Simplicity

My closing reflection on our semester spent on the “Fruits of the Spirit.”  Please see the rest of our terrific reflections from our seniors here.
Galatians 5: For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 

John 15: 1-12

There’s a quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes,
the great jurist and justice,
“For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life.”

Simplicity is not one of Paul’s fruits.
Nor is it especially something we seek after.

But we do tend to teach people – especially children –
simple versions of our faith.
One goes – you are loved, no matter what. So be kind.
The other,
“Do you want to burn in hell? No? Then say you love Jesus.”

“Be Nice.”
and “Be afraid.”
Are simple ideas.
One of them is much better than the other.
But both – I think – start to come undone,
as the complexity of life starts to weigh in. (more…)

Published in: on May 14, 2018 at 10:55 am Comments Off on Simplicity
Tags: ,

Joy and Gentleness – Joshua Young ’18

Our final senior reflection on Fruits of the Spirit from the class of 2018.

Hymn: “The Hymn of Joy” aka “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”

Scripture: Proverbs 15 – a selection of verses:

  • A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger. (1)
  • The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
    but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. (4)
  • A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
    but heartache crushes the spirit. (13)
  • Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,
    but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. (21)
  • Plans fail for lack of counsel,
    but with many advisers they succeed. (22)
  • A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
    and how good is a timely word! (23)
  • Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones. (30)
  • Whoever heeds life-giving correction
    will be at home among the wise. (31)

Reflection: “Joy and Gentleness”

When considering the fruits of the spirit, gentleness resonated with me most, along with the importance of joy. Gentleness, because I think it is how I try to live my life – through a balanced mind and striving to maintain a quiet confidence in myself and in my actions. And joy, because it’s joy – who doesn’t want joy in their life and in the lives of those around them?

I think gentleness and joy complement each other quite well in life. I try to be a calm, even-tempered person. I always think before I act, and I look for the best in everyone. You’ll almost never hear my voice raised in anger. I seek out healthy avenues of joy and remind myself to maintain a grounded perspective and balanced mind. That way, things in my life can bring joy, rather than falling short of unhealthy expectation. This is not to say that I don’t face challenges in maintaining joy and practicing gentleness. (more…)

Published in: on May 7, 2018 at 8:25 am Comments Off on Joy and Gentleness – Joshua Young ’18
Tags: ,

Courage – Benard Kibet ’18

from our series of Senior reflections on the “Fruit of the Spirit.”

Be strong and courageous

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

(Deuteronomy 31: 7) 

This is Moses (120 years) speaking to the Israelites when Joshua was to succeed him in leading the Israelites to get to their promised land.

Oxford Dictionary defines Courageous as the ability to do something that frightens.

The first part of this is to acknowledge that there is something that frightens for one to be courageous. Moses had lead the Israelites for many years through tough periods and now that they had something that frightens them, that their leader was not going to lead them. Moses is then telling them to be courageous and not to be afraid because God was going to be with them and he will never leave them nor forsake them.

Should we not be afraid when we see swastika in our school, should we not be afraid when there are natural disasters, should we not be afraid when gun violence is taking away lives at schools and streets, should we not be afraid when there are tensions between countries not knowing what the North Korea or the US might do any second, should we not be afraid when we don’t have jobs as seniors, and internships for 1st, 2nd and 3rd years? Should we not be afraid…? (more…)

Published in: on May 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm Comments Off on Courage – Benard Kibet ’18
Tags: ,

Radical Love – Marcques Houston ’18

Our latest in the series of reflections from graduating seniors in the Spring 2018 semester on “Fruits of the Spirit.” 

