See Spot Run:
Reading as a Spiritual Practice 10
Reading for Real Change 22
Lectio Divina: The Art of Divine Reading 25
Does it Matter How You Read a Hymn? 32
Candler School of Theology | Candler Connection : The Reading Issue
Candler Connection Summer 2012
Produced by the Office of Communications, Candler School of Theology Laurel Hanna, Director of Communications Molly Edmonds, Communications Specialist
in this issue
Candler Connection is published two times a year by Candler School of Theology at Emory University and is distributed free to all alumni and other friends of the school. Send correspondence regarding the magazine to: Laurel Hanna, Director of Communications, Candler School of Theology 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322 firstname.lastname@example.org
02 The Collect Reading for comfort, challenge, connection
04 News The latest from Candler
www.candler.emory.edu This magazine can also be viewed online.
36 Giving Campaign Update
44 Benediction Photography: Emory Photo/Video Ann Borden Cindy Brown Don Chambers M. Patrick Graham
Brooks Holifield offers closing thoughts on reading
Faculty: 16 Required Reading What faculty are reading now
Mary Lou Greenwood Boice Alex Thompson Design by Wages Design www.wagesdesign.com
Copyright 2012 | Candler School of Theology, Emory University. All rights reserved. Articles may be reprinted in full or in part if source is acknowledged.
20 New Books by Candler Faculty 28 Now & Then: A Faculty Dialogue Professor emeritus Bill Mallard and current professor Ellen Ott Marshall talk teaching
Alumni: 18 An Interview with Stacia Brown Candler alumna turns novelist with Accidents of Providence
37 What Alumni Are Reading 38 Commencement 2012 The day in pictures
40 Class Notes
Resources: 34 Reading Beyond the Lines Volunteers at Pitts Theology Library expand its reach around the world
42 Upcoming at Candler Mark your calendars
10 25 22 14
See Spot Run: Reading as a Spiritual Practice
Carol Newsom ponders the spiritual dimensions of reading
Reading for Real Change
Contextual Education changes the lives of two first-years and a refugee family
Lectio Divina: The Art of Divine Reading
An ancient way of praying Scripture the Benedictines call
“listening with the ear of one’s heart”
Does It Matter How You Read a Hymn?
John Bell of Scotland’s Iona Community on hymns, memory, and technology
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
â€œWe believe Connection can foster community among the 7,500 Candler alumni around the world.â€?
to the new Candler Connection, the magazine for
alumni and friends of Candler School of Theology. We’re back after a three-year hiatus and we’re eager to share the new look and feel with you. Why are we bringing Connection back? Why should you add one more thing to your reading list? The simple answer is that we believe this magazine can foster community among the 7,500 Candler alumni around the world. We’re proud of your accomplishments, and we’re proud of the vibrant place that is Candler School of Theology. We want to share your accomplishments and keep you up-to-date on ours. The slightly more complicated answer of why we’re asking you to read Connection gets to the question of why we read anything, be it a book, a magazine article, or a greeting card. It’s a question Carol Newsom takes up in our cover story about reading as spiritual practice, about the magic that happens when you find the right book at the right time. I have a long list of books that have created that kind of magic in my life. I remember my days as a student traveling solo for three months through Africa, and how a classic novel I found on a hostel bookshelf relieved a particularly intense bout of loneliness and opened me up to the opportunities that lay ahead. I think of my husband reading Cold Mountain aloud to our family on a road trip, and how we pulled the car over a mile shy of our destination so we could finish the last few gripping pages; we were so connected by the story that we shared a collective embrace as we wept over the ending. I recall giving Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies to a colleague at the University of South Carolina who was having trouble reconciling a strong pull toward Christianity with her academic training. I believe the book helped reveal God’s grace and love anew and readied her to face the challenge of living into the mysteries of faith. Reading can be both comforting and challenging. We hope that Connection will be a little bit of both—a comfort as it connects you with your classmates and with what is happening at Candler now, and a challenge as it reminds you that transformation within ourselves, our churches, our communities, and our world requires growth and change. May one of the articles in this issue or a future issue be the right thing for you at the right time. Grace and peace,
Jan Love Dean and Professor of Christianity and World Politics
Dean Love is currently reading Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times by Eyal Press.
