Archive for the ‘Seminary’ Category

Last night Stanley Hauerwas was publically interviewed by an Anglican Priest/News Anchorman (weird combination, I know) in the divinity school. I had heard Dr Hauerwas speak in chapel a few weeks ago, which was a great experience as expected. The sermon was on a passage from 1 Corinthians and was fairly straightforward and not particularly controversial. His language was appropriate for a church service and his countenance was that of a minister, not a professor. Last night, however, we were able to get a glimpse of the Hauerwas that has become legendary in theological circles for certain slips of the tongue. Hauerwas the Texan was fully present last night as the interviewer asked him questions pertaining to “being a Christian in today’s world.” Aside from many  typically rich, challenging, profound, and elegant reflections on being a Christian in the modern world were the Hauerwasian one-liners that make Hauerwas the legend that he has come to be. Here are my favorites from last night (please excuse some of the language):

On Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens: “Dawkins and Hitchens simply represent the fact that Christians have become so stupid that they have ceased to give the world anything interesting to think about. It’s not atheism that’s killing the Church, but sentimentality.”

On Christian marriage: “The problem with most sex is that it’s not very intimate…Our spouses get to know us better than we know ourselves, and it just scares the shit out of us.”

On health care reform: “If you live a crappy life there is no reason that you shouldn’t die a crappy death.”

On the recent developments between the Vatican and Anglicans: “I think what Benedict did was absolute shit…They just can’t give up on England. Why they would want England beats the hell out of me”

On the south: “Southern civility is one of the most calculated forms of cruelty I can think of.”

Of course, all of these soundbites were part of much broader and deeply thought-out reflections on the particular issues, but the one-liners are always the fun part. Yet, despite such fun, I was reminded last night just what is at stake when I call myself a Christian and proclaim Jesus as Lord in a world that has no time for God. Here is a passage from Hauerwas that is perhaps more insightful than a mere soundbite:

“Do  I think the truthfulness of Christian witness is compromised when Christians accept the practices of the ‘culture of death’–abortion, suicide, capital punishment, and war? Yes! On every count, the answer is ‘Yes’…Christians betray the grammar of the Christian faith when we try to answer the charge of circularity by divorcing what we believe from the way our beliefs are embedded in the church. In short, I am suggesting that Christians in modernity have lost the ability to answer questions about the truthfulness of what we believe because we have accepted beliefs about the world that presuppose that God does not matter. The problem for Christians and non-Christians alike is the Christian inability to live in a way that enables us to articulate what difference it makes that we are or are not Christian.” -from With the Grain of the Universe


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Did you know…that the Pentateuch (first five books of the OT) ends with the people of Israel assembled on the banks of the River Jordan awaiting to enter the promised land, while the public life of Jesus begins on the banks of the Jordan? Moses’ work, passed on to Joshua, is left unfinished as the Torah is concluded. Though Israel eventually enters the land as the narrative moves forward, their identity does not depend on the actual possession of the land. What really matters is the promise that God has made to Israel. As Jean-Louis Ska points out about Israel’s identity in his Introduction to the Pentateuch, “The Promised Land, and not the possession of it, constitutes a fundamental element of Israel’s faith. In other words, according to the Pentateuch, it is possible to belong to the people of Israel without living in the Promised Land.” Jesus, who is another Joshua, or the one who will complete the work of Moses, is who will finally lead Israel into its true possession of the land, which is  consummated as Jesus announces the coming of the Kingdom. This point seems to me to be profoundly important as the Church discerns its relationship and position in the world: the Kingdom is not possessed through power or prestige, or control over a particular corner of the world, but rather through baptism and worship of the “one whom Moses spoke of.” Indeed, the Church’s identity is still defined by God’s promises. The Church is a sojourner on earth, with no place to lay her head. Like Israel on the banks of the Jordan, she waits in glorious hope to be led into the city that “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

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One month of seminary down…

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Today I found myself spending about forty-five minutes more than I typically spend on the shuttle after I accidently (and space-headedly) boarded the bus that goes to UNC Chapel hill (about a twenty minute one way bus ride) instead of the bus that goes to Duke’s East Campus (about a five minute one way bus ride). I realized that I was in for the long ride after I looked up and noticed that we had just entered the free-way and every passenger was reading- not a typical activity for a bus ride that is only five minutes. The good news is, though, that I was able to read about half of a book that I have been trying desparately to find the time to read. Lindbeck on the bus, and everything is just fine.

