Archive for March, 2015

Refocus

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2015 by yhcreligiouslife

Welcome back to another week of work, study, and transformation at Young Harris College.  This week, as we begin a week crowded with opportunities, projects, and examinations, I turn to an Irish-born writer, Katharine Tynan, to supply a poetic beginning to our timfocus 1e together. Her work helps direct our attention, if for a moment, beyond the busyness of this week, towards the weekend and its celebrations.

Enjoy her lyrical rhythms and have a wonderful week.

See you along the way.

“Easter”

Bring flowers to strew His way,

Yea, sing, make holiday;

Bid young lambs leap,

And earth laugh after sleep.

For now He cometh forth

Winter flies to the north,

Folds wings and cries

Amid the bergs and ice.

Yea, Death, great Death is dead,

And Life reigns in his stead;

Cometh the Athlete

New from dead Death’s defeat.

Cometh the Wrestler,

But Death he makes no stir,

Utterly spent and done,

And all his kingdom gone.

Place

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2015 by yhcreligiouslife

Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.

–Deuteronomy 6:3

Place is important.  This notion is imbedded in our very language.  It is no accident that our words “culture” and “cultivate” sprout from the same Latin word, a wordMark Kroos meaning “to till.”  In other words, culture grows not just in a place but also out of a place.  Scripture echoes this claim.  Repeatedly, the land defines the people of God and what they believe. 

Working in a community inextricable from its enchanted valley, the significance of land and place to shaping identify and thought needs little justification.  Yet, drawing this significance of place to the forefront of our conceptual imaginations seems only appropriate, as our college initiates in a few weeks it first-ever Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival.  That festival is a celebration of this land and its import for our college, our people, and our beliefs.  As a prelude to this storytelling celebration, we will hold our fifth annual Appalachian Chapel Service on April 7.  That Chapel Service is its own festival, a festival of song experienced through the performance of traditional sacred and secular Appalachian music by guitarist Mark Kroos.  While still a few weeks out, I wanted to turn our attention to his coming to our campus to share his talent, faith, and love for Appalachian music.  So, over the new few weeks as we move toward these celebrations, I encourage us all to spend some time ruminating—as my maternal Appalachian grandmother might have said—on this place’s powerfully nourishing conditions that have contributed to make us who we are as a college community. 

To start, first, enjoy this poem, below, from George Ella Lyon as an ode to Appalachian.  

Have a great week and see you along the way.

“Where I’m From”

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree.

Waves of Mercy, Waves of Grace by Emily Halstead

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16, 2015 by yhcreligiouslife

waves of mercy

Last week, Instagram was flooded with pictures of YHC students at the beach.  Many students appeared to have a great time at various ocean fronts, watching beautiful blue waves, soaking up the sun, and recharging in the presence of good company while lounging in the sand.

When I start thinking about the beach, my mind immediately takes me to one of my favorite church sing-alongs from the youth group days, called “Every Move I Make.” This song comes with a fun little dance while you sing the lines:

Waaaaves of mercy, waves of graaaace

Everrrywhere I look, I see Your face!

If you aren’t familiar with the song or the hand motions, I highly recommend checking out this video of some adorable kids performing it flawlessly.

As distracting as that fun little dance may be, the song does provide imagery which is worth stopping to consider: waves of God’s mercy, and of beautiful grace pouring over us. We don’t need a physical ocean or a Spring Break vacation in order to experience these waves. Rather, these waves are ones which are freely available to all of us at any time and in any place.

Where do you feel God’s waves of mercy? Where do you experience God’s waves of grace? And where is it that you are able—when you put down the Instagram feed and look around—to see God’s face shining at you?

As we get back to the grind of the semester to finish out the last quarter of the academic year, let’s look for these pieces of the ocean in the places where we can find them anytime we so choose.

Preparation

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2015 by yhcreligiouslife

rest-areaPressed by the inexorable turning of the calendar, this weekend marked the exchange of one month with the next, inching us closer to the poorly named “spring break” that is to begin at the end of this academic week.  In anticipation of this coming break and the possibilities a time of renewal, rest, retreat, reunion, and responsibility brings, I offer these reflective thoughts from poet Billy Cattey.  Particularly, I think of how these reflections and a week of shared work and intellectual exposure provides those who are attending one of the college’s several service, cultural, and conferencing trips next week.  Such trips present an opportunity to change the world and to be changed.

Enjoy the poem, anticipate the break, and have a wonderful week.

See you along the way.

“What Is Happening to Me?”

Just beyond my reach

Is something I should know.

The quiet whispering of new senses

Murmur in the back of my head.

 

There is something important out there.

Comprehended only in fragments,

It speaks of profound mystery,

And suggests resolutions.

 

Like a blind man learning to see,

I am presented with random patterns

That convey new knowledge

When put together properly.

 

Stumbling about in the dark,

I should be able to find my way.

The information is all there,

But I do not yet know how to use it.

 

Across an abyss of unknown,

I feel a new bridge under construction.

When will it be finished?

How soon may I cross?

 

When that time comes

I will plainly understand

Things that existed outside of me,

Things that I could only guess about before.