Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why Men Shouldn't Be Ordained

     For your amusement, here’s a post I picked up from “Transforming Seminarian” that’s making it’s way though the blogosphere right now.  Enjoy!

“ I'm also quick to note that this is not my list, but something I got from a professor of mine, who didn't write it, either, but got it from the internet. He will actually be using it today, as well, as he teaches a course entitled "Women, the Bible, and the Church" here at the seminary (which my wife is Teaching Assistant for!). This list has made the rounds in a few forms over the past several years. I've taken the liberty of making a couple of small edits from the form in which I got it.Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained (think David Letterman)10. A man's place is in the army.9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be "unnatural" for them to do other forms of work.7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father's Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.”

Saturday, March 25, 2006

An Ode to ShopRite

An Ode to Shop-Rite

For those looking for those weird, utterly irrelevant details that fill out the picture of the life of a poor Drew seminary student, here you go.

I love Shop-Rite.

To explain: I have been shopping in the high warehouse ceilinged, wide aisled, beautifully antiseptic grocery store commonly called Shop and Stop, contentedly wasting my money paying $4.50/lb for chicken and hamburger and dealing with their mystery bread (the bread isn’t a mystery, but finding the prices is.)

Then I discovered Shop Rite, the low ceilinged, narrowed aisled, low priced claustrophic’s nightmare and a miser’s dream. I probably saved 20% on my groceries today. I feel like Christmas has come again.

Thank you God for bestowing upon us Shop-Rite, your special gift to poor seminary students across New Jersey!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What I'm Doing For Lent

This Lent I’ve been spending time with the mystics. Currently I’m reading St. John the Cross, a 16th century Carmelite Monk. I attempted to read him several years ago and he made absolutely no sense. I understood his yearning for union with God, but his writing about “the dark night of the soul” and his statement that “faith is a ray of pure darkness to the soul” were incomprehensible . Now a few years later and several steps farther on my faith journey, he’s making perfect sense.
With the caveat that much of his writing is hard to understand before you’ve personally experienced what he’s writing about, I thought I’d share with you one of my reflections coming out of his statement “The excessive light of faith is darkness because a bright light will suppress a dimmer light”.
Enjoy, be enlightened, or scratch your head in puzzlement as suits you best.

We expect that God will come to us like a bright beam of light, will blind us with its brilliance, and will reveal God’s self in its fullness. We expect that God will bring us greater spiritual clarity and comfort. We wait for greater consolation, more spiritual highs, more mountaintop experiences.
However, the purest Divine light brings deeper darkness. As the love of God illumines our life, all the dimmer lights of our life are extinguished or subsumed into the eternal light. Our consolations dry up. Our ecstasies are more subdued. Instead of better understanding God, we draw closer to invisible Divine Mystery that suffuses our lives and is forever beyond our most brilliant conceptions or most vivid sensual experiences.
We come to a place where the Divine Darkness dwells so purely within us that we can only detect it by the way that we are transformed. All our arrogance, egotism, and preconceptions disappear in shadow. All that remains is Divine Darkness.
Often we pray for light, for clarity, for God to show oneself and make God’s presence known. Instead, perhaps we should pray for mystery and night. Perhaps we should pray for God to work secretly and transform us in ways that we cannot detect. Perhaps instead of praying for divine Light to illumine our lives, we should pray for Divine Darkness to enshroud us in the mystery of God’s love.
Dear Lord, let me reach the Darkness and come into the cool night of the Spirit. Subsume all lights that shine within me and enshroud me with the divine light that extinguishes every other desire of my heart. Cloak me with the Divine Mystery and let me live into the night of your Love. Amen.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Derek Webb

Yes, I know this isn’t a new post with any real merit, but after yet another plane delay on the way back from the WCC a couple weeks ago (and a wonderful four hours of sleep in the Sao Paulo Holiday Inn, which was populated by hundreds of happy Brazilian Walmart execs), I’ve been incredibly busy catching up with schoolwork and utterly exhausted from the trip.
At any rate, a quick music recommendation for people who are looking for good Christian music without the trite, paper thin, theologically objectionable lyrics. Try out Derek Webb, who’s touring with Jars of Clay (my absolute favorite band) right now. This is a particularly excellent song off his latest album.

Rich Young Ruler

(vs. 1)
poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash
he says, more than just your cash and coin
i want your time, i want your voice
i want the things you just can’t give me

(vs. 2)
so what must we do
here in the west we want to follow you
we speak the language and we keep all the rules
even a few we made up
come on and follow me
but sell your house, sell your SUV
sell your stocks, sell your security
and give it to the poor
what is this, hey what’s the deal
i don’t sleep around and i don’t steal
i want the things you just can’t give me

because what you do to the least of these
my brother’s, you have done it to me
because i want the things you just can’t give me