Rollins Gift Makes Phase II Possible Candler School of Theology
In announcing the gift January 19 at Candler’s
has received a $15 million gift from the O. Wayne
spring semester convocation, Dean Love said the
Rollins Foundation of Atlanta that makes possible
new building “will bring our front door back to
the construction of the second phase of the school’s
where it rightfully belongs, directly across from the
new building program. In recognition of this gift,
front door of Cannon Chapel,” the center of worship
the first building—a 65,000-square-foot facility
on campus. “We’re off and running,” she said.
completed in 2008—will be named in memory of the late Rita Anne Rollins, the first grandchild of the
“My grandparents, O. Wayne and Grace Rollins,
believed in giving to living institutions that would affect people’s lives. Our family has strived to keep
“This gift allows Candler to provide state-of-the-art
that vision alive by the Foundation’s continued inter-
library and teaching facilities that are critical to ful-
est in many areas at Emory University,” says Amy
filling our mission of preparing faithful and creative
Rollins Kreisler, director of the O. Wayne Rollins
leaders for the church’s ministries in the world,”
Foundation. “We are very pleased to be a part of the
says Jan Love, dean of Candler School of Theol-
continued growth of Candler School of Theology.”
Architect’s rendering of the main entry of the new Candler School of Theology building. The existing building, Phase I (on the left), and Phase II (on the right) will be linked by a glass atrium.
gathering spaces, and Emory’s Center for Ethics.
ogy. “We are most grateful to the Rollins family for making it possible for us to continue enhancing
Opened in 2008, the Rita Anne Rollins Building
The Rollins Foundation gift will make it possible for
theological education at Emory.”
houses Candler School of Theology classrooms,
Candler to move forward with the second phase of its
administrative and faculty offices, community
Both buildings are designed for smart technology and LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In keeping with Emory’s architectural style, the structures blend Italianate design with marble and stucco exteriors and clay tile roofs. Candler School of Theology is one of 13 seminaries of The United Methodist Church, with nearly 500 students from 46 denominations and 7,500 alumni worldwide. Since its founding in 1914, the school has been recognized as a premier institution for the preparation of
Scotland Bound: Thompson Awarded Bobby Jones Fellowship
leaders for Christian ministries. In any given year, 70 percent of Candler’s graduates go on to serve as pastors in local congregations, with the majority serving churches across Georgia and the Southeast. O. Wayne Rollins, a native of north Georgia, was a self-made business entrepreneur and a steward of the “free enterprise system.” He and his brother John participated in numerous successful business ventures, including radio and television stations, cable television, oil field services, truck leasing, boat manufacturing, real estate and—most famously—the 1964 purchase of Orkin, Inc., the first documented leveraged buyout in U.S. business history. Following his death in 1991, his sons, Randall and Gary Rollins, have continued to build the Rollins companies. Created in 1967, the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation continues the mission of now four generations of the Rollins family, which includes supporting religious institutions that are important to the family and that espouse the spiritual, moral, and ethical principles of O. Wayne Rollins, in addition to supporting medical research and public health issues at colleges and universities. Early major gifts to Emory University—to Candler School of Theology, the O.
Second-year MDiv student Alex Thompson is the 2012–2013 recipient of Emory’s Robert T. Jones Jr. Fellowship. Inaugurated in 2008, the fellowship provides full funding for one year of graduate study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Fellows are selected based on their records of intellectual excellence and high potential for postgraduate success in their chosen field. Thompson will pursue a Master of Letters in Scripture and Theology while at St. Andrews.
Wayne Rollins Research Building, and the Rollins School of Public Health—exemplify the family’s
“This interdisciplinary program explores issues of biblical interpretation in dialogue with Christian
commitment to serving humanity.
history, hermeneutics, and systematic theology,” Thompson explains. “I hope to explore more fully the connections between these often disparate branches of theology, focusing specifically on the
This latest gift from the Rollins Foundation is part of
issues regarding Paul’s theology and his interpretation of the Old Testament.”
