…That may be so, but it is not so here at Central. Our weather has been all over the place. Today was a rather nice day; however, it was a bit on the brisk side. Be that as it may, it was a fine day here on campus.
I was just thinking to myself a few days ago that I really ought write a post, but that there really wasn’t anything spectacular or ground breaking to post on. A variety of things pop into my head throughout the week that I think might make a good post, but by the time I get to a computer the thought is gone.
This week, however, I have been pushed to the keyboard.
This evening I experienced something that was not earth-shattering, but that doesn’t happen all that frequently. Think back to the summer I started this blogging journey, think far back to the beginning. At that time most of my postings were about an afternoon program I was running for children K-3, a program called The Caretakers’ Club.
Ah, yes! I can practically see your eyes growing large with the memory. 😉
Well this is Christian Perspectives Week here at Central and this evening we hosted the Fleer Lecture. The speaker was a wonderful woman, Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter, and it just so happens that she authored and co-authored two of the books I used for The Caretakers’ Club!
It’s just not every day that you meet the author of the curriculum you use for one of these things. Besides that, her lecture really has the potential to light a fire under the feet of the people here to become more environmentally friendly as a part of our stewardship obligations! It was a really cool experience, to say the least.
Another cool thing happened this evening! I had somewhat fallen out of contact with my dear old penpal, you may know him as DinoMan. Well this evening when I jumped on here to finally write up a post, I had a comment waiting from him! Good thing too, because I had lost his email address! He’s been on my heart a lot lately, he and DinoGirl both, and I’m really glad to be back in touch with him.
In other news, I’m doing well. Life is a little crazy and it’s not always rainbows and unicorns, but it’s pretty good. I’m working on getting my applications in to seminaries, right now I’m waiting on some financial things to line up. That all makes me a little stressed, but I’m on track to graduate, so that’s something!
I’ve got a really good group of friends that are really making the difference in my life right now. I need to work on a few of those relationships, but I’m not falling apart anymore.
That is one thing I’d really like to work on as I embark on the next stage in my life. I’d like to be more emotionally stable. Yeah, I do alright, but in the course of the past four years, I’ve been a rollercoaster! And what makes me cringe is that my highs and lows are often a result of, even if not directly, my relationship status. I would like to find more of my identity within myself and within Christ. Not to toot my own horn, but it feels like I might finally be thinking like an adult.
I certainly FEEL like an adult with the way my schedule looks. Just to keep you in the loop, I’m now taking 17 credit hours(which includes Major Readings/Senior Project), working 19 a week, am on Service Scholars, and am running ΣAI. I’m learning some real problem solving skills as well as conflict resolution techniques. It’s exhausting most of the time, but I think I’m well on my way for being prepared for Grad School. My dad actually said the other day, “Welcome to adulthood!” And yeah, he was being pretty sarcastic, but it also kind of seemed like a compliment. 🙂
*A play about five women in Calgary, Canada during WWII, also the play I’ve been cast in!
Things have just been so fantastic this week! I received information on about 4 or 5 internships this week. The one I want the most will take me to Wisconsin! Milwaukee area, specifically. There are so many fantastic things that make this internship the one I can’t stop thinking about. There are five positions open, all five interns live in a house together for the summer, they lead mission trips and Bible studies and VBS, they help in the community gardens, they work in the Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, and then there is a week trip to Rocky Mountain National Park where they commune with God and Nature and deepen their own spiritual relationships.
My description doesn’t do it justice! And there is no way to make you understand how excited this possibility makes me, how it makes my heart soar, or why. I also can’t explain why, on Tuesday at the Missions Fair, talking with the representatives of the various mission groups made me feel at home. It was the sense of, “ah, these people get it” that I feel so infrequently. Not that my friends and family don’t try, but most of them don’t have the desire, no, the need to get out into the world to spread peace and love and justice. The people I talked to on Tuesday, they got it, and I could feel it vibrating off of them as they spoke about the things they’re passionate about. That’s how I feel when I’m talking about these things too.
So there’s that. I also received my info packet from Princeton’s Seminary! Yeah, I’ll be applying. 🙂
I received an invitation to apply for membership in ODK, a collegiate honor society that focuses on leadership.
I auditioned, AND WAS CAST!!, in a play here at the university.
I understood, and enjoyed, my chemistry lab.
Lots of little things that all put together this week have made me feel like a million bucks. I feel successful and productive and lots of other good feeling things. 🙂 It’s awesome!
First, I would like to apologize for making a typing error in my last post. The confusion over the 4-sided triangle thing, yeah, I just got trigger happy. It has been corrected. My bad.
NOW! ON TO BUSINESS!
I leave for Chorale Tour in T-Minus 7 hours! Yay!!
