brigitte kathleen

rediscovering my heart


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These Dreams

On Friday, I wrote about the American dream, and how there are some Americans who are not being invited to participate in it. Tonight, I’d like to continue this discussion about dreams, but not for other people- for me… or for you. The next couple of minutes are going to be fully dedicated to you, the reader, and your dreams.

I don’t know what your dreams are, but I want to. I want to know what makes you excited when you get up in the morning. What makes you know that tomorrow will be worth it because down the road you will have achieved what it is you have set your heart on? I love talking to people about there passions, and what makes them excited. I love hearing that glimmer of hope in their voice and the twinkle in their eye when they talk about something they truly love. I’m going to tell you what mine is, but I want to know yours too, so please, if you care to, please leave a comment telling me what it is your heart lights up for.

To some of you, mine will be no surprise. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know I’m an avid fan, and frequent visitor of New York City. I’m actually sitting in my friend’s spare bedroom in Queens as I type this. When I was growing up, New York City seemed so unattainable to me. Maybe that’s because I grew up in small Minnesota town where not many people left after high school. Maybe it’s because I had a pretty rocky childhood. Who knows what the reason was, but the first time I met someone from New York, I felt like I was talking to a martian. Having the idea of a city so large it took at least two hours on a train to get from one side to the other (which I’ve learned in the last few days), and that was flooded with people who made more money than I’d seen in a lifetime, or even better, FAMOUS people, I convinced myself that New York would always be this fictional wonderland I kept in the back of my mind.

That all ended after I met my friend Floryn. I met her the summer before my senior year in high school when she directed a play I was in. She, at the ripe age of 23, and I, a measly 17, had nothing in common and nothing should have clicked between us- she was Jewish, I was (at the time) an out of control Jesus freak. She was an actress, I was clueless. She had more world experience than I even knew was possible. But something was there– and now I’m sitting in her guest room.

I remember asking her silly questions like, “Do you have grocery stores?” “Where do you go to watch movies?” The idea of New York had been such a fantasy, but now I had someone who lived it and knew it– that’s when I realized I wanted to live it and know it too. Having never been there, I knew I had to go there…. and someday even live there.

It’s now 2012, and I’ve known Floryn for over 9 years. I’ve visited New York multiple times. Every time I get here, it’s that feeling I get when I walk into my parents’ house on Thanksgiving– and little dread, but a lot of love. And now, I’m looking forward to moving here in January. Most people ask me, “Do you have a job?” “Do you have a plan?” Well, I can tell you, right now, no. I don’t have a job. And my plan is scary at best. Being the planner and bit of a control freak that I am, having a “scary” plan is…. scary. But I’ve come to terms with it because if I don’t allow myself to have this dream and do whatever it takes to make it come true, I will regret it. And as cliche as it is, I want to be able to go to sleep at the end of the day knowing I did everything I could to make today as great as possible, with no regrets.

What is it that makes your heart skip a beat? It could be moving someplace fantastic, or even just visitng there. It could be a certain job or a career dream of some kind. It could be to have a family, and spending your life building a home. It could be finding a cure for a disease, or bringing attention to a social issue somewhere in the world. Whatever it is, a dream is a dream, and it is our God given right as humans to be able to use our creativity and the passion in our souls to pursue that (everyone has passion- see my post on how passion is a catalyst of great things. Our passion is what drives us, and shapes our dreams.

I truly and honestly believe that we owe it to ourselves to follow our dreams. What good is a dream worth having if nothing ever comes from it? Don’t ever let anyone tell you your dreams are too big or a waste of time. Your dreams are yours. They are significant to who you are.

One of my favorite movies is Pretty Woman. At the beginning and end of the movie, there is a man in the street yelling, “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?” This is a great question- it opens up the possibility and opportunity to create something rich and beautiful. So, like I said before, feel free to leave a comment below, or think about it on your own. What is it that makes your eyes sparkle and your soul shine? What is one thing you want because that’s what you’ve been created to do or be? Tell me, WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?

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Social Responsibility and the American Dream

So, here I am on my way to New York City for the 2012 Social Good Summit where I’ll spend three days hearing about how social media can and should impact out global culture. I’m also excited to be able to experience something with thousands of other people around the world who are just as concerned about the future of social responsibility in a world that is changing faster than most of us can keep up.

