Muse on a Monday

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“Ministers, I came to realize, are of necessity those familiar with the strange and who open themselves to the God-bearing power of strangeness itself.”

 Robert C. Dykstra in Images of Pastoral Care [1]

 MUSE PROFILE

Who is Robert Dykstra?
Professor. Pastoral Theologian. Editor of one of the primary textbooks in my pastoral care class last semester. His book compiles the ideas of key contributors to and concepts of the field of pastoral theology.
Why This Person:
Because he said something that gets truer by the moment.
Why this quote:
I don’t know what I expected seminary to be. I was just so happy to finally be here. But I didn’t expect this. And it just gets stranger by the moment, in the most break-me-open-in-a-good-but-devastatingly-challenging-kind-of-way. The work is so much more than biblical studies, theology, history, and practice. But somehow in the study of all these things and interactions with peers in the same strange world, seminary turns what you thought you knew about yourself and the world upside down. In the process of trying to right side it, you find that maybe who you are and how you fit in the world is different than what you thought or expected. This is so strange. Stranger still, God is wrapped up in all this strangeness. And there is power in that.

[1] Dykstra, Robert C., ed.  Images of Pastoral Care (Chalice Press, 2005), 74.

 

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Muse on a Monday

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“God,
you are our beginning and you will be our end;
we are made in your image and likeness.
We praise and thank you for this day.
This is the day on which you created light
and saw that it was good.
This is the day in whose early morning light
we discovered the tomb was empty,
and encountered Christ, the world’s true light.
This is the day you have made;
we shall rejoice and be glad in it.” 

from A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mibinare oAotearou [1]

 MUSE PROFILE

What is A New Zealand Prayer Book:

My muse this week is not a person, but a collection of prayers and liturgy from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.

Why This Book:

Coming from a faith tradition that does not use a prayer book in worship, I am intrigued by the concept of prayer books and designated prayers or liturgies for specific times of day, days of the week, and seasons of the year. Always one to play with words and experiment with ways to say old things in new ways, I appreciate the prayer book’s innovation with words and use of inclusive language, while never straying too far from its biblical foundations. I am fascinated by its incorporation of the Maori language.

This prayer is in a section of daily devotions and liturgies of the Word. Each devotion uses a portion of the LORD’s Prayer as the introductory theme, followed by a prayer that highlights and expands on that theme. The excerpt of the prayer above is based on the beginning and end of the LORD’s Prayer, “Our Father in heaven, the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever.”[2]

Why this prayer:

I love that in the course of a few sentences, the prayer spans the first and new testaments and resonates with language from multiple psalms and biblical passages. Until recently I thought one could only learn the language of the Bible from the Bible itself. My worship classes taught me that liturgy, too, can bathe us in the biblical tradition. This excerpt is only one-third of the entire prayer yet it is so scripturally rich! The language and imagery makes my heart flutter (i.e. the writer in me meets the seminarian in me)!

[1] The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, A New Zealand Prayer Book (Harper Collins, 1989), 106.

[2] The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, A New Zealand Prayer Book (Harper Collins, 1989), 106.

 

Loudly. Boldly.

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Most people wouldn’t suspect it about me. I swear. A lot. And not just the occasional shit or damn-it, but fully nuked F-bombs.

I’m not proud of the fact that I was called into the pre-school principal’s office because of my son’s mimicry.

Yet neither am I concerned enough not to keep liking the Scary Mommy posts that humorously justify swearing in front of your kids.

And then I saw video footage of the interactions between racist Nazis and human and civil rights activists in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

Like the rivulets of sweat dripping down the faces of onlookers, barely bridled emotion coursed through tensed muscles and prickled nerves to attention. Angry shouts erupted. Voices hurled F-bombs on their counterparts.

But fuck was not enough. Anxious hands gripped weapons, fists and bodies grappled each other with the force fuck lacked.

This word is hollow, incapable of bearing the weight of history, fear, and emotion that drowns the deepest recesses of our souls and collective humanity. It mocks the gravity of the situation.

Fuck is not the word we need right now. It is not a word that will break down the walls, statues, and laws that keep justice from rolling like waters across this land.

And just like that I’m a changed mom, choosing my words carefully. Cautious now, in emotional situations, to use words that expose the core and convey the depth of the issues at hand. Not because of some tinny moral imperative not to swear. But in hopes that when justice is at stake, my kids will be able to speak truth to power. Loudly. Boldly. With the force of real change.