Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Imagining Change

Our upcoming move to South Africa has offered an opportunity for pause, reflection and re-evaluation. For example, this blog has always been defined in part by my being a South African away from home. And over time, it has become less about "Social Responsibility in Context" and more about, well, figuring out life.

The time has come for some changes to the blog! yay! As things change, you can check out the If You're New tab to look back and look forward. This is my vision:
Concrete Gardener is a space where I share my experience of living consciously and simply. While this is not primarily a "Christian themed" blog, I'm trying to follow Jesus and I'm encouraged and inspired by two verses: 
I've come that you may have life, and have it abundantly
And what does the Lord Require of you? To act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with your God
I believe that we're much more than consumers, and that being frugal and living simply will enable us to: 
1. Enjoy learning to take care of ourselves and be happy with less. 
2. Be extraordinarily generous with the money we do have. 
3. Be better stewards of the earth's resources and 
4. Not be driven by any kind of scarcity (financial or time poverty), but be driven by grace.
I'd like listen to you and build the blog into something inspiring, exciting, and helpful to you. To this end, I'm going to be setting up a (n anonymous) survey for you to fill out, to help guide the look and feel of the blog and evolving community.  I'll send it out in July, and also have it available on the site itself.

About 18 months ago, Eug and I had the idea of a free, online magazine. That vision became Conferre Magazine. The goal of the magazine is to "profile men and women from around the world who are seeking innovative solutions to social and economic problems and helping us imagine change."

We think that our generation (or is it just young adults in general?) can be jaded and worn out. Many of us are busy and maybe we feel as though our dreams of changing the world didn't pan out. Perhaps we feel like we're working in jobs we dislike just to make ends meet. Eug and I felt as though hearing about individuals doing big things in small ways might offer the inspiration we need to mutually inspire one another. We may be dealing with dirty diapers or paperwork most of our day (and there's something to dealing with the diapers and the paperwork, too), but it's not all we are. We can be generous, we can start a small organization, or grow food in our garden, or do our grocery shopping by bike, or learn how to resolve conflict, or...

This said, we've found that doing this in magazine format isn't working as well as we'd like. So we're going to switch tactics. There's a long gap between issues, so our readers may forget, and being tied to themes makes it difficult to get a steady stream of people to interview. So we're considering using a more flexible format- a weekly interview to start your week. I encourage you to check out our Conferre facebook page to give feedback, check out past issues and stay updated. Over the course of several months, we'll identify and write about common themes among change makers.

Finally, inspiration for today
As you may know, I've been wearing Thirty Items for Three Months. I'm really enjoying it, and was inspired by this TED talk:

What stuck with me-- as someone who keeps clothing for a long time "just in case"-- is that letting go (of baby clothes, of a favorite dress I haven't worn in years) can be an act of faith: that in the future, there WILL be provision. I don't need to hang on for fear that one day I won't have enough.

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