Living Harmonious Lives of Worship

Trinity students are active in the communities around campus, and one of the most fascinating opportunities for service has been in the under-resourced community of North Chicago. A group of students, calling themselves Faith Alive, has decided to relocated to the neighborhood to bring their skills and compassion for a long-term commitment to the area. About 15 percent of the people in North Chicago live below the poverty line, and 18 percent of children do. The challenges there are real.

But there are also spiritual challenges that face people engaging in this type of Christian service. The pride of making a difference, the drive to accomplish tasks without taking Sabbath rest, or elevating practice too highly over belief—these are all spiritual obstacles that face Christians called to practice their faith by serving the marginalized.

Earlier this week, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Professor of Pastoral Theology Steven Roy spoke with the undergraduate students from Faith Alive and others from around campus who are interested in working for social justice while they study at Trinity.

The Christian life is about worship, Roy said. “It is one of the highest priorities of the Christian life.” We are created and redeemed to worship God, who is worthy of our ultimate honor and service. As Romans 12:1 says, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

This act of worship plays out in the life of the Christian life in a broad and narrow sense, Roy said. The narrow form of worship is the explicitly God-centered activities—corporate worship with the body of Christ, prayer, or Scripture reading. The broad sense is the worship we do in the rest of our lives, through obedient service as students, employees, sons and daughters.

“God wants harmony in relations between the narrow worship and the broad worship,” Roy said. The Old Testament prophets regularly called the people of God away from two main sins: idolatry (narrow worship) and social injustice (broad worship). It is hypocritical for the people of God to worship rightly in the narrow sense without true worship in the broad sense. In this case, the forms of worship don’t match the heart. As Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

“If worship in the broad sense is not in line with God,” Roy said, “he takes no pleasure in worship in the narrow sense.” Paul said the same to the Corinthians when he admonished them for allowing some to go hungry while others get drunk at the Lord’s Supper.

On the other hand, however, our narrow worship must also match our broad worship. We commit idolatry, Roy said, “when we are so committed to justice that we worship it more than the God of justice.” Instead, our pursuit of justice should be motivated by our passion for God. “We shouldn’t seek to pursue justice as if it depends on us,” Roy said. “Justice is God’s business.”

We must worship God in both narrow and broad senses, working for justice and praising the author of it.

Orientation Weekend: Parents Transition

It’s a constant refrain this time of year. “Mom and Dad, back away from the dorm room.” After 18 years taking care of little Johnny, parents are suddenly expected to drop them off at college, hop back in the car, and drive home. These are tense moments for some parents, and colleges are learning to negotiate them tactfully, according to an article in The New York Times.

One school has an official Parting Ceremony in which students march through the gates at the entrance of the school. Once the last student has passed through, the gates swing closed with the parents shut out.

Parents might wonder what they have just agreed to foot the bill for when a school so explicitly closes the door on their involvement. On the other hand, some colleges just can’t shake those so-called “helicopter parents” always ready to get their kid’s parking pass, arrange their schedules, and help out with class assignments.

The Times writes, “As the latest wave of superinvolved parents delivers its children to college, institutions are building into the day, normally one of high emotion, activities meant to punctuate and speed the separation. It is part of an increasingly complex process, in the age of Skype and twice-daily texts home, in which colleges are urging “Velcro parents” to back off so students can develop independence.”

Trinity, of course, has extremely well adjusted students and parents, able to smoothly transition to this new phase in life while also welcoming appropriate parental involvement. Still, says Heather Sammons, assistant dean of students for Trinity College, orientation weekend has a couple of opportunities for moms and dads to mark the passage into life without little Johnny.

Sunday lunch with the president is a chance for parents to meet other parents and talk with faculty and staff—including the president. “Parents are able to talk with their staff table host and ask the president any question they have,” Heather says. “They are also given a parent e-mail address: to address concerns they have.” Later that day is a dedication ceremony in which faculty welcome students and offer a prayer for their time at college. It’s perhaps a subtle hint for parents to get ready to say goodbye, but more importantly the service provides an example of the many ways students are cared for and mentored in their new home.

All seems to have gone well this weekend at Trinity. Parents are back home, and students are getting to know one another through local service projects today. With classes starting tomorrow, the transition to college is almost over. Time to hit the books!

New Student Orientation 2010

New Student Orientation started on Saturday. Incoming students filed through Melton Hall in the Waybright Center. We’ve got coverage from across campus happening on Twitter, Facebook and Trinity Blogs.

Going to be in the Honors Program?

If you’re considering being in the Honors Program at Trinity this fall, here are some things you need to know:

  1. If you are eligible for the honors program, you will be invited to the honors retreat, which is Friday August 20th – noon on Saturday, August 21st. Invitations are going out starting the first week in June and continuing throughout the summer. By committing to attend the retreat, you are also committing to participate in the honors program.
  2. When you register for classes, make sure to sign up for an honors course. Those will be clearly denoted with an “H” after the course number. For example, Honors Critical Thinking and Writing is “EGN 111H.” Registration opens online the week of June 15th.

$19,083.67 Raised to Build Wells in Uganda

Trinity students raised $19,083.67 to build wells in Uganda.

On Friday, April 30, SGA President Jesse Flanagan and University President Dr. Craig Williford presented Hands of Hope a check for $19,083.67 from the Trinity student body to build wells with clean drinking water for Ugandan school children. The fundraiser was organized and conducted by undergrad students from TIU.

About Trinity’s Ugandan Well Initiative

from Trinity Magazine, Spring 2010 issue
During the fall semester, Trinity students took part in a number of events over three weeks to raise money for clean water in Uganda. TIU’s Uganda Well Initiative was an effort by a number of students to raise the $12,000 needed to dig a well in Ruhaama, a village in southwest Uganda, which can provide water for up to 10,000 people. In this rural area, many children spend substantial portions of their day transporting water from rivers miles away; this well, to be built at a school, will also open up education opportunities for these children.

The kickoff event on September 22 pitted students against Dr. Williford in a battle of the Water Wits; they answered questions about clean water to avoid being hit with water balloons. Subsequent events included: miniature golf throughout Rolfing Memorial Library with holes designed by students; a community barbeque fundraiser; lemonade stands at home football games; a game of “bigger and better” that ended with the sale of whatever teams brought back; and a FAT worship and prayer night dedicated to the cause.

The students raised $18,000 in three weeks; since they were already halfway toward funding another well, they continued to raise money through April, and raise a total of $19,083.67 to date. The initiative was a part of Schools for Schools: Uganda, a division of Hands of Hope in Barrington, Illinois.