Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Fides quaerens intillectum/Faith seeking understanding"-Anselm of Cantebury

Library square, Regent U. 
The past two semesters have been grueling, academically and physically! Physically, because I have been growing our first born son inside of me, due any day now. Academically, simply because that is indeed how it should be! Paper requirements were high in many of my classes which kept me constantly writing, researching, and writing! The University of Utah library has an INCREDIBLE (and underused, I might add) section on religion/Middle Eastern studies, biblical studies, Judaica, Christian studies, etc. Not being close to Regent's library, this has been a most incredible resource for me to which I am grateful!

Recently, I received the blessed news that I received a scholarship from Regent's School of Divinity specifically awarded to women who show ability for high impact in  the ministry and academia. This was very exciting to me-especially because my scholarship essay centered around my thoughts on the current needs of LDS women in my area, the Relief Society specifically, and creating "spiritual independence" within those sisters through an emphasis on scriptural competency. I made it clear that I was part of a lay ministry and would never engage in a paid ministry position. I was sure that information would disqualify me from being viewed as a legitimate candidate, but not so! How wonderful that my evangelical/charismatic friends at Regent view the LDS Relief Society as an organization contributing to the overall Christian agenda, and that they saw fit to award me, and LDS woman, such scholarship funds! I very much see this as part of building "bridges of understanding", something that I hoped to accomplish as part of my experience with this MA program. Hurrah for Israel! 

Illuminated manuscript of  early rabbinical midrash
This summer I am taking Systematic Theology (full of fun study surrounding contemporary Christian theologians and their ideas) and OT 1. I look forward to both, and am specifically hoping to get into some good midrash (expended commentary or interpretation) and Rabbinical commentary of the first 1/2 of the OT.

Vintage print of Rabbis studying midrash

OVERVIEW of the PAST TWO SEMESTERS: Monty and I headed out to Regent's campus mid-fall of 2012 for my New Testament 1 course. This course was taught by Peter Grabe, a native South African who presented a faith centered and classic approach to the NT. My favorite take away from that class was Dr. Grabe's statement of "choose faith! when confronted with questions beyond your understanding, dear students, please, consider faith and if possible, choose faith!" These words were particularly meaningful as we tackled some of the controversial origins to the NT texts. No doubt I will always carry those words with me.

My favorite class Fall 2012 was, no doubt, Women in the Ministry. This course was incredible and taught by the wise and articulate Mara Crabtree. This woman now goes in my hall of fame of "she-roes" for the influence she had on me and my thoughts about women's involvement in Biblical and Christian history. During this class, one of our textbooks we read was "Women in Ministry-Four Views" composed by scholarly contributors who found themselves on either side of the polaric debate surrounding women's involvement in the church, in addition to those finding themselves somewhere in between. Each scholar would present their hermeneutical and scholarly perspective on the issues surrounding women's involvement in ministry (centered primarily on the classical and scriptural debates as originating in both OT and NT texts). If I could use one word to describe this course, I would say: THRILLING. As a Latter Day Saint, I found the knowledge I gained in this course incredibly helpful when analyzing the popular yet controversial contemporary discussion surrounding women in the LDS church, their roles, women's experiences in church history, etc. The linguistic and hermeneutical knowledge this course provided me greatly aided in allowing me to articulate my own thoughts on these matters, which is still very much an ongoing process for me!

Winter semester doesn't leave me with much to comment on, specifically  other than the fact that I was in the thick of things, academically. I took three courses: New Testament II, Old Testament II, and Christian
Textbook used in class
History I (From the time of Christ to about 1100AD). By far, my most interesting course was Christian History. I found the debates surrounding the Patristic period incredibly interesting, in addition to the study we engaged in surrounding heretical movements which prompted the creation of orthodox creeds which, of course, are drenched in controversy.I highly recommend the textbook we used for this course to anyone interested in Christian history. It gives you an incredible knowledge base. The knowledge to be gained from the study of Christian history is IRREPLACEABLE to anyone interested or engaging in the work of apologetics. As a Latter Day Saint, I have found such knowledge to be incredibly helpful as I engage those around me in religious discussion (which I get to participate in often!) whether initiated by me or no.I would argue studying Christian history is incredibly faith promoting not only to the Christian in general, but especially so to the Latter Day Saint.