just want to see the Kingdom of Heaven come down. What’s happening in our hearts when we just don’t know what to do with all of this?

 

I do think that one of the things that we need to ask is, “Is there a decision I can make on Election Day that I can move things closer to what Jesus wants?”

 

I’m not interested in dictating whether people should vote or how they should vote, but I do think we should take that decision seriously.

 

Rather than endorsing a candidate, we’re sort of asking them to endorse the values at the heart of the gospel.

 

I think we need to advise everybody and endorse nobody.

 

So many people, secular and Christian, are telling us to be educated and vote our convictions. What do you think is the best way for a Christian to approach this issue of ‘being educated’?

 

I think that we need to be in touch with the world that we live in. Barth said that we need to read the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.

 

We gotta be careful not to fall to that temptation [of trusting the government over God], but on the other hand, I think that we’ve got to be very balanced where is this the most important

 

Worrying our life around Jesus is the most important decision in our life.

 

The world gets changed through the ongoing effort that the church does every day.

 

What do you say is the place of a Christian university in terms of politics?

 

One, we should take advantage of the chance of creating robust conversation around things that matter. Especially Christian communities, we should be talking about things like immigration and the death penalty. These things matter. Jesus is talking about the real stuff about the world that we live in.

 

As we look at those things, that’s our framework for it.

 

We should disagree well. There’s stuff we can learn from conservatives and liberals. We need to model that in our academic institutions.

 

Also, what institutions can do is what Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” How do we get the log out of our own eye? How are we paying our workers? What’s our salary scale between our head administration and housing staff? How are we caring for the plot of God’s earth?

 

Here at Eastern [where he graduated from], we’ve tried to focus on using wind energy. That’s just one way we’re allowing the theology of creation care to take root.

 

We give out one scholarship a year calling it “The Simple Way” scholarship.

 

It’s [why people in poverty have a difficult time getting into college] often not anything to do with their smarts, but their resources, which is why a lot of our colleges end up being overwhelming white or middle class.

Photo pulled from thechristianmanifesto.com

 

Claiborne speaks in depth on some of these topics in his book “Jesus for President,” which

can be purchased from Amazon for about $3.

Environmental Sustainability Club

Posted by admin October - 10 - 2011 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The Environmental Sustainability club kicked off the new school year with a peaceful hike.

Four members of the club dedicated to environmental stewardship spent a few hours in creation before coming back to campus to promote creation care.

“This is what we we’re made for. We’re not supposed to sit inside all day,” said Lyndsi Groves, president of the club.

The three-mile venture happened at Radnor Lake in Nashville.

Dr. Chris Farrell, Director of Medical Technology Program and Professor of Biology, said that the hike was “just to get [the students] out there.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Eggs and Farm Update

Posted by admin October - 3 - 2011 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Trevecca chickens are beginning to lay eggs.

So far the 105 chickens who call TNU home have laid around seven eggs.

“I’m a proud papa,” gloats Jason Adkins, the environmental projects coordinator, while he lovingly cradles a speckled, fawn egg.

Boxes of 3-day old chicks were bought in late Spring semester 2011 by the J.V. Morsh Center for Social Justice to reflect Trevecca’s environmental-sustainability efforts around campus.

Adkins nursed the chicks from their original purchase until present, building their barn-style coop by hand over the summer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Year in Review: The happenings of the Center in 2010-2011

Posted by admin April - 26 - 2011 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice hosted 10 events on campus in the 2010-2011 school year on topics ranging from human trafficking, to civil rights, to child soldiering. Speakers from all over the world spoke to Trevecca students about their lives, ministries and work on today’s most pressing social justice issues. Here’s a look back at some of the biggest events of the year.

The Center had a busy second year at Trevecca. Chapels and conferences were hosted, service projects completed and the first graduates of with a social justice degree will walk the stage in May.

“The theme for the year was to show how social justice affects real people, ” Jamie Casler, director of the Center, said. “We wanted to highlight a variety of social justice issues by inviting guest speakers on various topics tell their stories.”

Check out the happenings page for upcoming events. Below are some highlights of the 2010-2011 school year.

Photos from Trevecca Nazarene University Office of External Relations/Marketing.

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Students follow path of the Freedom Riders

Posted by admin April - 26 - 2011 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

Jordan Taylor –

LaKenya Black, sophomore at Trevecca, became impassioned with civil rights history when she was in high school. Her history teacher, a veteran political activist, brought criticaldiscussion, personal insights and reflective documentaries to Black’s classes in both 11th and 12th grade.

“She was really up there in age, but you wouldn’t know it because she acted like a teenager,” Black said. “She didn’t beat around the bush.”

