A Brief Introduction

Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Outreach at BYU

Holy cow. Yesterday seemed like one long, never-ending blur as it was happening. We awoke early to visit UVSC (Utah Valley State College) and give presentations to their GSA. We were there for hours.... After a quick break it was off to the Provo Library (which, coincidentally used to be BYU so I guess in a way, we made it!) for a dinner hosted by LDS Family Fellowship (a Mormon PFLAG-type organization). I have learned that smiling parents really help make this trip bearable and I was excited for our Mormon riders that they had parents and members from other generations within their faith supporting them as well.

There was an hour-long panel presentation that I will be posting clips from later but what I really want to get to is what happened afterwards:

The progressive theology presentation was scheduled to give a shortened version of it "Ashley's Apt". We weren't really given any other information and I can't say that I didn't think it would just be a few friends of our LDS riders. I was SO wrong. I was the first person through the door when we arrived and I literally opened the door, took a step inside, took a step back, closed the door, said "Oh crap" to my groupmates, and then went in (yes, seriously).

The room was about the size of 3 hotel rooms (right now that is my only standard of measure) and it was literally PACKED full of BYU students. I had to wade my way through the crowd, the entire floor was covered, people were standing around the walls, and even opening the door was difficult that's how full it was.

Emily, Aaron, Jonathan, Brandon, and I gave a greatly shortened version of our Progressive Theology presentation but then quickly opened it up for questions as we were meeting with a weekly discussion group (their Wednesday meeting will be all about our visit!). I don't know why I am always so surprised to find that there are students who want to talk about these issues everywhere. Not everyone in attendance was in agreement with us, in fact, I would imagine most were not. But that didn't stop them from having questions, from having opinions, from wanting to learn more.

One student who completely disagrees with us says that he continues to come to these discussions because he believes it is important to "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." That is how we are all trying to participate in these discussions and I hope that it is working.

Unfortunately we didn't bring cameras as I don't think anyone was expecting the experience we had. I couldn't help but think throughout the meeting "I really want my camera right now."

We stayed until 10:30 when we had to return to our hotel, but I gladly would have stayed longer. We our having amazing converstaions with students at every school so far. We haven't even visited the BYU campus area yet and already we are engaging 100s of students in conversation on this issue. AHHHHHHHHH.... This is the stuff of college, this is the stuff of America.

I am so excited to be a part of these important conversations.

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