At Emerging Scholars Network, we love to crowdsource ideas for following Christ faithfully and serving others well in the academic life. In the 2018/2019 academic year, we’ve been sharing brief insights on how to grow spiritually in the academic life from many of the writers in our network. Read the series to date here, or check out more of Chandra’s work for ESN at this link. [Read more…] about Spiritual Disciplines for Graduate School
Today in our new series on Writing As a Spiritual Discipline, InterVarsity staff member Angelo Blancaflor shares his thoughts. See Angelo’s other work for the ESN blog here. Previous posts in the Writing as a Spiritual Discipline series include Limits and CreationÂ andÂ The Spiritual Act of Naming: Truth Telling in Writing.Â
Since finishing undergrad, Iâ€™ve moved back across the countryâ€”from school in Illinois to home in Orange County, CA. Writing has been a big part of the past 8 months as Iâ€™ve been re-adjusting to the area, away from the majority of my social circles. Iâ€™ve been able to capture moments and share them with God and my distant friends.
- Journaling as live-processing with God. Iâ€™ve found myself in many new situations as Iâ€™ve moved, started and finished work in a research lab, and transitioned into full time InterVarsity staff. Speaking in new situations (like a new small group, or during meetings) is uncomfortable for me, but I need to be able to use my words to think and process my surroundings. I started bringing a journal to â€œthink out loud.â€ The pen and paper canâ€™t be misconstrued like my phone can (though I prefer to journal with my phone), and signals my presence. Itâ€™s a creative, free space in which I can respond to whatâ€™s around me, and it lets me enter into conversations with a posture of learning and curiosity.
- Letter writing to distant friends. As much as Iâ€™m able to keep up with friends from across the country through digital media, sometimes the ease of it fails to capture what I want to share. For me, keeping up with my friends at a distance means telling them about moments in which I wish I had their company. Itâ€™s a throwback to times we shared when we were together. Thereâ€™s something about the presence I spend while writing a physical letterâ€”sitting in one place and only focused on that task, that can get lost when sending messages on my phone. In contrast to the multiplicity of digital media, itâ€™s a calming supplement to the ways I do connect with my friends online.
- Personal blog writing. Blogging requires a little more thought and effort than journaling. Iâ€™ve been using it to keep a history of what Godâ€™s put on my plate in that time. I have 800 words to crystallize an idea, and I donâ€™t have to explain every connection because I can hyperlink other posts or pages. Like journaling, itâ€™s a free space to make connections. But, it also forces me to polish and argue towards those connections as best as I can. When I look back later, I can trace how my ideas and thinking have developed since, and see clearly how God has been shaping my thinking.
- Writing for ministry. Ministry in Digital Spaces keeps a blog of resources and stories, and part of my responsibilities is to write for it. I feel a sense of enabling and being known when I think of how Godâ€™s calling for me right now involves validating my experiences in online community. My stories hold lessons that can be ministry tools. Itâ€™s as if God is telling me that this part of who I am is essential and important to His kingdom. From Urbana last year, to this kind of writing being part of my work, Godâ€™s been redeeming my sense of identity as a story worth telling.
â€œThe decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.â€ â€“ Lysa TerKeurst, from her book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands [Read more…] about Scheduling for our Souls (Scholar’s Compass)
Elsie LeeÂ connected with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) at Urbana15, where she served as part of the liveblogging team. See some of her previous work here, and browse other Summer Snapshots here.Â
Two years ago, my husband and I packed our two-bedroom townhouse into my parents’ garage and flew to the U.K. with two bags each. During our postgraduate studies, we lived in a 300 sq. ft. apartment and shared one three-feet-wide closet for a whole year. Aside from traveling and making friends from around the world, we learned a few unexpected lessons which we are trying to integrate into our lives this summer. Simplicity, while dictated by circumstance overseas, has become one of our core values since returning home. [Read more…] about Summer Snapshot: The Discipline of Simplicity
Galina Pylypiv connected with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) at Urbana15, where she served as part of the liveblogging team. See some of her previous work here, and browse other Summer Snapshots here.Â
Same setting yet different pace of life. A transition from being an undergraduate student to graduate student at the same university is a place of mixed feelings. As Iâ€™m utilizing my summer by starting a research project, the reality of large time commitment is becoming very tangible for me as I realize how quickly time escapes from me. It leaves me questioning how to make the most of the time that I have. How can I live a well-balanced life in the midst of a busy graduate school schedule? [Read more…] about Summer Snapshot: The Secret of Solitude