Commonplace 7

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Fail better. At first, that sounds crazy. By definition, failure means “the lack of success” or “the omission of expected or required action”. Beckett’s text is very interesting because it makes the reader see failure in the way which I believe is the most correct. By failing, one discovers what doesn’t work. As the great Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” By accepting that failure is a reality, we are more willing to take risks. When we lose sight of the pressure surrounding failure, we strike success. And what is success? What does it mean to be successful? While many times success is objective, it is also very subjective. Rewind to sophomore year. My high school’s soccer team made it to the playoffs, but I had been struggling with a knee injury the entire season. Everyone around me told me to rest so I could be fit for next season. My doctor, my physiotherapist, my parents, even my friends thought I should take a break. But I told my coach I was good. I worked extra hard to get fit, and indeed I felt okay for the games. I thought I had succeeded. except I would later learn that I didn’t. I was out my entire junior year because I had aggravated my injury, and by the time senior year came around, I was nowhere fit to play nor did I feel like it because I was too afraid it would happen again. I had failed. But from every failure, there’s a lesson that comes from it. And I learned my lesson. My point is that what Beckett wants us to realize is that failure and success are intertwined, and to achieve either one you must first try. “Ever tried. Ever failed”. Life is a process of trial and error, and the essence of this lottery is the lessons we get from it. It’s what makes us grow as human beings and what guides us towards success. As Denis Whitley once said, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

Commonplace 6

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

– Robert H. Schuller

This quote by Robert Schuller is very powerful and also very accurate in everyone’s lives. I really liked it because I encountered it in a time where it was particularly applicable to my own life, and I thought it would be wise to share and write about it. It is easy to judge things when they’re at their worse or to give up when everything isn’t working for you. What is hard, however, is to keep on battling, holding it together, until the storm passes. This is what draws the line between those who are willing and passionate from those who just let life take its course. In current times, this can be seen in politics. Both Brazil and the US, the countries I’ve lived in, are experiencing this. There has been a mass exodus of Brazilians to places like Florida, Massachusetts, New York and also places in Europe due to our current political turmoil. In America, after the election of the new president, many have thought about leaving to other countries, such as Canada, and others are hopeless in the new administration. What Schuller wants us to believe though is that yes, there will be a storm, but a spring will come. It is inevitable. His last three sentences are very well elaborated, with the periods in between them having almost what one could consider a soothing effect. The slow and paused pace of his writing allows the reader to take a breath and take in the message of his text. For the times where we feel down and hopeless, we must wait, be patient because surely the storm will pass and spring will come.

Community House Church: Keeping it Simple

 

It’s unimaginable the amount of information that the human brain processes without the individual even knowing. Color patterns, text size, and pictures are just a few of the many factors that subconsciously influence what the individual thinks of a certain think. While he or she doesn’t realize, the brain registers what is being seen, felt, smelled, etc. and puts it in perspective of previous memories, and after all, that is done the individual has an opinion of whatever is in question. This process takes fractions of a second and is done thousands, if not millions of times per day by every single person. Analyzing things and formulating opinions is inherent to the human being, and thus when creating something companies and organizations should think carefully about what they want their customers to perceive. And most do. This wasn’t the case, however, for the Community House Church. When looking at their website, it is easier to analyze what’s not there than what is. The message conveyed to the public is one of simplicity, lacking detail and being straight to the point about what they want the reader to know.

Maybe the developers aimed for simplicity. But even if that’s the case, their website is still too bland. Their texts lack detail and depth, leaving many questions unanswered. The same image is displayed across all pages, and no other images are available. Many hyperlinks don’t work, and some that work display malformatted texts, with words overlapping and not fitting in the frames.

The color scheme is very neutral, combining a gradient light blue that eventually fades into white. Choosing this color pattern makes sense because it incites tranquility. Had they chosen red or other stronger, more vibrant colors, they would’ve deviated from the main message of their community. Lighter and less vibrant colors subconsciously make the brain think about peaceful and pleasant things, the kind of thoughts a church would want their members or prospective members to have.

Another element that is very perceptible to the viewer is the lack of images in the website. Throughout the entire website, only one image is displayed (See image below).

 

The image is rather dull and uninviting, which makes the viewer question why it was chosen to be the only one used. The people in the picture look very expressionless, all of them are looking down and they’re holding bells. Maybe the image was captured in a moment of reflection or prayer, but it doesn’t do a good advertisement for the Church. Having only one image is a risk because the viewer will make up their mind based on only one piece of evidence. In this image, for example, every single community member is white. This could lead someone to question their race and diversity acceptance, even though the website states they’re open to all the public. This is just one of the many conclusions that someone might jump to because there’s only one image present. On top of this, the image seems to represent one type of their meetings, which is for kids. The picture isn’t of their main service, and it raises the question as to why they chose not to include a representation of their main “product”. This also emphasizes the simplicity of the website. The image is stickied to the top of the top of the website and is present in all the pages throughout the domain.