In the midst of getting ready for this event, my mind has been a little preoccupied with the upcoming election. Not only are we voting for the presidential office, but Minnesota also has two important issues on the ballot: the Voter ID law, and the MN constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my thoughts on one of these issues, from both a social and Christian responsibility perspective.

Marriage Amendment

It’s no surprise that the biggest and most vocal group supporting the passing of this amendment is the church grounded in the Evangelical (note: capital E) practice. This group tends to be very conservative and fundamentalist, which means reading and interpreting scripture as it is written, in any given translation. They claim their support for this amendment is based on the biblical view of marriage, and what God intended for marriage to be. This argument would be valid, if they weren’t looking at only a few scriptures to make their point. What the supporters of the amendment are failing to realize is that the relationship we refer to as marriage has been changing since its birth in the Garden of Eden. From everything to polygamy, to forced marriage due to death of a spouse or a man taking a woman as his wife because he has raped her and now claims ownership, marriage has continued to evolve. How can this group both claim that the Bible-in its entirety- is true and God-breathed, and wanting to uphold the biblical understanding of marriage without attempting to uphold every kind of marriage that has ever taken place?

My next argument against the amendment is similar- marriage is a state-sanctioned union. I believe that by attempting to use the Bible as a measuring tool for issues that aren’t unique to the church, you’re now on a slippery to integrating church and state. Also, we live in America, where one of the greatest blessings we have is the freedom to practice or not practice any religion we choose. Why, then, should we be forcing people to live by ideals that everyone might not possess? This is an unfair expectation, especially when Christians are a becoming more of a minority every year.

Yesterday, I posted something on my Facebook page that said, “I’m Lutheran, and I’m voting NO.” I did this for a couple reasons. One, I am really proud of the steps my church (The ELCA) is taking to promote equality and human rights. Second, I want to be a voice for those who feel they don’t have one. But most importantly, for those who are not in the weeds of the religious circles everyday like I am, they may not understand that there are religious groups that are fighting for equality for Americans. This brings me to my final point on this- equality. I’m proud to say that I live in a country that recognizes the value of human life, and individual thinkers. I live in a country where the ideas that something could be a reality have led to the first air-flight by the Wright brothers, and the birth of the automobile. I also live in a country whose Declaration of Independence clearly states that we believe all men are created equal, and have access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Have these sentiments always been upheld? Absolutely not. We’ve seen the degradation of African Americans in things like slavery and the 3/5 law. We’ve seen women have to fight for equal pay and the right to vote. We claim these beautiful words as our own but are obviously a work in progress. Although those eras were far from perfect and we still fight some of these old ideals, many of us look back and realize how big of a mistake they were. America is progressive, and the issue of same-sex-marriage is just another’s elf those things weave to fight through. The overall issue we’re facing is the right to equality. For some reason, supporters of the amendment don’t see this as discrimination, but that’s exactly what it is. Right now, a particular group of people are being denied rights of their fellow citizens based on their inherent nature as a human. Just like the African Americans were discriminated against because of the color of their skin, anyone who isn’t heterosexual is being discriminated against because of their own nature of being. This is contradictory to what I believe America is supposed to stand for. And if America isn’t going to stand for the equality of her citizens, then it is time to draft a new Declaration of Independence.

Social responsibility is not just a “social” issue, but an issue for Christians to take under their wing. Many people think that the ELCA taking a stance on the two issues on the ballot is politicizing the church. I have two responses to that- first of all, if the evangelical church is going to try to bring their religion into the government by trying to ban something, than we should have the opportunity to bring religion into the government to do the opposite- however, I believe that having a religious reason to be involved is unconstitutional. However, from my own personal belief, I’m taking a stand because it’s a social and human right issue- nothing to do with my religious beliefs. It just so happens that my religious beliefs fall in line with my social beliefs.

My goal or wish is to be a voice for those who don’t think they are able to use theirs. I want to put out a call to my brothers and sisters to do the same.

I also want to take this opportunity to encourage you to VOTE. If you have a voice, USE IT. Please get out there and vote on November 6th, no matter your beliefs, although I hope you find courage to continue conversations that are important to the future of America, and the impact we, as Americans, can have on the social responsibility culture in the coming years. If you have moved since the 2008 election and/or are not registered to vote, you can do that at gottavote.org (sponsored by the Obama 2012 campaign) or rockthevote.org (no party affiliation).

Until next time, don’t forget to dream big.