Finding a Voice

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Off to see the wizard ...

On Monday a friend/colleague & I attended a conference at the University of Saskatchewan: Women in Leadership & Learning. Truthfully, a big reason why I went was curiosity. Except for a 1 month certificate at Vancouver Community College, all of my education so far has been "Christian" (BA, 1.8 Master's degrees). So, I felt a bit intimidated by the "secular" university. Well, this conference was interesting and refreshing. It was also eye-opening: universities are not well-oiled machines, they can be bureaucratic, competitive, sometimes confusing. If we think we have red tape at Briercrest, we don't hold a candle to the university! I heard once that UNI-versity is a misnomer and many institutions of higher learning should be called MULTI-versities.

So, I came back feeling like I had met the Wizard of Oz, only to discover that he wasn't really a wizard at all, just a man with some impressive technology.

I'm off to see the wizard at the University of Toronto this week on Wednesday: I'll meet with two profs at OISE/UT (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the U of T) about potential Ph.D. studies in history of women in education. Who knows, I may end up doing the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. at the U of Saskatchewan or go through the Canadian Plains Research Centre at the U of Regina, but I'll explore my options. OISE has has appealing courses and interesting, active profs. The correspondence I've had with one so far has been encouraging and refreshing.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 7:17 AM 1 comments

Friday, May 20, 2005

God's new territory

I saw myself as a bottle of fine wine, being poured out on the pavement of the road called "Possibility." Jesus himself was pouring me out, then he knelt down and scrubbed that pavement with a brush from the Fuller Brush Company.

Later I saw that on the place Jesus had cleaned he had built a house, much like a castle. I was a doorkeeper, standing on the front steps, welcoming people. Inside were many workers--maids, butlers, carpenters, host/esses, etc. Whenever new people arrived everyone would look up, smile and say, "We're so glad you're here!" Then most people would go back to their work, while 1 or 2 would show the newcomers to their room, give them a tour, then help them get settled. I saw that there were gardeners working outside the castle--they were undercover guards.

This vision came after asking the questions from the April 13th, 2005 post in Brad Jersak's blog.

In reflecting on this vision, I was drawn to Psalm 84 ("How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. ... I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord ...), Ephesians 2:22 ("In him [Christ] you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."), and I Peter 2:5 ("you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."). I have also been struck by hiddenness, renewal and transformation in Christ (Colossians 3). All of this is combining for a greater sense of clarity about calling. Amazing, really. It changes the feel of everything ...
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 6:23 PM 1 comments

a new name

"Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me."
Apparently that's not true. How powerful can a name be?

Revelation 2:17 (ESV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.'

Isaiah 62 (NIV)

Zion's New Name

1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.

2 The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.

3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah, [a]
and your land Beulah [b] ;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.

5 As a young man marries a maiden,
so will your sons [c] marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.

6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourselves no rest,
7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.

8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
"Never again will I give your grain
as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
for which you have toiled;

9 but those who harvest it will eat it
and praise the LORD,
and those who gather the grapes will drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary."

10 Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.

11 The LORD has made proclamation
to the ends of the earth:
"Say to the Daughter of Zion,
'See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.' "

12 They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the LORD;
and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 6:15 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

to be known by one's own name

Last week naming was a theme for me. On Wednesday someone was looking at the diplomas in my office and commented, "I didn't know your middle name is Faye." "Yes," I said, "Faye with an E," to which he responded, "Like Anne of Green Gables." How delightful that he made that connection!

On Friday I spent most of the day with my friend Judith who used to go by Judy but has reclaimed her full given name. She told me a story of a woman named Connie who had a lot of back trouble. While praying for Connie's back, Judith got a strong impression that the back trouble was related to Connie's name, so she asked, "What's your real name?" Connie explained that her real name was Colleen, but as a child she had an Aunt Colleen who stayed with the family and two Colleens was too confusing, so her mom changed her name to Connie. After that prayer session with Judith, Connie went back to her original name, Colleen, and was freed from the back problems. Additionally, the organization she works with, Women's Aglow International, later expanded its mission from women only to include men and changed its name simply to Aglow International!

I told this story to Michelle who had just finished taking a course on Theology of God and Creation in which they discussed the importance of naming.

My name is Colleen Faye which literally means "girl" and "fairy or elf." Carol commented that it fits me: feminine, creative, whimsical, romantic.

Kevin and Melanie will welcome their 4th child any day now. Each of their first 3 girls has lived into the meaning of her name, almost uncannilly sometimes.

Then today I was doing some research on oral history and found this jewel of an excerpt:

Gram loved to tell the story of old Mrs. Burden, who lived on the same James Island where black people in a thousand ways were inculcated with the unjust etiquette I described. No doubt in many of those ways Mrs. Burden was inculcated, too. But as a military widow, she was collecting a pension, which meant that she had to collect her check from the downtown white powers-that-be. When Gram began to teach her pupils’ parents and grandparents, Mrs. Burden made it her business, old as she was, to learn to sign her name. People asked her why she bothered and asked Gram why she bothered with a pupil so old. But Mrs. Burden kept on coming and brought the teacher, Gram said, "more eggs than the law allows." She was determined to be able to walk into that office of downtown white folks one day and sign for her pension properly. Mrs. Burden was after a schoolbook lesson; she was after a non-schoolbook lesson. She was determined to stop having to put herself down as "X." Gram said, "The day Mrs. Burden could go into that office and write ‘Mrs. Samuel Burden,’ she almost didn't need her walking stick." In fights as small-scale and personal as this one—the fight to be known by one’s own name—the guerrilla war went on in the worst of times, blasting away bit by bit the invisible mountains of the Jim Crow South.

From "What one cannont remember mistakenly," by Karen E. Fields in Memory and History: Essays on Recalling and Interpreting Experience.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 11:14 PM 1 comments