Sunday, March 28, 2010

I got a new attitude

I have finally begun to see the beauty of Hebrew, thanks to a conversation I had with a customer at work this evening. She was an older woman, probably retired and she came through my line asking me if I speak Spanish. I told her I do just a little bit and she then asked me if she could practice her newest phrase with me. Apparently her next door neighbor has been teaching her one useful phrase a week which she then puts into practice throughout her routine, and of course she wanted to use it on the cashier at the drugstore.

Here's the kicker: she doesn't need to learn Spanish, she wants to. Her reasoning is that she just moved to Austin last year and this is the first time she lives in a city with so many Spanish speaking residents. She said it feels strange to not be able to communicate with such a large percentage of her town and so she wants to learn Spanish. I was in awe of her and told her I too wished to learn Spanish but because I'm learning Hebrew I don't have the room in my brain right now. We then talked about my class and why I'm taking it. I told her it was required for my degree. She said that sounded too "glass half empty" and suggested that I look at it as a gift. How many people in this world get to learn the language that the Old Testament was written in? Not too many, especially now that there is translation software to do it for you.

When I got home tonight and began to study the 27 words that will be on our quiz tomorrow morning, it was as though I saw the language with new eyes. What was once scribbles on the page and then became a hassle and annoyance has now become a beautiful gift. I have no doubt that I'll continue to stumble my way through this class, messing up the translation quizzes every Friday. But from here on out I'm going to be grateful for this opportunity.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Liberation Theology

This semester we’re learning about Liberation Theology and I think I’ve found my niche in the theology world. While my peers become giddy over the mention of Calvin or Barth or Wesley, I react with indifference. Sure, I recognize their contributions which are astounding, but they don’t send my heart into palpitations. Not like liberation theology. This field looks at theology from the viewpoint of the marginalized and oppressed whether that be due to race or gender or sexual orientation or class. This approach takes a look at what Jesus and the Bible have to say about those on the fringes of society - dare I say that it is all about concern for social justice? Take that Glenn Beck. Liberation theologians are not concerned about who Jesus was 2000 years ago walking around and ministering. Instead they are concerned about the immanent Jesus in our midst today. My favorite quote from our reading this week (Carter Heyward’s entry in the Handbook of U.S. Theologies of Liberation):

Liberation theologians do not care much if at all, about images of Jesus Christ sitting in heaven at the right hand of the Father. What matters much more is that Jesus Christ is a baby girl hooked on crack and that she is also the power to transform structures of urban poverty and despair. The Jesus Christ of liberation theology does not occupy a throne. He is a political prisoner, and he is also the struggle for liberation from political repression.

That gives me goosebumps.

Monday, March 15, 2010

81 degrees, mostly sunny with a chance of kites overhead

Mary Ann, Brittany and I headed down to the park for the Austin Kite Festival.

We met a creeper who brought his bird along. Of course pictures had to be taken to document the encounter.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

72 degrees and nothing but blue skies

Today in Austin was so incredibly beautiful, it seems unfair that it hogs all the great weather while the rest of the world suffers. Kristi and I ventured to the dog park on Town Lake...

Macy and Chloe found a buddy.

This dude was taking a bunch of pictures and Chloe was trying desperately hard to be photographed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who knew there were that many flavors of Pringles?

I have a post I want to write, but no time/energy right now thanks to Hebrew. Here is a teaser for what is to come...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Consumer Alert - Pringles
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's hear it for ovaries!

Happy International Women's Day!

Last year I posted a list of women I admire and while I would like to do that again, I don't have the time to list them all. I seem to encounter more incredible females by the day. Like last night with the big win for Kathryn Bigelow, first female to win Best Director at the Academy Awards. You go girl.

I would like to take a moment to revel in this day. Celebrating women. This time that we are in is such a strange time when women are equals in theory, but in reality, not so much. Women are still oppressed worldwide. Women are still paid less here in the States. Women are still blamed for things that are not their fault. Let's hope that all comes to an end. Soon.