I’m super excited! We sang our first concert of tour this evening(it doesn’t really count as tour having started, because it was just in the next town over, we car pooled, and returned to campus afterward). It was beautiful, if I do say so myself! I can’t wait to get on that bus tomorrow with my lovely friends and do nothing but SING for the next week! Yay! Yay! Yay!
This may not sound like fun to some of you, and for some it wouldn’t be, but this group includes some of my very best friends on campus and we get a little crazy and a little over-excited and it makes life very interesting! 🙂
Anyway, the point is: I will miss you, readers! Please keep thoughts of health and safe travels for my choir going this next week! I don’t want to sick! Yikes!
I would promise a blog post the moment I return, but, due to the mono issue, I will probably sleep for several days afterward. I will update sometime over Thanksgiving break, though! If it’s after, have a happy holiday everyone!
I love you, bloggers!
I’ve been in this office all week preparing for Sunday morning! I’m so excited and more than a little nervous, but that’s pretty normal for me. My sermon is just about complete, my slides are done, my order of worship is all flushed out and bulletins are ready to be printed! I’ve been very productive. 🙂
The pastor I’m interning under began talking with me today about the “pre-ministry” book I read last summer. As I was glimpsing through it beforehand something caught my eye that I hadn’t considred before. I reread those few pages about compus ministry an that avenue toward fulfilling your calling and I felt a family tug at my heartstrings. I’m nto sure what God’s telling me, but I’m going to explore that more, especially when I get back to campus in August.
Other exciting pieces of news:
Little Man and I went to a LINC sponsored event at the KC Public Library last night and had the opportunity to meet with Susan Pulgar. She is a remarkable woman, originally from Hungary, she became the first female Grand Master in chess at the age of 21.
Also, LA and I have been talking and yesterday it became official: he’s coming to visit me!!! 🙂 His plane will arrive at 330pm on Sunday, in time to enjoy some 4th of July festivities, and he’ll be staying with us until August!
And I can’t recall whether or not I share this with you, but The Nerdmate will be coming to celebrate the 4th with my family and I and staying the week as well.
This means that my two favorite guys in the whole world will be here at the same time! I’m so supremely excited! I really hope they get along. I think they will, they both love me very much, after all!
Haha! I’m just kidding. They ave other things in common as well. 🙂
Anyway, I better get back to work. I was just so excited that I couldn’t keep it from my readers any longer! 🙂
Have a good one, folks.
My dear friend, Dinoman, and I have been penpals for about a year and a half now and we’re getting to the point in our friendship where I feel comfortable asking for advice in tricky situations and talking about the more difficult topics of conversation. One such conversation cropped up a few days ago. I asked him, because I know that individuals of his specific faith background tend to disagree with me on this, how he felt about female pastors. His response was beautiful, because even though I don’t agree with everything he believes, he let me know that he loved me as a sister in Christ nonetheless and that he wouldn’t judge another person by their faith even if he disagrees.I felt relief, because I may have decided that being a full fledged pastor wasn’t my thing, but that doesn’t change how I feel about women’s ordination rights and I don’t like losing good friends due to that vantage point.
Anyway, I wanted to share what Dinoman said, because he said it better than I could have.
As for a female pastor, well…if it’s what you want to do, that’s cool. People will believe what they do and I am not going to change that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who has a strong love of God and wants to share it. Women should teach. They should have leadership roles in the church, but I’m not totally sure that “pastor” is the proper forum for that. I guess…I just feel like our gender is an essential part of our identity, in mortal life, of course, but also before and after. The Lord set things in order the way He did for a reason.
I think the idea of a Pastor in general isn’t exactly proper. All clergy is supposed to be lay clergy (Acts 20; John 10) It just allows the general membership opportunities to lead and share talents. It also prevents using a position in the church to get gain. There is no real upward mobility or aspiration to a higher calling. You simply do as the Lord asks and do it to the best of your abilities. Everybody plays a roll in teaching and stuff. We all share together, which is how I think it should be.
And priesthood is a special, sacred thing. You can’t just go out and claim to be saying what God wants without proper authority. That, obviously, doesn’t mean one shouldn’t teach about Christ and set the example to bring others to Him, etc, but yeah…It’s not a thing where you get to have it by virtue of charisma, election, or some such.
It’s just what it says in Hebrews 5:4. Has to happen via calling from God, and we can add in Timothy 4:14 and Acts 8:18 that say that the calling comes through those who have authority to speak for the Lord. It’s those who already have the priesthood from Christ–apostles and prophets, etc. Then there’s an ordination that comes from the laying on of hands, not via any other means like in Acts where Simon wants to pay or whatever (I’m kind of crossing my stories, I think, but I know it’s somewhere in Acts).
That’s how things have worked in my life. The direction comes (whether directly or through those others he’s called and delegated) through the prophet. It’s the same organization that existed in the primitive church. There was a falling away, as 2 Thessalonians said there would be, then the restoration and authority were later restored to the earth.
I’m sure that’s way more long-winded than the answer you actually wanted. I have given it a LOT of thought though. When I was younger, I took a lot of time alone to think about and study out what the truth is. I’ve always believed in Christ and so that wasn’t an issue. But I DID take time to read the Torah and the Quran and some other texts too. I’ve read the Bible in its entirety. And As I picked through it all, I kept coming back to Christ, so I dove into the Bible. I found things that said “hey, My church will be like x, y, and z.” Then I realized the church I’ve been in my whole life fits the criteria.
I read the Book of Mormon and found that it made sense. But it’s not all logical either. It’s about what my heart says and what makes me feel the Spirit of the Lord in my life. This is it. Others may agree or disagree, but I know what I know and I cannot deny it. Nor will I.
I respect the right of others to believe as they do. I’m all for understanding each other and accepting differences. I would fight to the death (well, okay, that might be a little over-dramatic, but I’d definitely stand up and fight at least some) for anybody’s religious freedom, no matter what religion. All have bits of truth and great people. If it inspires and encourages somebody to do good, I support it overall. But…that doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with or believe in all of the practices of my friends of other faiths.
This afternoon I presented a paper on why having knowledge on the historical context of the New Testament is important and beneficial. I thought you, my readers, my interested in reading this paper A) because I’ve worked quite hard on it and B) because this is the kind of thing I’m working on here at school and I thought you might be interested.
The Importance of Historical Context
Most people who are familiar with the New Testament know it only on theological grounds. They do not typically know when it was written, who it was written for, or the context within which is was written. They may see these as unimportant insights or they may simply not have had the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the New Testament in these areas. Readers may abstain from the opportunity to understand the historical context for fear of faith crisis. However, knowing the historical context surrounding the New Testament is important, because it better allows the reader to understand the message that the New Testament authors were trying to convey to the audience of the time.
Religion played a big part in the lives of the people of the Greco-Roman world and, therefore, had a considerable impact on how they received and reacted to the stories about Jesus. The religions of the Roman Empire were vastly different than the religions most of us are familiar with in modern times. There was not much in the way of religious organization(Ehrman 18). They didn’t have set doctrines that were universally followed( Ehrman 18). Worship was based on the here and now, not on any sense of an afterlife(Ehrman 18). Individuals were not expected to wholly devote themselves to a single deity, and while ethics played a part in a person’s life, it was not because of a deep seated sense of obligation due to religion(Ehrman 18).
When the idea of monotheism began to develop within Judaism and early Christianity, it set those people apart. Inhabitants of the Greco-Roman world believed that not only were there multiple gods to be worshiped, but that daimonia and demigods existed and that all of these beings were to be appeased(Ehrman 28). As Ehrman says, “Jews, too, believed that there were immortal beings, far greater in power than humans, who existed somewhere between them and the true God… The difference was that Jews as a rule insisted that only the one Creator God… was to be worshiped.” People were apt to believe in and listen to the stories of Jesus’ miracles, because holy men and divine beings were prevalent in the Greco-Roman world(Ehrman 16). Just as other religions of the time believed that divine beings interacted with humans and sometimes appeared in human form, we find accounts within traditional Jewish teachings and outside the Hebrew Scriptures of men who seemed to have a special relationship with God(Ehrman 42).
Two such men were Hanina ben Dosa and Honi the “circle-drawer,” we know of both of these “sons of God” from the writings of Jewish rabbis(Ehrman 42). Ehrman says Honi “was given his nickname because of a tradition that he prayed to God for much-needed rain, and he drew a circle around himself on the ground, declaring that he would not leave it until God granted his request” (42). Like Jesus, Honi became a martyr of the faith outside of the city of Jerusalem around Passover (Ehrman 42). Hanina ben Dosa arrived on the scene sometime in the middle of the first century C.E. and was famous for his ability to perform miracles, healings, and exorcisms; like Honi, Hanina had the power to call on God for rain(Ehrman 42). In a similar fashion to what we hear in the story of Jesus’ baptism, Hanina was “reputedly called the Son of God by a voice coming from the heavens” (Ehrman 42). Each of these men are different in some ways than what we are taught about Jesus; they, for example, prayed for God to intervene, where Jesus performed miracles of his own power(Ehrman 42).
In today’s world, we see “son of God” and think Jesus, the one and only Son of God. It is important to know that that’s not how he was seen at the time of his ministry. He was one of many. Regardless of how similar or dissimilar Hanina and Honi were to Jesus, they were all three known as sons of God. People understood this to be a title given to someone who seemed to have been “chosen to stand in a special relationship with the God of Israel” (Ehrman 359).
