Monthly Archives: May 2011
I woke up Friday morning quite distressed to the remnants of a dream that was slowly being enveloped by the reality of the environment around me and the comfort of loved ones refreshing me to the new day. But, I was still sad, crying even, at times without end, an experience both rare and frightening upon reflection. While the substance of the dream may have been slightly unrelated to the substance that I was upset about, and while the feelings, the tears, have now relinquished and evaporated from my face and heart, I still feel an odd need to reflect on those emotions that came from this dream a few mornings ago.
The dream was about Hattie’s maternal grandparents, but mainly her grandfather Phil who if you ever have the blessing of meeting him you will find him to be a funny and gracious man, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. In the dream, Phil was pretty sick and it was taking a toll on me, although I was surrounded by his family and loved ones. There was not much more content to the dream besides that because I recall waking up with tears flowing down my cheeks and a deep whole growing in the place where the memories of my maternal grandfather never fully blossomed.
A thunderous clap shook the congregation that sat this morning in the historic 2nd Unitarian Church of Chicago. It has been close to a month since I sat in the sanctuary of 2U, but the feeling of familiarity and community makes showing up there on any given Sunday morning a refreshing experience. I went with my girlfriend Hattie and good friend Rebecca to the service on a day that felt eerie, as if out of a science fiction film. A thick layer of fog enveloped the city, especially the tops of the high-rises along Lake Shore Drive. Then the rain came and as my grandmother used to tell me, “the angels were bowling again.”
This weather fit well into the themes presented in the service this morning. The sermon was titled, “The Blessings of Adversity.” The pulpit was filled by a guest speaker, a Loyola seminarian named Seth Fisher. A scruffy, skinny man in his mid-thirties, Seth shared stories about struggle and triumph in the midst of adversity, hopelessness, and darkness. He shared a powerful story of a time where he considered suicide as a path in life. He also retold the story of Aron Ralston, who was recently portrayed in the movie 127 Hours, starring James Franco. These powerful stories gave me an opportunity to reflect on the adversities I face in my life .
On Friday, I received an email notifying me that I had been invited to join the Disciples Divinity House (DDH) community for the next academic year. I was ecstatic; not only was this a wonderful honor, but it was a beautiful sign of things to come. The experiences and formation I would receive at DDH would be quite unique compared to other living opportunities in Hyde Park. I knew upon choosing to go to Chicago Theological Seminary that I would need to move to the south side, if I was going to have a truly immersive and formative experience in these coming years. The decision of where to live was the real question and so I pondered my options. I had to decide between location, price, living environment, and community. I felt sure that the last point was of most importance, sacrificing the others if necessary.
I came across an interesting co-op in Hyde Park with a seemingly rich history and progressive mission. The co-op is named Qumbya and is a part of NASCO, or North American Students of Cooperation. It seemed like a wonderful place for me: artistic, diverse, highly progressive, vegan-friendly. My heart was set on living at Qumbya. However, I shortly thereafter found another housing possibility as referenced to me by girlfriend’s mother, an affiliate housing community of the University of Chicago called Disciples Divinity House. I took a look at the website and the once clear skies of my housing future became rather overcast.
“This article was originally published on the DePaul Interfaith website on May 26th, 2011″
Upon reflection of this weekend’s interfaith events, I noticed a rising concern in my heart after one event was cancelled and the other totaled three attendees: where is the equilibrium between quality and quantity of interfaith programs so as to maintain a successful interfaith movement at a higher educational institution? For example, this year at DePaul University, we have seen a rapid increase of interfaith programs, which have yielded many new opportunities for individuals to become involved in the movement. However, at the same time, this has produced smaller turnouts to events because some individuals are unable to fit so many interfaith events into their already busy schedules. The reflection thus resides around how interfaith leaders (mainly those in college) can work to enhance both quality of programs while maintaining a good level of attendance.
I do not think that lower numbers of attendees to interfaith events necessarily causes the quality to go down. On the contrary, the field trip to the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette this weekend was a phenomenal experience. We had a great time walking around the grounds, admiring the beautiful architecture and landscaping. We sat through a wonderful service with members of the religious community there. Afterwards on the commute home, we had an engaging conversation on the distinct nature of a Baha’i religious service and how important it is for people of all religious traditions and backgrounds to experience this unique tradition shares with the world. Read the rest of this entry