Cross Culture - Editor's Journal

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Cross Culture - Editor's Journal

Post by Boomerwang on Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:39 pm

Opening Thoughts

It's really interesting how the vision of our fellowship's monthly newsletter has changed, shifted, developed. I can't really say "grown," because I think that last year's vision cast by Donica was perfectly fine, as was the vision originally cast when the newsletter was first conceived of, (many?) years ago. I look at the direction I'd like to take the newsletter this year, and it's interesting to me that I don't actually have a specific direction.

They say "what's in a name," right? Well, for me, I was always bothered by people's usage of the plural form, "Cross Cultures." I don't know, I guess at first I just saw it as bad English, as a shortcut for "Cross Culture newsletters." But then, recently, a conversation with a few others got me thinking about the idea that "Cross Cultures" referred to reaching out across cultural borders and barriers. More than that, but somehow, "crossing" refers to more than just an encounter, but rather, an intersection, an integration, a juxtaposition of sorts. After thinking on this I realized why I had been so bothered by that little "s" at the end of "Cross Culture."

I had never actually viewed the name "Cross Culture" that way before. Whereas the above thoughts involve a wonderful global community, I was very much engaged with the idea of local community. To me, it was not evident that "Cross Culture" indicated something akin to "crossing cultures" or "across cultures" (yet another way to interpret this awesome title). For me, my vision was based almost solely on "the culture of the Cross."

For me, it is fantastic that this name was selected for AIV's monthly publication. It's so cool, sophisticated, and yet deep, and multi-dimensional in its meaning. As editor this year, I think one aspect that I have brought to the vision is for the focus to be on the "culture of the Cross." It was never my intention that such a focus detract from the "crossing cultures" aspect, but I am fully aware of the unfortunate possibility that in focusing on one interpretation of this name, that other aspects may lose focus.

But for those of you who wonder, that is why, this year, you see less of a balance of issues throughout our society and culture. That is why - at least it is my attempt - you see more personal testimonies, talks about our issues, encouragements on overcoming problems, and things that are, in the end, no more good or righteous than the other interpretations of the "Cross Culture" name, but, inevitably, somewhat "closer to home."

You'll also notice, as the months go on, a lack of seasonal themes, as compared to previous years. For example, when you receive our November issue this week, you'll notice that there's nothing Thanksgiving-themed in the newsletter. This was intentional on my part, though by no means an expression of disapproval for such wonderful traditions such as Thanksgiving (I have yet to have the blessed privilege of devouring a turducken - but perhaps this time that will change). If anything, I was simply making a statement. I leave it to you, dear reader and reader of our newsletters, to determine for yourself what I am trying to convey. Suffice it to say, however, that I am not against seasonal themes, and perhaps in the future this may be done. Stay tuned!


While I'm on here, let me give a shout out to my fellow editor, Amanda, real quick. Amanda, you are cool, and if I were a girl, I'd totally get a nose ring too. Seriously. Anyways, it's been good working with you so far, and having someone as meticulous and details-oriented as myself or even more so has been great.

I also want to thank you, the contributors, and you, the readers, without either of whom this entire endeavor would be fruitless. And thank you, the leaders, for coordinating the funds and resources necessary to make this a reality, and for your support. And thank you, friends, those of you who brighten my day with positive comments, feedback, and testimonies regarding the newsletters. It is incredibly encouraging, and you may be surprised at just how much a few simple words can bless a brother. Compliments risk inflating the ego, sure, but yours fuel the fire of my vision and passion for this project. It's a blessing, it's fantastic, and, God-willing, there will be a lot more where that came from!

'Till next time, I bid thee adieu.
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Boomerwang

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Re: Cross Culture - Editor's Journal

Post by myi on Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:27 pm

you and Amanda are doing a great job, Jerry!

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Editor's Journal #2: Transition

Post by Boomerwang on Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:44 am

"Transition"

It's been encouraging to see people engaging and responding to our publications. For their feedback, comments, and compliments (speaking of which, thanks Margaret!). It's all thanks to God, who glorifies Himself through things like these. But in second place, Donica and Amanda would be tied. Donica's really been great with handing off the reins, and helping me transition so smoothly. Amanda's been a great co-editor and a tremendous asset to the precision and quality of the issues. It's been an awesome learning experience so far and I eagerly look forward to continuing it next semester.

