Friday, December 31, 2004

More on the shell

Okay, so I've not been clear. Let me put this another way:

To me, the fat on my body is something I've put on, like a garment. It's not me, it's not part of who I am, and hating it in no way relates to hating myself. It's as benign as hating a shirt I'm wearing.

I don't know what I believe for sure about the soul and the body. I plan to take Nancey Murphy's class at Fuller, and I've been told she thinks they are one and the same. I'm already a big fan of Dallas Willard, and J tells me that in "Renovation of the Heart" Willard states that you are not your body, you are your soul. Yet your body is somehow part of your soul, too.

I have always believed that the body is something other than the soul, and that it will pass away while the soul will continue into eternity. I don't believe it is me. I just don't. I am something other than this mortal vessel.

And I get that from Paul, mostly, who also uses the metaphor of clothing, or sometimes a "tent", to refer to the body. I think there is strong Biblical evidence for the rotting of the flesh while the soul goes on.

That doesn't mean I believe the body is evil, by any means! I'm no gnostic. It's neutral, I think. Like I said, it's like clothes. And clothes can indeed make a statement about who we are. But that doesn't mean they define who we are. Clothes don't make the man.

Or the woman, as it were.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

What would Jesus eat?

So as I am formulating a very complex grocery list, involving strange items such as nutritional yeast flakes, seitan, and flaxseeds, I ponder the inevitable question:

Why do I care so much about what I look like?

We spend so much time and energy on these shells which our real selves inhabit. We are merely dust and clay and earth. God breathes into us and we live, God spits in our eye and we see, God calls and we come forth. But we focus on the part which God fashioned (or formed, if you are male) as our temporary home.

And as much as I wish I could honestly say it is all about being healthy and frustrated with clothes, the reality is...I would like to look good. In the eyes of those who really do not matter, and those who do, and most of all in my own eyes.

God loves me just as I am. God sees the inside and probably could care less about the vessel. It is a miracle that my eyes and legs and stomach and brain and lungs work at all, albeit sometimes not perfectly. Yet how can I complain? I see, and I walk, and my body knows to digest and breathe, and I am capable of rational thought.

Funny how the only creatures with this capability are so obssessed with irrational concerns.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


That's for New Year's, not New York. Here in California...well I like the way the LA times put it in last Sunday's magazine:

"When New Yorkers jam Times Square to ring in the new year, all they get is a gaudy ball drop and the chance to sing "Auld Lang Syne" with strangers who smell like peppermint schnapps. But here in Southern California, the ultimate all-nighter has a noble purpose. If one is sporting enough to tough it out on Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard until 8 a.m. on New Year's Day, the trophy is an unparalleled front-row view of the Rose Parade in all its floral glory."

I have been sporting enough TWICE in the past, and I do have to say that while the overnight part really does suck, watching the Rose Parade live is completely different than watching it on TV, and infinitely better. It's one of the few parades left that actually is better in person, because the detail on the floats is simply impossible to see unless they are a few feet away from you. And without smell-o-vision, you'd never know just how glorious the aromas are. It's quite an experience.

But I didn't come to write about that today...I want to write about my resolution, which is completely cliche and pathetic. You guessed it...I want to lose weight. But it really is a health thing (my feet hurt from all the weight - I can't even wear heels anymore), and a money thing (I need to fit back into my clothes rather than keep buying new). I'm not good at dieting at all. So I'm just going to go back to my vegan diet, which I've done before and pretty much cheated completely out of over the last month.

Until I warmed up the leftover lamb from Xmas dinner and almost threw up trying to eat it (ate some eggs too - yuck!). I couldn't handle it. So I think I'm ready to give up eating flesh again for a while. Possibly a very long while. It really grosses me out.

And one other thing: I pulled out the Greek NT today and could not read it. Oh, boy - Exegetical Methods here I come! I'll be re-reading all of my workbook for the next couple of days. UGH!

Oops, I also, as promised, will keep you updated on fil-lms (as they say) I've been watching. Here's the latest (giving a score out of 5):
The Good Girl: Good movie. (3)
Madonna Truth or Dare: this was a fun flashback...I miss that Madonna and oh how I wish I'd seen that Blonde Ambition tour (but she was evil aka sex personified to my parents) (4)
Before Sunset: hey, where's the ending?? (4)
The Terminal: v. enjoyable (4)
Strange Brew: it has lost something since junior high (2)
The Bank Dick: it's official: I'm not a fan of WC Fields (1)
The Commitments: because they always said I should see it...not what I expected, good enough (3)
Pieces of April: I LOVED this movie (4)
Possession: interesting and romantic (3)
East is East: also not what I expected and not very good (2)
A Shot in the Dark: also not a fan of Pink Panther movies (shame, b/c normally love Blake Edwards) (1) not as good as they say, but a very interesting piece of history (3)
Hour of the Wolf: This is a Bergman film, and it's been a long time since I watched an arty flick, and I'm proud to say I not only stayed awake, I did enjoy it quite a bit. (4)

And J watched American Splendor, which he loved, and Mystic River, which was "okay", and Talk to Her, which I kind of wish I'd joined him for (he thought it was v. kind of a twisted way).

Saturday, December 25, 2004

This Little Babe

So thanks be to God, it happened. I got the Spirit. More accurately, I got completely bowled over by how absolutely incredible this whole incarnation event really was. We were singing the First Noel and it hit me how giant a thing Christmas was - it was such a cosmic event that a celestial choir felt the need to break through the veil and proclaim their excitement to humanity. Perhaps they just feared we would miss this all-important shift in the universal scheme of things, so they had to come and say, "Wake up! Look at what's happening! This is huge!". Whyever the angels considered it necessary to go beyond the usual proper boundaries of heaven and earth, their message rings true for us now.

This Little Babe

This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows look of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
And feeble Flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes;
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus as sure his foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest ward;
This little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

Robert Southwell, c.1561-95

Thursday, December 23, 2004

What I watched on my Christmas Vacation

Okay, here are my movie recommendations or not - maybe you'll be reminded of something you meant to see:

The Bourne Supremacy - J says it is better than #1; I think I like #1 better but still a good flick.

Da Ali G Show, Season 1 - awesome. Laughed so hard, especially at Disc 2. Interview with James Lipton (and Lipton rapping) is priceless. If you haven't heard of this show, RENT IT. It takes some getting into, but it's really genius. I don't even want to tell you anything else about it because it's such fun to be surprised by it.

The Office Special - very nice ending to a great series. (the whole series) Grows funnier every day as we rehash our favorite moments.

Two Brothers - I cried and cried. So sad, what we do to animals! Bad people!! In the end, all works out, but man, what an emotional rollercoaster. I'm a sucker for kitties. The DVD extra features were pretty much stock footage, but I'll watch cats all day.

Carmen Jones - I enjoyed this musical (opera of Carmen retooled by Hammerstein for an African-American cast set during...some war?), although it is a bit dated. But it was fun to hear and see Bizet reinterpreted.

Shoot the Piano Player - Truffaut. I think I prefer Jules et Jim, but this was also very good. Amazing how far ahead of us the French were - that is, it has a very modern sensibility even though it's not a recent film. Reminds me of "Charade" in that way, which completely seems like a 90's movie (definitely see that version instead of "The Truth About Charlie").

Ran - Okay, I know this is one of the most celebrated movies of all time. And I appreciated its beauty, definitely, and the story, which was King Lear, so how can you go wrong. But I did lose interest. Curse my attention span! I came back at the end for all the executioning of course.

Shattered Glass - I watched this again with J who'd never seen it. I haven't seen him so excited about a story in ages. He talked through the entire movie and for hours afterwards. The DVD has a great commentary by the director and the real Chuck Lange, the editor who caught Stephen Glass lying. Really enjoyed that.

All the President's Men - we're in kind of a journalism trend, here. This has been on the list to watch for ages. It was definitely good, but as I recall, the book was much better.

The Fog of War - wow! What a fascinating film this was!! It's a documentary subtitled "Eleven lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara" (the former Secretary of Defense under JFK and LBJ). This man is completely riveting, the filmmaker does a great job of keeping it moving along (and not being just a talking head), and the score by Philip Glass is worth the rental alone.

Hellraiser - yes, indeed. This was really interesting in the fact that we both kind of took it on one level, but then listened to the commentary, and found this whole new level of meaning. It's basically all about family disfunction. But it's also about how people who do bad things get what's coming to them. Ironically, a Christian concept. (taken to it's most obvious in Scott Derrickson's "Hellraiser V: Inferno", which is worth a look-see if you like horror films. Derrickson is a Christian - went to Biola U - and basically makes a film exploring the wages of sin).

Mystic River - J is watching as I type this. Sounds like there's some overacting going on. But I can't really say. Will post his notes.

So far I think my favorite movie I've seen this year is "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Great, great flick. Exactly the kind of movie I like.

But what a year it was - I also got into "The West Wing", which turned out to be so much fun, and finished up "Sex and the City", "Friends" and "Angel", all milestone shows. Continuing my obsession with all things Indian, I discovered Shah Rukh Khan (hottie!!) and his great films "Devdas" and "Asoka", as well as the charmer "Kandoukondain, Kandoukondain" (based on Sense & Sensibility). All are such wonderful films and so NOT American.

