Category Archives: Theology

Nine more days – but who’s counting

These days I practically live in my carrel at the library.  Although, truth be told, I went out this morning to a seminary women’ brunch and had some great conversation and some very delicious cinnamon buns. So it is not all, 100% work.  I still eat and do laundry too.

But, things are coming down to the wire.  In nine days I write my Greek final.  I’m almost past caring how I do – but if you know me you know that means I still care way too much.

I turned in my next to last Church History I essay and today I completed a good chunk of my research paper for that class. My essay was on the devotio moderna and the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life.  Such a fascinating group of people – spanned about 300 years. Died out with the Reformation and with the printing press since they mostly earned their living by copying books. Their raparia were journals they kept of devotional sayings and of how they lived out their faith in the midst of daily life trying to imitate the early church. Most people have heard of The Imitation of Christ – this is the group out of which came such writings.

Now I’m on to the Christological controversy between Nestorius and Cyril.  Poor Nestorius was likely more misunderstood than a real heretic.  And Cyril was more a bully than a saint I’m afraid. Hope I can wrap this one up by Monday.

Then with a deadline of May 9,  I will only have 2 book reviews, 1 ten page essay, 1 more twelve page research paper and one more final and this year will be done!

Hoping it doesn’t finish me off.

3 Comments

Filed under seminary experiences, Studying, Theology, Writings

A Brief Appearance

I think I am back in this space because it seems a more appropriate space than Facebook.  Facebook would be Ok since what I will say won’t be long and maybe not terribly profound except to those who know how to read between my lines.

I have been up in Edmonton leading in a small retreat for the women of Sanctuary Covenant Church – Friday evening through tonight.  No sleepovers.  Just meeting at the house; Sanctuary Place.  Sharing in study and meals. Together in the presence of God, listening to him as we shared stories and considered how we could draw closer to God and to each other, how we could deepen our relationships so that we could also help those hovering on the peripheries of the circle join us in our journey deeper into God.  (Thanks Randall for reminding me of the great way a wheel can be useful to illustrate this)

And for me it was a weekend of experiencing the presence of God.  God the creator of words was there as we shared and he was sufficient – well, actually way more than sufficient.  Exodus 4:10-12. 

4 Comments

Filed under church, Ministry, Reflections, Theology

This will never do

I have been ignoring this space far too much.  I am not sure why. Perhaps it is just that I don’t have the energy – or the will to give it what it needs.  I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm for it that I once had.  Maybe I should just leave it but I hang on to it anyway.

I have been pouring myself into my studies and they are not particularly conducive to interesting posts.  Well, maybe they would be but that would take almost as much effort as writing one of my weekly responses required for my classes.  And simply posting them would be to present material which no one else has done any research on so could hardly know where I am coming from.

Right now I have been working through “Just War”, Pacifism, and “Just Peacemaking” in my ethics class.  I find the material extremely interesting and productive in the sense that it has helped me to formulate and articulate my views on this.  Our text Love Your Enemies: Discipleship, Pacifism, and Just War Theory by Lisa Sowle Cahill is excellent.   I find myself leaning towards pacifism but think that “Just Peacemaking” is probably closer to where I am philosophically.  There is lots of good material on this concept, which is a rather new one, on Glen Stassen’s Fuller Seminary site http://www.fullerseminary.net/sot/faculty/stassen/cp_content/homepage/homepage.htm

It is challenging to consider how just peacemaking could be put into practical application in some of the worlds hot spots these days.  Thing is, I believe that we need to start working far ahead of time in all potential areas of conflict to promote peace and not just react to a crisis, having ignored conditions which led up to it.

1 Comment

Filed under Studying, Theology

This waiting season

Advent is drawing to an end – to the climax of Christmas day when we celebrate the birth of Christ.   I thought I would share the final essay I submitted for my Theology class since I now have been marked on it and that bit of anxiety and waiting period is over for me.  If you want to read it all, click on  continue reading   (sorry for the American spellings – the school is USAian).

We Wait in Expectation

Almighty God, give all of us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.[1]

Recently, I was asked to reflect on the purpose and meaning of Advent with some young children from the neighborhood around our church. The children had no idea that a season of Advent existed. Their preparations for the coming season of Christmas were centered around what they wanted from Santa not on the coming celebration of the birth of Christ. Anticipation and waiting meant counting down the days till Santa came.

Continue reading

Comments Off

Filed under Christmas, church, Quotes, Reflections, Studying, Theology

A Pretty Good Shepherd

Kim at Connexions offers a story – and a pretty interesting one – that is timely at Advent.

How like this shepherd we are.  More like this one than we are like the Good Shepherd.

Food for thought. Enjoy.

