Tag Archives: church

Started from the Bottom, Now We’re Here

I knew from the start that my passion for social justice was about to grow indefinitely. I was completely right. I have learned so much on this backpack journalism trip. 

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I’ve learned how to be a better photographer. I’ve become an amateur film maker. I’ve learned how to conduct interviews, set up cameras, make sure all of the chords are plugged into the right places, always have backup sound in case you forget a chord, converse with the interviewee, and edit the final product. I have learned how to capture a variety of shots in one setting so that I can edit them into one scene later. 

I’ve learned about the Avery Dulles’ Models of the Church. I was introduced to the many varieties of these models and how they can differ depending on the location of the Church. While I grew up in the Catholic Church, I never thought of the concept of the church being based on models. I also had this idea in my head that the Church was the same everywhere. I personally thought that everyone had the same old way of doing things. I became bored with the monotone masses I was attending and found myself not being able to relate to anything concerned with the church. In my time at Marian and Creighton, I have had my views altered and had them evolve. Avery Dulles, SJ, brought up a whole new dimension to the church in his book, Models of the Church. Before  I read this book, I saw the Church as more of an institution of old men and chanting people.

I believe that Dulles brought to mind some good points and recognized the disadvantages as well. It went hand and hand with our trip to Nogales. I assume that the knowledge will help me in the future as well. I wa able to learn more about the Church as well as myself and my position within the Church.

I read and watched a lot about Jon Sobrino, S.J. who is a liberation theologist. He discussed this idea of the Crucified People. 

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We are called to stand in solidarity with migrants who can easily be seen as a Crucified People. These are our neighbors that we are talking about here. Since we as Americans are the more privileged of the two, we are called to advocate for those who cannot. Both countries have a shared “faith that calls for a living and just world, not one that is ruined by violence and discrimination.” We followers of Christ, we must work and pray for the universal good.

My confidence in the subject of migration has evolved and although I am not a master, I am more educated. I know that I will be able to live differently by how I handle myself when encountering strangers. Everyone has their own cross to bear, their own hardships. It is not my place to turn a blind eye or judge them. Instead I will meet them where they are and walk with them as my brothers and sisters. 

It’s easy to critique a good work; it’s difficult to create one

Have you ever considered yourself to be really good at something? Or can you recite your response to the cookie-cutter interview question, “What are your strongest qualities?” with little hesitation?

Typical answers include: I’m a good listener, I’m a leader, I’m super organized, etc.

For myself, I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty quick learner. However, over the last four days I’ve grown a little less confident in this assertion.

Don’t get me wrong. I have learned more in the last four days than I think I ever have in this  short amount of time. From working with cameras and filming short videos, to setting up interviews and evaluating models in life and the church — Words cannot describe how much I’ve gained so far from this experience.

It’s the kind of learning that challenges you to constantly think critically and creatively. We’re applying everything we’re learning as we learn it and therefore I’m immediately recognizing what I understand and what I need to work on. It has been a challenge, but it has also been one of the most effective ways of learning I’ve ever experienced.

Thorough watching various documentaries, we’ve witnessed what works and what doesn’t work when making a film. I’ve learned so much about the different elements of a camera and now words like aperture, shutter speed and ISO actually hold significance in my vocabulary. I’ve gained an understanding of what a good composition consists of, as well as good practices to remember when filming A and B-roll.

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Aly and Maria take a selfie while gathering footage.

I have a greater appreciation for filmmakers and photographers. It’s easy to critique a good work; it’s very difficult to create one. You need to constantly be alert to your surroundings. Looking for what would be good footage. Listening for a golden-nugget of a quote to use within your piece. Remembering to capture a variety of shots.

We’ve learned about how to lead an effective interview. What questions to ask, when to ask them and how to gather the information needed most efficiently. We’ve discussed the roll theology will play in this trip. The class looked at different paradigm-shifts that have happened in history and what impact these shifts had on society. We’ve worked to try and answer difficult questions like: What does church mean on a global scale? How do you address large issues like poverty and hunger?

Can you tell my thoughts are all over the place?

Over the past four days there has been a constant flow of ideas and information, followed by application and discussion. This has triggered a substantial amount of momentum as we take off for the border.

Faith That Does Justice? Faith in Injustice?

After 72 hours of backpack journalism bootcamp, I lie in my bed absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed at how much information we’ve received, but confident that we’re making notable progress.

So far, we’ve spent some time learning about the art and technique of videography, foundations of feature writing, and introductory theology. More than anything, I feel as though today marks a huge turning point — the foundation has been set, and it’s time now to dive in.

We all have the skills now to “fake it ’til we make it” and from this point forward, I feel as though we’ll be applying these last three days of information constantly, pushing ourselves to live and breathe light meters, to begin to raise questions about our own personal definition of church, and to think about how to ask those same questions of others in a respectful but intentional manner.

Much to my surprise, I’m pretty excited to see how the theology class ties into our project. I was expecting videography training, dos and don’ts of interviewing, and a crash course in good storytelling, but the biggest curveball for me so far has been wrapping my head around tying theology into our agenda.

We’re working our way towards a better understanding of ecclesiology — the study of church. Specifically, we’ll be discussing the definition of church within the context of border culture in Nogales.

This past fall, my understanding of church expanded tenfold when I was blessed with an opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to join a million and a half others in celebrating Pope Francis’s visit to the US. As we held hands and recited the Our Father, giving each other peace in the streets of downtown Philadelphia, I had goosebumps witnessing faith and mass ritual bring people from all over the world together in prayer. My own definition of church changed that day, and I’m looking forward to seeing how migrant culture challenges that even further.

Christian traditions are practiced all over the world, but with each culture brings a new interpretation and understanding of faith and community. As we continue to prepare ourselves technically and emotionally for this border immersion experience, I have found myself newly ecstatic to experience and absorb a new and different definition of “church,” as understood by the people of Nogales.

In the midst of such trial, transiency, and systematic injustice, how do migrants keep their faith? How do those serving humanitarian purposes in that area find strength to keep working towards a distant goal? How do those negatively affected by an increasing number of immigrants strive to live like Christ?