Reflections on the Gotham Experience

Head. Heart. Hands. This is the theme running through the Gotham Fellowship. And it was completely unexpected. I applied to Gotham mainly because, well, I was curious. “Amazing,” “Life-changing,” “Can’t describe it,” said friends who had completed the program, which basically told me nothing. I was aware that it was an intense program that required a considerable time commitment for reading theology and engaging in fellowship activities. I also knew that it was a training program that aimed to bring forth cultural renewal...whatever that meant.

Entering Gotham, I was a seasoned Redeemer member, yet not exactly in the Redeemer mold. I was not a transient New Yorker, but emigrated to New York at the age of 4 and grew up in Queens. I was not raised in a Protestant household, but came from an Armenian Orthodox background. I was not a strong adherent to Reformed theology, but remained open to the theology of different Christian traditions. I also did not work in Finance or the Arts, but was a Computer Scientist.

So how did I fare with the Gotham experience? It was a wrestling match. My mind was challenged through the theological texts; my heart was pierced through the devotionals; and my hands were put to use through intentional community building. The theology we studied reawakened questions that I’ve always struggled with but had left dormant.

Gotham gave me a space to contemplate, argue and examine these complex theological and cultural issues with others. Although I cannot say all my questions were answered, I can say that the things I processed sparked my imagination to think creatively about Gospel renewal...and that was thrilling.

Then there were the devotionals. These were not merely superficial readings, but were carefully constructed passages that compelled me to spend time in prayer, meditate on Scripture and internalize the deeper truths of the Gospel. Finally, there was community. Gotham was a place where people from varying backgrounds were brought together to connect through discussions, prayer, social activities and group projects. I was blown away by the genuine love that grew within the fellowship and the intimate friendships formed over the course of the year.

Looking back, I realize Gotham gave me a more nuanced view of the Gospel. It taught me that cultural renewal occurs when we allow the Gospel to transform us intellectually, emotionally and functionally. It is the process of becoming “the salt of the world”—salt that needs to be sprinkled and absorbed in order to give taste.

This Fall Gotham will commence our 5th class with an increased number of 40 Fellows. The Gotham Class of 2013 includes the following people:

Abby Montgomery, Andrew Nemr, Aya Hayashi, Becky Perry, Benjamin Setiawan, Bethany Jenkins, Bonnie Pau, Brett Gaudin, Brian Chung, Chris Copeland, Crystal Suh, Daniel Chun, David Won, Deborah Francisco, Deborah Ma, Faith McCormick, Jenny McMahan, Jensen Ko, Jessica Edelman, Jon Newman, Jonathan Lee, Joseph Selvidio, Julia Choi, Julia Wattacheril, Julie Sylvestre, Kasey Watkins, Kathryn Yarlett, Kyle Werner, Linda Dolan, Lisa Sweeney Taylor, Malik Ashiru, Melissa Waheibi, Miriam Glaser, Rodman Ricketts, Sarah Clauser, Scott Calgaro, Shannen Norman, Sherry El-Gawly, Ted Jeon, Tina Chang.

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Articles in this Issue

The Counter-Intuitive Calvin
Tim Keller
Hope for New York Mentors: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
Annual Ei Business Plan Competition
Calvin Chin