Archive | March, 2013

Durability

28 Mar

Okay, perhaps I’m shirking my duty as a campus minister blogger, but I often find that the students that inhabit our campus ministry are far more eloquent than I am, and if given the opportunity, they can tell you far more about campus ministry and why they find value in it than I can.  So, shirking be darned, I’ve invited Zach, one of our senior students who has been involved at UCM (better known on campus as the little blue house) since the first week of his freshman year, to be guest blogger about why he finds campus ministry valuable.  Zach writes:

“There are few moments in my life I would call prescient. One of these rare instances occurred early in my sophomore year at the University of Tulsa, during a Shack-a-thon event sponsored by the student Habitat for Humanity group. At this event, various student organizations gathered together outside of Chapman Stadium to build “shacks” out of cardboard boxes and other detritus, ostensibly raising awareness about homelessness and sub-standard housing. After hour(s) of sweat, blood, and tears our hodgepodge group of blue-housers (when are we not hodgepodge?) managed to construct the Blue Shack, a testament to modern architecture and duct tape.

At the end of the evening, in what seemed like a moment of absolute irony, our shack won a prize: a large, golden brick labeled “most durable.” Perhaps this award was merely a thinly-veiled consolation prize like the ones I used to receive at soccer award ceremonies in grade school lauding my ability to “hustle” or my “good effort,” but looking back, I realize that this prize could not have been more appropriate, more prescient.

What is United Campus Ministries at TU if not durable? Though the structural integrity of the Blue House itself may be questionable at best, the hodgepodge group of people who pack themselves into that little house week after week, despite poor central heating, are indeed the most durable folk I know. Who else would dare to set up a Transgender Awareness table in the most trafficked area of campus, or give up an evening of partying to wait tables for a dinner benefiting microlending efforts in Nicaragua? As advocates of progressive social justice in the red plains of Oklahoma, we’re a group that cannot survive without a sense of durability. The arc of history may bend toward justice, but it moves slowly and without our durable sense of community, our fierce tenacity, the Blue House would collapse like so much compost. But it hasn’t yet.

If you ever stop by for Veggie Lunch on Wednesdays, you can see the golden brick in its place of honor atop the refrigerator. But you’ll also see our durable community in action. I’ve been eating Veggie Lunch for four years now, and I have yet to find a more loving, welcoming, durable place on campus (or anywhere, for that matter). The Blue House opens its arms and its doors to everyone, because difference is beautiful and because change happens together. The only rule we have is on the front door for everyone to see: “Peace to all who enter” (the other rule is to do your own dishes, but we don’t tell people that until they’ve already eaten). We aren’t moving mountains or single-handedly ending oppression, but we’re here and our doors are always open to everyone and I think that, in and of itself, is something to be proud of. We’re durable and we’re staying.

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69831_441451964666_4371274_nNancy Eggen is a United Church of Christ minister who has served since 2002 as campus minister at United Campus Ministry at The University of Tulsa,  an ecumenical and interfaith ministry committed to the pursuit of peace and justice.   She lives and works in Tulsa with her husband, 7 year old daughter, and an ever-revolving cast of quirky, committed, passionate, empathetic, strong, tender, enthusiastic, and inspiring college students and alumni.

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