I also enjoyed this year:
"The Incredibles" (better than I expected)
"Kill Bill" (which is really just one movie - and a genius one that even my mother loved) "Spiderman 2" (good Christ imagery)
"Hero" (beautiful but it's no Crouching Tiger)
"Farenheit 911" (because I happen to like Michael Moore)
"Touching the Void" (this is a stunning movie - it's been shown on PBS already and may show again)
"Mean Girls" (clever and true)

And I'm looking forward to:
The Aviator
Hotel Rwanda
House of Flying Daggers
The Terminal
Shaun of the Dead
Collateral (largely because it takes place in my neighborhood)
Birth (and maybe Dogville)

Not too crazy about the Passion, though. Oh well.

I should post this because it is getting really long. I will post more - we have dozens more films sitting here. This list was just since Sunday.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I am all for giving "Happy Holidays" to the secularists, the retail establishments, the government, the private sector, and those with no particular religious inclination. I am actually somewhat offended that "Merry Christmas" has shown up in the malls again - and I know it is at the behest of Christians. But come on, people - didn't we get mad in the first place because Christmas had become such a shop-fest? And now, after the retailers had created this nice alternative "holidays", we're complaining that they need to put Jesus back in the malls.

Let's have our Merry Christmas for the Church, and let everyone else have whatever they want to celebrate. And let's let the shopping juggernaut use "Happy Holidays". Isn't it less bothersome for them to respect the fact that Christmas really has nothing to do with gifts, elves, flying reindeer, and spending money?

Check out this site:

This is actually the same issue as marriage. Marriage is a sacrament, and frankly I don't feel it should be legislated by a non-religious government. So give back marriage to the religions, and those who prefer not to be affiliated with a religion can have a civil union. The government can set up its tax system and whatever else for the civil unions, and marriage can simply be something that a religious couple chooses to enter into based upon their heartfelt desire to honor their god(s). And those without religion, who don't want God mentioned in their ceremony, can have it their way and still have the legal benefits of marriage.

With this system, everyone can stop worrying about legally allowing civil unions for GLTB couples - the problem of equal rights is solved. And then the churches/synagogues/mosques/temples/etc. can decide each on their own whether to grant their sacrament of marriage to the couple. This should please the religious establishment - the power to grant the sacrament as they see fit is back in their hands. It protects the sanctity of marriage.

Truly, wouldn't this make a more clean separation of church and state?

But anyway, to those for whom I've purchased items, Happy Holidays, and to everyone, Merry Christmas, and thanks be to God for sending us a Savior.

Monday, December 20, 2004

God bless us, every one

Are you about sick of the word "blessings" right now?

I mean, come on, how many stinking more letters am I going to have to read in which the author regales me with all the blessings in her life, the blessing of family coming for Christmas and the blessing of the new car and the blessing of the dog being run over by the car because didn't that just make us all realize how precious life really is?

Are all these things blessings? It's not unlike blaming God for bad things that we spend too much time thinking God has rained down blessings?

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that God isn't about blessing every one of us every single day. But I worry about assigning that term to such mundane occurances as finding your keys or eating a sandwich or even getting that new car... Aren't we then reinforcing the (unconscious) idea that God is some kind of cosmic vending machine?

When we say that we're blessed what we mean is that we're happy. But usually we're happy because something earthly, something appealing to our temporal selves, something shiny or tasty or debt-relieving has come into our lives. And I'm not entirely sure God wants to be known as simply a source of these blessings. I think he expects more of us. I think he wants more of us.

And I think he wants to give us more.

And anyway, what happens when the happiness is gone? Who does God become then?
(in the interest of full disclosure, I sent out a card that closed with "Christmas Blessings"...and I've heard it drip off my lips like so much candy cane drool way too many times in the last few days)

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Have I lost you? comments in a long time. Is it too busy this time of year? Or did I lose people when I was not writing? Or did I just get *gasp* boring?

Wow...low self-esteem in the blogosphere. Amazing that I've gone from writing because I want to put down my thoughts to also writing because I want people to respond. I like to stir up the pot. And, dammit, I like attention.

I have so many insecurities. I have to take little pills, three a day, to ensure that my emotions stay in check. That I don't become unstable...unable to control what I am feeling to stay in a normal state of being.

The music director at the Crystal Cathedral just killed himself, after locking himself in his office for hours. During what would have been a performance of his Christmas show. He was just depressed. I wonder about the help he was given by his church. Did they try to cast it out of him? Did they tell him to pray harder and read his Bible? Did people infer that he was somehow not in touch with God or not honoring God with his life because he was not feeling "joy"?

I don't like the weight I am at but I am way too in love with food (in a foodie way, not a dangerous way) to stop eating well. And by "well", I don't mean "healthy".

I want to be a scholar and yet I am so lazy. I sit and watch movies - good ones, but still. I love them. I love to escape. And somehow books have not been holding my attention. Which is not going to be good for graduate study.

I actually forget to pray. It's not that I'm too busy or too tired or any of the normal excuses. And it's not that I feel unloved or out of touch or unwelcome or any of the normal neuroses. I simply forget. At least, I forget to pray in the way that others consider prayer.

But God is part of my every day, every minute life. He is in my bloodstream. He is firing the synapses in my brain. I don't think on him constantly but I act as if I do. Meaning that my actions are informed by my living in harmony with the way he has set up the world. And the language about him doesn't come out affected, but it's a real part of what I talk about. I don't set out to do something for God or think about him or pray to him or tell someone about it. But I think it happens. I think it does. Because I'm just going along doing my thing and I know he is there, and he is in control.

And it's not like a struggle. I've never fought with God over what my life is supposed to be. It's never occured to me not to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Because things just keep coming that seem like the right thing, seem like him showing me the next thing to do. And so it's not a big deal. It's just living.

I'm not putting up the Christmas tree or pretty much any decoration. I got out the stockings since my mother sent stuff to put in them. She also sent a tinsel fiber-optic tree, 3 ft tall, which is simply awesome. It twinkles quietly over there, with 3 presents under it - from parents and two siblings - and that's enough.

I got a fat bonus from church which was an amazing surprise, and I'm sending most of it to said siblings so they can take their spouses on nice dates. I love dating my husband (the rest of the bonus will go for a nice one for us), and I want them to have that too. And sometimes it just takes a little cash.

I have always loved giving extravagantly when I can. Perhaps another way God's nature manifests. He loves us so ridiculously much. And I'm sure he poo-poos my little anxieties. And I do too, when I stop and think. I am so thankful for my life. Even though I am hacking up a lung at the moment. I am going to go love my husband now, and get the cat out of the shipping boxes. Maybe make hot chocolate. Peace and joy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Yoga and Christianity

As a one-time practicioner of yoga, I found this article terribly interesting. And while on the surface it looks like something to be scoffed at, I wonder if this person isn't on to something. Not that I think Jesus traveled to India as a youth, necessarily, but when I was doing yoga I was discovering so many parallels with my Christian walk and practice. In fact, I was much better at praying and meditating upon God when I was in practice. It is interesting to think about. I'm a big advocate for at least the health, mental and emotional benefits of yoga, and I can't help but agree that there are also spiritual benefits.

Anyway, here is what I am talking about:,1,669165.story
A new book compiled from the works of a guru who died 52 years ago offers thoughts on Jesus' teachings and their unity with yoga.
(free registration required)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Xmas time

Ho ho ho. I have almost no awareness of it being Christmas season. Largely this is due to my staying away from most retail establishments. I threw a big party that involved nothing remotely Xmasey except I did provide egg nog and candy canes since they were on sale and hey, those are good whenever you can get them.

I have been in such the funk. I am not keeping up with Greek and I suppose it will all be gone by the time the next quarter comes around. I have been sick pretty much since school let out and see no signs of recovering despite my best efforts to drink many fortified smoothies and veg out in front of the TV all day. Or today I tried going out for air but it's like 80 degrees in LA and that just feels wrong right now. At least in my house it's cool and dark. More wintry.

In the past when we've stayed here for Xmas I've gotten depressed. This year I've told my friends to call me because otherwise I may just forget the day. Which couldn't really happen: I'm singing a zillion services around that day so it's unlikely I'll lose track.

See here is the hard part. How does one observe Advent without completely cutting out Christmas? I have lost my interest in the season altogether instead of focusing on advent-y stuff. Which sucks for my friends and family because I'm putting no effort whatsoever into gift giving (although in the end they'll probably be pleased because I imagine I'll just visit the ATM in a panic on Dec. 24 and send cold hard cash). But again, there I go. Was getting into Christmas always about listening to music, eating certain food, having a party, decorating, exchanging gifts (or, for me, the sheer pleasure of choosing that perfect thing, spending hours shopping and wrapping, and finally the breathless anticipation of watching them open with glee)?

Will things change next week? Will I suddenly be flush with expectation of the coming of Christ?

This year, my theme verse for Advent has seemed to be Psalm 119:19. "I am a stranger here on earth."

You and me both, baby Jesus.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jesus Came Back

But he's only on the Internet:

Forgive me...

The Feminarian repents for not writing for so long. I have been really sick. I took my Greek final in a fog of Robutussin, Trazadone and DayQuil. Should be amusing for my professor to grade.

Anyway can't knock this bug, and it's eating my brain, keeping me from having coherent thoughts about much of anything. Best thing is to sit in front of television and eat dark chocolate. Did you know there is something in dark chocolate that tells your body not to cough? It works. I ran out last night. Must get more chocolate.

