Monday, February 25, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

It's never easy coming back to work after a lovely weekend with an adorable pug, but this week I'm looking forward to and crossing my fingers for a couple things, so let's get on with it!

P.S. It's already nearly March?!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Theologian Thursday: Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

Today's theologian may not be of great interest to those outside the circle of the Church of the Nazarene, but at the very least you'll get a solid book recommendation out of it.

I love how Mildred Bangs Wynkoop ended up in the Nazarene Church because, just like how I got here, it was just a happy accident--her parents happened to meet Phineas Bresee on their honeymoon, and so became members of his church.

She went to Northwest Nazarene College and then Pasadena College, Western Evangelical Seminary (now George Fox), the University of Oregon, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary.

She was an ordained minister, a professor at Western Evangelical Seminary, and Trevecca Nazarene College, the president of Japan Nazarene Theological Seminary, and theologian-in-residence at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City.

Basically she is a Nazarene rock star.

Wynkoop wrote a bunch of books and articles that were mostly focused on relational theology--how God relates to humanity, and how people relate to God and consequently each other as a result of the imago dei in humanity. She was also an Arminius scholar, and did important work in relating Wesley and Arminius and making them applicable in the Church of the Nazarene.

Also, she makes a damn good bobble head. Someone please buy me one of these.

What you should read:
  • A Theology of Love (for heaven's sake, read this book)
  • Foundations of Wesleyan-Arminian Theology
(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE
Gender Equality:
The Church of the Nazarene is awesome and has been ordaining women from day one. In fact, NTS has a center for women in ministry that bears Wynkoop's name.
Environmental Sensibility:

I think Wynkoop's theology of love certainly extends not only to the relationship of God and humanity and humanity with itself, but also to the relationships of God and humanity with creation as a whole. I imagine she would be completely on board with talking about care for creation as an extension of holiness.
Heretical Tendencies: 
There's really nothing heretical I can find in her writing or teaching, although there are some who chafe at this idea of "relational theology" and theology of "love." But I'd say that's a personal problem.
General Badassery: 
So maybe she didn't fight lions or anything, but Mildred Wynkoop is badass in her own way. She laid the foundation for hundreds of Nazarene women to study, preach, and write, and her influence in the church is still alive and well.

Finally, a short quote:
“The character of holiness is love.”

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pug Mug Monday #3

Here's Ebenezer looking cute on Saturday

You can also see a video of Curtis and Ebenezer dancing to Frank Sinatra on Valentine's Day HERE.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Theologian Thursday: Saint Valentine

It should come as no surprise that I chose to look at St. Valentine today. It is his feast day, after all.

The difficulty I found, however, was figuring out who exactly he is. The conflicting stories and accounts of St. Valentine--indeed, multiple St. Valentines, since it was quite a common name--are rivaled only by those surrounding St. Nicholas. And even then, most of the legends are talking about the same person.

Sidenote--isn't it interesting how the saints who have the most mainstream appeal and recognization are also the ones whose stories are so muddled? It's like a strange and unfortunate game of theological telephone. We'll see what I come up with for St. Patrick (spoiler alert: nothing to do with snakes).

Here's what we do know--Valentine was a Roman priest who was beheaded on February 14, 269. He is recorded in St. Gregory's sacramentary of martyrs and other martyrologies.

That's about it.

He is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, plague, and travelers.

How Valentine's festival day became associated with love and romance is one of those weird, convoluted histories which you can never be quite sure of. Some sources say that he was an extraordinary lover of God and people, but honestly I don't expect anything less from a priest--especially a saint. Additionally, it seems there was a pagan ritual held in mid-February that included drawing of names and goddess worship having to do with Juno Februata. But even that is an uncertain legend and a tenuous link. Chaucer also had something to do with conflating St. Valentine and courtly love in Parlement of Foules, but it's unclear what led him to make that connection.

All this to say, this is another saint-related holiday in which the actual saint has hardly any relevance.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lenten Ashes

Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Welcome to Lent, friends.

I hope you were able to receive the imposition of ashes today, or at least take time to reflect on our creaturely contingency.

What other Lenten practices do you plan to observe in the next forty days? I plan to do a lot of reading, mostly associated with the idea of Atheism for Lent, which requires us to take seriously some critiques written by Nietzsche, Freud, and others. I expect it will result in a unique perspective on Easter once we get there.

Are you giving up on something for Lent? Or adding a spiritual practice? Do share!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pug Mug Monday

Ebenezer discovered his new favorite chair over the weekend. He sits so cute!

Friday, February 8, 2013


Hi friends.

I totally dropped the ball on Theologian Thursday yesterday. I got swept up in the *omgmanhunt* news and then realized I should probably do some actual work and then never really got around to writing.


I can totally make it up to you.

In honor of Transfiguration Sunday, I present to you this amazing .gif from this blog.

You're welcome.

All irreverence aside, though, Transfiguration Sunday is the climax of the season of Epiphany, and it really is kind of the ultimate epiphany--"This is my Son; listen to him!" It's revealed that Jesus is more than some guy from Nazareth. His life and message are worth listening to. So let's listen and watch attentively as we move toward Lent, which begins next Wednesday.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Beyoncé Bowl Round-Up

If you follow me on any social media platform or were anywhere near me IRL on Sunday, you probably heard me say something about Beyoncé that may have tended toward idolatry.

And for good reason!

Here is a round-up of articles that explain far better than I could why the performance (and Beyoncé as a person) is so wonderful.

A Defiant Dance of Power, Not Sex: Beyoncé, the Super Bowl and Durga by David Henson
In that moment, it seemed Beyoncé was dancing on the fresh graves of sexism, male supremacy, all her talking-head concern troll critics that sought to reduce her to anything other than the powerful woman and artist she is. She dared them to think of her as something less than beautiful, something less than talented, something less than powerful, something less than a woman.
What Beyonce’s Halftime Show Reveals About The Evangelical Love/Hate Relationship With Human Sexuality by Joy Bennett
Why are we more comfortable with displays of masculinity and sexuality than we are with displays of femininity and sexuality? Why do we not have a problem watching football with our kids, but we attack and belittle the halftime show. Why is female sexuality so offensive? Why is male sexuality NOT offensive?
Beyonce & Policing Female Sexuality by Suzannah Paul
Dancing or dressing a certain way--or simply existing in the world in a female body with breasts and feminine curves--does not turn a woman into a sexual object...Our bodies are part of our humanity, and our sexuality is, too. In creating people in the image dei and having Jesus live a fully embodied life, God affirmed the goodness in human bodies and humanity. Female bodies are not to be feared, hidden, or ashamed of--and it's not the place of Christians to cast shame upon them either.

Why Beyoncé is my kind of feminist by Emma Gannon
Maybe, just maybe, it’s OK to want to be attractive to men AND be considered a feminist....A woman’s own standard of how she wishes to look or conduct a relationship with a man or woman is a personal thing and should not pervert any definition of feminism.
Super Bowl XLVII: Why Beyoncé’s Appeal Crosses Gender Lines by Rachel Grate
And this is why Beyoncé’s music crosses gender lines: It asserts female power while proving female empowerment does not exclude men. This is what feminists have been trying to convince men of for ages – that we are not anti-men, we are pro-equality. Beyoncé is pro-equality and questions gender roles, and her spreading that message to the Super Bowl – to a space largely defined by those roles – is in many ways a feminist victory.

 What do you all think? Please tell me you are now all members in the Cult of Beyoncé.

Pug Mug Monday #2

We watched the Super Bowl at a friend's house (please tell me you saw the library Oreo commercial!) and Ebenezer had a great time running around like a wild man for the full five hours.

He did have a bit of a power outage, though....

And this morning he was wiped. out.

My week has gotten off to a great start, and I hope yours has too!

Happy Monday!