Post modern callings blog 2

Describe

    Dorothy Sayers was a writer in the 20th century.  Sayers used the example of an artist, who “lives to work,” to create. The work is not primarily done in leisure. Yet, work is what gives an artist life, sometimes literally.  Just as God has created humans not because He was required to, but because He had the desire to, humankind works in the same way to create and give meaning to life because we were created in His image.

Sayers talks about the intolerable leisure of her day through the invention and use labor saving technology. She defines an individual’s leisure time as,  “The entertainment to which we passively listen, the game we can watch without taking part in it, the occupation, however meaningless, which one can relieve us from the trouble of thinking” (409-410). For example, an individual’s choice to “painlessly kill the time we have saved” through today’s entertainment and one’s ability to watch a game “without taking part in it” were frowned upon by Sayers, but she may approve an individual’s choice to learn how to sew (409-410).

Interpret

    In Dorothy Sayers’ time, the leisure time and work mentioned above allows those who work in the factories to find meaning in life through active, creative work. But for the artist “there is no distinction between work and living.” When one finds a job he or she enjoys, they will not work a day in their life. In conclusion, work can be a job or a calling. God has given humans many gifts including the gift to create. God may be calling a person in many different directions outside of an occupation.

Evaluate

    Through the reflection and class discussion of Dorothy Sayers’ view point on “leisure time”, I have concluded that I do not fully agree with what she said. I agree that, just as God created humans, humankind has the same desire to create. Through new creations and inventions, the definition and use of “leisure time” has changed. Today, leisure time can be described as productive time to pick up new hobbies or to be a time to relax, like a stereotypical college student laying in a hammock under the sun. However, leisure time has become an experience to side-step real world experiences and interaction, “to eat away at life,” and to result in boredom.

Callings: Post Modern 1

Describe
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was a priest in the church of England and a professor at Oxford University. A member of the “Oxford movement,” he eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, a rare choice in the nineteenth century. He wrote Divine Calls to explain the callings God has given to people from the Bible and the response that should be given, which is obedience to God. Newman also answered how we hear the call of God: “In this and such like ways Christ calls us now. There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in His dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life” (Callings 346). The Divine Calls relates to the Honors course this semester to remind each student that God calls His people in multiple ways through volunteering, hobbies, and other situations to glorify Him, obey Him, and fulfill His calling for us.

Interpret
Some questions that were raised about vocation in Newman’s time were: how do I simply live as a Christian? John Henry Newman states that people have the opportunity to be obedient to the calling of God to be a Christian and that He calls people in multiple ways.

Evaluate
During the Bible Studies at jail, women understand that God calls them to follow Him. Some women were born Christians, called into baptism, fell away, and are seeking God again while incarcerated. John Henry Newman states that God calls us through our natural facilities and circumstances multiple times. Some women have confessed to have forgotten God while living on the streets and allow Him to enter their hearts once again in jail. I have learned that when faced with temptation, it can be easy to forget God. However, the women in jail devote their lives to Him to ease the transition back into society and remain sober through the work of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives.

Callings Reformation week 4

Describe

The Honors class is focusing on serving others who are in need this semester. The Honors class talked about Martin Luther and his explanation that grace comes down from God to humankind as a free gift. Through Christ, the relationship that was mended with God now reaches to human’s relationships with one another. Christ is the transformative piece, gives Christians the opportunity to serve one another and serve Christ through vocations and occupations. William Law transfers this Lutheran language into the phrase,  “giving glory to God”. William Law’s writing, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, focuses on how one can glorify God. During his life, William Law refused the oath of allegiance to the king of England and was unable to serve as a pastor or professor in England. Furthermore, he did not have a job at this time and saw overworking as a sin like gluttony and drunkenness. William Law explained that in all things, at all times, people should work for the glory of God. This glorifying of God can reach outside one’s occupation, by living a life that is pleasing to God and praising Him.

