Monday, October 6, 2008

No, Cubs, No!

Well, that was disappointing....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Save the World on Your Own Time

I recently read "Save the World on Your Own Time" by Stanley Fish. It is a book about academic instruction and it was written for professors and upper-level administrators. I read this book for my job, and while it did not relate to much of what I do, it was helpful to have this insight on the debate about what college professors should be doing in the classroom.

The thesis of Fish's book is academics only have one job that they are trained and paid to do: to introduce students to disciplinary materials and equip them with the necessary analytic skills. Fish is arguing against instructors who use their classroom as a place to form political, religious, or other types of opinions. It is fine if students come away from a course with certain leanings, but a professor should never express her/his own opinions in the classroom and expect their students to follow suit. Hence the name of the book - save the world on your own time.

The book is a pretty dry read unless you are a college professor struggling with your pedagogy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hey Chicago, What Do You Say?

Every since I can remember, I have been a fan of the Chicago Cubs. I think that this is because I grew up a few hours outside of Chicago and my first visit to a major league ball park was to Wrigley Field. I would not consider myself a die-hard fan (I have never drank an Old Style and I do not go to all lengths to get WGN), but I can always tell you how they are doing and I can name almost all of the players.

I am pretty excited about the Cubs chances this year of winning it all. They clinched their division on Saturday, and just earned home-field advantage throughout the national league pennant race. Cubs fans have a strong inclination toward superstition, so I am taking a huge risk by putting this blog post out there. If the Cubs fall short of the ultimate prize, it could be the fault of this post. However, if they end the 100 year drought, I will go ahead and claim that this post is the reason.

One of my favorite thing about the Cubs is their cheesy theme song. If you have never heard it before, you have got to watch this video.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Shack

I recently read "The Shack" by William P. Young. I will not say too much about the book for a few reasons:

1. This book is really popular right now, and there are plenty of much better reviews out there
2. It is a pretty good book that is worth reading, so I do not want to spoil anything for anyone

My house church recently discussed the book in one of our gatherings. In preparation for that discussion, I did some online research to find what other people were thinking about the book. I was surprised to find the controversy surrounding the book and that there are a lot of Christian leaders who are vocal in their opposition to it. I was surprised by this because this book is a work of fiction and does not pretend to be some type of theological treatise. In the end, I think the book was good because it opens the door to have a common ground for starting a discussion on really complex issues involving the nature of God. You should read this book, not because it is 100% theologically accurate, but because it will force you to think about what you believe about God.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Godfather

Those of you who know me know that I have been sheltered from almost every aspect of popular American culture. As such, I just recently discovered the cultural phenomenon of the Godfather.

I started by reading the book by Mario Puzo, which I really enjoyed. I was completely fascinated by this world of friendship, respect, and favors. The story was compelling and the characters were well developed. I instantly decided that I want to be Don Corleone when I grow up, and so I have started to shape my worldview according to that perspective. Recently, I have gladly done "favors" for others as a sign of friendship and goodwill, confident that someday that favor might be returned when needed. The book ends with a masterful elimination of all enemies of the family, and really made the concept of redemptive violence look attractive.

As soon as I finished the books, I watched the first two movies (many people told me the 3rd movie was worthless, so I will wait to watch it). I really like the 1st movie and thought it did a good job of visually telling the story of the book. I also like the 2nd movie, and I thought it definitely showed the darker side of redemptive violence. In the end, Michael Corleone is either alienated or forced to kill most everyone that is close to him, leaving him utterly alone. I am glad I saw the second movie because it snapped me out of my illusion that I could lead this lifestyle. I guess I will stick to the difficult task of following Jesus and loving my enemies instead of "taking care" of them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hippie Fast Food

The other night Laura and I went to Evos in Chapel Hill, which is a fast food restaurant that markets itself as being a healthy and environmentally sound fast food chain. Laura got a free range, grass fed, no hormone hamburger with air-baked fries and an organic chocolate shake. I got a crunchy Thai chicken wrap. The food was pretty good, in fact, my wrap was actually very tasty. I checked out the nutrition stats and while it was better than most fast food joints, I do not know that you can go so far as to say that it is good for you. Overall, for 2 value meals it cost us $18, which is much more than a typical fast food joint, but you justify it in your mind by saying it is healthier food that is better for the environment.

