Thursday, September 11, 2008

back in the east

It's been a busy month, with my and my husband's birthdays, our 7th anniversary, saying goodbye and packing up, driving all the way across the country, and a few fun things thrown in like a couple days at a beach cabin with some friends, and also speaking engagements and/or fund raisers for Christian Peacemaker Teams at 4 Friends meetings in Oregon.

So here I am back on the east coast! Today I started my semester, although the seminary courses don't start until Monday. I'm taking German at the university (because it's not offered at the seminary), so I had to wander around the university looking like a way-too-old freshman, sneaking into the building where my classroom is by getting someone to hold the door for me, and blundering around until I found the place where they sell the $140 German book. (This included a trip to the U-Store, where they do not sell books, going into the elevator to try to get to the upstairs floors where there used to be books, and closing and opening the doors several times while the elevator would not go to any other floor. This was right next to the check-out line so I assume I amused some people waiting to purchase their university logo T-shirts and notebooks!)

Other than German, I'm taking a class called Religion & Society (to see if I want to take a PhD in that subject here), and I'm writing a thesis on Romans 12:17-13:7. These two passages are quite intriguing to me, because Romans 12:17-21 seems to me like about the most pacifistic passage in the Bible, while Romans 13:1-7 is the passage Christians point to in order to justify their belief in following their government's commandments no matter what. But these passages are back to back! How is that possible, and what was Paul trying to do here? These are the questions that will form the basis for my thesis project.

I'm also trying to figure out (with my family) what we're going to do after I graduate in May. Do I go on for a PhD and live away from the rest of our family and friends for another 4 years (+), or do I call it good with a master's degree and find a job in a congregation or doing some sort of social justice work? I don't know. I'm applying to PhD programs this fall probably, and paying attention to job opportunities that I hear about to see what I/we feel drawn to.

Well, for now I'll say, "Auf Wiedersehen!" because that's about all the German I know so far.


brooke said...

ohh! i'll be interested to read what you say on those passages Cherice. Romans 12:1-21 was the topic of bible study on Tuesday. I aruged with Pastor P. about the conditional that I see in 12:18:
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

on the one hand i see the pacifism in the scripture, but on the other, the conditional, taken literally, to me says clearly that it's not always possible to live peaceably with all. we looked at the NRSV, the New Jerusalem and the Message and there was a conditional in each one - though Pastor P. disagrees with me. (of course you know i fall on the side of the pacifism and i really wish it were worded differently)

it's too bad we're moving back to exodus next week as i'd love to see what the folks in bible study have to say about 13. (we have a very lively bible study each week, grappling with the same kinds of big issues it sounds like you are going to tackle in your thesis).

good luck in trying to figure out what next - i'm pondering the same thing these days.

i need to send you a package, i've not forgotten. just a lot on my plate right now - i'm doing 3 CPT presentations next week! and a couple of others for work, plus comprehensives ever looming.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting, Cherice. You will have a great time writing your thesis. My comments, though, are more for Brooke. I think we should take the scripture at face value: I am a pacifist, and Jesus said we all should be. We can't control another's actions against us, but as far as it depends on us, live peaceably. It makes no difference how much someone else pounds us, our response is to meet fire with love. As far as it depends on us, that it, our half of the equation, is Christlike.

Gr. Ralph