Hello World (Again)!

I have written this introduction multiple times, some revisions were in my head, others on paper, and others still typed out. Initially, I didn’t know how to start over again. I have written and shared on the Internet before. I have attempted to keep up with a blog and keep people interested, while I become more dissonant and less interested over time. To this day, I still have misgivings about starting over. The other day, however, I read Matt Alexander’s lessons after a year of writing and got to thinking that I had learned many of the lessons to which he so succinctly confessed. I have been here before, at the start of something of which I cannot yet understand fully. So here I am.

Hello World… again!

The fact is that I tried to stop writing. While finishing my graduate degree, I had very little time and energy to follow up on things I was reading and thoughts I wished to share. In the attempt to alleviate the pressure on my brain holding all that in caused, I started condensing my opinions on things into 140 and 256 character blocks, while longer and more personal items went to my 50- friends on Facebook and Path. Unfortunately, that doesn’t cut it now that I am officially done with my first (yes, there will be more) graduate degree.

In all the time that went to my hiatus, I had a lot of time to think about how to move forward with my writing. I wanted a place to create and a place to think. A place where I can put my thoughts on things that are important to me. At the same time, a place where I can clear my head. I tried a number of Wordpress blogs, Tumblr spaces, and other services to create such a place. What I have found is the fact that I am looking for ease. I never expect writing to be my life or my career; that is not the point to me. I don’t really intend to make money from this endeavor. As such, I wanted to be able to make the space what I wanted without an all-consuming timeframe. I will continue to work elsewhere to support myself and my family. I will continue to share information in other ways, but I will not let it become more important than experiencing life. Meanwhile, what I expect from this space is a way to communicate what I do, whether to my parents, friends, or complete strangers.

In the end, I hope to attract people here that would be interested in all sorts of things, chief among them technology and food (which is part of the reason why Kyle Baxter and I get along so well). Aside from that, I may share current events, personal ideas, or pictures and other media. I plan to use the twitter feed (@eloquentfeed and @jayray) as a link list of sorts and save this space for long-form writing almost exclusively. No matter what the content though, I wish to stand by the name of the site: Engineered Eloquence.

I like to think of myself as an engineer, even if only viscerally. My undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering, but I have a passion for technology, something that is not uncommon now. Though I have worked the majority of my career in educational technology and support, I like to discover how things work and problem solve based on that knowledge. I would say that I obtained said penchant from my design background. At the same time, I always enjoyed writing, though it was not my first passion. Getting my thoughts down on paper was something that always felt natural to me. I want to use this space to put words to my thoughts, whether technological, pedagogical, alimentary, or otherwise.

In short, I recognize that my passion for technology, like my ability to string words together to form a website, is a common occurrence in technology circles these days. I recognize that I may not have much to say on a subject that is important to people who may read this site. I recognize that it may be a long road to truly understand for what this space should or can be used. And finally, I recognize that I will have to earn the trust of my readership in order to move forward in this way. 

In other words, Welcome and Enjoy!

-Jay Ray

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.