Incarcerating US

Recently I’ve taken up an internship for a company called Life is My Movie Entertainment, which works in production of non-fiction film. We’ve recently released a documentary called Incarcerating US and I’d like to post the trailer on my own WordPress to raise awareness. If you want to use your own website to share this trailer, please email me at johnh@lifeismymovie.com and we’ll make it happen!

 

Documentary trailer

Website synopsis

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Update on John’s life

Hi family and friends!

I’ve been meaning to put together a sort of life update for all who might be wondering where I’ve run off to and what I’ve been up to. I’ll basically try to cover the period dating from when I left for Massachusetts in 2012 to attend Gordon College until the present. A lot has happened in the last three years, so I will only be briefly covering the main things that I can remember. I hope you enjoy a little bit of the life of John, well here we go…

I left California to finish my undergraduate degree at Gordon College in MA, because I wished to see more of the country and the world. At Gordon College I have had many life-shaping experiences and have learned many paradigm-shifting lessons through the classes I’ve taken.

My desires to be involved in social justice led me to join the student-led group “The Human Network” in which we screened several documentaries on campus (covering food waste in America and human-trafficking) and hosted a campus-wide week-long event showcasing some distinguished human-rights workers. In my involvement with this group and through some soul searching I have started to be drawn particularly to fighting sex-slavery and raising awareness to persecution of Christians (this for the reasons that I believe the gospel to be the undergirding structure upon which social justice is founded upon in a cosmological sense and that those who draw persecution for standing for it in our world are essentially on the front lines of the “stand” for the King of Justice[capital “J”]). At Gordon I led a student prayer and awareness group for the Persecuted Church called Open Doors: Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Although this group had very few attendees, we did raise some awareness at the school about the suffering of Christians in nations where it’s illegal to believe in Christ, we looked at how we are persecuted in different ways in our own nation and we looked at the mission for which followers of Christ stand so that we might understand the motivations for Christians to face persecution with joy. In the Fall of 2014 I studied abroad in Lithuania at LCC International University, this was an AMAZING and life-changing experience. The highlight of my time at LCC was my opportunity to serve as Fellow of Roots of Justice in a student-led organization for the advocacy against and exposure of the issue of sex-slavery in Eastern Europe. In this position I was able to work on organizational documents to try to ensure the longevity of the organization and we also formed some valuable relations with local advocates and organizations to collaborate in efforts in the region to fight against sex-trafficking and also to instill a sense of justice and moral conviction in the region which seemed to be lacking. It’s very difficult to have left Lithuania, because I was only able to work with RoJ for a few months and now I am not really able to participate in what the organization is doing and can’t really affect whether the group will continue to be effective, however there have been VERY encouraging reports that the RoJ advisor, LCC’s president and recent RoJ Fellows attended a Council of Reps of the nation along with our partners from Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Centre to discuss passing legislation to mirror measures taken in Scandinavia. HOW EXCITING IS THAT>!?!?!?! This was a very cool learning experience for me, and although I feel like I’m in a bit of a place of limbo, I hope that someday I can be involved in meaningful work like this someday. Hey, at least I walked away with a cool tattoo to remind me of my commitment to biblical pursuits of Justice (see photo), it says Anticipatory Presumption, which means that we ought not anticipate peace and justice so eagerly that we presume its immediate establishment despite transgression a higher moral code.

003Trafficking

.   [Photo credit unknown, it’s just a super convicting image we found].

I chose, or rather God chose, a very significant time for attending Gordon College. While I attended we have seen a massive upheaval within the Gordon Community, as well as in our nation, surrounding the controversy of LGBTQ people and practices in the Church. Another event, which I believe to have been VERY significant, but has gone by like a shade, is that the school relocated its bell monument and changed the plaque on its side to remove the name of Christ and replace it with a statement that the bell represents only a commitment to our founders “ideals.” As I’ve been a privileged one to observe these things first hand I have been challenged to add my thoughts on these topics in my blog. Please visit the blog if you are interested! The blog dates back to 2011 when I was really getting into the troublesome issues surrounding engagement in Social Justice and needed an outlet, my dad suggested I start a blog and so that’s what I did!

Clarendon Street Baptist Church Bell Plaque 0061779297_10152944331184734_3528477945051444357_n[Yes I was there when this rainbow happened!]

Alright so besides those significant details, some other things worth noting are that I’ve graduated with a major in Business Administration and that I’ve been living in Beverly, MA. I’m currently seeking to gain some entry-level experience in some administrative position so that someday I might explore possibilities of starting a new holistic venture of some sort.

