Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Gives Me Hope. - Madelyn Betz.

Psalm 62:1-8 ∙ Rollins Chapel ∙ Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire ∙ April 28, 2011
Guest Speaker - Madelyn Betz.  Curate, St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

            This first week after Easter is the perfect time to be talking about hope. As Christians, resurrection hope is the foundation of our faith. And yet, on any given day, most of us find ourselves somewhere on a continuum of belief about the resurrection, and where we find our belief affects the strength of our hope for what is to come.
The author Frederick Beuchner talks about hope in terms of believing in the possibility of a miracle. This hope is as beautiful and full of possibility as it is fragile. Our most extravagant hope exposes our vulnerability when nothing like what we expect to happen happens. When we set our heart on anything yet to come, we put ourselves at an intersection of limit and opportunity. When our heart is set on a miracle that doesn’t happen, something other than what we expect does happen.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sustainability Matters - Kurt Nelson

Delivered 4/21/11
Dartmouth's "Sustainability and Social Justice" Dinner, 
part of Earth Week 2011.  
Collis Common Ground.

Many thanks to our organizer, Rosi Kerr, my fellow speakers, Stephanie Crocker '12, Michael Dorsey, Marcus Welker, and Jerome Whitington, and all those who attended.

Sustainability Matters.  4/21/11
I'm the religious one this evening.
So if you need to get more food or check your blitz (note: blitz = email).
this might be the best time.

My name is Kurt.
I'm a chaplain and an educator.
I use reusable mugs,
and carry around cloth napkins.
I compost.
I'm a vegetarian (most of the time).
I take the bus to work.
I turn my heat way down.
I'm an ecological activist.
An inter-faith activist.
And I'm a Christian.
And for me, those things go all together.

It's holy week.
And it's Passover.
And I'm sure there's someplace I'm supposed to be this evening.
But instead I'm here,
with you all.
Because I think sustainability matters.
And I presume you do too,
or else you wouldn't be here.
And I've been asked,
like the others tonight,
to speak to why sustainability matters.
But that seems fairly evident to me.
If something is good,
it should be sustained.

And so instead, I think the essential question becomes,
sustainability of what,
and sustainability for whom?

And that's where I think things get interesting, and tricky, and wonderful.
Because it becomes not essentially a question of technology,
or economy,
but a question of our basic values.
A question of what we hold to be really and truly good.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Gives Me Hope? - Karen Orrick

Karen Orrick '11 
Rollins Chapel, 4/14/11

The Prophet -- Khalil Gibran
"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.  And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.  How else can it be?  The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."
Matthew 6: 19-23 (NRSV)
19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust* consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  22 ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Matthew 6: 34  (NRSV)
‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Hope- what a special thing to reflect upon.  Narrowing down what gives me hope is difficult, since there are many things I draw inspiration from: secret smiles, twinkling eyes, ocean waves crashing and receding, guitar sing-a-longs, home cooked food, home grown food, long hugs, forts, pillows after a long day, thirst-quenching water, appreciating the presence of one other, resting in the comfort of each other’s living room eyes, reflecting on different stages of life, my incredible sisters, my dog, and so much more.  There are exquisite small moments in each day where connections are made, hands are held, and something beautiful is internalized.
There are also many moments of terrible sorrow, isolation, anxiety, anger, and disconnection where we don’t treat each other nearly as well as we want to, don’t feel nearly as cherished as we would like, and ignore or doubt the humanity of those we feel strongly hurt by and defensive against.  Grievous injustices happen globally, nationally, locally, and interpersonally on this campus every day between humans and amongst local and global ecosystems.   Life can be full of disappointment, discouragement, isolation, and anxiety, especially for employees of the college who continually get their benefits slashed or for seniors, like me, who still don’t have a job for next year ;-).  The culture in the US today is full of fear and distrust.  Fear over not being able to support one’s self, fear of not having enough money, distrust of the government, distrust of those who are different from us, distrust of the TSA, distrust of airplane passengers, the list goes on.