Rev. Lawrence (Larry) Balleine '71

A Place That's Always Home

 Why Muskies?

Rev. Lawrence (Larry) Balleine '71, current pastor at Zwingli UCC in Monticello, Wisconsin, has shared with us a compelling literary work which he wrote entitled A Place That's Always Home. This 41-page booklet is composed of many reflective thoughts on selected images of Mission House/Lakeland College. The work includes numerous pictures of many symbolic images found on campus.

The following is a part of what he wrote about Muskies:

"The state fish of Wisconsin--the Muskellunge--is known as 'the fish of 10,000 casts.' They tell stories of huge Muskies trailing their artificial baits for several yards but never striking the bait. Others tell of Muskies who have rammed their fishing boats.

I have heard reports of Muskies devouring small ducks and loons, and multiple species of other fish that 'get into their space,' all in an effort to satisfy their voracious appetites. In the bodies of water where Muskies reside, they are at the top of the food chain. From the viewpoint of the Muskie: 'Everything else is just bait.'

As a boy, I was awestruck and said to myself: 'Boy, do I ever wish I could catch one of these.'

I did not know that within a few years I would attend a college whose mascot was the Muskie; and that I would actually be a Lakeland College Muskie, participating on the college's track and cross country teams.

Elmer Ott is given credit for starting the Mission House program of intercollegiate athletics in 1934. Along with this came the responsibility of choosing a team mascot. He recalled a summer vacation at a northern Wisconsin resort where he went fishing and landed a large Muskie. When the time came to choose a name for the Mission House athletic teams, he recalled his battle with the courageous and spirited Muskie. The name Muskies was his obvious choice.

It proved to be a name that would bode well in the future. For, in 1956, Mission House College changed to Lakeland College. What better mascot than a Muskie for a college named Lakeland!"


Soli Deo Gloria

“'Soli Deo Gloria'--a wonderful brief Latin inscription on the cornerstone of the William A. Krueger building. Soli Deo Gloria--“To God Alone Be the Glory--indicates the conviction of Mission House/Lakeland ancestors during the construction of this building, dedicated in 1917, which bore the name Jubilee Men's Dormitory until recently.

The 11th chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis contains the story of an interesting construction project. The people of the earth said, 'Come, and let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves.' However, the project which starts with energy and determination ends abruptly as God 'confuses their language, and then scatters them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.'

The people who were building that city which would come to be known as Babel sought to make a name for themselves. Their cornerstone, if they had one, might have borne the phrase: 'To the Glory of Ourselves Alone.' Despite their effort, their project failed.

Is there not a fundamental truth here? When our efforts are motivated by 'making a name for ourselves'--for glorification--do they not either immediately or eventually lead to confusion and destruction? But if our efforts are Soli Deo Gloria--dedicated 'to the glory of God alone,' is it not amazing what we can accomplish?

Observe what has become of Mission House/Lakeland since the cornerstone was laid back in 1917. The college has certainly not always experienced easy or smooth times. Yet being firmly grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition, it has not only survived the difficult times; it also now thrives.

In constructing anything--a building, a college or another institution, or even a life, dedicating them 'to the glory of God alone' may generate wonderful results."


Our College Motto

"He that seeketh findeth."

"The college motto found on the seals of both Mission House College and Lakeland College reads, 'He that seeketh findeth.' It appears in English on the Mission House seal and in Latin on the Lakeland seal. The motto comes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew. The words are one segment of a well-known invitation of Jesus: 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' [Matthew 7:7-8 KJV] The motto speaks of an action, and a result or promise of that action. Seeking [the action] leads to finding [the result].

The Mission House seal, which is engraved on the capstone of the Community Memorial Building (now the John H. Esch Library) also includes an open book. An open book always signifies the invitation to come and discover what is written on its pages. It is by utilizing the opportunity to be seekers or knowledge, wisdom and inspiration that we will find these gifts."


Friendship Bridge

"About a hundred yards along one of the paths in the woods on the west side of the Lakeland campus is found a unique structure: Friendship Bridge. Rebuilt a number of times over the years, Friendship Bridge [has remained] in relatively the same location since its original construction. It continues to span a small gully in the woods.

During my first week at Lakeland, I was told a female student was 'not officially a Lakeland co-ed until she received her first kiss on Friendship Bridge.' I have asked both recent and present Lakeland students about the tradition and none knew anything about it. Evidently, the tradition (if it ever was one) has died. It was arguably too sexist, anyhow.

A fundamental concept of the Christian faith is that Jesus 'bridges' a gap between God and humankind, enabling us to live in a restored relationship with God. Paul wrote about this in his second letter to the church at Corinth: 'In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself.' (II Corinthians 5:19a NRSV)

On the eve of Jesus' crucifixion, he offers his disciples this instruction: 'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.' (John 15:12-13 NRSV) This is exactly what Jesus did on the very next day. He 'laid down his life for his friends.'

Do we not find in Jesus the greatest 'friendship bridge' the world has ever known?"

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