Campaign Emory, the university’s $1.6 billion fundraising endeavor that combines private support and
Thompson also hopes to connect to a worshipping community and continue to grow in the faith
Emory’s people, places, and programs to make a
through daily practices of prayer and meditative reading, drawing inspiration from Scotland’s rich
powerful contribution to the world. As of Dec. 31, 2011,
Christian heritage of monasticism and pilgrimage. “My plan is to grow not only academically,
donors had generated $1.39 billion toward the goal. n
but spiritually, as I continue to explore my ministerial vocation,” he says. n
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
A Fond Farewell: Petersen to Retire
David L. Petersen, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and Franklin N. Parker Professor of Old Testament, will retire at the end of the 2012–2013 academic term, capping off a decade of service to Candler and a 40-year career in theological education. At a reception in his honor, fellow Old Testament professor Joel LeMon praised Petersen for his exacting editing and disciplined, methodical approach, and colleague Rex Matthews praised his wise and principled leadership, saying Petersen was someone people trusted to make good decisions, “even—or perhaps especially—when they were hard decisions.” Dean Jan Love extolled Petersen’s administrative acumen and good humor, noting that both have benefited Candler during his 10 years on the faculty. The author or editor of 20 books and more than 70 articles, chapters, and major dictionary entries, Petersen has plied his editing expertise most recently as the convener of the translation board and the Old Testament editor of the Common English Bible, published in 2011. He has served on boards of directors and editorial boards for numerous organizations and scholarly journals over the course of his career, and was president of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2004—an honor Petersen counts as one of his most significant professional accomplishments. Petersen is a consummate scholar-teacher, praised by peers and students alike. He was awarded the university’s Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007, and twice was voted “Professor of the Year” by Candler students. Equally adept at constructing critical scholarship and explaining it to a wide audience, he considers himself fortunate to have been involved in two distinct types of publications during his career: scholarly volumes intended for students, pastors, and academics,
“I will miss working with the extraordinarily talented people who make up a place like Candler and the broader Emory community. It has been a rare privilege to work at one of the best theological schools in the world.” —David Petersen
and other works intended to make the Bible more accessible to general readers. Known for his pedagogical penchant for linking his two loves—fly fishing and the Old Testament—in class demonstrations in Rudolph Courtyard, Petersen will pursue angling in earnest at the conclusion
Read an expanded interview with David Petersen
of his sabbatical next year. n
in the online edition of Connection, available at www.candler.emory.edu.
Gregory Ellison, assistant professor of pastoral
New Offerings Expand Curriculum
care and counseling, received an award of $31,200
Candler has added three new offerings to its cur-
from the Louisville Institute First Book Grants for
riculum: a joint degree in bioethics (MTS/MA) in
Minority Scholars program. The grant is for his
conjunction with the Laney Graduate School and
2012–2013 sabbatical year project, “The Silent
the Center for Ethics, a joint degree in development
Fraternity: Minority Male Traumas and the Mystical
practices (MDiv/MDP) in conjunction with the Laney
Power of Silence.”
Graduate School, and an MDiv concentration in
Ellison Wins Book Grant 01
Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation.
Significant Staff Milestones This spring we celebrated the contributions of three staff members who have served Candler
This brings the number of joint degrees to eight and the number of concentrations to eleven.
for a combined 71 years. Brad Jones, director
Online Courses Introduced
of finance and administration, completed his
Candler’s first online-only courses debuted in 2012
between 15 and 20 faculty will have received
25th year of service to Candler. Associate Dean of
with Methodist Studies courses taught by Anne
this training by the end of summer 2013. “Our
Admissions and Financial Aid Mary Lou Greenwood
Burkholder and Bill Daniel. Other professors are
basic philosophical approach to theological
Boice marked her 20th anniversary at Candler; she
incorporating online elements, such as chat, blogging,
education is that it is an embodied experience,
has served as associate dean of admissions and as
and videoconferencing into courses that have class-
but many of us have been impressed with how
associate dean of development during different
room meetings as well. Candler received an Emory
digital technologies have offered interesting
periods of her tenure. Marilyn Schertz, director of
University grant that enables professors to be trained
opportunities for new ways of learning,” Dean
Candler Media, celebrated her 26th anniversary
in integrating digital elements into education;
Jan Love told the Emory Wheel in January.
at the school. She retired at the end of the spring semester.
