NorCal Thursday - Gratitude for Good Things

 

Courage is Beautiful 

As we enter the latter half of the week, we focus on showing students how to apply the things we’ve been discussing. Building on his ideas of courage and beauty, Dr. Reynolds discussed Laches in reference to education. Dr. Reynolds talked to students about pursuing curiosity and interests not because someone is making them, not because they themselves want to, but because they can.

At Wheatstone, we believe Christian adulthood is inherently about freedom in being the people God made us to be. If the whole world is evidence of the glory of God, we have innumerable ways to educate ourselves. It’s hard work to pursue things that deepen our sense of beauty and our maturity. But, Dr. Reynolds argues it will make us more interesting adults as time goes on. You can listen to his full talk below.

 
 

Seeing, Thinking, Feeling Art

Peter offered students some helpful tips in preparation for our art museum visit. Most people enter art museums with the posture, that, if they stare at a painting a certain way, they should experience something, it should mean something, or they will become “cultured.” Peter reframed art museums as a way to see without immediately making judgements on the quality or composition of the art. Art, in many ways, is a playground for our eyes. There are innumerable details to observe.

Seeing art involves playing with the focus of the painting through your eyes. Thinking art relates to the “why” behind the art. Feeling art is all about opening up yourself to the possibility of shock, surprise, or puzzlement. Listen to Peter’s full talk below!

In the talk, Peter consistently references the painting by Peter Paul Rebuns called the Entombment, use the painting below to follow along in the talk.

 
Peter Paul Rubens  The Entombment

Peter Paul Rubens The Entombment

 

Crocker Art Museum 

A historic building in downtown Sacramento, the Crocker Art Museum became the place where students could put into practice the advice on how to look at art. Students roamed the three floors of the museum. Some traveled in groups, others went solo and picked pieces to consider. 

 
 

The museum is a great opportunity for students to try the risk of loving and considering something completely new. Even if they did not consider art museums “their thing,” almost every student encountered something that surprised or spoke to them. By exposing themselves to deeper beauties, they can learn to grow their enjoyment and their souls. 

Prayer and Gratitude

Prayer and Gratitude

Peter lead the group in a gratitude prayer. Gratitude isn’t just thanking God for the good things in our lives. It’s a posture of thanks that both glorifies God for his gift, while appreciating and extolling the beauty of the gift itself. Below are the series of questions students prayed.

  • What gift did God give you?

  • What does this gift tell you about the character of God?

  • What is your story of receiving this gift? Think about what your life was like before the gift and after. In what ways has it transformed you?

  • Since God gave you this gift, who has he placed in your life? Who has been a receiver of this gift with you? Who is on your gratitude team?

  • What is your gift like? Does it remind you of anything or anyone (heroes of the faith, Bible stories, images related to the gift?)

  • Since you have received this gift what do want to right now?

Peter encouraged students to practice hearing and receiving from God. The prayer time was punctuated by students naming aloud the gifts they had received. They spoke the story of their joy and transformation back to God. We all shared in the moment. Our prayer spilled out into praise and worship. Students and staff alike sang hymns, hugged, and kept praying while others played. This is joy. This is the freedom of prayer — communion with a relational God.

Theater 

Measure for Measure is a Shakespearean tragicomedy about justice and corruption, purity and immorality in Vienna. Duke Vincentio of Vienna leaves the city on a mysterious trip and places authority in the hands of Angelo, a strict judge. The laws are enforced with swiftly and Claudio, a young man who impregnates his fiancée before they are officially married, is arrested. Angelo sentences Claudio to death. In an effort to save Claudio, his sister Isabelle, a novice nun, is asked to intercede with Angelo on her brother’s behalf. In a dark twist, Angelo asks for Isabelle’s virginity in return for pardoning her brother. 

What follows is a series of complex moral questions that require endurance of the soul. Characters are motivated by virtue others by vice.  Students were engrossed by the earnest performances, character complexity, and Shakespearean humor. The play was put on by the Marin Shakespeare Company.

On the way back in the buses, students discussed:

  • Who is good?

  • Who endures wisely?

  • Who endures foolishly?

  • It ever right to do a wrong thing for the good of someone else?

 

 

Quote

Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
(Duke, Act III Scene I)