Contributors to our blogs are faculty, alumni, and students of Seminary of the Southwest sharing their reflections from the context of a community of faith. We hope you enjoy reading, and we invite your comments.
Dr. Steve Bishop is the Associate Professor of Old Testament at Seminary of the Southwest. Steve served as an ordained minister in the Church of Christ prior to undertaking graduate studies. Steve's academic interests include the poetry of the Hebrew Bible and literary translations of it into English.
The week of Spring Break in Austin is one that brings visitors from all over the world. They don’t come for our beaches because we have none. They come for the South by Southwest technology, film, and music event known everywhere as SXSW. The cost of the event and the press of crowds however prevent many from attending ‘showcase’ events. Happily there is a group of Austin residents whose love of music and creativity combined with a disdain for the corporate opportunism that funds the event offer a free alternative. As you might guess it is dubbed Not-SXSW!
The Rev. David Peters is currently studying in the Master of the Arts of Religion program at Seminary of the Southwest. David comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries of The Episcopal Church.
The teenaged boy dove into the ditch as the bombers came into sight and started releasing their payload on the German town next to the concentration camp. He crouched there with the other prisoners and pressed his body against the side of the ditch closest to the sound of the bombs. Sometimes, in the ditch, he imagined they were riding the subway in New York City, like he had done with his parents and sister four years before the war. Just like the subway riders, the prisoners didn’t look at each other in the ditch.
The boy dug the ditch with the other prisoners during their first weeks in the camp. It used to be deeper, but in the last weeks they had been filling it in with wheelbarrows full of ashes.
Lucy Strandlund is a Middler in the Master of Spiritual Formation program at Seminary of the Southwest. Lucy and her husband Daniel come to the seminary from the Diocese of Alabama.
The Seminary of the Southwest’s BBQ Showdown benefitting Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) this past Saturday was a complete success. My first impression was amazement at how many new faces I saw. While it was a seminary event, it was truly a community affair. Professors, priests and seminarians mingled with neighbors and friends, some of whom traveled across the state of Texas to attend the BBQ. People biking or walking by had to stop and check it out. Kids jumped in the bounce house, ran around barefoot and greeted the farm animals in the petting zoo. Dogs sniffed hopefully at the air, and even the vegetarians found cornbread, several varieties of excellent coleslaw, and some delicious local brew. The live music was reason enough to have a good time; Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars make it hard not to kick up your boots and dance, whether or not you have BBQ sauce dripping from your chin.
The Rev. Glenice Robinson-Como currently serves Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX as the Canon Pastor. Ms. Robinson-Como received an MDiv from Southern Methodist University and a Diploma of Theological Studies from Seminary of the Southwest in 2010.
Fifty years ago, the civil rights act was enacted as a means of ending discrimination. Today we stand at its anniversary perhaps pondering the question how much has really changed? As I reflect upon those she-roes and heroes who lived and died for the sake of freedom, I tremble at the same time about events in Florida and throughout the world. These are reminders that we must continue to move forward until the bells of liberty clang loudly and until truth and mercy pours out into all people in all places.
Alex Easley is a Middler in the Master of Divinity program. Alex comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Texas and currently serves as the Middler Seminarian Intern at St. Julian's of Norwich Episcopal Church.
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’ (Matthew 9:35-38 NRSV)
Last Thursday, February 6th, the Rev. Jimmy Bartz gave a lecture at Seminary of the Southwest entitled “Fear, Risk, Courage, Failure, Intimacy, Change, Mission, and the Kingdom.” Throughout his lecture, Jimmy urged his hearers to live courageously, taking risks and following Christ into uncharted territory.
The Rev. Miles R. Brandon, II is the vicar of St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church, a four and a half year old church plant of the Diocese of Texas located in far Northwest Austin. Miles is married to Ashley Brandon, chaplain at St. Andrew's Episcopal School and graduate of Seminary of the Southwest. They have two children Amelia (4) and Mary Ellen (1).
As I reflected on the Rev. Jimmy Bartz’s thoughtful and engaging Payne lecture, I was left wondering what is the actual tiny push…the soul bracing moment…that empowers our courage and quickens our resolve just enough to step over the edge into the unknown…the undiscovered future…the potential life-giving relationships we are yet to form.
Mrs. Ora Houston is a member of St. James Episcopal Church, Austin, serves on the Black History Month planning committee at Seminary of the Southwest, and is president of the Myra McDaniel Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians.
WOW! Can you really believe that 50 years ago the federal government had to enact laws to give equal rights to people who were born in the United States of America? These are the same rights that another group of Americans have had since the signing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Sadly, others were denied those basic rights because of their ancestry - until 50 years ago.
Dr. Claire Colombo has served on the seminary’s adjunct faculty since 2012. As a freelance educational consultant, she develops religion curriculum for Loyola Press of Chicago and is a regular contributor to their Finding Godmagazines and newsletters.
It’s been a wordy month. It began with the Christmas season—the Word made flesh and all that. Then came a flurry of words to meet some professional deadlines. And then came an invitation to take myself, in the flesh, to one of those wordy events you see listed in the Happenings column of the Chronicle and proceed to ignore. In this case, it was a launch party for a new literary journal in town. Not only would I attend it, the invitation went, but would I write some words about it, too?
I would. I had already planned to attend another wordfest—a reading by poet Naomi Shihab Nye—so I promised to blog about them both.
Lecia Brannon is a junior in the Master of Divinity program. Lecia and her husband came to Seminary of the Southwest from Diocese of Camino Real.
Southwest’s Master of Divinity Program requires a January Term course entitled Encuentro: Mission in Latino Contexts. Encuentro or encounter is a keyword to what this course is about, however there is so much more. Over the three weeks of this course our class was presented with people and experiences that will require us to absorb, process and discern. Where might we fit in?
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge (@cbkittredge) is the 8th Dean and President of Seminary of the Southwest and professor of New Testament. Dean Kittredge holds degrees from Williams College and Harvard Divinity School.
In 2002 I took a sabbatical in South Africa where I lectured in Pietermaritzburg and in Cape Town. On my last Sunday I decided to go to church in a prosperous neighborhood of Capetown. I had heard that one of the priests was leaving; it would be her last Sunday and she was a friend of my friend, Beverly. Wilma Jakobsen was a chaplain at the University and she was leaving South Africa, her homeland, to go to work in Los Angeles where she had spent time as a seminary student.