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On a campus of 17,000+ students our band of 30+ students could easily get lost in the mix, but don’t let this numerical disparity fool you. Despite our relatively small size, the individuals in our group represent 4 different countries - Brazil, Ghana, India, and the USA - and embody a variety of sexual orientations and expressions. Even more, we are comprised of undergrad and grad students, underclassmen and upperclassmen, Humanities and STEM majors. This rich diversity of experiences and perspectives makes for dynamic, thought-provoking and ultimately transformative interactions, whether we are in a bible study or weaving our way through a hay maze. 

A few weeks ago a PhD student in psychology who is studying addiction in indigenous communities led the LCM group in an informative and engaging conversation on the spiritual and psychological dimensions of substance abuse, a subject that impacts many on a deeply personal level. A couple weeks later a senior undergrad student majoring in political science facilitated a session on faith and politics, adeptly navigating this tricky topic with grace and wisdom. Throw in Dr. Kristin Harney’s inspiring presentation on the spiritual nature of music and Dr. Hector Castaneda’s moving talk on the experience of migrants at our October 15 dinner/fundraiser, and you get an utterly unique cacophony of voices bearing witness to the loving presence of Christ in our world. 

In the book the students and I discussed at our fall retreat and continue to reflect on each Thursday over pizza, Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence, the author, Diana Butler Bass, writes about Christ’s saving work. She says, “Salvation is not a transaction to get to heaven after death; rather, it is an experience of love and beauty and of paradise here and now. No single metaphor, not even one of Paul’s [the Apostle], can truly describe this. We need a prism of stories to begin to understand the cross and a lifetime to experience it.” 

Our small but mighty group contains a “prism of stories” arising from a multitude of experiences spanning the globe. This prism of stories, diverse as it is, finds its center in a common faith. This common faith is the reason we meet for coffee Monday mornings, gather for dessert Wednesday evenings, serve at the mobile soup kitchen Saturday afternoons, and travel to countries like Guatemala over spring break. And as we engage in this shared faith together we experience, over and over again, “love and beauty and…paradise here and now.” 

It’s hard to imagine a community like ours in any other setting than a place like Montana State University. And it’s even harder to imagine a genuine communion like this without the boundary transcending presence of Christ leading the way. As always we thank you, our friends and supporters, for sharing in this “prism of stories” with us. You are an integral part of this dynamic, boundary crossing faith community. 

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor JP