Tag: introvert

A New Kind of Jam Session

With such a historic building on campus, CMU is bound to have many hidden treasures. If you’re like me though, you probably aren’t aware of most of them. But thanks to fourth year interdisciplinary studies student Samantha Peters, a CMU gem is being opened to the community. The weekly ART JAM that Peters is running as part of the Spy Tower Press Book Arts Association is now giving the CMU community access to the art room/printing press on the third floor of the north campus building.

A New Kind of Jam Session - Art Jam with Samantha Peters

The Book Arts Association was sparked when Peters fell in love with CMU’s printing press last year through the History of the Book course with Prof. Paul Dyck. Peters said she and Dyck began to dream of what the space could become over the summer. 

“We talked about how we could make the space work better and be more usable. We decided that if we were going to make it more usable, we should use it more,” Peters said.

And that’s exactly what Peters did. She now offers weekly ART JAMs; lunchtime sessions where students, staff, and faculty can bring creative projects to work on, and plans to offer other workshops as well.

“We want this to be a community thing where people can work with their hands together,” Peters added.

A new kind of Jam Session - Art Jam with Samantha Peters

She notes that this is not your typical community gathering, which is just fine with her.

“I’m an introverted person, and if community building is centered on visiting and talking, I tend not to stay very long,” Peters said. “But what I love about things like the ART JAM is they’re kind of like an introvert party. People can just come and work on stuff, and as conversation arises, you follow it. But the whole point is not having to generate conversation. So part of it is making space for community gatherings where the focus is on the hands.”

For Peters, the Book Arts Association and ART JAM go much further than just giving an art outlet to the CMU community, though. It offers people a way to express themselves that doesn’t include digital technology and media.

A new kind of Jam Session - Art Jam with Samantha Peters

“As we move more and more into a digital world, people are saying we’re going towards a paperless society,” Peters noted. “But I actually don’t think it will happen that way. We are such embodied creatures that we are going to become thirstier for this kind of stuff.”

Peters points out that this idea of embodiment is even more important in a theological context.

“I know that in the world of theological discussion at CMU, there’s a lot of talk about embodiment and wanting to overcome the mind-body dualism that we feel like we’ve inherited and has been harmful. So I think the more ways that the community can practice embodiment, the better.”

But at the end of the day, Peters hopes that at the very least, the ART JAMs and printing press can become a place of release and escape for students and staff.

“It’s great to get out of your head. It’s easy to get lost in thought in academics.”

Peters invites all CMU students, staff, and faculty to get involved by joining the Spy Tower Press Book Arts Association page on Facebook.

Jason Friesen is our lead blogger, and he’s in his final year of a Communications and Media degree at CMU.

From camp to CMU: Knowing God beyond academia

I’m not sure what wild whim it was last February that had me filling out and submitting and application for Summer Staff at Camp Mennoscah.

Lizzie Schrag (far right) with her roommates from Camp Mennoscah. Lizzie Schrag: knowing God beyond academia

Lizzie Schrag (far right) with her roommates from Camp Mennoscah.

My relationship with this Kansas church camp was shaky, at best. I hadn’t gone every year as a camper, and not all the years I had attended had been particularly good experiences. From what I could remember it was hot, sandy, and full of both poison ivy and extroverts.

So when I arrived at camp last June, I had come because it was something in which I believed. I had taken enough BTS courses at that point to have a vague recognition that, when set up correctly, Christianity could be positive and life-giving instead of horribly destructive, as my own post-high school experience had led me to conclude.

Camp, then, was the best example of Christianity being “set-up” correctly, that I could think of: an intentional community that broke bread together; worked, played, and rested together; had healthy intergenerational interactions; and defied gender stereotypes—all on a place set aside as holy ground by the life-giving flow of the Ninnescah River.

Lizzie Schrag: knowing God beyond academia

But what I didn’t bargain for when I arrived at camp was, well, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God: that Grace, eloquently described in Hamilton’s ‘Unimaginable‘, as “too powerful to name.”

When I started working at camp, I viewed all those aforementioned aspects of Christianity as a check-list, as if I could simply mark them off once they happened. I saw them as practices that brought us closer to God. But I had gone so long without feeling that overflowing, overwhelming love, grace, and certainty in who I was as a child of God, that I couldn’t quite dare to believe that I would again.

But God has a way of overturning all our assumptions and our expectations.

Somewhere between buckets of compost, stacks of dishes, and a little turtle poop (I was the nature person after all), I regained trust in my own ability to be strong, capable, and loving in service—a living example of worship.

And between hymn sings and hug circles, notes of love from our director and quiet campers pouring out their stories, I regained trust in the loving goodness of other people.

And on my last night with campers, as I was hanging back at campfire waiting to put it out, I found myself talking to a camper whose difficult story was eerily similar to my own, and in ministering to her, (I guess that’s what listening, and sharing, and praying really is), I regained my trust in God, and God’s ability to work through what is messy, and broken, and seemingly irreparable.

Lizzie Schrag: Knowing God beyond academia

I went to camp because it seemed like a place to live out what I had learned in textbooks and lectures. But I left knowing God beyond academia.

I affirmed that I need a place to write and think, to make sense of God amidst all the dangerous, damaging religiosity I have, and continue to brush up against. But I also learned that God’s mercy forces us to reevaluate our doubts, God’s grace can sass our bitter cynicism right back, and God’s love can come in forms as small as a baby turtle, and as expansive as a prairie sky.

At camp I slammed into a God who is in all and through all. Even me.

Elizabeth Schrag is in her second year of a Biblical and Theological Studies major. 
This post was first shared in Chapel at CMU on Sept 12, 2017.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén