Religious Personal Statement...PLEASE HELP!!

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laotze
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Re: Religious Personal Statement...PLEASE HELP!!

Postby laotze » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:13 pm

akg144 wrote:My Christian faith defines me, but you've got to realize that a Muslim, Jew or militant atheist might be reading this and consciously (or unconsciously) discriminate against you because of your faith.


For instance, a person might casually single out a particular religious/non-religious group to identify for "militantism" ;)

akg144
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:56 am

Re: Religious Personal Statement...PLEASE HELP!!

Postby akg144 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:13 pm

laotze wrote:
akg144 wrote:My Christian faith defines me, but you've got to realize that a Muslim, Jew or militant atheist might be reading this and consciously (or unconsciously) discriminate against you because of your faith.


For instance, a person might casually single out a particular religious/non-religious group to identify for "militantism" ;)


I love all people -- Buddhists, Muslims, Sikh's, Christians, Jews, athiests, agnostics, you name it -- not singling any1 out, got love for everybody :)

wlee1220
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:45 am

Re: Religious Personal Statement...PLEASE HELP!!

Postby wlee1220 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:06 am

akg144 wrote:
laotze wrote:
akg144 wrote:My Christian faith defines me, but you've got to realize that a Muslim, Jew or militant atheist might be reading this and consciously (or unconsciously) discriminate against you because of your faith.


For instance, a person might casually single out a particular religious/non-religious group to identify for "militantism" ;)


I love all people -- Buddhists, Muslims, Sikh's, Christians, Jews, athiests, agnostics, you name it -- not singling any1 out, got love for everybody :)


Lol damn, that's not what I want to do at all. I got love for everybody and I'm really not trying to offend anyone. I'm going to post my other statement tomorrow and see what people think.

All I'm trying to communicate is that I get my sense of social justice from my faith tradition, and that's why I'm going into law. I didn't want to go into specifics about how particular aspects of my Christian faiths formed my thoughts because I didn't want to appear like a fanatic.

wlee1220
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:45 am

Re: Religious Personal Statement...PLEASE HELP!!

Postby wlee1220 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:19 am

nugnoy wrote:Personal notes
1. I think religion is fine the way you're handling it. The key to appear reasonable and not religious is to introduce religion concisely, then quickly show your "doubt/reservation/questioning" stage. Basically, focus on your reaction to religion and coming to peace with it, not on the initial faith or blind adherence to it. I think OP does a pretty good job in not sounding religious, although I'm sure a better writer than me could concretely improve the essay in this respect.
2. I read your entire original and commented on it. Then when I came to post my comments, I realized you had done 2 rewrites -. -. This experience taught me that maybe if I have done a rewrite, I should somehow prevent newer proofreaders from analyzing my original draft. I'd probably take the original down, since it's not crucially relevant, and write that there's a rewrite in a later post.



1. "Yet I relish...But I love..." The contrasting "but" isn't that necessary. Yet and But back to back feels repetitive.

2. You don't define "one" anymore, so it just seems kinda hanging.

3. wondering how others can feel your joy sounds pompous. And it doesn't make that much sense to me. Are you saying your neighbors should not be able to feel the same joy but they do?

Maybe they don't feel it, so wondering how they feel do feel it seems out of place. After reading your initial draft, I feel like I know where you're going, but I don't feel this is the best way to express it.

4. Since you didn't express your faith at all, it makes little sense to say "other, less obtrusive ways." Instead, "I realized that there IS a way to express my faith" may be more appropriate.

5. Sickened has sort of a bad connotation to me. My personal suggestion is to consider a different word like horrified.

6. Debris and human waste are unclear. I thought "human waste" would be human feces. But after reading "left BY maintenance" I'm not sure. Did the maintenance urinate/take a dump in the stairwell corners?

smaller note, countertops covered with mold and wet sheetrock littered throughout don't give me a strong impression. This is where you might benefit from using maybe 60% of the strength of a word like "sicken" - connotations like graphic or disgusting.

7. There are so many contrasting conjunctions. #1 above in intro, and also in the heartbroken paragraph, there is 1 contrasting conjunction every 2 sentences, with 3 howevers. Try to make the writing less twist-and-turn-y, and consider other words like "unfortunately."

8. Afford the fees they estimated/assessed/appraised is more precise and appropriate than envisioned if the nonprofit actually tried to calculate/estimate the cost. Did the nonprofit literally just imagine the cost would be large?

9. Confront the powers necessary to bring meaningful change? Don't you want to bring about meaningful change? So you wouldn't want to confront it. You'd want to embrace/use/utilize/harness it.

10. advocate for the least of these? What does "these" refer to? competent lawyers ? uphill battles? Former doesn't make sense. The latter is just too far from "these."

11. Shouldn't be predetermined based on the color of their skin? Where is this from? Nothing I've read relates to skin color. If you want to tie this into the people/families from 4th paragraph, you need to make it clear their lives were forced on them because of the color of their skin.

