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Oct. 31 Reformation Table Talks report

Oct. 31 Reformation Table Talks Report

Contact: Ramona Bouzard

Feb. 12 mini-report:

Here are some of the things Table Talk participants discussed when asked to respond to question #6: “What difference does it make that Wartburg’s mission includes faith and learning as important to one’s education in this place?”

  • Open dialogue about religion and values
  • Great to see religion and science working together to ask questions.
  • Opportunity to have open conversations
  • World Religion study could be an option considered with RE101
  • It is important because education isn’t limited to the classroom, it is also what happens outside of classes.
  • Learn about feelings of faith
  • Preparation for “real world” exposure
  • Feel more comfortable talking in classes about religion and faith
  • Shows diversity but openness.
  • Service projects, prayer, focus on values
  • Sometimes I feel afraid people will get defensive if I don’t agree with them.
  • It makes me feel like my complete person is addressed.
  • You find out who you are as a person and who you want to be.
  • Wartburg has more of an “open mind” to religion and religious expression
  • Learned more than I did in religion classes growing up
  • Faith guides learning.
  • There is a connection to the liberal arts and faith enhances conversation.


Jan. 22 mini-report:

Perceived obstacles standing in the way of one’s personal exploration of spiritual life and meaning making at Wartburg: (Question 14b)

  • In 14 of the groups, students mentioned time as being the biggest obstacle. This included feelings of over-involvement, busyness, class schedules being so tight, and the use of Chapel time to become ever busier (short meetings, “grabbing lunch,” and making appointments with professors).
  • A number of the group members mentioned lack of people connections and not having anyone to go with to SLCM opportunities like Weekday Chapel, Sanctuary, or groups like FCA and Adopt-a-Grandparent.
  • A number of other groups thought it would be helpful to make sure that Orientation groups, professors, and student life leadership tell incoming students about SLCM opportunities like Weekday Chapel, faith expression groups, etc.

Here are responses from the groups who discussed Question 11:  “Is it important to you that the exploration of 'calling' is part of the focus of a Wartburg education?

  • Calling drives you, gives you direction and encourages you to look beyond yourself to God to make the most of every situation
  • The opportunities in different academic departments help me explore  and find meaning in my future work.
  • It has helped me listen to myself and what I am hating and so helped me stop to reflect and change.
  • The sooner you can realize your calling, the sooner you can nurture it.
  • Because professors don’t see failure as a doubt or something negative, it makes you realize how a sense of “calling” is about something bigger than succeeding in a certain academic discipline or “line of work” and so it allows you to explore yourself.
  • A sense of calling helps us figure out our purpose in the world.
  • Finding your calling helps you guide  your future choices, not just the ones you make at college.
  • It is important because there are do not have positions of power but who powerfully influence others.


Jan. 15 mini-report:

  • Over 280 students, staff, and faculty signed up for the Reformation Table Talks on Oct. 31, 2017.
  • 48 students, faculty and staff served as facilitators and notetakers. Many thanks to all who made the day a success!
  • Themes from the overall talks were identified by notetakers: Service, Openness, Embracing other traditions, Welcoming, Choice, Vocation, Diversity, Nurturing, and Religion in classes.
  • Students and non-students alike expressed a desire to clarify what it means for Wartburg to have a Lutheran Christian identity in order to communicate the mission of the college.
  • When asked about how participants saw and experienced the college living out its Lutheran Christian identity. Responses included emphasis on: service, vocation and calling conversations, opportunities for worship, ability and encouragement to speak of one’s particular faith or meaning in classes and campus activities, having a Chapel building, being respectful and welcoming of all religious and cultural traditions, public prayer, Lilly Reflection room.
  • After discussing what “spiritual life” meant to them, participants answered the question, “When in your experience at Wartburg have you felt most spiritually connected?”  Answers ranged from off-campus faith communities, conversations and challenges in classes, Weekday Chapel, actual practice and traditions while on teams and in music groups, service trips, connecting with professors, connecting with campus pastors.
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