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Kairos 2009_03_13 174

Kairos 2009_03_13 174

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Published by austinseminary
Issue 174 of Kairos
Issue 174 of Kairos

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Published by: austinseminary on Mar 14, 2009
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A Publication of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Community
March 13, 2009 Issue #174
© 2009 Austin PresbyterianTheological Seminary
The Financial Crisis Hits Home
An Editorial
The theme of ‘identity’ has echoed throughthese pages all semester. On Monday, March 9,2009, the world-wide financial crisis hit home and wefound ourselves confronted with questions of identityyet again. The seminary enacted a series of budgetcutting measures, including the elimination of nine staff positions, resulting in seven of our brothers and sistersbeing out of work and joining the burgeoning ranks of our nation’s unemployed. Georgia, Kevin, Lupe,Jackie, Karen, Sharon, and Todd. As word spreadduring lunch, conversation turned to grief for thosewho were let go, and frustration that it had come tothis. We are a seminary... we are supposed to be dif-ferent, to be a light unto the world.Who are we, as a Christian community, whensome persons who were with us one day, are gone thenext, their family pictures oddly absent from their desks? We know the Body of Christ cannot be tornasunder so easily... yet here is the present earthly re-ality of what is... torn asunder. The ripples move out-ward to our future. We have sacrificed to follow a callfrom God, only to find that churches are in dire straits,too, and possibly unable to call us this year. We canenvision a time when, one day, we will lead churcheswhose purpose is rooted in the
missio dei 
. Surelythere will be times when we will have to confront our own financial crises. What will we have learned? Whoare we, we who feel so helpless to help?We are a people who shudder at the sound of words such as ‘endowment driven’, ‘right sizing’, and‘the new normal.’ This language is more foreign to usthan ancient Hebrew or Greek. Bitter medicine for anasty sickness, perhaps, but it leaves us wondering,“Is the cure worth the cost?” We don’t like it. We hateit. We push back. We know there must be a better way; we hope there is a better way. Can we find it?We wonder if we are simply naive. We wonder if itwas a similar simple naiveté that led to the cross. Wewonder if we are called to follow... we wonder... if weare able.We are a people who know that the best wecan do–any of us–is imperfect. And we know that wehave some good, faithful people leading Austin Semi-nary. We pause, and we know that we have benefitedfrom their service and leadership. Indeed, we havebenefited from being ‘endowment driven.’ We wonder if our ideals are compromised by our needs and de-sires. We shudder again.But let us not forget that another strong clue toour identity has also emerged on campus this semes-ter–the babies! Seven children have been born toAustin Seminary students since January 20
. Newfamilies getting started; families with children growingeven larger. Babies born to juniors, middlers, and sen-iors. Baby showers have given way to neighborsbringing food. The eyes of each parent gaze upontheir hopes and dreams. The eyes of each child gazeinto the unknown possibilities of life. We wonder whether God gazes similarly upon us.
 Both of these reminders of identity–the lossfrom our community, and the children born into it–werewith us last Wednesday at the all-campus meeting:from the back of the room a newborn baby’s cry aroseone moment, and a mournful cry of someone’s grief the next. Perhaps this is who we are. Perhaps we area people who, during the difficulties and hardships of our times, bear witness to the promise of new life.It is a good thing that the church suffers alongwith the rest of the world, that we are not left out of thepain that others experience. Yet these are just words,words that do not put food on the table, words that donot pay the rent, words that do not ease another’s bur-den. Beneath the reflection, we know there is realpain.
Paul Dubois, Editor 
www.austinseminary.typepad.com/portal/kairos.htmlIssue 174 Page 2
Spring Break No Chapel Services This Week 
Mark your calendars!
Sat., May 236:00 p.m.
Sun., May 242:30 p.m.
Both Events Will Be Held AtUniversity Presbyterian ChurchSee Alison in the dean’s officefor more information.
  C  o  m  m  e  n  c  e  m  e  n  t  N  e  w  s
   C   O   R   R   E   C   T   E   D   T   I   M   E   S
Personal Counseling
Referral for individual counseling is available tostudents and/or their families as needed. If you would liketo talk about the possibility of counseling, contact AnnFields atafields@austinseminary.eduor by phone at 404-4869.
Financial Aid News
To all returning students admitted to the MATSand MDiv degree programs (All other students may disre-gard this notice.):
Financial aid application packets are now avail-able for the 2009-2010 school year. You may pick up theone with your name on it outside of the Admissions Officearea on the first floor of McMillan. If there is not one withyour name on it, please let Glenna Balch know and shewill give you one.
If you will not be seeking financial aid, please in-form Glenna Balch in the Financial Aid Office. For moreinformation, contact Glenna Balch.
Acts 2:42
Acts 2:42 is a student group committed to fellow-ship and serving the Austin and the Austin Seminary com-munity.We meet Mondays at noon in McCord 201. Eve-ryone is welcome to come and check us out. For moreinformation, contact Charissa Ellis.
Settles Lectures 2009
Dr. William Storrar, Director of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ, will present two lec-tures on Mission and Public Theology. These lecturesexplore the relationship between mission and public theol-ogy, as that term is understood by the new
