By Student Servant Leader, Libby Witte
I listen to a lot of Christian radio. Last week, though, I heard a monologue on one of my favorite stations about all of the flaws with the theory of evolution. This frustrated me. I am a person of science, and I am also a person of faith. In my mind, the two work together to create an understanding of the world.
When I was in Taize, I heard this great analogy for the relationship between faith and science. One of the monks held up two maps of France, one political and one geographical. He then asked us “so which map is true?” Well, they were both accurate, they just answered different questions.
In our Faith and Leadership conversation about faith and science, we heard from Professor Dave Bernlohr about how being a Christian informs his work in research at the University, and one of my favorite things he said was how he saw no real hardship in being a scientist and a Christian at the same time. It wasn’t a big deal to him, since he didn’t see the two as conflicting. He confessed to not being a biblical literalist, and acknowledged that people sometimes ask him questions about how the two conflict. But that sort of stuff doesn’t bother him anymore.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t ever doubted or questioned my faith (I do it all the time!) but I don’t think having strong faith means being without questions or doubts. Diving deeply into these questions about faith and science allows me to pursue an understanding of the world from many different angles. Engaging in these questions, though, does not mean giving in to some contradiction. I don’t believe faith and science are enemies. There are so many people who live in both worlds, and it is great to embrace that. Some of my friends I know through science coursework may not understand my faith, but like Dave, I don’t want to let that bother me. Faith and science are not enemies in my mind.
By Student Servant Leader, Corey Bergman
Corey here for another semester of LCM blogging. I am typing this up on an airplane returning from San Francisco where I was visiting PLTS, a seminary I might attend next year. As part of my visit I got to sit in on a class called “Evangelism”.
Before I get into what I actually want to talk about I will go on a (hopefully) brief tangent about what the term Evangelism means in a more basic sense, and what it has come to mean, or at least be associated with, in the modern discourse. Evangelism, like a lot of big church words, has its roots in the ancient Greek language it comes from the word “ϵυ” meaning good, and a form of the verb “αγγέλλω” meaning to bear a message so Evangelism means “to bear a good message”. In the world of today though Evangelism, and the people it is most generally associated with has come to mean something very different than just sharing the good news. I’m sure you’ve all seen the people on campus with the big signs telling you that you’re going to hell, or pacing and reading verses out of the bible. These people are generally known as “Evangelicals” and their way of bearing a good message has become commonly associated with the use of the word “Evangelism”.
Alright back to the class. It was the first day so instead of discussing a reading, the conversation revolved around our own personal experiences with Evangelism. In the group I was put in we had two positive and two negative examples. We started talking about the similarities, and differences between the examples. One thing we noticed is how the person who was doing the Evangelizing treated the person they were trying to evangelize. In the negative cases, we noticed that the person who was trying to do the evangelizing was treating the other person like a blank slate. By a blank slate we meant they weren’t appreciating the ideas and beliefs the person already brought into the situation. They would just try and write the way they expressed their faith onto the other person as if there wasn’t something there already. In one example the person being evangelized tried to enter into a discussion about the differences in their faith but the evangelizer backed away after realizing they couldn’t make them into what they wanted. The other way of approaching the situation was treating them as an actual person and trying to meet them where they are when bringing the “good news” of Jesus. I found this profoundly important for anyone who feels like they need to convert people into God’s Kin(g)dom. If that is your goal, remember that the person you are talking to is a person, and the Savior you are trying to emulate is the best example of meeting people where they are at, whether they are adulterers or tax-collectors he always went to them as they were and didn’t just try and change them into who he wanted them to be.
Each semester, Lutheran Campus Ministry offers a few small groups in varying topics that just about anyone can find one that interests them! Small Groups are a great chance to connect with a small group of people, grow in your faith, and have some fun together. This semester, our small group topics are:
Vocation: Discernment for the Present and Future | Wednesdays, 7pm | @ Grace
Are you unsure about what you want to do with your life? Or how you connect your faith with what you’re studying? Whether you’re a freshman picking a major, or a senior deciding what comes next, all are welcome into the conversation. This small group will be a semester of listening, to God, to ourselves and to one another…a mixture of large and small group conversation, meditation, speakers, journaling and exploring. This is led by Pastor Kate.
