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Posts Tagged ‘bible’

Most men have faith in women, few women have faith in women. I have been astonished at the number of women who have come to me for advice whose only trouble was that they had no faith in womanhood, and consequently none in themselves.

These words from Helen Sunday stood out to me as I read about her earlier today. Not only do we need to have faith in our ability to live fully into womanhood, we need to be able to define what womanhood means. What does it mean to have faith in womanhood and therefore ourselves? Helen Sunday presents several potential sources of identity definition for women. First, a woman can ask herself what men want her to be. Second, a woman can ask herself whet she wants to be. “But, in the future, we shall come to asking the right question: ‘What does God want a woman to be?'”

The question of today is only half-answered as yet. Women do not know what they want to be, because they do not yet know what they are. Only one thing they have learned and this is that they are no longer the chattels of the man.

As I read this text written by a woman in the early 1900’s I can’t help but think that we have not come very far in defining who we are as women according to God. How do we define ourselves as women? What questions should we be asking and what actions should we take in discovering this? The most essential element of this discovery of womanhood seems to lie in the fact that women need to act for themselves. Definition cannot come from outside the woman and it cannot come without a recognition of the essentially female aspects that come from God.

I will close with one more quote from Helen Sunday because she articulates this better than I can ever hope to.

“The great, historic opportunity has been offered to them [women]. The gates have been flung wide for them. At last, the doors of the Doll House have been opened, and they have been invited to come into the great world outside. The rest is in their own hands”

Amen

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My friend posted a link to this project called Silent Voices. It is sort of a commentary on the experience of reading the Bible as a Christian man or woman. How do we experience stories differently based on our gender?

The Christian bible is the most beloved text in the world; cherished by billions and central to religious and communal tradition. I, as a man, find my gender reflected through characters I can relate to. The Silent Voices Bible is a project that offers that same experience to a billion faithful Christian women.

Jack presents the story of the Bible by switching the genders of every character. And yes, that means every character–even God. Before you turn away without giving this a chance, hear me out; I was skeptical at first too. The purpose of this project isn’t to obliterate the message of the Bible and use to serve a militant feminist agenda. The purpose of this is to provide a chance for thought and discussion around the experience of reading the Bible and placing yourself in the story.

When I saw this I immediately read Genesis 1-3 (my favorite Bible passage). I’m not sure if I can fully explain the experience of reading about a female God creating female first. It is easy to ignore the power of language and I think this project can really push us to consider things we’ve never thought about. I’m still thinking about all of this but please check it out. Here’s one of my favorites.

“Yahweh God formed woman from the dust of the ground, and breathed into her nostrils the breath of life; and woman became a living soul. Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there she put the woman whom she had formed.”

genesis 2:7-8

I can’t wait to read about the Prodigal Daughter.

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Aside from celebrating the Feast of All Saints, today at St. Paul’s we welcomed Simone, Adalee, and Caedmon into the Body of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism. I love baptisms in the Episcopal church. Not only is this an occasion to welcome new individuals into the Body of Christ, we have a chance to renew our vows of Christianity and I am always reminded of the magnificence of this covenant I have entered into.

The Gospel reading for the day was from Luke 6:20-31.

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

As we contemplated the beatitudes today we were reminded that being a part of the Body of Christ is buying into a paradigm that is contrary to popular belief. Being a Christian means loving things that are true, fully beautiful, and good.

Upon winning the Nobel Prize for literature Pablo Neruda was asked a question: “Which is the most beautiful word?” I think this is a fitting question for a poet.

I’m going to reply in a fairly vulgar way, like in a radio song, wiht a word which is extremely hackneyed: the word love. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. And there’s no harm abusing the word either.

This was Neruda’s response.

My prayer this week is that I will learn to love the right things, that I will see true beauty, and that goodness will be readily apparent to me.

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the days of our lives

The cool thing about going to Episcopal church is that we follow the church calendar. Like the days of the year, the days of the liturgy repeat themselves; not every year, but every two years.

Today I arrived at church to the feast of St. Michael and all angels. This is one of my favorite services of the year and I am so glad I made the decision to get out of bed this morning.

The Old Testament reading for today was from Genesis and it recounts the story of Jacob’s dream at Bethel.

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 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 you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

This story reminds me of both the promises I have for my life and the promises God has given for the world and all humanity. God will be faithful to keep the promises that have been given. In her sermon this morning, Mother Melissa encouraged us to remember that the Holy is close at hand. Indeed, we should expect to see the Holy at work around us.

This is a comforting reminder in my life right now. As we sang a hymn about Jacob’s ladder I was reminded that the holy is indeed near when the bells began ringing as we sang these words.

“Hallelujah to Jesus who died on the tree and has raised up a ladder of mercy for me!”

May the LORD bless you and keep you;

May the LORD make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;

May the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

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I spent that last year of my life ministering to one of the residence halls on the campus of Seattle Pacific University with 14 amazing people. I served these folks as best as I knew how and I hope I did an okay job at it. Being a part of the Student Ministry Program for two years has taught me so much but lately I have been realizing how much I have learned about community and friendship.

I woke up this morning to an email from one of my SMC’s and he summed up everything that I feel very beautifully.

I miss you guys greatly, and it makes me sad knowing that my friends go home to places nowhere near me… BUT I thank God for the time that I do get with you guys and for the long-lasting friendships that have been made between us. I really do think about it a lot, and I hope and pray someday that my kids grow up excited to visit Auntie Lauren the designer in New York, or meet up with Uncle Shane the novelist/english teacher/philosopher/protective dad, or help Auntie Kira in saving the world one Indian village at a time, or have Uncle Evan show the boys how to treat a lady right, or spend some time in Oregon with Aunt Sarah the Nurse, or have a laugh at Auntie Kitty Kat’s silly jokes, or discuss theology with Uncle Trog, Uncle Anthony, and Uncle Tim (whilst climbing a tree, perhaps?), or spend time with Aunt Nicole on the shores of the Great Lake Michigan, or go to a baseball game with Auntie Allyson, or create sweet art projects (of which I would be incapable of putting together) with Auntie Hannah, or shopping with Aunt DoYeon (in Korea, maybe?), or maybe learning about gender equality from Aunt AIDs the world-renowned sociologist.
Which ever state (or country) each of us end up in, I know one thing for sure; you guys are some of my closest and most dear friends and I want to be able to share in life with you for years to come.

I never knew that I could love people so much until I came to SPU and I must say that there is something immensely beautiful about intentional community. The apostle Paul paints another beutiful picture of this type of community in the Acts of the Apostles.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord;s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity–all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

So often I feel like I am beating a dead horse (which I wouldn’t do because I am a pacifist) when I talk about how much these 14 people mean to me but I will say it again… You mean the world to me ATKHDNSLKETSJA. Literally, the world.

Also, I am reminded that there is power in community, especially the kind that lives together for a common purpose. So, LSKPLS, I am ridiculously excited to live with you this next year. That is all…

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