War and Faith
Harry Ransom Center Exhibition The World at War, 1914 – 1918
If you were unable to attend the Pause event at the Harry Ransom Center, in February, Lutheran Campus Ministry invites you to pause from your studies and attend the exhibit on your own.
The exhibit is an extensive collection of letters, diaries, memoirs, propaganda posters and photographs that illuminates the experience of the war from the point of view of participants and observers.
When you attend the exhibit on your own, browse through the collection. Select one piece that draws you in. Consider the following:
Texture – rough, smooth, irregular, woven, pebbled
Layering – transparent veils, opaque strata, thick, thin, visible, textured
Color – vivid, subtle, pastel, clear, bright, muddy
Perspective – flat, zoomed in or out, distant view, layered, traditional, confusing
Form/Shape – clearly defined shapes, amorphous, stenciled
Lines – hatched, broad, thin, loose, tight
After your initial viewing, stay with the piece for about 20 – 25 minutes: Stand at a normal distance from the artwork. Move up close. Move to a longer distance than normal.
As you connect deeply to the photograph or painting, consider any or all of the following questions for journaling provided by our facilitator, Lynda Young Kaffie, who is an artist and spiritual director.
What does this artwork say to you about war?
Do you notice any feelings or emotions that arise as you sit in front of the artwork you have chosen?
Are there memories or stories from your own life that come to mind as you observe the artist’s work?
Could you imagine how your faith might be challenged if you were to find yourself in the middle of such a war today?
You are welcome to add your comments on this blog or discuss your discoveries with your friends, paying particular attention to the faith questions that arise.
Mt. Bonnell, the 1%, Sharon Jones and the Dap King and a Church Service Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King…and Your Call to Follow Jesus
By Rebecca Guengerich
Isn’t it fun when a simple moment of reflection has a domino effect over a number of days? Have you had that experience? Let me share how Mt. Bonnell led to the 1%, which led to Sharon Jones and the Dap King, which led to a church service honoring Dr. King, which led me to wonder about my daily call to follow Jesus, 3 days later, which led to…?
A group of students from Lutheran Campus Ministry U.T. http://lcmaustin.org attended our first pause event and experienced the natural beauty of Austin at the top of Mt. Bonnell (ok maybe it is more of a hill).
I have lived in Austin 20 years and have climbed Mt. Bonnell about 4 times, the first time being our first year in Austin. Everything changes with time. In 1994, no homes were visible, only the natural beauty of the river and hills. Relatively few people at the top left little need for a fence to hold us back from the edge. Many would bravely forge a path down the hill as far as they could go. The land and the river belonged to everyone.
On Saturday, 20 years later, we did marvel at the natural beauty but most of us looked longingly at the multi-million dollar homes that claimed the hillside and the riverfront property as their own. A fence now prevented us from going down the hill onto the land that was no longer accessible to the public.
The homes were beautiful. However, one can’t help but think about the great disparity of wealth in our world and the power of that wealth to influence the laws that will protect what they own, leaving many without basic necessities of life. (1% vs. the 99%) How do we find ways to live more simply? Here are some resources I found about economic injustice. http://worldcentric.org/conscious-living/social-and-economic-injustice; http://www.elca.org/Resources/Theological-Discernment
As I read and reflected, I listened to music which led to “This land is your land” by Sharon Jones and the Dap King http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMbBdNEjaFk . I have had heard this 60’s folk song many times, but for the first time, I heard a call for justice in the song. “As I was walking, they tried to stop me. They put up a sign that said, Private Property. Well on the back side it said nothing, so it must be that side was made for you and me…. One bright sunny morning, in the shadow of a steeple, down by the welfare office, I saw my people. They stood hungry. I stood wondering if this land was made for you and me.”
The next day, with the song still singing in my head, I went to church. We celebrated the work of Martin Luther King and spoke these words. “Let us pray that neither this congregation nor any congregation of Christ’s people may be silent in the face of wrong, but that we may be disturbers of the status quo when this is God’s call to us.”
And finally, our text this week invites us to “Come and follow me”, a simple invitation. The disciples were invited to use their nets to fish for people. Dr. King was called to preach about racial equality and Sharon Jones to sing about economic injustices. I don’t feel called to change the status quo on a national stage, but I do feel called where I am to challenge you to use your gifts and chosen vocation to live a way of live that brings God’s love, justice and mercy to all people.