Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"What does practicing resurrection mean to you?"

"What does practicing resurrection mean to you?"...This is tricky. While writing our covenant we searched long and hard for something to counterbalance, “We practice resurrection,” looking carefully for a phrase that recognizes the uncertainty that comes implicit in faith. It isn’t that I don’t want to practice resurrection or am completely incapable of ever doing so; the issue is that I’m not sure what it even looks like. Hence, “we don’t know what will be.” I shuffle between the two on a daily basis, at times feeling absolutely rooted in the truth of Christ and his resurrection while at others feeling completely isolated and alone, stuck in a system that emphasizes doubt and uncertainty above all. But resurrection remains even when I can’t see it, and that’s the beauty of it all. Practicing resurrection is practicing a heartfelt and others-focused search for the Lord. Maybe some day I’ll be able to answer the question after having found and embraced Him with all that I have, but for now the search is all I’ve got. Practicing resurrection is looking for Jesus in the faces of peers, faculty, friends, family, and the woman who comes knocking on my back door at 2:00am looking for food. Practicing resurrection is looking for a beautiful, simple truth underneath the layers of muck that surround me. I might not find it all the time, but that’s why it’s a practice. Some day I’ll be better.

-Evans Lodge
ABSL Natural Sciences & Math

Friday, November 15, 2013

on beauty.

The English 395: Senior Seminar curriculum attempts to cover all the major questions of the discipline: the right use of language, ethical limits on writing, the nature of knowledge, what counts as literature, hermeneutics, the high brow. This week, we've been talking about beauty.

Elaine Scarry, professor of Aesthetics at Harvard, wrote our text: a short treatise called On Beauty and Being Just. Beauty, she argues, has ethical significance. It matters for how we live in the world. Beauty prompts us toward justice.

Beauty is preexistent; it is in the world without any action on the part of humankind. It does not rely on us for its being; we may create beauty, but we are "only collaborators in a much vaster project," which sounds a lot like shalom to me.

"Beauty is a call," available to our sensory perception in a way justice is not, characterized by symmetry, and generously present to all people at almost all times. When we experience it, we undergo what Scarry calls "radical de-centering." We are surprised into giving up our imaginary position at the center of the world and following the motion of beauty toward a presence beyond our own, which Scarry doesn't call Christ, but I do. Confronted with beauty, we are humbled. We are moved to create. And we are moved toward creating justice that mimics the equality and generosity of beauty. Beauty is a single mark that we are not entirely selfish creatures; we wish to protect even paintings we will never see and mountains we may never visit.

The book's philosophical underpinnings were widely debated in capstone this morning, but all of us were moved, and this in a class brimming with opinionated writers, linguists, philosophers, historians, marketers and poets. We approached the conversation with the strange, compelling reverence native to art museums and cathedrals. Beauty matters, and we had been reminded.

In gray days of paper-writing and coffee-drinking, on mornings when I am late for school or forget my lunch, on long evenings in a cold house, I am reminded to look for beauty and to practice it. I will be generous with myself and with others and the world, and I will create justice in response to loveliness that bids me "attend to the aliveness of our world." I am blessed to know a beautiful God, who calls me to this.

[katie van zanen]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Love the Lord. Love the world. Practice Ressurection

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, by Wendell Berry, is one of the pieces that inspired this year's Service-Learning Center covenant. It is definitely worth reading and reflecting on.
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
-Wendell Berry

"Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection."

Kelsey Stark
Communications Coordiantor

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Power of His Resurrection

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection..." Philippians 3:10

As of late I have been thinking more about heaven. What would it be like if everything was perfect?  Not the worldly definition of perfect, but God's definition of perfect.  In trying to practice resurrection, and live out our staff covenant, I've been thinking a lot about what it would be like if everything was resurrected. Philippians 3:10 starts, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection..."  Think about it, the power that resurrected Christ is in us through his Holy Spirit. The power that resurrected his dead, still body back into heaven, and onto his throne lives in us.

Realizing this has led me many places.

This semester I have been realizing my weaknesses...things that, personally, I cannot see myself ever completely overcoming in this life.  However, understanding that the power of Christ's resurrection lives in me and works with me in my weakness is overwhelming.  This great power meets up with my weakness and completely takes over... so that each time I fall feels like a "mini resurrection."

In the context of community we can unite in this power, joining together to create one whole.
In the context of service we can wholeheartedly give, and realize that even our smallest steps towards justice matter.
In the context of learning we can fully open our hearts to others, the way that Christ did.
and in the context, we can see and participate in resurrection and the coming of His Kingdom.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection..." Philippians 3:10

Kelsey Stark
Communications Coordinator