Well besides the above mentioned events, I’m sure that you’d all love a few moments of living vicariously through some photos of my travels abroad! I spent some weeks in Norway prior to traveling to Lithuania to stay with my Raggity Auntie Karen Cecilie and to meet my Uncles Trygve, Jan, Christopher and my Aunt Ingrid. In Norway I got to do several cool things, aside from building relationships with some dear people: I went to the town hall of Oslo (the building commissioned by my ancestor Hieronymus), went to the Nobel Peace Center and several museums including the Kon Tiki museum commemorating Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition across the Pacific in a traditional raft of the pacific islanders to prove the whole scientific community wrong.

017[Takeoff!]

100[Karen Cecilie and her husband Jan]

winter in norway 026[Ancient viking ship]

winter in norway 040[A replica of Thor Heyerdahl’s raft]

009

[I watched the changing of the guard in front of the King’s house in Oslo, Karen’s son has had the honors of filling this post!]

088106[Standing next to a painting of my great grandfather Hieronymus, a former mayor of Oslo. The security guards let me through a locked door to get this photo!]

122[Uncle Trygve and I]

007[Norway’s oldest beer and my favorite! Bet you’d like to try some Aass! (pronounced Oss, haha).

winter in norway 010 winter in norway 008[The visit to the Nobel Peace Center was a really great opportunity for me to reflect on peace and justice. Asia Bibi’s example in standing for girl’s education in Islamic countries was inspiring. They displayed her clothing she wore when she was shot. Also Kailash Satyarthi’s work against child slavery in India was very good to see.].

In Lithuania I joined 4 other students from Gordon College to share many amazing experiences and to make many other friends, some notable experiences were our travels to Estonia, Latvia and Russia and our tramping around the old city of Klaipeda in which our school was located.

Arrival in Vilnius067[Our first day in Lithuania we tramped around the city of Vilnius, the ACTUAL center of Europe if the lands extending to the Ural Mountains are considered. Here we visited inside the KGB museum, absolutely shocking]

Roommates 3[Some dorm mates, I met Georgians, Russians, Ukrainians, Albanians, Armenians, Latvians, Lithuanians and… Well I met many people of many nationalities, the redemptive aspect of having these nations gathered to share the love of Christ was very special]

117[A monastery in the city of Vilnius, there were countless buildings of beautiful architecture EVERYWHERE!. Apparently this building was a campsite for some guy when he was invading the east, Napoleon I think was the name… You know… whatever. XO WhAT?!?!]

TalinRiga and Talin 037[Talin, Estonia. Beauty.]

10525835_754257694628193_8675452518904966542_n[All the study abroads getting ready to board the train]

003[Spiritual Life Retreat by Klaipeda’s shores, a blessed time]

005[My Latvian girlfriend, isn’t she beautiful? Alas, we decided not to continue our relationship, no she was not just a stint. Ugh… John you’re a fool for letting this one go.]

What… girlfriend?!?!?! Wait a minute John you’re not letting that one sneak by us without some more of the nitty gritty! Okay, okay, well the nitty gritty is NONE OF YO BEESWAX, but long story short (because it is a long story) we only knew each other for a few months and it looked like we had a long-distance relationship ahead of us with a lot of uncertainty. It felt like we needed to make a huge decision in a hurry and although Ieva didn’t have any big issues with it, I was hung up on some issues (thinking too much as is my way) and she felt it was best we separate.

Klaipeda 008 Klaipeda 011Baras Senamiestes[Some shots of Klaipeda, a port city in a Catholic nation. The left photo was from my dorm room window]

Hill of Crosses 24Hill of Crosses 21[At the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. This stands as a monument to the courage of those who would continually fill this hill with new crosses despite the efforts of the Soviets to burn the hill time after time. It represents the courage of those who stand in defiance of tyranny and who believe in Jesus Christ as the hope of the world. There are not any religious requirements placed on visitors, we were welcomed to place our own cross amongst the millions of others without concern for what denomination or tradition we might be. This was a truly meaningful experience, this hill means so much and yet it just happened without any plans!]

603712_10204880947801366_4397931086479197464_n{We saw a lot of churches] 1533881_646025758847569_7974096182838299643_n[St Basil’s Cathedral I think, I’m not one for big flashy buildings, however this place reminds visitors of the tradition of the Fools for Christ, these were radical Christian people who historically stood up against corruption when there were no other ways to do so. Their example of reckless abandon and courage to speak out despite ridicule and shame was inspiring]

Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 105[Old soviet buildings preserved in a large land preserve, it is seen to many Russians as a historical reminder of their culture, to others it’s a painful reminder of the Soviet times and to others a hope that the Soviet times might return in their “greatness”]

Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 216 Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 169[Outside the Church of Spilt Blood. The guy in the blue jacket likes Tolstoy and is my hero.

