the story room

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Last week I read Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff. It's the journal of a father whose son suddenly died at the age of 25. I really appreciate the book because Wolterstorff offers an honest look at death, grieving, and human suffering, and he doesn't settle for the easy answers that we too often come up with in the face of tragedy.

One of the things he writes about is how death is God's enemy. We weren't created to die, and even when though He works everything for good, it was never supposed to be this way. Wolterstoff says that death is demonic...and that's why Christ came to conquer it. But He comes to us in our suffering by taking suffering upon Himself. Our God is familiar with sorrow, and even after His resurrection, His scars remain.

The book ends with Wolterstorff imagining the resurrection, when he will hear his son say, "Hey Dad...I'm back!" He struggles with this, because it seems so unbelievable...but it's the object of our hope.

So I was laying in bed thinking about all this the other night. I believe Jesus will return and will raise our dead and will make things right in this world...but so often, it's like a fairy tale to me. I believe it, but it doesn't seem real.

But as I was thinking that night, suddenly I got it. I was thinking about our bodies being imperishible and filled with life...I was thinking about how this world will be healed and made new...I was thinking about all the people I'll spend time with, and how we'll all be able to spend all the time in the world with Jesus. Maybe we'll even play Frisbee. ;-)

But as I was thinking about this, the imminence of it became so clear to me that I even physically was like my stomach flipped. It's not something that might will happen. This is our hope, and the one who promised it is faithful. Oh wow...

It's appropriate to be thinking about this as we move from Lent into Easter, I think. The reflecting we've been doing about our brokenness doesn't get us very far if we don't have hope for beautiful, fresh, strong, Life. And as surely as He rose from the dead, it's coming.

It's here, and it's coming...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Just to clarify

Rereading my last post, I realized that it may have come across that I was deeply hurt by this experience. While it did, in fact, suck, I'm ok, and am confident of God's call on my life (and not worried about seminary).

What I was trying to get at was the deeper issue of discrimination in general. It's made me aware of my need to be an instrument of compassion and justice, not one of discrimination (which, sadly, I am too often).

OK...amen. ;-)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

My first taste of discrimination

At the end of my Greek class today, we had a representative from a certain seminary come in to talk to us about considering the school. He sat in on the last 5 or 10 minutes of class, and he saw what kind of student I was (I happened to be participating a lot).

I'm the only female in that class, and this representative kept drawing attention to me because of it. The first thing that really struck me was when he said, "10% of our population is girls." It didn't sit right with me, and it also didn't sit with our prof, who tried to correct him by calling it a "female population." After all, graduate students aren't little girls anymore. This representative also said the female population was as low as it was because of how conservative the school is...he said the more conservative the school, the smaller the female population. It wasn't just unapologetic; it was presented as something virtuous.

After talking a little more about the seminary, he asked our class if they had any questions. When no one responded, he singled me out again and asked me if I had any questions. Since I had already decided not to consider this seminary, I didn't have any questions to ask. However, he felt the need to offer more information, and made it a point to let me know that this school allows women in every program of study except the M. Div. program (which happens to be the degree I want to get). He said, "We don't allow girls to be part of this program because of our stance on women in the church." It was said proudly and forcefully.

Ouch. Even the guys in my class were unsettled by the way this man approached both me and the issue.

I'm not personally hurt, really, because I never planned on attending that seminary, and I know there are other schools (and churches) that would be glad to have me. But there's something deeper that I keep thinking about. This was the first time in my life that I was ever the object of discrimination, but it happens to all sorts of people all the time.

How can a person walk into a room, take one look at someone, and immediately tell them what they're allowed or not allowed to do? How can they shut a door of opportunity in someone's face even when they prove to be intelligent and capable?

And a question that's particularly close to my own heart: How can our world be progressive in so many ways, and yet so many of our churches (which are supposed to be on the forefront of this redemptive liberation) are holding back and repressing potential leaders? And how can Christians allow women to teach theology in their college classes but not in their pulpits?

I was talking about this to my mom tonight and she said, "It makes you feel for people who are looked down upon because of things like their race and their weight, and so many other things, too, huh?" really does.

I'm so grateful for my family and mentors...and for places like Trinity, where they really are trying to live out this reconciliation that Jesus brings to his people.

May God make me and you instruments of reconciliation as well.