July 15, 2008

A matter of shelter

I didn't think a job could have more perks than the one I had at the library. Quiet. Free reading material. Time to do homework.

But I think I found one that can top even those.

And I'm happy -- so incredibly happy -- to say that it is my new position.

I am the newest operations assistant at New York University. What does this euphemistic job title entail?

Well, it's going to have its moments of madness, I'm sure. But currently, it's giving out mail, directing students to their rooms, checking them in and out of their apartments, generally watching the building's lobby and answering the phones.

The position sounds like it entails a lot of duties, and I'm sure it is a pretty big deal in some other NYU dorms, but for me, in a Brooklyn dorm with a limited number of summer residents, it's a perfect situation.


I didn't know where I was going to live after August 2. I played with the idea of looking on Craigslist for a room. A friend of mine even offered a space for me in her apartment in Jersey City. But nothing was looking concrete. The date hung, suspended in my mind, and I tried not to be too concerned.

I did receive a space for the fall, but I have no idea where yet, but I knew I had a place to live. But what about my living situation from August 2 through August 24? Would I put everything into storage and live in a hostel?

In my building's elevator one day not too long ago, a sheet hung precariously on the wall, looking like it was shut a couple of times in the sliding doors. The ad was about the position and the urgency for interested applicants. And a remuneration package was mentioned...

After a little research and asking around, I discovered that the position not only included pay, but also board and a room until the end of summer. I was more than a little excited about the prospect.

A couple of interviews and a little scheduling craziness and I have my job, my new room and an interesting new meal plan that I'm not sure what to do with because all of the dining halls are in Manhattan...

But it's great. And I'm not homeless. Dreams really can come true.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:28 AM | Comments (1)

July 1, 2008

Darwin & God: "We Be Mates"

I've always wondered if Darwin and God could get along. This interview article with a pretty articulate author has settled my mind in some ways and agitated it in others about the possibility.

The story was written by a NYU classmate/fellow Salon intern, Vincent Rossmeier, who I give props to for some very insightful questioning.

One of my biggest beefs in my religious background is accepting without question everything in the Bible and glorying in the fact that you are doing so because that shows you have complete faith in God's Word.

So, in that vein, I was very satisfied with the answer given by Karl Giberson, the author of "Saving Darwin: How to be Christian and Believe in Evolution" on why people believe this so blindly:

In short, intellectual laziness. We're not prepared to do the hard work to make our culture more sophisticated. We don't drill into our children in Sunday school or church the fact that ancient people thought differently about the world than we do. Even a modest amount of sophistication in biblical interpretation will show that the biblical authors, in both the Old Testament and New Testament, are not writing history.

I would couple intellectual laziness with fear. When you get to a certain point, it is uncomfortable and scary to possibly believe that you're sinning by believing otherwise. There is so much fear manifesting itself when one opens that Holy tome. Especially for me.

So many questions and problems I have with the way scripture is addressed in current culture are talked about here respectfully. If only the voices from the pulpit and the science realms could meet this way more often in dialogue.

It's not easy fighting with your faith tradition. However, it is even more difficult fighting with the people you love who think you're becoming a heretic for believing such things and questioning what is so simply beautiful and black and white.

I'm convinced that the gray areas are where real life exists. And that we should not shun it, but embrace the logic and rationality as easily as we do the mysterious and awesome.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:01 PM | Comments (4)