Theological Continuum & The Danger of a Single Story

Our final day of orientation kicked off with our morning routine: getting ready for the day, heading out to breakfast, and departing for worship shortly after. Today’s worship session allowed for the majority of the group to open up to one another in regards to more recent tragic events such as the Uvalde shooting, and other matters close to home. Despite having discussed such hard-hitting topics early in the morning today, the group was enthusiastic about a campus tour led by program assistants Greta and Alex. The tour led students from the campus radio station to various campus sculptures, College Mennonite Church, and even Sauder Concert Hall. We were met with open arms by the Globe staff as the students walked through the newsroom and recording booths. Not to mention, Sauder Concert Hall’s director of operations Brody Thomas was able to provide the students with a chance to sing inside Sauder. He was also kind enough to join in the singing as well! 

After the amazing campus tour led by Greta and Alex (totally not biased) and lunch at AVI Fresh, we arrived at our afternoon session. After a quick fifteen-minute worship session, the group was led outside for a theological continuum exercise. With seventy-degree weather, we couldn’t pass up a chance by sitting inside on such a nice day. Nonetheless, the theological continuum exercise allowed students to dive deeper into a theological discussion. For instance, Professor Keith would pose a question such as, ‘Do you believe that God has some control over our actions?’ or ‘Do you think that being a Christian lies more along the lines of community engagement, or ethical and intellectual conversations?’ After asking these questions, students would then choose a position between two trees, with one option on one side, and vice versa. As a result, conversations about Christian ethics and our understanding of what it means to participate in a community such as this were discussed amongst each other. 

Soon after the theological continuum exercise, the young scholars watched multiple videos surrounding the nature of Guatemala’s culture and people. In a similar vein, they viewed a Ted-Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called The Danger of a Single Story, which depicts the negative influences that a “single story” can imply on one’s perception of the world. Whether that be through generalizations made about one’s culture or identity, or preconceptions about something that we’ve made through our past experiences. Adichie emphasized the importance of rejecting single stories and exploring the world with an open mind. 

As our SSTT students prepare themselves for tomorrow’s departure, they’re encouraged to approach this journey with an open mind and challenge themselves and any single stories that they might have. Anticipation is high as we near the Saturday morning flight from O’Hare, and the next time you’ll hear from us, we’ll have arrived at SEMILLA! See you tomorrow


-Alexander Koscher