Without this knowledge of the world that Christianity was born into, readers may have a difficult time understanding why texts were written and developed in a certain manner. For instance, each of the Gospel books tell the story of Jesus’ life in a different way. Most often we do not find complete agreement between the four books(Ehrman 51). This may be explained away by the fact that the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life were written roughly 35-65 years after his death(Ehrman 46) In the mean time, tales and teachings of this Son of God were being circulated via word of mouth, in most cases this was probably done in intimate small-group settings(Ehrman 47). Ehrman says, “They were told in different contexts, for different reasons, at different times” (48).
While knowing historical context is important, it can also cause problems for believers today. Because religion in the Greco-Roman world was viewed primarily as a way to find favor in the eyes of the gods, testifying to miraculous results due to faith in Jesus may have made converting pagans somewhat easier than what we think of today(47). Because these converts were made by telling stories of Jesus’ life via word of mouth, and because the interval between his death and our first written accounts of his life is so large, there is the possibility that the stories of Jesus we study today as the examples for our lives as Christians may be hyperbole or they may simply have changed due to a lack of first-hand experience with Jesus(Ehrman 48). Thus, when an individual is introduced to the historical context of the New Testament, his faith may be put to the test, because there is no way to know that the stories we have are accurate(Ehrman 49). In fact, they probably are not(Ehrman 53).
When faced with the idea that Jesus was not the only Jewish rabbi known as a son of God, we also must face the fact that this sheds further light onto the gospels. Jesus was not the only man that could perform miracles, he wasn’t even the only holy man known as a son of God. The writers of the gospels, therefore, may have made redactionary changes in order to show that Jesus was special even above and beyond these other sons of God.
For all we know, Jesus may have been just an ordinary man. We must, however, take into consideration the fact that as the stories changed, they retained the spirit, if not the facts, of the originals. As Ehrman puts it, “They were meant to convince people that Jesus was the miracle-working Son of God whose death brought salvation to the world and to edify and instruct those who already believed” (54). Simply put, sometimes it was necessary and acceptable to change a fact here and there to better portray the theological truth within the story(Ehrman 54).
This issue and others like it are bound to arise when looking into the historical aspects of a religious text, but the discrepancies and possibility of faith crisis do not nullify the importance of understanding the world within which an article of faith was written. After all, what kind of faith would it be, if it were without a working understanding of the very foundations of that faith? Often times knowing and understanding the historical context of these works can deepen our belief in them, because we better know and understand the way they were meant to be perceived.
*The name of this really awesome book that The Nerdmate is making me read. 🙂
Have I mentioned how great it is to be dating a guy that is as ridiculously nerdy in a gamer/book lover way as I am? Well it’s freaking fantastic! Tonight, for instance, I’m going over to The Nerdmate’s fraternity father’s room and we’re writing up character sheets for the D&D campaign that we want to start soon. I’m going to be playing a gnome monk, if you want to know. Also, as the disclaimer about the title indicates, we have a lot in common in the literature field as well. The Name Of The Wind is one of his favorite books, he’s read it four times and plans to read it once more before the new one comes out next month. Not only is the story line wonderful, but the language of the book is supremely crafted. AND WE TALK ABOUT IT! I’ve never talked with a guy about a book. L.A. or FellowNerd might be the exceptions to this.
Yeah, we definitely spent the majority of the evening talking about D&D. We even gotten into a debate over the merits and demerits of the various editions. Not one, but BOTH of my parents were chiming in via text message. They are disappointed in me for playing 4e, but that’s what the guys are playing. I’m just being a good sport.
In other news,
I had a REALLY fantastic voice lesson today! We only worked on two of my songs, but those two songs are going to be beastly! Both are really beautiful and are in my middle range where I can really take advantage of my voice. Prof. A. seems really excited and for once, so am I. I feel more confident in my voice than I have in quite some time. It’s a great feeling.
My Dot, The Nerdmate and I’s fraternity daughter, has been working really hard at learning her info for the Member In Training National Test in March. She’s been having a little difficult keeping up with her info and keeping up with her schoolwork, but I have complete confidence in her ability to do fabulously. The real stress factor is that to be accepted into the Nursing Program, there are certain classes she has to pass in the first try with a C or better; she got a C on her first test in Physiology. She has plenty of time to correct the situation, but it’s really got her on edge. We’re going to work this weekend on her info and make sure we leave time for her to do other homework.
I think that’s all the exciting things happening in life right now. I’ve been really happy lately and life is treating me nicely. The Nerdmate is definitely a contributing factor, but I feel like I gush about him a lot, so I’m just going to end the post on this note: Valentine’s Day is Monday and this will be the first year that I have a Valentine. 🙂