So now am back to the world of regular work, no school, which is strange. Miss school already! Greek is quickly evaporating from oh-so-mushy brain!

Read old posts if you like. I will try to come back soon. Meantime I am diverting myself with TV shows: Firefly, The Office, Da Ali G Show, and Lost. Check it out. Peace.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I tried going to chapel again. Bad idea.

It started out promisingly enough. We were instructed to stand around the edges of the room and we all held candles. A choral group sang a wonderful advent hymn. It was beautiful. Except there was a woman who seemed to be a dancer (I guessed this because she was wearing a leotard) who was apparently warming up, flitting up and down the stairs and occasionally twirling. No, wait. That was the dance.

Moving on, we sit, we watch some nice slides of (okay the dude next to me in the computer lab just farted) medieval art, some nice classical music plays. I can be down with this. A little scripture is read. I don't really like it when people "act" scripture reading (because usually it just involves waving your hands around while your elbows remain stuck to your sides), but whatever, I can deal.

Then suddenly we have people in seriously makeshift Xmas pageant costumes come and be a "living nativity". They perform a painfully bad sketch in which the journey of the wise men becomes an argument between three folks about asking for directions and using GPS; the shepherds become homeless immigrants who think the angel is the INS; and Mary and Joseph are apparently raising their child in El Monte. Really.

One friend said later that he was going to need to seriously repent after watching that.

Ha. I say the person who created it needs to repent!

But back to the story. Next a woman did her best Ani DiFranco impersonation while leading us in some Christmas carols (darn, I was hoping we'd stick to the promised Advent theme). The living nativity broke up. Finally, my favorite diva friend from the first chapel of the year came out to lead more singing of more carols (people, not Christmas yet!), and actually held herself back. I was proud of her. Except that I think she ad libbed something about "El Monte".

The big finish was, "Well, good luck on finals. See you after Christmas." Yes indeedy, seminarians, go out and celebrate the coming of Christ by focusing on some tests and presents!

I can't say anything without sounding like a broken record. I am just pleased that I was not alone. In fact, I don't think there were too many people present who accepted that as the best we could offer the Lord in worship.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I read a great story today. Check it out:

Here is my story that is similar:

When I was at Wheaton I was involved in the theater group. We would go on retreat every year, and as arty people do, we'd have a service to close the day that was spontaneous and free, involving a lot of candles and people piping up in prayer or song and others joining or sitting quietly or whatever. My freshman year, it was one of the highlights of the whole year for me. But my sophomore year, something very strange happened.

The service was going along fine, when all of a sudden we heard what sounded like screams coming from the basement of the church. A few moments later, the doors to the chapel burst open and a huge commotion entered the room. Running up to the altar were several of my peers, carrying one of the girls from the group. She was the person screaming. They threw her down on the altar and began yelling all these rebukes against unseen forces. Her eyes were wide, then rolling, and she was flailing all around. Those around her were responding to her every move by yelling at whatever they thought was causing it.

It should be noted that this girl wasn't exactly 100%. She had mental problems, and she was known as an attention seeker and something of an exaggerator. Sadly, the most obvious thing I could see going on as I pondered it later was a desperate plea for the attention that had been focused on God to be moved in her direction.

But at the time, I was simply choked with terror. A strong feeling of something evil and dark had filled the room upon their entry, and everything had been thrown into utter chaos. People were screaming and jumping over pews and acting completely crazy. It was complete pandemonium.

I slipped out (stepping over bodies on the way) and went downstairs. There I found a group of my friends, all with fear in their eyes, shaking and trying to process what they'd experienced. We talked about our mutual sense of dread and doubts about the authenticity of what was going on. We tried to pray or at least sit quietly waiting for it all to pass.

Then the lights went out, everyone screamed, and the fire alarms went off. That was about the maximum any of us could handle, and adrenaline got me outside somehow. Instead of the usual passing of the peace and warm tidings as we took our leave, people left in groups, some sullen, some still crying, some joyful. I got out as fast as I could.

Later that week we received a letter from the program director stating that the Spirit had moved, but he understood that some of us had not experienced this and needed counseling. Huh? Apparently those of us who were disturbed by the drama were simply screwed up in the head. Otherwise we certainly would have recognized the Spirit at work.

So I decided that if that was God's spirit at work, I wanted nothing to do with it. I hated the chaos and the fear that came along with it. I hated the privelege of only a few to be included in the work, while the rest of us just had to take it on faith. For years, any time someone would begin anything remotely charismatic (even just lifting a hand during worship), I would beat it out of there as quickly as I could.

Take what you want from this story. It's mine and a few others'. We share it to give insight and warning and reminders. I came back, but not everyone will.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Here are some excerpts from this paper...

A Church Autobiography

I am a pastor’s kid, and was literally raised at church (I even took my first steps on the youth group bus). My parents spent my first two years with a hippie congregation in the mountains of Santa Cruz, and then moved to Illinois where my dad was youth pastor with an Evangelical Free Church (very fundamentalist, very Swedish) for 19 years. I was heavily involved in everything I “should” be as the pastor’s daughter.

I was at Wheaton College during the Big Revival, but I honestly thought it was a bunch of hooey. After moving to LA, I grew out of evangelical-style worship (especially the music).

Growing up I was badly damaged by fundamentalism and left my youth with a pretty messed-up view of the church. It didn’t help that my formative church had always treated my father horribly. He was judged by our actions and we were all held to a ridiculous standard. I was very confused about what God wanted from me. I really believed that the purpose of the church was two-fold: to get people to “ask Jesus into their heart” and keep Christians in constant reminder of how to act and think the way that a Christian is expected to.

Oddly, I was never turned off of Jesus, just the church. That’s why for most of college I avoided any big commitment to a church body, but remained very close to God.

My church experiences have been something of a roller coaster, but I believe they add up to creating strong character, a healthy cynicism of both emotionalism and Pharisee-ism, and a clear knowledge of what I am looking for both in terms of worshiping God and the place in the body where I am comfortable. I have learned that I don’t belong in a church that is too rules-oriented, and certainly not one that tells its members what to think.

I’ve been in some sick churches, and through those bad times, God showed me just how much the people inside the church need saving too. To finally find a church that stresses the welcoming nature of God over His judgment has been truly eye opening and refreshing. I have perhaps gotten a little lax about holding others accountable, but I’ve learned the hard way how easy it is to go overboard when trying to be helpful. I would rather err to the side of being too accepting and too loving.

I would say that the Scriptures that most directly form my hopes for the Church and my role in it are the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the 23rd Psalm. I know they are common, but there is good reason: they are seminal for understanding the proper human relationship to God and with one other. I want to see the Church as the place where God’s mercy is wide, our love for him and for one another is deep, and our cares and concerns are no more. These three biblical passages offer the true Meaning of Life.

Obviously the biggest turn in my ecclesiology was moving into the Anglican church. I was seeking a reconnection with mystery, history, and deep thought. The Episcopal Church emphasizes the ineffable, it connects directly to 2,000 years of Church (I think the line of Apostolic Succession is the coolest thing ever!), and it celebrates the diversity of ideas within its members. I went from denominations that focused primarily on salvation to one focused on discipleship. From “fire-insurance” evangelism to transformation of the world through the Church of Christ. From wrapping up our faith in Christ’s death to cementing it in his Resurrection. The Church is made up of many fallible and weak human beings, to be sure, but together, blessed by the Spirit, we are able to be partners in ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven.
I am greatly relieved to see that professors and students here are largely thinking the same way as me. It makes me realize that I did indeed choose the correct seminary.

If anything, I have been taken aback by the huge diversity that exists here, especially among the student body. We all come from so many wildly different backgrounds and are in such flux right now. But if anything is consistent, it seems to be that most of us are questioning, and most of us are more than ready to listen to new ideas.

Nearing the end

It's almost over, this first quarter of mine. I can't believe it's nearly December. They said time would speed up but jeez!

I feel like I know less Greek every day. The cramming style of "firehose greek" keeps anything from sticking too long in my brain. I just have to make it through one more week, a few new concepts, get to the final next Monday, and it's over. Until Exegetical Methods next quarter.

I finally did all the homework for my other class yesterday. That consisted of writing reactions to each of my small group sessions (and yes, I had been keeping up with those), writing a "spiritual autobiography" which I suppose I'll post on here, and reading an incredibly boring book. I read every page and wrote down 100 in the "% read" thing I have to sign. But man, it was dreary. And I told my husband that I had hoped grad school would involve reading interesting things, but I fear now that I'm going to be reading a bunch of crap from the Christian bookstore. He said I was in seminary, which is different from grad school, and I should have gone to an Ivy if I wanted to read something scholarly. Ah, yes, he is probably right, but then I would have missed out on learning about, you know, God.

A professor told me that he'd heard that Yale's program in liturgy is like a museum, a study of things past with no instruction on relating it to the present. Anyone reading this have an opinion? I was considering their post-MDiv certificate in liturgical studies, but maybe it's no good?

It's raining in Los Angeles today. That is a rare enough occurrence that most people like it. It's too bad that it's mucking up the field at the Coliseum, though. Still, I expect the fighting Methodists to defeat the Irish handily. And if you got that reference, then you are a good scholar of So Cal Academic History.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Fetal Position

Today it happened: the moment that may just go down as my favorite thing that ever happened to me in grad school. It was classic. It was incredible. It was so archetypical.