Get to know a small group of students well, while also diving into scripture, talking about faith and life. This is led by by an LCM Servant Leader.
Men’s Group | Thursdays, 8pm | @ University Lutheran Church of Hope (Dinkytown)
Join together with other guys to talk about faith, learn about scripture, get to know each other better, and just hang out! Co-led by LCM Outreach Intern Tim Schroeder and Brady Wilmer
Email email@example.com if you wish to join one of these small groups!
By Student Servant Leader, Libby Witte
Now that it is finally December, I look back on November with a heavy heart. In a month I normally associate with Thanksgiving and love, I was instead filled with remorse for the hatred and anger in the world. As Christians, we are called to confront injustice and acknowledge the hurt in order to improve the world. Right now, there seems to be so much injustice… how can we as Christians possibly confront all of it?
Back in November, we came together for a conversation about where our faith meets racial justice in this new age of racial tension. While we had had this event planned for months, it ended up being eerily timely with the many recent terrorist attacks, including Paris, and the death of Jamar Clark, right here, in Minneapolis.
This semester, the LCM leaders have been discussing how to tackle racial injustice. Now this may not come as a shock, but the leadership of the Lutheran Campus Ministry in Minnesota is primarily white. Being able to come out of our small group of white people and have an inter-racial conversation about race is something I find really important, and it doesn’t happen very often.
Why don’t these important conversations happen frequently? Well, maybe because it’s hard. It takes a lot of vulnerability to talk to somebody who had experienced life differently from you and be aware of any biases you may bring with you.
Initially, it was silly to hear myself and other white students try to avoid referring to people as “black” while black students tried to avoid referring to people as “white”. Here we were to talk about race… and we were too bashful to use race indicators in conversation! But once we got past the preliminary discomfort, we had built a level of trust necessary for being honest about how race affects our lives. My status as a white person gives me the ability to ignore race issues if I want to. As a white woman, I have the option to avoid these hard conversations entirely. While people of color have to face racial injustice whether they like it or not, I don’t. I can choose to not care.
This is what privilege looks like.
Talking about race is tough. It involves active displays of vulnerability and honesty and humility and empathy. But is this not what God wants for us? Aren’t we called to meet our neighbor in their hurt, and walk alongside them? Aren’t we called to stand up against all kinds of oppression? How do we call ourselves Christians if we hear cries of injustice and ignore them, because it makes us uncomfortable? And how do we, as white Christians, expect to tackle racial injustice if we don’t talk about race with people of different colors and backgrounds?
Spending an evening engaging in these questions was spectacular. But that was November. Now it’s December, and the conversation isn’t over. If I took away anything from our discussion about race, it is that not only is racial injustice real, but it is constant. If we want to see an end to the division and discrimination, we need to continue to fight for it. We cannot let the hard conversations end while the injustice continues.
It is the first week of Advent, and in this mystical time of anticipation and waiting, Lutheran Campus Ministry-Twin Cities is offering a few ways for you to get your daily dose of Advent! (aka Pastor Kate’s favorite season!!)
On our Facebook page, our staff members are offering daily Advent reflections. “Like” our pages to receive daily reminders of God’s inbreaking, indwelling love for you.
On our Instagram, we are also doing an Advent Photo-of-the-Day Devotion as a way to reflect in this season. Each day has a word inspired from scripture and we will be posting a photo that resembles that word for LCM. You can join in on the photo taking too! Below is a list of the words for each day and just use #AdventAdventuresLCMTC so the entire community can see your reflections as well.
We hope that through this season, even through the stress of finals, you can take a moment each day to breathe deeply the breath of God and be still in His presence.