The writing present on the website is very straightforward. There’s no praising or speaking highly of the community on the website, it is just there to inform the viewer of their purpose, the services they offer and the meeting times. It is limited to describing objectively the Church. The text below was taken directly from the website:

Small groups of 4-8 people meet regularly to get to know each other better. The format of the small group is flexible and decided by the members of each group. Speak to a regular attender if you are interested in joining a small group. (Community House Church)

The church relies more on a word of mouth advertising, rather than advertising through their official website. It is interesting to note that they don’t specify who to talk to. This shows that they must have a strong relationship with their members since they trust any one of them to inform newcomers about the proceedings of the church. Also, the text informs the reader about how the church functions. Aside from the worship services, the church offers small group meetings and Sunday School for children. Again, this shows the simplicity that whoever developed the website was aiming for, using limited text and being straight to the point.

The meetings of the church are held in the building shown in the picture above. Once a week the church rents out rooms at Mary’s Center, where they hold their infant and adult congregations. The organization was founded in the 20th century and works to provide medical help to those in need. While its initial purpose was to help latino females with medical aid, Mary’s Center has expanded and today serves thousands, if not millions, of people in the DC area (Mary’s Center). Even though there could be a strong connection between the church and the health center, both fail to establish it. The church mentions its meetings are located in Mary’s Center, but the church isn’t even mentioned in maryscenter.org.

The Community House Church isn’t the biggest nor the only church in the Adams Morgan area. A quick search in the yellow pages reveals that there are at least five big churches around the area (Religious Organizations Adams Morgan). This search doesn’t take into considerations small communities such as the Community House Church. According to Find The Home, Adams Morgan has 82% more religious organizations than average for DC neighborhoods, with the majority being Catholic or Baptist (Adams Morgan). The neighborhood that was once divided because of race is now fairly split on religious affiliation. This divide is interesting when put into the scenario of the Community House Church since they claim to be non-denominational (Community House Church). According to Find The Home, the church is the only official non-denominational gathering in the Adams Morgan area. Again, this could be beneficial to the community. The Huffington Post recently came out with an article stating that millennials are the least religious generation yet due to the focus on individualism. Millennials are seeking betterment for their own lives, and if it takes changing religions or having no faith at all to achieve that they won’t hesitate to do so (Cooper-White). This is why a broad church with a wide acceptance of beliefs such as the Community House Church is important. It is a more appealing place to the younger generations, a place with fewer do’s and don’ts and more acceptance.

The common idea that is present in the entire website is simplicity. One may judge this as good or bad, but at the end of the day, the key message that the website has to deliver is there. The community doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, so why should the viewer? They don’t see their church as a product, and therefore they don’t feel the need to work on advertising it through their website. While there would be ways to make it more appealing and have a stronger representation, there’s nothing wrong with what they currently have. As said before, it is easier to analyze what they don’t have than what they do, since it is overly simplified. As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.” Keep it clean, keep it simple, keep it effective. There are different ways to convey the same message. How one chooses to deliver it is entirely up to their judgment.

Works Cited

“Adams Morgan.” Find The Home. Graphiq, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2017.

“Community House Church.” Communityhousechurch.org. Free Website Templates, n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.

Cooper-White, Macrina. “Millennials Are The Least Religious Generation Yet, And Here’s The Surprising Reason Why.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 May 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.

“Mary’s Center.” Mary’s Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.

“Religious Organizations Adams Morgan.” YellowPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

Commonplace 5

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”

-John F. Kennedy

This quote from John F. Kennedy is powerful because it is still accurate even though it was said decades ago. When put into today’s perspective, this quote can be comforting given the current government administration. The way it’s said is a big factor when considering its impact. JFK did a good job communicating his point of view by showing that eventually evil is diminished by society. Through time those that display improper behavior are punished and face the consequences of their actions.

 

Annotated Bibliography 1 & 2

“Mary’s Center Named Washington’s Most Innovative PR & Marketing Team 2016.” Mary’s Center Named Washington’s Most Innovative PR & Marketing Team 2016. PR Urgent, 6 Jan. 2017. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

The press release commended the marketing and the public relations team of Mary’s Center. The original press release was part of the Corporate America News Magazine, and the main focus was to emphasize the effectiveness of Mary’s Center use of social media and how through their marketing team they have managed to keep a positive financial balance and work towards improving the NGO.

This article is extremely relevant to my research because Mary’s Center has a huge influence and recognition in the Adams Morgan community due to their credibility and the amount of time they’ve been there. They know a lot about the community and the history of the neighborhood and can be a key resource when analyzing my site.

“Bolling v. Sharpe (District of Columbia).” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The Leadership Conference, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

This court case has to do with the history of Adams Morgan. In 1949 a group of African American students tried to enroll in a school that was strictly for white students and were denied. The neighborhood already had segregated schools, and this would just be one of many others. The NAACP decided to sue the school and because of the equal protection clause, they won the case.

