A Trip to the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin

The greenhouse at the Downtown Market
The greenhouse at the Downtown Market

This past Saturday night, I went down to Calvin College with one of our chaplains, Lauren Taylor, some other girls from Hope and a faculty member and his family. Calvin hosts the Festival of Faith and Writing every year, which is probably its most redeeming quality. (They’re our big rival, in case you missed that one).

We piled into a Hope van and took off. When we got there, we got to hear Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, speak. She is a self-taught theologian from Canada.

Sarah spoke on her experience with being told that she does not have the privilege to share God’s word or her opinions on God’s word. Before her book got published, she was often told that she was unqualified to do any of this without a degree from seminary school.

She talked about how we are all qualified to share God’s word, no matter what our degree. She asked what qualifications God expects us to have to share his word.

I found this to be a very moving subject. A lot of times on Hope’s campus, faith experiences are compared and analyzed. It’s easy to tell yourself that someone else’s experience is stronger than your own, or that they have a deeper relationship with God than you do.

There are no qualifications for God’s love, besides the most basic things (ie. believing, repentance, obedience to God and His word, etc.).

I believe that as long as you are walking with the Lord, you are in a good place. Sarah Bessey really pounded that into me, even though she wasn’t directly speaking on that topic.

After hearing her speak, we went to the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids for dinner. We discussed some of the things that Bessey talked about, hearing different opinions around the table.

As we ate, I listened to opinions of my peers and sank back. I let their words, some that I wasn’t sure I agreed with, to marinate inside me. Some said that they didn’t completely agree with Bessey, because to have theory on God’s word you must know theology.

I just think that Bessey was talking about something much simpler than that; we all have a calling to live out and spread the gospel. Whether it be through writing, theology, teaching or medicine, we’re all qualified as God’s children to spread his word.

Death by Winter Fantasia

I realize that Winter Fantasia was a week ago, but I wanted to share my awesome experience with you all. Firstly, Winter Fantasia is an event hosted by Student Activities Committee, or SAC for short where people eat and dance in Grand Rapids’ Amway Grand Hotel. It’s great because you get to dress up and kill it on the dance floor. Let me tell you, I ate copious amounts of food and really killed it on the dance floor.

I am so proud of my organization, SAC, for planning out this event. It took so much work, time, and energy. I applaud you, SAC! Seeing as it was my last Winter Fantasia, I went all out. I ate at an Italian restaurant just outside of Grand Rapids with friends, then I ate some more at the event. Followed by the dancing of course. Another way in which I went gung-ho was that I wore a BOWTIE, WITH ANCHORS. Wow, so Hope, right?!

It was great to be with friends. Many many many pictures were taken, many memories were made, and many laughs were a given. Winter Fantasia, you did it again.

But as you may have noticed, the title says, “Death by Winter Fantasia.” Why death? Because it took so much out of me. I feel as if I can generalize to others because it took out so many people. So much food, so much dancing, staying up late. And yes, being up past midnight is now late. That was merely not the case freshman year.

Anyway, after I drove back to Holland, it was around 1:00 AM and I was beyond ready for sleep. I hopped into bed at around 1:30 AM and I slept like a ROCK. I slept in like it was my business; recuperation is key. But ultimately, all college students are sleep-deprived so no matter how long I slept, I was still tired. To be so exhausted after an amazing event like Winter Fantasia is so totally worth it.

Check out these fun pictures from Winter Fantasia of me and my awesome friends. If you want to see what Hope life is like for me, make sure to follow me on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 or on Instagram at MarvSolberg. My life is interesting so I say the follow is worth it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.