1 John 4:4-7 

When asked by Kurt to do this reflection about what my favorite “fruit” is, my mind instantly went to this concept of love. At first, I felt like love might be a little bit of a cop-out answer because love is something that is talked about a lot. It is a foundational part of what a lot of major religions are built upon. But, after much thought, I began to come to grips with the fact that love is something that is easier said than done. I didn’t want to talk about love because loving is hard. Loving thy neighbor is easy when we say it and read it in church, but when your neighbor fundamentally opposes your morals and beliefs, it becomes very difficult. We must look at ourselves first and learn to love ourselves before we can turn that love outwardly. Christians have seen and experienced a type of radical love because God gave his one and only son so that we could live. God’s son, Jesus Christ, is the embodiment of this radical love. His earthly work was able to cross all boundaries (religious, class, cultural, political, etc.) In parts of the Bible, we see Jesus talk with tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, and Samaritans. He effectively dissolves the boundaries between “unclean” and clean people through his love. (more…)

Published in: on April 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm Comments Off on Radical Love – Marcques Houston ’18
Tags: ,

Self Control – Elizabeth Oakley ’18

Psalm 46

Paul says, in Galatians 5:22-23, “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Ordinarily, if someone asked me what my favorite fruit is, I would answer “apple.” But a more metaphorical interpretation of the word “fruit” is called for here. Love is an easy answer, but not untrue for being easy. It may even be the foundation of all the other fruits Paul lists. But self-control is my choice of the fruits of the spirit today. Self-control, when it comes to my self-defeatist tendencies, is something I have cried over, talked to therapists for, swallowed pills for, and occasionally prayed for. I first acknowledged that I have depression last year, when I wondered why I could barely muster up the energy to go to class some days, why the simplest homework tasks seemed like hills to climb, and the more complicated ones seemed like mountains. Even woodsmen, usually my refuge, sometimes felt more like another chore, and one I didn’t feel I was doing a good job at to boot. (more…)

Published in: on April 22, 2018 at 1:52 pm Comments Off on Self Control – Elizabeth Oakley ’18
Tags: ,

Joy and Faithfulness – Joelle Young ’18

Senior Reflection – Fruits of the Spirit.  Spring 2018

Proverbs 3: 3 (GNT)

3Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart.

Psalm 1 (NLT) 

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

When I think of joy, I think of the moments in life when you don’t want to be anywhere else but where you are in that moment. When your mind is clear and when time seems irrelevant. The experiences you have when you feel like you are living in the moment. I am thinking about the moments when your muscles move into a smile before your brain tells you, you are happy. And the moments that you cherish in your dreams and fondly retell friends and family.

When I think of faithfulness, I’m thinking of being faithful to your personal morals, values, and commitments. Putting these things in relation to those who are close to you; whether they be family, friends, animals, ideas, or spaces and places. And most importantly, I am interpreting faithfulness in a way which reminds us to be faithful to ourselves. To be faithful to ourselves by being reflective, confident in our being, and self-aware of our worthiness to the places our bodies occupy. Being faithful to yourself, and to your own values and commitments, is one of the largest ways to experience joy. (more…)

Published in: on April 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm Comments Off on Joy and Faithfulness – Joelle Young ’18
Tags: ,

Community – Regina Martinez ’20

The Colby affirmation includes community, integrity, and respect. During orientation our community advisors had explained to us that integrity referred mostly to our academics, meaning that we shouldn’t plagiarize. Respect was also obvious: treating others fairly and not destroying the place we inhibited. On the other hand, the word “community” left me with two questions: How do I define it? How do I make it happen?

During my year and a half at Colby I found myself in many many many many conversations about how to build community, what it looked like, and how its members contributed to it. Yet it was these same conversations that made me feel like community was almost unattainable because we always talked about things like reaching out to others when they’re sitting alone, asking people about their day and actually caring, or saying hi to people on your way to class. These things seemed surreal because that’s not something I ever saw happening on a daily. Sometimes the people who talked about building community were the ones who were the most uninterested in forming it. I was one of them.

When I became a co-leader for the All Hands and Hearts Houston ASB, ironically enough, I decided that what would make our team successful was going to be community building. (more…)

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 11:29 am Comments Off on Community – Regina Martinez ’20
Tags: ,

‘The Reverend’s Adult Children’

Our “ASB Fam.”

