I’m hoping to nab a moment during your busy holiday to say thank you for your prayers, support, and friendship this year – and I wanted to do it face to face. Well, as face to face as I can get. Check out the video below for a personal thank you from me and my students!
Your Piece of the Puzzle
When I last wrote, I was looking at a several-thousand-dollar gap between my ministry budget and what I’d raised to date. That gap was preventing me from being on campus with students. Thanks to your generosity, I’m now able to be on campus full time! I have been immensely encouraged and humbled by the time, money, and prayer that you’ve devoted to this work at UChicago. You are a piece of the picture that I watch God painting on campus. I am honestly overwhelmed by the testament that you are to God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Each Christmas, many people give year-end donations towards my ministry. These gifts are an important part of accomplishing the vision on campus. If you could give at this time, I would deeply appreciate it. You can give a recurring gift here, or a one-time gift here.
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
PS – I have a new ministry facebook page! Like Lauren Dueck with InterVarsity for videos, photos, and resources!
First off, welcome to those of you coming from InterVarsity.org! It’s been fun to share what’s been happening on campus with a broader audience. If you haven’t seen it, I wrote another blog post for InterVarsity about what’s happened with the Red Cup Campaign since the videos below were filmed. You can read that post (and check out more pictures) here.
There’s a lot to share, but for now, I’ll just point everyone to the documentaries that InterVarsity’s twentyonehundred productions filmed at UChicago a few weeks ago. The voices you hear narrating in both are mine and my coworkers.
This video is a short definition of what we’ve been doing with the Red Cup Campaign:
And this one describes what’s been happening in a little more detail:
There’s a heartbreaking conversation happening on the walls of a bathroom stall adjacent to a major dining hall on campus. I first noticed in September, when I looked up to see the following written on the wall:
“It is the first day of my third year of college. I am absolutely miserable. I feel I have no one to turn to.”
I’ve been keeping tabs on the conversation, and something new turned up today, amidst all of the wishes of goodwill and outpouring of websites. I’ve been trying to think of a conclusion, or a punch line, or an upper to finish this post with, but I’ve got nothing. I’ll leave you with this, an insight into the pain, emptiness, and loneliness of college:
“Inquest: You live. You die. What does free will have to do with it all? It seems you kill yourself the way you have a dream. This is no moral question we are asking: is suicide a solution?”
I’m posting late at night (when I should, by all rights, be sleeping) because I have a request for those of you who are invested in my life and ministry. I’m posting this now, because the five gunshots I just heard reminded me that this is as good a time as any.
The neighborhood I live in (Woodlawn) has experienced a recent surge in gang violence, with two deaths and one serious injury in the past two days. Shootings tend to increase in number with the coming of warm weather, so please pray for peace for the city and safety for the youth of Woodlawn over the coming weeks.
By way of explanation, for those of you who are confused or concerned: as you likely know, I live in an intentional community in the neighborhood of Woodlawn, south of the University of Chicago. Our community is more in the formative stages than anything else – we’re learning how to live together well, and beginning to learn about the neighborhood. Someday, I hope to be able to write some thoughts about how living where I do has informed the way I think about the University and how I do ministry there.
Suffice it to say, I have the option of living in many other more convenient and “less dangerous” places, but I’ve made the choice to live in Woodlawn, as a small step in the direction of trying to understand the city I now call home, and with the aim of knowing and living next to people I may never otherwise encounter. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve done very well so far. I’m hoping that this summer will bring more opportunities to grow relationships. In any case, the first step for me is drawing near (even if merely physically) to the people and problems I could otherwise write off.
So, pray with me for the peace and safety of the people who are targets in these attacks, for their families, and for those who are in positions (legal or otherwise) to intervene.
For more information about Woodlawn, click here.
Barney and Lauren, the UChicago Staff Team
Well, we’re back from Winterfest – slightly winded and more than a little sleep deprived, but blessed by the ways God met us there. My favorite moments:
- Watching UChicago students pray over a campus map, asking God to be made known in the whole campus
- Leading a small group of leaders from Northwestern’s Asian American chapter as they asked hard questions about the cost of following God into risky places of mission
- Celebrating the spiritual birthdays of 14 new believers
- Sharing with students our vision for reaching all of campus during chapter time
First, some photos from the weekend:
Praying for the student movement in Guatemala
MEIV at Chapter Time
Pondering the broken image in the Women's track
Barney teaching in chapter time
UChicago First-years in track time
Finally, Winterfest was a wonderful time to reflect on the ways God has been moving at UChicago, and growing our fellowship.
UChicago at Winterfest 2007
UChicago at Winterfest 2009
UChicago at Winterfest 2010
(Most of) UChicago at Winterfest 2011
Praise God for the work he’s done!
This series describes short spiritual conversations that I or my students have had on campus. All names and details have been changed. I hope these snapshots will start to develop into a picture of what life is like for many at the University of Chicago
Why do you care so much?
A girl named Consuela came by and had time to talk. So much time, in fact, that she was late to her lab. I lived in the same dorm with Consuela last year. We have talked about meaning and philosophy a couple of times. But today we were talking about faith and God because that was the question we framed the conversation with. She actually did not say very much, but stayed engaged as we spoke of our personal connection to God through the person of Jesus Christ. Consuela wondered why we cared so much – for the sake of an abstract truth, or maybe personal fulfillment? We talked instead about how truth, personally revealed in Jesus, filled us. We encouraged her to pursue these ideas, and wanted to start reading and discussing the Bible with a Christian sometime soon.