#MyWheaton

The Shalom Community: Gospel and Praxis

Posted February 24, 2017 by Caleb Luk '17

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How is the Gospel lived out in all areas of life? This has been the core question I have had throughout my time in the Shalom Community. A hope I had entering this community was to learn the narratives of others in the body of Christ and the forces that have shaped our journeys thus far. The Shalom Community is a group of juniors and seniors who have committed to a year of living and learning together about cross-cultural narratives and the history of race relations, both as individuals and a society as a whole. 

In addition to weekly meetings and a semester-long class in the fall, discussions on campus events and meals have provided the community with avenues to learn the diverse interests of each other through a common vocabulary.

Is that Parks and Rec. I hear?

Hey, I’m making crêpes, you want some? 

The answer to the last question is yes, always yes.  

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At our retreat in the fall, we were huddling around a campfire with the starry sky above when it was mentioned that Doritos served as great tinder for a fire. 

Doritos?! That junk food? A few pieces were tossed into the flame and a great blaze erupted above the place where the chips had landed.

Is that us? We are labeled as lesser by society and ourselves, yet in passing through the fire, we realize the truth placed in us all. 

The more narratives I hear of great sorrow and injustice, the more I realize the great need for the Gospel. From a deep acknowledgement of being the Beloved rather than gaining acceptance through works, we are free to learn from others and are given the strength to be partakers in the Kingdom. 

The truth of the Gospel is satisfying, yet it leads to more questions:How do the cultures of theologians and scholars contribute to the expression of the Gospel? Is our faith in Christ guiding our ways of pursuing justice, or are we having our ideas of justice guide our faith? Are we merely drawing on Bible verses that support our viewpoints, or are we living in the greater narrative? 

My thoughts are but one of many perspectives in this year’s Shalom Community. Through our common faith in Christ, each of us has the ability to honor other bearers of the Imago Dei and share each other’s narratives in our spheres of influence.

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Caleb Luk ’17 is a senior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Biblical and Theological Studies. Visit this link to learn more about the Shalom Community at Wheaton. Photo captions (top to bottom): Caleb (second from right) and fellow Shalom Community members; dinner preparations for a weekly dinner meeting; Shalom Community members enjoying a weekly dinner together.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

The Study of Creation

Posted February 16, 2017 by Natalie Flemming '18

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Natalie Flemming ’18 is the embodiment of the liberal arts. A biology and art major, she thrives in both the lab and the studio as she seeks a thorough understanding of creation.

Natalie hopes to become a medical or scientific illustrator — to produce accurate and visually appealing sketches for textbooks and other publications. 

"I think that inevitably studying both biology and art leads to a study of creation," she says. "And as we are able to study creation we can understand a little bit more about who God is by understanding the world he has made around us."

Natalie is also a member of the women’s club ultimate frisbee team and serves as a youth group leader at Wheaton Bible Church. Some of her works can be seen across campus, including a creative nail-and-string depiction of a monk displayed in the Smith-Traber residence hall.

Watch the video above to learn more about how Wheaton has allowed Natalie to combine her passions of science and art. 

Natalie Flemming ’18 is a junior studying biology and art. Learn more about Wheaton’s academic programs here. Video filmed, produced, and edited by Andrew Suk.

My First Semester With Christ At The Core

Posted February 3, 2017 by Octavia Powell '20

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powell-1After my first few months at college, I can safely say that no amount of anticipation about Wheaton could ever compare to me actually being here. And here is such a lovely place to be. I use the word lovely not out of habit or in an attempt to adhere to clichés, but because when I think of my first semester on campus the word "lovely"—defined by Webster’s dictionary as “attractive or beautiful especially in a graceful way—immediately comes to mind. 

What attracted me to Wheaton, and what continues to help me fall in love with this school more and more, is just how much people care about something—or more specifically, someone—other than themselves. "For Christ and His Kingdom" isn’t just the mantra here, I see it applied everywhere. The students’ and faculty’s love for Christ is what shapes them into the caring and mindful people that they are. The friendships I’ve made here aren't just friendships based on proximity. My friends are people that I care about deeply and I know that they feel the same way. The relationships I’ve established with people here have been priceless and it’s only been about 6 months.

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It’s beautiful to me how Wheaton’s academics transcend the typical secular scope of education and integrate faith with learning so effortlessly. My professors never fail to truly astound me with with their passion for their field and how they help me to see that my faith isn’t something to just be applied in a Bible and theology class. My CORE class—Relationship to Creation—was something I really valued because it directly related to a passion of mine. In high school I volunteered at my local zoo and raised awareness for environmental issues but I’d never looked at how we should be caring for the world around us from a Christian perspective. This class, along with others, have truly helped me to gain a respect for the Christian liberal arts. The Christ at the Core curriculum may be new but it’s goal of keeping Christ at the center of every academic pursuit is something I admire, especially when the rest of the world tells me that my faith has to be separate from the rest of my life.

The leadership staff here lead through constant acts of service and grace. Other than the friends I’ve made and the classes I attend, my Wheaton experience so far has been primarily defined by my time serving on Student Government as freshman class vice president. Through being appointed to this position I have met so many wonderful student leaders and faculty members that serve with the perfect combination of strength and dignity. The Christian leaders here daily inspire me and I strive to gain knowledge from them to better learn how to serve my class and later, the world.

I don’t know what I thought college would be like, but the experiences I’ve had here are insurmountably better than I ever could have imagined.

