We’re so excited to announce that we’ve decided to go to Holden Village to serve, learn, play and pray together over Spring Break this year!
Dear LCM community,
I am so excited to write to you all today as part of the 2017 LCM Vision Team, which includes myself and my fearless counterparts: Jonah and Regina. Every year, three students are nominated by their fellow student leaders to identify a growing edge of our LCM community, visit another Christian community to learn about how others approach a similar issue and bring our learnings and thoughts back to our LCM community.
Identifying this growing edge was somewhat of a challenging process for us. We each had different opinions about what aspect of a community and church’s life was most important. We disagreed about what we thought was working well and what we thought could be improved. Through these challenging and hopeful conversations, one theme jumped out; that was that we all experienced our faith differently. In the end, we chose to explore differences in people’s experiences of faith and spirituality through the framework of Corrine Ware’s four spiritual types.
Most of us were first exposed to the idea of “spiritual types” at the LCM winter leader retreat last January. Through informal polling and conversation, we discovered that LCM tends to have individuals of all spiritual types but as a whole, we tend to lean more heavily toward two of the four types (more on all this in blogs to follow!). As the vision team, we settled on the question of how LCM might make space for people of all types to feel welcome and fulfilled; and how can we as individuals grow by stepping outside our comfort zones and walking alongside those who experience their faith differently than ourselves?
In pursuit of this question, we will be journeying to the island of Iona in Scotland to spend a week with the Iona Christian community, established at a former abbey and monastery. We chose this community because it is comprised of members who live on the island as well as a network of members around the globe who are committed to living their lives following the principles of the group. The community embraces mystery, pioneers new music and ways of worshipping, and is committed to putting their faith in action in the public square. We are so excited to learn from this community about how we might build a community which can hold diverse spiritual needs, and kinds of religious expression.
Stay tuned at this blog to hear more about how we’re growing and learning as individuals, as well as our hopes and dreams for the formation of our 2017-18 LCM Community at the U!
By Julie Wall
In keeping with our values of service, justice, curiosity, and integrity, LCM-TC is headed to Albuquerque, NM to serve and learn alongside the Pueblos of New Mexico, and the indigenous people who have lived there for millennia. We hope to extend the learning of our student vision team about how spirituality, art and culture contribute to resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
We understand this as an extension of who we are as a community of faith, and hope that if you decide to spend your spring break learning and serving with LCM, you’ll also engage with our racial justice work on campus, and that you’ll participate in learning about Native issues in the North both before and after our time together in Albuquerque (we’ll do this together, no worries!).
We’ll spend 5 nights in Albuquerque during spring break (March 11-16), and the total cost to you will be your plane ticket (right now they’re running $400-$550), and a $50 deposit. The sign up deadline is January 30th, but there is a 15 person cap, and plane tickets are likely to go up quickly.
Peace to you today…
In late May, I had the amazing opportunity to take a pilgrimage with Lutheran Campus Ministry to the monastic village of Taizé in France. (See Pastor Kate’s blog here!). While this community is known around the world for numerous things, such as their beautiful prayer services and the Brothers themselves, one thing that I particularly grew to love while at Taizé was their limited use of technology and the internet, and how that helped me take a break from the world and find peace after coming from such a hectic semester.
I’m actually surprised how relaxing and freeing it was to be completely disconnected from the outside world because I am such an internet junkie; just about anyone can tell you how much I love social media or how I reference random Youtube videos all the time.
Even when I’m travelling and I have the rare opportunity to set down my phone and be thousands of miles away from my stressful, sometimes chaotic life, I don’t let myself get away from it all and just be.
This lead me to be a little worried about the low tech aspect of Taizé that I had heard so much about because I am so dependent on it. Yet, it also made me excited to leave my stressors behind and just have a week focused on faith (which truth be told was something I really needed).
While at Taizé, I didn’t use my phone for an entire week. There wasn’t cell service, so I wasn’t texting or calling somebody every few minutes. There wasn’t WiFi surrounding the village, so no easy access to Facebook or email. (In fact, if you wanted to use the internet, you had to be quite methodical about it and buy a Wi-Fi card. Then, you had to go to a specific area of Taizé which was the only deemed Wi-Fi zone).
The first night was admittedly difficult because I’m so used to scrolling through my phone at night. But after that, I was thrilled to be rid of my phone and internet; I didn’t even once think about going to buy a Wi-Fi card.
At Taizé, I met so many amazing people that I have now become friends with from all over the world and the best part about interacting with them was that none of us were distracted by our phones. When I would talk with someone, there wasn’t a screen in front of our faces the entire time; we would just talk, pure human interaction. This unhindered communication allowed us to really open up and get to know one another in an extremely fast and deep way, which is nearly impossible to replicate back in the States with technology so readily at our fingertips.
Yes, technology is fantastic and technology is actually what is helping me keep these great Taizé friendships thriving. But we need to remember on a daily basis not to let it own us; our phone is just a hunk of plastic and we have the power to turn it off for an hour, or even a day, to get some alone time.
