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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    the context of his lived example and over all teaching which Matthew presents as the very fulfillment of the Jewish Testament Mt 5 17 In that light it is difficult to imagine Jesus supporting modern warfare much less bearing arms himself Because the Neo Con caricature of Jesus is virtually all U S citizens have recently been exposed to many will understandably object to the words written here To hear the other side dialog among us is needed especially within the learning community known as the Latin American Studies Program LASP claims for its own a commitment to more penetrating understandings of the Christian Gospel Such understandings must move beyond the pronouncements of self interested politicians Instead within LASP during this time of permanent war we need informed dialog transcending the easy truths which turn out upon examination to be entirely questionable Establishing that sort of dialog is what I take to be the LASP s lasting contribution to its participants That is why I am here in Costa Rica this year Mike Rivage Seul is a professor of General Studies and Religion at Berea College in Berea Kentucky where he has taught for 30 years A laicized priest he holds his doctoral degree in theology from the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome He will be teaching in the LASP program during the 2004 2005 academic year He also taught in the Fall of 1994 Sink In i sink in as the cascotes swarm i swat them with my pocket sized Bible and bat not a lash though faced with the Sacreligious irony of it all the Mickey Mouse mattress cover the incense burning elephant the Bri Bri protection mask all spit on me as the rain jackhammers plastic above me my only source Natural Light but Praise God Santo Nombre smile and nod be culturally sensitive grateful polite helpful but Guard your honesty Eric Andrew Hoff F2004 Stories of Restoration By Jessica Mueller In the midst of 43 goodbyes to fellow LASP students in Miami last spring our beloved intern Laura Hamilton made the comment to me that LASP is a meeting place It is a place where people of diverse backgrounds come together to make lasting connections by sharing each other s stories Tenía razon At no point in the semester is that more evident than during Camino Espiritual or Spiritual Journey where we take one Saturday to gather in a circle in the LASP classroom and listen to a small part of every student and staff member s story Four minutes at a time the stories unfold the thanksgiving of positive Christian upbringing the pain of parents divorce the struggles to understand poverty and injustice the amazement of God s grace the sorrow of parents deaths the joy of surviving cancer And as the stories are told we all become strangely connected recognizing our own pain in one another s pain our own joy in one another s joy even though the context for those joys and sufferings

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/newsletters/resisting_the_hijacked_gospel.htm (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    to Christ s teachings for our lives One of our guest speakers Silvia Regina a Brazilian professor from the Universidad Bíblica here in San José insists that feminism and Christianity have more in common than most people realize According to her the interpretation of scripture should always be liberating and based on equality among all people regardless of gender race class physical ability profession etc as each was made in the image of God Any theology or interpretation of the scriptures that is not based on those two pillars should be suspect This realization demands a reevaluation of feminism Although our culture claims to be progressive many of us are confused by seemingly conflicting messages in the Bible Many radical feminists reject the Christian faith because of its historical patriarchy and condemn the exclusionary practice of barring women from being ordained as priests in the Catholic tradition or pastors in some Protestant traditions The assigning of gender and male characteristics to God along with the implications of female inferiority in scripture are further grounds for rejection However most Christian feminists point out that Jesus in his day was himself a radical in this respect They remind us that the Bible was inspired by God neither man nor woman and argue that although Jesus teachings were not meant to be oppressive the leaders of the early church lived in a patriarchal society and were apparently not willing to give up their privileges Keeping the cultural and historical contexts in mind is important One must recognize at the same time that there are several Biblical passages that are explicit in their message that men and women should be considered equals For example Galatians teaches us that in Jesus There is no longer Jew or Greek there is no longer slave or free there is no longer male or female Gal 3 28 Despite the fact that Jewish law prohibited rabbis to speak alone with an unrelated woman Jesus was not bound by such legalism In the fourth chapter of John the disciples find Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman and are astonished that he was speaking with a woman Jn 4 27 This was not the first nor the last time that this would happen as women were a very important part of Jesus life and the salvation story Understanding that Jesus himself preached and lived gender equality seems to invalidate any arguments that feminism and Christianity are mutually exclusive If there were more dialogue among fellow believers as is encouraged at LASP there would not be as great a need to remind others that feminism is not a vulgarity but rather a movement to take ownership of the liberation and equality that our Christ Jesus came to bring us both men and women What follows is a partial transcript of a final presentation given by a group of students at LASP in the Spring 2004 semester A member of that group sent it out to her semester recently as a reminder

