I would just like to say, vacations are wonderful!
My mini-sabbatical this summer included a few vacation days away with the family, from which we have just returned. It was a relaxing, refreshing, and fun time for all of us. And now I am entering the last weekend of my month away, eager and chomping at the bit to get into it again.
My last worship experience of the mini-sabbatical will be at Jacob's Well here in Kansas City on Sunday morning. I have worshiped in some very diverse settings over these last four weeks - Wilkes Boulevard UMC in Columbia, Centennial UMC in Kansas City, the bank of the Niangua River in southern Missouri, and tomorrow at Jacob's Well. It is such a joy to worship without being in charge of anything!
Over the past four weeks, in addition to worship, I have prayed deeply about my calling and the life of the congregation I serve. I have read some things I have been meaning to read but haven't had a chance to (although I suppose I'll always have books on that list). And I have written about 30 pages toward a book I am working on.
The book is going to be a Bible commentary of sorts. The audience is people who don't read the Bible much but want to know if there might be something there for them that is deeper than the text on the page. I am trying to write this commentary without jargon and at the same time without dumbing it down. I am hoping that it is fun and easy to read, but not silly. I do not want to sacrifice accessibility for the sake of scholarship, nor do I want to stay at the intellectual surface level just so that people will understand. It has been very hard work, and greatly rewarding. The 30 pages I have written delve into the book of Galatians. I want to do three more sections - one on a Hebrew Bible book (probably Genesis), one on a Gospel (probably Matthew), and one on selected Psalms. It will feel kind of lectionary-ish, I guess.
Anyway, that is about it for my time away. I'm back in the saddle again starting Tuesday of this week. I can't wait to rev it up!
Part 2: Homemaking Degree! At Last!
Today I read an article in the Star about a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities degree with a 23 hour concentration in homemaking. Here's the kicker: the concentration is only open to women. Apparently, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has decided that any men who want to study homemaking at a Bachelor degree level are just going to have to go somewhere else to do so. According to the website, the concentration is all about "preparing women to model the characteristics of a Godly woman as outlined in Scripture." It seems that good nutrition, interior decorating, and clothing design are what it takes for today's woman to be considered "Godly." Forget all that other stuff, like careers or any other such insignificant pursuits.
The president of the seminary, who used to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is quoted in the article as saying, "If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed." I for one was unaware of this impending destruction. Thank God someone is doing something about it! I mean, the fate of the nation (and of the Southern Baptist denomination, of course) hangs upon women enrolling in a 4 hour college course called "Meal Preparation with Lab," for goodness sake! Who knew? (I wonder if they need lab assistants and how could I apply?)
I know that I am sending my woman to Southwestern immediately so that she will finally realize just how much is at stake when she leaves dirty dishes in the sink. "Don't do it for me, Erin. Do it for the United States of America!"