I liked evos and I like that our culture is becoming increasingly "green." However, I cannot help but wonder if it is going to get out of control and words like "organic" and "environmentally sound" will start to lost meaning and become hollow. Already, every single car company is boasting what great gas mileage their cars get (next time you see a car commercial, I guarantee they will tell you what great MPG the car gets). I guess I am skeptical that the market will be able to produce environmentally sound and healthy products. When the end goal will always be to make increasingly more money, I cannot imagine that the environment will win out in the end and sustainability will be sacrificed for profit.

I guess for now I will just have to go to Evos instead of McDonalds and try to convince myself that I am doing something positive.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Christianity Must Change or Die

"Why Christianity Must Change or Die" was easily the most radical book that I have read recently. In this book, Spong (an Episcopal Bishop) essentially takes a sledge hammer to every sacred cow of the historical church. For example, the first chapter basically argues that the Apostle's Creed is barbaric and blatantly masculine, and the church would do well to leave it where it belongs in the 4th century. For orthodox Christians, reading this book leaves you consistently questioning whether or not Spong is intentionally being a heretic, which appears to be a role that he is comfortable embracing.

I actually strongly agreed with Spong's thesis that the Church must be radically transformed or it is in danger of becoming completely irrelevant. I also appreciated that he addressed his book to "believers in exile," because there are a good number of people, including myself, who resonate with this type of identity. My central problem with the book was the Spong spent a lot of time being destructive and not enough time being constructive. His attempts to describe the direction the Church should be going and the language it should be using were vague and not very plausible. To his credit, he clearly admitted that he did not really have answers and that he was merely trying to name an existing problem. I am not sure if Spong has written much since this book was published, but finishing the book certainly left me wishing he had more to say about where the Church needs to go.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't Hassle the Hoff

I have to admit that I have a strange fascination with David Hasselhoff. I am literally amazed that he has been able to maintain his status as a pop icon for so long. And the fact that he is a mega-star in Germany makes him so much more interesting.

I found this video on YouTube about 3 years ago. I bet I have watched it at least 15 times, and I sincerely laugh every single time.

The reason why I laugh so hard is that I honestly cannot tell if he is being serious or not. Is this video a corny joke or did he really attempt to make a legitimate music video? The ambiguity of this leaves me laughing every single time.

This post is completely random, but I just had to share that video.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was another book on my classical reading list. Even though this book was written extremely well, I had a difficult time getting past the the main idea of the plot. The book is narrated by Humbert Humbert, and begins when he is a teenager. As a teenager, he has a girlfriend who is the love of his life, but she dies of an illness and crushes his heart. He never recovers from this blow, and almost becomes stuck as a 13 year old kid. Well, this poses major problems for Humbert as an adult as he is attracted to young teenage girls. The book is essentially his obsessive love affair with a young girl that ultimately ends in murder.

If you can get past the aberrant nature of the plot, this book will give you insight into the mind of a madman. The prose is really good and it is amazing how the thoughts of a lunatic start to make sense once you are able to see things from his perspective.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train

We watched this documentary in the house church a few weeks back, and I thought it was fascinating stuff. The movie basically documents the life of Howard Zinn, who is now a history professor at Harvard. Zinn is probably best known for his book, A People's History of the United States of America, which I strongly recommend reading. My review of that book is here. In addition to being a professor and a writer, Zinn was also a major player in the Civil Rights Movement and the movement against the Vietnam War. He continues his activism today, continually speaking out against injustice and war.

I recommend this documentary because of the great pearls Zinn drops in the movie. Although not in these words, Zinn argues that there are two types of people in this world: oppressors and those who are being oppressed. You are either in one group or the other, and by not saying or doing anything to help the oppressed you are, by default, going along with the oppressors.

I find this argument to be a great challenge because I find myself, along with just about everyone else I know, to be in a group that is not exactly oppressed, but is also not exactly in a position of power to oppress others. It is disturbing to think that ignorance or non-action could be a silent form of evil.