My teacher actually hit the floor. In response to the repeated questioning of a certain person in my class (about whom I wrote way back when class started), he literally turned red, fell down on the floor and curled up. It was shocking and beautiful. It was the dream of every person who has ever tried to get a concept through another person's head.

And this is what he said:

"God doesn't give a freaking rip what grade you get in this class. God has more important things on his mind."


Sunday, November 21, 2004

We deserve it. The world does not.

One of my favorite blogs, Jesus Politics, turned me to this website: I have been on it for an hour and I cannot look away. I am most encouraged and I feel less alone. Way less. Plus I love the messages from people in other countries.

Here is the picture that started me on it - visit the site for more:

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'll have your spam, dear....

A few random thoughts:

I met a person who does not believe in free will. And to my protestation she replied that God simply had not revealed His truth to me yet.

Why would she pray?

For that matter, why does anyone who doesn't believe God can change his mind ever pray? I mean, if He's the same yesterday, today and forever - if he's already seen the future and knows what is going to happen - then why bother praying?

And why would Jesus tell the story in Luke 18 about the widow who bugs the judge until she gets what she wants? Can we really apply that concept to God without starting to question our stand on His nature? Does God bend to human will when people bug him enough?

Also I read today a passage in Isaiah that says the rain and snow come down but they do not return to heaven again, but rather water the earth. So if one believes in biblical inerrancy, would one have to deny the cycle of precipitation?

Finally, on sin again: if one is concerned solely with sin avoidance and repentance (so as to secure one's place in the hereafter), how does that make Christianity attractive at all? Which is more appealing: telling a person that they are a sinner and need to repent or they will go to hell, OR telling them that Jesus was a pretty smart guy and a great moral teacher who offered us the best way to live our lives. Making Christianity a philosophy of living well (the "good life") makes it a lot more palatable.

And all that about Jesus being God and repentance and etc. will come later, because they follow naturally once you are a disciple. I think we do things backwards sometimes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

More on sin

I remember now what brought this all up. On Sunday we were saying the baptismal covenant and we got to the part about when we sin "repent and return to you" or whatever it says. And I was thinking, wow, that is so simple. The covenant is mostly about the person we're becoming in baptism, and about what we believe. It's not about dwelling upon our sins. We sin, we repent, we move on, and it warrants only one sentence.

I am troubled by the emphasis put on sin in many churches. I am bothered that I hear things like, "Well I sin every day" "I always have to be on my guard" "I'm just a sinner saved by grace". What kind of life is that? To always be on eggshells, always aware of your status as a disappointment to God?

What if sin is merely being out of touch with reality - I mean by that out of touch with God. it's not necessarily a certain list of do's and don'ts - it's when something we believe or are or yes, are doing, is placing us back in the false reality of the world.

When you think about it that way, you realize that it is actually possible to live sinlessly a lot of the time. In fact, perhaps we are supposed to actually do that. Perhaps it's not an afterlife only thing. If we are living in the Kingdom reality then we are not sinners. We are no longer sinners.
We are saints.

Am I being totally heretical?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Were the wages of sin really death - for Jesus?

I've been thinking a lot about sin lately, and about atonement. About what the crucifixion is really all about. What it accomplished. What would have happened if it hadn't. And I'm coming to some weird conclusions.

Like I am thinking, the point of the crucifixion and resurrection was that Christ conquered death, right? So if he'd been killed another way at another time, he still could have risen and conquered death. And if he hadn't been killed at all, would he have died of old age? Or would he have just gone on living? In the latter scenario, he still would have conquered death!

Was he killed as a necessary blood sacrifice for the atonement of our sins? Or did he just piss off the establishment to the point where they were fed up enough to kill him? If he didn't come expressly to die, but rather to live (live the "eternal kind of life" as Dallas Willard puts it), then that would put to bed a lot of troubling things in theology. Like whether he had a choice, whether Judas had a choice, why God would demand such a sacrifice, and how in the world does God killing Godself do anything for us anyway??

It's like God set up this system and then he was bound by it? It just doesn't seem right. People are fine with him being unbound by logic, time, etc. (which, by the way, I don't agree with), but somehow they think he is stuck in his own outdated sacrificial rules. Hmmmm. Does that really follow?

Anyway this isn't really advent thinking, is it? I should ponder this during Lent. I should also wait until I'm in a sotierology class so I can get some assistance from outside my own head!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I'm buzzin', buddy!

We had the BEST small group today!! I invited a friend who is an Episcopal priest, from a Roman Catholic background, who happens also to be gay. He shared his incredible story of faith with our little group. Everyone loved him. At the end, one of the members even said that he could no longer believe the same things he believed before about gay people. He said now he would have to rethink his stance on things. WOW!!

This is exactly why I want to make my documentary about gay Christians. When you meet a person of faith who is homosexual, you can no longer lump him/her into some group opposed to yourself. She becomes a person to you. He becomes a child of God.

I'm totally having a God buzz.

(thanks to my friend Jess for that little phrase)

Whither the Church?

One of the things that is becoming apparent to me as I'm interacting with those at seminary is that the Church is something different than what I was raised to believe. In my formative church, emphasis was placed on a personal relationship with God, and that relationship's strength (as evidenced by prayer and Bible reading, mostly) determined whether one was a member of the Church (speaking of the true Church - which there meant "those who are going to heaven").

One of the basic questions of evangelism was "If you died tonight, do you know for sure that you'd go to heaven?" and you were supposed to be able to answer "yes" if you'd prayed a certain prayer, which I guess contained magic words that automatically inscribed your name on the rolls up yonder. But I was thinking about this question during church on Sunday, and I thought, you know, it's really up to God who gets into heaven and who doesn't. Doesn't it show an awful lot of hubris for us to claim we've done something that has cemented us in heaven?

But I digress. The point here is that I am starting to see that there are a couple of different kinds of Christian, and I believe they are all legitimate. There is the born-again kind, saved from a life of sin by someone who witnesses to her. This Christian is focused on the hereafter, Jesus's death covering her sins (though not necessarily his resurrection, because hey, the work was done on Calvary, right? This is what Dallas Willard calls the "Gospel of Sin Management"). The point is to keep a strong personal relationship with God. You are constantly aware that you are a sinner, and you "sin every day", but you are happy because you know that you are saved by grace, not works, and thus you just have to confess your sins and your slate is clean. Plus, your name is written in the book of life thanks to that magic Jesus prayer. This is pretty much the evangelical church today: made up of people who have made some kind of personal commitment to Christ, believe that is what has saved them, and make it their goal to get other people to make this same sort of personal commitment. The Church, then, is made up of the people who've made this commitment and who are of like mind about it. They gather together based on their common beliefs and exclude or include others based upon each person's personal beliefs.

Another kind of Christian is someone who belongs to a church. That's really a simple way of putting it. But basically it is a person who worships, fellowships, and recites the articles of faith as contained in the Creeds in communion with others. The "others" can be formed geographically, or theologically, or based on worship method. In this community, the faith of the whole is greater in importance than the faith of the one. You are, quite literally, born into this church. As an infant you are accepted into the family of God by baptism, and the Church commits as a whole to bringing you up as one of its own. (of course, there is also adult baptism for those who choose to commit later in life) People are in the body of Christ not based on anything they have done or are currently doing, but because they have chosen to follow Christ's teachings while identifying themselves with a communion of believers. Thus, the articles in the creed are not necessarily believed by each individual to the letter, but the community as a whole can recite it as their belief. Personal prayer and bible readings are based upon texts that are read by the communion as a whole: that is, the prayers are written in a book so that everyone says the same ones, the lectionary provides scripture that everyone is reading at the same time. Again, this is emphasizing the community of faith.

There is a third kind, and this one gives me the most trouble, but my husband brought it up and I think he's convinced me it's legit. That is, a person who believes that Jesus's model of living was the best possible life, and thus commits himself/herself to living in that way, following Jesus's teaching and example. The person need not be part of a faith body. They need not have made a commitment to Jesus Christ by name. They simply follow his teachings. In this category, you have your monastics, your desert fathers, your Gandhi. It's pretty hard to say that most of our saints were not Christians and yet many of them did not associate with a church body. Perhaps you could say they had the personal relationship that is part of the first type, but it's doubtful they ever prayed a prayer that made that commitment. Some of them manifested their love of Christ by loving others, by serving the poor and oppressed, not just by spending time in contemplation and prayer.

This has dragged on a long time and I need to be about the business of life. These are just my initial musings on the topic. I think a lot more will come up. I welcome your comments.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Democrats need Christians more than Christians need Democrats

The Democrats need to start putting Evangelical Christians in their party's ranks. Christians believe the Democrat platform more than the Republican; they have just been brainwashed by the RNC. If Dem's would get over their prejudices about Christians (and there are plenty of prejudices to go around on both sides), and start listening to someone like Jim Wallis or Amy Sullivan or any of the other several bright, Christian Democrats, they could easily sway things.

The fact is something like 90% of this country identifies itself as Christian in one way or another. Many more Christians are moderate than are conservative; they just need guidance. That is, the DNC needs to reach out to them - to recognize that Christians have been at the forefront of most major liberal social change in our country, and respect that, and remind Christians of who they are and their glorious heritage of fighting for justice (and I don't mean in wars) and the dignity of every human being.

