Showing posts from December, 2007

Blogging practice

Two items today: Visiting family at Christmas and the nature of blogging

We returned yesterday from visiting my husband's family out of state, about four hours away by interstate. It went better than I expected due to the large number of people getting together and the generally bad experiences we have had in the past. My husband's family, like many, can be a cantankerous bunch, and it's exacerbated by chronic unemployment, drinking problems, failed marriages, deaths, children out of wedlock, illnesses and disabilities, and enabling. Humph. Is there a family in America that doesn't have one, several, or all of these?

The interim pastor at our church said a couple of weeks ago, "My favorite lights at Christmas are the taillights on the cars of my relatives leaving after Christmas visits." And as the old saying goes, After three days, fish and house guests . . . So we stayed exactly 72 hours (73 maybe) and three nights. And we were probably as happy to …


This is perhaps not the most profound post of Christmas, but it seems people often ask, Why was Mary picked to be the mother of Jesus? Could it be she was picked because she was engaged (betrothed) to Joseph? Maybe Joseph was the target. Considering the male-centeredness of culture at that time, it makes sense. Joseph was a descendant of David as much or maybe more than Mary. Joseph would be the one under whose protection Mary and Jesus would be. Joseph could have easily divorced Mary but didn't, because he was a "just" man, a adjective that puts him in the category of many other OT saints. Joseph was shamed, too. Joseph had to flee to Egypt and live away from home, finding work in a different country for a few years. In fact, in the Matthew narrative, Joseph is the main character.

The other night at church a woman in the choir program did a monologue about (spoken by) Mary, and in it she says, "Joseph was the only one there and delivered the baby." I…

Shame and Guilt

Shame is public; guilt is private.
Shame is subjective; guilt is objective.
Shame comes from our perception of how others perceive us; guilt comes from how we measure up against a standard.
A court pronounces one guilty; society pronounces us worthy of shame.
Adam felt shame; he was already guilty.
We can choose to feel shame and be enslaved by it; we choose to be guilty by violating a legal or moral or theoligcal standard.

The fall narrative has psychological and cultural and psychic significance, even if one doesn't believe its historicity. The reason I think it stays with us is because it is true at many levels.

Teaching Genesis

Since I have made myself a slave to the Southern Baptist Sunday Bible Study Literature, I will be teaching Genesis for the next six months. HMMMMMM. This is causing me a lot of cognitive dissonance, because I am having to walk the line between being too literal and too liberal, between getting caught in an actual six-day creation and giving the impression that we can just make the text mean anything we want it to mean. My first job is to minister to the class, the second is to stay true to the text--and those aren't as mutually exclusive as they sound. If anyone else reads this blog, this could be a good discussion.

This week we study the fall (at least following the literature means we move fast through everything). Again, there is a fine line between overinterpreting every action of Adam and Eve and God into some sort of dramatic allegory and missing the point of what's going on. And the scholars don't always help. One I read, which seemed sound otherwise, said th…