10678800_10152434537326088_8338433427124965270_n[Statue remaining from Soviet times in the Moscow Metro tunnels, preserved as part of their culture. Photos in the metro were illegal, shhh…]

Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 081[The national museum of Russia] 1782088_649535165163295_4735369486882948113_n 1506500_404802619671667_8653425887120124711_n10174962_10154790026080529_2307812738878850871_n[We saw a show of traditional Russian dance, the Black Swan ballet in St. Petersburg, and the Circus in Moscow]

10417648_10154790024960529_6808831674103458608_n Group photo in St. PetersburgTrip to Moscow and St Petersburg 155Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 075[Awesome friends in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg and in the marketplace. Don’t let that standing column fall on you, it’s sitting on the ground’s surface and if it falls it will cause an earthquake. The column has an angel with a cross, how long will this angel be able to bear the weight of the corruption of this nation?]

Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 123 281857_10152453154376088_3590558119367482832_n 10704095_744383055631249_428173417597808969_n 1474592_10204652455369198_984632564550939513_n 10686959_10204652642373873_2030238139130321948_n 10710685_367570263395429_3235190213568028275_n 10295817_10204577560496873_3251216136461708305_n 09 17 2014 027[Adventures]

After Lithuania I went for another stay in Norway during which I spent several weeks at my Uncle Christopher’s home and spent Christmas with he and my Aunt Ingerid, a beautiful and wonderful woman. Then at my Uncle Trygve’s where I got to spend some time with his wife Guru and my young cousins Gustav and Felix. They got me into playing Minecraft and now I’m a huge fan. After that I spent the rest of my money to go on an 8 day trip to Scotland, I was all alone, but hey… happy birthday to me!

Norway Winter 008 Norway Winter 003 Norway Winter 004[I spent several weeks at my uncle Christopher’s house after Lithuania in a serene landscape, I loved his dogs!]

Norway and Scotland 008[First moments after arrival, I’m high on breathing Scottish air]Norway and Scotland 026[A friend who shared with me some of his smoke and drink, I shared with him some of my “water of life” ie. we talked about Jesus]

Battlefield of Culloden 6[The battlefield of Culloden: the site where the English defeated Highland forces to begin the awful Highland clearances, which were alike to genocidal events]

Norway and Scotland 183 Castle of my drawing[I drew this castle years ago and just stumbled upon it!]

Norway and Scotland 063Norway and Scotland 182[Edinburgh Castle, Highlands]  Norway and Scotland 048[In looking for some sort of worship event I found this event taking place at a church, i turned out being an Indian presentation of the healing power of music… I stayed and made some new friends!

Norway and Scotland 151[My tour guide on the MacBackpacker’s Highland Tours, I highly recommend you tour with them, we went EVERYWHERE and this dear man Ian told us stories, history and facts all along the way!]

Norway and Scotland 080[Friends I met in a hostel: Ross, Ruth and his dear girlfriend who’s name escapes me. They blessed me richly with their company, treating me to a glass of scotch for my birthday]

Norway and Scotland 145[The Clootie Well is a place people believe has healing powers from stories of old. They bring items connected with their ailments and hang them next to the well in hopes that the ailment will be purified by the healing power of the well. The place is littered with filthy refuse, an environmental disaster, a place of beauty or something else? I prayed for these souls to learn of the spring of life in Christ.]

IMG_0229[I did this… It is the traditional tonsure of the Celtic monk, a sign which signified their devotion to God, but also their separation from the Roman Catholic Church in that it was different from the Catholic tonsure. I like the symbolism of the tonsure as a unique cultural expression of the Celtic tradition in the Church, which stood as its own structure despite papal pressures of the time. Needless to say that as soon as I got back to Gordon College I shaved it off, I still regret doing that…]

Norway and Scotland 016Norway and Scotland 005Trip to Moscow and St Petersburg 217[Street art/grafitti in Edinburgh, Norway and St. Peter’s/Russia]

I know this all sounds like I’ve been soaring through a life that many dream of living, however I’d beg your prayer and support as the past few years have also been laden with months of uninterrupted depression, doubt and failure. I’ve never felt such feelings of deflation as I’ve felt recently. Not to end this on a sad note, I just want to ask for prayer. I’ve been blessed with many good experiences and friends, I’ve been overwhelmed with many thoughts telling me that I’ll never get out of depression, most of the smiling pictures could be supplemented with five pictures never taken out of fear of people seeing what a bankrupt person I am. None the less I bless the name of the Lord, thanking him for the blessings I’ve enjoyed and that he continually fuels my emptiness with his grace to keep moving onward. I miss you all very much and I apologize that I haven’t been in closer touch. Please email me at JohnJCxHC@yahoo.com if you want, thanks for taking the time to enjoy the last few years with me 🙂

Blessings,

John