12. constitutes my team's lived experiences. I think it's just bad way to express what you want to say

13. I think the last sentence is the core of what ties your essay into law. But right now it's placed very abruptly and awkwardly ("I want X" is not the best last sentence imo). Also, it doesn't give a nice, warm, finishing feeling for me.

14. Backtracking a bit, you gained small victories in an effort for a rich slumlord to save face? What? Do you mean you won because you wanted to save the reputation of a rich slumlord? Or because the rich slumlord wanted to save his own reputation? It's not clear to me from this whose effort it was and why this would help you win.

Edited bolded parts...typos


Thanks man. I decided to just replace my OP with this rewrite to try to make it easier on people. I appreciate your critique and will use your advice when I go to rewrite again. I wanted to write more specifically about certain elements of my Christian experience and how they influenced my thinking, but I didn't want to come off too strong.

wlee1220
Posts: 202
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:45 am

Re: Religious Personal Statement...PLEASE HELP!!

Postby wlee1220 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:44 am

This is my latest and probably last version of this statement I will post online. Once again, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.

If familiarity breeds contempt, there is nothing I should hate more than church. Having grown up in a deeply religious family and spending most of my formative years in church, I am at a point where I can predict every moment of the service when I attend. Yet I actually relish the sameness of it all. I love my pastor’s messages most, messages that speak to people emboldened by faith who challenged political and social institutions, spoke truth to power, and triumphed over pervasive forces designed to maintain the status quo. His sermons communicated that with faith, determination, and hard work; anyone could break unjust shackles, lift heavy burdens and uproot evil institutions.

However, neither my church nor my pastor’s sermons seemed to translate into my life outside of church. As we walked out each Sunday, it was as if the community surrounding the church proclaimed an altogether different message, one that declared that matters of religious preference were best not shared in the company of others. I struggled to find ways to practice my faith in a neighborhood so marred with the constant realities of being tossed aside, marginalized, and oppressed. I didn’t want to be known as that religious fanatic or the one that was always bringing God into every conversation without being sensitive to the views of others. So I grew up believing but never sharing, thinking that issues of faith were too delicate to share without offending the sensibility of others.

This struggle continued as I began my work as a community organizer for a multi-faith based nonprofit. When I first came to work, I was assigned to a resident based team to help initiate a campaign that would bring local attention to the activities transpiring within their apartment complex. I was familiar with the complex, but warned to never go near the apartments because of the reputation of the people that resided there. But as I walked the halls and visited the apartments of residents I would work with, my fear and apprehension quickly turned into disgust. I had never seen sights so sickening in my life: apartments where you could would be too scared to hold a conversation out because of the stench emanating from heating ducts; wet, molded sheetrock littered throughout the living room from a decaying ceiling; rotted kitchen countertops infested with mold and fungi; human feces left in hallway corners despite the janitorial staff’s supposed daily cleanings.

What disturbed me more than the sights were the people I met that were forced to live under these conditions. These weren’t lazy criminals and welfare queens as others had described them to me; these were honest, hard-working people that struggled to maintain healthy, close-knit families in the midst of indescribable chaos. I met single mothers who worked multiple jobs but were stuck living there because they could not fathom where else they could go with their tight budget. I spoke with men who lost their jobs where this complex was the only thing that separated them from sleeping on street corners and bus stations. These people definitely deserved better.

Still, it seemed that despite our best organizing efforts, we could not seem to make any meaningful progress. We came to a decision that we would be more effective if we had a lawyer advocate our cause in court. However, my nonprofit was unwilling to wage a legal war with a slumlord and I was told that the team would have to bear the costs for legal representation themselves. Realizing that they couldn’t afford the fees they envisioned it would cost to sustain a long battle with the rich slumlord, the team went to visit two local legal aid clinics. The clinics, however, would not accept them as clients due to short-staffing and backlogged cases.

Disheartened, but unwilling to quit, the team continues to press on. But I continue to wrestle with the setbacks that we faced fighting for change. Sure, we would gain small victories here and there, in an effort for a rich slumlord to save face. But without legal counsel that shared their resolve and knew how to confront the powers necessary to bring meaningful change, any campaign would be an uphill battle at best. My experience reaffirmed, in my mind, the need for competent lawyers, undergirded with a strong moral foundation, who would advocate for the least of these.

I came to realize that practicing my faith means incorporating the values and the morals I learned in those sermons into my daily life. My faith tells me that it is inherently wrong for someone to profit off the misery of others. My faith teaches me that it is the responsibility of those who claim the faith to challenge unjust political and social institutions, speak truth to power, and fight the pervasive forces designed to maintain a status quo where the success of a few is contingent on the failure of many. I want to practice law to do my small part to help create more equitable work situations, which in turn will give people the ability to escape the horrid conditions that constitutes my team’s lived experiences. In this way, I can practice my faith without proselytizing, without passing out tracts, and without offending people of different faith traditions. As I think back to those Sunday mornings at church, I can still hear those church mothers singing hymns of Zion; I can still feel the passion as the deacons pray and travail; and I can sense the jubilation of those who dance and leap in celebration. This is how they choose to express their faith. I want my life outside of church to serve as my expression of faith.




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