Category: 2016-17 (Page 5 of 9)

God’s salvation at Portage and Main

I’m uncomfortable with salvation. Not because it’s a bad concept. I’m uncomfortable because it’s at the root of Christian faith, but I don’t know how to talk about it. Salvation feels abstract and distant a lot of the time. I can say that it has something to do with sin, and something to do with Jesus, but then I get stuck. 

Photo: The presentation of Jesus in the Temple, by Lawrence OP

Photo: The presentation of Jesus in the Temple, by Lawrence OP

I learned early during my time at CMU that you need to define your terms before having a conversation. This is why I have such a hard time talking about salvation: I don’t know how to define or explain it.

Is God’s salvation in the birth of Christ?

In Jesus’ death?

Is it in the continual saving works of God?

As I muse over these questions, I’ve settled into the idea that salvation is acknowledging the presence and work of God in the world. A lot of my discomfort with salvation is when it’s simply equated with accepting Jesus into your heart and going to heaven when you die. There is more going on than that. When Simeon sees salvation in the temple (Luke 2), there is something tangible and active. 

Seeing salvation acknowledges the presence of God in the world and trusts that God’s work of redemption is in progress. Simeon’s song looks at God’s mission of salvation for the whole world. Through healing of body, soul, and relationship, God invites us to see salvation in the midst of the broken world.

A few weeks ago, I was at the protest in support of Standing Rock in downtown Winnipeg. A group of students biked there together, meeting professors and others there. We began by standing alongside the road, calling, “Water is life!” Eventually the intersection was closed off, and we walked into the middle of the road at rush hour. The intersection was dark, the sounds of the street were distant, and there was a sense of communal adrenaline. It was here that I prayed for God’s salvation.

CMU students at Portage and Main

CMU students at Portage and Main

Although this was a hopeful event, I was struck by the brokenness of the world. Despite the energy and passion, when I was standing in the dead intersection, it felt hopeless. Any effort that we tried would be shut down, and the powers of the world were winning.

Here I prayed that Jesus would come and set things right, mending the effects of sin on our tired bodies and aching souls. I prayed for light and peace and hope. Wondering what would happen next, I realized that I was standing at the corner because I have seen God’s salvation.

I believe that God has, and continues to, redeem and heal the world. If we believe that, we must join in with God and show that we have seen God’s salvation in Christ. As the people of God, we are to join in God’s mission of redeeming the world, whether that’s in the middle of an intersection, at the lunch table, or in the classroom.

Photo: Bjorklund Jakob

Photo: Bjorklund Jakob

This moment, standing in the middle of Portage and Main, has become my image for Advent this year.

Waiting expectantly for something to change.

Waiting for the birth of the one who is light.

Waiting for the end of suffering and injustice.

Waiting for the in-breaking of love.

But while I wait, I remember that Christ is alive,

Our salvation is here,

The light has come.

We wait expectantly for Jesus, who invites us to see the world in a new way. At the same time, we remember God’s faithfulness and proclaim God’s mercy, for we have seen the salvation of God!


7 reasons students love CMU

Here’s what CMU students are saying about their school.

Reason #1: the community

“I love how CMU attracts all kinds of people, even if they aren’t students here. Marpeck Commons has been a great place for students from other universities to study, for CMU alumni to catch up, and for donors to enjoy treats from folio café. It’s cool seeing people hang out at our school with other CMU students even if they don’t personally study here.”– Alyssa Lord


Reason #2: the professors

“I love that throughout your CMU degree you are able to take classes with many of the same profs you learned from in your first year. Because of this continuation, I truly feel that my professors are invested in my education and in my personal learning as I grow as an individual. Their open door policies and help with research papers and test prep has been invaluable to my success as a student.” – Rachel Robertson


Reason #3: the support

“I like the community feeling inside CMU. You feel part of a group even if you don’t want to! There are always people willing to talk to you and support you. When you come to CMU, everyone is your brother or sister.”– Klejdia Hila


Reason #4: the library

“When the library is quiet in the mornings, and the sun is coming through the large windows, you feel like you can conquer any and every assignment.” – Joya Reynar


Reason #5: the classes

“The best thing about CMU is the atmosphere and people. You can talk to anyone and have a good conversation with them. It’s a place that is easy to make friends. Another thing that is great is the class sizes; they are small enough that you can have class conversation. That is great because you get to learn with your peers and not just listen to a prof lecture for the whole class.” – Mackenzie Hildebrand


Reason #6: the food

“I love how snack brings everyone together. Students that live in residence, commuters, old and new friends. Food is always a great way for people to get to know one another.” – Janelle Wride


Reason #7: the spiritual life

“At CMU you don’t make friends; you make a family. You feel like home when you are here, as people care about you. You experience God every day in some way. There is a positive atmosphere here. I always feel welcomed and my energy stays positive all the time. I haven’t experienced education like this anywhere before. If you want to have a second family, then join CMU.” – Kunal Aggarwal




Professors: The good, the better, and the very best


As a student, a course can be good because of the textbook, the topic, the time of day, or the amount of work. But for me, what makes or breaks a course is the professor. I’ve never had a professor that I hated, but I’ve started to figure out who teaches in a way I can best understand, and then I love taking classes. My professors have made my CMU experience what it is. Here are a few examples of professors I’ve had and how they have enriched my experience:

1. Editing papers if they are submitted a week early                                Writing papers is always stressful, and I often find myself second-guessing my topic and wondering if I’ve even understood the assignment. One of my professors tells all of his classes that if students submit their assignments a few days early, he will read them and make comments so that students can revise them before handing them in again.