After all, it was their teacher Jesus who popularized the whole "love your neighbor as yourself" idea.

People saying it better than me

Check out Jeff Sharlet's very interesting and provacative thoughts on why the election swayed right: ("Gay Marriage: The GOP Secret Weapon")

Also, Salon had some great reader letters yesterday. I can't retype all the good ones, just go check it out (watch a commercial for a free day pass). I especially liked the electoral haiku.

Finally, I get a daily email meditation from a priest named Barbara Crafton ( and here was yesterday's:

Moral Values

Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Luke 20:28

"Moral values" was the phrase the exist pollsters used: they asked people who had just voted which issue had most informed their votes. Was it the war? The economy? Jobs? Or was it "moral values." And of the first-time voters who swamped the polling stations, "moral values" was the reason given most often for the vote cast.

It was a phrase at once narrow and vaguely defined. It seemed to confine itself to sexual concerns -- moral concerns were gay marriage and abortion. Oh, and stem cell research, the discussion of which relates to abortion. But the poor, and the war, and fair access to health care -- these were not moral concerns. Neither was the budget deficit. Neither was Social Security. Neither was our relation to other countries and other cultures.

I see. I guess you don't learn everything there is to know about morality in seminary. Or maybe you learn too much.

There is a moral theology of sexuality, a discussion that has been going on for thirty years and more. But there is also a moral discussion of war and peace, of the dignity of human labor -- read the eloquent letters of the assembled Roman Catholic bishops on these subjects: they do often express their views on issues other than sex. Capital punishment is a moral issue, especially for those who claim to value the sanctity of human life. Good Lord.

Stand up. Stand up for morality in all its rich dimensions, for the love of God that soaks every human encounter with the wine of eternity. Don't let small minds shrink the arena of God's mercy and power to fit our prurient interests. It is not fitting. It beggars God's greatness. And puts our own further and further off.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

So much for a young woman's hope...

I am sorry that in my country, people care more for an unborn child than for an 8-year-old who doesn't have health insurance. We care more about the health and rights of the unborn than we do about the health and rights of our children out of the womb.

I am sorry that in my country, people care more about policing the world than keeping enough police on our streets at home.

I am sorry that in my country, people care more about protecting their own wealth than loving their neighbor. People care more about being able to shop for Rolled Back prices than they do about keeping good jobs in their own communities.

I am sorry that in my country, people care more about preventing gay marriage than they care about making sure people have tools that help their marriages survive: financial helps such as daycare, tuition assistance, and yes, even welfare - these things take the stress of money away to a degree and most likely help some families stay together.

I am sorry that in my country, people will let gross injustices stand: tax breaks for the extremely wealthy, no-bid contracts for companies in bed with the government, and even the reconstruction of another nation when our schools and inner cities are falling apart.

I am sorry that in my country, people are so terrified of change that they will do anything to keep things as they are. People are so terrified of the "what if" that they resist any forward motion. People are so terrified of terrorists - people in the midwest which, I'm sorry, the terrorists could care less about - that they will keep in power, and even bring more power to, a government that is sucking them dry.

I am sorry that in my country, people will stick with the party that promises nothing new. People are so afraid of things getting worse (what if gay people got married?! what if we're attacked again?!) that they won't even think about what could be done to improve the status quo. Because the whole country is going to hell in a handbasket, so we better just vote for the guy who won't try anything progressive.

I am sorry that in my country, people care more about being protected than about being lied to.

I am so disappointed. I am disappointed in my country.

This is truly a sad day for America. But at least we know things won't get any worse.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

In a perfect world...

Seminary students would have their way paid by churches. Not because they make a promise to come work in the church (although that is certainly a goal), but because the Church sees the theological education of its members as a mission to the world, regardless of what they end up doing with it.

I would live right by campus and go to church nearby and walk to everything and get rid of my car. I could be involved in everything I wanted to be at school.

I wouldn't have to work.

I would understand Greek verbs.

There would be more than 2 political parties.

Everyone would listen to good music.

Christmas wouldn't start until December.

Churches wouldn't be territorial, but recognize that their worship style is unique (if it is), and therefore feeds a certain segment of the Christian body. Those who are not speaking the language of a particular church are encouraged to find one where they can groove with God.

There would be more silence and less TV.

Someone would pay for me to study Anglican worship in England.

I would know in advance which classes are going to rock and which will suck and thus can make informed choices instead of guessing.

People would be able to disagree and still be friends. They would be able to agree without being hostile to others.

I would have time to pray and work out.

And blog.

Prayer for Today

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (or, of this community) in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(thanks to for the prayer)

And a different sort of prayer:

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

That there's some good readin'

Here are some fine examples of work by a few of my favorite writers:
(Amy Sullivan)
(Jeff Sharlet)
(Diane Winston)
(Rod Dreher)
(Chris Lehmann)

You are probably noticing the repetition of stuff from the revealer...well, it's a good clearinghouse for religious news. The other best blog for keeping up with news involving religion (which is most news these days) is Christianity Today. Seriously. Just ignore the editorial blather and skip straight to the sometimes-overwhelming collection of stories from around the world:
(Ayelish McGarvey - this is actually the first thing I read by her but it's darned impressive)

Here's one more tidbit that I recently found on the Revealer:

25 October 2004: 380 tons of explosives -- one pound of which is enough to destroy a 747 -- have gone "missing" from a known bomb-making factory left unguarded by U.S. forces. Department of Defense explains that bad guys "stored weapons in mosques, schools, hospitals and countless other locations." Right. Such as bomb-making factories. NYT and "60 Minutes" will get kudos for this important scoop, but we're just as pissed at the press as we are at our secretary of "defense," whose title must be from now on written at all times with "irony quotes." Maybe it's because we just watched the second season of "24," which includes both a terrorist nuclear bomb and a mosque-stomping scene, but we're thinking: Couldn't someone have interrupted the very important mosque-and-school searches to say, "Hey -- who's keeping an eye on the bomb-making factory?"

Monday, October 25, 2004

What to think about when voting

I want to add one thought to the political frenzy. The majority of my thoughts have already been represented in one way or another by someone more eloquent or experienced than I. But one thing has become increasingly clear to me and I don't see it in the religious or secular press.

The term "conservative Christian" is an oxymoron. One cannot hold to conservatism and still be a Christian. Conservatives accept the status quo and resist change - that is what it means to be conservative. Christians are called to the opposite: we are called to change the world, to transform it, by God's grace and power.

Notice it is not by our own power. It is not by our getting our commentaries published or our leaders elected or ourselves into the government.

Our job is to effect change by loving. Our neighbor, our enemy, those who persecute us. Our call from our fearless leader is to live fearlessly in the Kingdom of Heaven - which is at hand, here already.

If Christians were supposed to be conservative then the world would be utterly different than it is. Christianity would not have survived the Roman Empire, for one thing. But being strictly American, we would still have slavery had Christians not been progressive. Women may still be second-class citizens and minorities almost certainly would be.

Should we not consider leading the charge for our generation's oppressed - namely, the GLBT community?

And should we not call for an end to war and a commitment to radical peacemaking in the world, including feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, providing shelter and water and clothing?

And should we not give to our church and our community and our neighbor freely and without remorse, realizing that any earthly treasure we have will only rot? I mean, really, how can a Christian rightly give a rip about how much they pay in taxes?!

This is not idealism. This is what the Church is supposed to be. If these are not in your mind when you vote, you are not a Christian. If you are conservative, you are not following Jesus' example.

Jesus came to transform the world and calls his followers to do the same. Never accept the world's status quo. Never resist change. Never believe for a millisecond that a terrorist or an activist judge or a liberal politician can somehow overpower God's will for the world.

God has already won his battle, we are already on the winning side. So quit hemming and hawing over temporal things and start loving your neighbor as yourself. And love God first and most of all.

Do not vote in fear. Do not vote for someone who will "protect" you. Your heavenly father will protect you. Do not vote for someone who will shelter your wealth. Man does not live by bread alone. Do not vote for someone because they will further the conservative, status quo, slow-to-change causes. God is not about our status quo. God is not about the world never changing. God Godself is consistent but we can never suppose that our beliefs are equally inerrant.

Vote as if God were really in charge, not the President. And see whose name you check.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Prozac Nation

Yesterday was a really weird day. Because it was raining (akin to a blizzard or hurricane in LA), our power had gone out in the night, and the backup generator outside our window was so loud that I couldn't hear the alarm. My husband poked me and said, "It's 7:00, you better get up". This to the person who usually leaves at 7:15 am. And what was he doing there? Oh, it was raining, so he decided not to go to school. Nice.

Anyway I got myself out the door and up to school and of course was one of the first people there. Even our prof was 20 minutes late (but being good grad schoolers, we didn't leave). He announced that it was the Seminary's "Day of Prayer" and thus we'd only have class until 10 a.m. Awesome.

On our quiz there was a really poorly worded question. I questioned him on it and he stood firm in there being only one interpretation. I was so pissed. My new friends were a little shocked at how pissed I was. I was a little shocked. I don't usually let that kind of thing get to me.

I went home to crawl back into bed with hubby, but of course there was a huge accident on the road and it took forever. I got home in a foul mood with a piercing headache, wrote an angry email to my prof, did a little homework, and watched some more of "Angels in America". Then I had to drive back up to school for small group discussion time.