Closing reflection from Kurt Nelson  – Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life – on the Houston Alternative Spring Break.

There are inevitable moments in every spring break trip – cramped under a moist and moldy school trailer, scrubbing every inch 7 times; traveling to Logan at 2 in the morning; – in which I can’t help but wonder, “Why do I still do this?” Eight days of exhausting travel, away from the family, when others are catching up, and preparing for the second half of the semester.

And there are moments – seeing relationships grow that wouldn’t have otherwise; deep into late-night conversations about meaning and purpose; watching students fix a railing at our worksite during a brief work break; seeing our terrific student leaders care for this small community lovingly and effectively – in which it’s abundantly clear why I still do this. This is life-giving work.

This is my 10th year leading a service-learning trip during spring break. This trip was a unequivocal success – terrific student leaders, lots of good learning, meaningful work and connection to the community, and many new, deep relationships developed. (more…)

Published in: on at 9:55 am Comments Off on ‘The Reverend’s Adult Children’
Tags: ,

seva, sangat, and simran – Haransh Singh ’18

Installing insulation in a classroom at the Rhodes School, Houston TX

Posts from the 2018 Alternative Spring Break trip to Houston, TX.

As my 2018 ASB trip draws to a close it feels hard to properly encapsulate, to do justice to how wonderful the trip truly was. The best I can do is to say that it was more than the sum of its many diverse, and enriching parts.

Part I: Interfaith

Though primarily this trip was about hurricane relief-related community service, a vital part of our experience was the interfaith lens of the trip. We all as a group got to connect with each other on an interfaith basis, learning about each others “spiritual autobiographies” and the deepest aspects of our lives. We also visited different houses of worship and interfaith centers in Houston. What did I gain from this interfaith element? Too many things… I really enjoyed learning about the spiritual journeys of my peers, within the scope of a college experience that has been starkly devoid of enriching conversations about personal spirituality and religion. (more…)

Published in: on April 2, 2018 at 11:00 am Comments Off on seva, sangat, and simran – Haransh Singh ’18
Tags: ,

An Insightful Path – Mkhanyisi Gamedze ’19

This alternative spring break trip has been an insightful path for my faith journey. From the significance of the interfaith work we did that united us, to the daily reflections and spiritual autobiographies. On this trip I got to learn more about my fellow classmates, the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the work that remains to be done on the road to recovery. Disaster relief response is not a sprint, but rather a marathon, something I got to learn more about on the trip. Having not been to Houston before or having attended a trip of this nature, I came onto this trip open minded, expecting to immense myself onto the experience and learn. I not only achieved that goal, but through being open to the experience and trying to understand perspectives different from my own, for me that attitude turned this trip onto being a very positive one.

I liked the interfaith aspect of this trip, as my group had very diverse religious beliefs and thoughts on what  their religion of choice meant to them. Coming from a traditionally Catholic family background, my religious beliefs and practices were instilled to me by my family through my upbringing, and questioning the foundations of my faith and what that means to me is one thing this trip  challenged me to do. I liked that challenge.

Impromptu Group Dinner after returning to campus.

I was not the only one reflecting on the experience, but hearing about the religious beliefs of my fellow group members was insightful as well, as it consisted of an atheist, Sikh and multiple Christian denominations. Additionally on this trip we visited a synagogue, which I had never visited before and the Rabbi we met there helped a lot on elaborating more about Judaism, as I gained new insights about the religion. The most significant part of the interfaith aspect for me was when we visited Interfaith ministries in Houston, which leads various  community development projects in the area. Despite multiple diverse religions backgrounds, the work of the good lord is what unites us, despite multiple religious affiliations and that was the great aspect of the trip. (more…)

Published in: on at 10:55 am Comments Off on An Insightful Path – Mkhanyisi Gamedze ’19
Tags: ,