Each year seems to go by more quickly than the one before. I remember being a kid and certain seasons, like Christmas, seemed to last forever. The countdown to Christmas would move so slowly it was agonizing! But now days like Christmas come and go in a flash and we are on to the next year. My job also makes the weeks seem to go by faster as my whole schedule is based around quarterly meetings with forty different families (sometimes I wonder if I’ve gotten off schedule because it seems like I see my clients a lot more than four times a year!).
I hope that I will learn to go at a slower pace. So often in a hurry to get to the next point in life — finish grad school, onto doctoral work, find a teaching position — but I don’t want to miss out on life because I wasn’t paying close enough attention to all that God is doing right here and now, even amidst the mundane. That’s one of my goals for this next year as we enter in 2013: pay closer attention to each day and each moment God has given me.
I am also challenging myself to some other goals:
- Run a 5k. If you know me, or at least follow me on Twitter, you won’t be surprised to hear that I am not a runner. No way, no how! But for some reason I have always wanted to be a runner… jogger… speed-walker at least. My mom used to run when I was little. I remember her putting on her classic Reeboks and off she went. I played sports when I was younger, almost everything, but I was never good at running. This year I hope to change that. (And when I say “good at running” I mean I just want to be able to do a 5k and survive… here’s hoping.)
- Learn German. This has been on my list for a while but this is the year I plan to actually accomplish this goal. The longer you are in school the more you realize that you are going to have to learn German if you want to keep reading books and articles. Even if you can avoid reading a book written in German, you cannot escape that quote that is sneaked in the footnotes of the book or article you are reading for a paper. Whether or not that little footnote is necessary to your studies does not matter, because if you are like me it will simply drive you batty to not be able to read what’s on the page! Oh yeah, and there’s French, too, which I took in high school (but don’t remember much). Still, let’s start with German.
- Nail down a thesis and/or dissertation topic. This goal is a bit of a must if I want to continue on with school after graduation in May. We (Jimmy and I) are planning (hoping, praying, racking our brains to figure out how) to move to South Africa to study with Dr. Christo van der Merwe at Stellenbosch University. We will both graduate in May from HBU with a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages but we will not have written a thesis as it is not part of the program. So the plan is to write a thesis and then move on to a dissertation and, Lord willing, get our PhD’s in Ancient Languages (Biblical Hebrew). I have a general idea of what I’m interested in writing on but I’ve still got a lot of work to do to…
I am sure I have more goals… lose weight, re-learn how to knit, preach another sermon, start writing music again, etc… but these three I’m giving priority.
Good luck with your goals for 2013! I hope you will be encouraged to finally go out and do the things you’ve always wished you could. And most of all I hope that you will grow in double love – may you love God and love people more this new year!
I have been REAAAAALLLLLYYYY bad about blogging, haven’t I?
I am trying to get back in the habit in order to practice writing again. Used to be you couldn’t get me to shut up when it came to blogging. It takes a bit more of an effort now… but I’m trying!
My husband and I just started a new blog to focus on Greek, Hebrew, and linguistics as we are students of Greek, Hebrew, and… you guessed it, linguistics!
Hop on over to This Does What Now? to see what we’re up to in our studies and help us learn more about these beautiful ancient languages. We appreciate any thoughts, input, correction and/or guidance you can provide!
I forgot how much time blogging took… finding something interesting to write about, meditating and mulling over said interesting something, writing out these thoughts, proofreading… I am not as apt a blogger as I used to be! But I am hoping to get back into a regular schedule of blogging, it just might take me a while. So hang in there dear readers!
A few days ago I started reading a copy of Practicing His Presence I got from a friend. This copy has Brother Lawrence’s ever-popular The Practice of the Presence of God, but it also has letters from Frank Laubach of the twentieth century who also wrote on practicing God’s presence.
I just finished up Frank Laubach’s section which contains letters from 1930 to 1931 on his “experiment” to think of Christ every hour of the day. I have really enjoyed reading through this little book and am taking on the challenge myself to practice God’s presence, to think of Christ at every moment.
I have been quoting Laubach on Twitter like crazy the past few days, but this is probably my favorite quote from him:
I resolve to accept each situation of this year as God’s layout for that hour, and never to lament that it is a very commonplace or disappointing task. One can pour something divine into every situation. (p.28)
I am trying to keep this particular point in mind, especially as I begin this work week and I am faced with the usual piles of paperwork, faxes, and other things that don’t easily lend themselves to encounters with God, and especially because I’d rather be at my desk working on Greek and Hebrew and reading all day.
My hope is that in seeking Christ at every moment, and learning this discipline, I might find more contentment in my circumstances than I did before.
As a part of Rachel Held Evans’ A Week of Mutuality, blogger Julie Clawson over at One Hand Clapping has been writing on her journey to Discovering Christian Feminism, a worth-wile read for all I think.
Today Clawson focuses on why the label “feminism” need not be a bad word:
“Patriarchy continues to encourage fear of feminism by spreading the lie that it is about dominance and not equality.”
