Comment making a difference
Comment magazine has been helping form students' vocations and faith commitments since 2005. Our mission is to equip and connect the next generation of Christian leaders, and what follows are profile snapshots of two young people who've read and grown with Comment.
In November 2008, we asked these two—one still a student, one already forging her vocation in the work world—to describe their studies, their careers (if they'd already graduated), and how Comment has helped them put everything in perspective.
- Christina Crook, writer, British Columbia
Richard Lopez, senior student, Princeton University (N.J.)
Christina Crook is a writer and editor through her consulting company, The Word Studio. She assists a variety of organizations serving emerging leaders across Canada, including Canada Student Forums, Universities' Model Parliament, and CBMC's Corpath Initiative. She graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Simon Fraser University in 2004, and now lives with her husband Michael in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Following a gap year living in Queenstown, New Zealand and working four jobs to save for school, I completed a bachelor's in Communication, with a minor in Women's Studies from Simon Fraser University between 1999 and 2004. During that time I completed internships with Global Television, Vancouver Magazine and landed a job working as a Public Relations Casual for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which continued past graduation in April 2005. During university I rowed varsity (the daily 5am workouts remain great memories,) contributed to the student newspaper The Peak, and vigorously served as a student leader with an on-campus ministry. I began reading Comment at the close of my degree but at that time began to hear an intelligent, engaged voice emerging, one which challenged the young audience it pursued.
Today I work as a writer and editor, contributing to magazines and serving clients throughout Canada through my company, The Word Studio. I am actively engaged in the arts and cultural sectors of B.C., serving as Editor of the Arts & Cultural Guide to British Columbia. I am also working on a first work of non-fiction, volunteer my communication skills to various political campaigns and serve in a leadership role within my church. Since graduation I have undergone the immense undertaking of starting a business, got married, and today, along with my husband, help give leadership to a variety of organizations serving emerging leaders throughout Canada (Canada Student Forums, Universities' Model Parliament, CBMC's Corpath Initiative.) Comment influences my work by continuing to be a source of seasoned and emerging voices of truth. It also connects me to a community of writers and thinkers who are engaging the questions I, and my peers, are asking each other and ourselves.
Since receiving my first issue, I have been quick to recommend Comment to friends and peers because a comparable journal simply does not exist. On more than one occasion I have pulled out a copy of Comment to send home with a friend or colleague. The newer weekly e-mails sent by Comment in particular provide ongoing inspiration and passion for my work as I read of young men and women, my peers, pursuing callings in a diversity of spheres: the arts, media, business, and politics. It is in fact, partly through the reading of Comment that I have been inspired to pursue graduate studies.
Richard Lopez is a senior at Princeton University, majoring in Psychology. He is heavily involved in Manna Christian Fellowship at Princeton, and is Editor Emeritus of Revisions magazine, Princeton's only Christian publication (completely student-run). He served Revisions as editor-in-chief for several years, building a publication to encourage dialogue between Christians and non-Christians on topics from politics to science to art to literary and cultural analysis. He leads the band CaritÃ¡ (Italian for "charity"), which is heavily informed by his "wrestling (and many times impatience) with the working out of God's Redemption in a stubbornly fallen world."
I am a senior at Princeton University, majoring in psychology. I am expected to graduate in June, 2009. My research interests include social cognition and person perception, because I am constantly impressed not only by humans' adept ability to ascribe goals, intentions, and beliefs to others, but also with their perception of others' minds and how that perception affects interpersonal relations.
Regarding extracurricular activities, I am heavily involved in Manna Christian Fellowship, specifically on the Outreach Team. I am also an Editor Emeritus of and contributor to Revisions magazine, Princeton's only Christian publication (completely student-run). In addition to my involvement in Manna and Revisions, I have also volunteered as an ESL tutor for Pro-Literacy America, and, more recently, a tutor for ex-convicts at the Trenton Rescue Mission.
No matter what activity I've engaged in, whether in the classroom, in my fellowship, or in the wider public, reading Comment has greatly encouraged me to press on in making my faith relevant in all that I do. While it might seem stale or expected for me to say, "My faith affects every nook and cranny of my life," I completely mean it. Entering Princeton three years ago with a new Christian faith was exciting, but terribly daunting. While I knew that my faith had to impact the way I construed and interacted with the world, I needed guidelines, signposts and mentors to direct the hard thinking and doing of my faith-walk. Whenever I read Comment, I would always encounter a nugget of wisdom or an honest rumination from fellow Christians who, like me, were struggling to make Christ and His Sovereignty completely relevant to and operational within their specific sphere of influence.
My cultural engagement largely includes my responsibilities on the Manna outreach team. For example, in the spring of 2008, Manna hosted "GospelSpeak," a night of Christian spoken word and poetry to showcase how the Gospel has impacted all areas of Christian students' lives. In addition to "GospelSpeak," Manna hosted Princeton's first annual "Justice Run." Both events, intended to reach the wider Princeton campus, helped raise money for World Vision—specifically for a rehabilitation center for former child soldiers in Northern Uganda.
In the past several years, I also served as Editor-in-Chief for Revisions, a Christian publication that seeks to encourage dialogue between Christians and non-Christians on a slew of topics, everything from politics to science to art to literary and cultural analysis.
Most recently I've formed a band, called CaritÃ¡ (Italian for "charity"). My songwriting, while not explicitly Christian in nature (I don't aim to write praise music proper), is heavily informed by my wrestling (and many times impatience) with the working out of God's Redemption in a stubbornly fallen world. I hope to take my songwriting with me, wherever I go after my time here at Princeton. If I find myself in New York, I would love to play in coffee shops and spread a bit of truth, love, and justice through my music.
Comment affords me the opportunity to network with other like-minded Christians who value both intellectual and practical aspects of their faith. And more importantly, by being exposed to thinkers and artists to whom I can relate and from whom I can draw inspiration, my posture towards culture at large—as culture-shaper and -maker—can become more concretized and sophisticated. For example, I can pursue aesthetics in my songwriting knowing that Beauty is true and good and should be a primary goal of all artists.
I think Comment in many ways remains an untapped resource for thoughtful, Kingdom-minded Christians who wish to make and shape culture. The potential for networking and career-mentorship is barely tapped, as I feel that many Christian students across North America, if they knew about Comment, would be willing to engage with Comment-sponsored mentors and career consultants.
Unlike other publications, Comment has the ability to strengthen relationships between students and students, students and mentors, and mentors and mentors-all of whom are not necessarily bound by geography, education level, or profession/area of specialty. Comment can build bridges between people in order to mobilize culturally-savvy and Kingdom-focused individuals who are looking to bring change, justice, love, and truth to an ever-disillusioned individualistic, fatally consumerist society.