Things are good in matte-land. Dean is back from a little trip to Florida, I am in the midst of writing two papers (Augustine and the Shunammite woman), it is a beautiful sunny day outside, and my right knee will not have to be amputated (I accidentally ran and I mean RAN into the solid wood banister yesterday and for a moment thought my life as a walking woman was in jeopardy, but thankfully, one mother of a bruise is all I walked away with).
Anyway, here are some thoughts and quotes from the last week or two. A lot is going on in and through my brain, and I don't always have the time to jot it down here, but I did write a few notes to friends in the past weeks and here are some glimpses from them.
from an email I wrote to a friend...
"After each class I usually come home and spill everything out to Dean and whoever else is around, so everyone is getting a lot out of my education. I told someone in home group the other day that the Bible is not God. And they said they would have to disagree with me. I understand that. But really, the more I see the humanness in the biblical texts, the bigger I see the glory of God in its revelation. It is warmer and earthier than we have allowed it to be, and one can almost feel the breath of the spirit coming from the words when you see some of the context in which it was written and passed on. Humanity is nothing to be afraid of - God was not ashamed to be human and has no problem with human words and inconsistencies in stories and misunderstandings and errors in copying. In fact, each version of the story brings another aspect of his character to the forefront. The beauty and power is HIDDEN in the very weaknesses we try to hide sometimes. NOTHING can diminish his love and holiness, not even the feeble language of man and our imperfect ways of communicating it. I will not tie God up with my presuppositions, please no."
from a weekly email to my church friends...
"I am in the midst of writing 2 papers and preparing an oral presentation for my university classes and frankly, am finding it a bit overwhelming. I would love to wake up and have the outlines waiting for me at the foot of the bed and the readings already annotated and highlighted to show me the important and relevant bits. It would be so much easier to have it all laid out for me, the expected tasks itemized for each assignment in a detailed schedule so that I could easily tell if I was on track and just tick them off as I went along. There would be no long hours spent searching out materials, grappling with the texts and pondering the meaning of the authors, and then wondering what the heck I am doing and how can I ever get my head around all this information in a meaningful way in order to be able to present it clearly.
And in the midst of this worry, this lack of confidence in God and in myself…I am reminded that He is giving me everything I need for the moment, and for each day. Friends offer helpful hints that help me to streamline the process. One professor sends me notes on how to write a good paper. I awoke this morning with a clear sense of what to tackle next. And this is how we learn, this is how we mature: we grapple, we struggle, we try things that we have never done before and don’t know how to do (yet). We ask difficult questions and dig and search until we find some solution. We engage our minds and our spirits and our souls with the people and the situations before us and we do not let go until we have some sense of resolution. None of us wakes up with a simple set of instructions before us every morning. Frustrating as that may be on some days, it is for our ultimate maturity and growth. And it is the only way to learn, to arrive at those “a-ha” moments in your life, and to become more fully acquainted with Wisdom and Truth."
I attended an informal get to know your professors event last night. Two things that were said in the discussion have been rolling around in my soul and sticking in my mind. One of the professors was asked if she ever doubted God. She replied that she did have doubt, but it was not really doubting God; in fact, she was not looking for certainty. Instead, she said, she sometimes found herself wondering if she had the courage to live over the abyss, of embracing faith and risk and living in the face of death and seeing it somehow become life.
The second comment that was made by someone in the back row is that we do not allow the transcendent to be truly transcendent. *moment to think about it* Hmmm. Yes, it is true. We would much rather bring God down to our level, feeling the need to understand and formalise and humanise and compartmentalise him. But as soon as we engage in that process, we have rendered him as less than God in our lives. He ceases to transcend us.
Just some thoughts on a Friday.
This is a picture of the neighbour's motorcycle that Dean is trying hard not to covet.