Peace to you…
By Service & Social Justice Intern, Laura Castle
This is an excerpt from an Advent blog entry that I wrote during December of 2012, when I lived in a small sugar cane farming community in South Africa…
“My South African host father ministers to hundreds of men and women in the surrounding areas. He travels to each different farm in our community—all are owned and managed by white farmers who provide housing and wages for black African farm workers and their families. Most of the field work is difficult physical labor including: planting, weeding, hoeing, cutting, burning, hauling, and packing onto the trucks.
I have begun to look forward to the chilly mornings when I join my host father. We leave our house at about half past five, with a coffee mug in hand. As we travel through the foggy, mist covered dirt roads, the vast fields of sugar cane are all I can see as they create a tunnel-like effect on both sides of the road. When we arrive at the first farm, we greet the workers and I attempt to lead one of the vibrant acapella isiZulu songs that I have learned—through endless hours of listening and sounding out each word. My father then shares scripture and a message. This past week the scripture for the devotion came from Luke 2:8-12:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
In many ways, these farm workers are like the shepherds. They hardly get recognition or praise for the work they do, though it is some of the most important work in the community. These beginning stages in the fields are the start to a long production process, ensuring jobs for many South Africans. Working in a sugar cane field is viewed as one of the lowest jobs in South African society…but these workers are dedicated day after day, in order to provide for their families and communities.
And God comes to these South Africans, just like he came to the shepherds. He comes to bring them good news, and says that this joyful news of the birth of Jesus Christ is for ALL people—economic and social status aside. There is hope for each one of the farm workers I worship with during my time here. There is hope for all people in South Africa, and in the world, because of the day when the angel came to share the good news with the shepherds in the fields. In this Advent season, we live and wait in hope for the Christ who comes to ALL of us to bring everlasting joy.”
By Student Servant Leader, Corey Bergman
I had a different blog already written for this week, but I’ve decided it was inappropriate in light of the terrorist attack in Paris. I had a blog all ready to go that was full of passion, and anger towards people putting more anger into the world. There are more than 100 people dead in a series of bombings and a shooting that took place in Paris, and something tells me the people who did it had quite a bit of anger themselves.
It is for this reason that I am re-writing my blog; I just cannot put more anger into a world that is already brimming with it. Although to be honest I do not have much to say. Unfortunately at the current moment I am still speechless.
The bible says a lot of things, but it was written long ago, and words of advice on how to respond when people blow themselves up, and shoot a bunch of people are hard to find seeing as guns, and dynamite didn’t exist yet.
The only thing I can think of is that there is a little bit of God in all of us, and God is the best at bringing hope to the hopeless, joy to the saddest, and help to an impossible situation. That’s why all I can say is I hope everyone can find that little piece of them, and use it to fight all the anger, and sadness that is going around right now. Also please Pray for Paris.
By Student Servant Leader, Dana Rademacher
Since I enjoy a good brew and folk music is not-so guilty pleasure of mine, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend my Thursday night. It was our first Beer & Hymns of the year, so it was a small group, no more than 25 I reckon. But we illuminated the basement of Blarney’s with such liveliness that it felt so much fuller than that.
With the intensity of the guitar, and our deep, spirit-filled singing & clapping, we were a loud, spirited bunch. I can’t help but smile when I imagine what the fellow bar patrons thought upstairs as we belted out “Praise the Lord, I saw the light” and many other hymns that night.
Yes, the irony did strike me…we are doing church…in a bar. Definitely not something you see everyday and I’m sure the people upstairs were confused. I actually spoke with a few people who practically did a double take when I used the words “beer” and “hymns” in the same sentence.
However, I also can’t recall a time (maybe aside from our student worship pause), where I felt so much energy, spirit and vulnerability from a group of people. Plus, it was in a fun environment and I got to meet lots of other young adults from around the area!
After going to my first Beer & Hymns, I know two things for certain:
1) I will most definitely be attending our next Beer & Hymns (Nov. 12th!)
2) I love this community, but I will sadly be graduating this spring. And when I do, and depart from the Twin Cities, I will for sure be searching for a church community that embraces its young adults with fun, community building events such as this!
While you may not hear about it everyday, yes, you can do church in a bar. And yes, God still shows up there, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20).
And yes, it is awesome.