During our session I was just testy and annoyed with everyone. We weren't staying on topic and we weren't respecting the time restraints, so as usual, we skipped half the session. People were being really preachy. Preaching to the preachers, not even the choir.

I left the group and got a call from my mother, who said something that upset me, and I proceeded to go slightly insane. I cried and shouted and swore. Then I got back on the freeway and wouldn't you know at the exact same spot the traffic stopped dead. Then I swore a lot. And cried and screamed. And my head was pounding and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I mean, PMS is at least a week away.

Getting off the freeway and onto surface streets, I started thinking about the little white pills I take every morning and night. They are Paxil, for my depression. And I had taken a 1/2 dose the night before (because I am always telling myself I want to work off the pills), but then I'd forgotten to take any that morning.

Ah-hah!! This explained everything. The headache is the first effect of the meds running out of my system. The attitude followed by insanity is next. I was so relieved. I had simply forgotten to take the medicine which keeps me normal.

And I knew I needed to write about it. Because it is SO important. At least I know that I have this disease and I need to take my medicine. But so many people, especially women, are just assumed to be emotional or hysterical or bad-tempered when in reality they are just depressed.

When I was diagnosed just over a year ago, it was a huge revelation. It explained so much about me. I learned that at any given time, 1 in 10 people have it; the number drops to 1 in 5 when you're only talking about women. We're talking common cold here, people. It's nothing to be ashamed about - it's a medical condition. Something in the body is not working properly, like if you had the flu, and like that situation you take your meds and it goes away. Or rather, it gets under control. It never completely goes away, which is the struggle.

It is genetic and not. It is related to life situations and not. It is chemical and not. It is a strange thing to live with. And not the kind of thing you can do much about getting over. It is a problem that requires medication sometimes, but mostly it requires you to take better care of yourself. Which is extremely hard to do with 2 jobs and full-time school.

Please, if your emotions are running wild, or if you don't want to get up in the morning, or if you are not yourself and you know it, see a doctor - a psychiatrist, not a general practitioner. They can tell you if you have this way-too-common condition and they can make it better.

The depression has been, in my life, not a "test of faith" or evidence that I've sinned or something stupid like that. It was, in fact, a gift from God. Without the depression last year I never would have realized that I was unhappy with my outwardly perfect life - unhappy in the sense of being unfulfilled. And that was what made me apply to seminary, which changed the course of my whole life, for the way better.

Depression is a curse and a blessing and I believe it has afflicted many a saint and prophet. It is a reaction of the body to being in a world that is not home. It is a physical manifestation of our longing for wholeness. It is more evidence of our need for God.

And it is just a medical thing that medicine fixes. Thank God for Paxil, and Prozac, and all the other wonderful drugs that he has helped humankind come up with. Thank you for the salvation from the darkness. For saving me from the pit. For turning my mourning into dancing. Weeping may last for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Or after taking your meds.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Things to be checked out by you, the faithful Feminarian

My church is on the verge of splitting, or so the mainstream press would have us believe. In truth, the commission handed down a really quite fair and appropriate recommendation to the Anglican Communion. Even as a supporter of the move to make Robinson a bishop, I feel that their beef with us is justified. America needs to watch its unilateral tendencies. Anyway, it's interesting how the press is reporting this document different ways. Conservative people seem to think that they got the short end of the stick, whereas mainstream press seems to think it was the liberals who were taken to task. I suppose that means it's probably well-balanced, like a fine wine or my seminary.

If you haven't read Ron Suskind's article on Bush's Faith-based presidency yet (NYT magazine) go there right now and read it, you bad person.

Speaking of, an interesting dude has come to my attention, who has written a book about the whole Bush religious rhetoric phenomenon. His name is David Domke and his website is

Turns out he is speaking in LA on Monday (25) at the University of Southern California. Seeing as how he asked me to, I have now officially plugged him. I look forward to meeting you there David...but you won't know who I am. Mwah ha ha ha!!

What else do I recommend right now? Watched some good stuff lately. Here's a random list:
Iron Jawed Angels (the HBO movie - annoying filmmaking but great story)
Mean Girls (yes I am serious)
Angels in America (notice the HBO theme)
Lost (the TV show)

That's all for now folks. Please for the love of God I hope you are planning to vote. You only are excused if you are not a citizen of this country (and even then you should be working on becoming one). Anyway, vote your hopes, not your fears, as a good bumper sticker tells us. And remember that God is not a republican (or a democrat) as my own car's butt will tell you.

OK, laundry beckons. The Feminarian's work is never done.

It's a complicated case, Maude, lotta ins, lotta outs

Hello, I haven't written in a while. Things have been busy. New shit's come to light, man. Here's a spot of news: my dad flunked out of seminary! Talk about your trippy discoveries. Yes, Hebrew did him in at (famous) Texas seminary and he had to finish his degree at (less famous) Texas seminary. Um...oops.

Geez, I'm such a bad girl, I totally want to lord it over him. IF I don't flunk Hebrew too.

Anyway I rocked my mid-term so thank you for the prayers, good wishes, donations to Ganesha, whatever. I don't think it was very hard but please don't tell my professor. Besides, verbage is currently kicking my ass.

Note how I say currently kicking. Because I just finished my workbook exercises and summarily forgot to use the "continuous aspect" in all my translations. That means I said "I say" instead of "I am saying". But the latter just sounds weird! Ah, such are the travails of one learning Greek from William Mounce (his text, not him personally - although he seems like a quirky guy - on the cdrom that came with my book he actually sings little songs to help remember the vocab).

So these are the new shits that are currently basking in my light. I will now make a new post of some cool things that you should check out.

Peace love harmony and veggies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Thank you!!

I just looked at my own blog (something I don't know if I'm supposed to be doing more often) and noticed that I'm getting comments. Really NICE comments from feminarians across the country! WOW. That is just awesome. I am humbled and blessed by your comments. Please keep writing to me. The encouragement helps so much.

And those of you who pray, I have a mid-term on Monday *sound of nails being bitten*!

Peace, blessings, and love,
The Baby Feminist Seminarian

Give it up for the guys

I have to say I've been remiss in not mentioning the men I'm coming into contact with here at school. For the most part, they are really great guys. They laugh good-naturedly about the school's requirement that we always translate and write in gender-inclusive language, but they take it seriously. They listen and I haven't yet felt like they disrespect my opinions.

Of course, I haven't yet gotten into a theology class, where women have traditionally been viewed as incapable or at least unworthy of leadership. In Greek, they have to listen to me, because I'm kicking all their butts in learning the language. So's my friend Jo, the cool girl from New York who came into the class after it had begun but is totally keeping up with the current.

It's going back to the comment I made about how female seminarians tend to be really smart women. They have to be! And not just because there is an unspoken fear about women not being good enough to be church leaders; I also believe we have a strong desire to best the boys.

Maybe it comes from being part of a generation that grew up watching women fight big battles for freedom and leadership. Just in my life I've gone from a church that wouldn't let a woman be an usher to now being at one where a woman is essentially CEO. And so we have learned from our spiritual mothers that we are not just required to be as good as the men, but better than.

But I think it's also that the Lion has roared within us (to paraphrase a title of a favorite book about mysticism). It's the uniquely female contribution to theology, which involves harder work, greater ambition, more sensitivity, more tolerance. And a deeper sense of God within. A literally physical sensation of God within. God entered the world through a woman in the first place, and somehow perhaps we are linked to Mary as conduits of his presence in the world.

In the end, perhaps, it's not that we want or need to be better (although men need to recognize us so we can contribute). Perhaps it is that we are just different. We have something new to bring to theology. We are finely attuned to God's mother nature; we are aware of our own nature as child-bearers and by extension God-bearers to the earth.

At any rate, thanks be to God for male feminarians!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I Art Loosed!

The Feminarian is delighted to get props from one of her favorite blogs, The Revealer.

Read The Revealer. Sign up for their daily email. And I don't just say this because they say nice things about's a serious and important voice calling for better religion coverage in the press.

Feminarians Unite!

I'm just so Norma Rae lately.

Had a GREAT small group yesterday. Wow. I don't usually like it when people attribute coincidences in their lives to God's hand (I mean, does the Almighty Eternal one really care enough to make these things happen?), but I have to admit that the synchronicity of the group is amazing. We have three former film industry people and two psych people (which isn't too far off from the skills used in filmmaking and criticism). We have a great diversity of belief. I totally freaked them out by talking about the "yoga ministry" at my church. That was pretty funny.

There is an awesome Sister in the group. I call her that because she is just one of those amazing African-American women who is full of God's spirit. She comes from a family that is almost entirely pastors and missionaries (including her sister and mother). We got to talking about the Spirit running in families. Did I ever mention that my cousin, who really has no religious identity, has somehow always felt a "call" to be a pastor? Ah, the force runs strongly in our family.

Anyway, she and I had a long talk about war and peace, the church and society, women's roles, and more. Wow! How totally lucky am I that I get to spend my days discussing these things. Seminary is really worth the money, just to get to have this opportunity.

There is something happening among the women of the Church. Every one that I have met at Fuller is strong, opinionated, brilliant, studious, and very much called. And we are fortunate to not be fighting the fight to just be heard (our sisters 30 or so years ago did that), but to lead.