Interpret

Many people today are worried about how to serve God in the secular world. However, William explains that people can apply his or her occupation and every day living to glorify God, whether it be eating, praising and thanking God for what He has provided us, or living in a Christ-like manner by being kind to one another. Although William Law uses very monastic language, today we can understand his monastic driven influence as a way to devote his time in the Word and prayer. In the same way, we have the opportunity to devote our lives to Christ to not be of the world, but to prepare and grow through the Word, sacraments, and prayer as we enter the world.

Evaluate

At my service learning site, I mostly make resumes and help people find jobs, but I almost never directly speak the Gospel to people. I know my actions speak the Gospel, but if the Word is not heard, then am I actually proclaiming the good news? There is this tension of proclaiming the Gospel and living out a Christ-like life that I am facing at my project agency. I am trying to recognize which is better and how to facilitate both in my interactions with others. However, William Law reminds me that I can glorify God through my volunteering and that the Gospel is being shared through my actions. I am giving Bibles to men before they leave and they willingly visit Crossing Home, knowing that it is a Christian non-profit organization to receive free assistance without any expectation of compensation.

God’s general calling for me is to glorify Him, according to William Law, but His particular calling for me is to work in Christian ministry and be a future church worker. Right now, my particular calling is to be a student, a volunteer, a Resident Assistant, and a musician. In all that I do, I glorify and praise God for the talents that He has given me, and through my conversations with others the Gospel predominates. I also serve God through my family life. I glorify God and bring praises back to Him by thanking Him for my family, which supports me and provides for me. I serve my family by working on campus jobs, so I can help my family pay for my tuition here at college. I also serve my family by getting a good education and working for my education to make sure that I am not wasting the opportunity I have been given to further my knowledge and potential in life.

Callings Reformation

Describe

In England, during the 17th century, kings and queens would switch the national religion from Catholicism and Protestant. The constant switch between religions resulted in the Civil War in England and caused many people to rebel and flee for religious freedom. At this time, many reformers discovered new ideas and redefined the roles of occupation, vocation, and theological topics. One of the more moderate voices of the time, who sought compromise, was George Herbert (209).

George Herbert wrote The Temple, or The Country Parson. His work talked about the roles of a pastor and the role of the common people to live out a life that is pleasing to Christ and use their occupation to fulfill vocation. George Herbert’s excerpted in Callings included three chapters. Chapter 32: The Parson’s survey  stated that idleness is a disease that causes one to stumble and fall away. He also mentioned that one can please God and incorporate Him in all facets of life. The Honors class incorporates Christ in many, if not all, subjects that are learned. The Gospel predominates in the Honors classroom to illustrate to the students that Christ can be incorporated in classes (or future occupations) to glorify Him in science, math, technology, or art. The Honors class also gives students the opportunity to attend convocations, recitals, conferences, and plays. These events facilitate the fulfillment of the calling the Honors class has to be active, busy, and supportive students.

Interpret

George Herbert’s writing was not clear and caused many students to feel uneasy about his writing. However, he was telling his audience and the contemporary audience that one can serve God in whatever task he or she is being called to. Half of the Honors class is planning on working in a secular setting after graduation. George Herbert would say that having these occupations are acceptable, and Christ can still be incorporated in the workplace. He wrote in Chapter 32: The Parson’s Survey, the more an individual makes, the more he or she can give to the poor. As Christians, we are called to love God. He wants us to put our talents and gifts to good use. However, as George Herbert would state, idleness is a disease that causes people to stumble in his or her faith. To avoid idleness today, we can read the Bible, pray, go to church, and participate in a devotion. These exercises of the faith help us grow and stay busy in God’s Word. It makes us stronger so that, in all that we do, we can incorporate Christ in our lives to spread the good news.

Evaluate

George Herbert had some good insight that helps Christians who plan on working in a secular setting to bring their riches and service to God by helping others. A personal insight I gained was preparing for a calling. At my service site in the Washington County jail, women sit idly waiting to get out and be discharged. Some women sit around not exercising physically, spiritually, or mentally. However, the women who attend the Bible studies say every week that they read the Bible, pray, participate in devotions, and share the love of Christ with one another. Although they are idle, sitting in jail without an occupation, I believe the women are being called to prepare themselves through the contemplative life to strengthen their faiths before reentering society.

As a student, I can relate to the women in jail in that aspect of preparation. I believe God is calling me to become a Director of Christian Education, but in the meantime, God is preparing me to read the Bible, pray, do devotions, and go to Bible studies. As Lutherans, we know our vocation stretches to all areas of our life, even familial. Some of my family does not believe in God, which can be awkward at family reunions because I want to work in a Church. Through my vocation as a Christian, my calling is to love my family with a Christian love.

Poehler Lecture 2018

Describe

On March 13, 2018, Concordia Saint Paul held the 17th annual Poehler lecture. Tom Hanson, a professor of law and management at Concordia, was the guest speaker and titled his lecture, “Labels and the death of free speech: What does this mean?” Professor Hanson focused on the various labels that affect people in society. For him, the label he held was being left-handed. He explained how hard it is to be in a world dominated my right-handed people and the affects culture has had on him to conform to the norms. of everyone else in society. When clouded by the effects of  labels, Professor Hanson concluded traveling and experiencing other living situations is one of the best ways to terminate the initial labels and biases that arise. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Having taught the Business ethics at Concordia, Professor Hanson talked about the Lady Justice and her blindfold symbolizing the blindness the judicial system should have to the isms of today. He also mentioned many controversial subjects in the United States that are tied to freedom of speech debates, such as race, gender, age, technology, healthcare, and political parties. Professor Hanson concluded his lecture with a video about people who found their ethnic diversity through DNA tests. This video showed the diversity of people and how their negative preconceived notions about other nationalities should be eradicated because people are not as different as one once thought. Professor Hanson’s video also affirmed the Bible verse he mentioned in the very beginning, 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Interpret

This year’s Poehler lecture fits with this semester’s theme of Honors. This semester of Honors focuses on helping those in need. In my case and those of many other’s in Honors, helping those in need means helping those who are not like us. Each student has the opportunity to live out their vocation by sharing the Gospel and gaining a deeper relationship with others who seem to be different than us, but may not be. This semester of Honors is stretching our, the Honors students’, minds to let go of labels and see past outward appearances of those in society.

Evaluate

I volunteer at Crossing Home and in the Washington County Jail. At my service site, it can be hard not to label others. When I explain to outsiders (those who are not in currently or were recently affected by incarceration) that I volunteer at two separate prison/jail ministry sites, people tell me to be very careful and fear for my safety. Before I visited these sites, I was nervous for what to expect. Now I am at ease when I arrive at both sites. At the jail, I am more scared of the guards because of their intimidating stares, than the women. Society has influenced most outsiders to believe that prisoners are cold-hearted, untrustworthy, killers and scumbags. However, many people I have met, prayed with, and walked with are normal people who make mistakes and turn those mistakes into habits. Professor Hanson said, “We label people and assume all people who fit that label are the same.” Through my experience at my learning site, I found this to not be true whatsoever. I thank God every day for giving me this opportunity to grow in my faith with other men and women. Professor Hanson’s speech and these learning sites have reminded and constantly remind me to not judge others based on the labels they have been given, but freely and richly love them as a brother or sister in Christ.

Concordia Saint Paul Band Concert

Describe

On Tuesday March 6, 2018, the Concordia University: Saint Paul Concert Band played our concert from the Michigan tour in the Buetow auditorium. The band played eight songs:  three non-religious and five religious to remind the audience that Concordia is a Lutheran school devoted to Christ with a passion to share the good news through talents, word, and music.

Before the concert and the tour, the band did not mesh well and did not sound great. After the tour, the band was able to work together and perform some of the hardest songs with clean articulation, almost perfect harmony, and as one cohesive group. One noteworthy aspect was the song Mambo Furioso, which focused on the different ways to use percussion instruments. This song was composed in honor of the famous percussionist Tito Puente. As Professor Isakson said, “This song was a nightmare to learn and still is a nightmare to play.” Now the band has practiced and performed this piece to perfect the driving speed to articulate the anger and stages of loss. The middle of Mambo Furioso had a more calming and sad tone that included syncopation to reflect on the loss of Tito Puente. The song transitioned to the entire band participating with the percussionists making noises with tongues, pencils, and feet. Finally, Mambo Furioso finished having the band play with high, angry intensity to fulfill the Mambo style of music and honor the hard work of Tito Puente.

Interpret

The Christian vocation applies to all people. A Christian is called to serve God through the talents He has given to an individual. Professor Isakson wanted to play a variety of songs, but focused on spiritual songs to reflect the Lutheran background of Concordia University, Saint Paul and to share the Gospel with others. Each student in the band and those on band tour were able to use their God-given talents in the concert to fulfill Professor Isakson’s desire to share the Gospel with other communities of believers in Christ.

Evaluate

Being in the band is a great experience. I take pride in being a tuba player as a woman who is considered short. Many people are surprised when they hear I can play such a big instrument, but God has a sense of humor and has given me the talent and gift to serve Him in the low brass section, where it is dominated by men. When I go to band class, all of my stress and worries about school, papers, tests, and other assignments evaporate from my mind. I feel calm and ready to serve God and play with other fellow Christians. I appreciated that Professor Isakson chose to play more spiritual songs than secular songs. His choice of secular songs were fun to play, but his reason behind playing so many spiritual songs, while on tour and in the concert, brought more meaning to playing in a band with those who share similar beliefs and to spread the Gospel as a community of believers.

 

Travel Seminar Convocation

Describe

The travel seminar was a convocation held in the Buenger Educational Center to explain the many opportunities to study on an international trip, both short-term and long-term. The seminar took place on Wednesday, February 17, 2018. Each visitor at the event had the opportunity to travel from booth to booth looking at the various locations that some students had previously traveled to and listening to the students talk about their experiences in that country. Many people had gone to South Korea and said that the culture was very different, even though a lot of people spoke English. The one thing that helped, despite all of the homesickness, fear of being alone in a new environment, and adapting to another culture, was the food. The food was the tie that allowed the students to experience community and sometimes to eat meals that tasted like cooking from their own home in America.

There were five guest speakers who had a few minutes to talk about his or her time in another country. Some people stayed for a whole semester and others for a few days. However, everyone agreed that the experience he or she had was irreplaceable and like no other. All people have two common goals: to stay safe and to have fun; so if anyone is fearful of going to another country, not making friends, or getting lost, these two goals allow a commonality between groups of people and create friendships.

Interpret

The Honors Program focuses on interdisciplinary learning and how various subjects work with one another. The travel seminar brought different courses together to give students unique learning experiences abroad. One example to note is the Ireland trip with Professors Ryan and Vermeland. Each professor combined a small portion of his and her coursework as a requirement for the trip. So not only did each participant dive into a new culture, but each learned about the artwork, architecture, and the English history of Ireland. The Honors Program works in a similar way. Both of the Doctor Schulers incorporate various subject matter to not only connect together, but to reach each student in an applicable way outside of the classroom.

Evaluate

The travel seminar was a good experience to be exposed to. I learned more about the Israel trip that I would love to be a part of. Just like the Ireland trip, where students made the connections between his or her major and where they were studying, I will also have the great opportunity to learn about Jesus and the history of the Holy Land. At the seminar, one student pointed out that any trip taken in college will be more affordable that outside of college, so these opportunities should be taken more often than not. Her words have encouraged me to pursue this Israel trip with more urgency and look into more international possibilities in the future.

Hoffman Lecture: James Wetzstein

Describe

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, Reverend James Wetzstein from Valparaiso University visited Concordia Saint Paul University to be the keynote speaker for the Hoffman Lecture. Pastor Wetzstein talked about denominational diversity in the church. He explained the provisional nature of truth, the three types of faith, and Paul’s writing to the people of Corinth. He  explained the concept of truth being obtained through networking, the privilege one has to have a strong network, and the opportunities that Christians have to serve neighbors freely. He also described three types of faith: faith as a tradition, faith as a presupposition, and faith as a promise. These definitions were set up to give a deeper explanation of the historical background of the city of Corinth, how Corinth relates to the Twin cities today, and how faith is incorporated into the message of the Gospel to reach a multicultural people like the people of Corinth and the people of the Twin Cities.

Interpret

Scholarship and learning are dependent on one another. Each continues the quest for knowledge. The Honors Program integrates faith and learning in all aspects of coursework and subject matter. James Wetzstein reminded us that Christ is our victor who gives us salvation. Learning is good, but research does not give us salvation. However, through Christ, we have the freedom to gain academic learning. We are free to be wrong because Christ has saved us either way. 

Applying faith to all subjects of learning is a new concept to me.  When I went to jail, I  started to understand how faith can apply to all subjects of school and areas of life. Most of the inmates talked about personal faith and how each woman could not believe unless she either saw or directly heard God’s voice. Now, most women have this faith even though they cannot see God, and all of their hard times, learning, and events in life are related back to their faith and what they learned through that experience to help them grow in Christ. Women in jail incorporate Christ in their English writing classes,  controlling their own behavior, forming friendships,  and maintaining mental stability in jail.  Now the women feel like they can believe, not from sight, but from the personal faith with Him who has given them strength in jail to keep each individual sober. 

Evaluate

I learned about the three definitions of faith.  As a future Director of Christian Education, this small insight is good to know, since I will be explaining this concept to others. James Wetzstein’s lecture reminded me that my faith in Christ is the reason for my desire to help others without reward. Even though sharing the Gospel is rewarding through giving others support and helping others gain knowledge in Christ, I do not need a tangible reward because serving my neighbors in Christ is rewarding enough. For example, today I told a devotion about Job. The whole room was so moved that women were speaking the Gospel, supporting each other, and sharing their story. At the end of the Bible study, the women were giving me praise for my storytelling abilities, for the wisdom I have for my age, for the place I am in right now compared to them, and they told me to keep doing what I am doing because I am good at speaking the Gospel, telling stories, and leading Bible studies. I thanked the women, but my supervisor and I reminded them that I do not take pride in what I do because it is not me who speaks to them, but God who gave me this gift, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, speaks through me and uses me as a tool to tell them what they needed to hear that night.

 

Kingdom Come blog

Describe

Concordia St. Paul’s theater department  performed the play Kingdom Come from February 15th through February 17th, 2018. The play recounted the memories of those who remembered the day and were affected, in a major or minor way, by the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Kingdom Come involved a rollercoaster of emotions from love to laughter to betrayal to a sense of independence to sadness, repeating this emotion pattern throughout. However, whether the scene was happy or sad, each character still experienced a moment of loss. The story began with a pianist who accompanied the play and a woman who was sitting on a chair on a platform listening to the accounts of those who remember September 11, 2001 and the memories attached to that tragic day. Throughout the play, the audience members were invited to believe (through context of scenery and dialogue) that the woman,  known as The Voice, was a psychologist helping the people uncover the repressed memories of trauma from the attacks. However, the end scene revealed that the woman in the balcony became angry and wanted her story heard too. In this scene, the audience finds out the woman was a cubicle worker in one of the twin towers. Her final song “Cliffside” allowed the audience to experience the sadness, anxiety, and risky decisions that inevitably lead to death.

Interpret

The play contained a wide variety of scenes that portrayed different experiences of a person’s life. However, after talking to some of the cast members, their main takeaway was, “No matter how big or small your story is, it’s about the nation coming together” (Riley Peltz). This semester of Honors focuses on The Scholarship and Service for the Sake of the World. This course has given me the opportunity to utilize one of my many callings as a Christian to listen to others’ stories (both big and small), show those in need that he or she has an outside support system, and that this system of volunteers have the desire and concern to gather together and share God’s love.

Evaluate

Many people struggle with addiction, grief, and hardships in prison, in jail, and after being released. I love listening to people’s personal stories and this play caught my attention to listen to more stories. Through my volunteering, I frequently hear the stories of ex-offender, how he or she came to faith, wound up being incarcerated, and what the next steps are to be implemented to stay out of the prison system.

A large amount of ex-convicts are looked down upon, forgotten, and pushed aside in society. However, Crossing Home and the Bible study in jail by women from Woodbury Lutheran recognize the importance of supporting those in need, meeting people where they are at, and joining together as brothers and sisters in Christ to listen to one another’s stories, provide support, and show the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Callings 2 High Middle Ages

Describe

In the Middle Ages, people who claimed to have a vocation generally went into the monastery. The Franciscans and the Dominicans interacted with the world, but claimed a life of poverty. Whereas, the Benedictines lived in a more secluded community. There was a hierarchy in the church that ranked from the Pope at the top, then bishops and priests, then clerics and monks, and then the “baptized trash”–everyone who was a priest or a monk. The religious life was ordered and every day contained a strict schedule to remain disciplined in Christ. If one was not called to the ‘religious’ life, then he or she was called to work “in the world.” However, Christians have a calling regardless occupation. 

We read for the the Honors class The Life of St. Martin by Sulpicius Severus, a man who was converted by Saint Martin of Tours. Martin (ca. 316 or 335-397) wanted to be a Christian and go into the monastery to devote his life to God. Instead, he was placed in the military forces under King Constantine and later Emperor Julian Caesar because he was son of a veteran. Saint Martin’s father looked down upon his son for having the faith he had. Martin kept serving others. He cleaned his servant’s boots, gave to the poor, and gave away all his possessions except what would give him daily sustenance. At one point, Saint Martin gave half of the clothes off his back to share with a poor man. That night, he had a dream and saw Jesus clothed in half of his clothes, the same clothes that the poor man wore. His dream meant that when Saint Martin serves his neighbors, he also serves Christ Himself. Martin proclaimed his faith to Emperor Caesar and said he would only be a soldier for Christ. He was thrown in prison. Then a man named Hilarius called Saint Martin to be an exorcist and visit his parents in his hometown. On his journey, he was captured by robbers. During Saint Martin’s capture, he converted the robbers to Christianity.

Interpret

Saint Martin of Tours had concern for people with unmet needs. Although Martin wanted to live in a monastery and later did, he first served as a soldier. During his time as a soldier, Martin shows Christians today that the Christian calling is not limited to working in the church. Instead, the Christian calling is to serve God and serve his or her neighbor. In the account of Saint Martin of Tours, he dreamed he saw Jesus wearing the clothes that he gave to the poor man. This dream was a message that anyone can serve Christ and those who serve their neighbors are also serving Christ.

Evaluate

At Crossing Home, both men and women need help finding jobs, housing, and other essentials. I see the people who come in not as ex-offenders, but as one who genuinely needs help. Although I am not a church worker yet, I now understand that my vocation is not limited to church work. I can help those in need without being affiliated with a specific church. I have learned in church that when I serve others, I also serve Christ. Now I can see a greater impact Christ has on others through the work of the Holy Spirit to impact those who have been through hard times and are working to re-enter into society. Having a Christian calling does not mean that I have to isolate myself from society or be a church worker to help another. Instead, Christians can fulfill their calling as soldiers, dentists, prisoners, or citizens.

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