Adams Morgan is named after two schools, one white and one black. Segregation and inequality were a big part of the neighborhood’s history and I believe that it influenced what it looks like today. It is something I believe is worth exploring more and it will help me further specialize about my location.

Mary’s Center

Across the street from the church is Mary’s Center, a Community Health Center that has been serving the population since 1988. Being right next to the church, the members of the center have been around the church and its community for decades. Part of their mission is to work with others to strengthen the community and provide a better life to those around it. The center has over 45,000 patients per year, and its annual budget is over $45 million, a lot more than the initial $250,000. This location provides background on how the neighborhood was decades ago. The center has been there for 23 years, and has “lived” through all the changes and new trends imposed by society.

Google Maps View of the Community House Church

This image shows the aerial view of what surrounds the Community House Church. While at first glance this image doesn’t seem to reveal much, after analyzing it there’s a lot of conclusions that can be made about the surroundings of the church. The first one that came to my mind was the type of construction that surrounds it. All the buildings are fairly old, probably around 15+ years of age. Also, none of the buildings are more than 5 stories high. This is very interesting because Adams Morgan is a very popular neighborhood, so I imagined there would be a high demand for commercial and residential units, therefore incentivizing companies to build vertically. I thought that maybe this had to do with some neighborhood regulation, but after investigating documents and community standards I realized that there weren’t any restrictions. It was the style of the neighborhood, and even though years passed it had remained loyal to what it has always been.

Commonplace 4

This picture is very personal to me. Even though I may not face the struggles of those who would be affected by the Muslim ban, or those who would be deported because of their citizenship status, but just like them, I’m a stranger to this country. In my opinion, the use of black in this image was appropriate, but the pink and green isn’t working. Instead, darker colors or colors that have a bigger meaning to either Muslims or latinos or whoever else feels affected by the new president’s decisions. Aside from that, the overall message is perfect. I hope that this is successful and that it leads to change.

Commonplace 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHPoaRTCSS0

She said, compromise where you can.
But where you can’t, don’t.
Even if everyone is telling you
that something wrong is something right.
Even if the whole world
is telling you to move…
it is your duty to plant
yourself like a tree…
look them in the eye and say
“No, you move.”

-Captain America: Civil War

I recently watched this movie and I found this part of the script very applicable to life. While this is a superhero movie, any regular person can use this advice. In this situation, Peggy’s nephew is speaking at her funeral and Captain America sees this as good advice because of the current mission he’s in. This is a really powerful scene in the movie, with the movie, because of both the acting and the way the script was written. The pauses and the intensity of the speech impact the feelings of the viewer, bringing a sense of realism and connection to the plot.

 

City of Rethoric Analysis

In Part One of David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, the main idea that he is trying to convey to the reader pertains to the placelessness of political theory and how the changes in society over time have led to a shift in the civic map. These two topics lead to the big picture name attributed to part one: The Geography of Politics. While this sounds like a rather abstract topic to someone without any previous exposure to it, but Fleming presents many arguments that really provide the reader with concrete examples of how politics has a geographical setup, even if it’s not voluntary.

In the first chapter of the book, Fleming turns the reader’s attention to a concept called political theory. He first, however, briefly summarizes the evolution of politics over time in the US and states that today, Americans aren’t defined by race, ethnicity or gender, but by their political views (20). Fleming also adds that the country has worked hard to provide equal opportunity to all its citizens, but that behind the equality lies a political game of interests. He exemplifies this by referring to the citizenship process, in which he believes that while it does play a small role in the so-called Standards, future citizens must convince that they believe in the “American political principles” (21). While this is only one of the many themes that Fleming approaches in the first chapter, it is interesting to see how accurate it is when considering today’s society. The results of the past elections only serve to confirm his belief that the country is now separated politically. Now more than ever it feels like it’s a “us against them” battle.

David Fleming also addresses liberalism and republicanism geographically. While he considers the concept of republicanism more involved in politics than liberalism, it doesn’t mean that liberals aren’t seeking personal benefits. Fleming believes that the liberal approach to “politics often becomes too thin”, since they’re only involved in what they consider beneficial to themselves (27). Geographically, Fleming believes that these groups differ greatly. While republicans strive in public places, liberals are better off in the comfort of their homes or other private spaces. He even labels liberals as “ageographical”, since they lack the social content and participation in public spaces (27).

Overall, the main idea Fleming tries to pass on to the reader at the end of chapter one is that even though the political word is constantly changing, one thing remains the same: space. He labels it as the “persistence of space”, and conveys to the reader that space does in fact matter and that society makes judgments based on different locations (32). This concept together with the two above compose is that politics is constantly changing. As society evolves, so does politics and by analyzing the evolution one can understand trends and events that are happening at this time.