Long on Acclaim 02 Thomas G. Long’s What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith (Eerdmans, 2011) has won the Academy of Parish Clergy’s 2011 Book of the Year Award, an honor “given to the best book published for parish ministry in the previous year.” In the book, Long offers a biblical, pastoral response to the problem of God and human suffering, exploring what preachers can and should say in response to the painful questions we ask in the face of catastrophe: Is God all-powerful? Is God good? If so, how can
God allow such devastation? Long is Bandy Professor of Preaching and Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Strawn Appointed to Editorial Board 03
New Faculty for Fall
Dean’s Lecture Series Debuts 04
Four colleagues will join Candler’s faculty this fall.
In Fall 2011, Candler introduced the Dean’s Lecture
Brent A. Strawn, associate professor of Old
The Right Reverend J. Neil Alexander will leave his
Series, featuring influential voices in history, culture,
Testament, was appointed to the editorial board
current post as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of
academics, and ministry. Bernard LaFayette Jr.,
of the Old Testament Library series, published
Atlanta and join us as professor in the practice of lit-
Candler’s distinguished senior scholar-in-residence,
by Westminster John Knox Press. The board also
urgy and director of the Episcopal Studies Program.
kicked off the series with a discussion of his experi-
includes Candler professors Carol A. Newsom and
Jehu J. Hanciles will join us as the D.W. and Ruth
ences as a Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights
David L. Petersen. “Brent Strawn brings wonderful
Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity.
Movement (pictured above). Other presenters included
scholarly and editorial expertise to the OTL board,”
A native of Sierra Leone, Hanciles’ recent research
Gary Simpson on preaching, Candida Moss on
Petersen said. “We are fortunate that he will help
examines the interconnection between globalization,
martyrdom, Jennifer Graber 99T on Christian prisons
guide the next generation of publications in this
migration, and religious expansion. Ted A. Smith
in the early American republic, and Curtis Evans on
will join us as assistant professor of preaching and
identity and the black church.
ethics. He works at the intersections of practical and political theology, giving special attention to
Partners in Peacebuilding
the forms preaching and worship take in modern
Candler and General Theological Seminary (GTS)
societies. Susan E. Hylen will join us as an associate
in New York are developing a new joint program in
research professor of New Testament. An author of
Peacebuilding, Justice, and Conflict Transformation.
books on the gospel of John, her current research
Designed for clergy, laity, community organizers,
explores the roles and authority of women in the
youth workers, teachers, students and others inter-
first five centuries of Christianity.
ested in learning peacebuilding skills, the program takes place at the Desmond Tutu Center on the GTS campus in Manhattan January 9-12, 2013. For more information, contact Candler’s Office of Lifelong Learning, OLL@emory.edu.
Dean’s Lectures are free and open to the public. Speakers for 2012–2013 will be posted on Candler’s website, www.candler.emory.edu.
“Singing Church” Makes Halls of Candler Ring
On March 19–21, Candler hosted its spring conference, “The Singing Church: Current Practices and Emerging Trends in Congregational Song.” The conference featured an ecumenical group of musicians and scholars exploring the issue of music in worship, and the days were filled with workshops, worship services, and plenary sessions. More than 100 participants heard and sang many different types of songs—the conference was designed to break down preconceived notions of what church music can be. When conference attendees weren’t singing, they were engaged in conversations about how to create a church music program that satisfies and challenges a diverse congregation. “The question is not about what a church likes or doesn’t like, but what they need,” said conference presenter Delores Dufner, a Benedictine nun and hymn writer. “When selecting songs for worship, ask not ‘Do you like it?’ but ‘What do we need to sing to be the church God calls us to be?’” The conference also featured a presentation by John Bell of the Iona Community (see page 32 for more with Bell). The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Candler’s endowment for the Avary Program in Church Leadership provided funding support for the conference. n
See Spot Run : Reading as a Spiritual Practice
See Spot Run:
Reading as a Spiritual Practice Carol Newsom opened Candler’s Spring 2012
By Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament
semester with this convocation address mining the spiritual dimensions of reading.
