Jeremiah 29:4-7

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While thinking about how we are to approach politics and the city in which we live, I was directed to this chapter to Jeremiah.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:

‘Build houses and live in them;

plant gardens and eat their produce.

Take wives and have sons and give your daughters in marriage,

that they may bear sons and daughters;

multiply there, and do not decrease.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,

and pray to the Lord of its behalf,

for in its welfare you will find your welfare.'”

– Jeremiah 29:4-7 (emphasis added)

Georgetown University

U.S. Capitol Building

Library of Congress

Supreme Court Building

The White House

The Entrance of the White House

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A Week in the Life of a non-Intern

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I apologize for not updating my blog in awhile – this last week has been jam-packed.  Unfortunately, this will be more of an informative rather than a reflective blog post.  I hope to write something more substantial later.

While everyone else in the program started their internships this week, I was unable to start because of a pending security clearance investigation.  To make up for this, I had to put together a proposal of how I would spend at least 20 hours in the city in ways related to my internship.  Here’s what this week had in store:

– Reading the Nuclear Posture Review and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, and also catching up on Russian news on RIA Novosti

– Exploring the Library of Congress, including the European Reading Room and the Performing Arts Room as well as an exhibit on flutes (YES!) and Thomas Jefferson’s rather magnificent library (“I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson)

– Listening to a lecture by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at the National Archives (Yes, I bought his new book, and yes, I got it signed!)

– Getting a private tour of President Woodrow Wilson’s home and learning more about his ideals (League of Nations), successes, and failures (“The presidency has made every man who occupied it, no matter how small, bigger than he was; and no matter how big, not big enough for its demands.” – Lyndon B. Johnson)

– Strolling through Embassy Row and not taking a photo of the Croatian Embassy because of the guard’s piercing glare

– Buying a Washington D.C. mug at Starbucks (I couldn’t resist…)

– Hearing a lecture about the current state of affairs in Russia at Georgetown (which happened to include a delicious complimentary lunch – I wasn’t complaining!)

– Pretending to be a Georgetown student as I explored the university (I’m checking out their master’s programs in Security Studies and Conflict Resolution, as well as their PhD in Government)

– Tasting cupcakes at the three best cupcakeries in Washington DC (see ranking below)

1. Georgetown Cupcakes (I tried their chocolate banana cupcake and it was simply superb, perfectly rich and moist with a satisfying cupcake-frosting ratio!)

2. Hello Cupcake (I tried their chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting)

3. Red Velvet Cupcakery (I tried their “Wake Up Call” chocolate cupcake with expresso infused frosting)

* Note: My favorite cupcakery, Whodidily Cupcakes in Santa Barbara, would certainly beat out Hello Cupcake and Red Velvet Cupcakery, but Georgetown Cupcakes would give them a run for their money!

– And tomorrow (Friday), I get to tour the prestigious residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also known as the White House (cue “West Wing” music!)

I guess it turns out that not interning isn’t as bad as it sounds… However, I got an e-mail today that my security clearance was granted (an answer to prayer) and so I suppose I’ll return to the working life. Wish me luck!

The Line Between Tourist and Resident

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Today marks the end of week one in Washington.  Because I’m only living in the city for three and a half months, I have to balance being both a tourist and a resident.  Even as I visit the typical “touristy” places, it’s my personal challenge to go beyond viewing these sites from the camera lens and actually take in the significance of where I am. As a tourist, I’ve visited the memorials and a few Smithsonian museums, but as a resident, I’ve also been working on mastering the bus system, learning the tricks of the metro, and orienting myself to the city quadrants.  As each day passes, Washington becomes more my city.

At the American Studies Program, we take three classes in five week segments.  My first class is all about leadership and vocation, topics that come up frequently in a liberal arts college.  Although I’m quite familiar with the idea that God uses our passions and occupational callings to His glory, it’s hard for me to articulate how this plays out for me specifically.  However, I can’t shake the feeling that this is where I’m meant to be. Washington is an undeniable center of politics, power plays, and public policy, and these topics continue to excite me.  As Christians, we are called to the ministry of reconciliation, and being in Washington D.C. opens my eyes to what this could look like in the political sphere.

In fact, attending church in DC reinforces what a political city this is! The gospel message takes on an inescapably political nature here.  Christ transforms every aspect of society, and it’s exciting to see how the church is part of political transformation. Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission, spoke at National Community Church last Sunday. Explaining the Christian calling to truth and helping those in need, he observed, “God’s will in a sinful world is inherently dangerous.” As I’m exposed to the dizzying process for political change in Washington, I’d have to add that God’s will in a sinful world is inherently complicated, and thus must be approached prayerfully.

On a lighter note, I’ve had so much fun exploring the city with the people I’ve met through my program. Here are a few photos…

Getting my ducks in a row at the Lincoln Memorial

Why yes, the Washington Monument does make me want to jump for joy!

Don’t underestimate me, I’m a force to be reckoned with!

What would a museum visit be without trying to imitate one of the exhibits?