Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The nitty gritty of the Academy

I promised you that today I would share how the Academy works... I knew that it was going to be hard - but am realizing that I underestimated just how challenging it actually would be. But this is not really a problem, because it means that I will learn way more than I ever anticipated!

On a typical day (subject to change because no day is ever completely typical!), we are in the office from 9am to 4pm. 9 to 10am is the History of the Pro-life Movement lecture, part a, b, c, d, e, f, g, etc. (you get the idea!) Our "professor" is Burke Balch, and he is literally one of the smartest men that I've ever met, especially in regards to pro-life issues. He is a lawyer who has devoted his entire career to the cause, and has actually written many, many articles that (I have been told) have been used by the Supreme Courts as evidence by experts. He and a few others brilliant people at the office are also responsible for writing the vast percentage of all the pro-life legislation in the federal and state congress. All that to say, we all feel very privileged to have this man teach us a little of what he knows. The purpose of the history portion every day is to give a thorough background of the abortion debate, and then to branch into the history of fight against Roe v Wade so that we, as the new generation, don't repeat old mistakes. 

Then, every day, we'll explore a life topic for two hours. This week, we're discussing assisted suicide - aka euthanasia. This is the portion where guest speaker experts will be brought in to share with us! Then we have a two hour lunch break where we dash to one of the myriad of restaurants in the area and then try to find a quiet spot to study for practicums in the afternoon. What is a practicum you might be asking? Good question :-) We get the opportunity to try and learn/memorize/be able to communicate effectively a pro-life position on the certain topic that we talk about in the morning. Two hours for lunch might seem like a long time, but it flies by because we are trying to be thoroughly prepared for the afternoon "grilling. I really like this aspect of the Academy - it definitely makes it unique and very helpful. I've learned a lot of information about life issues over the past several years but much of it has gone one ear and then out the other because I didn't have an opportunity to verbalize it myself. Each day we will be given different scenarios - whether it be lobbying, debating, speech-making, etc. Yesterday and today we have tried to convince a Senator to vote "No" on a bill that would legalize voluntary assisted suicide. 3 groups of 2 are made, and the two attempts are videotaped so that we have the opportunity to see ourselves and see how we can improve. To conclude the afternoon, then we all come back together and repeat it a third time to try and cement into our minds and hearts. It was definitely very (very!) intimidating on the first day, but even by today, we have all grown more confident. 

Today Natalie, Andrew and I decide to go on an adventure!  We skipped the metro and walked to 'work'. We figured out that it was only 12 blocks or 1.56 miles and the real bonus is that we would get to walk by the White House! Its not every day that you get to walk by the White House and see the Washington Monument and the Capitol building during your commute! Unless its reeeaaalllly hot and muggy (because its usually just hot and muggy) then the three of us will probably try and walk to work every day. All six of us walked home in the afternoon, and ended up having to take a detour because what we presume to be the President was landing in his helicopter at the White House and they had the whole area blocked off. This whole adventure definitely helped us feel as though we were really here in DC since we haven't had any free time to go and explore. I love being surrounded by history - makes me feel appropriately that while I am definitely apart of God's story, many others have gone before me in order to pave the way.

So far, our explorations have really only included trips to CVS and the Safeway grocery store that is inside the Watergate hotel courtyard (you read that right - THE Watergate). Our first occasion to visit the CVS a few doors down was as soon as we arrived late Sunday night. We all walked into our apartments, looked around, immediately noticed that there was no toilet paper (none of had thought to bring that!) and all six of us made an immediate trip! In the morning, we all realized that we'd forgotten something else: shower curtains. HAHA. I felt like I'd transported back to Europe where the whole bathroom is supposed to get soaked every morning. We put up our newly purchased shower curtain last night with rainbow colored embroidery thread. It looks very homey! 

I love my roommate Anna and am very, very, very grateful that God put us together in room 606 for these six weeks. We get along very well yet we also get very angry quite frequently - but we're not mad at each other. Every night for several hours, as we complete our reading assignments, there are random bursts or explosions. "I can't believe what this guy wrote! He said that ...."   "Have you read the part where _______. I can't believe that actually happens." "Unbelievable. We've got to do something."      
Since we're reading such heavy, depressing journal articles, legal documents, case studies, etc it is wonderful to have someone to share our frustrations with and at the same time give each other hope that God is still in charge. 

Tomorrow I'll post some key points that I've found to be very helpful in how to fight for the lives of the elderly and how to combat the lies of the assisted suicide agenda. 

for life, 

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