It is also worth remembering that there are few things greater than having a face to face, in-person conversation with somebody and we should try our best to not let our phones get in the way of building those relationships. I truly believe we see God through interacting with others, and when we use our technology to put up a wall between us and the other or to distract ourselves from the world, we aren’t being fully present on this earth and we aren’t being fully present with God.
As stated before, I am a self-proclaimed internet lover and I’m not looking to give it up anytime soon. But after coming home from Taizé, I am continuing to make efforts to curb my usage of it, like by turning off my phone while I pray, leaving it in my purse when hanging out with a friend or just listening to the sounds of the city when walking home from work, instead of blasting music. It’s hard to pull yourself away sometimes, but when I do, I feel so refreshed and not as overwhelmed by the busyness of life.
It’s amazing the beautiful, normal, everyday things you can miss while being sucked in by technology; I want to intentionally choose to miss out on less of these things.
I recently traveled to the ecumenical monastic community in Taize, France (called “Taize”) with LCM’s small student vision team. This community is fascinating for a number of reasons; it’s most known for it’s contemplative worship and music, and it’s also a point of pilgrimage for hundreds if not thousands of young adults across the world EACH week. Most interesting and inspiring to me, however, is its inception as a place of reconciliation –a community born in a call to respond to the Jewish refugee crisis in 1940 – and the way that community lives out it’s call to reconciliation now.
One of the ways the brothers of Taize support this ministry is by selling pottery. I purchased this beautiful blue chalice and paten (cup and plate) to be used for communion, and shared by LCM and the community of Grace University Lutheran Church (see above). All sorts of beautiful metaphors were stirring in my mind. And then, despite carrying it on, and lugging it on trains, buses and planes, on the way home it chipped. Which was deeply disappointing to me. After some thought, however, I decided to save the plate, and use it anyway.
What a more fitting tribute to our shared humanity, our brokenness as individuals, and the way we are gathered together as Christ’s body.
Our community at LCM has long prided itself as being a place of theological and political diversity, and this year we struggled with how to live that out. There was some discord, and some division, We are, as humans and human community, almost always in need of reconciliation. We own that.
And we also proclaim that it’s into those chipped vessels, those broken places, and those cracks that God’s light shines, with power and purpose.
The team of students that traveled to Taize was called by their peers to explore a Christian community different than our own. They were also charged with bringing back and integrating those learnings into our community. After we left Taize, we spent a good chunk of our (one!) day in Paris reflecting on our year as a community, and what we might bring back so that LCM can continue growing into a thriving, generative community that bears witness to God’s love on campus.
We talked for a long time about theological diversity, what it means to claim a particular theology and still make room for difference, how we’re all (as in ALL of us) still figuring out how to do that well, and how we can to that better in the coming year. Going into our broken places is hard, and without this trip, I doubt we would have had time and space for this conversation.
We don’t yet have the answers, but again, Taize may have something to teach us. When asked about their mission of reconciliation and how they live that out, Brother Emille said that they “trust, and pray.” While that honestly seemed to be a bit naïve to me at first, when faced with our own situation it seems like the best way to proceed; trusting in God and our community that we’ll work together to bind up the broken pieces, and rooting ourselves in prayer as our starting point. I pray that it’s as simple, and as complicated, and as deep as that.
In Anthem, Leonard Cohen croons,
“Ring the bell
that still can ring.
Your perfect offering.
There is a crack
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
This chip, this crack, in our paten/plate will continue to remind me of our time at Taize, and our striving to experience reconciliation. In the meantime, we also trust and pray that God shows up in our cracks, shining so much light and beauty and hope into our lives, into your lives, and into this world.
May it be so.
LCM is doing a stay-cation of sorts for spring break 2015. We are going to spend some time playing learning and serving right here in the Twin Cities!
Are you looking for a way to make a difference this Spring Break? Do you feel called to be the change you wish to see in the world, right here where you live?
Then this Alternative Spring Break is for you! We’ll 1/3 of our time serving in the Phillips area (working with Community Emergency Service), 1/3 of our time reflecting on faith, justice, and sharing our stories with each other, and 1/3 of our time playing in the metro area.
Our hope is that each participant is outside of his/her comfort zone, and well within his/her comfort zone at some point within these five days; and that all people experience the growth that comes from taking risks in community!
Check out this cool poster for more details: Spring Break 2015
To sign up RSVP on our facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/609735189155438/
If you have any questions please contact me, Colleen Maki, Intern for Service and Social Justice via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God’s peace to you on this day!
