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Uncovering Vocation –  “Spanked: The Sanctioned Violence”

Dr. Christina Erickson, Social Work on January 24th, 2023

Reading:  By Anne LaMott

My coming to this vocation did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another.  Like lily pads, round and green, these places summoned and then held me up while I grew. Each prepared me for the next leaf on which I would land, and in this way I moved.   I can see how flimsy and indirect a path they made.  Yet each step brought me closer to the verdant pad on which I stay afloat today.  


Good morning –  I have been a social worker for 30 years and I felt like that gave me an easy out on this vocation stuff  –easy, it was my work – which I described as making the world a better place. Becoming a social work professor was a natural evolution of that original vocational path.  I was set. No more discoveries to be made. What I never expected, was a mid-life vocation that would grip me for more than 10 years.  Like Ann Lamott describes, I can look back and see how I leapt from lily pad to lily pad through the course of my life, never knowing that those experiences would become so important to a mid-life vocation I couldn’t have imagined.  

Lily pad 1…..My mother’s spanking – so futile, so “not into it”, her swings and misses.  My own wriggling away.  My father’s spanking – so scary, so shaming, having to stop himself because he was big and strong. My 3 older brothers spankings,  – so harsh, so much anger in both directions. 

My family of origin, the family I grew up in, was happy, I felt loved, we were loud, we laughed, 5 children and 2 parents who were high school sweethearts, pregnant before they were married despite strict Catholic upbringings, we were fine and good and my parents spanked us.  My parents hit us.  They never hit each other, they never hit the dog, but spanking a child on the butt….that was acceptable, anytime, parental decision alone, no child input needed.  In spanking, the perpetrator is always right and the victim is always wrong.

Lily pad 2….my high school boyfriend. We met in the tennis module of gym class.  We were separated by gender (this was 1984) through the whole unit until the end when the ranked boys played the ranked girls.  He was ranked first in his gender and I in mine.  We had to battle it out, and while I lost handily, it was love, love.  We started dating.  2 years into our high school romance I punched him in the stomach in my parent’s basement family room.  I have no memory of why, but I remember the event vividly.  My anger, my punching, the look on his face.  

Lily pad 3 – I go to graduate school in social work and begin my field experience at The Initial Intervention Unit in child and family services.  We were the first social workers to visit a home or school with a child abuse investigation. I see the effects of hitting on little bodies. I see the pain and shame of parents who have to talk to us. I feel their struggle, I see their love for their children. 

Lily pad 4 – I’ll read a section from my book –  I suddenly saw that if I hit my kids, it was the same as hitting my high school boyfriend, back in 1986 (the other parent of my children by the way).  If I hit them too, I would be the face of modern domestic violence.  Continue reading “Uncovering Vocation –  “Spanked: The Sanctioned Violence””

Public Leader Scholars Program Applications Open!

Headshots of all 9 Christensen Scholars in small circles with text "Christensen Scholars 2022-23" on top left.Our Christensen Scholars initiative is part of the Public Leader Scholars programs which offer students a unique opportunity to explore how their worldview/faith(s) shapes them as leaders, as well as build their leadership skills.

There are two Public Leader Scholars opportunities being offered this coming academic year: Christensen Scholars and Interfaith Scholars that students can apply for!

Christensen Scholars BENEFITS:

  • Unique opportunities to explore Christian theology & vocation more deeply as a cohort
  • Earn upper division credit (4 credits) in religion
  • Seminar setting that is small and supportive
  • $2,000 scholarship, $1,500 stipend
  • Opportunities to develop skills related to theological reflection & vocational discernment

Interfaith Scholars BENEFITS:

  • Unique opportunities to explore interfaith study and learn about diverse religious/spiritual/worldview identities as a cohort
  • Earn upper division credit (4 credits) in religion
  • Seminar setting that is small and supportive
  • $2,000 scholarship
  • Opportunities to formally develop interfaith leadership skills

If you will be a sophomore, junior, or senior in 2023-2024 you are eligible to apply.

Application are due: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17TH

If you have questions about the Christensen Scholars program, email Jeremy: myers@augsburg.edu

If you have questions about the Interfaith Scholars program, email Jane: ulringj@augsburg.edu

The Christensen Symposium Was a Success!

