Sometimes the light changes and the world expands beyond what is obvious. Experiencing Regent this second year has been just this. There is the obvious level of reality and then there is reality beyond, or dare I say transcendent. I first noticed this when my worlds began to collide or in Regent-speak, the opportunities arose for me to become more integrated. I had always juggled my roles separately, art making, administrating, studying, ministering, leisure. But as I became more deeply involved in each of these roles, they increasingly overlapped.
I tumbled into the beginning of the school year already immersed in a summer of planning and praying with the RCSA executive team. On one level, the RCSA Council is a group that serves and administers for the student body, on another level, we serve by trying to embody the values of the school to each other and then to the wider student body. There are projects, questions, events, meetings, governance, and assorted tasks, all important and would result in outcry if neglected. However, the council’s real job is seeing the big picture of the institution and trying to be how we want it to look. It is a marriage of administrating, creativity, and ministering while nurturing friendships, an activity usually allocated to leisure.
Studying and attending classes at Regent is an amazing gift. Although the nerd in me is content to read, mull over big ideas, and take copious notes, I’m not meant to be a glutton of book learning and lectures. For example, The Christian Imagination, on one hand is a sampler serving of the reassure trove of thinkers who integrated faith and creativity. It is also a class about sincere hospitality: about non artists welcoming artists to be excellent even if obscure and artists welcoming those uninitiated or less experienced into the world of creative expression. This is a deeper hospitality than saying “interesting.” This is a hospitality that entails risk, moderating anxiety, intentional concentration, and the mindset of offering out of bounty rather than poverty. Intermediate Hebrew on one level is a struggle through memory and recognition of vocabulary, verb forms, syntax and marathon persistence. But in a moment when I am on the verge of tears out of weariness from studying and discouragement about finances, the translation formulates out of pooling Hebraic markings and the God’s promise to Elijah’s widow is also his reminder to me to trust him.
Finally, my church has graciously given me an internship that combines ministry and art-making. On one level, the struggle is the same, hoping to do well, offering something useful, producing liturgical art, gathering people, and learning to discern between needs. One another level, it has been about experiencing vulnerability, negotiating competing values and expectations, and experiencing the devotional aspect of intentionally making art in response to church liturgy for an audience.
Transcendence is a part of the student experience at Regent College. I have found it in many different interactions, situations, and relationships but to write more would make for a longer and less helpful article. If you want to find it, ask the Lord and then find a way to participate free of reservations.