Monday, September 29, 2008

God in a box?

As I'm reading through things for Looking at the NT Through the Eyes of the Oppressed, and thinking back to the weekend of WLI, I have been thinking about all the nice, neat little boxes that we try to put God into...and think He actually fits!

In my background, for example, God, in the form of Jesus, is a skinny, white guy with a beard and brown hair...and He can walk. The walking part I won't harp on in relation to the image of Jesus since the Bible says "walk"...but where do we get the skinny, white guy with a beard from? Do we have actual scripture to back it up? (If you have some, post it please! ;-))

OOH but I will say that just because JESUS had a physical form and walked etc., does that mean God does? Is there anywhere in the Bible that says anything about God's physicality? Would one go as far as saying that because the Trinity is 3 in 1, that means each part has physicality? And if each part does, is it all the same?

*Because I already know my answer to the above here, especially because of the Holy Spirit and the fact that both men and women are made in God's image...these feel like really dumb questions...but I thought I would throw them out there for you to think about, dumb or not! And no question here is dumb, so feel free to dump your own in comments! ;-)*

If that's not the box that your view of God comes from, what is yours?
Even within Christianity, I wonder how many different boxes we'd find if we put them together. Is yours a God in Whose image you and all of those around you have been created? Or is yours a god (lower case there done on purpose) in whom has been made in YOUR image...excluding all or at least some of those around you?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Something I just found...

Some may remember that I mentioned a dream I had a while back and my also mentioning a Jacob's Ladder sermon at church? (I believe they were 2 separate entries...but I could be wrong.)

WELL, look what I just found! How awesome! Focus on the very last part! :-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Women's Leadership Institute (WLI) class

I decided to take this monthly class. I figure it won't be too much since it's not like it's another one that meets once a week!

Saturday edit:

Now that the weekend is over, I decided to just post more in here rather than starting a whole new entry...

I'm really glad I decided to do this class. I had decided not to sign up for it right off the bat so I could see what my other classes were like etc. But this really has some similar themes as in the New Testament class...talking about feminism etc. And there are 26 or so amazing women!

It's awesome already. People opened up a lot even in this first weekend. I'm excited to see how much of that happens over the year (it's a year long, 6 credits, one weekend per month). Lots of reading as in my other classes, but that's one of my stronger points, so I will handle it. And little to no writing...

One of our experiences besides the once a month (maybe the only one) is a trip to a women's prison. That I'm doing on the 5th. It will be interesting to compare that to what I still remember of my experience at a women's prison in Peru.

OH, and the thing that was REALLY awesome that the facilitator, "MT", said was that EVERY learning style/type of personality is OK in that class. She realizes that some people are more verbal than others and the people who are less verbal are still really engaged and always thinking etc. She described my personality perfectly in talking about people who might not talk a lot because they REALLY think about what they're going to say before they say it. I tend to need to have something REALLY thought out before I'll say it...and I need to REALLY process what's been said or learned before I even seem to have a thought in my head. This is something that people, no matter where or what the situation, seem to get frustrated by and people have made it sound like a bad thing in the past...and have tried to get me to change it and to conform to being the more verbal type that they're comfortable with. BUT those really verbal, talk-90-miles-a-minute-without-taking-a-breath, types really frustrate ME! And I don't try to get them to change. I just realize that I may not always be able to keep up with them...and I'll hopefully hear what's important out of what they're saying and be able to throw out "fluff" or things said just to fill space if there is any of that...and sometimes things are repeated when they're not thought out, which is actually helpful. Not to say that what really verbal people have to say isn't important, but it may not always be "put together" because it's not necessarily thought out first. These could be stereotypes of the two groups, too, I will admit...but this is generally what I've found. And unfortunately one group seems to be more accepted or welcomed in groups than the other. So, I'm really excited that ALL of who I am is being accepted and not put down or seen as something that needs changing. I can just BE the way I was made/put together! HOW AWESOME!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A new kind of church...

In Fundamentals of Worship today, I was thinking about how cool it would be to see a church that had all ramps and no stairs. Something all somehow based on the senses so that people could experience it no matter what limitations they might have.

Maybe I'll just have to make millions one day and put it together. Hey, I've always wanted to have something with a spiral ramp, right? Why not a church? And then at least there would be a place that really had no barriers! Imagine that...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Heidi Hadsell, the president at Hartford Seminary, gave the message on Monday at our weekly ecumenical and interfaith service. She spoke on James, specifically 1:19-27. This section of the chapter is on ACTING on what you hear...being doers of the Word.

I hope that her whole talk will be posted on the website. It is a good challenge to Christians, to remember to not only hear the Word...but to act on it/live it out as well.

Funny, it seems to go along with the question I posted in my last blog. This part of the chapter seems to speak to what I was trying to get at.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Posing a question...

This is something I've been thinking about lately, and I've come to my own conclusions... Now I'm interested to hear yours!

Say you meet two different people. One is someone who labels themselves a "Christian" and lives and/or acts in a way that's completely unlike Christ would (maybe even the opposite). The second person is someone who maybe has never heard of Christ/Christianity...or has but doesn't give themselves the label of "Christian". But this person lives and/or acts the way Christ did/would.

Which would you think REALLY knows Christ? Why did you choose the person you did?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things I've been thinking about...

As I looked back on the journey that brought me to Hartford Seminary, one of the things I remembered was being a member of the student body at Quinnipiac University. The Christian Fellowship, Branches (the Catholic group on campus) and Hillel had some activities that they did together (mostly "Faith Week", but even if it wasn't an event, people of the different groups did things together sometimes).