September 22nd was the annual Bernhard M. Christensen Symposium. Jeremy Myers shared a talk called “From Nowhere to Now Here”. In it, he encourages us all to see vocation as something that roots us in the present moment for the sake of the neighbor. If you missed it or want to listen to it again check it out below.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the talk:

  • “It’s not a journey from point A to point B, where you have to leave this place to go to that place. Instead I want to invite you into a journey that’s really more about becoming rooted deeply in the place where we already find ourselves.”
  • “Vocation is ultimately not about you it’s about the space that exists between you and your neighbor.”
  • It is “the quest of inquiry to figure out who our neighbor is and what it is our neighbor needs from us to thrive. It’s not a journey where you need to go on a quest to find some vocation that’s hidden out there in the future from you. It’s an invitation into the right here and the right now. That vocation is something that saves us from the nowhere plants us firmly right here with one another in this moment of time to do this good work that we’ve been given to do today. and we get to do that together and I think that’s pretty great.”

 

Uncovering Vocation: “Taking Pride in My Vocation” Mike Grewe

Mike Grewe:

“When we are able to live as our full selves, we can shape opportunities for those around us. Seeing others being able to live as their own authentic selves provided a pathway for me to do the same. Finding my vocational passion was possible because I had a supportive community. And that is why I try, to the extent that I am able to do so, work to provide space and community for others to do the same.”

One Wild and Precious Life – Innerstanding Vocation by Geoffrey Gill

This is an exploration of an unfolding relationship with vocation. It all started back in 2008 during my freshman year at Augsburg. That’s when I was introduced to vocation. That’s when my life took a drastic turn and I tapped into something that woke me up and gave me a sense of purpose. 
While recording this video we explored the Christensen Symposium with Jeremy Myers and then we talked to current students and a faculty member about their thoughts around vocation and being a neighbor. I was able to weave all these different ideas together, over 14 years of exploring, to really innerstand* what vocation means to me. My hope is that this short video will spark something for you and that you will innerstand* your vocation is happening right now, right here in this very moment.
*(innerstand: knowing something as an experience; where one is able to make a personal connection, Not just a concept.

 

Uncovering Vocation: Paula O’Loughlin

Paula O’Loughlin:

“Being oneself is a superpower we can all access. When you are doing what you believe matters, you can find joy, symmetry and beauty even if you are not always feeling other positive energy. You get to know yourself and what is right much better and at a deeper level when your ego is not fed, when you do what needs to be done simply because it is needed.”

Uncovering the Mystery: Campus Ministry Fall Theme

Written by Hannah Sackett, our Campus Ministry Pastoral Intern. Hannah has previously worked with CCV through a local congregation involvement in our Riverside Innovation Hub. We are excited to have her on campus this next year. Find out more about Hannah here

The school year has begun at Augsburg University! The buildings are abuzz with energy and life, and there is a general sense of newness as the community navigates what it looks like to be together again in these days. Much of what the school year may hold remains undiscovered and unknown; full of possibilities, but also perhaps tinged with some new-year-nerves. As the new pastoral intern on campus, I can relate! 

 

The campus ministry team at the block party outside Foss. This fall, the theme in Campus Ministry is “Uncovering the Mystery”, a theme that in itself allows space for multiple meanings: holding space for Scripture, learning from one another in community, and practicing listening deeply, to name a few. But it also encourages us to explore some big questions together. Does something need to be uncovered in our lives in order to live into God’s call more fully? How might we make space for new wisdom to take root, to reveal what has felt hidden? Will something about our vocation be made clearer to us this year? Maybe sitting in mystery together can allow for new understandings, as well as a comfort with the unknown. 

 

For a period of time, I worked as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. And during canoe trips, I was often eager to know my exact route, know where each portage trail began and ended, to know how things would unfold. Oftentimes, though, the geographical twists and turns on the lakes in real life were not as easy to navigate as they were on the birdseye view from a map. Commonly, in fact, you couldn’t really see a portage entrance until it was right in front of you – and it was definitely easier and more enjoyable to do with other group members. Over time, I became more comfortable with the phrase we often used, “Know as you go”. And while it’s not always easy, it felt like a life lesson that applied to more than just canoe trips. What can feel like a mystery is often revealed if we draw closer to it and pay attention together. 

 

Students with Pastor Babette at the Block partyThe theme of “Uncovering the Mystery” similarly invites us to come closer and sit together in life and faith’s countless question marks, in the hope that new understanding and new life is just around the corner, waiting to be revealed. We’re so happy to welcome students back to campus this fall, and welcome all to come be a part of all that’s going on in campus ministries! 

