True to LCC's international focus, we concluded the Olympic-themed program with
a thoughtful closing ceremony.
The Summer Language Institute (SLI) that we've been staffing this past month ended the day of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremonies.

The Olympic theme was more than a handy tool for student-event planning during SLI -- it was also a reflection of the spirit of LCC International University.

We have already encountered and developed relationships with students and peers from such a variety of places since arriving: Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Poland, Moldova, Estonia, Ukraine, Canada, United States of America, Nigeria, Albania, New Zealand, Kazakhstan and Georgia (the country!). Being in a place where so many cultures congregate is a very exciting part of our being here and the possibilities such relationships may foster are limitless.
Josh checks students out of the dorms at
 the close of SLI.

In the midst of the sense of "global community" there is also a gravity that we've felt in talking with students from some of these countries -- cultural weight that comes from hundreds of years of wars, occupations, and boarders being drawn and redrawn.

"All these flags are soaked in blood," was one observation heard after the SLI closing ceremony. "Still, they allow us to celebrate diversity."

This idea of celebrated diversity goes back to a description of our relationship with God that I've grown especially fond of the past few years. It goes something like this: God is a creator, an artist. That's what separated him from other gods in early history and it's illustrated in the Creation Poem in Genesis.

Ye olde teeter-totter.
Several times throughout the poem and, again, at the end, God took a step back to look at his canvas "and saw that it was very good!" From a shapeless nothing, everything. From emptiness, fullness. A God with work-worn hands and dirt under his fingernails.

The story shows that when we also create -- whether it be through the arts or culture -- we are honoring God by being what we, in his image, have been designed to be: co-creators.

So the question of whether something is "secular" or "sacred" becomes a moot point -- if the art's purpose is good, then God is present whether the artist intends or not.

In the midst of this world of turmoil and strife, there are wisps of God in the cultures and traditions we've created through the centuries.

Out of imperfection, beauty.

August is going to be relatively slow compared to July. We will be preparing the dorms for students to arrive, start our training, and begin training and mentoring those who will be our Resident Assistants this year.

It sounds like we will be tied to campus until at least Christmas break (it's part of the job, right?), so we are looking into going on some sort of out-of-town trip while we still have the chance. Part of the joys of where we live is that we can do such things in an unbelievably affordable fashion.

Any thoughts or suggestions or where we should go?