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Religious & Spiritual Life


 Impacts And Resources related to the Ending of DACA 


This past year there have been a series of Executive Orders and changes that impact students who identify as international, immigrant, Muslim, undocumented, and DACAmented. The University enrolls, welcomes, and supports all of its members, and will continue to provide services and resources to all members of our community to support their ongoing success.

As Chancellor Chopp stated in a message to the DU community, the University will continue to provide access to legal counsel through Catholic Charities to help members of our community impacted by the recent decision to end DACA. This includes the opportunity to meet individually with an immigration attorney in a confidential off-campus setting. To access a voucher to utilize these services please contact the University Chaplain, or visit the Center for Multicultural Excellence or VIP.

We have limited funds available through the Student Emergency Fund to assist any student facing an immediate financial hardship. 




the might of a horse? 


       The clichés are out there:  "Keeping up with the Jones's" or "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence". The underlying message is a nagging sense of dis-satisfaction with one's current situation.  "The Jones's have just purchased a Lexus; we need one!" "This relationship isn't satisfying; maybe I should ask that person out." "Look how much better they're doing than we are; we should adopt their way of doing things." Certainly, discontent can be an impetus to change a bad situation. But that's not always the case, for we know that much advertising is built on the premise that a "need" needs to be created (or discontent needs to be created) so that the advertised product will be purchased . . . whether we REALLY need it or not.
       To be sure, there is a long history of acting on this desire for what the other has. I think of the early history of the Israelites. After their arrival in the Promised Land, they were "ruled" by a series of "judges", folks "chosen" by God to lead them. As the last great judge, Samuel, saw the end of his time draw near, he appointed his sons to be judges. They, however, were not just; rather than seeking Israel's best interests, they were more interested in lining their own pockets. As a result, the elders of Israel came to Samuel and demanded that he appoint a king over Israel, just like the other nations (1 Samuel 8.5).  Despite Samuel's objections, God tells Samuel to do as they request; they are not rejecting Samuel, but God (8.7). And Samuel warns the people of all that a king will do:  levy taxes, draft sons as warriors, etc. But the people refused to listen to the warning: "There must be a king over us. We too must be like other nations, with a king to rule us and to lead its in warfare and fight our battles" (8.19-20).*
       A corollary to the "I've got to have what THEY have" syndrome is the idolization of glamour/celebrity/charisma:  "Let's make sure our leader has panache!"  The continued story of Saul illustrates this as well.  Saul turned out to be disobedient to God, as well as a bit of a wacko. And God directed Samuel again to anoint a successor. Before starting the selection process, however, God warns Samuel, "Do not judge from his appearance for from his lofty stature . . .  Not as [a person] sees does God see, because [a person] sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart" (1 Samuel 16.7). Samuel does NOT choose one of the good-looking big brothers, but rather David .
       These stories came to mind this week, in the aftermath of the Golden Globe awards, and the acceptance speech given by Oprah Winfrey.  By almost all accounts it was a very powerful speech. She was clearly able to address a timely issue in a very moving and persuasive way. Almost immediately, on social media and in print, voices called for her to consider a run for the presidency in 2020. Now, I think Oprah is an amazing human being who has had an incredible career (or several careers!). But her celebrity and passion, in my mind, are not sufficient qualifications for the highest office in the US. I don't believe we should let our discontent with the current situation propel us past good sense. It may make us feel good in the moment, but the "moment" is only  . . . momentary. We need to take a longer, more sober, view, and select leaders based on their qualifications to lead the complex systems that are governments.
       We are very prone to look for a quick fix. And we often look to "success" elsewhere as a potential model for our own, whether that "success" is couched in terms of "power" or "celebrity". The history of that is long, of course, as I've noted above. And I think about it every time I read the Psalms, where the Israelite "envy" of other's armies is put it in its place. The psalmist contrasts that selection criterion with a bit more lofty one.

There is no king that can be saved by a mighty army;
    a strong man is not delivered by his great strength.
The horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
    for all its strength it cannot save.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him,
    on those who wait upon his love . . . (Ps 33.16-18)**

God is not impressed by the might of a horse;
    God has no pleasure in the strength of a man;
But the Lord has please in those who fear him,
    in those who await his gracious favor. (Ps 147.11-12)



* Quotations from 1 Samuel are from the New American Bible.
**  Quotations from the Psalms are from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

PS: If you would like to comment on this reflection, please surf on over to my blog "On a Bike and a Prayer" at