 

The Kin-dom of Heaven is like a Front Porch By Kristina Frugé 

Jesus can regularly be heard saying “the kin-dom of heaven is like…” and then offering an image, a story, a metaphor to root this vision to a place or experience. It is like a mustard seed, a lost coin, wheat among the weeds, a treasure in clay jars, the leaven that makes bread rise. Kin-dom or reign of God are of course, in themselves a kind of metaphor that reflect the ancient context of their teacher.  These metaphors speak to the audience – an agricultural community of peoples around the turn of the century – as Jesus seeks to stir the people’s imagination for the kind of world God desires them to experience and participate in. 

Sts. Luke and James red front door with peace flags hung up on a string across the front yard.

The Riverside Innovation Hub and the congregational partners we’ve been blessed to learn alongside these past several years, have been about this kin-dom of God work too. I cannot remember ever using this language explicitly with our congregational learning communities. But what we have been talking about and working towards is cultivating more places and relationships that reflect the ways God intends for us to be and be together. We’ve been chasing after that call, one relationship at a time, one walk through our neighborhoods at a time, one story or surprise at a time. 

Kin-dom metaphors may not quite fit our current context, but the idea of a front porch has caught our imagination as a helpful metaphor to encourage the relationship building work we are trying to be about. Relationships that shape stories that shape neighborhoods that look and feel a little bit more like God’s good intentions for a whole, flourishing and connected creation – one neighborhood block at a time. 

On one of these neighborhood blocks – at the corner of Colfax and W 46th St. in south Minneapolis – sits Sts Luke & James Episcopal Church. Also on this corner block exists a front porch of sorts. It wasn’t always there, but a few years ago the folks from this congregation began seeking out places to listen to their neighbors and some hints of an invitation began to stir among them. Continue reading “The Kin-dom of Heaven is like a Front Porch By Kristina Frugé “

Launching the V-Portfolio: Why Vocation is Important By Jon Bates

I just about thought that I knew all that I needed to know about the term vocation as I began my role as the V-Portfolio Coordinator with the Christensen Center for Vocation. Turns out, the more I’ve worked on the V-Portfolio, the more I have realized how helpful being precise about what vocation is, intentional of discerning one’s own vocation, and being honest with yourself is for me and for students of Augsburg University.

Screenshot of home page of the V-portfolio website. Image of a car off-roading in the wilderness with text below explaining what the V-Portfolio is. With my role as the V-Portfolio Coordinator, I have been furthering the work of the V-Portfolio alongside the directors with the centers of commitment at Augsburg University; the Sabo Center, Strommen Center, Center for Global Education & Experience, and the Christensen Center for Vocation. The V-Portfolio is essentially an online E-Portfolio but with a foundation of using vocation as the grounding for students, hence the title, Vocation Portfolio. 

 

Within the updated V-Portfolio website students are introduced or reintroduced to the term vocation, as it is defined as, “the way you are equipped, empowered, called, and driven to make our world a better place for all living things.” Colloquially vocation has been coined as a term that means the type of career or lifestyle one aspires to have. Vocation is something that happens in the future and begins with the individual. The V-Portfolio offers a different definition of vocation. As through the V-Portfolio, vocation is framed to focus on the present and is in response to the world, the neighbor. This is important work as our vocation is compelled to move because of the neighbor and that we get to decide how to respond using our own gifts, knowledge, and talents.

Continue reading “Launching the V-Portfolio: Why Vocation is Important By Jon Bates”

Little Things are Big Things by Ellen Weber

This winter was long. April felt like an extended March. There is a whole lot of beauty in the winter and the cold can be hard on our bodies. In the midst of the cold, snow and rain, the last week of April if one paid attention, the green began to emerge. The tulips that I planted last fall began to sprout and I could see bursts of green in the mixture ofTulip leaves sprouting up from the brown ground. brown surrounding my house. I woke up to birds chirping out my window and watched squirrels dig up their nuts for nourishment that they had planted last fall. 

I am an amateur gardener who definitely has lots to learn, but continues to show up in March to plant my own seeds knowing that not all of them will survive. During this Easter season of new life and resurrection, I am trying to pay extra attention to what around me needs nourishing. Which seedlings need water, sunlight, more space or coffee grounds added to the soil? When my tomato seedlings grow too leggy, I adapt by replanting them so the stems are fully supported and the plant can focus on rooting down to allow it to rise up. When my broccoli seedlings are too leggy, after googling why that might be, I realize that they are too warm.  In response, I make a shift so that they are no longer under the humidity dome. Each seedling needs something different in order to grow and eventually bear fruit.   Continue reading “Little Things are Big Things by Ellen Weber”