Thursday, February 09, 2006

Unwelcome News

I spent the entire morning Monday translating a Genesis passage from Hebrew. This is definitely not my forte. Then, I went to Hebrew class with my head pounding and my anxiety ramped up by the knowledge that next week is our final and I am not ready! In class, I heard the horrible news that one of my very favorite professors, one of the best I've ever had in all my years of schooling, was not chosen for the tenure-track position she had been filling in on over the last few years as an annual contract employee. Laura is so dedicated and so talented and just such a wonderful person. I went to the student interview of the candidate who was chosen. She is obviously well-educated & seems to be a nice person, if a bit timid, as well. However, she is not Laura. Also, she has no background in teaching seminary students or working in a leadership role in the church.

The student body is very upset that a beloved professor has been booted out of her position, no matter if it was strictly a matter of following hiring rules or not. Frankly, I think most students assumed that Laura was a shoo-in for the position. I, myself, did not realize that the stakes were as high as they turned out to be, but I had a fear that she would not get the tenure-track position as soon as I realized that there was an Ivy-league educated African-American woman interviewing for the position. My mistake was in thinking that even if she did not get the tenure-track position that there would still be a job for her at the school. Apparently, that was a very naive thing for me to think. This whole situation has soured me a smidge on the school & has decided me for certain that I will not be pursuing any kind of academic career. While the administration is vehemently denying it, I have the ugly feeling that a lot of the decision had to do with the fact that the school is currently under a great deal of pressure to add African-American faculty. While I think that's imperative, this is not the way it should have happened. I am also fairly certain that the other candidate's Ivy League degree blew Laura's degree from my seminary out of the water. So, it all seems to come down to how each of them look on paper and by demograph. I am feeling pretty bitter about it all. I feel badly, too, for the new professor, who will most likely be facing some hostility even though it's not at all her fault that she got the job. That will be tough on her.

I spent Monday night reading more for Reformed Theology, going back over the book we would discuss Tuesday. The discussion was interesting. I really like the group I am studying this with, two of whom are also struggling through Hebrew with me. Laura (a different one) gave me a stack of articles on queer theology to consider for my paper. She gave me a little informational talk on how gay people are reclaiming the word "queer" & that most of the theologians use that term. The funny thing is that she acted like I would think the whole concept is really weird...the reclaiming, I mean. However, I have been aware of it for years...just didn't imagine theologians would be using it as a primary adjective. I have no problem with the reclaiming of terms like that & happily refer to myself as a dyke, so it was funny for my straight friend to be giving me a history of why they might use that term.

I came home from that meeting and immediately began work on a case study and reflection paper. We had dinner at Los Mariachis & went swimming at the Y. I am so conflicted on giving them money when they won't recognize us as a family. I would rather go to a nicer, less expensive facility that doesn't discriminate, but J can't abide the idea of being in the car long enough to get there. Sigh. Swimming was fun. Boot chose to play basketball and walk on the track instead, but we had fun splashing around with Pie. I paid for the fun by having to stay up until 2 doing Hebrew, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, I presented my case study in ministry formation. That went well. The dean made the announcement about Laura's job at lunch. I couldn't help crying. I cried all through Hebrew on Monday, too. They are really pushing for us to just accept this & not be angry or bitter, but I'm not there yet. I just pray that Laura gets a wonderful, perfect new job...maybe even in this area. That's probably too much to ask for. She had referred to this job as her dream job. How devastating this must be. It was done by a faculty vote, too, which has to hurt.

After lunch, one of my friends, who is a PT & had noticed me limping from plantar fascitis (spelling is probably way off), worked on my feet, showing me what J needs to do to help me get my arches back and get rid of the pain. Then, it was on to more Hebrew.

Last night, Boot was out cold when we got ready to go to dinner, so we just took Pie. He had requested dinner at Ban Thai. Boot hates the restaurant anyway, so we took him some Burger King. Pie had seafood salad & was ecstatic with it. He also really adored talking to the staff and owners there. The whole way home, he rhapsodized about how much he loves Ban Thai. He said it's his favorite restaurant & that it's even more fun than Dave & Buster's, a giant arcade & restaurant the kids love. I'm sure his brother would disagree, but I'm glad Pie loves it so much. How many 11 year old boys would choose a Thai place over a giant arcade???

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