Sunday, October 28, 2012

Check out the Modern Art Museum... For free!

On Saturday October 5th I went to the Modern Art Museum with a few other students from Wartburg West.  We observed different paintings and exhibits at the museum when we walked through the two different buildings.  Some paintings were simple with little detail, while others were large and took many minuets to take everything in that the painter had incorporated when they made their masterpiece. This was a great experience that shows the rich diversity and history of Denver. Denver is an amazing city that wants their citizens to take advantage of the opportunities that the city has to offer.  That is why the first Saturday of every month, the city makes it free for anyone to come and look at the art in their museum. We took advantage of this opportunity, and continue to look for other great opportunities that Denver has to offer.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


“Listen. Talk. Work it Out.” October is Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado. Mary E. Zinn, the President of Zinn Mediation Associates, organized a dialogue about the American Dream at the Regis University. Her mission is to find peaceful alternatives towards conflict amongst our community.

I have never attended a dialogue before and so I did not know what to expect, would I be in a situation where I may feel uncomfortable in a different environment and also I didn’t intend on creating conflict with a person I did not know. All this was a waste of time thinking about because I am so fortunate I had the opportunity to be here. In total there were about 80 people who attended this dialogue and when we entered we were split into groups of 8, and then towards the end of the dialogue we formed into larger groups so that we could conclude our thoughts.

 I believe that the American dream is about freedom and opportunity and this is what I felt at the dialogue. We had freedom of speech freedom to share our opinions and the opportunity to present it to an audience who was so welcoming, and encouraged ideas we had. Although they were not agreeing with all the ideas projected, there was respect for sharing ideas. They listened and respected what each member of the group had to share. I truly felt that I was really fortunate attending this dialogue because I walked away with future contacts who can make my dream of service come true and also people who appreciate all that you do in this world and that in order to create an impact, you need to start with just one person. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Taize Worship Service – Nicole Hanson

The Taize worship service is a service that began in France, with participants seeking silence, prayer and music.  It is a service for reflection and thoughts.  I went to this service at St. Paul Lutheran Church with a group of other Wartburg West students and several members of the Urban Servant Corps.  We actually had a dinner with all of us, and then when the USC told us about the Taize worship service, several of us decided to join them.  It was a wonderful experience.  They “hymns” were more chant style, with only two phrases repeated until the words began to sink into us.  The prayers were call and response or silent.  The readings were read in French, German, and English, which lent itself to a whole community feel very nicely.  A number of the songs were also sung in French, German, and Latin, with the English translation written, and sometimes sung as well.  I think the most moving part of the service was the instrumental break after the readings.  Worshipers could choose to pray where they were, or light a candle in front of the cross and pray there.  This lasted for only ten minutes or so, but it was highly moving, and I think we should incorporate more time for silent reflection into our worships on a regular basis.  With the world so fast paced, we often don’t have time to pray quietly, or if we do, we do all the talking.  In a deliberate setting like that, it was easier to get everything off my chest, and then have an opportunity to just let God be, without needing to say anything. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Urban Servant Corps Dinner- Michael McFarlane

On September 26th, we all had supper with the Urban Servant Corps.  They are a group of people who have graduated from college and chose to spend a year living together and volunteering at various community service organizations around Denver.  We were informed that some of them would be leaving early to attend a Christian worship service known as the spirit of Taize.  It is a service held once a month at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Denver.  I attended the service with a few of the Urban Servant Corps people and a handful of Wartburg students. 

It was a silent service that used music and prayer to worship.  Visitors were asked to enter and exit in complete silence to allow people to reflect and pray.  I really enjoyed the service, and actually got more out of it than listening to a pastor preach for an hour.  It was a small group of people who were all there because they wanted a different kind of worship service that revolved around more reflection than hearing the scripture.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Denver Art Museum- Holly Hejlik

On one of its free days, a few of my friends and I went to the Denver Art Museum.  We spent around three or four hours there, and it was completely worth it.  It was a lot different from the general museum that you think of with a lot of paintings you stare at and ask, “How does that make you feel?”  Instead, it had numerous works of art from cultures all around the world.  Each floor had a different area in the world that it symbolized and the art of the cultures in that area.  

One floor of the museum where we were supposed to spend a lot of time involved Native American art which I find to be pretty extraordinary.  It involved many baskets, blankets, pottery, jewelry, clothing, etc.  What I really find intriguing about Native American art is the fact that they actually used it.  It wasn't just something that was there to look pretty.  They put a lot of care into constructing each piece from the resources they had around them, and then they would use the pieces for practical reasons.  They are extremely resourceful people, and I feel like they used art to help make everything even more beautiful.  Every item had a sort of mysticism developed around it in order to aid in telling a story about nature and their lives. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Denver Art Museum- Nicole Mittelstadt

            The Denver Art Museum was having a free day, so several of us went to see what it was like.  The building is huge! There are floors and floors of different exhibits from different cultures and different eras.  The display of Native American artifacts was especially interesting.  It was cool that some of the pieces looked familiar to me after going to the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum.  Many of the artifacts were religiously oriented.  They were used in ceremonies, dances, or rituals.  Everything the Native Americans made had a purpose.  Nothing just sat around for decoration.  Each item was used for something.  They didn’t waste or throw away anything.  Their reverence toward nature was inspiring.  It was obvious that they took the time and energy to make things perfect and beautiful.  The intricate details on everything from pots to clothing shows that the Native Americans truly cared about what they were doing and that they were doing it well.  There were many colors and symbols that represent different supernatural beings, seasons, and other aspects of nature.  Most tribes did not have a written language, so they communicated through drawings and symbols.  It’s hard to imagine living that way.  Today it’s difficult to find anything that is handmade or created from natural products.  It doesn’t seem like we want to take the time or money to make high quality items.  It is just simpler for us to take the easy way out, but this typically ends up with poor quality items and tons of waste.  I think we can all learn a lot from Native American artifacts.  We show much more respect towards nature and our God if we take the time and energy to live with purpose and make the effort regardless of cost.