‘Getting Into Good Trouble’ Explored
Students recently explored “Getting Into Good Trouble,” during Bluffton University’s Spiritual Life Week.
Dr. Drew Hart, assistant professor of theology at Messiah University, led conversations for the March 21-25 activities and spoke during Forum and Chapel via Zoom. Theme verse Micah 6:8, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” punctuated the activities.
During Forum, Hart shared historical events such as the Papal Bull in 1455 that gave “permission to plunder non-Christian, non-European lands” and personal experiences including watching peers walkout of a Chapel service that condemned the spirit of war following the 9/11 attacks. Through these examples and others, he pointed out the complicity of mainstream American churches in the continuation of white supremacy instead of truly following Jesus’ nonviolent and revolutionary message.
“I see so many young people walking away from the faith because of what they’re experiencing, what they’re seeing,” said Hart. “They’re seeing Christianity produce a kind of people who are not more loving and not more justice oriented, not more compassionate and responsive to the suffering of others.”
Highlighting an example of getting into good trouble, Hart shared about John Lewis and the hundreds of young people in Selma, Ala., who challenged police orders and continued their march for civil rights over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In that moment, Hart explained, the marchers chose justice over status quo.
“On March 7, 1965, John Lewis helped lead a nonviolent march that defied the racist authorities that tried to prevent them from bearing faithful witness in their world, struggling for the right to vote and against police brutality,” explained Hart. “Last year, Lewis commemorated that event and called on everyone to get into good trouble, necessary trouble and redeem the soul of America.”
Hart called on students to collectively take up this call for social justice, activism and “good trouble” because of the continued injustice of mass incarceration that targets poor, black and brown communities; because of the suffering of indigenous peoples and because of undocumented neighbors who are looking for safety and have no sanctuary.
Deborah Yoder ’23, president of Spiritual Life Week planning committee appreciated the call to action.
“I felt like he was challenging us throughout the week to look at our community and to discern what we can do,” said Yoder. “He emphasized that getting into good trouble isn’t about being a lone hero. Instead, it’s about community and choosing together what you want to work on and do to make the world better.”
Spiritual Life Week activities are planned each semester at Bluffton as a time to focus on Christian life. Students play a major role in planning activities that help strengthen growth and faithfulness in their relationship with God. This semester’s activities ranged from a movie and discussion to a campus prayer walk and reflection.