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/newsletters/jesus_and_gender.htm (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    could get together encouraged me to keep living out my new ideals and share with those around me what God had taught me I can t imagine how lost I would ve been if I had not had people who could relate to my ongoing processing my love of sharing stories and pictures and the continual wrestling with issues we began to scratch the surface of during our semester Our Taylor processing group began with about six ex LASP students from different semesters Some of us knew each other and others we had just met by association through the program nonetheless we got together for cafecitos once a month or so just to reflect on Costa Rica on our LASP experiences and to talk about what we were struggling with being back on campus Each semester as new students return home to Taylor s campus we welcome them with open arms and listening ears Not only does it help the returning LASPers to have a place to vent frustrations and reminisce with people who understand without long explanations but it also rekindles memories in the hearts and minds of those of us who have been back from Costa Rica for a longer period of time Listening to the newly returned students brought back to life for me the excitement I had the passions I that had grown and the goals I wanted to incorporate into my life Not that I had lost all of them but listening to them afresh brought back to the surface the ones that had been hidden by the busyness and trivialness of everyday college life Last week a group of five of us went out to Mi Pueblo a Mexican restaurant near our university We laughed talked got loud about issues going on in the

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/newsletters/stayingconnected.htm (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    only water In the rainy season Turn away can t take anymore And all there is to see Are houses with maids And outhouses No running water And cable TV Materialism In a land of nothing Crumbling buildings And smiling politicians Look in another direction And see tourism directed At the United States The very country That made them poor A fourth direction Crosses everywhere Amongst the suffering Where is God Feeling so close But feeling so far And then i see The most generous people Are the most poor Giving all they have To make me more More comfortable More whatever They just give And they smile Their sun cracked faces Reflect hope and love In their suffering While their eyes Their big brown eyes Hide destitution And fear I ll never forget My glimpse into them Just as I ll never forget My trip The worst Saddest Most beautiful thing That ever happened to me Articles from Past Newsletters Reflection by a LASP alum By Christie Zimmerman LASP Spring 2006 Newsletter A Run to the Wilderness An ongoing discussion about identity from the outside LASP Fall 2005 Newsletter Jesus and Gender LASP Fall 2005 Newsletter Resisting the Hijacked

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/newsletters/nicaraguapoem.htm (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    The changes we experienced undoubtedly vary in degree and long term impact but what can we learn from our individual reentry accounts What can we learn from the LASP community In part the reentry question intrigues me because my personal history with the exercise has not been stellar Initially I yearned to connect my post LASP self with pre LASP realities Regardless of how much we talked about what might change when we returned home I was not prepared for how difficult it would be I thought that I would have a clearer purpose and direction but mostly I was confused about the tensions that pulled within me from North and Central America And when the gap between the two seemed too wide I chose to jump into the canyon rather than try to figure out how to build a bridge I stopped engaging the process of trying to link what I d learned to what I d always known I avoided the questions that still lingered after a semester of discovery and challenge I sought out distractions and unplugged from my family my friends and myself Over the past two and a half years since participating in LASP I have re engaged the process and invited the questions I forced into hibernation to awaken within me Throughout this time I have often revisited my reentry experience and scraped to identify the triggers that caused me to retreat I wish I had answers However since I do not I want to continue to draw from you from the stories of other LASPers who have been worn thin throughout this journey those who have chosen to continue examining past and present perspectives and those who have picked up pre LASP lives without too much friction How might we evaluate what makes

