Back to School

Classes are back in session. I’ll start teaching the brand new Writing on Social Change class for Lancaster Bible College’s Communication program tomorrow. I know quite a few of the students enough to at least match names and faces since I’ve attended the freshman communication retreat/seminar the past two years. However, I’m eager to get to know the students as my students and to see how they fill out the pre-class survey that will give me some insight into their familiarity about and attitude towards issues of social justice.

In other social justice news, I just finished watching Good Fortune, a documentary about the complications of carrying out development projects in Africa. The filmmaker originally intended to show UN-driven aid vs. commercial aid in the form of an international rice growing corporation project, and the expected result was that the commercial model would emerge as the more sensible route to take. In the end, the documentary winds up showing that both projects encountered significant local resistance, and by following the individuals directly affected by the development projects, the documentary reveals some of the complex factors that must be considered in the development of Africa. I liked the response of Lawrence MacDonald of Center for Global Development, who concludes, “This film poses a simple question to all of us: Is this the best we can do? Surely not.”  I may wind up showing a few clips from the film to my class when we talk about dignity in social justice. The goal is not simply to help people but to treat them as individuals with dignity who are capable of contributing to the development of their own communities.

And, finally, just in case you’re curious, here’s what I look like at work. Yep, that’s me trying to get my email inbox from 1000+ emails down to about 100. I’ve whittled it away to about 650, so I’m making progress. And, yes, my desk is usually that messy. I’m working on it though…