Report Back – Listening Project 2021

As a campus pastor, I am well acquainted with the rhythms of saying goodbye and saying hello. As we  savor the gifts of one particular generation of students, we recognize that the next group of individuals that  gather in Christ’s name at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities will be shaped by different experiences and bring different expectations as they  join our community.

An Invitation to Lent

At LCM, we’re entering into this season, centered on the theme of wilderness. It’s a complicated, multilayered theme, and one that can sustain the journeys that you all will be on together and individually this season. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, so we’ll prepare ourselves for his death and resurrection by wandering around together in the wilderness, wondering what God might be making of us. We’re taking care to make space for the hard stuff, while also acknowledging the surprises of beauty, joy, and sustenance that can find us in these wild places. You’ll have the opportunity to tell stories, make art, go on hikes, and serve your neighbor; among many other things, together in community.

Capturing the Light: Seeking God in Photography

Written by Elaine Dorn

Siblings, animals, plants, bugs; anything and everything within reach was the waiting subject of my, perhaps a little over-zealous, snazzy rose gold digital camera that I received as a gift for my eleventh birthday. I loved snapshotting moments in time, catching the giggles of my younger sisters and brother and capturing tiny, everyday things that never failed to put a smile on my face: a roly-poly bug skittering across a blade of grass, the way sunlight peeked through the pine tree in my yard, and baby lambs scampering around the barn. Each of these moments, although small, were the ones that seemed the most impactful and worthy-of-capture to me because they disclosed the beautiful narrative found within simple, perfect moments in life.

Today, I still have that snazzy rose gold camera, even if it’s not my current moment-capturing tool of choice. However, my favorite instances to capture remain the same. I deeply love telling the stories of people, of places, and of the simple things that make the life we live so sweet. One thing I’ve learned, as a photographer, is that no story is too small or too imperfect to be worthy of telling; and I think it’s so incredibly profound in regards to our faith and God.

Personally, it is easy to believe that my story and I are not worthy of being told or noticed; that because I sometimes feel as though I don’t fit in or that I’m not enough, my story and I should just be scooted to the back corner where no one can see. However, as we look through the Bible, the people whose stories are told are just like me. Rarely are they the best of the bunch, the loudest, the brightest, the wisest, or the smartest; they are individuals with plenty of mistakes, insecurities, and struggles. Just because they are imperfect, ordinary people does not mean that God does not use them in absolutely incredible ways. It doesn’t matter if they are as talented as the people surrounding them, or if they feel about as impactful as a roly-poly bug on a blade of grass. God chooses to capture their story, and through it, show people the depth of God’s love. In fact, it is through those imperfections that God does his greatest work (definitely check out 2 Corinthians 12:9). I have found the same to be true, time and time again, as a photographer. It is pretty rare for perfection to tell a good story through photos. However, candid, imperfect moments are the ones that never fail to create a photo that brings delight and joy to a viewer. The same can be said for ourselves. If we allow God to use us in our mess, in our imperfection, and in our candid moments, God can bring life and love to those around us in ways we never thought possible.

Being Present in the World

Maybe you feel like you’ve been on high alert, too? Did you see that I made 2020 a hashtag? It’s been, hmmm, *something.* If we were first driven to our coping mechanisms by fear or anxiety or boredom, they’ve certainly now become habits. For me, constant scrolling is my go-to – when I’m bored, or scared, or anxious, or any number of things. I wonder what it is for you? 

Being Active in the World

The amazing thing about the early church is that its adherents understood the work they were doing in the world as much a part of “being church,” as when they were gathered together to pray and give thanks to God. They were always on the move, and their gatherings were always sending them out, into the world, to love and serve. This early church was on to something there too – not just because it’s the “right thing to do,” but because loving our neighbors, and being in our bodies, is good for us too.

Being Church in the World

Unlike other summers where we simply send you out to have new experiences and immerse yourselves in the places you are, we’re continuing to gather in small ways this summer, as a way to stay connected, and to accompany you through this extraordinary, “Ordinary Time” in your life. Here are some ways for you to stay connected, grow in your faith, and be the church in the world.