2. Taking the biology class to the forest                                                               Sometimes it feels as though classes are disconnected from life outside the classroom and it’s hard to grasp how they fit together. For one of the biology classes I was in this semester where we were learning about ecology, our professor had us go outside and walk through the Assiniboine Forest together. This enabled the concepts of ecological succession and methods of environmental conservation to be more concrete.

3. Taking time to talk                                                                                            Before I came to CMU, I thought that professors were going to be scary academics who used long, complicated words and would only talk about school stuff. But my profs always take time to talk to their students. Every time I have a meeting with a prof, whether to ask a question about a paper or a course, the conversation is longer than I expect because they ask about my life and what I care about. I feel as though my profs know me beyond what I write in my assignments. They know what I care about and have helped me to grow as both a student and a person.

4. Bringing food to class                                                                                            Whether it’s the last class of the semester, their birthday, or paper writing season, when professors bring snacks to class it is always appreciated!

The professors at CMU care about their students and love what they teach. Every day, I feel so lucky to be able to sit in a classroom with these people who want to share with me the things that they are passionate about. It makes all the difference!


Privilege and power: International Development Studies


I’m in my third year of International Development Studies, and I think development is something we all need in our lives. Despite popular belief, development isn’t something that an individual can take and deliver to someone in need like pizza. It’s a process which explores important questions of privilege and power imbalances. It teaches individuals to build relationships centred around trust and respect.

At CMU, we are encouraged and challenged to understand how our perception and theorists’ definitions of development is defined by worldviews and values. It is difficult to provide a simple and concise definition of development because good development is fluid, taking the shape of the context and people that create it.

On the other hand, destructive development can be easier to define. A development worker once shared with me a story. She knew a development worker who was riding to the city in a packed community bus through winding roads. Someone got car sick and threw up all over the floor of the bus. No one in the bus seemed disgusted or did anything to clean the mess that seemed to be spreading. Grandparents hopped over the mess and women carrying chickens struggled to navigate their way around it with their children.

The development worker could not believe no one was cleaning the mess and decided that he was going to use his newspaper  to cover it. While the bus waited on the side of the street for individuals to lower their produce from the roof of the bus, he quickly covered all the mess. The worker went back to his seat.

To his horror, as soon as the bus started moving, the wind came through the open windows and caused the newspaper to fly around the bus and smack passengers in the face. The worker slouched on his chair and pretended to take a nap for the rest of the trip! He was unaware that everyone was waiting for the next bus stop, which was near a house where the driver was planning to clean up the mess with a bucket and mop.

That story helped me understand that even with the best of intentions, we can cause harm to those we hope to help. As development practitioners, we need to be attentive to local knowledge – and remember that eating before a bus ride can be a bad idea!


When your kid’s first word is “metamorphosis”

My name is Sara and I’m in my second year at CMU in the Environmental Studies program. I love God’s creation and have always been interested in the mysteries of the natural world. My mom jokes that “metamorphosis” was one of my first words (metamorphosis is the transformation of an immature form of an insect to it’s adult form, or the process by which a caterpillar turns into a butterfly).

Sara works with classmates in a small, professor-directed lab at CMU.

Sara works with classmates in a small, professor-directed lab at CMU.

A dream that I’ve held my whole life is to be Ms. Frizzle, the crazy science teacher with a magic school bus. I probably won’t be able to take students into space or inside the human body for a field trip, but it’s Ms. Frizzle’s excitement and passion which I want to replicate if I get to become a biology teacher. I enjoyed science and specifically biology in high school when I began understanding the concepts of DNA and genetics. These discoveries excited me, and if I haven’t convinced you that biology is super cool, then I can show you some of the pictures I have of meiosis or you can take a look through the microscope I got for Christmas in grade nine.

After I graduated from Linden Christian School in Winnipeg, I took a year to go to Capernwray Bible school in England. My next step was university. I’d heard great things about CMU and have now experienced them. I got to be in small classes of about 25 people in my first year biology courses, and I had one-on-one help from my professor in my labs. That was worth so much. You would not be able to get this at other universities in your first year.

The professors at CMU are passionate and want to share their excitement with us students. When I talk with Rachel Krause, one of our biology professors, about her work, I can tell she enjoys it. She’s helping me figure out how to reach my goal of becoming a teacher. At CMU people truly care about you and your goals.

It is nice to be in a place where I am taught about God’s creation and have classes like Ecology, Environment, and the Bible, where I can learn the biblical perspective on topics covered in my other classes. At CMU, it is recognized that science is more than what is physically in front of you; science can also be a way for us to see the majesty of God.

I encourage you to consider CMU for yourself and become part of this vibrant learning community.

Guest blogger Sara is an Environmental Studies student.

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