I finished a very interesting assignment today, and I must say that I'm proud of myself.
I'm taking a class on Tuesday evenings called the narrative witness to Christ. For the most part, we are studying the four Gospels and the book of Acts and how to do biblical exegesis. We're also getting an introduction to the historical Jesus studies. On February 27, we're having a roundtable discussion in which each of us presents a summary of research on a particular author or perspective in this field, then the rest of the class has the opportunity to ask questions and the presenter has to answer from that perspective, and then the presenter critiques the perspective. Most people got a particular author to read. I got a perspective.
I think that everyone who goes into seminary goes with their own set of biases. I am no exception. There are certain theologies that I really do not wish to explore at all. I knew this going in; and I also knew that at some point I would have to get past my personal wall of stubbornness and read it with at least a bit of openness. At the very least, I must be open enough to learn enough to discuss my bias intelligently. At the most, I must be open enough to understand why people think the way they do, even if I don't change my own mind.
The time has come. My assigned perspective is feminist theology. I am in many ways a traditional female, and I know this and don't have a problem with it. I don't have an issue with the fact that Jewish society was patriarchal any more than I have an issue with the fact that people with disabilities were beggars. Many feminist writers do have significant issues with this; and I am not interested in reading something that I feel is an attempt to change history because someone is uncomfortable with it.
The professor asked if I would rather take a single author, attempting to be sensitive to the impact of so much reading on me as a person with a disability. I said no. It has required a lot of research and reading; and in the end I did a lot of picking and choosing and decided to come back to some things later. But I felt that this was God-ordained. It is time for me to confront my personal bias and learn to read what I don't like. ... And I do find that I understand some aspects of it. I've found that a feminist is not necessarily a feminist everywhere I turn. The exploration has been rather fascinating.
The assignment is mostly done. I may do a bit more reading for it. But a huge load of stress is now gone.