What can the female worldview bring to the church? What are the maternal instincts that the patriarchy has been missing out on for 2000 years? How do we get back to respecting women like Jesus did: who kept company with women like Mary and Martha, who marched up and demanded to know why he let their brother die when women weren't even supposed to talk to men in public! Jesus liked fiesty women. The Samaratan cynic at the well. The woman of ill repute who broke the perfume jar over his feet in the middle of a dinner party. The women who were the only ones (save John) who had the stomach to watch him die. The first people who saw his empty tomb.

Probably a lot of this respect was learned from his mother, who in her magnificat called for a world of peace and justice that is radically different from what we know now.

Women have so much to offer the church. I only pray the church is ready. Because even if they are not, God's doing something with us. He's never been one to wait for "global approval".

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Give 'em hell!

I got on my teacher's case today because he always lectures to us straight from the book. We hit a section of three complicated things, and he told us to read it on our own and figure it out when the need arose. I can see how he wouldn't want to confuse people who are lost further. But I read the book beforehand, like we're supposed to, and in class I wanted my questions answered, not the book just read to me over again. And if you must read the book to us, at LEAST read through and explain the hard stuff!

I don't mind him going over the chapters - it actually helps to cement what I've read. But it does get tedious. And when I think about $3000 tuition plus a couple hundred on books (one of which was $100 by itself) versus taking the bookwriter's online class which is probably not as much, I wonder why I'm doing it here. I mean, I can and do read the book to myself. I want class time to be time for deeper explanation and going over things that aren't clear just from the reading.

After our break, he actually said I was right in front of everyone and answered my question. Score one for me! I really sympathize with his plight - there are probably people in the class at all different levels and it's hard to figure out the balance of what group to teach to. But at the same time, I want to get my money's worth from the class. So I pushed a little. Maybe that makes me a nag, but I prefer to think of myself as a responsible consumer.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Did I mention that I've already had the Gay Talk with someone? I thought it went pretty well but my husband said I was weak. Well I wasn't trying to argue to win, my main purpose is usually just to get people to even consider the possibility that there may be christian people out there who are gay, and people who are not but who support them in their faith AND orientation. The one bummer is that I let them bringup the argument that gay people are like disabled people: that is, they are "not perfect" just like a handicapped person. Not God's original blueprint, but that doesn't mean theyare necessarily sinning. They arejust doing the best they can with what they've got in this fallen world. This argument is only slightly less offensive than "it's part of the sin nature that we all struggle with". No, it may be worse. Basically it is saying that gay people are made wrong. That it's like something that is wrong with you. And justice will never come until people start accepting that nothing is wrong, nothing falls short of the good, it's just different. And I am ashamed I didn't think to say that just then. Although I could not have convinced him. That last bit takes a loooong time to accept and a lot of good evidence, mostly in the form of personally knowing good christian gay people.

On a happy note, I met another strong democrat in Greek today. Also a libertarian. This guy takes offense that the government asks people to wear seatbelts. Yikes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I'm having an Arts Concern

So today I attended my first chapel (non-Catholic). And we're closing up the event with a rousing old Fanny Crosby hymn. Everyone is singing along enthusiastically until we get to the chorus the second time. Then suddenly the woman singing turns into a reasonable fascimile of a gospel singer, taking the melody all over the place in rhythm and pitch, basically denying anyone in the congregation the ability to follow her lead. So eventually everyone dropped out, and she did a solo for the rest of the piece. We simply couldn't compete.

What was that? Did I accidentally wander into Season 2 of American Idol? Why the sudden diva-vication of what was supposed to be worship time? How in the world can anyone think about God when there's a person howling like a cat in heat - on a mic?

The sad thing is that she really wasn't bad. And maybe in her heart of hearts she intended to create a worshipful space for those present. But it just drew ALL the attention in the room to her. All thought of God was pretty much driven away from our minds. Some appreciated her vocal gymnastics and others just looked around, confused.

This, dear readers, is bad worship. This is what causes people to be bored with church. There is no flow. It doesn't have to be "out there" - it doesn't have to be explained or justified. But it does have to be there. Somebody has to PLAN. Somebody has to think about what is appropriate, what is uplifting, what goes with what else in the service.

Why do we spend hours in classes learning to preach, learning to exegete the Bible and come up with cute applications to everyday life, and yet there is no required course at this school on liturgy? (I use the term loosely; not that everyone has to do high-church style, but every church does have a liturgy or ritual whether they know it or not, and if they don't, they really need to get one)

How can one be a shepherd of a flock, a leader of spiritual seekers, the mapholder on the journey, if one cannot bring out the most basic inborn relationship of one's congregant's to God - that is, their natural capacity to worship? I take that back: we are great at encouraging that attribute, but it is rarely directed to the correct person.

Because if you're singing and you're thinking how to "jazz things up", or if you're in a service and find yourself marveling at someone's musical ability, that's it. You've completely lost why you are there and you might as well go home or go to a rock concert.

Monday, September 27, 2004

First day of school (officially) (classes, I mean)

Okay, I am already getting too busy to keep this up! Whoa. What have I missed? There are a few things of note, and unfortunately I don't have time to go into a lot of detail. Maybe someday when I write a book about this. Anyway here's a snapshot of day 1:

- I met a woman who studies Israeli street fighting. I resisted the urge to ask her if she anticipates running into a lot of Palestinian militants in California. (I am cheating-I met her last week but forgot to write about her)

- I learned there is a "emergent" church in my area called "Tribe". Just take that in for a moment. Tribe. And yes, they do beat drums together.

- There are people driving up to and over two hours to come to my Greek class. That is two hours of driving (leaving at 6 am) followed by four hours of class (with a one-hour chapel break in the middle) followed by another two hours to drive home. They are insane.

- My Greek professor actually expects us to spend 2 hours outside class for every 1 hour in class. My Greek class is 12 hours a week. That's 24 hours of outside studying. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

- Translating Greek is really a thrill. The words are close enough to English words that most things aren't too hard to figure out. Or maybe we're just on the really easy vocabulary.

- There is a dude in my Greek class (note that Greek is my only class) who talks way too much. I am all for questions but this guy does not shut up. He is one of those who asks questions that show off how much he already knows. That is a seriously annoying thing to do. He also looks about 25 and says he has 3 kids with "one on the way". He must take to heart the command to "go forth and multiply". Can I call him a know-it-all sex freak or is that going too far? Probably not appropro for a feminarian. But I can hardly help myself.

- There is a guy in my class from Transylvania. I have an uncle from Transylvania. Who knew?

- During chapel break I took my stuff with me because I didn't know if the room would be locked and god forbid I lose my new pda. And some guy took my seat! He actually moved into my desk! Which was larger than the others and had a comfy chair. I was a bit shocked.

- Speaking of chapel, I visited Roman Catholic chapel. It was so cool. I loved it. And I was very naughty and took communion even though I am not Catholic. The father said it was okay but my husband tells me I still shouldn't have done it. I told him I trust the priest's judgement more than his.

I can't think of much else right now. I am learning greek letters (alpha beta gamma delta epsilon zeta eta theta iota kappa lambda mu nu omicron pi rho sigma tau upsilon phi chi psi omega) (shit that's only 23 - I am missing one). That must become my full-time job now.

I will write you when I can but don't expect a whole lotta lovin until I got some Greek down.

Me (oh yeah: xi!)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Now is the right time

I think it might be a good time to be at feminary. The women I am meeting are fired up. They are excited about being leaders. They love to preach and teach. They want to change things. They are not content.

I met a priest from the nearby episcopal church, who offered me spiritual direction. This is a direct answer to prayer. She also asked me to sing for her services, and said I answered a prayer she'd offered asking God for a new student at my school who would be able to participate. Possibly a coincidence. But interesting that we met, and happened to talk about the right things, and happened to offer each other the right part of ourselves that met the other's need.

I visited a great used bookstore and got my Greek-English Lexicon for $25! This is a $100 book. That was a thrill. I also got a shirt with my school's name on it, at the official bookstore that is, on sale. I am a sucker for a bargain.

Speaking of the bookstore, the staff at mine was quite poorly trained. Their "help" only made things more confusing and complicated. Being frightened and feeling out of control, I reverted to a rather demanding - dare I say bitchy? - side of myself. Incompetence drives me up the wall.

But then I visited a Taize service, which is one that offers great periods of silence for reflection. And I realized that in the eternal scheme of things, I probably was pretty petty. I figured out the situation on my own and there was really no need to dwell on the mistakes of others. Then I thought about how they were playing the music too quickly, and how out of place the little tribal drum was in such a service. Ah, my real nature returns. That saintly moment lasted all of 30 seconds. Brought to you by the fine monks of Taize.

Where have I ended up now? I began by celebrating my sisters in seminary and have turned to a self-examination. Such are the thoughts of those who seek God. One minute we are amazed by the world around us, by the creatures and our own marvelousness, by the creator who gave it all. Then the next we realize how utterly unimportant and unworthy we are in the scheme of this, in the eyes of one so magnificent. The life of God work is necessarily contemplative. How incomplete we would be without knowing ourselves! Without knowing our own nature, how could we possibly understand another's, let alone that of the eternal One.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A petty rant

Yesterday there was a panel discussion with three faculty members as part of the welcome activities. One of the faculty members attends (or attended) a church I used to go to, and I had always thought he was a bit arrogant. He came off a little better during the panel, and I thought it wise to give him another chance.

