I think I spent a good 4 or 5 hours perusing all of the art at a visit to the Denver Art Museum. It was so cool! My favorite floor was the Asian Exhibit where they had a section completely about Buddhism. I am studying Buddhism a little more closely in my Religion class, so I really enjoyed being able to see art from that religion. Some of the art was hundreds of years old, so it was incredible to see it right in front of me. I talked to one of the museum curators and we discussed a little bit about Buddhism and some of the art. I really hope to return to the museum before I leave for the semester.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
On November 11th, I attended a meditation service at St. Paul Methodist Church here in Denver. After having some herbal teas, we were lead in meditation by a student from the local ILIFF School of theology. It was a very relaxing experience. Afterwards, there was a discussion about the concept of interfaith. My idea of ‘interfaith’ is best expressed through the metaphor, “There are many paths up the same mountain”. (I first read this metaphor in the Hinduism chapter of a book we are reading in religion class- “The world’s religions” by Huston Smith). The student leading the discussion expressed his disproval of that idea by explaining that it can potentially lead to us projecting our views onto others. He explained that in his own view of interfaith, we aren’t necessarily all moving towards the same goal. One woman in the group thanked the student for sharing this obscure idea of interfaith with the group, because she felt the same way. She explained that she felt her own deep Christian faith allows her to better understand other faiths and see all people as members of her own community. This experience has certainly broadened my understanding of the word ‘interfaith’. I am fascinated by the idea of interfaith communities. I am interested in potentially starting an interfaith group back on campus—somewhere that people from different faith traditions can learn about one another in a safe environment.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
On Sunday October 6th, I attended a Methodist church service at Shorter African Methodists Episcopal Church. It was a longer service that lasted for about three hours, which gave me a new idea on what it really meant to praise Jesus. There was standing up, hand gestures, and everyone spoke their mind when the preacher was talking. These outward expressions of faith are new to me personally since I come from a more reserved background that is Lutheran. The few hundred congregants that attended the service really made the place fill up with a great atmosphere. This was a very new and eye opening experience that I was able to achieve because of the interesting topic of world religions for one of our classes at Wartburg West.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Overall Experience: The experience has been my favorite so far. The monks were very kind and when they gifted us with the Buddhist prayer beads I was grateful to receive such a meaningful gift. There was such a peace there in the space that I really felt.
Personal Growth: Seeing people so engaged in Buddhism as monks really made me see how much I like the ideals and beliefs of Buddhism. It is so peaceful and a very thoughtful religion/philosophy. I think visiting made me realize how much little things we do affect everyone all around us. The visit made me reflect on myself and decide to try to live with a little more meaning than I have been.
Monday, November 12, 2012
In class we have been talking about immigrant rights and with the time of the election, the right to vote is a very heavy subject. As I was walking down the streets I was having conversation with different people at their doorstep about the next steps for them to vote. While I was walking from house to house as a Get Out The Vote volunteer, I would meet random people on the sidewalk and strike up conversation. One particular man really moved me. As we began talking I asked him if he was planning on voting. He shook his head and said no. I asked him why he wouldn't be voting, as it was an important duty as a citizen. His response was quiet, but he said, "I can't." I didn't push further than that knowing that he looked as if he might have come from Mexico. I believe that man was not allowed to vote because he was an immigrant. Today as a class we visited a church that is involved with protection undocumented workers. Two 21 year old girls talked about their journey to America when they were only one year old girls, and the struggles that they face today not being documented. They expressed how important it was for us to vote. Alot of times we don't take our right to vote seriously. It is a right that not to long ago, people would die for. It's a privilege that should be taken seriously.
I talked with an older lady on the street yesterday that said she was not voting because "it's in the Lord's hands. Whoever he wants to be the President, will be." While this is true, voting is an honor for me, and I will appreciate this right for as long as I live.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
On the evening of November 5th, I attended an immigration reform rally and vigil to protest detention of immigrants for profit as well as recent deaths at the hands of Border Patrol. We started out the evening standing at a busy intersection in front of the nearby ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention center. We held signs saying things like ‘Honk for immigration reform” and “I am a human too”. After this, we put up the signs and walked together towards the front of the detention center as a leader read out names and stories of people whose lives were robbed by the border patrol. One young boy was shot and killed after allegedly throwing rocks. We then came to the front of the detention center and the leader laid out a blanket to make an altar. We placed our candles on this, and people laid down other objects- such as water and flowers to honor these people. Because Dia de los Muertas (Day of the Dead as well as All Saints Day) was in the past week, we wrote down the names of loved ones that have passed away in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the makeshift altar. After saying their names, everyone called out ‘Presente’—which meant that although our dead loved ones were not here with us physically, they were here with us in spirit. This was a very moving experience for me. We are learning in class about immigration policies, and this was a great opportunity to put my education into action.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Denver Art Museum and it was an awesome experience. In our classes this semester I've always wrote in my journal reflections about how impressed I am with how much Character the city of Denver has. Since being here I've loved the youthful and classy vibe that Denver provides, and after visiting the Denver Art Museum the Character was completely evident once again. It was big and beautiful and filled with so much rich history that filled the essence of the place. The history that Denver has is incredible, and its been a cool experience to learn about all that Denver has been through. It was really neat to finally see the way art was able to portray all that it has been through. Some of the paintings and pieces of art were so complex with so much detail, that it captivated your attention for hours. I'm not the most "artsy" person ever, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the museum and how much appreciation I had for the artwork.