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/newsletters/thoughtsreentry.htm (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    class explore the markets and Old Havana participate in small church groups speak to a professor at a seminary listen to an amazing choir experience the beautiful Varadero Beach interview the locals to hear their stories and perspectives attend a ballet performance speak to a deputy at the Cuban National Assembly experience the Cuban peso system attendance lessons on a terrace visit the Museum of Revolution attend a performance of Santeria Dance help move cinder blocks at a construction site and listen to a representative from the US Interest section Each student has had the chance to gain new perspectives and is still tossing ideas around in his or her head trying to process and take it all in The rest of the time we spent exploring topics such as the dissident perspective of Cuba feminist theology the Protestant worldview the Mayan worldview the Catholic worldview creation care biblical interpretation and homosexuality and the Bible For the Creation Care aspect we had the opportunity to go to a beach community that has taken on the project of helping endangered sea turtles farming a small potion of the eggs and thus helping both the environment and the local economy Each of these experiences has had an impact on each student in different ways Asking them to share their thoughts and experiences it the only way to understand what we have been up to the past month Business led by Alfredo Mora Gilbert Montero and Kristina DeMain By Jenny Bratt Calvin College While the other LASP students began their concentrations getting sick in Panama or having to visit the ugly beaches of Cuba the business students were blessed to stay in the big dirty otherwise known as San José During this time besides having the building all to ourselves we focused on two main initiatives first understanding international business in the context of Costa Rica and secondly applying this understanding with our practicum projects To understand business we visited different local business offices as well as hosted speakers at LASP every individual speaker sharing his or her insights and experiences in the field of business Among these speakers was someone from CINDE the international investment board for Costa Rica a representative of ICE the countries telecommunications monopoly Milena Grilla with PANIAMOR a business dealing with sex tourism and children s rights Eric Liljenstolpe a specialist in cross cultural business practices and JP Anderson a LASP graduate with work experience in different international organizations All of these speakers shared different aspects of business and emphasized different ways to share God through business In addition to these speakers our professors Don Gilbert Don Alfredo and Dona Kristina utilized the classroom to share daily tasks involved in successful cross cultural faith based business When asked about their favorite speakers Mara Estes a Junior at Eastern University responded I really liked Dona Milena from PANIAMOR She showed the positives aspects businesses can have and used her power for the betterment of society Pablo Paul Wilson of

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/updates/during_november.htm (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    is it that we drove through for fifteen minutes and had to roll up the windows while there are people who have to live among the trash every day in order to survive Some were scrounging through the piles of garbage just to find something to eat while others were digging through to collect plastic and receive a miniscule amount of money in order to provide for their families any way they could The next part of the trip to Nicaragua the students lived with a Nicaraguan family for a week We divided into small groups to live in communities and experience Nicaraguan life in both rural and urban settings Daily living with a family gave the opportunity to understand what Nicaraguan life is all about We grew to understand what issues are pertinent in the lives We had the opportunity to see a glimpse of what living in poverty is like And we learned to appreciate being not always doing like we are used to back in the United States But most importantly we learned about a love and a care for other people first hand Although our families may not have had a lot of material things or

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/updates/nicaragua.html (2015-12-28)
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  • LASP - Latin American Studies Program
    we hope we have El Quince de Septiembre By Amy Jones Eastern University Friday the 15th of September Costa Rica celebrated 185 years of independence Many students in LASP were able to join in the celebrations with their host families In many neighborhoods the festivities began on Thursday night The tradition is for children to light candles in paper lanterns faroles And there are usually patriotic activities at each school and town center Drums echoed through the Central Valley early on Friday morning Almost every school was represented in the parades through each neighborhood Children dressed in a variety of costumes as campesinos cheerleaders baton twirlers and traditional dancers Students take first Field Trip By Nikky Maatman Dordt College LASP students headed out on Costa Rica s Independence Day to the Caribbean coast to the city of Puerto Limón a key port city in Costa Rica On our way we made key stops to learn about how some of Costa Rica s major exports are grown and harvested Our first stop was a coffee plantation where we looked at and even tasted coffee beans The red berries are considered ripe see photo collection We learned that the insides of these berries taste sweet and not like coffee at all Although we were warned not to actually eat them in order to prevent sickness Our next stop was a pineapple field where we unfortunately didn t get to see any pineapples ready to be harvested but the LASP staff was quick to explain to us how the pineapples grew In the photo collection you see a tiny pineapple that Don Gerardo found for us our own little baby pineapple Our third stop on our way to Limón was at a banana plantation The bananas you can see in the photo collection

    Original URL path: http://www.lasp.co.cr/updates/september_classes.htm (2015-12-28)
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