Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Down Time Allows for Reading

Friday, September 25, 2009

I haven’t written in quite some time – last week because I came down with a terrible flu (or flu-like virus). There’s been H1N1 flu confirmed cases here in Decorah, so they are no longer testing. Just telling people to stay home and get well, only going to the doctor if things really get bad…

I was scheduled to go to a meeting today sponsored by a Catholic sisters’ order here in Iowa that would bring together a wide range of people from various disciplines and areas of community (churches, schools, police, etc.) to talk about immigration and try to move beyond an impasse. I was very much looking forward to it, but because of this sickness will not be able to go… I hope I can get meaningful details back from the meeting.

During September I’ve focused most of my energies on writing a Bible study guide for 1 Samuel for the Book of Faith series through Augsburg Fortress. It has been a demanding process since I have not worked with a publisher before, and – while I have led many Bible studies and also coached others in leading them – writing one for publication is definitely another story altogether. I’m amazed at how much I have learned about the process, as well as the subject matter, and there is much more in those texts, of course, than what I could ever cover in any single Bible study.

The one book I’ve been able to read this month is Justo Gonzalez’s Santa Biblia. I have ended every chapter with two thoughts (in addition to much insight): (1) Gonzalez is truly an amazing scholar. (2) I wish I had read this as I prepared for my sabbatical! I guess I am glad that I have gotten to it this early in my year of sabbatical. Gonzalez’s book explores some foundational contributions to how we read Scriptures to which Hispanics in the U.S. can contribute. Before getting there, though, he provides the best, most succinct articulation of a scholarly approach to Scripture, the importance (an inescapability) of viewing Scripture from various perspectives and the rich contributions that can come from various traditions. In this case, he address the contributions particularly from what is broadly called “Hispanic” culture. (He also addresses how tricky that definition is, as well as the limitation of trying to speak for any group, no matter how clearly defined). What’s amazing is that the book, while complex in the issues it addresses, is just a great read. Gonzalez writes in such a compelling and insightful way that I made notes all over the pages. Once I am feeling better, I will go back through the book and write some specific notes on some of the specific insights I found most helpful.

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