Clawson has provided an informative and eye-opening look at the rich history of feminism. Whatever your position on feminism, I heartily encourage you to read through her series of posts to help inform your understanding of what feminism is/can be/should be, and perhaps you might even change the way you think about some things. I know I did!
Let’s not be afraid of the word “feminism,” rather let’s talk about what it really means. In an earlier post where I officially out myself as a feminist (as if it were a surprise), I linked to a pretty clear-cut and basic definition of the word feminism. Here it is again from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary: feminism – the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.
Please! Someone!! Tell me how that contradictions our Christian story?
I appreciate Clawson’s comments on our tendency as Christian’s to want to shy away from this label:
“Wanting to release women from oppression, to allow her to be who God made her to be does not mean that others must be hurt in the process. These are fears and misunderstanding that are sadly encouraged in our culture, ensuring that feminism remains generally reviled. But as a Christ-follower who cares about truth (not to mention justice), I believe it is necessary to oppose these lies and dismantle misunderstandings with the light of reality. That’s why I no longer fear being called names like feminazi, I would just rather help others see that the message of freedom feminism offers is the exact opposite of Nazi Totalitarianism…
Some Christians believe that the negative connotations surrounding feminism are reason enough to shun the label… There are some labels I want to claim even if they have negative connotations for some. Like the label “Christian,” for instance.“
This is just a glimpse at some of Clawson’s thoughtful remarks. Hop over to her blog. Read. Learn. Discuss. Let me know what you think.
and since that first breath… We’ll need grace that we’ve never given
and it’s not only when these eyes are closed
these lies are ropes that I tie down in my stomach,
but they hold this ship together tossed like leaves in this weather
and my dreams are sails that I point towards my true north,
stretched thin over my rib bones, and pray that it gets better
but it won’t won’t, at least I don’t believe it will…
so I’ve built a wooden heart inside this iron ship,
to sail these blood red seas and find your coasts.
don’t let these waves wash away your hopes
this war-ship is sinking, and I still believe in anchors
pulling fist fulls of rotten wood from my heart, I still believe in saviors
but I know that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board
washed and bound like crooked teeth on these rocky shores
so come on and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
come on and sew us together, tattered rags stained forever
we only have what we remember
I am the barely living son of a woman and man who barely made it
but we’re making it taped together on borrowed crutches and new starts
we all have the same holes in our hearts…
everything falls apart at the exact same time
that it all comes together perfectly for the next step
but my fear is this prison… that I keep locked below the main deck
I keep a key under my pillow, it’s quiet and it’s hidden
and my hopes are weapons that I’m still learning how to use right
but they’re heavy and I’m awkward…always running out of fight
so I’ve carved a wooden heart, put it in this sinking ship
hoping it would help me float for just a few more weeks
because I am made out of shipwrecks, every twisted beam
lost and found like you and me scattered out on the sea
so come on let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
come on and sew us together, just some tattered rags stained forever
we only have what we remember
My throat it still tastes like house fire and salt water
I wear this tide like loose skin, rock me to sea
if we hold on tight we’ll hold each other together
and not just be some fools rushing to die in our sleep
all these machines will rust I promise, but we’ll still be electric
shocking each other back to life
Your hand in mine, my fingers in your veins connected
our bones grown together inside
our hands entwined, your fingers in my veins braided
our spines grown stronger in time
because our church is made out of shipwrecks
from every hull these rocks have claimed
but we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change
so come on yall and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever
we only have what we remember
“I’m going to say it with my words.”
I mentioned I liked slam poetry on Twitter and a friend referred me to the band Listener.
I’m a fan of Deborah. The prophetess and judge appears in one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Judges 5, The Song of Deborah. This passage was the focus of my second Hebrew reading class many years ago. It’s a fun chunk of text because it is really, really old.
You see, Deborah has gotten a bad rap over the years, one that, as far as her story in the OT is concerned, is unwarranted.
How often have you heard someone say that Deborah was used as a means of judgment, because God only puts women in leadership in order to judge a nation? Maybe Deborah was usurping authority? She certainly must have had some character flaws. I’ve heard this said on one of the largest news networks on television. And it irks me.
Deborah is often disregarded despite her presence and position in Scripture demanding at least some consideration as to what it means for women in the church. She doesn’t fit the framework of complementarianism and so she is considered an anomaly, or a judgment sentence, or whatever, because she’s a woman. Because she’s in the Old Testament. Because 1 Timothy 2:12 trumps Judges 4 and 5. Because every piece has to fit together. Because, because, because.
Read the text of Judges 4 and 5.
There is nothing there to condemn her.
And if the Scriptures don’t condemn her, then I certainly won’t.
What Judges 5 does says is that Deborah’s leadership resulted in forty years of peace (verse 31).