Here is a video clip that brings attention some issues women face:


As I was researching for a paper today, I stumbled on this tidbit in the PC(USA) response to the BEM (A document the World Council of Churches created in the 80's to state what it is Christians believe):

"...we are convinced that for biblical, historical, and practical reasons, the ordination of women is a faithful expression of the apostolic tradition. Not only is the understanding and practice of the past to guide us, but also the Holy Spirit, who is the one leading us to the future. We affirm that the Spirit has led churches, among them our own, to perceive the ordination of women as consistent with the gospel and, in the belief that God can do a new thing, to accept the ordination of women as a part of the tradition which is ongoing and developing."

What a breath of fresh air. An affirmation that what I'm doing is okay. Even if churches still treat women in ministry like dirt, at least there is a formal statement saying what I'm doing is allowed. Good news after studying The Gospel of Luke and learning that he wasn't really for women like most people think.

Wouldn't it be lovely if within the next few years, there will be a similar statement with "LGBTQ" inserted where "women" is written? I weep for my brothers and sisters who are not given the same rights as us heteros. My stance on this is partly selfish since the plight of homosexuals is closely linked to the plight of women. If it is decided that homosexuals should not be granted the same rights and privileges and ability to become ordained, I fear that my right as a woman becoming ordained would be called into question. Think that is far fetched? Take a look at Scripture which seems to reveal more privileges for homosexual men than for women - straight and lesbians alike. I have hope for this situation and that justice will prevail.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seminary Lesson #379

I've become guilty of losing the forest for the trees. This is mostly due to the fact that I overloaded my plate of life this past month, leading to a near mental breakdown. Turns out I'm not superwoman and cannot handle 35-40 hours of working on top of seminary full time. Good lesson to learn.

I'm supposed to be in New York right now doing a training for the Accompanier program with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. I'd been looking forward to this for months and would admit that getting ball rolling on this endeavor was at the top of my "Things I'm Excited About in Life Right Now" list. Instead, I'm in Austin. I canceled the trip because I would have missed one huge exam and three baby quizzes, which wouldn't have been the end of the world, but I came to realize my need to rest. Yes, the training would have been amazing. Yes, Spring Break is one week away. But my experience on the Gulf Coast with PDA taught me when to know my limits and to not push myself too far.

I've also become so focused on minor details and frustrations, that I haven't allowed the bigger picture to remain in focus. Take Hebrew for example. One of the reasons I came to seminary was a desire to learn Hebrew and Greek so that I could read the original text. I now have 250 Hebrew words memorized and yet I can't translate a sentence to save my life. Where the heck do the nuns and definite articles go? My frustrations have taken a hold of me and I've forgotten the reason I'm taking the class. I need to remember that in order to read the Hebrew Bible, I must do a lot of hard work first. This notion applies to the greater seminary experience as well. Yes I want to minister with integrity, which means I need a degree and must put in the hard work. Oy Vey!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Prayers for an Eastside Drugstore

Bless those who come in to buy food with their Lonestar foodstamps. May their hunger cease and may their cards not be rejected. Remind those of us living in abundance that there is more than enough to go around.
Bless those who come in to pick up their prescription. May their ailments be remedied and let their health insurance cover their needs. Open up the hearts of our representatives who have the power to make change.
Bless those who call me out for not suggesting the item of the month. May that free bottle of water quench their thirst. Help me to smile as they celebrate their victory.
Bless those who take two bus transfers to our store to buy the cheapest cigarettes in town. May their every breath be filled with good things. Improve the way we educate our youth on the dangers of this habit.
Bless those who clip coupons, living on fixed incomes or no income. May their savings be plentiful and keep those coupons coming. Lead our nation toward a better way where unemployment isn't a necessary component of the economy.
Bless those who come in to steal condoms and beer and cosmetics. May their yearnings cease. Grant the employees discernment and guidance away from profiling shoppers.