As the son of two Lutheran pastors, I literally grew up in churches. I remember antagonizing my brother one Sunday, resulting in him slapping me in the middle of my mom’s sermon. Yet, the ladies in our congregation still gave us pie that Sunday afternoon. In that moment, I learned that God’s abundant mercy and grace can be seen in people, too.
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.
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.
Welcome back to all of our current students and a special welcome to our incoming freshmen! It’s hard to believe that the start of another great school year is just around the corner. I hope you’ve had an enjoyable and restful summer and are ready to start off the 2014-2015 school year!
Freshmen, you are just days away from the start of the next chapter of your life. Some of you may be traveling from miles and miles away, while others of you will only be a few minutes from home. Before you know it you will be moving into your dorms, meeting your roommate and the others on your floor, getting acquainted with campus, and starting your first college classes. Whether this anticipation brings you a sense of excitement, nervousness, or a bit of both, we are excited to welcome you all to campus, and hope that you all find Lutheran Campus Ministry to be the welcoming community that we all have experienced.
As a freshman last year, I found my first few weeks on campus to be more of a change than I had expected. I was living away from home for the first time, meeting more people than I could keep track of, trying to figure out what all I was going to be involved in, and figuring out how to keep all of my class syllabi straight. After a busy welcome week and first couple days of classes, I was so relieved to attend the Wednesday night Pause service at Grace Lutheran Church. I immediately found myself surrounded by several very friendly and welcoming college students and it already felt as if I were right at home.
Lutheran Campus Ministry is a community of hospitality. We are excited to welcome in new faces, get to know people individually, be curious, ask questions, discuss openly, and grow both individually and as a community. We worship together at Pause almost every Wednesday night at 9 pm at Grace Lutheran Church, beginning the first week of school. I would love to see you all there!
Good luck with the start of your freshman year and know that you’re always welcome at Lutheran Campus Ministry. I look forward to meeting you all this coming year!
If you would like more information on how to get involved with Lutheran Campus Ministry – Twin Cities please contact email@example.com