Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I was at a study the last two days at Luther Seminary on the Beatitudes which was taught by Prof. Martha Stortz from Pacific Lutheran Seminary. It was really good - and very interesting. I liked the way she wove stories together and the idea she presented of looking at Biblical story from a sort of 'theatre in the round' perspective. We often focus on one character in a Biblical story - take for instance the prodigal son. She suggests we read the story from each character's perspective and ask questions we wish they would have asked. She invited us to place ourselves into the story, to act out or imagine the stories, to experience the living Word that the Bible was meant to be. It was interesting to see the direction she went with each of the Beatitudes - one each week will be focused on in the Women of the ELCA Bible Study from the Lutheran Women Today magazine. I look forward to leading this study. The women's Bible studies for the last couple of years have been really good. One of the things that I love is the relational aspect that keeps coming through. There has been a big shift theologically since I was trained at the seminary. I remember being told that experience wasn't valid - we know what we know from the Word. I also remember very strongly stating "when I read the Bible I read about a whole bunch of experiences!" Process or relational theology seems to be growing and bringing some refreshing changes to the materials published and used by the ELCA. We were created to be in relationship with God, with one another, and with all creation. It's refreshing to see more focus on relationship! I was also struck by what she said about Baptism - and our radical acceptance by God. It seems to me that radical acceptance in our Baptism should eliminate any discussion about sexuality - God accepts us as we are created and we do not put exception clauses on the radical acceptance of God! Refreshing to experience this study and to think about the changes that are happening churchwide.