Spring Break and Rest?


Spring Break is finally here!  I don’t know about you, but after a hectic week of midterms and being in East Lansing way too long, I am thrilled to be back in the U.P where we have tons of snow.  I’m looking forward to skiing throughout the week, reading a good book by the fire, and eating my Mom’s amazing food.  And resting.

Like many of you, and many Americans in general, I  sleeping in and resting with laziness and sloth.  I like to be busy and moving around doing something productive and active all the time.  And this is normal and expected for Americans and by individual families.  Productivity is the name of the game.  But are we missing something in our busy-ness?  Is this what life is all about?

Rest is mentioned many times in the Bible.  In Genesis, God makes the Sabbath on the seventh day for rest, and not only did he do that for us, but He Himself rested.  Obviously, if God rested, maybe we should too.  Jesus highlights this in Mark 2: 27 saying, “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”  God gave this day for us as a gift, allowing us to be rejuvenated and restored in Him.

Psalms 23 also highlights rest:

“He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me besides quiet waters,

He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3)

The Lord makes us lie down.  He orders us to take a break, find a nice field and pretty lake, and let Him do His work in restoring us.  We don’t have to do anything.  For me, this is hard, especially in a society that almost idolizes work.  But it’s so important to get restored, re-energized, and renewed.  Hopefully my Spring Break will be like that and I hope you will take the time to rest and get restored on yours too.

However, this concept of rest should not be confined to university breaks and weekends.  It’s important to have some time to yourself for renewal multiple times a week, if not every day.  Just going on a leisurely walk, fiddling around on an instrument, or reading a book that has absolutely nothing to do with work are perhaps some ways to stay sane.  There is no harm in taking a break.  God’s promise of renewal is one to cash in on no matter how busy life gets.

Wednesday Nights~Studying John

The Wednesday night Bible study has been focused on exploring the study of John. Though the group is small, it hasn’t limited the depth of discussion. We have addressed and questioned the issues/topics of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, witnessing, God’s call and purpose to us as Christ followers…just to name a few. I have been incredibly blessed by the conversations and discussions that have come up in the study. This group is willing to be vulnerable with one another as we lay out our questions and concerns, and do our best to give insight into tough theological debates in which there are no clear answers. It’s become a comfortable environment to express ideas we all have about what the Trinity means to us, what we think of the Holy Spirit, and how we encounter the Spirit in our own lives. One thing that has been particularly helpful in this study, is the willingness of the group members to dive into and explore the areas in which our views conflict. I have encountered viewpoints different from my own, yet equally as valuable. I have learned just as much from the group members, as I have from the text itself. This Bible study has been an amazing investment because it has become a community of friends that get together to ask our tough questions, dig into text from different viewpoints, and explore our role as Christ followers.

~Erin Laarman

Reliving Childhood

Reflections from the Parent’s Night Out Fundraiser

As a graduate student, I don’t get to spend time with kids too often. At least, not as often as I’d like. Parents Night Out was a great way to get that “kid fix” and spend time with fellow Campus Edge members. The best part about Parents Night Out- seeing graduate students in fields of law, music, medicine and many others becoming kids again by giving kids piggy-back rides, “playing house,” and using “baby talk” around the infants. Whether you felt comfortable around kids, or were first-time babysitters, there was something for everyone to get involved in. Students who didn’t have as much babysitting experience coming in to the night, were seen ending the night holding babies until they fell asleep, or watching “Brave” alongside all the kids, equally as entertained. The night consisted of activities for children of each age range, good food, and good company. It certainly was entertaining to see how graduate students and kids combined their creativity to play bizarre games and act out TV or movie characters we haven’t even heard of. From nine-year-olds to two-month olds, there were enough laughs, smiles, screams, and cries to keep all the volunteers busy! By the end of the night- midterms, long nights at the library, and papers didn’t seem as chaotic as they did before! Students seemed to really enjoy getting to spend time with kids, as well as with each other.

~Erin Laarman

Saturday Nights~Community(Enacted)

Last fall at CEF, we started the “Animate” group. After our weekly dinners on Saturday nights, we spent time discussing the idea of “community”. We began to ask questions about community: What is community? Why is it so elusive? How do we find, foster, and build community? As a group we began to consider these questions, how we envisioned community, and what we sought from community.

As these are questions that I have asked personally, I was excited to enter into this dialogue with others. As the group became more comfortable with each other and delved into these questions more deeply, we began to shift gears. Rather than just talk about community, we wanted to begin to experiment with these ideas. Opening up dialogue about community was an initial step, but we wanted it to be more than just a discussion.

So this spring we have retitled and become the Community (Enacted) Group. Our goal is to take the next step and explore what community in action would look like. This will include exploring our connection with God, growing together as a community with various activities and spending time together, and also extending these ideas to the broader community of Michigan State and East Lansing.

Overall, I see the biggest impact of our time together has been the gradual movement of a collection of people towards becoming a community. Simply by creating an environment conducive to community and being open to exploring this further, we have been able to move towards this goal. Often this has taken place in spontaneous ways through conversations over dinner or hanging out after discussions with coffee or board games. I’m sure the group will continue to evolve and I’m excited to see where it goes! And we are glad to welcome others that might be interested in joining us in this experiment!

~Will Demere

Knitting anyone?  Laura Hubbard in the act of teaching the group one of her hobbies.

Knitting anyone? Laura Hubbard in the act of teaching the group one of her hobbies.

Knitting Lessons 101 with any success?

Knitting Lessons 101 with any success?