I remember noticing, too, that there were a few Muslim students over the years. Not many as far as I remember, but I'm sure I saw at least a few. And as far as I know, there was no group or activities etc. for them on campus.

We're getting a little farther on that campus, though. I just found this:

Since the chaplain program this summer and my looking into/starting at Hartford Seminary, my way of thinking and noticing things around me has already changed a lot. For example, thinking about how it might be hard to practice Judaism or Islam in public school (I wrote my thesis senior year on "Prayer in Public School", but it was mostly, if not all, just based on Christians praying in public school).

Even if prayer wasn't the issue, what about food in the cafeteria? I'm sure there are other issues that it still hasn't dawned on me to think of.

I've also been thinking about the PRIVILEGE of being able to go to church and worship freely. Not just worship, but to CHOOSE who and where one worships. There are SO many other places where this isn't the case.


(If you're reading this and you will...PRAY)

I was reading the other day about times and places where people used to get together IN COMMUNITY to pray more than once a day. And this was all within the Christian faith. Prayer, both alone and in community, used to be treated like it was IMPORTANT! Imagine that...

I wonder how things would look today if that were still the case.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weird dream...

I had such a weird dream last night. I haven't remembered dreams in a while it seems like. Maybe this one is symbolic, though.

I was at church (WIND service, as usual for me). Tessa was there, and I assume she must have been preaching.

The only part of the service that I saw in the dream, though (that I remember), was Communion. There's a stage in front of the room where we have the service. That is usually where the worship band is, but for whatever reason, this time Communion was set up on the stage instead of in front of it.

The stage isn't wheelchair accessible, so everyone else in the room was lining up - going up one set of stairs over to get communion and then back down the other side. Obviously I couldn't use the stairs, so I just didn't go up. I was just sitting there watching. I don't know if anyone even looked at me.

I have a REALLY hard time believing that Tessa would EVER let that happen to I don't know why she would have been the pastor in the dream.

I did have a visual when she talked about Jacob's Ladder (I think it was) recently, of a ramp instead of a ladder. I still don't get how this dream would have come about, though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Tonight was the first night of my Fundamentals of Worship class. It's a strictly Christian class, which I'm both excited and a little disappointed about. I'm sure I'll get opportunities at school for both, though. And if not, I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for learning experiences.

I already picked my topic for our presentation: "Inclusion" in worship. That is something I'm really passionate about and have thought about in a few different dimensions this summer, so I'll be interested to see what I come up with!

And we each get to take turns planning a time of devotion, as well as coming up with 4 different services from our denomination.

Our topic for tonight was: What is worship? We expanded on it in discussion. Before I flesh out my own thoughts here...what is worship to you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Orientation at Hartford Seminary was yesterday. Everyone got to meet each other and hear why people are at at Hartford this semester. It was really cool to hear where people are coming from (different states, countries, religious backgrounds, ages etc.) and why people are there. I even met a woman who is at CCMC working in pediatrics and is interested in children's hospice. That's what I've thought a lot about doing, so it was cool to hear that I'm not as weird as I thought! :-)

One thing that was really eye opening and interesting to me was meeting Christians from other countries who have actually been persecuted and almost put to death. Meeting them and really thinking about what they've probably been through has made me wonder if Christians here in the U.S. REALLY get it. I know we read about it, but do we get that we're reading things that are REAL and happen all the time in other places? Do we really get what safe little bubbles we live in? Imagine what it would be like if those bubbles were POPPED! Maybe we'd be living closer to the way we're supposed to be! Who ever said we were supposed to be living safely?

And everyone is SO NICE! Classes start tomorrow, and I'll be excited to see who is in my classes. We've already some time to all get to know each other yesterday and exchange info, so that was really nice.

I've gotten a lot of mixed reviews about my being there (from people who aren't). As I've thought about that, I have been thinking about whether or not people REALLY practice what they preach...and what that really means to people. We talk ENDLESSLY it seems about evangelism...but as I've heard people's reactions to Hartford Seminary, it doesn't seem that we get how to do it in a way where it actually gets through. It sounds like people believe exactly the opposite of getting out in the world and making a difference in it, actually. In fact, I have rarely heard people being supportive of getting out of their safe little bubbles or having their faith tested and challenged. People actually seem to be really threatened by the fact that I'm OK with that...and actually really excited. But to me, part of evangelism and being in the world is getting to know where people are coming from and being an example of Christ in how I live and act etc.

We as Americans, as people of faith, etc. are SO IGNORANT of the world around us...and that is NOT OK! It's really sad to talk to people who think that it is.

Although I have heard everyone's opinions (which they are entitled to), GOD is my ultimate authority...not anyone I've heard from, Christian or not. If God is going to open a door, I am going to be obedient and use it for Him...whether I have support or not. I can see the path God has brought me on and how it all comes together. People can choose to hear about it or not. While I hope people want to hear about all that and really see where I'm coming from, if people don't...I'm going to save my breath and keep moving. I've always said that I want to be on the front lines and really be involved in what God is doing...and now I get to be! If you want to knock me for it, go right ahead.

If churches feel like they don't give people what they need to go WHEREVER GOD CALLS THEM, WHENEVER GOD CALLS THEM...isn't that something for churches to wrestle with rather than judging what people are doing?

One thing I'm really excited about, too, is that not only do I GET to use my Bible to study, I HAVE TO! As I've looked through my books, most of them use a lot of Bible verses. So my study Bibles will come in handy! :-)

OOH AND I have already had a few opportunities to educate people on the language they use when referring to people with differabilities (SO OUTDATED AND even offensive). Usually they usually just make me cringe, but this time I actually made a gagging face (its funny the things I do when I'm by myself). I kind of wish people had seen it!