A New Vision - BEAUTY

As I walk around Concordia's campus these days, the beauty that once was is quickly disappearing. The fountain is destroyed, trees are torn down, sidewalks are ripped up, and building material is in heaps. Our little urban oasis is quickly being left behind.

But as I walked around the new campus the other evening, I began to understand a different type of beauty - a sense that the beauty of nature and natural foliage is VERY different from the beauty of the city and what I often call "the symphony of concrete." Natural beauty - that which occurs through trees, rocks, skies and sounds of nature - produces a calming effect, very different from urban beauty. To be able to look out and see trees...to walk out among the sounds of birds...to wander through vines and flowers...to sit and listen to quietness - all of this produces a different type of response as one visually takes all of that in.

So what might this have to do with education - and how can Concordia leverage this in its mission of developing Christian leaders? Let's start a list:

1. Natural beauty allows one to relax and breathe a little easier, which allows the brain to more fully capture and remember what has been learned.
2. Natural beauty often brings one more fully in touch with God, allowing people to sense God's presence in a more distinct way.
3. When one engages with natural beauty on a regular basis, they might be more inclined to engage with stewarding the environment, making them more apt to become "green" Christian leaders.
4. The beauty of nature often inspires one's artistic manner, allowing the right side of the brain to more fully engage and enhance learning.
5. Engaging with natural beauty can lead one to explore the writings and thoughts of such thinkers as Thoreau and Emerson, bringing students in touch with philosophy and great writers.

What an opportunity to USE this new space Concordia has been given. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I have to believe that no matter what one thinks about the new campus, it is - and always will be - a bastion of BEAUTY. If you have more items to add to the list above, let me know at donald.christian@concordia.edu.

A New Vision - SPACE

Concordia is moving - check out the pictures at www.concordia.edu! Exciting times? You bet! But the question you, me and everyone else should be asking is - WHY is this so exciting? The act of moving is anything less than exciting - too many headaches just for updated buildings. Over the next few days, I want to explore some of the WHYS of Concordia moving - and hopefully get some feedback from people.

SPACE: I was out on the new campus last night and walked out to the veranda overlooking the Preserve on the campus. As I stood there and listened to people talk, I felt the breeze blowing, listened to the birds singing, and looked out over miles and miles of green. Deep at heart I am a city boy, loving the roar of I-35 and being able to find an ethnic restaurant within a 5 block walk. But last night I experienced what it means to have SPACE.

SPACE creates the opportunity for deeper thinking...SPACE creates the chance for ever-increasing dialogue...SPACE allows for one to be alone from time to time and experience God in a new and different way...SPACE creates new possibilities for thinking - and isn't that what the academe is supposed to be about...SPACE is a friend to dreamers, allowing for today's students to develop into tomorrow's problem solvers...SPACE makes room for people to be together and create deeper community.

God is transforming Concordia University Texas, making it a place he can use to further the Kingdom of God. I believe that SPACE can do all these things - and more! What do you believe?