The Bridge - Summer 2011 - (Page 28)
F RO M T H E P R E S I D E N T
Insiders and outsiders
by President Kim S. Phipps When I was invited to write a speech for Baccalaureate, my initial reaction was one of surprise. After all, I never felt like the ultimate Messiah “insider.” I’m an art major, but not “the” art major of studio art. And, I had never attended an Anabaptist church or seen an Amish person before I came to Messiah. I’m an outsider who made cautious forays into the “inside” after urging from Messiah faculty, staff and fellow students. This is what I think Messiah College has taught many of us: how to dynamically balance being an outsider and an insider. For me, this looked like becoming an art history major and doing my own thing, but also becoming a resident assistant, a student diplomat and helping out with Art League. The parallels with Christianity here are clear: how to be in the world as a Christian but not of it. How to be both an insider and an outsider. For me, I had the outsider part down, but Messiah helped carefully pull me into a few leadership roles to teach me how to be an insider. Perhaps it was the reverse for you. You knew how to be an insider, but Messiah taught you how to be an outsider when, as a Christian in the world, you had to be. Here at Messiah, we often talk about being “inside” as a member of Christian community, but “outside” as the valiant Christian struggling against an apathetic norm. Like that category “outsider art,” which includes many exciting art objects that don’t quite fit in the mainstream, perhaps Messiah students function in the world in a similar way after graduation. We exist “in the world but not of it” as Christians in community who bring innovative creativity to the outside world. Messiah College, by teaching us how to be insider and outsider, has taught us to live life as Christians who are dynamically both. Christians are called to be both insiders and outsiders, to live in the midst of this world bearing faithful witness to God’s redemptive love. As Katie said, we are called to be insiders and to make a difference in the world. But, we are also called to be outsiders, faithfully living by our convictions even when we are critiqued or challenged by those who do not embrace our values and commitments. At Messiah College, we are preparing our students to be a faithful presence in our world — to be leaders and servants, to be insiders and outsiders.
DANIEL CUSTER ’09
A sea of candlelight shines brightly at the May 13 evening Baccalaureate service for the Class of 2011. Graduating seniors gathered for an opportunity to remember, reflect and give thanks for God’s faithfulness in their education. Messiah College has a wonderful tradition of holding a Baccalaureate candle-lighting service on the eve of Commencement. Each year, a planning team comprised of members of the senior class; Douglas Curry, minister of worship; and college pastor Eldon Fry plan and implement a memorable time of worship for graduates and their families. This service functions as a “book-end” to the Messiah experience. When students enroll at Messiah College, our orientation day concludes with a similar worship service for students and their families designed around the themes of grace for the past, present and future. This year’s Baccalaureate service provided many memorable moments. (I particularly enjoyed the senior men’s rendition of the Alma Mater, with a special verse dedicated to their president, known to students on Facebook as “Kimmy P.”) Three senior students shared their reflections about the Messiah educational experience. Taylor Munoz, Katie Ogden and Katie Santa Ana provided interesting insights about lessons learned during their years at Messiah. I share an excerpt of Katie Santa Ana’s remarks with you as one creative example of how a Messiah student learned to understand the connections between her academic discipline and her faith journey: It is possible that, for some of you here, this is the first time you’ve heard that Messiah has an art history major. I joke about my major
The Messiah College Bridge | Summer 2011
often. Whenever my roommates and I discuss something requiring math, my answer and excuse is always, “Don’t look at me, I’m just an art history major!” So, right now, when I explain to you my experience of Messiah through an art history category called “outsider art,” you’ll have to forgive me. I’m just an art history major.
“This is what I think Messiah College has taught many of us: how to dynamically balance being an outsider and an insider.”
—Katie Santa Ana ’11 “Outsider art” is a label for art that does not fit into the standard, academic “fine art” category. Unusual individuals isolated from mainstream society like prisoners, the insane and recluses who create interesting objects are often labeled “outsiders.” Basically, this is a handy catch-all category for objects we unexplainably respond to as art, but that don’t fit anywhere else. The label “outsider” has been debated as incorrect or misleading. After all, when do outsiders become outsiders? Can someone choose to become an outsider? What if the outsider becomes really popular? Is that person now an insider?
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - Summer 2011
The Bridge - Summer 2011
Heard Around Campus
Faces and Places
Phipps visits Asia
The Science of Happiness
One Last Time
Alumni and Class Notes
From the President
The Bridge - Summer 2011