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     Life lately has consisted of class (for Dave), job hunting (for me), gym going, church attending, making short trips to whole foods for one item that turn into $50 spending sprees, talks about spending less, more job hunting, and making friends. Last night we went over to a friend’s house and another friend made us sushi. He had learned how to make it when he lived in Japan for a year, and it was sooo good. I’ve never been a huge sushi eater (only tried it a couple of times ) but this was really good. He used salmon in some, and tofu and crab in the others. I may even have him teach me so I can make it myself.

The job search has been going strong for the last two weeks or so. I’ve applied and sent resumes to over 20 jobs, everything from a financial aid officer at Duke, to writing elementary reading curriculum. It is very frustrating but I am learning alot about patience, faith, and how much I hate craigslist. All we need to learn now is where to find the money tree.

It is such a great feeling to be in a university town. Not only for the rich culture of knowledge and tradition, but, more importantly, for the amenities. The many conveniences that make our lives just that little bit better.


Library – We cancelled our netflix account and now use the library for all movies and tv shows we want to see. AND you get to take out as many as three at a time. Beat that blockbuster.

Food – We’ve already been to one free dinner on campus and as I write Dave is at another : ) Well, really he’s at a ‘retreat’ for the anglican house of studies, but he gets free brunch. And that’s definately something to write home about.  

Gym – Dave gets this for free and we only had to pay a small price for me to have a year-long membership. Good good.

Other perks include a good public transportation system, beautiful scenery (including Duke gardens), and seminary social gatherings… always a good time. I feel that over the next three years, the spiritual gift of accepting hospitality (which we all know is needed as much as its giving in this day and age), will be greatly nurtured within us : ) Thank you divinity school.  

Yesterday, as we were leaving  the gym, we stumbled upon a field hockey game. The duke team were playing Michigan state. It was so fun to watch and brought back many memories of the old days back in England. I recalled our old team uniform which consisted of  bright red rugby jerseys that were always three sizes to big, bright red knee highs and chunky black soccer cleats. As if that wasn’t enough, we were made to wear kneelength navy blue pleated skirts complete with matching ‘pants’ (underwear) that made you feel like you were running around the field in a diaper. Our reward for being made to wear such hideous outfits was a large wooden stick and permission to use it in any way we saw fit to get the ball down the field and into the net. The game was intense people.  During one away game, one of my team mates found herself standing too close to the opposition and got her cheek sliced open by the stick. She was  rushed off the field and whisked to hospital where she had multiple stiches and before we could say as much as  “did that really just happen?”, we were shoved back on the field with our coach yelling at us to move on and score some (insert favorite curse word here) goals.

As horrific as it sounds it was actually a very fun game and I enjoyed it very much. We played in PE and I played on the school team too because I just couldn’t get enough. It rained during about 80% of the matches, but hey, that’s England.

I turned these simple ingredients into this loaf of banana bread yesterday as we had a bunch of overly-ripe bananas sitting around.

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look closelyI’m beginning to worry about Milton, I think he’s an addict…Look Closely
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One week down…

My classes for the Fall semester:

Church History (Early/Medieval) – Warren Smith

Introduction to Old Testament Interpretation- Stephen Chapman

Introduction to Christian Spirituality- Lauren Winner

Sexuality: Bible, Church, and Controversy- Mary McClintock Fulkerson/Sam Wells

Spiritual Formation Group

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