I will end with a good quote from the movie:

“When one person kills another person, that is Murder; but if a government kills 100,000 persons, that is Patriotism. And they’ll say we’re disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we’re disturbing the war!”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Buy Local Art

Those five of you who actually read my blog know I have a running list of things that annoy me. Well, "Perception Without Deception" has been a negative blog for too long. I would like to start an alternative "make the world a better place list" and see how that turns out. Oh, I will still write about things that bug me, but it will be good to balance it with some positive posts.

Last Friday, Laura and I had a great night out in Durham. Every third Friday of the month, the city of Durham hosts an art work where several art galleries are on display within walking distance of each other. Laura and I went around to the various places and had a great time checking out what local artists have been doing. Well, we came across a piece that we both really liked, and in an unlikely spur of the moment decision, we bought and brought it home. You can check out what we bought here. It was done by a local artist named Todd Bond, who seems to be doing some cool stuff.

As I study and learn more about poverty, I find that poverty is often an economic problem. This may seem obvious, but people are poor because they do not have good job opportunities. Tied together with poverty is violence, because people who do not have good economic choices tend to turn to violence as a means of securing life's essentials. Both poverty and violence are cyclical, meaning they are cycles that will be repeated over and over again unless that cycle is broken. As I wrestle with these realities and struggle to find answers, I am starting to think that art is a creative and positive way to break cycles of violence and poverty. If more people used their creative energy for making art and not violence, then this world would be a better place. If a community can support more and more artists, that community will have better alternatives for exercising creativity in a positive way. Therefore, I believe that buying local art is a small, but effective way of working to make the world a better place.

Here is the better world list as it stands right now:

1. Buy Local Art

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Virtual Insanity

So yeah, I have a facebook page now. Those of you who know me understand what a big deal it is for me. I went back and forth in my decision to do this, and finally decided in the affirmative because I really do not want to be that guy who is out of touch with reality. So, I created my profile, doing the least amount that I could. When I got my profile up, I wrote a sarcastic little note basically saying "I am here, but I am not happy about it." Well, I received several responses from people who were not too happy about that note. I find it highly ironic that my so-called "friends" did not understand my tongue-in-cheek humor.

I am seriously contemplating taking the profile down and washing my hands of it. However, I do think that, for better or worse, it is an effective means of connecting with people you have lost touch with, so I am hopeful to re-connect with friends who are real. I am concerned that our culture seems to be moving toward relying on the digital world to develop and maintain relationships.

Also, I have a very difficult time wrapping my mind the whole concept of facebook. Here is a video to show what I mean.

If you ask me, the whole thing is virtual insanity, so I have to put it on the list. [By the way, for those of you who do not know, "The List" is my attempt at sarcastic humor]

1. Wearing a cell phone on your hip
2. The idea that a nice smile is the "normal" way to pose for a photograph
3. People who cut to the front of a traffic back-up when they know they need to get over
4. Local TV Newspeople
5. Confirmational Reactionist
6. Wearing a blue tooth headset as a fashion accessory
7. Putting Bullethole stickers on your car
8. Placing a fake baseball on your car that gives the allusion that it has shattered your window
9. People who litter
10. Ignorcycles
11. Bumper stickers
12. Cheesy Church Signs
13. The player introduction part of Jeopardy!
14. Power Companies
15. Facebook

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jesus for President

I read Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw back in July. It is a solid book divided into two parts. The first part is a primer in narrative theology, telling the story of Scripture, mainly the Old Testament. Even though there is a lot of blood and guts and violence in the OT, there is also a constant theme of God delivering God's people from slavery, fighting on their behalf, and calling them to be a different type of people. Jesus for President focused on the ways in which we are to be different - sharing our resources with those that have none, looking out for the widow and the alien, and also, culminating in the life of Jesus, refusing to kill other people. The second part of the book challenges followers of Jesus today to use their imaginations to creatively and lovingly engage the powers and empires of our day that are producing oppression and death.

I also went to the Jesus for President book tour when it came to Raleigh. I actually was a little disappointed in the book tour because of my expectations. The book tour was basically a dramatic presentation of the book. Since I read the book, I did not really hear anything new, and I expected that the book tour would be a conversation about practical applications of the material. Dispersed between the dramatic readings from the book, a band named the Psalters performed. They were a very interesting band to say the least.

