Assumptions: Broke and Rebuilt

Qin  By Qin Xia

I just had the best Spring Break ever. It was not “fun,” but it was the best.

I joined the Alternative Spring Break, a week-long service opportunity offered by PSU. There were two optional trips: one in Sequoia National Park and the other in San Francisco. I chose the second one, which is the longest-running trip at PSU. We served at Glide Memorial Church and Lava Mae, while we stayed in the heart of San Francisco. I had the chance to think deeply on the “real life” I witnessed in San Francisco as we focused on the urban issues of houselessness and hunger.

During the trip, my biggest challenge was the breaking and rebuilding of my cultural assumptions. For example, before we left, during one of our group meetings, the leader told us that we are not there to “help.” In my culture, helping is the highest morality we value, and I thought it would be the best part of the trip. But they explained, “we are not from a higher level to help the lower level with mercy, that’s not right. We are here because we want to ‘serve’ the people.” They were saying it is a relationship between equals.

It reframed my thinking and offered a different angle of reflection. Sometimes we begin with a good heart, but we forget to check if it’s the right path towards our goal. Sometimes “help” makes people feel further away from each other.

What is the right way to work with the homeless or houseless community? I don’t know, and I am still learning. But I am sure nobody has the totally right answer. But that’s the best part of life: seeking the truth all the time.

| A Technology Relationship |

| A Technology Relationship |

by Sierra Pruitt

We are people of love and relationship.

We are not made for technology. We are made for building relationships with one another. Technology is just a tool.

Too many of us look down at our phones to ignore human interaction when we should be engaged with one another and nature. I have recently seen commercials about new technology that makes us look at the world in a different way — a world with less engagement and more of a relationship with the material things that surround us. Devices like Google Glass move us further away from interacting with one another and more to the screens we look at everyday. We then create a sense of what the world is through our technologic advances instead of looking around and seeing the beauty that is already here.

Let’s remember that technology is not in control of our lives. Let’s not use the technology we own to isolate ourselves, but to create ways to meet people around us. Our most memorable moments do not come from our technology, but from people. We are designed to love, care, and create relationships with one another.

| Visual Culture |

By: Sierra Pruitt

| Visual Culture |

It’s so easy to be insecure and jealous when you live in a visual culture — being jealous of where people are, what they are doing, why they are so beautiful, and why they are popular. I am surrounded by a community of people who express themselves creatively through visual means such as photography. The culture we live in today thrives on visual stimulation.

I have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other artists and to my friends. Because we are in a visual society, we start looking at ourselves in terms of: Am I worth being in the picture? Am I worth talking to if I don’t take good photos? Am I worth someone’s time? These are the negative thoughts that sometimes run through my mind. They’re destructive, but they’re also worth pondering.

Why should I be worried when all that matters is being who I was made to be? This has really been on my heart because it reminds me of what I should really be refocusing on and that my friend, is God. He doesn’t want me to be jealous or insecure. He wants my heart.

What are your concerns about the visual world we live in today and the effects it has on us?