Archive for December, 2008

posted by Amy on Dec 12

I have finished my work for the first semester.  I wrote six major papers (ten pages each, with about 50 hours each of some combination of reading, research, and writing) plus numerous reflections, book reviews, and reports. I read a whole lot of stuff–densely-worded ancient texts, more modern books, primary historic sources, secondary sources, the Bible (of course), and articles and journals; thousands of pages. The volume of reading reminds me of law school. The volume of research and writing is like nothing else I’ve ever done. It’s like writing one or two appellate briefs every week for 6 or 8 weeks.

This is a small school, the smallest I’ve ever attended. It’s not possible to be a face in the crowd here, because there’s no crowd. It’s like a big family.  I spent much of the semester holed up in my apartment, but I realize that the relationships that are formed in seminary are among the most important aspects of the education, and the calling. In our orientation session, they said, “God has called all of you to be here together.” It would be very interesting to find out what that means.

On the last day of class I had some classmates over for dinner. It’s the first time since I arrived at the end of August that anyone else has eaten here with me. I made soup and bread, and asked guests to bring other things. After we ate we got to talking about how we wound up at Palmer. Each story was different, but also the same. To one degree or another, we were all reluctant to say yes to our call, and argued with God about it.

I’m not arguing with God about it any more. I showed up, and I’m working hard to learn all I can. But I still don’t understand why God picked me. I can see what use God might want to make of me. It’s not too hard to imagine how God might to use the skills I have developed thus far, plus the education that I’m getting, so I do understand that much.

The issue is that I have had significant questions about Christianity for many years. The questions and doubts, and the dissatisfaction with how church is, kept me away for over 20 years. I was completely honest about that in the personal statement that I wrote as part of my application to seminary. Frankly, I was trying NOT to be accepted, and I told them all the reasons I’m an unsuitable candidate–too old, too divorced, too Methodist, too female, too secular, too ambivalent. Somehow I wound up here anyway. One semester in seminary has only muddied the waters further.

One of my professors said, “How much theology do you have to know to be an effective witness for Christ?” He reminded us that after Jesus restored sight to the blind man, the man was asked what happened. He just said, “I was blind, now I see.” This professor is not someone who’s liberal or flexible about matters of orthodoxy, so he definitely didn’t mean “anything goes.” Coming from him, it sounded like encouragement.

I knew I was a heretic when I signed up for this gig. I had no idea what God was going to do with that, and I still don’t know. God seems to work on a “need to know” basis. If it’s important, I will get the information that I need. In the meantime, I have some thoughts for others who might also hear a different drum.

Listen to what God is saying to you, and keep an open mind. I’m not the first person to have the issues that I have. I’m not the first person to ask the questions that I’m asking. Many people, smarter than I, have struggled with these same things. It would be the height of arrogance for me to put myself above them. I am here to learn. I am here, even more, to listen to what God is saying to me. I don’t have to pass judgment on myself. God gave me a brain, and a heart, and a burning desire to see justice done. In due time, I hope to come to terms with the unanswered questions about why I wound up in a Baptist seminary. In the end, though, it might not matter. If Mother Teresa had a 50 year “dark night of the soul,” and nevertheless devoted her life to God, then I can work around my little stumbling blocks.

God is still speaking, to all of us. The things that make us cry, the things that make us mad, the things that put lumps in our throats, those are the things that demand our attention, and our devotion. After one very intense, very challenging semester, the main thing I learned is how little I know. I am a beginner. I am a student. I am a disciple.

posted by Amy on Dec 11

There is a wonderful music video produced by Amnesty International to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, featuring musicians from all over the world.  Price of Silence Video

read more | digg story

posted by Amy on Dec 10

Sixty years ago, the United Nations adopted its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a milestone in human cultural evolution, and is a unique, international declaration of the rights that every human being is entitled to enjoy.

read more | digg story

Theme by Eric for Amy, who owns the copyright for this site, and has reserved all rights.