I read this weekly hippie newspaper called the Independent Weekly and they gave a very positive write-up of the book tour. You can read that article here. The same night as the book tour, the Obama campaign opened its Raleigh headquarters on the same exact block as the church that hosted the Jesus for President tour. The article mentions the fact that the Jesus rally outnumbered the Obama rally by 3 to 1. I guess that is a sign of hope in a world gone mad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jesus Camp

Laura and I saw this documentary last night.

My only comment is that you should check it out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Real Sex

"Real Sex" by Lauren Winner is a fresh, 21st century contribution to the complex subject of human sexuality, specifically from a Christian perspective. The author was very personal in the book, and since you knew exactly where she was coming from, it made her writing on the subject easier to comprehend. Basically, Winner took the very "uncool" virtue of chastity, and made it a cool Christian spiritual discipline. I especially appreciated her chapters on the myths or lies both the church and the world tell about sex. The book is a terrific read for anyone struggling to think theologically about sexuality, and would be a fantastic resource for anyone who works with teens.

Jane Eyre

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte was on my classical reading list. I am really enjoying reading through this list, because it is forcing me to read books that I never would have otherwise. Jane Eyre is a perfect example of a book I would otherwise never even bother to pick up.

The story is set in England during the 18th century. Quite simply, it is a story about a woman who starts off as an orphan in a poor school, becomes a governess (a tutor for rich kids) and ends up falling in love. She falls in love with a man who is out of her league socially, but then it turns out that she inherits money, but none of that matters because their love was real and able to overcome social status.

Those of you reading this may be shocked that I enjoyed a sappy old love story. However, it was not so much the story I enjoyed. What really captured my attention about this book was the prose. Bronte wrote beautifully, and really made the book interesting. The story line was just good enough to keep me reading, but the writing style literally blew me away. Trust me on this one, pick up the book and start reading. I promise it will capture your attention and no one will think any less of your manhood.

Better World Handbook

Recently I have been using "The Better World Handbook" by Ellis Jones. The concept behind the book is that our consumerism makes a difference. Meaning, buying products from certain companies is like voting in favor of that company. This handbook rates the companies we buy from based on the criteria of how well they treat their employees, how safe their products are for the environment and for consumers, etc. Basically, we should buy our gas from BP and avoid Wal-Mart like the plague.

It is really a simple way of making a large impact. I strongly encourage you check out the book, although the website is just as good an contains all of information found in the book. Here is the link.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I stink at blogging

So, yeah. I have not "blogged" since February.

The combination of having a job where I am actually busy and no internet access at home has created the perfect storm that has resulted in no blog posts. While the latter is still a problem, the former has eased off a bit, so let me quickly catch you up on everything.

My blog basically has 3 parts to it:

1. Updates on what I have been doing
2. Book Reviews of what I have been reading
3. A list of what has been annoying me

In regards to #1, the following has happened since I last posted:
  • In March I went to a conference in Orlando for Registrars. Getting together with 2,000 other registrars - now that was a wild time!
  • In April I went to Chicago for my buddy Erik's wedding. It was a good time and it was great to see old friends.
  • In May, Laura graduated from Campbell with her MA in Community Counseling. Praise Jesus, we are both done with school (for now, at least...). My little sister Nicole also graduated from Olivet, so we went back to Chicago for that.
  • In June, Nicole got married (it has been a busy summer for her) to Matt Pollock, so we went back to Chicago once again. I actually got to perform the ceremony, which was a great honor. It was also my grandparent's 65th wedding anniversary on the same day, so that was a special day.
  • On June 4, Laura and I bought our first house. I have had debt in my life, but I now have six-figure debt, but I am told that this is "good debt," so I guess that makes it alright. I am still struggling through that, but at any rate, Laura and I absolutely love our new place. It is a ten-minute bike ride from Duke, so I am loving the new commute. Please come visit us!
In regards to #2, I think I am beyond the point of giving a review for all of the books I have read, so let me just list out what I have read since February:
  • "The God We Never Knew" by Marcus Borg
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King)
  • "Serve God, Save the Planet" by J. Matthew Sleeth
  • "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon
  • "Resurrecting Excellence" by L. Gregory Jones
  • "The Sabbath" by Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • "Worship as Theology" by Don E. Saliers
  • "The Moral Vision of the New Testament" by Richard B. Hays
  • "On the Incarnation" by Saint Athanasius
As far as #3, I think that I have had too much going on in life to allow petty things to annoy me. Sorry to disappoint.