But one thing he said bothered me, which was that the church needs to stop having petty arguments amongst its members. I get his point, and his example was a silly one (what musical instruments to use) that hopefully would not split a church.

But I wondered: how is one supposed to tell what is a petty argument? What is petty to one woman is, to another, a salvation issue, or a real worship block, or at the least something that makes her uncomfortable while she is trying to find God. I don't think we should discount those feelings.

Like, for instance, my rant about the music used in church. I should clarify a bit: I can deal with the rock-n-roll, even like it; I am more bothered by the lack of care which goes into worship planning. This is well explained in Robert Webber's book Worship is a Verb, so I won't go into it here. Suffice to say that as a person who is particularly interested in liturgy (whether a church calls it that or not), I am distressed by the seemingly random way that much music, and other worship events, are chosen throughout a church service.

So although it seemed to the faculty member that his example of musical instruments was benign, in fact it was something that, when really thought about, can become an issue. Not that I think we should be creating issues in the church. But I also think that the church is the best, safest place for us to debate things--if it is done with respect and openness. It should never be a place where everyone agrees. Unity doesn't mean agreement.

And also it bothers me that he used this example as if everyone in the room agreed upon the "right" way to do things (or agreed that arguing about this topic is silly). From what I have seen of singing opportunities so far at school, there is a particular way of doing things - with the rock band, and the soft-pop style, and the modern rhythms (most annoying on hymns) - that is supposed to be acceptable to all. I haven't heard them even trying to do anything differently yet.

But of course, there are many chapels to come, and many opportunities. I hope to see more diversity in the worship experience - and not just diversity within the boundaries of what is accepted for evangelicals.

First Day of School

Yesterday was my first day of school; or rather, "Welcome Week", which turned out to be a weeks' worth of activities crammed into one veeery long day.

At breakfast I met a woman who is middle-aged and getting her MDiv because she feels called to being a pastor. She is already a speech therapist, and seems happy with her work. It makes me wonder how many people are still stuck in the false belief that the only way their vocation can honor God is if it is in full-time church work? It seems to me that speech therapy--freeing people's voices--is incredibly important, life-affirming, God-honoring work.

She seemed to really enjoy the next sessions, laughing and singing. She enjoyed them a little too much for my taste. The jokes were not really funny. The music wasn't that great. I'm not trying to be the cynic, but I do believe in being critical of what is set before me. Just because it has the label "Christian" on it does not make it good (just look at our president).

I personally was pretty bored. My music biases will come through loud and clear in this blog so I may as well say right now that I hate "praise" music: that is, church music that is created to sound like soft pop (and is about as deep). My usual pet peeves were being pricked all over: the music didn't seem to fit in properly at the points it was sung in the service, the singers were showing off their voices, the instruments were too loud and not conducive to a worshipful atmosphere. And Etc. So I'm always already a little pissy when I walk into something and there are guitars at the front of the room waiting to be played ever-so-meaningfully.

It was encouraging to see that they had a piano and a violin. I can only pray that they will drop the rest of the band. Actually, I shouldn't pray - I should get on the committee that makes these decisions. Action is the word, not manipulation, not just hoping for things to go my way. That's so womanly, isn't it? To rely on someone else to do something because of our passive-aggressive hinting, complaining or threatening. No! If I want something, I'm going to do it myself.

But I am way off subject. Let's see....waiting in line for lunch I met a man who attends St. James in Newport Beach. "Ah," I said, "the church that broke from the Union" (meaning the Anglican Communion). "Yes!" he replied proudly. "And how do you feel about that?" I asked. "Well, it was their only choice," he responded, with particular emphasis on the word "only". Unfortunately we were interrupted before I could ask him why the option to wait for the findings of the Archbishop's Lambeth committee (which is currently working on the "gay issue") wasn't considered.

We Anglicans, our whole thing is that we worship in communion. We don't agree on much else except the articles of the Nicene creed. And that is okay! The important thing is that we stick together. And in my opinion, God's command that we love one another (eg the Church be unified) trumps most anything else. Oh, I think that was Jesus' opinion too. If I'm reading the Golden Rule correctly.

Leaving that depressing conversation (although I look forward to getting into it with the conservatives on the "gay issue"), I sat myself at a table for lunch with a female professor whose work I admire and another female student. The three of us spent most of the lunch talking about ways to invigorate the women on campus, honor those who made strides before us, and take it all to the next level. It was postively wonderful. I look forward to working with the campus Women's Concerns Committee. What a great thing that they have a Women's Concerns Committee (and that it is a separate thing from the Wives' Support Group--HA! And hey, where is the Husbands' Support Group?).

Throughout the day, I kept meeting women who were doing MA's in Theology (not as rigorous as the MDiv) who said I was "brave" for tackling my degree. And all I'm thinking is that the men I've met doing this degree are mostly not rocket scientists (some seem barely communicative). Why is it that any old man, dumb as a post, feels just fine getting himself and MDiv, but bright, vital women fret and worry and wonder if they are good enough? Does it go back to Barbie stating "Math class is tough"?

The women I met in the MDiv track were, for the most part, sure of themselves, their call, and their future. And many of them, to my surprise, said they want to be pastors. Good for them!

I can't wait to get into class. I have a feeling that it will be the students, not professors, who will be the most combative on these issues. Of course, my first class is Greek. Probably won't be too much rousing debate in there.

Oh, one more thing: during his address to the students, the President of the school talked about the advances the school has made since its first class of 47 white north american men graduated in 1947. He ticked off a list of groups that the seminary has opened up to, and concluded with this: "Praise the Lord, now we have TWO genders!"

I led the applause.

Why Feminary?

I've decided to keep this blog to track my journey through seminary. At the moment I am thinking I'd like to keep this anonymous, although I am sure that eventually the identity of my school, and even myself, will become obvious to those paying attention.

Nearly a decade after finishing my BA I've decided to go back to school. This in and of itself is a big step in life, but what I've chosen to study--theology--takes it to a different level altogether. And yet, this is the only thing that I could study. I never wanted to get a graduate degree because I feared getting bored with my subject. But God, being eternal and boundless and bottomless, seemed to be a topic that could hold my attention throughout life.

There are other reasons, of course, than just this practicality. I come from a line of preachers. Grandpa had a doctorate and pastored a church for 33 years. Dad went to Dallas Theological Seminary, was ordained Southern Baptist, then went into youth ministry for 20 years and has only just taken on his own church within the last 10 years. Nobody in my generation seemed to be picking up the baton, as it were, and since I already felt "called", I obliged.

The idea had been buzzing around my brain, in fact, for many years. Now and then it would come strongly, when I had an idea for a sermon, or a church service, or counseled someone. Last year it became intense. I visited a monk for spiritual direction and he wasn't shocked by the idea: point 1. Then I went on retreat and was remarkable all weekend. What I mean by this is that words were coming out of my mouth and I don't know where they were coming from, but somehow I kept knowing exactly what to say to people. I was able to talk to their situation even when I didn't know it. People kept marveling at my wisdom, and I myself was amazed. This was a great feeling. I wanted to keep doing it.

And so shortly after that experience, I spoke to my favorite priest, who said he could see the call on my life. He called me a colleague. That's a goosebumpy thing to hear.

I applied, I got in, and now here I am. I haven't nearly gone into all the details of why I chose the particular school I am at, or why I even chose to go at all. But I'm on the verge of boring myself, so I am going to move on to the next topic. Which is...

Why am I calling this Feminary?

See, I am, I think, a feminist. At least in the sense that I believe women and men are equal. And in the sense that I believe women are still repressed in many ways. And in the sense that I believe many women don't care enough to change that and that saddens me.

Besides being a cute name, proclaiming my studies "Feminary" is putting front-and-center my attitude, the objections I've heard or perceived, the goals I hope to accomplish, and the motivation which will fuel many of my choices. Everything I do in seminary will be informed by my voice as a woman. I can't help but be constantly aware of my femininity as I start this adventure. How does my double-x chromosome fit into a calling to ministry? Why must I be hyper aware of my girliness?

I was raised in a church that repressed women. My father's church still argues over whether women can be ushers. Despite whatever gains have been made, it seems that in much of the country, and especially the world, the church is still a patriarchial society. I must be aware of what I can do to reform this.

My brother works as a music minister at a church, and occasionally preaches. Somehow, from my dad at least, I get the feeling that my brother is the "minister" in the family. I am afraid this will not change, even when I have a piece of paper that says Master of Divinity. I want to carry on the mantle. But will I be recognized as the one?

At school, I see many men, but also many women around me. I can't help but wonder, how many of these women will get their MDiv then go on to do nothing with it? They will get jobs doing something less than their calling. And they may not even realize that they are not living up to their potential. Why? Because women so often see their calling as serving others. Serving our families is noble, to be sure, but I can't help but wonder if it has become so because of what the Bible teaches or what culture has instilled.

It was only recently that I caught myself almost giving this degree (that I want so badly) up in favor of my husband's life. Thankfully, he told me to do my thing and he would sacrifice for me. Wow! After 8 years of putting him through school, I had become so used to being the breadwinner that I'd forgotten that I was neglecting myself. My sense of responsibility for my family was trumping my own inner voice, which was crying out for stimulation and purpose. Thanks be to God for giving me a man in my life who honors my calling.

This seems to be getting rather random, and I am sure I will have more thoughts as things progress, so I will stop now.