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.
Ashley Urquidi is a middler in the M.Div. program. Ashley comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Maryland.
This holiday season has been bittersweet for me, in many ways. There is a tear in the family I was born into, one I fear may be irreparable. And yet, despite this, I believe I now see more clearly than I ever have before. Christmas is about love. This makes sense, right? But sometimes it takes a travesty to see that Christmas isn't just about any kind of love, it's about the love God offers us through the birth of His Son. That is deep God-love, the kind of love that our language fails to convey in single (or multiple) words. It is self-sacrificing and self-emptying. It is the courage to make yourself vulnerable to pain and sorrow, to move from safety and security into chaos simply to better the lives of those you care for. Giving and receiving this love requires, demands, the giving of yourself.
R. Scott Painter is a Junior in the M.Div. program at Seminary of the Southwest. Scott comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Texas.
My wife and I were married in 1995. It was a summer wedding in the Pacific Northwest. A beautiful day in a beautiful place. We celebrated with lovely friends and cherished family. It was the day for which we had been waiting and preparing over the course of months and months. The culmination of those preparations went off without a hitch. Everything was perfect on the big day. Our lives would not be the same from thence forward.
The next morning, I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I’ll never forget, summed up in the words that rushed through my head as I looked over at my sleeping bride: “Oh my God, what have I DONE?!”
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.
The Christmas pageant was the high point of the year for us as kids growing up in my church. Wordlessly Caesar Augustus unrolled a scroll (a decree). The boy who played Joseph stood a bit too far away from the girl in the role of Mary to make a convincing depiction of her as his partner (espoused wife). Everyone was relieved that the delivery of the first born son and wrapping him in swaddling clothes happened off stage, but the story resumed when Mary, in a large readable gesture and with studied deliberation, placed a bundle into the triangular wooden box at the bottom of the chancel steps (laid him in a manger). Shepherds clad in burlap headed up the aisle carrying crooks. Sheep toddled alongside.
Jennifer Shadle is a junior in the Master of Divinity program at Seminary of the Southwest. Jennifer's home diocese is the Diocese of Colorado. Prior to coming to seminary, Jennifer served as the department chair for the Music Department at Colorado State University - Pueblo.
Every year, I greet Advent with the heightened excitement, and undertone of dread, that we have come to associate with the month of December in postmodern America. My defense against the rampant commercialism is to deny its existence, refuse to participate in “sales events,” and inevitably discover with a shock of chagrin that I have something like four days left to do any of the traditional baking, decorating, and card-writing that I really enjoy doing.
Dr. Micah Jackson (@FrMicah) serves as the Bishop John Hines Associate Professor of Preaching and the Dean of Community Life at Seminary of the Southwest. Micah also serves on the faculty of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation's Preaching Excellence Program.
Those of us who are careful observers of the Church Calendar know that there are several kinds of days. There are the ordinary, or ferial, days. There are days of fasting or abstinence. And, of course, there are feast days. These days of joy stand as a reminder that even in the midst of trouble and difficulty, there are always reasons to celebrate.