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Interfaith Student Reflection by Joseph Kempf ’16

Joseph Kempf, Class of 2016

Joseph Kempf Class of 2016

“(And Jesus Said) You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” Matthew 5:13

You are…a people of faith. You are…a city on a hill. You are…the Salt of the Earth. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls his followers salt, of all things! Don’t get me wrong, salt is delicious and needed. But we could be something great! We could be legends, we could be a mountain, instead Jesus charges us with salt. While there are numerous interpretations of what exactly is meant by being the Salt of the Earth, I personally hold this verse in the Gospel of Matthew to indicate how followers of Jesus should engage in the world. I am going to do this with a little bit of Chemistry.

I wanted to be scholarly and a little rebellious so I researched what Salt of the Earth even means. According to the Wikipedia page devoted to Matthew 5:13, it reads “Salt itself, Sodium Chloride, is extremely stable and cannot lose its flavor…(then some author notes) Jesus is ‘not giving a chemistry lesson’” I’m almost a little offended. Who are they to decide when chemistry stops. If there is one thing I learned at Augsburg…chemistry never stops. Since Jesus clearly was not teaching chemistry, I think I will step up to the plate so to speak.

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This I Believe, February 2014: Jeanne Boeh

Respect and Vocation

Jeanne Boeh is a professor of Economics at Augsburg University

headshot of Jeanne BoehAs some of you may know and some of you may even care; Adam Smith, the father of economics, is buried in Edinburgh. One of PBS’s well known and admired hosts is the travel author Rick Steve’s. I was aghast to read his explication of how to find Adam Smith’s grave in Edinburgh.

People’s Story-This interesting exhibition traces the conditions of the working class through the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  Curiously, while this museum is dedicated to the proletariat, immediately around the back (embedded in the wall of the museum is the tomb of Adam Smith-the author of Wealth of Nations and the father of modern free market capitalism(1723-1790). [i]

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This I Believe, December 2013: Melissa Hensley

“Believing in God and in One’s Self.”

Melissa A. Hensley is an assistant professor in the Social Work department.

headshot of Melissa A. HensleyI lead a monthly “Empowerment Workshop” at a mental health agency in a nearby county.  The people who attend the group choose the topic for discussion each month, focusing on self-care, wellness, and recovery from serious mental illness.

Recently, I was facilitating a discussion on building self-esteem. The group members and I were discussing a worksheet that we’d all completed. The worksheet asked us to list positive qualities we possessed, compliments we’d received recently, and challenges that we had overcome. As we were taking turns sharing our responses, the conversation came around to a middle-aged woman seated at the back of the conference room. She stated that she could not think of anything good about herself. I was surprised at first, but I tried to respond in an encouraging way.

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This I Believe, November 2013: Doug Green

“For once, then, something”: Reflections of a Judeo-Christian Agnostic

Douglas E. Green is a professor in the English Department

headshot of Douglas E. GreenOn a spring faculty-staff retreat, about fifteen years ago, the late Dean Marie McNeff, who knew my complicated Judeo-Christian (specifically Jewish-Catholic) background, asked me what I believed.  I told her, “I’m an agnostic who prays.”

I thought I was being very clever, but in fact I was exhibiting a trait shared by a growing number of Americans. According to reports on a recent Pew poll,[1] agnostics and atheists—the “nones”—have become more and more common in the U.S.  And a lot of us non-believers pray.

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This I Believe, October 2013: Lori Peterson

Belief and Believing In

by Lori Peterson, Associate Vice President and Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

This I Believe: Podcast 1950's printed in front of a headshot of Edward R. MurrowA few years ago, I was part of a group of faculty and staff at Augsburg that gathered to reflect on our individual sense of vocation and our collective sense of calling as a College.  It was an inspiring, deeply reflective set of days spent reading, thinking, and sharing.  One of our culminating experiences was to write a “This I Believe” essay, based on the popular 1950’s radio series hosted by Edward R. Murrow.  The exercise of writing and the essays that emerged were powerful.  In reflection on the work of writing my essay, though, it seems to me that there is a difference between articulating what we believe (know to be true) and what we believe in.  For me, believing in something is the definition of faith.

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