Well, Laura and I have talked about getting the internet at home, so if we do, that could increase my blogability. At any rate, I will attempt to post more often than once a quarter.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Look alike?

I have a family member who is a senior in high school and is receiving all kinds of junk mail from colleges. A few months ago he received the postcard to the left. The first thought that came to his mind was, "I wonder why Todd is posing for Anderson University." He later discovered that this is not me, and gave this postcard to me over Christmas.

Most of the time I hate it when someone tells me I look like someone else. But in this instance, I think that the dude does look a lot like me. Even my own mother mistakenly thought it was me at first.

The guy has the same hair style, facial structure, body frame, posture, and even dresses in a similar manner as I do. The scary thing is he went to a small Christian college (like me) and was a Religion major (like me).

Perhaps this whole cloning thing is a lot farther along than people think....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Power Companies

I have been very dissatisfied with my power company lately. If you remember from a previous post, I was able to decrease the total wattage needed to light our house from 1610 watts to 364 watts and I eliminated all forms of phantom power. So far, I have noticed zero change in our monthly power bill. Our power bill for the month of November was around $80. I was excited to get our power bill in December because we were gone for 10 days visiting friends and family in the Midwest. We used our heat sparingly in the 20 days we were home, so I thought our December bill would be at least 33% less than November. However, when I got the bill, it was $96.

This means that one of two things is happening: the cost of power is rising at a rapid pace, or, the power company is charging me what they think I owe and not basing it on actual usage. I am inclined to think the latter, and it ticks me off.

I am annoyed with power companies because of their monopoly. It is next to impossible to function in our modern society without them. Even more frustrating is that there is no way to "prove" that the power you are using is less than what they are charging you for. Sure, there is that meter, but how do we know that it is actually connected to anything? It could just be programmed to randomly go up based on the profit needs of the power company. The whole thing is a conspiracy if you ask me.

If I had free time, I would figure out a system where thousands of hamsters running in little wheels could provide the power we need. Since I do not have this free time, I will just add power companies to my list to pacify my rage.

1. Wearing a cell phone on your hip
2. The idea that a nice smile is the "normal" way to pose for a photograph
3. People who cut to the front of a traffic back-up when they know they need to get over
4. Local TV Newspeople
5. Confirmational Reactionist
6. Wearing a blue tooth headset as a fashion accessory
7. Putting Bullethole stickers on your car
8. Placing a fake baseball on your car that gives the allusion that it has shattered your window
9. People who litter
10. Ignorcycles
11. Bumper stickers
12. Cheesy Church Signs
13. The player introduction part of Jeopardy!
14. Power Companies

Good to Great

Lately, I have been trying to mix up what I read so I am not constantly immersing myself in Christian literature. "Good to Great" by Jim Collins is a book that has gotten a lot of press over the past few years, so I thought I would read it to see what I could learn.

Essentially, the book was a report of an extensive research study that was done on certain companies. The crux of the research compared similar companies where one consistently beat the market even in economic downturns while its competitor did not thrive. The research attempted to tease out why some companies did so well while their competitors did not. I thought that the book provided some interesting results from the study.

First of all, it is important to note that the book defined "great" as consistently making a lot of money. This mentality is problematic for the Church and Christianity, but I thought that the practices that led to greatness could be applicable.

Collins and his research team found that great companies had what they called "Level 5 Leaders." Surprisingly, level five leaders are not these outrageous personalities who carry the company through sheer innovation and motivation. The study found that companies who had these types of leaders experienced significant problems once these leaders left the company. Actually, level five leaders are quiet, humble people who lead simple lifestyles. They are extremely disciplined and full of integrity, and their sole mission is the improvement of the organization, not personal glorification. I think the Church would do well to look for Level 5 leaders as opposed to a pastor with a flashy personality.

Another aspect of great companies was a "culture of discipline." This culture is connected to having level five leaders. In a culture of discipline, motivation is not necessary because people understand their roles and do them consistently with excellence. Once again, the Church would do well to develop a culture of discipline in their mission of meeting the needs of the community.