Speaking of which, I am hesitant to consider what to do regarding a January issue. It's still finals week, and people are still in the trenches. But if we want to do something for January, then we'll need to start contacting people asap. I think the wonders of modern technology (computers & Internet in particular) allow us to coordinate this long-distance. That way, people who are no longer here can still contribute (it's happened via email anyway).

I'll check with Amanda and see what she thinks. In the meantime, I've got to start coming up with new writers for January. So if you see this, and you're interested, please contact either me or Amanda ASAP! Time's a'wastin', folks! :)

I have an idea of what to do for January theme-wise, should it come about. I might have to take over the front cover for this one, just because I'm not sure if a front cover artist will have enough time at this point. But one never knows, and God's grace always provides.

I'm also not sure on delivery method - so far, the small group deliveries seem to have gone without a hitch. I don't know, maybe we'll just do that for the upcoming semester. That way, there'll be less to worry about post-large group, and people who attend small groups who can't make it to large group can still have access to a copy. I'm sure whatever Amanda and I end up deciding, it'll be good.

Lastly, for now, big props to Johnny Lin (Markley .:SOLID:. The Stud) for being a great Administrator, reimbursing our Cross Culture newsletters expenditures with speed and efficiency. Much appreciated, sir!

In the end, your encouragement has been greatly appreciated. I'm so glad you get out of them what you do. I hope that it will grow, and continue to be a positive aspect of the fellowship community. Once again, thanks so much, and have a fantastic holiday.

Till next time!
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Re: Cross Culture - Editor's Journal

Post by Boomerwang on Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:16 am

"Training Wheels"

I was skimming through these couple past entries and thinking a bit. I'm just very thankful that some things haven't changed - there's still a great desire to share what is on people's minds and hearts, and there are still people engaging with the newsletter and responding. However, I also think it is easy to get carried away sometimes with the 'numbers game' - hearing some people apologetically admit that they haven't really been looking at it feels disappointing at first, but I think that disappointment is partially founded on selfishness. It's a pet project, after all, an intellectual baby. I'm not sure if I can totally shake the selfishness that accompanies the disappointment that comes from sometimes seeing your hard work scattered around an apartment, pages getting wet from some of the water that was accidentally spilled on the table earlier. But in any case, God has been teaching me a great deal, and I'm improving in that department, much to my excitement. I think it's just amazing how often the leaders in a situation are the ones who become the learners!

I sort of started taking matters into my own hands in terms of the selection process for next year's Editor (sorry to those of you I have already contacted!). Truth is, it's something that the new Core group will decide, but because of last year's experience, I was under the impression that a future Editor is just chosen by the previous year's Editor. So I started talking to people before realizing this, and after a clarifying and helpful phone call, I understand the process much better. In any case, I was very happy to hear that some of the people I had been thinking of in fact were the same people Core has begun to consider, and that in fact, those people voiced their thoughts about possibly serving in this role. To those people, I send my joy and excitement.

Today as we were printing February's issue, Amanda and I were discussing suggestions we could give to next years Editor. In addition to the great protocol Donica wrote up, I think there are a few things we can add, and I believe that is one of the greatest things about passing something on, leaving a legacy: that you build on the experiences of the past, and continue growing that wisdom. I think it's a marvelous thing. We talked a little bit about printing options for the future, and considered what it would look like to save resources by having a purely electronic publication, and what some of the benefits and drawbacks would be. It was a very interesting thought and I appreciate Amanda for having brought that up.

In the end, we decided that there were things we could do, starting now, that would reflect our concerns while keeping to the standard formula of publishing. In the interest of saving both printing time and money, we've decided to cut back a bit on the amount of newsletters we're printing. This, in fact, motivated a change back to Large Group distribution, which I think will work out better in the long run, because Small Group distribution gave us a ittle too much logistical baggage, and having Cross Culture newsletters available at (after) Large Group gives brothers and sisters another great reason to be there! We felt it was acceptable to cut down on the amount printed because first, the issues are all available online (both at the website and here on the forums - check out the AIV Information forum), and second, it is more important for the people who get it to partake of it, than for a larger number of people to get it and then just discard it without reading it. This way, the people who are actively interested in getting the newsletter can have it, while people for whom it is not as much a concern can browse them whenever they wish. I think the only concern with this approach is discerning who might want newsletters but cannot attend Large Group because they are already committed elsewhere. But that is an issue for another day.

