I Believe in Walking, by Rev. Megan Peglar

I feel better on days that I get out and walk. Or run. The last few weeks, I’ve been in a step challenge with some friends to see who can walk the most. I haven’t won yet, but it’s helped me to pound the pavement a bit more than I might have otherwise. Each Tuesday morning at 6 (sooooo early!), my friend Jen and I get out there, walking together to start our day. A lot of evenings after work, my husband and I take our dog for a walk, to catch up with each other and to expend some of the nine year old pup’s never-ending energy.

For me, walking is more than just accumulating steps. Walking is my way of connecting to the ground beneath my feet. And that ground has shifted a lot in my life; one of my constants has been change of address. I attended five different elementary schools by the time I was in 4th grade; my family and I moved from one town to another halfway through my sophomore year of high school; and since getting my sweet dog Zoe during my senior year at TCU (in 2006), we’ve lived in nine different homes. Walking in each of those places has grounded me, and helped me to root down even as I wander.

Walking helps me to get to know my surroundings, and my place in the world. I love to look at all the houses I pass, spot the neighborhood cats, hear the birds’ songs, find interesting trails, notice the changing of the seasons. Walking deepens my friendships with walking buddies, new and old. Walking gives me time to think, and pray, and listen. Time to dream and explore. Time to dwell upon how God is calling me to walk in the way of Jesus – which, for me, is walking with all people through every season of life, no matter where I am.

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GA TIB BOOK Megan PeglarRev. Megan Peglar is the minister at River Oaks Christian Church in northwest Fort Worth, where she has served since 2012. She graduated from TCU in 2006 with a degree in Religion, and from Brite Divinity School in 2010 with her Master of Divinity. Out of all the places Megan has lived, she’s lived in Fort Worth the longest — and is happy to call it home. She shares her home with her husband, Steve, and her stepsons, Adam and Ethan.

I Believe in Love by Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg

I am awed by the expanse of the ocean, humbled beside the great redwood tree. I am healed by down pouring rain, alive when standing on the mountain top.  I am renewed when quieted by the depth of the piney woods, hope filled by the song of the birds. To learn to be still and content is itself a precious gift – a pearl, rare and beautiful.

This I believe, God is in and through all things. God is within the still quiet moments and in the strenuous trek to the mountain top. This I believe, we are made whole in relationship to one another. We cannot be fully human without the experience of love in relationship, friendship and companionship.

As a child, I grew to know God in a loving home nestled beneath the Rocky Mountains. There, in nurturing love, I learned that it is okay to question and grow, falter and fail, try and succeed. In this nurturing love, I learned there is no need to hold onto fear. Fear is the root of our pain. When we give up the power of fear, we also find the joy of hope.

This I believe, human beings are created for love and out of love. Wiser people than I have taught me, through the years, it is not nonsense to think and act out of love. Is love an elusive and impossible notion? I think not. I have come to believe, in every language and in every heart, love is the only real experience of wholeness we can offer or receive. It is the anecdote to our pain -the balm in Gilead.

As an adult, through college years and growing into middle age, I have come to understand that love cannot and will not allow us to stand aside when injustice claims the life or hope of another. True love is compelled to act. True love will stand when others cannot, speak with others are silenced, and carry the wounded all the way…through the valley of death to a place filled with new life. This I believe, a life “on fire” is a life full of giving. The generous heart never runs empty and is filled and refilled with inexplicable peace.

A child beneath the awestruck mountains, an adult traveling through distant lands, and an older woman peering through the woods of middle age, the child taught to explore is the same child quieted within who as an adult stands on the strength of nurturing love, an arbiter of justice and vessel of hope. So when asked, what to do I believe, I will undoubtedly answer, I believe in love.

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TNR_8695-2The Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg is Brite’s Vice President for Advancement. Dr. Rodenberg recently completed a two-year intentional interim presidency at the Disciples Seminary Foundation, Claremont, California, where she gave leadership to the completion of a successful capital campaign. From 2006-2009 she served the Foundation as Dean for Southern California. She has also served as a missionary in Swaziland of the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, as a congregational minister in Kentucky and California, and as a campus minister at the University of Kentucky. In addition, she has taught courses in Christian Ethics, Inter-Cultural Studies, World Religions, the Sociology of Religion, and History and Polity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as an adjunct member of the faculties of Claremont School of Theology and San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Dr. Rodenberg holds degrees from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkley, CA (Ph.D. Christian Ethics/Religion in Society), Lexington Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Texas Christian University (B.A.). She has also studied at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland, and United Theological College, Bangalore, South India.

She is married to John Rodenberg and they are the parents of Heather and Matthew.

I Believe in Mountains

Author: Maddie Kincade, TCU Student, Fall 2014

I grew up in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. I can’t consider myself a mountain kid because my house was barely at the foot of the hills that are before the mountains even start but I spent enough Sunday evenings up at Grandma’s for dinner to feel significantly small against giant rocks that had to have been created by God.

18 years of my life were spent seeing those mountains every day, so obviously I took them for granted. Since my move to Texas almost 3 years ago, I don’t hesitate when asked if I will be moving back. The answer is yes. How could I not? I cry every time I fly into the Denver International Airport and see the Denver skyline standing tall in front of those snowcapped monsters. I am home.

To this day, “purple mountain majesty” is my favorite color in the Crayola Crayon box. When asked what I want to do on my trips home, my list always consists of hiking or skiing or one of my mom’s infamous “Mystery Mountain Drives” and it’s always with my best friends or family that I want to do those with. Giant rocks formed from some science-y process that I will never be able to explain have given my life meaning. They remind me that the world is bigger than the challenges I have faced in my short 20 years on this earth. If you’ve ever climbed a fourteener, you know that the mountains themselves can teach you perseverance. They represent the family that has held me up and sent me halfway across the country to accomplish things I could never have dreamt up for myself (like climbing that fourteener). Just as the rock face of Mount Elbert (the tallest mountain in Colorado) has been shaped by the wind and the snow and the rain, I too can defy anything. Rocks. ROCKS. They’re just rocks. But they’re my rocks. My home. I have never been out of the country but I don’t feel envy because my roots grow through stone.

It was by the mountains I was created. Who I am, what I stand for, what I love; all things that I decided while breathing mountain air or discussing life with my dad over a campfire or while at sleep-away camp. I believe in the mountains because they are my roots, just as everyone has some one or some thing or some where that they came from. These are so important. Mine just happen to be rocks.