Finding a Voice
Monday, February 27, 2006
the discipline of listening
"I also want to spend some time helping tell the stories of what is happening in the Kingdom of God (or as Brian McLaren says, the "Enterprise of God") in Canada and around the world. While I am bored with the rants, I still find passion and hope in the stories that get told of what is happening. I would love to have those stories of hope define the conversation about the Gospel and culture. My contribution will be to link to those stories and hopefully tell some of my own."
I've been thinking a lot about stories lately, realizing that the words I penned in 1998 and recorded in 2001 are at the core of my vocation:
I am a poetess
Between the silences
I hear stories and find the words to speak.
I went to bed last night with grand intentions of getting up early-ish this morning, doing Pilates, drinking tea, and sitting in silence, "listening" with pen in hand to "stories" rising up from that silence. I did the Pilates, I made the tea, but I read a Town & Country magazine (which did inspire somewhat), browsed the internet, and played a couple games of online Scrabble. I thought about writing ...
Sure, blogging is a form of writing and I am doing it now, but it's kind of cheating. This is not really the sort of writing that requires "listening." Confession: I'm a bit intimidated by the possibilities, not quite certain that I want to find out where such listening and writing will lead. In a class at Regent called "The Christian Imagination," I did a dance assignment in which I explored what it means to hear the word of God, mediating on 4 images: (1) the boy Samuel hearing his first word from God--a prophecy that the house of Eli would die by the sword, (2) Mary the mother of Jesus hearing Simeon say that a sword would pierce her soul, (3) Paul's writing to Timothy that the word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword, (4) Psalm 1.
Am I afraid? Am I afraid to settle down and listen to the word/voice of God? I'm not talking about reading little devotional excerpts.
It's easier to sit around in pyjamas until noon, perhaps like Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz. Confession: I'm not just fearful, I'm undisciplined, lazy.
What does it take to repent of that? Not just feel sorry, but really repent as in change? The Nike slogan comes to mind ...
Monday, February 20, 2006
Study/Research as spiritual discipline
(My friend Michelle wrote this to put on the Briercrest website. It hasn't gotten there ... yet, but it's a good word for this day, this week, this month, this year ...)
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Living on the Boundaries, excerpts from chapter 1
Excerpts that resonated with me:
The simple question Where are the good women? condenses a host of complex issues and conflicting assumptions. ... The question suggests additional questions about the context of women’s formation. How do evangelical institutions shape women for the academy? What are the practices, commitments and expectations of the families, churches, schools and communities that form them? Where are the tensions? Insights from women presently teaching in evangelical schools as well as from women who have left evangelicalism provide a window into the complex experience of personal, intellectual and theological formation. (10)
We are writing for colleagues and administrators who believe that a school is stronger when it has both women and men involved in training the next generation of leaders and who are concerned about the well-being of female evangelical academics. We are writing for female students considering a call to doctoral studies and to work in the theological academy. We are writing for female academics who are serving faithfully in evangelical institutions and for those academic women who identify themselves as evangelicals but are working in nonevangelical environments. We are writing for male and female pastors who are concerned about nurturing the call of intellectually gifted women and men to theological engagement.
Our purpose is both descriptive and educative. We are describing a mostly unmapped territory: the boundary land where evangelical women, feminism and the theological academy intersect. Because the terrain is also the substance of our lives, it is quite personal, and we have chosen to use a modified narrative approach. The description, stories and insights from a variety of women serve a powerfully educative function because they bring to light some of the distinctive characteristics, challenges and graces of life on the boundary. (12)
… while for many people it is nearly impossible to imagine an intersection between evangelicalism and feminism that has integrity, we are convinced that this intersection is precisely what needs to be explored. Nevertheless, it is a topic that makes many people on all sides nervous, and naming and addressing some of the issues, assumptions and experiences can invite some very intense responses. It can occasionally feel like an interpersonal and institutional minefield. (13)
During the l970s, L’Abri was a remarkable movement of the Holy Spirit, a place where shared meals, worship, appreciation for art and the asking of questions went hand in hand. Although some people have experienced evangelicalism as closed doors and minds, we experienced it as a lively and intense interaction with culture and a deep compassion for those who did not believe. L’Abri workers interacted with the “cultured despisers” of religion and thought that hard questions were exciting. (14)
A second experience at the intersection of deep evangelical worship, thoughtful intellectual engagement and warm fellowship was also formative for both of us. On most Sunday evenings during our seminary years, a group of about thirty students met at the home of a New Testament professor for prayer, praise and biblical discussion. In the home of Gordon and Maudine Fee, we experienced welcome and an extraordinary blending of scholarship, love for God and passion for teaching. In that environment, the prospect of combining Christian faith and academic work became not only interesting, but also absolutely compelling. While we never formed a tight community, we found a place where gender and background were relatively insignificant. A most potent form of mentoring for us turned out to be a kind of hospitality that drew us in because of the host’s love for his subject area. 3 In retrospect, we realized that a number of the women at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary who went on for Ph.D.s shared in this same experience; in fact, many of the men who went on to further studies also participated in the fellowship at the Fee’s home. In both L’Abri and the home fellowship at Gordon-Conwell, what drew us to go further in our studies was not individual mentoring or even personal encouragement toward additional education. At L’Abri, women were neither encouraged toward nor discouraged from advanced theological study, and in many cases the male female roles were somewhat gender stereotypical. But in both settings, the academic component was richly theological and deeply personal. Two communities that identify themselves primarily as evangelical provided us with a place where Scripture and life, culture and theology, prayer and critical reflection came together in a vibrant way. As a result, we have found it impossible to abandon these connections and commitments. (15)
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Living on the Boundaries
Living on the Boundaries: Evangelical Women, Feminism and the Theological Academy, by Nicola Hoggard Creegan and Christine D. Pohl. The preface & 1st chapter are available at the IVP Press website.
A couple of years ago at Urbana I was going through a crisis, wondering if it was worth it for women to be in the academy, wondering if it was worth it for ME to stay in the academy and in what capacity. I cried a lot. And I met Christine Pohl. I attended her lecture on hospitality, mostly because Doug Reichel was so excited about her. Later I met with Christine at the Asbury booth and talked with her about women in the academy and about the above book, which was in process. She offered to send me the manuscript. I never did get the MSS for the book, but when I contacted her by email she remembered me and sent the transcript for a paper on this topic that she and Nicola presented at the AAR (American Academy of Religion). I was so heartened by the collegiality and encouragement she gave to me, how she hosted me right there at the Asbury booth.
I am working on a thesis (oral histories of women from the early days of Briercrest) and am contemplating a Ph.D. Several friends are also in or embarking on academic careers: e.g., Dale, Shawna, Melanie. This book is particularly timely for us. In fact, it is so timely that I emailed an excerpt to Shawna:
"Our friendship, formed in our first years of formal theological study, has now spanned two decades. In that time we have encouraged one another through the traumas and joys of graduate school, comprehensive exams and dissertation writing, as well as through the challenges of marriage, childrearing and singleness, job searches and job changes, interactions with colleagues, administrators, the guild and church leadership. We have upheld each other through disappointments and significant achievements, wondered together about classroom experiences and family responsibilities. And we have enjoyed decades-long conversations about theology, ethics, feminism, the church, evangelical faith and our experiences as women." (p. 16)
Though we are younger than Christine and Nicola, the friendship between Shawna and I has spanned nearly two decades already, beginning with our theological education at Briercrest in the 80s. Though infrequent, usually brief, and sometimes unexpected, our times together are always rich and galvanizing for pursuing the call that God has placed upon our lives and using the gifts we have been given for His kingdom.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Dr. Henry Hildebrand goes home ...