It has been 2 weeks since the retreat, and I am back into barely having time to eat, sleep or pee. I am very excited to graduate soon and restore order that factors in being able to simply BE with God. When 3 classes, 3 practicum theatre credits, a senior project, two jobs, and a substantial social life leave me gasping for air trying to find time to breathe, I find myself chanting 2 MORE MONTHS internally. Part of me wishes I had the will to slow down and spread out the last year of my college experience another semester, but most of me is desperate and excited to be done. Pretty much every aspect of my life is going to be up in the air after I graduate. I am not sure where I’ll live, what I’ll do, if my relationship will carry on through the transitions…what I do know is that I have a lot of options which is something to be grateful for. I am waiting to hear back about a job as a flight attendant, and if I do not receive that job I will move to L.A. to continue acting and modeling, hopefully on a larger scale. If I DO get the Delta Airlines job, I might be based in a Spanish-speaking country, but I would begin in January with 2 months of training in Atlanta. For now I am focusing on completing my degree and enjoying my blessings. The retreat reminded me that moments of peace turn out to be the best moments of life. Many people describe their goals as “I want to do this…” “I want to go here…” “I want to buy this…” My goal is to reach a point of stability where I can sit. I want to sit. That’s all. Idleness allows me to eagerly respond to and embrace opportunities that come my way. Today was a beautiful day–t shirt weather if you’re out moving in the world. My boyfriend Sam, my dog Tigger, and I walked down by the river, and then we (the 3) went to a sushi place. Remembering Sabbath and taking rest rejuvenated me and I feel ready, although not eager, for another busy week. Little things help me persevere through this crazy schedule and daunting amount of responsibility of completing my degree. The Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder during rushing bicycle rides to say, “Hey! Look at the trees. Aren’t the changing colors magnificent? Isn’t God’s glorious creation wonderful?” A thoughtful friend sends me a funny picture to bring me down to earth from the constant feeling that I am fighting my own battle. Random communications from family and friends remind my that although my story has a lot to it right now, I am not alone, and everyone else has their own story too. This sensation of realizing how tiny you are, and how all the tiny details that apply to your life; Every other person of the billions has that many tiny details wrapped up inside them as well: that’s called sonder. The feeling of sonder overwhelms me as I am remembering all these times I have to be many places to do many things and I see so many people around me on this bustling campus with the same robotic agenda. I think about how unnatural it is to be expected to be at the same place, at the same time, every other day for weeks. Not exactly a huge burden or obstacle to triumph over, no. But considering how fluid our minds and moods and bodies are, and how they are constantly responding to infinite changes in the world around us…isn’t it pretty wacky how we all have such strictly mapped calendars? I gotta say, I don’t think God planned for humanity to behave in this way. He made sun-up and sundown, and we’ve over evaluated those guidelines and calculated them down to the markers known as seconds. I remember a time I planned out going to this dance at school in high school. I had a set group of girls, I knew what I was going to wear, etc. When the dance was approaching, I thought to myself, “I don’t really FEEL like going to a dance right now.” I followed that instinct and stayed home and played keyboard by myself in my basement. It might sound silly that I chose that activity that I can really do anytime when I have free time over going to a dance that would only happen once, but I don’t really regret it. I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Seems like the natural order to me. Our bodies and brains can be mediums for God to use to speak to us. If we are feeling tired, God is saying, “Get some rest.” If we get a cold, God is saying, “You are over-expending yourself. Cut back.” If we feel stuffed, God is saying “You are being gluttonous.” If we feel ashamed, God is saying, “That was not the right thing to do.” The problem is most people have their life set on overdrive and don’t have the time, patience, or awareness to hear these calls from God. The retreat, and any time I can find a sense of retreat within my life are the times when I can get reconnected with hearing God’s voice. http://vimeo.com/user7278324/sonder
For those of you who may not have heard, the LCMers took a pilgrimage of sorts to Holden Village over spring break. Holden is a Christian retreat center tucked away in the North Cascades in central Washington. The village receives most of its guests in the summer months, but a small community remains year-round to enjoy and maintain the village.
We spent our week at Holden helping out with whatever work needed to be done around the village, which included installing plumbing, doing housekeeping work, cooking, garbage duty, shoveling, peeling logs, etc.
In our free time, we ate, went hiking and snowshoeing, ate, worshiped, ate, enjoyed the sauna, and ate some more!
One of the unique aspects of Holden is the emphasis placed on rest, on leisure, on enjoying those basic things in life which are easy to overlook in today’s society. Many of us were reminded of how life-giving it is to slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the life God has given each of us.
After a few days of this relaxed, stress-free lifestyle, you can imagine how sad we all were to leave this sanctuary of tranquility. The idea of returning to our hectic lives as students was hard to imagine. How could we possibly leave this calm, restful place and go back to the stress of college life?
After about a week of being back on campus with all the bustle and obligations, I realized that the peace we experienced at Holden wasn’t locked away in the mountains. It wasn’t the physical environment, but rather the intention that allowed us to find rest and enjoy life. We can experience a similar – if not less extreme – life of peace simply by setting aside the time to do so. By intentionally creating a time and space for those life-giving, breathtaking moments, we can all experience life the way God meant us to.