International Journal of Public Theology 
Lecture 1 – Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 p.m., SheltonChapel (overflow room McMillan 210)
'The Common Ground'
Lecture 2 – Wednesday, March 25, 11:00 a.m., SheltonChapel (overflow room McMillan 210)
'The Creative Tension'
For more information, contact Alison Riemersmain the Dean’s Office.
Parents’ Night Out
Mark your calendar for the following dates:
March 27, Hicks Community House
6:00 to 8:30p.m. RSVP by Wednesday, March 25.
April 17, Hicks Community House, 6:00 to 8:30p.m. RSVP by Wednesday, April 15.
RSVP to Laurel Dixon, Babysitting Coordinator at 473-8797 or laurel.dixon@austinseminary.edu.
Space is Limited! 
Income Tax Issues for Clergy
All students, as well as ordained faculty and administra-tors are invited to our second annual Seminar on IncomeTax Issues for Clergy.
Thursday, April 23
Presented by Debbie Steinbach, CPA and spouse of Rev., Phil Steinbach, an Austin Seminary graduate
6:00-8:00 PM
McCord 204
This seminar is strongly encouraged for all seniors. If youare a junior or middler, please be aware that we plan tooffer this seminar again next year. This is not your onlychance. Contact Ann Fields for more information.
www.austinseminary.typepad.com/portal/kairos.htmlIssue 174 Page 3
The Student Senate is proposing a change to theConstitution regarding the election of student officers.The proposal will be presented, discussed, and consid-ered at an upcoming Manna. What follows is a descrip-tion of the current situation and the proposal for change.
The idea behind changing our election system toan instant runoff vote (single transferable vote) system isto limit the amount of time we spend on elections and toensure that each voter’s voice is given an equal say.In previous years our election system has madefor elections that last anywhere from four to eight weeks.When you count in all the time it takes for nominations,elections, and then runoff elections, our current system isvery time consuming. As the elections drag on, studentsbecome less interested and candidates can become morefrustrated. It also ties up extra time for the elections com-missioner, Student Senate, and candidates during the endof the spring semester.During runoff elections voter turnout is almost,always much lower than for the original election. Votersvoices aren’t heard because they don’t participate or be-cause they no longer care for either candidate.The proposed system would allow for voters tovote their preference of candidate no matter what situa-tion arises. The proposed election system would bringthe election cycle down to about 4 weeks at most. Be-cause of the way the elections would be conducted, therewould be no runoff elections (they would be built into thefirst ballots) and candidates would be elected in a muchquicker amount of time. The ballots would ask the voter torank the candidates in order of preference to be used incase no candidate is elected immediately. Because votersrank the candidates they always have a say in the elec-tion process and they never have to make a choice be-tween the “lesser of evils.”Here is (hopefully) a simple breakdown of howthe proposed voting system works. There are other expla-nations on the Internet, and there are links to them at theend of this letter. This example will use the student bodypresident election as the example.1. Adam, Billy, Cindy, and Diane are all nominatedand are running for president.2. Students are given (electronically using email andthe Internet) a ballot that asks them to rank
 candidates by preference.3. After the election has ended the first preferencesare tallied up as everyone’s vote and the resultsshow the Diane has 30 votes, Cindy 27, Billy 26,and Adam 17. Since no candidate has reached amajority something else has to happen to elect acandidate. Normally we would have a secondround of voting with new ballots. In the proposedsystem we move to the instant runoff.4. Adam has the lowest vote count and so his bal-lots are redistributed based on the second prefer-ence. Let’s assume that most of Adam’s support-ers favored Billy and to a lesser extent Diane andCindy. The new tally is Diane 33, Cindy 31, andBilly 36.5. We still have no majority winner and so another instant runoff is held, this time Cindy’s ballots areredistributed based on the next preference. As-suming most of Cindy’s support went to Diane thenew tally is Diane 58 and Billy 42. Diane is de-clared the winner because she now has a major-ity of the votes.All this happened within a matter of minutes oncethe final vote was cast and each and every person’s ballotwas counted in a way they preferred. While the systemseems more difficult, it is actually a much more efficientand fair way of holding an election.While the system isn’t exactly the same when itcomes to electing senators or committee representativesthe guiding principles are the same. This is because wearen’t electing a single winner but multiple winners in asingle election. There is an added step in redistributingsome of the votes. This system is officially called singletransferable vote instead of instant runoff voting.
If you would like to learn more about the pro- posed system or watch some really cool videos check out these web resources.
http://instantrunoff.com/ http://www.fairvote.org/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLVAF6M-FcQ-
theeasiest/shortest way to get acquainted with the proposed voting system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote 
Yes the last two come from Wikipedia, but they are accu-rate and in depth and provide a good picture of what IRV and STV are.
Proposed Voting ProcessFor Student Body President, Student Senate,Elections Commissioner and Committee Representatives
For more information, contact Melissa Koerner, Student Body President, or Matthew Thompson, Senator.

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