Yesterday (February 7, 2006) Dr. Henry Hildebrand, first principal of Briercrest Family of Schools, passed away in Abbotsford, BC.
Born in 1911, Henry Hildebrand migrated from Russia to Canada with his family in 1925. In 1935 he accepted an invitation to come to the small town of Briercrest, Saskatchewan, to lead the newly formed Briercrest Bible Institute. Dr. Hildebrand served as principal and president of the schools until 1977. On October 24, 1979, he was given membership in the Order of Canada for his leadership in Christian education and his impact upon Canadian youth and society.
Dr. Hildebrand cared for our faculty, staff, community, and students. He was known for knowing us. Over the years, many of us were amazed as he would ask about each of our children or our spouse by name. He could do this because he prayed through the Caronport phone directory daily. Dr. Hildebrand was a man for God’s people.
Dr. Hildebrand had a passion to honour and share God’s Word; hence the motto of our institution: The Word of Our God Shall Stand Forever. Long after Dr. Hildebrand has been gone, long after we are gone, others will continue the work he was instrumental in initiating, the work of spreading the Word of God through Briercrest.
Dr. Hildebrand was committed to Briercrest. He offered up his life to see a dream break into reality. He laboured diligently to extend the vision of these schools far and wide. As his passing reminds us, now that vision is ours to extend.
Dr. Hildebrand was also a man who modelled the life of Christ in his private life as well as his public life. He was a man of seemingly unbroken consistency. To this his children will testify. Now through his death, he has joined precious family members, including his beloved wife, Inger.
A model of faithfulness has been set before us, a pattern for our steps. Let us honour Dr. Hildebrand’s memory by following Christ as he did.
A funeral service will be held in Caronport sometime next week. Students will be requested to form an honour guard from the Hildebrand Chapel to the cemetery.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Nope -- it's not markers as in signposts or milestones ...
It's Crayola's new skintone line! Check it out at Crayola Canada!
"... eight different skin hues to represent people from around the world. The broad line markers have a unique conical tip that is good for both colouring and detailing. They’re perfect for school projects."
It was about time, wasn't it? :-)
And while you're visiting the site, make yourself a Valentine!
Saturday, February 04, 2006
a prophesied prime minister?
And God is saying, "do I find a generation with faith that is saying, 'Let's go in and take this Promised Land.'" I believe you have come to Hebron, but it's time to go to Jerusalem. And you can see this Jerusalem in two ways. One, is that there is a physical Jerusalem, which is a governmental seat, and then you can see where Daniel 7 comes into play, that when you get the government, and the Spirit- filled prime Minister, that I have prophesied. When that happens in this nation you will have your Jerusalem. Amen? God wants to do that for you, but you're going to have to fight for it, because there are mean spirits in this land that want to stop you in Hebron. Amen? Are you getting this? So in this land it is much harder now than it would have been before. Because there's a spirit of Diversity and all these things have come in. And you know the Holy Spirit's been saying its about your mind. Isn't it? The pluralistic thinking has to go.
Oh, this a word for Canada, the Lord says, Canada, Canada do not be discouraged for I am hearing the prayers of the Canadians, I am seeing how you are crying out and you are watching over the nation, and the Lord wants to say to you. I am going to bring a great revival to Canada. There is a spiritual victory that is coming. I am even going to begin to move and shake. I am shaking and moving different people in government in and out. And the Lord says to you, even those in government I declare over you if you do not bow your knee to the Lord Jesus Christ I am going to begin to remove from office, watch the next 4 years, the next 6 years, I am going to begin to shift, I am going to begin to change.
As I have noted before, I'm a bit skeptical about politics and faith, especially given the American track record.
However, I have also written that I believe the biblical witness that God can turn leaders to himself.
So, we must pray for Steven Harper, especially that he is indeed Spirit-filled.
We must pray for Belinda Stronach, who was not removed from power in this election.
We must pray for all leaders and authorities.
We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem ... and Canada.