In April, Black and another Trevecca student, senior Heather Millington, joined two J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice professors and  Rip Patton, an original Freedom Rider, on a reenactment trip from Nashville to Montgomery, Ala. celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides.

The Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights activists, rode various interstate busses throughout the formerly segregated southeastern states in May of 1961. The Freedom Riders’ goal was to test customs and local law officials on the overthrow of separate but equal laws, experiencing extreme hostility, violence and injury along the way.

Iris Gordon, adjunct professor for the Center, said she hopes students gathered parallels from the experiences of the college student activists involved in the civil rights movements and apply them to their own passions, such as poverty, human trafficking or homelessness.

“It’s really powerful for a 21-year-old to think about what 21-year-olds were doing in the 1960s,” Gordon said.

The group traveled together on a Trevecca van visiting key historical sights in Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala.

Gordon said she wanted the students to gather the “real life experience of traveling the journey, not just talking about it, but living it.”

Jamie Casler, director of the Center, and Gordon went  with the students on the reenactment tour. Their plan was to help students look to the past to find answers for the future, Casler said.

“When we look back at the Freedom Riders, we have a better understanding of the experience; what people went through, the struggles they endured, the pain and death they experienced to bring about justice and equality among people, especially in the South,” Casler said.

Though neither student is a history major, both expressed interest in the civil rights movement.  Millington, a commercial music major, became interested in the issue during a mission trip to Montgomery, Ala. last year.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about civil rights (movements) in the South and seeing how far its come, but also how far it has to go,” Millington said.

Both professors want their students to be inspired by the 1960s college students, as they peacefully fought for equality while trying to pass their classes.

“It was a decision they were so ready to make,” Gordon said. “They were choosing social justice.”

Students earned one credit hour for the trip and paid for the expenses out of their own pockets. The cost is estimated at $120, including museum passes, food and a hotel room for the overnight experience.

Casler met with the students for several brief classes prior to the trip. They discussed relevant articles and watched films concerning the Freedom Riders.

Casler said everyone is called to address the injustices of the world, utilizing one’s education and spiritual gifts.

“The social justice department is intentionally equipping college students for ministry of change in our world, as we have a generation of students who want to make a difference,” Casler said.


 

Keeping God at a Distance: Poverty and Grace

Posted by admin January - 25 - 2011 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

Ryan Fasani and Eric Paul-

“Inscribed on the very heart of God’s grace is the rule that we can be its recipients only if we do not resist being made into its agents; what happens to us must be done by us.”

-Miroslav Volf

Every year at Christmas, my (Eric) Mom and Dad would pick up gifts for children through the Angel Tree Program at our church.  I remember pouring over the lists of possible gifts we could buy, and I was always thankful that I was a part of a family that was giving beyond our familial boundaries.  I assume that for many of us Christmas is a time that we give more; we recognize our abundance and want to share it with others, even if only for a short season.

After all, Christmas is the season of giving.  As Christians, we recognize God’s gift of Christ for the world, “who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Phil. 2:6-7).  In this same passage, Paul admonishes us to then have the same attitude of Christ.  As Christ is in the world, so ought we be in the world—servants.  And so, gift giving has become a ritual that recognizes God’s gift of God’s self on behalf of the world’s brokenness.  Christ is the gift of grace for us. Read the rest of this entry »

Biodiesel coming soon to TNU

Posted by admin December - 1 - 2010 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Rachel Swann-

Soon students at Trevecca will have a new way to get a hands-on learning experience. Last spring the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice purchased a biodiesel machine that will be used to fuel two of plant operations vehicles.

The machine has been in storage for the past six months, but plans are underway for a new home for the machine.

One of the trailers beside plant operations will be converted to have a classroom like atmosphere complete with windows, carpet anBioDiesel Machined desks. The idea is to use the space and machine as an educational tool for students to learn the process of biodiesel production.

“It lends itself to science on display,” Glen Linthicum, director of plant operations, said.

Biodiesel is an alternative fuel produced from animal fat or vegetable oil. Some benefits, according to biodiesl.org, to using the fuel are: the reduced amount of emissions from that of petroleum diesel, exhaust is recycled by plant life, the emissions are healthier for humans and the environment and it is one of the lowest costing alternative fuels available. Also, it can be used in existing diesel engines without them needing many modifications.

The machine was purchased by the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. Jamie Casler, director of the center, and Chris Farrell, director of medical technology and professor of biology and environment, found the machine and made the buy with the intention of the production of biodiesel and items from its by-products, such as soap, to be a student led project.

“Jason Adkins (environmental justice professor) and Chris Farrell will be leading the initiative (with their classes),” Casler said. Read the rest of this entry »