It’s the beginning of a new semester. You’ve met your classes, picked up your syllabi, and, if you’re really obsessive, you’ve totaled up the pages of reading for each class—though I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t take long to realize how much of our lives are preoccupied with the business of reading. It’s what we do, several hours a day, every day. It’s not only academic reading; there’s the morning newspaper, the instructions on the back of the oatmeal box, the daily email and Facebook posts, the chapter in the novel you got for Christmas.
We live in a sea of reading, and like fish, we’re
before first grade; it was best left to the profession-
One of the things we often forget about reading
mostly oblivious to what we swim in. At most,
als. And I wanted to read so badly. My mother tells
is how recent an activity it is in relation to human
reading is simply instrumental, something we do to
me that when I was five, she would read storybooks
history. Reading and writing are barely 5,000 years
accomplish the task at hand: prep for class, research
to me, and as I sat by her side, I would cry because I
old, and widespread literacy is a product of just the
a paper, find the information we need. We seldom
could not read them myself.
last few hundred years. In antiquity, when literacy
stop to consider the act of reading itself—how
was limited, reading and writing were treated with
peculiar it is, and what its spiritual dimensions
When I finally got to first grade and we learned to
some ambivalence. In one of the dialogues of Plato,
might be. So I think it’s worthwhile to pause and
read, I was ecstatic. I remember how we would go
Socrates famously casts aspersions on the written
reflect a bit on reading—and I mean reading almost
around the class, reading the sentences in turn. My
word in contrast to face-to-face dialogue. “Writing,”
anything—as a spiritual practice.
first reader was one of the Dick and Jane books that
he sniffs, “is unfortunately like painting; for the cre-
people poke so much fun at, but I took the drama of
ations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet
Reading is not a natural activity for humans in the
Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff, and Spot with utmost serious-
if you ask them a question, they preserve a solemn
way that spoken language is. Children are biologi-
ness. Every sentence, I thought, should be read with
silence.” The problem with writing is that the author
cally primed to learn spoken language, so they just
the maximum intensity of dramatic emotion. So
is absent. There is no real presence, so it is not as
pick it up. But not reading—reading has to be
when it came my time, I would give it my all:
good as direct speech.
taught. When I was growing up in the 1950s, parents
“See Spot run. RUN, SPOT, RUN!” But silly as I
were discouraged from teaching their children to
was, I got one thing right: reading was magical and
I’m not interested in the debate as to which is better,
read. It didn’t matter if your child was ready to read
powerful, and it was worth being excited about. Even
but I think Socrates, despite himself, identifies one
a little overexcited.
of the things about reading the written word that is spiritually fascinating: Reading mediates to us the mystery of the dialectic of presence and absence. Socrates was right about one thing: The very act of reading something means that the author is not
The written word has long been one of the ways humans attempt to transcend the separation of death.
present. Even with a phone call, you hear the physical voice of the person. But when you receive a letter or an email, there is nothing physically present to you of that person. But that letter, that written word, refuses—defies—the banishment of pure absence.
By mediating presence and absence, reading is one
was their leader. Yet as they stand on the border of
Through those marks on the page or screen, your
of the ways we regularly acknowledge but attempt to
the promised land, God tells Moses that he cannot
friend, your lover, your child is somehow present to
transcend the separation of death.
go with the people. He must die on the far side
you, despite his or her absence.
of the Jordan. Moses commanded them:…when all Israel
Almost every documentary that explores the experi-
comes to appear before the Lord your God
Deuteronomy is Moses’ farewell speech to the
ences of soldiers at war will focus at some point
at the location he selects, you must read
people, telling them everything they need to know—
on the role of letters: the letters that soldiers write
this Instruction aloud, in the hearing of
their history, the laws, his admonitions. But he
to their loved ones back home, the hunger with
all the people.
doesn’t just tell them; he writes the teaching and
which they receive letters from home. The anguish of absence is soothed by the presence-that-marks-
gives it to the priests. Facing his death, knowing From Deuteronomy 31:10-11 (CEB)
absence-yet-defies-it that comes from reading the
that he cannot cross over, Moses turns himself into a book, a book that can go with the people and con-
words of a loved one. War letters are particularly
Moses knew this. In Deuteronomy, he commands
tinue to be their teacher and guide. And every time
poignant because of the hovering possibility of the
the people to gather every seventh year at the Feast
that book is read, the mystery of absence and pres-
ultimate absence: death. And yet the written word
of Booths and publicly read the Instruction aloud.
ence is enacted, an absence that cannot be denied
has long been one of the ways in which humans at-
Context helps: Moses had led the people out of
but a presence that keeps transcending it.
tempt to transcend the separation that death brings.
Egypt, into the desert, and had mediated the cov-
It is common for soldiers to write a letter to be deliv-
enant with God at Sinai. Relations with the people
So, the first of the spiritual dimensions of reading
ered to their families only in the case of their deaths,
were not easy. The forty years in the wilderness were
is the way it involves us in that mystery of absence
a letter that speaks for them even after they are gone.
not Moses’ idea of a bonding experience, but he
See Spot Run : Reading as a Spiritual Practice
memorizing and passing on tradition, and books
since the destruction of Qumran in A.D. 68. Bring-
can become lost. The second thing that the act of
ing these lost songs back to life for others to read
reading helps us ponder is the mystery of remember-
was one of the most meaningful things I have ever
ing and forgetting, the mystery of lost and found.
done. And they were no mere curiosity: They have helped us understand the origin of practices that
Socrates was right that the more we rely on books,
are still present in modern Eucharistic liturgies and
the less we rely on our memories. But written texts,
synagogue prayers. We did not even know they had
too, are fragile things (including electronically
been lost. But when they were found, we understood
written texts, as we all know from hitting the wrong
our history and our identity in a subtle but important
button on our computers). When books are lost, we
Now back to Socrates. When it was suggested to
are cut off from important elements of our past—cut
Socrates that one of the marvels of writing was that
off from our history, from aspects of our identity.
it preserved words precisely and indelibly and so
…there the king read out loud all the words of the covenant scroll
freed people from the labor of memorizing, Socrates
I know this firsthand. For over thirty years I have
that had been found in the Lord’s
sniffed that it allowed people to neglect their
been part of the international team of translators
temple…All of the people accepted
memories, making them more ignorant than they
of the Dead Sea Scrolls, books that were truly lost
previously were. He has a point. In cultures where
for almost 2,000 years. The first text I was assigned
both literacy and orality were strong, it was custom-
was a beautiful collection of mystical songs for the
ary to memorize even written texts. The Bible calls
Sabbath. When they were handed to me, only two or
this “writing on the tablets of the mind.” The book
three members of the team had ever read them. I was
The book of 2 Kings preserves another account of
was simply a back-up system. But people can cease
one of a handful of people to have read these texts
a lost and found book—a discovery with terrifying
From 2 Kings 23:2-3 (CEB)
Carol Newsom | What I’m reading now Why do I read what I do? I try to read about people whose experiences are different than my own, hoping they will help me see the world I cannot imagine but very much need to understand. I’ve recently read the Hunger Games trilogy, which connects me with how young adults think about unexpected and often unfair challenges not of their own making that nevertheless require them to make life-changing decisions. Those of us a generation or two older should take these books very seriously. But I also seek out books about people not so young who have to face the possibility of life’s end. One of the most profound is by my friend, James Kugel, who was diagnosed with an apparently fatal cancer at age 54. Although, fortunately, he is in long-term remission, he used his experiences to reflect on how the sense of human finitude grounds our sense of the divine. In the Valley of the Shadow is one of the most original reflections on the foundations of religious belief I have ever read. He doesn’t offer an easy read or easy answers—but neither does impending death. But he is honest and generous and compelling. You want to read this book.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
implications. During repairs conducted on the tem-
Augustine, Hildegard, Aquinas, Luther, Wesley have
The Code of the State of Georgia from 1848 reads
ple during the reign of Josiah, a book is found. “A
never been lost, but they may not have been known
scroll of the teaching,” which, we are to understand,
to you. Encountering them here, now, may be like
is a form of the book of Deuteronomy, apparently
coming upon a great, lost library that you are just
lost for centuries and now rediscovered. The narra-
now finding. And you may be the ideal reader they
tive presumes, though it does not explain how, that
have been patiently waiting for. The transformative
the very book that Moses had written had been care-
power of your reading of them may truly speak to
lessly stored in the temple, neglected and forgotten.
