Thursday, June 25, 2009

intro to my summer project

In my last post I said I was going to start a summer reading project, comparing Barclay's Apology with two other theological works. Since I have accountability, I'd better do it, right? So my plan is to post at least once a week on various theological doctrines, either explaining how all three books express these doctrines in one post, or doing a couple posts that explain each book on its own. I'll give you my "syllabus" for myself, so that if you want to read along at home you're more than welcome to do so. Then I'll begin with a discussion of the introductory material/chapters of each of these works, and why I chose them.

Week 1: Introduction (this week)
Dean Freiday's forward to Barclay's Apology
Faith Seeking Understanding, Migliore, chapter 1
Freeing Theology, ed. LaCugna, chapter 1

Week 2, (week of) June 29: Revelation
Barclay Propositions 1 & 2
Migliore 1-43
Freeing Theology 59-82

Week 3, July 6: The Trinity
Barclay 20-26 (he doesn't have a separate proposition on this)
Migliore 64-91
Freeing Theology 83-114

Week 4, July 13: Scripture
Barclay Proposition 3
Migliore 44-63
Freeing Theology 31-58

Week 5, July 20: The Fall
Barclay Proposition 4
Migliore 139-162
Freeing Theology 139-160
Sexism & God-Talk, Rosemary Radford Reuther, 159-192

Week 6, July 27: Salvation & Christology
Barclay Propositions 5 & 6
Migliore 163-222
Freeing Theology 115-138

Week 7, August 3: Justification & Sanctification
Barclay Propositions 7 & 8
Migliore 223-247
Freeing Theology 235-259

Week 8, August 10: Predestination
Barclay Proposition 9
Migliore 117-138
(If anyone can suggest a good feminist source on this I'd appreciate it!)

Week 9, August 17: The Church
Barclay Propositions 10 & 11
Migliore 248-273
Freeing Theology 161-184

Week 10, August 24: The Sacraments
Barclay Propositions 12 & 13
Migliore 274-300
Freeing Theology 185-210

Week 11, August 31: Ethics & Politics
Barclay Proposition 14
Migliore 330-353
Freeing Theology 211-234

Disclaimer: I will be at camps two of these weeks, and one is Yearly Meeting sessions, so I might not actually get to all this within this timeline, but I'll try! We may have to bump it back, but my goal is to finish this within the official "summer."

Now for a short explanation of each of these texts and why I chose them.

I read Migliore's text and Freeing Theology for (I think) the first semester of my systematic theology course in seminary, and it's been in the back of my head since then that I should do some kind of somewhat-systematic comparison of the theologies presented with the Quaker explication. Barclay is the first (relatively) systematic Quaker theology, and arguably the only one to date. (If you know of others, let me know--I would be interested in reading them. I suspect that perhaps something from Ben Pink Dandelion would fit this category, but I haven't read much of his stuff, although I'd like to read more. Someone at some point in one of the comments on my blog suggested John Punshon's book, Reasons for Hope, but that is more a history of Friends, not a systematic theology.) I've read a good deal of Barclay's Apology, but not in the order it's written--mainly just to compare it to whatever else I'm reading on a certain doctrine. Barclay wrote his original work in Latin, published in 1676, and he translated it into English in 1678. I'm reading Dean Freiday's edition in "modern English" (1967).

For this week I just read Freiday's introductory materials on Barclay's life and the Apology itself. This was helpful to me, not only to get a feel for Barclay's personal context, but to set him in the midst of the historical-theological timeline. Freiday gives helpful and brief comments about Barclay's and Quakers' theology compared to those around him. He talks about Barclay's reaction to Calvin and Luther, Wesley's reliance on Barclay's thought on perfection, and the contemporary debates to which Barclay refers in his text as well as those who responded to his work. Freiday says that Barclay loosely used the order of doctrines presented in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (catechism created for the Anglican church in the 1640s), although he does not address all the questions therein or necessarily in that exact order. For a general overview of Barclay's thought on major doctrines, this introduction is very helpful if you don't have time to read the whole Apology or want extra insight into the broader picture of Barclay's thought.

I think I will leave my explanation of the other two texts for another post (or two), because this one is getting quite long already. So look forward to that in the next day or two.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

back in the NW

Well, as my father-in-law commented yesterday, it's been a while since I've blogged. I mean, it's not like I've been busy or anything! OK, maybe the last week or so I haven't been THAT busy, but...anyway, I've taken a little break.

In the last month I finished my German class, graduated with my Master of Divinity degree, packed up, drove a moving truck across the country with a several-day stop in the Tetons, moved in and got mostly unpacked, and started swimming lessons with my kiddo. (Here's a picture.) It's been a fun and full month.

Right now my days are mainly filled with taking care of myself and Espen. I haven't really had time to take care of myself for a while, so it's really been nice! I get up most mornings at 6am, do centering prayer for a while, then do yoga until Espen wakes up. I got a new bike for graduation and that has been so awesome! I've never in my adult life had a bike that actually fits me and works well, so it's quite a revelation that biking can be fun and not that difficult. Espen and I very rarely use the car, because we have a great bike trailer with enough space for a bag or two of groceries or whatever else we need to carry (although that makes biking somewhat more difficult!). We've visited most of the parks in the area at least once, and even gone over to a F/friend's house not too far away, forgetting she lives on a HUGE hill! (I thought I was going to die. When I visit Leslie this summer she'd better know I really love her!)

"Taking care of myself" also means reading novels. I haven't read tons, but I read a little each day and relish the fact that I'm not procrastinating when I do so! I finished Eat, Pray, Love, which I really enjoyed, and I'm working on Bridge of Sighs.

My upcoming goals are to a) learn Spanish, and b) read Barclay's Apology as well as a couple other theological works, and compare and contrast Barclay's theology with others. I plan to compare his to two books I read in seminary. One is Daniel Migliore's Faith Seeking Understanding, in which he lays out the different theological doctrines with explanations from various perspectives from Christian history. The other is Freeing Theology, a collection of articles by various feminist theologians, edited by Catherine Mowry LaCugna. I'm going to try to set myself some assignments as if I was reading these for a class and had to write reflection papers or something. We'll see how that goes! Check back in and see if I'm doing my self-imposed homework...