ISSUE 189 WWW.AUSTINSEMINARY.TYPEPAD.PORTAL/KAIROS.HTML
There is an old saying that "religion andpolitics don't mix." I absolutely agree. Yet, forChristians I think a new saying could be that "faithand public engagement do blend." I believe thissaying is true for all of us who are working our waythrough school. I would ask my fellow Christians topray for and be mindful of those who work andattend school, speciﬁcally the challenge we face in balancing and integrating the two.
Taking time out
Christian Schmidt is a Junior MDiv Unitarian Universalist studentin the care of the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Conference.
The last two weeks were rough.Between half a dozen personality proﬁles andautobiographical questionnaires for my upcomingcareer counseling, and two midterms for school(have I mentioned I love your classes, Cindy and John? :) ), there’s been too much going on and notnearly enough time to do it. Not nearly enough.
And, when two different people, out of the blue, stressed self-care to me on the same day, Ithought that it might be time to take a little time formyself. And for me, being the overachiever that I am,that means volunteering.
So, I did what I had to do. I went to see Lynn.Lynn Goodman-Strauss is a Catholic CommunityWorker. She runs a house, her house, in which shewelcomes guests. Her guests are people who haveno where else to go. They’ve often been living on thestreet, many are sick, some are dying, and all of themneed a place to live.
And I, in the tiny amount of time that I canspare, volunteer there. Often that means I listen tothe residents tell their stories. Sometimes it means Imake dinner (I made a huge amount of gazpacho afew weeks ago for one meal), and sometimes I runerrands, since they only have one car themselves.But the best days, by far, are days when I get to talk to Lynn.
She’s been operating the house for almost 20years, though she sold her old house and moved to a bigger location a few years ago. And before that, sheran a ministry that provided food to day laborers,men who work hard labor each day after beingpicked up by contractors.
And before that, in the 1970s, she ran aMontessori school in East Austin that taughtchildren, mostly from low-income and minorityfamilies.
Hearing Lynn talk about her work is to hearabout God’s call. She ties it directly to her life. Whenshe’s following God’s call, she’s right, and whenshe’s not following it, she isn’t right. And for her, thisisn’t some abstract thing. She nearly died at onepoint, and became a Christian as a result of theexperience. She also gave up drinking, and has beensober for more than 30 years.
In short, if there are saints among us today,I’m pretty sure Lynn is one of them.
And it reminds me of what I need to do. Ihave to stay true to the authentic religious life,whatever form that might take for me. If I don’t,things won’t be right for me.
For me, visiting with her is replenishing. It’sinspiring, even if I can scarcely imagine myself everundertaking a ministry like that.Thanks, Lynn.
- Christian Schmidt