Thursday, January 12, 2006

Progressive Christianity & Swedish Food

Yesterday started with getting J off to work very early. I woke Boot, whose alarm clock didn't go off, and then snugged in for another hour of sleep before waking Pie. My school day started with Ministry Formation and an explanation of the case studies we'll be doing this semester. I gave Laura some of the molasses cookies I baked for my min group, then headed down the hall to our meeting room.

Somehow during the session, we got on the subject of the bible. One fella was saying he doesn't see how anyone can call themself a Christian if they don't believe the whole bible. The woman who is disgusted by homosexuality said she doesn't get that & she also can't figure out how anyone can call themself a Christian if they don't believe that Christ is the only way to salvation. They were going on & I just found it ridiculous. So, I finally said, "Well, I don't believe the whole bible and I certainly don't think that all Buddhists are going to hell just because they don't believe in Christ as their savior & I call myself a Christian." They looked at me like I had 3 heads & she said, "Well, I really don't see how you can interpret 'The way is narrow' any other way." I said that just because my tiny little human brain can't comprehend how God works doesn't mean that God has to work within the confines of what I can understand or imagine. I said that I don't see how a Hindu or Buddhist or Wiccan or whatever who follows what Christ taught us to do (love one another & love God being the biggies) is going to be eternally damned just because they call God by a different name & have a different story. Who's to say that God hasn't made a narrow path for each of us to follow? Not the exact same path for could that be?...but a very specific path for each.

Our facilitator told us that it's not up to us to judge others, but simply to love. She said that in our ministry, we will meet all kinds of people and we need to learn to be open to other ways of thinking. She said that she would never presume to preach to anyone unless she knew that they wanted preaching. She said that if we are ministering to people, they don't want to be preached at, they want to be loved. By being excessively preachy, we will drive good people away from God. She said that she has a Hindu neighbor with whom she is making friends. She said she would never presume to tell her what is right & that her way is wrong. How does she know that God doesn't want her Hindu neighbor to be a faithful Hindu? I was so relieved that this woman, who is a retired Methodist minister, thinks the way that I do. I always struggle with defending my stance on inclusion. It's helpful not to be the only one thinking or talking that way.

After our session, our facilitator headed off to Chicago for a reception of the black artists' show she is in. We went to chapel & then to lunch. I ended up sitting with one of the candidates for my OT prof's job. She is smart, a Harvard grad, and nice. However, I think that my prof should get the job permanently. She is amazing & perfect for the job. After lunch, I sat in on the interview session with students. She answered the questions fairly well & seems like a decent prof, if not very confident. But, she has no pastoral background and no experience with teaching pastors-to-be. That seems like it would be a liability. Plus, she's not Laura & Laura deserves the job. I had Hebrew in the afternoon & I have to say that even though I struggle with it & even though it's so hard, I just love going to class because of my prof. He makes it all so much better than it would be with a different kind of prof.

After school, I came home to cook Swedish food for Pie's continuing odyssey around the food world. It was fairly labor-intensive, but I'm glad I did it. Pie liked the main dishes & J loved the whole meal. I liked it, too. I made Swedish meatballs (which reminded me of my grandmom & our family's Swedish heritage), creamed potatoes, and apple salad. The apple salad was really odd and also delicious. Grating apples for salad seemed so weird to me & mixing them with cream was maybe even weirder. But, it was really very good. I used Galas. I love a nice, crisp, tart apple!

While cooking was going on, J suggested that Pie put on the opera CD we got over the weekend. We listened to that & during dinner, we didn't turn it off. Boot was horrified by it & was complaining about both the music and the food. Pie said, "Brother, let me tell you something. I love it!" Boot said, "The food? Or the music???" "Well, I meant the music, but the food, too." Boot better not harangue him about liking opera. We had gingersnaps for dessert...Nabisco & they were ginger-y & actually snappy, too. I hate when they're neither. Pie went to sleep listening to arias. The others went to bed, too, and I followed as soon as I had finished my church history work.


N* said...

Hi~ Thanks for the coments on my pictures!
I am gyrl nice to meet ya!

Andi said...

I have been so glad to read that seminary is going well for you. The type of closed-mindedness that you described from your discussion session is exactly what has kept me away from organized religion for so long. I can only hope that through their experiences with you, your fellow seminarians will see the benefits of a broader approach.

That said, I miss you and look forward to trying to get together once your schedule becomes more stable.