This semester I am taking Interpretation as Resistance: Womanist, Feminist, and Queer Approaches to the Bible taught by Professors Alika Galloway and Carolyn Pressler. This week’s reading concerns the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. Sarah is unable to bear children, which is unfortunate since her husband Abraham is supposed to father “a great nation” (Gen. 12.2). Sarah comes up with a plan to have Abraham use a surrogate: her Egyptian slave Hagar. Abraham agrees, lays with Hagar, and Hagar conceives. The Bible then tells us that Hagar “saw that she had conceived [and] looked with contempt on her mistress”(Gen. 16.4). Sarah responds by being so cruel to Hagar that she runs away to the desert. Upon finding a spring of water, Hagar meets an angel of God who gives her an ambivalent message: go back and submit to a life of cruelty but also your son Ishmael will be the father of nations. A mixed bag, for sure.
At United, a key question is what makes an ethical leader. According Steve Newcom, Director of the Social Transformation Program, "there are injustices in the world" and for many of our students "their faith calls them to do something about that." In the following videos students discuss what calls them to study Social Transformation at United.
Miss Kitka scans the living room. She lifts her head and dampens the edges of the coach with her nose. She hesitates. There are so many hands at her eye level! Caught in a sort of trance, the entirety of her vision is overwhelmed with fingers folding, unfolding, aligning, re-folding, flattening, and finally cutting various hues of origami paper. Thankfully, my cat is more curious about the people than in tasting the paper scraps falling to the floor.
During our church service this morning the choir had just finished the Anthem; with trumpet and organ celebrating at full volume, when a young child in the rear of the sanctuary expressed total joy with something between a giggle, a shout and an Amen!