Well, the opportunities just keep aflowing, and so do the research notes and jotted outlines for papers. Most of my waiting is over for this semester.
One exciting bit of news is that I was chosen along with 10 other Divinity School students and 1 law student to travel to Saudi Arabia for a week in October, 2010 as a guest of the king. We will be led by Dr. Lamin Sanneh, my Christian/Muslim dialogue professor, and Omer Bajwa, the Muslim Life Coordinator for Yale. Although I haven’t gone to the first information meeting yet, I believe (or hope) that we will be visiting the great cities of Mecca and Medina, in whatever parts non-Muslims are able to visit. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn more about Islam and Saudi Arabia and to represent Yale Divinity School and perhaps, if asked, Christianity. I can’t wait.
I also applied to be a chapel minister for the Berkeley Divinity School (the Episcopal seminary at Yale), and next year, I will serve with 4 other Episcopal seminarians as a Berkeley chapel minister. We are responsible for setting up Morning Prayer/Eucharist, Monday evening chanted Evensong, and the Wednesday evening community Eucharist. For example, we schedule all the seminarians to do various jobs such as reading a Bible selection or being an acolyte. We also assist the various priests and bishops who come through here each week to officiate at services.
And I heard about my internship site for next year: Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. This is a large, diverse urban church that is celebrating its 150th anniversary this summer, and I can’t wait to work there. I worshipped there for the first time this past Sunday and was delighted to hear the preaching of a visiting African bishop, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, who is on the Anglican Consultative Council. I was also sitting next to the recently retired bishop of Connecticut, Drew Smith, although I didn’t know it. I asked someone later who I was sitting next to, and they said, “The Bishop of Connecticut.” (This is all very confusing because Connecticut just consecrated its new bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this consecration or hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa preach because I was in a required Preventing Ministerial Misconduct class.) At any rate, apparently, Connecticut was awash with Anglican and Episcopal bishops this past weekend.
With all that excitement, who can work on school stuff? And yet, I have four papers due really, really soon. I am writing a Brueggemannesque, feminist exegesis of the Book of Ruth, arguing that Ruth is the quintessential OT (and NT) hero, if only Brueggemann would stop looking at the warmongers and start looking at the life-makers; a theological consideration of the Fall and salvation in Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love; a long seminar paper for my Tillich class that examines the Fall as necessary and even desirable for humankind; and a short research paper on religious antiwar voices during the Vietnam War.
Yeah, I’m busy. Yeah, next year will be busy, too. But I’m going to Saudi Arabia.