As always, by God's grace, Amanda and I worked hard on this February issue, and we hope the articles and artwork will speak to you and encourage, strengthen, challenge, revive, excite, and engage you. To spur each other on towards holiness and righteousness founded entirely on God's tender mercy... that has always been our goal, and it is a pleasure to serve. My prayer is that next year's Editor (or co-Editors) will come to enjoy that same pleasure, and that for them it may even exceed our own.

Thank you to all of you who take the time to read and enjoy Cross Culture. It may mean a lot to us, but more importantly, we want it to support your spiritual life and help enhance your walk by provoking thought and reflection, and ultimately, action.

Till next time!

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Re: Cross Culture - Editor's Journal

Post by Boomerwang on Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:56 pm

"Tough Spot"

Not sure what we'll do with April's issue... or even if we'll have one at all. My appreciation to all the writers and contributors over this school year that has made these wonderful issues possible, and my co-Editor, Amanda, for her helpfulness.

In this moment when I feel a little tired, a little weary, I have to admit that I don't even know if there will be an April issue. This month is going to be busy enough for me even without Cross Culture. I just don't know. I don't know what to do, or how to do it. I normally already have a bingo list this time, already am starting to contact people. But I haven't, yet. I'm just not getting any inklings toward anybody specific. That's why I sent out some general invitations to people, but there's been no response. I'm not sure what is happening.

I think it would of course be good to have a close-out issue for the year - I mean, it is people's last chances (especially the seniors) to make their thoughts known before they leave. However, without any show of support for contributions, I am not sure if that will be possible. The price we've negotiated for the issues is not a simple "X pages for X money," it's "X issues for X money." Meaning that if we have to make the issues smaller, we still have to pay the same amount. So fewer contributors meaning smaller issues means not properly stewarding money.

As Editor this year, I'm unsure for the first time, of the next (and my last) month. Of course, that thought (of it being the last) hasn't struck me yet, but I'm sure it will, later on. In any case, I just don't know. People seem too busy with their own things to bother with this. I'm struggling not to give in to that kind of apathy, but it's hard, hard to go against that kind of overwhelming oppression. I'm trying with every ounce of me to fight it, with my goofiness, with my optimism, with my joking... but I recognize that recently, my joking has been a little more cynical, and I think it influences how I view Cross Culture, and approach it. I don't want this last issue to come out dark and jaded, but that's sure how it seems like life has made us, doesn't it?

Where's the sign, the divine inspiration? I just don't know this time.

Till next time? Not sure.

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Re: Cross Culture - Editor's Journal

Post by Boomerwang on Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:38 pm

"Answer"

This one is pretty direct, so I wanted to share it as a praise to you all. Through my daily devotionals, God gave me comfort by reminding me that He is Almighty, and even during times I feel (or am) defeated, He is never. In particular, this part of my devotional reading a few days ago was, I felt, God's response to the struggle I've been having mentioned above (prev. entry):

"It takes Almighty grace to take the next step when there is no vision, no spectator ... The thing that tells in the long run for God and for men is the steady persevering work in the unseen, and the only way to keep the life uncrushed is to live looking to God."

This was impactful to me, because I tend to get caught up in the people I serve; in pursuing a [Kingdom] end, I become preoccupied with the means, and grow discouraged. I think it's something many of us can relate with, so if you're struggling with the same thing, let me know and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts and share with you and encourage you. Sometimes, that's all we need - even just the hint of love - to keep us going, and it can make the difference in whether we stay the course.

Even without a clear vision, now I'm sure, because I'm only human, and I know that as long as we continue to give this newsletter up to the Lord, He will have His way with it and do wonderful and marvelous things with it, things we might not even see. So now, I'm sure. There will be a next time.

So: Till next time!
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