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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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2015-16 Interfaith Scholar Profiles

VISION BAGONZA ’17Vision Bagonza

Hometown: Karagwe, Tanzania
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry, Physics
Internship experience: Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Research Program & Mayo Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

My Augsburg experience has shaped me by broadening what I know, and giving me confidence to pursue higher dreams and aspirations. It also affirmed my career goals and gave me meaningful mentors and connections. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in medicine and work all over the world.

KEISHA BARNARD ’16Keisha Barnard

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Major: Sociology
Minor: International Relations
Internship experience: Program Assistant for WorldChicago; Intern for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum; Intern at Metropolitan Group 

My favorite thing about Augsburg is the strength of student groups. Augsburg has pushed me to continuously use my critical thinking skills. My proudest academic achievement so far is being the class of 2016’s Kemper Scholar. After graduation, I plan to spend a few months abroad, farming and learning about sustainable agriculture through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

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Upcoming and Current Interfaith Scholars

students from the interfaith program gather for a group photoOn April 23, several of the upcoming (2015-2016) Interfaith Scholars met with the current (2014-2015) Scholars. The current scholars shared highlights and advice for next year’s cohort. The Interfaith Scholars Program is co-led by Professor Matt Maruggi and Pastor Sonja Hagander.

All are welcome for the final project of this year’s scholars:

Interfaith Community Sending for Graduates.
Thursday, April 30
6:30pm, Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center

Graduating students of all religious and non-religious identities are invited to an interfaith service celebrating your educational journey. This 45-minute service will be a special time of reflection and blessing.

Augsburg Interfaith Scholars Summary

Yearlong student cohort engaging in dialogue and service

The Interfaith Scholars are a group of students who are interested in exploring the religious diversity of the Augsburg student body, the wider Twin Cities community, and the United States through inter-religious dialogue and action. Students from a variety of traditions as well as the non-religious are invited to apply in order to converse respectfully with others about what they believe, why it matters, and how it propels us to service in the world. Once selected, the cohort has both academic and service requirements for an entire academic year.

Interested in learning more? See below.

Some examples of past Interfaith projects

2012-2013 Interfaith Scholars Facebook photo book

2010-2011 Interfaith Scholar Cohort Video

The Interfaith Scholars Program is a collaboration between the Christensen Center for Vocation (CCV), Campus Ministry and the Religion Department.