Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Last night I went to a presentation at school, mostly on Islam...but they talked a lot about the relations between Christianity/Judaism/Islam, too. I've thought a lot about the interrelations between Christian denominations and all the problems there, but this summer MIGHT be one of the first times that I've really thought about problems with interfaith relations.

And something interesting happened that I can't help sharing. One of the speakers was reading something from the Koran about "running the race". I really thought he was reading from Philippians. It's amazing how similar we are...and yet we can't get over ourselves and move past fighting about who is right and who "needs" to convert to which organized religion.

Maybe if we started looking at how similar we are instead of looking at our differences, we could all get over ourselves and stop fighting about it. Yes, we still will have a lot that's not the same...but looking at where we're NOT different is a start, right? After all, aren't WE oftentimes the reason that people DON'T see the God we claim to know? Maybe this would be the difference in us seeing God through each other. If that makes sense?...

Imagine if we put a LOT of things in God's hands and just admitted that we don't know...and that we're glad that God has control. We know how to hate, but are we willing to learn how to love and meet people where they're at? Man, the world would be a lot different. Thoughts?

I have really been able to see the negative effects of churches and of intolerance and hatred in a real way lately, just to put this all in perspective of where it's coming from. (Thank you to all who are curing my ignorance and making these things REALLY real to me!) It's reminding me of past examples of hatred I've seen because of religious intolerance. It's very real...and NO group is innocent. Where do we start to fix it? Hopefully being able to be in peaceful relationship and dialogue with each other is a start. I am really blessed to be able to be in an environment where that happens. Even if that environment is just a very small piece of the world. Hopefully we can take it out into the world.

As I'm editing this, I looked over and saw my copy of Bill Hybels' "Just Walk Across the Room". That title alone (and the book) get at where I'm going with this. Isn't being willing to "walk across the room" and get to know each other a good start?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quick update

This week is the 175th anniversary celebration of Hartford Seminary. We have events on/off campus all week http://hartsem.edu/events/175_Years.html I'm sure I will be on/around campus every day all week...starting tomorrow for the Great Awakening Tour!

Putting together my presentation on Accessibility in Worship and my Prayer/Worship Walk activity have both come together well. If anybody wants to see, I can let you in on it. (Unless you're in my class...then you just have to wait!)

And I THINK I found a verse to use for my first paper in Studying the New Testament Through the Eyes of the Oppressed. I have been reading the Gospels in preparation and found something that struck me. We'll see if I can use it. We have to use 2 different groups that we've studied in class, so we'll see. I've been doing research on all sorts of theology related to "disability" for that class, too. It's really interesting and something I've found is easier to embrace than the theologies that have always sounded very HUMAN to me. Some of the theology I've looked at is MUCH more like the God I have always known and loved.

Oh, and the LAST bizarre dream I had? Could very well come true. A lot of us on campus are interested in going to each others' places of worship and someone asked about where I go to church. I have no problem with anyone, WHOEVER they are, coming to church with me...I think it would actually be pretty awesome!

Some of us are going to a synagogue together on Dec. 5. That should be interesting...I've never been.

This weekend is WLI and the interfaith worship for the 175th. It'll be a full weekend! I'm interested to hear what people's experiences were like at the Women's prison in Niantic. In case I hadn't mentioned this yet, God is alive and well in prison (maybe even more than out in the rest of the world).

We're trying to see if we can start having lunches on Thursdays on campus rather than going out every week. That way whoever wants to just come to campus or happens to already be there can participate. And we can work it potluck style so that hopefully everyone has what they need as far as dietary needs etc. go. And the conversations we've had OFF campus have been really interesting...it'll be nice if we can open that up to other people we are at school with!

EDIT: We got a room! YAY!

OOH and here's a little preview of something that I'll be excited to see when it comes out! http://www.thecalling.tv/hartford/trailer.asp

I think that's all...I'm sure I'll have a LOT to post after this 175th week is over!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yet another weird dream

Recently I had another weird dream that I forgot to post about. I was at church and one of my friends who happens to be Muslim came with me. (First off, I have no idea why she would have wanted to, as awesome as it would be to be able to have anyone I know come to churches with me!) The reaction from the congregation was pretty mixed. Some, though not a lot, were welcoming and open and friendly. Others whispered and were generally rude.

Not a response that I'm surprised by...just a dream I thought was incredibly odd all around!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Differability and heaven

This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately...and I found an AWESOME blog on it here: http://gillikin.blogspot.com/2007/07/will-there-be-disability-in-heaven.html

One of my comments on heaven is now there, too.

I used to make a list of all the things I'd do in heaven because then my body would be "perfect" and I'd do all the things I didn't "get" to do here on earth (I've broken those boundaries since then and done things I didn't think I would do!).

But how sad would heaven be if we all looked the same? I hope heaven has just as much diversity as we have here...without the stereotypes and discrimination and hatred...or that there's just no physicality at all.

People will quote verses like Revelation 21:4 in talking about how my body will look like theirs in heaven and not be "broken"...but the thing a lot of people miss is that a lot of my tears and sorrow and pain comes from the way people view me...their crappy stereotypes and judgments etc. THAT is what's more important to be wiped away in heaven! My "brokenness" comes from things deeper than my legs. And when you look at my real brokenness, you'll realize that you're just as broken as me. I get that we'll all be made "whole", but maybe our definition of whole is too limited.

In looking at healing and THIS life, one trend I've noticed is that the faith of the people AROUND the person who was healed was increased. The people who were healed already seemed to have the faith. I do wish, however, that there were more stories in the Bible about God using someone the way they are (with a differability). If there are those stories, they don't seem to be emphasized enough, if at all!

Food for thought: Is everyone made in the image of God or is God capable of "messing up"?

And a bit of a side note: It's awesome to be at a school that has people who will use words like "able-bodied" and CORRECT themselves when they realize that they've used language that excludes me. I know some people aren't comfortable with the language changes I've used since I've found the "updated" and more inclusive words...but I'm now in a place where they are being used and taught and embraced! It's more the way the world should be! ;-)