Just for Janet -- another blog post! On a half-related note, it snowed last night in Pittsburgh -- my favorite kind of snow. The big, fat, fluffy kind that floats gently down out of the sky, piling up and covering everything with a peaceful blanket of white. My roommate described it perfectly when she said "It looks like Narnia outside!" I wanted to take pictures of it, but by the time I got home last night it was late and I just went to bed. Perhaps if the trees outside my apartment are still Narnia-esque when I get home, I'll take some and post them for you.
On Saturday I'll be leaving for another mission trip, this time to Bay St. Louis, MS with 18 college students. I love that students are willing to give up their spring break to go somewhere and do dirty work. Granted, it will be warmer in Mississippi, but I think their main concern is helping people, which is great.
A few weeks ago was the Jubilee Conference, yay! It is an absolutely awesome conference, and I say that not because I am on staff with the CCO, but because it is truly unique in its focus. It's really encouraging to hear other people talk excitedly about what we are doing, too. Not just so that we can toot our own horns, but because we truly believe this is so important.
The main stage speakers included Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Chuck Colson, Donald Miller, and Anthony Bradley. After the conference, Anthony posted the following on his blog about the CCO and the Jubilee Conference:
[Jubilee is] the only conference I know that combines the Biblical narrative of creation-fall- redemption-restoration and living missionally of any college ministry currently embedded on several college campuses. [Students were] meeting together for a weekend to talk about the implications of the the narrative of creation-fall-redemption-restoration for life in this world right now, today. This is unprecedented!!! They get it: creation-fall-redemption-restoration, mission! A passion for piety and the redemption of all of creation. A desire for personal
righteousness AND a desire to fight against evil and social injustice--to be true redeemers of culture.
Anthony also mentions something that is MY favorite part of Jubilee. No matter what your passions or interests are, there is something at Jubilee that addresses it! We, as campus staff people, want our students to understand that their faith should inform EVERY area of their lives. Here's what Anthony had to say:
I especially love that Jubilee demonstrates that the Gospel applies to every area of life in the topics of the seminars, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. Every area--from your identity in Christ to HIV/AIDS and environment. Forgive me for being biased but it seems cultivating a Christian-world-and-life view is the best holistic understanding of what it means to be world Christian.
AND, Jubilee is getting buzz in really cool places! Michael Gerhon was a panelist and breakout session leader this year at Jubilee. He is also a columnist for the Washington Post. He mentions the Jubilee Conference in a recent article in the Post. Read the full article here.
I have seen the future of evangelical Christianity, and it is pierced. And sometimes tattooed. And often has one of those annoying, wispy chin beards.
Those who think of evangelical youths as the training cadre of the religious right would have been shocked at Jubilee 2008, a recent conference of 2,000 college students in Pittsburgh sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach. I was struck by the students' aggressive idealism -- there were booths promoting causes from women's rights to the fight against modern slavery to environmental protection. Judging from the questions I was pounded with, the students are generally pro-life -- but also concerned about poverty and deeply opposed to capital punishment and torture. More than a few came up to me between sessions in anguished uncertainty, unable to consider themselves Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative --
homeless in the stark partisanship of American politics.
Awesome!!! And, believe it or not, the CCO folks and the speakers and presenters aren't the only ones who really like the Jubilee Conference -- the students love it, too! Carine, a senior nursing student from the Republic of Congo, said this after attending the conference:
I have been struggling with a lot of things going on in my life that even question the Love of God. Being in Jubilee, and listening to different messages, helped me renew my commitment to God, and know that He is and will always be there in my life if I let him take control of everything.
Amy is a junior education major who is also very interested in environmental stewardship. She doesn’t feel much support from the campus regarding the ways that Christ calls us to be faithful in all areas of life, including environmentalism. She said this about the Jubilee Conference:
Seeing so many people working to make a difference is so encouraging. It always moves me to tears. At Jubilee, I feel like that's a time to actually hardcore SEE what is being done. College students just like me are making a difference.
Our students are catching the vision of what it means to have their lives transformed by the power of Christ, not only in how they do their devotions or how they treat others, but also in how they work and play and study and create. The Kingdom of God is coming here, now!