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.
If you happened to be walking down the halls of United on Saturday, January 21st, you probably heard a lot of singing. That's because more than 40 people from around the Twin Cities and across the upper Midwest gathered for a day-long interfaith "Music That Makes Community" workshop. Facilitated by director Paul Vasile and local musician Conie Borchardt, the event explored the practice of teaching paperless singing. The group learned new skills for leading community songs to enrich their communities' worship life, and reflected on strategies for cultivating participatory singing and liturgy.
The Academic Council at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities released this statement about President Trump's recent Executive Order banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries: