Spoon River Post

Post 1: Spoon River

On January 21, I went to the theatre production of Spoon River, which was originally a series of small poems written by Edgar Masters. The director of the production was Concordia student, Kate Sandvik. In the production they had a variety of the poems recited by the dead characters to a little girl. Each poem was written by a different person with a different story. Some of the dead people from Spoon River  were a drunk, a pastor, married couples, and a doctor, a lawyer, and many more. Each had their own unique story. After several poems the characters would sing a song or two that went along with a particular poem. Some of the song where “Down to the River to Pray,” “Fly With Me,” “How Can I Keep From Singing,” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Each song had different rhymes and beats allowing for a variety of songs to help move the production in a smooth, interesting way. While each song was being sung the characters would dance, which helped keep the play move forward. This whole production may not entirely connect with this semester’s content, but deals with last semester and the five “ways of knowing.”

Theater is a part of the five “ways of knowing” through imagination. The writing, singing, acting, and dancing are all forms of art that were represented throughout the production. The poems that the girl uncovered helped give voice to those who thought their stories were lost. It reminded me of a story from the Baltic states, which thought they were voiceless and lost because of being occupied by the USSR. They were then freed by the USSR, and they all came together holding hand and singing together about their freedom. The people’s voices were heard by the Soviets through negotiations that lead to their freedom, just like the girl hearing the voices of the dead who thought they were lost. Imagination allows for the expression of the feelings that we may think we will never be heard.

I thought this production was very well done, and made me think of life in a new light. I always thought that I would not be remembered and have a lost story. The production allowed me to see that my story can be uncovered or remembered by anybody, even though I am not famous. My story can be remembered through my friends, my future students, children, or anyone I may come in contact with. They may not know my whole story, but they may remember a tiny bit just from an interaction. When I looking back at my education, everything we learn is apart of someone’s story. The music and art, that we see today, at first were not memorable until after the death of the artist or composer. They thought that their work was not going to be memorable, but it is now today. We see this with Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. We hear it with Mozart’s operas and music compositions. We read it with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby. All these people were not famous during their lifetime, but people uncovered their works which tells of story of someone who thought they would be forgotten.


D.I.E Post 4: Martin Luther and the Reformation

D.I.E Post 4: Martin Luther Art and the Reformation

Thomas Rassieur, from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, came to the convocation today to talk about the Martin Luther Art and the Reformation Exhibit. Rassieur and four German partnerships created this with exhibit filled artifacts, art, and documents from Martin Luther and the Reformation. Rassieur first talked about Martin Luther’s upbringing. Martin Luther’s last name was actually Luder, but he changed it when he was at the university. Luther said he was from humble or modest bringings, but was actually from a wealthy family. His father had interests in mining and smelting furnaces, and was a mayor of a certain part of the town. Because of Luther’s upbringing he was able to afford to go to the university. Rassieur then talks about some of the artifacts at the exhibit or items that were found at the dig at Luther’s homes. A gold ring was found in Luther’s tower in the area where his toilet would be. The ring came to that place because he threw in there to hide it from his wife that got the ring from Wolfgang, a Protestant who fancied Katerina. A table and chair from Luther’s study room are on exhibit. An  indulgence box and community chest are on display. It was learned that Martin and Katerina did things differently besides their religion. Katerina ran the household. Martin signed his estate to her instead of his sons. Martin, also, was one of the first to write against the Jews. All of the information that was learned was really new, that most people do not hear about in religion class in the Lutheran faith.

The Martin Luther Art and the Reformation Exhibit helps show the five ways of knowing, that are currently being taught in honors. Some of the pieces at the exhibit can draw out emotion. When finding out about Luther’s views towards the Jews, one may become upset because they thought he was marvelous and now that truth to be a lie. The whole process of finding the artifacts and learning the new information is all observation, since archeology is science. The archeologists have to have background on Luther and the area to know where to find possible artifact, which is reason. Some of the pieces are artwork, writings, and song which is all part of aesthetic. The whole idea about the Reformation itself is revelation by gaining a better understanding of the God who created all things while still knowing so little. The Reformation helped bring the focus back to God and allowed for more people to be able to read His word and have their revelation about it.

In my view just hearing about this exhibit shows that while we are remembering and celebrating the Reformation Martin Luther was not perfect and was human like us. He made a lot mistakes like we do. I like how Rassieur didn’t talk about all the stuff that most people know about Luther, but instead talked about the things that most people do not know. From this convocation I can say I learned a lot more about the person who started my Protestant faith is even closer to being same person as me, a sinner that wants to be closer to God. I always thought that Luther was someone less sinful than me, but Rassieur proved me wrong. The main thing that sticks out is the fact that anyone can stand up for the Bible and the faith, when the church goes astray. Martin Luther was a normal guy like the rest of us. Who knows the next Martin Luther could be any of us.

Higinbotham Presentation

D.I.E Post 2: 2016 Higinbotham – The World Within

Kao Kalia Yang was a former professor for Concordia University, and currently teaches at Carlton. She is of Hmong culture, born in Thailand, and came to America during her childhood. She is the author of the books, Latehomecomer and The Song Poet. She starts her speech by giving a background of her, while at Concordia. She then goes into her personal life talking about the job losses of both her parents and the miscarriage of her firstborn. She talks about the time she was little, with her dad singing a song at New Years. That her dad had one album out of music and that they lived of the money he made from that album, which was five thousand. She continues with talking about her grandmother and how the book, Latehomecomer, is a goodbye letter to her. She then has the speech become directed by the audience. The audience asks a series of questions about why she wrote and her hmong heritage. Those questions where were she based her speech allowing for the people to see the world within her. This was allowed because she took the audience inside her world within by her use of emotion to let the people see her truth.

Emotion from the five ways of knowing is seen throughout her speech. When she talked about her grandmother, her father, and her struggles, one could see and hear the emotion that she presented in her speech. The emotion she shows, lets a person know that she is being genuine and tell the truth.  Not only does the emotion tell us about her truth, but allows her to find her own truth. The struggles she endured throughout her life helped he come to find who she is. They gave her the mindset to live each day, so that if she died she knew she died a good day. That means her day having meaning and importance to her. Emotion allows for people to look inside themselves to know the truth about them and who they are. The emotion she uses, overall, give her speech what it needs to leave a lasting mark on the audience.

Yang gave a very good speech. It was different for me because I have never been to a presentation where someone basis of the speech comes from the audience. I liked how she introduced herself by talking about her past in connection with her book. The audience then kept it close together and not going many different directions. She was asked about her writing and her past, she connected the two together very nicely. The way she talked sounded poetic, which made sense she admired many poets and writers. I wish that she talked more about her experience and the books she did longer before letting question direct the speech. Overall, this speech was really good. It allowed for me to see her world within, but to show me that my world within comes from my experiences and how I interpret them.

Convocation 1: Conversation, Connections, and Community

Convocation 1: Connections, Community, Conversation

Conversations create connections between people. Connections between people create a community. In the convocation, the speakers and the author, of Reclaiming Conversation, talked about how all of these are affected because of technology. The author, through videos, talks about how technology takes people away from face-to-face conversation Texting and chatting online takes away the empathy and emotion that talking in person allows people to see. Even when we are in person and there is a phone even by, it distracts people from the conversation. Technology, also, doesn’t give us that solitude people need, to appreciate people for who they are. Then a former student talks about children in her neighborhood, and how she was mad at them. When she went outside to talk them she created not a dislike for each other, but a friendship, being connected together through the garden she has. Another former student talks about how talking how coming to Concordia gave him a different sense of community through the diversity and the conversations he had at the college.

The conversations, connectedness, and community relate to the five ways of knowing through emotion. When having conversations in person, we can see the emotions expressed to know how they are feeling, when we speak to them. When we have connections with people we create empathy for each others and those like them. Empathy is feeling and understanding the same emotions for someone, even though you are not in the same situation they are in. When we have connections with others we form a community. In a community there is understanding and acceptance from knowing each other and their emotions.

When coming to this convocation I didn’t really have high expectations, but after listening to it, I really enjoyed it. The message was great, even though I knew it was a problem. It just reinforced the message to me more. I love how the speakers were from Concordia to help understand and make the message more clear. When the book was talked about it felt like the author was telling us about the book, through the videos that were shown. Overall, it was a great presentation, which makes me want to look forward to more convocations.

Paradox Lost Book Review

Paradox Lost Book Review

When asked about the Christian faith or the Bible one of the most common answers is Jesus. Paradox, on the other hand, little to none. There are many paradoxes concerning many different topics inside them. Robert P. Hansen writes about a few of these in his book, Paradox Lost: Rediscovering the Mystery of God. In this book, he uses a variety of different examples to describe both the types of paradoxes and paradoxes themselves, to help introduce the idea to his audience.


Robert P. Hansen is a pastor and former professor in Ethiopia. He is the author of several articles for different journals. He wrote Paradox Lost as an oracle in sermonic tone. This makes sense because of his history as a professor and pastor. He uses a table of context in beginning of the book to show the chapters inside each of the five sections. He then adds a table inside chapter to show which paradoxes fit inside which of the three paradoxical categories. He uses this table to help show the examples and where they fit in this book


In Paradox Lost examples where one of the main ways that help the reader understand the concept of these paradoxes. He provides examples for the three types of paradoxes, a picture frame, tuning fork, and an auger. He describes the first type of paradox as a picture frame, “Picture Frame: reframes reality as we look through it” (22). The second is the tuning fork, “Tuning Fork: both tines must vibrate together to create a new note” (22).  The third is the auger, “Auger: performs best when hands are far apart on opposite handles” (22). Each of the three types have example paradoxes to help understand the God and the Bible more.

Each example of the three types has an example of their own to help explain one of the many paradoxes in found in the Bible and the faith. In the picture frame, it contains the paradoxes of sayings of Jesus, kingdom parables, great reversals, and faith versus works. In chapter 5, Hansen describes the way Jesus’ saying are like how the German approached the Maginot Line in France. This examples is to how Jesus talked about the bad things in a different way. In chapter 12 the decision on who chooses first in the relationship with God is visualized with a captain of a ship and lighthouse. God is the lighthouse and the person the captain. He uses this illustration to help present how the relationship comes to be.  Hansen goes on to described the Trinity, in chapter 17, with dancers to explain how the Trinity is one, but separate at the same time. All these examples one purpose that to help explain our relationship with God through deeper understanding.


Hansen does a fairly decent job describing the paradoxes and their types throughout the book. While some of the examples were really easy to help make the connect, others could have either better explained or use a different example. When Hansen describes the first type of paradox with the picture frame, that is a very good example. When someone goes to look at a picture frame they open a window to a memory and a hope for a future. The first type of paradox goes to describe the paradox of how Jesus helps open a window to memories of a past self and hope for future in God’s kingdom. The tuning fork is used to help describe the second type paradox found where those types deal with our relationship with God. On page 22 Hansen describes that in order to have the right note both tines must be present even though they are opposite. That is what the relationship with God is like, in order for that note of salvation God both the person and God have to be present in each other for it to work. The auger is the example for the third type, the example was really great, but it could be really hard to understand if someone does not know what an auger is to begin with. Hansen described the auger type paradoxes as being far apart to perform perfectly. If the hands are not far apart and opposite it will not work, which is what these paradoxes are trying to say. When Hansen explains the paradox about how Jesus tells people the bad he uses the Maginot Line. “Sometimes we need to find a detour around the Maginot Line” (49), that is what Jesus did he did not go out and say the bad right away. He found a different approach to telling judgement, like the Germans did around the Maginot Line. This example helped make a better understanding on how Jesus approaches his people about telling his news both good and bad. Hansen goes to explain how the paradox of “who chooses who” by a captain and a lighthouse, “I am the captain of the ship, but God is the lighthouse” (95). Hansen is trying to show the audience that people have free will within God’s plan. People control their lives with their decision, but God helps direct them to him with his light. Since people are the captain they can choose to follow the light or not, deciding their ultimate fate. Many people do not understand the paradox of the trinity. Hansen tries to explain like this, “Dancers become one in the dance, even as they retain their individual identities” (137). Hansen describes the trinity with two people, which can be harder to see the one becoming two. He could have made this example by going bigger, like an orchestra or band. In the Trinity God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have their individual places, just how each member has their own part to play. When the music begins each member playing creates one musical pieces, while containing their individualities. It is the same way with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, they are all one God, but with their own individuality. Hansen overall does a great job explaining the beginning of these paradoxes, but it is up to the person to above and beyond to understand them even more.

Hansen uses many examples throughout his book to explain the paradoxes in the Bible and Christian faith. While most were great, some of them could have been better. With the help of these examples he opens up the ability to go above and beyond in our knowledge of God. While people will never know everything about God, Robert P. Hansen helps bring the people one step closer. It is up to the people themselves though to follow his example and take that step above and beyond.

Paradox Lost Post 1

The author does a very good job on how he introduces the book and how the book is going to go by talking about the 4 parts. He introduces the paradoxes by talking about something personal to him which helps make it more realistic. Each section within the chapter also starts this way. I personally am having a


Hi there, I’m Emily Safarik. I’m from Alexandria, MN and have lived there my whole life. I have one brother named Aaron and my parents are James and Deena. I’m the third generation in my family to attend CSP. I love traveling, music, animals, and new experiences. I will let you all know that I am not a book reader so the posts about the book might me minimal. I am looking forward to meeting you all.