My first paper and Krishna

I am a college student now.

I haven’t had a chance to update in the past few days – I’ve been busy reading, writing, sitting in class, and listening to presentations. I’ve heard conversations on Interfaith, Ecumenical communities, the different degree concentrations here, etc etc. My first paper was due yesterday at 6:30. I wrote a theological critique of the US-Mexico border fences. It was 4 pages long with another page of works cited/end notes (33 to be exact). The max pages allowed was 5. It took some formatting wizardry to get the works cited/end notes to work but I did it. And I turned it in with 7 hours to spare.

The different thing about the paper, however, was that I posted the paper on the course website and it is now, maybe, being read by other students. I think I actually have to comment and participate in class discussion by reading and commenting on other students papers. I haven’t done this yet. To be honest, it makes me a tad uncomfortable (says the kid who blogs). I think my hang up is that I am not sure if what I wrote was any good and what the professor expected in terms of format, my thought process, etc. If I blew that, I want to make sure that I did not blow it in front of my own peers. I am trying to develop a positive reputation here since I just met these people 😉

The food in the Refectory is terrible. I eat half of my lunch and dinner (breakfast is too early in the morning for me so I miss it), throw out the rest, and dream about eating food in New York City. There has been one great food experience here however. On Sunday Night, for class, we attended a Krishna temple.

There is a Krishna temple one block away from LTSP. It is located in an old Hotel. The old restaurant has been converted into the temple space. The class arrived after worship started. We walked in and, on an altar that was the size of an entire wall, sat 3 sets of idols. One set consisted of 3 idols of Krishna, overtly dressed and with HUGE GIANT EYES. Near the back of the temple sat the missionary of Krishna that arrived in the US in the 1960s. Elaborate rituals were accompanied by music and chatting. Women and men separated themselves on different sides of the room (this is how they do it in India but usually not in the US). The women danced in away that reminded me of dancing the electric slide. The men, however, were much more vibrant. The men threw themselves, jumped up and down, swung arms, danced in circles, and other such things. It took me sometime to get comfortable with the worship but, near the end of the musical portion, I was pulled into the dancing and I had a great time. More Lutheran Churches should do this.

The sermon was an hour long and was a story about Krishna’s “Christmas” which is coming up this September 1st. Afterwards, a huge feast was held in the courtyard. This was fellowship on steroids. The food was offered to Krishna and then fed to the people. This was the first time I ate food offered to idols before. It made some of Paul’s letters very real to me. And the food was delicious. Vegan Indian food with a little kick to it (some of my peers thought it was reeeeaaaaaaaallllly spicy but it wasn’t). A nice book on yoga and a program from the temple was given to all the visitors. And we were asked to come back whenever we want, whenever we want a meal, and whenever we want fellowship. I know that several of the leaders of that temple do worship, sometimes, in the chapel at LTSP. There is a relationship between the temple and the Seminary which I really like. I like the engagement with a religious tradition located in the neighborhood that is not my own. I believe these types of things is one of the reasons why LTSP stands out among the ELCA seminaries and why quiet a few of my peers came here. I didn’t realize what that really meant until I visited the Krishna temple on Sunday. I’m glad I went.