Here are three wonderful places to find Advent reflections and meditations. Advent is a Perfect time to hit the pause button and reflect, and these three sources can help focus your thoughts and prayers.
"But what do young adults want?" I get asked this question a lot, and so do my campus ministry colleagues. Those of us in campus ministry see more people under 30 on a weekly basis than many of our congregations do in a month (or in some cases, a year). I think everyone agrees this needs to change. But how?
I've fielded multiple calls from really amazing priests who want to "pick my brain" or "run an idea past" me for a new ministry they want to try to attract young adults. After listening to their questions or their plans, my first question is always: "Well, have you asked any young adults what they want/need? (or if they are interested in this program/worship service/ministry?)" And inevitably the answer is: uh, no. I mean, the point is they don't have any young adults, and so they are trying to envision what young adults would want, and they think I can just answer that for them.
Every New Year’s Day we get to focus on the year to come and reflect on the year behind us. We get to think about things we have done, left undone, and make plans for the things we would like to do and maybe not do. It’s like a New Year’s absolution and resolution packed into one day. It’s cathartic and hopeful.
Of course, most people I know either don’t make a New Year’s resolution or they make superficial promises that usually come up empty. I have nothing against either route. I usually watch as others play because a promise to lose weight or read more books or go to the gym or whatever just hasn’t appealed to me. However, this year, the year of 2012, a year that packs so much promise, I made the decision to go big. I have made a resolution.
Today, UC Davis' Winter Quarter begins. There's always a sense of excitement and newness as a quarter begins. That's the beauty of the academic calendar, right? Every few months, everything changes: new classes, new schedules, new expectations, new rhythm of life. But this one holds some different wonderings for students: what will carry over from the way the last quarter ended (with pepper spray, tents, and media everywhere)? Will tuition and fees skyrocket? How much of that can they balance along with their studies?
At the end of the semester, I often put together a newsletter for my students and “Friends of Absalom” to remind and share with people the events of the semester. Here are a few highlights and reflections on the semester:
The Minute-to-Win-It Ramadan Party
This year marked the second annual Ramadan If-tar for the Center, and this time “play” was the theme. Sprung from the belief that Interfaith dialogue is most effective when people are allowed first to laugh with and at each other, the Atlanta University Center Muslim Student Association teamed up with AJEC for a night of food and fun. After hours of laughter, play, and some very important theological conversations (such conversations seem to naturally emerge at the Center), it was clear that new friendships had begun and trust was being established.
Campus might be the quietest place in the city this week. After all, it’s reading week. You know, that week when all the students get to read, catch up, cram, prepare, memorize, repeat, all for their final papers, tests, presentations or projects. I love this quiet. It’s solemn and serene and it’s a great way to wait, anticipate, and prepare in the spirit of Advent.
Reading week happens twice a year, but in the fall the quiet of reading week is particularly noticeable. Maybe it’s the cold weather that gives the students permission to bury themselves inside. In the spring, it’s hard to say no to a beautiful sunny day.
People all over the world have seen video footage from November 18th, when a group of protesters here at UC Davis were sprayed in the face with pepper spray. Justified outrage flowed from all corners of the globe and multiple investigations are now underway. How could this happen? Why did it happen and who allowed it? These are questions that the investigations will hopefully help to answer. Since then, the drumbeat for Chancellor Katehi to resign intensified and now seems to have subsided a little - pending the investigation. Tents have taken up residence on the quad, as have port-a-potties, heat lamps, and electrical cords. In many ways, things are suddenly quite different in the UCD campus' world.
The Campus Ministry As I sit in my office typing this blog, a group of food service providers from Morehouse College are working with local labor organizers in our large gathering space called the Koinonia Cafe. Across the hall, two men of Morehouse are studying in the computer lab, and next door to my office I can hear the buzz of the copier as two volunteers prepare the leaflets for tomorrow's worship service. It's actually a bit noisy inside of the Center on this blustery winter day, but the rowdiness is the welcomed sound of life and hope.