Comments Off

Filed under Christmas, Reading, Theology

Wisdom

From Proverbs 8 (ESV)

22 "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
   the first of his acts of old.
23Ages ago I was set up,
   at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24When there were no depths I was brought forth,
   when there were no springs abounding with water.
25Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth,
26before he had made the earth with its fields,
   or the first of the dust of the world.
27When he established the heavens, I was there;
   when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28when he made firm the skies above,
   when he established the fountains of the deep,
29when he assigned to the sea its limit,
   so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
   rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
   and delighting in the children of man.

And from John 1:1-5

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

It is hard to entertain new names for God.  And yet Wisdom is not exactly a new name.  My theology prof recommended reading these two passages together as a devotional reading.  So I did and as I read, I also read with the hope behind the words of Proverbs 8: 17  “I love those who love me,  and those who seek me diligently find me.”

Comments Off

Filed under Quotes, Reading, Reflections, Studying, Theology

Waiting

Today was a long day of waiting. 

First of all, I woke up way too early and was lying in bed waiting for the numbers on the clock to tell me I could get up.  Finally, I gave up on them and just got up.  4:30 am.

Then, though I knew that I did not need to arrive at the hospital before my aunt at 10 am, that time between waking and going seemed such an in between unproductive sort of time.  Oh, I guess I did get things done.  Suitcase is still open on the bed for the trip to Charlottetown tomorrow partly packed at least. In my rush to not be late, I arrived at the hospital a good 20 minutes before my aunt so had to wait till the ambulance brought her.  Then the real wait began.  It was very quiet.  Aunty was medicated and pretty much out of it.  Her bedside tray able became my computer desk and I began my essay. 

What a time to delve into the Chalcedonian definition.  Sitting beside a frail, failing human body that holds such a sweet person and not being able to avoid wondering at God’s choice to become fully human like us.  This is probably bordering on blasphemy but I wondered what would have happened if Jesus had become old.  Then I remembered the older woman all stooped and crippled that he healed and the woman with the haemorrhage – and then I realized that Jesus did not have the time to grow old but still he knew all the pain we suffer with age.

They took Auntie in before my thoughts got way too too far off topic and I took a  break and went home for a few hours. Unless a person wants to watch 3 hours of TV, there is not much to do in a day surgery waiting room.

Surgery seems to have gone well.  My prayers for my aunt are that the pain she was  having is reduced by the procedure.  It is hard to see her in such pain on one hand or too medicated to communicate on the other. 

The final waiting process – for healing – real healing, is likely still a ways into the future.  She is as tough and stubborn as any Dice.

2 Comments

Filed under Dealing with stuff, Family, Studying, Theology

Talking Theology

Here we go, Marc.  This is what my tweet a few days back was referring to. 

Warning: this is long.

One of the books I am reading as part of my Theology class this term is Freeing Theology edited by Catherine Mowry LaCugna, a book of essays by some leading female theologians who are attempting to look at theology from a new perspective – that of women in the Christian faith. These women are all of a Catholic persuasion, interesting enough since the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches take the most conservative and restrictive view of women in ministry. Out of adversity comes great strength; or maybe one could say that God uses what is of little account to confound the wise. That would be fitting with God’s economy I think.

These authors discuss a number of theological issues. The one we have been dealing with this week is the Trinity. The author discusses the historical background which gave rise to this doctrine and the heresies which they were addressing by their formulation. She gives a beautiful discourse on Rublev’s icon and states that the figures in the icon sit in a circle around the Eucharistic cup with space in this circle for the one meditating on the icon to enter into the communion of the three. She states, “This icon expresses the fundamental insight of the doctrine of the Trinity, namely, that God is not far from us but lives among us in a communion of persons.”(p.84)

Later she goes on to state, “The point of Trinitarian theology is to convey that it is the essence or heart of God to be in relationship to other persons; that there is no room for division or inequality or hierarchy in God; that the personal reality of God is the highest possible expression of love and freedom; that the mystery of divine life is characterized by self-giving and self-receiving; that divine life is dynamic and fecund, not static or barren (p.106)

As she discusses the doctrine, she also engages us in a rethinking of the creeds which describe the Trinity using very patriarchal language. It was, of course, the language and thinking of the era in which they were written but this language poses problems, namely the idea of God being masculine and of the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit being hierarchical. The early church fathers may not have intended to overlay the theology of the Trinity with hierarchy or solely masculine images for God but their language and thinking was patriarchal and so it reinforces this.

Not everyone in this class comes from a middle class, white North American culture and so there was some discussion as to the validity of LaCugna’s arguments and whether they really conformed to what has been said in the Scripture regarding the Trinity and the relationship between the three. Part of our discussion was an attempt to help this person see that disunity and inequality is more a sign of brokenness and sin than of some design by God for the way things should be.

Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Studying, Theology