Basketball Bash

When you go to a Big 10 school, it’s imperative that you attend some basketball games.  When Kory told me there were some extra tickets for the game on January 31, I jumped at the opportunity to go with CEF.  Not only did I enjoy the game, but it was great getting to know others from CEF.

We started off the evening with a tour of the Breslin Center.  The Big 10 and NCAA Tournament trophies are legit and the rings are quite the bling.  We saw “the den”  where the coaches (yay Izzo) spend all their time deliberating and making game plans.  We also saw the film room where athletes from all sports come to plot against their opponents.

We made our way to the concession area, after running into Travis Trice, and had a pizza party amidst plastic crates and concrete walls.  I doubt that the basement of the Breslin has ever experienced such an influx of laughter and fun.  The conversations were interesting too.  I enjoyed getting to know about other’s areas of interest and study as well as debating how to make a spell-binding TV series featuring accountants. (Any ideas anyone?)

For someone who doesn’t watch college basketball until March Madness, the game was a chance for me to learn about our team and actually get to know who the team is.  After a poorly played first half, the Spartans bounced back to win 80-75 against Illinois.  Thanks enthusiatic sports fans for making the game interesting.

Overall, attending this game was a great way to spend a blustery winter evening.  Spending time with CEF and fellow Spartan fans energized me and made me excited for March.  Come March Madness, get ready for some great basketball and bracket challenges!
~ Anna Mooi

Reflections on “Radical Marxist, Radical Womanist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me about Social Justice”

After 18 months of planning (I checked – my first communication was on June 29, 2011), we finally hosted the first ever Veritas Forum at Michigan State University. We at Campus Edge were proud to team up not only with the national Veritas Forum organization, but, more importantly, to partner with a whole group of local ministries: River Terrace Church, Riverview Church, St. John’s Catholic Church and Student Center, Christianity and Culture, University Christian Outreach, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Spartan Christian Fellowship, The Furnace at MSU, and All Saint’s Episcopal Church. We were thrilled to see around 200 people come to this exciting event.

We hosted Dr. Mary Poplin, professor of education at Claremont Graduate University, as she presented “Radical Marxist, Radical Womanist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me about Social Justice.” The talk was interesting – Dr. Poplin is an engaging speaker and a wonderful person with whom to converse. Perhaps the most important thing Mary did, however, was to spark dialogue. In the days leading up to the event, the Facebook page was the home of a heated debate about the criticisms leveled against Mother Teresa by Christopher Hitchens (and others). In the days since the event, I’ve had coffee with colleagues and friends to discuss further what we thought of Mary’s talk. From the time I spent with Mary, I know she would be thrilled by the conversations all across campus that have been sparked by her presentation and I know that they will continue for some time.

What may be most exciting of all is the number of people who have said that this talk challenged them to think or live differently. Students have shared that the Veritas Forum gave them a better understanding of how to share their faith. Others were challenged to be more forgiving or to take seriously God’s call to justice and mercy.

I am excited to continue the conversation in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to bringing more partners on board for next year’s Veritas Forum. Stay tuned!

– Kory Plockmeyer


Reflections on “The God of Antimatter”

Dr. Gerald Gabrielse’s Scientia et Fides talk “The God of Antimatter” hit upon a question I find myself asking often: what is the nature of the God that I worship?  As a scientist, I get in the habit of thinking that anything can be understood if I just apply enough time, effort, and cleverness.  But Gabrielse used the story of Job as an reminder that God is bigger than any aspect of his creation:

4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?

6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 38 5:7 (ESV)

If God is sovereign over Job’s earth, he is certainly sovereign over ours as well.  Gabrielse reminded us (through original Job-esque poetry that I couldn’t even hope to reproduce here with fidelity) that we follow the God of quarks and gluons, of matter and antimatter, of magnetism and electricity.  Any truth we learn about the natural world gives us insight into God’s character and should increase our esteem and awe of him accordingly.  I can’t hear this humbling message enough, and to see a Harvard physicist share it with other scientists in such an eloquent way made the talk great.

While I deeply appreciated this emphasis on God’s sovereignty, as well as Gabrielse’s insistence that one can be a no-nonsense naturalist in the lab while still espousing a genuine faith in the unfalsifiable claims of religion, I do wish he had spent some time going into what exactly he, as a scientist, finds compelling about the God narrative in the first place.  If we can’t and shouldn’t subject God to empiricism to prove his existence, how then should we come to believe in him?  I suspect some of the other scientists in the room may have had similar questions.  Overall, however, I was very glad to hear Gabrielse’s thoughts on how to think about – and interact with – the God of antimatter.

~Mike Bennett

Food, Friends, Fun, and an EPIC Scavenger Hunt

Saturday marked the kick-off of the spring semester for Campus Edge and what a kick-off it was!  The afternoon started with a pretty epic photo-scavenger hunt on campus.  Three teams ran around on an unseasonably warm day taking pictures of people and places on Michigan State’s campus that we had never seen before.  We interrupted an engagement photo session at the Sparty statue, we came face-to-face with some very large cows and we made new friends in the Dairy Store.  When the game had ended and the winners were announced (go team #1!) the group headed out for a progressive dinner hosted by generous Campus Edge supporters.  The food was delicious and even though we were all full after the second course we finished off a good portion of dessert before playing games and watching football at the ministry house.  The day reminded me of why I am so thankful for Campus Edge and the amazing people that are a part of that group.  My sides are still hurting, not only from the copious amounts of food I consumed but also from the constant laughter of fellowship with good friends.
~Erin Slenk


More pics to come!