Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Friday! 

I am so glad to be writing the journal entries again. The rigor of this class caused my schedule to be nonstop each day.  I was in class from 9-5, came home and studied and read all I could, went to bed, got up and back at school by 7:30, studied until time for class and then began again.  I learned to “walk around” in a text of scripture and ask questions about the text.  I listened to brilliant scholarship of my classmates and to a professor who had more resources than any other professor with which I have ever been associated. She had a number of the scholarly writers we were studying on her phone and called them up to have Skype conversations with us. While were having class discussion or presenting our projects she was busy on her computer sending each of us material pertinent to our interests to help further our scholarship and is connecting us with her “friends” so that we may use them to help us in our work. This professor labeled herself the “lead co-leader.”  She did not stand to teach; she sat with us and guided discussion. Totally awesome!

I have chosen as my project the two mothers of Moses. I will be writing a paper on Exodus 2: 1-10 on the call of motherhood through womanist thought.  I am really excited about this project. Pray for me.

Tomorrow we will be gathering with family in Allen to celebrate Daddy’s 80th birthday.

Prayer:  Holy Lord of learning and joy, I thank you for this wonderful week and your presence as I studied, learned and listened to others. Thank you for the ability and privilege of asking question and seeking understanding. When I look at Your word from now on, may I walk in it to find You, to find how You act with me and how I should act. Thank you Lord. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.”

Genesis 28: 15

This week I had to learn a different language. I don’t mean a language foreign to English, but a language of a new scholarly discourse. I had to learn about “womanist “language.  Womanist theology is born out of feminism and black liberation. It is a way of looking at biblical texts in terms of courage, strength, resistance to oppression, survival strategies. Generally these biblical texts are centered on women of the Old Testament. It was a fascinating week of study.

Anytime I have begun a new course of study a new language is a part of the learning. I had to learn the language of the womanist scholars in order to read their writing and to properly understand my professor. I had never before studied this subject area. For the first two days the language was confusing and it took a while for it to make sense. I began to pray each morning for understanding. I prayed for what I was hearing to begin to make sense.  I trusted God to this understanding and by Wednesday I was beginning to make sense of what I was hearing and reading. I began to be able to read and listen without coaching and recognize different parts of womanist strategies in the biblical texts and writings we were studying. Part of womanist thinking is working through the struggle. So that part of me was definitely a womanist!  The work was hard, energy draining and energy raising.

God has given us a wonderful helper who never runs out of energy, strength or time to help us.  Our helper is the Holy Spirit. We can ask for the Spirit’s help when we pray, “I trust You, Jesus. Help me, Holy Spirit.”  One of the many attributes of a womanist is trusting the Spirit. I have never claimed to be a feminist, but when I read the definition of a womanist I certainly found parts of me in the definition of womanist. I could definitely be a womanist ally. I am sure as I delve into the lives of the mothers of Moses, I will call upon the Spirit as I write and produce a scholarly work that shows respect and witness to God and what I have learned.

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint. Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a grateful heart and get some sleep. (I know I am sleeping in until 7:00 tomorrow.) Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blessed Sunday to you all! 

The newlyweds got back to Arlington around noon. They stopped at Sarah’s Mom and Dad’s to pick up the gifts brought to the wedding, her car and her dog Sophie. They then arrived at our house to do basically the same things. We had lunch together with all five of us present. They were slightly sunburned, somewhat sleepy, but smiling and glad to be going to their own home together. 

I will begin a five day intensive study class in the morning through the Hebrew Bible Studies called  Special Topics in Hebrew Bible—From God and a Woman:  Biblical Hermeneutics and Cultural Criticism Through Womanist/Feminist Lenses.  I think that is the longest title for a class in the free world!  The expectation is for the students to read 50 pages per night and write journal entries. This class will be different and I am sure really interesting. And if I am wrong, it only lasts five days and I will have an entire semester’s work complete. Pretty cool!

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, Thank you for being the Presence of the living God within each of us who believe. It is Your presence that allows us to do what God has called us to do. Thank you for being the channel of God’s love that teaches us how to love our neighbor as You love. By the power of the Holy Spirit and in Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”

John 14: 14 and 16

It is the day of Pentecost, the day we call the birthday of the church. In Acts 2 are the recorded events of the day. All the people were gathered and the promised Holy Spirit came upon them allowing them to hear the good news in their own language even though there were many different languages among those who were gathered. 

When Jesus was crucified the Disciples fled in fear for their very lives. They disappeared and hid. They were unable to continue to ministry of Jesus because they were so scared.  They were, however, present at the day of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit entered their hearts. Once they received the power of the Holy Spirit they were able to go out and preach the gospel of Jesus. They were willing to go to prison and continue that ministry to those incarcerated with them. They were willing to suffer persecution and die because of the power of the Holy Spirit that was now within them.

We were given that same power of the Holy Spirit when we came into relationship with Jesus. This is the deepest connection to God we have. That is how we can go to God at anytime because God is already present within us at all times. We may lose sight of God at times, but because of the Holy Spirit, we are in constant connection with God through our faith in Jesus.  When we make connection with the Holy Spirit and make our needs, desires, pleadings and joys known in prayer, the prayer is received instantly to the One who hears all prayers. Acts 17: 28 “For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”  Let us allow the Holy Spirit to occupy all of our being and include this mysterious presence in our awareness and in our daily lives. 

Take joy in the journey remembering that hope does not disappoint! Wear comfortable shoes, pray with a grateful heart and get some sleep. Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene.

I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe and I believe God.