All in all, it was a solid book with a lot of insights on how to improve oneself and one's community.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Life Will Be Great in 2008!

First of all, happy 1 year anniversary to this blog. It was about this time last year that I started doing this crazy thing. At times it has been a burden, but I enjoy having this outlet to be creative and a record to look back and remember what I have been doing and thinking.

To those of you who actually read my blog, I apologize that the posts have been few and far between. I used to have a job where I averaged 4 hours a day to work on stuff like my blog. Now I am lucky if I have 4 minutes to check my personal email. This, combined with the fact that Laura and I do not have internet access at home, means little to no blog activity. I cannot make any promises that this will get better in the future.

I thought I would give a quick post on what I am looking forward to in 2008. Below is my list:

  • Laura Graduating in May with her Masters – For the first time in our marriage, neither one of us will be in grad school. It has been especially hard on Laura, so I am thrilled that she will be passing this major milestone.
  • Moving back to DurhamI hate how much Laura and I drive, so I am excited to move back to Durham, where my work and the majority of my social life reside.
  • Weddings – My buddy Erik is getting married in April, and my sister Nicole is getting married in June. I am a groomsman in Erik’s wedding and I am doing the ceremony for Nicole’s. It should be a great time!
  • Maberry baby? – Settle down everyone, it has not happened yet, and it will depend on a number of circumstances as to whether or not it will happen.
Here is to a great 2008!

Saving Women

Not everyone gets to read a book written by someone they work with, but I had that opportunity in reading “Saving Women” by Laceye Warner. Laceye is the Academic Dean at Duke Divinity School, and is my supervisor and co-worker. Having said that, I guess I better be careful about what I say in this review!

In all seriousness, “Saving Women” was a solid piece of academic work. It sought to recover the voice of several women of the 19th and 20th centuries who made a major impact in the area of Christian evangelism. These women are often overlooked in recalling those who have gone before to make a significant contribution to the evangelistic work in America. This was true for me, as I only knew one of the women (Frances Willard) reviewed in the book. As someone who has a mother in the ministry, I am at least somewhat aware that women are often left out of these types of conversations, and I think works like this one are necessary to bring equality and a truthful balance.

One theme I noticed was that almost all of the women in the book had a connection to the holiness movement of the late 19th/early 20th century. It was out of this movement that the Church of the Nazarene was formed. It reminded me that I am proud to be a part of continuing movement that, while it certainly is far from perfect, has at least created some space for women to have a voice. Moving forward, it is my hope that books like “Saving Women” will not be necessary for highlighting the vital contributions of women to the work of building God’s Kingdom because the work of women will be equally recognized. Interestingly enough, it is books like “Saving Women” that help to pave the way.

The White Man's Burden

The White Man’s Burden” by Williams Easterly is basically a counterargument to “The End of Poverty” by Jeffrey Sachs. In the book, Easterly argues that there have been two great tragedies among humanity – the first is that extreme poverty has taken place in a world where some have more than enough. The other great tragedy is that the attempts of West to eliminate this poverty have not worked, in fact, things may be getting worse.

Easterly divides the people seeking a solution to this problem of poverty into two categories: Planners and Searchers. Planners are people like Jeffrey Sachs, who sit behind desks and come up with these elaborate and expensive plans to fix complex problems. Easterly spends the majority of the book outlining why these big “plans” to eliminate poverty will not work and gives several examples of this.

The alternative for Easterly is the other group, called Searchers. Searchers, instead of developing big plans from afar, are seeking ways to partner with people in poverty and figuring out things on the ground. Searchers are those who seek organic solutions to the specific problems of a specific context.

In the end, I think I tended to side with Easterly in the way to move forward with this problem of poverty. However, I finished the book just as confused as ever about this issue. It just seems to be so big and so complex. Moreover, I feel so isolated from poverty due to my living context where everyone else seems to have so much. In my life, I have noticed that the issue of poverty tends to be overwhelming to the point of paralysis, but I know in my heart that this is not right. I think, like Easterly suggests, the way forward is to start small and start somewhere specific. The problem of poverty is not going away overnight, but it might get better for specific groups in specific places.