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Octavia Powell ’20 is the freshman class vice president at Wheaton and is considering a major in international relations. The Class of 2020 is the first to study under the new general education curriculum, Christ at the Core. Photo captions (top to bottom): Octavia (right) and friends at a Christmas banquet hosted by the Office of Multicultural Development; 2016-17 Student Government leaders; Octavia (right) and friends enjoying one of the first snowfalls of the season.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Skis, Frozen Lakes, and Jesus

Posted January 25, 2017 by Silas Wade '18

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honeyrockI couldn’t describe it adequately to anybody for days.

At least, not until I sat next to Dr. Rob Ribbe, director of HoneyRock and assistant professor of Christian formation and ministry, at lunch yesterday. I regaled him about the ski trip the retreat group and I went on, and when it came time to offer a description of the experience, I grasped for words.

 “Rob, it was…”

 Nothing came. Rob looked at me patiently as I went to try again.

 “It was..”

 Nothing. I had no words. Then Rob spoke:

 “Perfect.”

And that was it. I was finally able to describe the clear night when the Wheaton Undergraduate Admissions group of Diakonoi—“Dekes”—and I went skiing on a frozen lake under the light of the moon and a billion stars. The awe that I felt when I saw the moonlight being refracted off a plethora of tiny water crystals, or when the tree line couldn’t have been more clear against the sky, was perfect—just like my Creator. Is that what the ski trip was about? Not to downplay my duties as a retreat host, which I loved (shout out to the Dekes!), but out there on my flimsy skis, I was reduced to awe and wonder before the one who loves me. Some of us can go our whole lives studying scripture and going to church without meeting God in a way that leaves us speechless.

But God wants to meet of us where we are, even if that is on an unscheduled ski trip, during a retreat, having consumed far too much coffee. The place where all of the devices that we use to prop ourselves up fall apart, that's where Jesus is. That’s where we see His perfection and are made perfect ourselves. It’s really something.

I didn’t have the words to describe a ski trip, but I wonder if, in my attempts to do so, I was trying to describe something else—if I was trying to describe someone else.

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Silas Wade M.A. '18 is a graduate student seeking a master's degree in Christian Formation and Ministry with an emphasis in Outdoor Adventure Leadership at HoneyRock, Wheaton’s Outdoor Center for Leadership Development. Photo captions (top to bottom): the Wisconsin night sky over Long Lake; students prepare to snowshoe through the miles of wooded trails at HoneyRock, Wheaton's Outdoor Center for Leadership Development.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

New Year's Resolutions at Wheaton

Posted January 13, 2017 by Kelsey Plankeel '18

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It’s students’ first week back on Wheaton’s campus in 2017, and New Year’s resolutions—the written embodiment of hope for a “better you” after holiday season culinary and financial splurging—are upon us. Whether you fall into the 80 percent of individuals who fail by the second week in February—thanks for that, U.S. News—or whether you are among the top 20 percent who succeed, the symbolic turn of the year can spark in each of us the motivation to start, stop, or change our daily routines. Wheaton students are no different from the general public. 

I have only been back for three days, and already I have noticed the increased traffic at the Sports and Recreation Complex, a busier salad bar, and more resistance in responding to late-night bowling invites. 

Over lunch in Anderson Commons this week, I decided to ask my tablemates and those around us about their New Year’s resolutions. I was impressed by the variety of responses, and below are the highlights.

The Anti-Resolutionist

Alex Garcia ’18 said he did not have a New Year’s resolution and was not planning on making one because he never follows through. 

“I would make a New Year’s resolution of things I don’t want to do, like ‘fail classes’,” he said mischievously. “I’d be like ‘let’s do this!’ and I wouldn’t do it.”

The Health Nut

David Sell ’19 has resolved to completely cut dairy and gluten from his diet for the calendar year. “Just to be healthy. There are some bad things about dairy… it gives you calcium and that’s good though.” David started this mission in late autumn 2016 and celebrates 100 percent success so far.

The Schedule Seeker 

“It’s more of a school resolution—I want to sleep more,” says Rebecca Plankeel ’20.

“I want to be social and then I realize I have work so I’m staying up doing my homework,” she admitted to her beaming older sister (me). I did warn her!

Overall, Rebecca hopes to have a defined daily schedule for working out, homework, and sleep. When asked how her first eleven days of the New Year had gone, she smartly replied, “You know, I haven’t started yet, but it’s going to happen eventually.”

The Hydration Hound

Kara Chen ’20 has joined the many who seek to improve health via hydration. “I even have an app for it!” she exclaimed as she excitedly grabbed her iPhone.

The app, called MyWater, allows users to log their water consumption in ounces throughout the day. It also provides calculations for the recommended amount of daily water consumption and lets users set personal intake goals.

“I have to drink 55.44 ounces every day, and I have reached it every day!” she said.

 The Other Guys

“My resolution is, well… it’s to watch more movies,” said John Limkeman ’17. John, a senior, feels that his final semester is the time to catch up on the classics that he has never seen. 

“Mine is to not break any more limbs,” laughed Peter Zhao ’17 as he balanced on a pair of crutches. Last semester, Peter broke his fibula during a video shoot with the Taekwondo Club here at Wheaton. He is happy to report that he has not yet broken any more bones.

And myself? I’m with my sister. Though I haven’t officially declared it a “resolution,” I hope that 2017 will be the year of organization for me. No more Stupe apples hiding among the inkless pens and crumpled quizzes in the bottom of my backpack, and certainly no more locking my keys in the car (I think I’ve reached the 10 free locksmith visits offered by insurance). 

To all resolution-makers: I wish you good luck and admire your success, whether it lasts one day or twelve months. Happy New Year!

Kelsey Plankeel ’18 is an Applied Health Science major and is also completing the Journalism Certificate at Wheaton. Photo caption (left to right): Peter Zhao' 17, Rebecca Plankeel '20, John Limkeman '17, Alex Garcia '18, Kara Chen '20.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

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