A few years ago, my husband and I went to visit a seminary to get some information on their graduate programs. We spoke with a woman who worked in the front office and informed her we were interested in getting our master’s degrees. We had pulled some pamphlets and were discussing some of our interests.
I tell her I am interested in any degree that has an emphasis in the Greek and Hebrew languages. I ask if the school offers reading courses in Greek and Hebrew.
“Oh, well, those classes are hard,” she says.
Yeah, Greek and Hebrew are hard. I already knew this because I had received my bachelor’s degree in Biblical Languages three years prior to this conversation. And I had done really well.
I wasn’t the only one taken aback by her response. My husband, too, is certain that if he had asked about Greek and Hebrew classes he would not have gotten the same response…. because he’s a man, and I’m a woman.
This moment will stick with me forever–a moment when a judgment was made about my abilities and intellectual aptitude and academic pursuits based on the fact that I am a woman. Even worse, the assumption was made by a fellow female.
I have since started (and nearly completed) my Master of Arts in Biblical Languages degree at the university where I originally got my bachelor’s.
I am a student at Houston Baptist University and I am incredibly proud to be a Husky. I have been taught, discipled, and encouraged by some of the most amazing men, both egalitarians and complementarians. I have met and studied along side some of the most amazing women and men, both egalitarians and complementarians. I have never once felt like I didn’t belong when I was among them. I have found the world of academia to be a safer (and less exhausting) place for women like me.
But I have been studying Greek and Hebrew for almost eight years now, and I have faced some internal struggles and some outward opposition.
Right about the time I started Greek and Hebrew, I joined a wonderful church that held to a complementarian position and so I had to grapple with what I was going to be able to do with my degree. I have always been a feminist, came to faith in the Methodist tradition, preached my first sermon at sixteen, and knew early on I was headed for full-time ministry.
My gifts and calling were never in question until I had to face complementarianism head-on. I loved that church, and the one that followed, and having always held a high view of Scripture, I desperately wanted to obey, to be in the right. And so, I struggled during my college years, up until fairly recently, with who I was supposed to be in light of this view. I spent hours with professors, pouring over the texts, begging for their help in understanding. I dialogued with pastors and pushed back as much as I could.** I prayed that God would change my heart, my mind, and take away these desires that were “unfit” for my gender. I tried to be a good complementarian. I promise you, I tried.
But I am left with questions. There are holes and gaps and often “well, in this case it’s acceptable” arguments. I am left wanting.
And worst of all, complementarianism has left me feeling like God made me wrong. Surely I should have been born a man.
Because I, too, know what it feels like to have fire shut up in your bones! I, too, feel that unquenchable desire to stand before the Body you love and hold up the precious jewel of Scripture and share the beauty that God has shown you through hours of study, prayer, and doing the difficult dance of interpretation.
Why let me get this far, Lord? Why have me learn Greek and Hebrew at all?
But Jesus doesn’t make me feel like a mistake. When I read the Scriptures, I don’t feel like a mistake. I search the texts and I realize there are difficult passages and questions that are raised. But I’m convinced that the Spirit gifts all the members of the Body, regardless of gender, race, or position.
I just don’t look like the “biblical woman” that complementarianism says I should be. And honestly, I don’t want to model myself after her. I want to conform to the image of Christ. I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman insomuch as she is like Christ. I want to be like Ruth insomuch as she is like Christ. I want to be like Sarah insomuch as she is like Christ.
And I hear the voices of my sisters… Phoebe… Junia… Priscilla… Thecla… Amma Theodora… Dr. Karen Jobes… Rev. Dr. Katie Hayes… Rev. Dell Tamblyn… saying, “Look and see how God is using me for his kingdom.”
I’m going to be a professor. I’ll teach men and women Greek, Hebrew, and Theology, and hopefully how to read their Bibles better than they did before. And maybe some day I’ll be a pastor.
Either way, I’ll be preaching and teaching about this Jesus who I so want to be like. In the classroom. Behind the pulpit. On my couch. In Africa. Whoever wants to listen, I’m excited about what I’ve got to share.
**I dearly love my complementarian brothers and sisters. I have great respect for them and I am thankful that they dare not go against their consciences and their understanding of Scripture. Nor do I dare go against my own conscience and convictions, and I hope that is apparent in what I have written. I want to follow Jesus and I am doing that the best I know how.
I haven’t been a serious blogger in quite some time. Oh, have I missed it! The writing, I miss the writing. And so, I am hoping to brush up on my writing through this new blog. I am currently working on a few things that I hope to post soon. Here are some topics I hope to touch on in the near future–this is what is currently rattling through my brain:
- A series on the importance of the Biblical Languages, for the leader, the layperson, and the church
- Female voices from early Christianity
- The Song of Deborah (Judges 5): a look at the Hebrew and Greek texts
- Thoughts on The Shepherd of Hermas (I’ll be reading through this text over the summer)
- Gender issues in the early church
- Women in ministry
- The authority of Scripture, canon, inerrancy, and biblicism
- The possibility of a PhD
- And who knows what else!