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.
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.
Meghan Vail is a middler in the Master of the Arts in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care program. Meghan comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the University of Texas Catholic Center.
On the tenth day of Christmas, I was stranded at the airport in southern Florida (I'll admit, not the worst place to be stranded) along with hundreds of other holiday travelers en route to reality after the restfulness of Christmas vacation. Every terminal gate blinked "cancelled" in bright red letters due to winter storms. As I stood in line to rebook my flights, trying to recall my sense of humor and shed my crankiness, I found myself humming the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," trying to insert gifts for airport travelers that would come in handy in the midst of airport chaos. Three cafe mochas (french hens), two Apple product chargers (turtledoves), and a voucher for a latter day flight.
Madeline Shelton is a middler in the M.Div. program and comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Texas.
In our reading for this eleventh day of Christmas, Christ heals a man who was born blind. Christ does not say a few words and instantly open the man's eyes. In fact, leaning down to the ground, Christ spits his very own saliva onto the dirt and makes a paste with the mud. Once applied, Jesus orders the man to wash in a pool, and the man sees for the first time.
Claire Cowden is in the Diploma of Anglican Studies program and comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Northwest Texas.
My offering to you this Christmastide is this poem by 17th century Anglican priest and poet, George Herbert. This is a poem about song, not necessarily the musical kind. As you move through the poem with him, may you feel your own soul’s song recalled, revived, nourished, empowered, and, finally, in an exchange of gifts with our Redeemer, blazing with the light of Christ!
Lucy Strandlund is in the Masters of the Arts in Spiritual Formation program and comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Alabama.
As I sat in church on Christmas Eve, my brain full of a semester’s worth of new Biblical Studies knowledge, I felt very distant from any Jesus who might be found sleeping in a wooden manger. In the two Gospels that mention the birth of Jesus, only one spends much time on the story of his infancy. To me, the Jesus of the Gospels is a grown man who meets us where we are but invites us to be more than we have been. So who is this little baby? Where is the challenging and radical man from the Bible? This baby can’t tell cryptic parables or invite sinners to dinner. I wondered what Christmas meant to me as someone who is very much fascinated by the adult Jesus.