you of a past you did not know. These books may
Then by accident (or was it Providence?) the book
orient you to a way of seeing that you did not know
was found and read anew before the one king who
was possible, may offer you a way of life you had
Even today in patriarchal societies, girls’ schools
would grasp the gravity of the situation—that the
are attacked and their teachers threatened because
people were not in compliance with the teaching—
If any slave, Negro, or free person of color, or any white person, shall teach any other slave, Negro, or free person of color, to read or write either written or printed characters, the said free person of color or slave shall be punished by fine and whipping, or fine or whipping, at the discretion of the court.
reactionary forces know that educated women will
and would undertake to fulfill the requirements of
So, reading mediates the mystery of absence and
not consent to be in a condition approaching slavery.
the covenant. This patient book had waited, and
presence. It leads us to ponder on the complexity of
And development experts agree that if you want to
finally, it had found its ideal reader.
forgetting and remembering by means of books lost
improve economic well-being, enhance health, and
and books found. But there is one more gift of read-
lower rates of violence, you teach women and girls
ing to be named: empowerment.
to read. Reading is empowerment.
The experience of the humanists of fourteenth century Italy, in what we call the Renaissance, was one
Although the reading of Scripture has always been a central act of Christian worship, the low levels of literacy during many centuries of Christendom
Books may orient you to a way of seeing that you did not know was possible.
meant that most people did not read the Bible themselves, and in the Middle Ages, even when they heard it read, it was in a language they could not understand. The rise of literacy in the modern world has been closely linked with the Protestant Reformation and the desire to empower the laity to read the Bible for themselves. It is bracing to read what
in which the rediscovery of the classical literature of
Even as a six-year-old, I knew that learning to read
ancient Greece and Rome opened up the sense of a
meant a kind of freedom and independence that
new age dawning. Many of the books that had such
I could not have without that knowledge. Once I
transforming power on them were, of course, never
could read, once I could choose my own books at
truly lost; they were in monastery and university
the library, I had my own wings. The most power-
libraries, but they had ceased to seem relevant and
ful evidence of the connection between reading and
were forgotten for centuries. Eventually, when the
empowerment is to be found in the laws and cultural
time was right, these patient books found their ideal
rules designed to prohibit the teaching of reading
to certain classes of people. Most notoriously in
Within a few years, however, Luther had reserva-
Luther said in 1520: “...would God that every town had a girls’ school in which young girls were taught a daily lesson in the New Testament, either in German or in Latin, so that by the time a young person had reached the ninth or tenth year, she would be familiar with the entire Holy Gospel.”
this country was the legal prohibition on teaching
tions about the undisciplined nature of much private
Your own history with the classic texts of Christian
slaves and persons of color to read during the
Bible reading and so placed more emphasis on the
theology may not be too dissimilar. The works of
catechism. And indeed, it doesn’t take long today,
To be truly powerful, reading needs to be done in community, balancing innovation and tradition, retaining but renewing.
visiting Internet Bible sites, to wonder if “every
he is reading, but he confesses that he cannot make
I don’t expect that every moment of your reading
man his own Bible reader” was such a good idea
out the meaning of the passage. And so he appeals
for class will be full of ecstasy. But from time to
after all. Reading is empowering, but isolated,
to Philip to teach him how to read with understand-
time, I hope the magic and wonder of what you are
idiosyncratic reading often leads nowhere useful.
ing. He needs a community of reading to help him
doing—the sheer spiritual gift of reading—will
To be truly powerful, reading needs to be done in
make sense of what he’s read.
reawaken for you the experience of the surprisingly
community, balancing innovation and tradition, retaining but renewing.
vivid presence of the long-gone apostle Paul or the And that, of course, is how we try to read at Candler.
pungent letters of Susanna Wesley to John. That a
Not just by putting in your hands the lost books of
book you never even knew was lost to you finds you
Running up to the carriage, Philip
tradition and saying “good luck,” but by asking you
again and compels you in a way that is almost physi-
heard the man reading Isaiah. He
to bring together your empowered reading—the
cal. That your sense of empowerment—as reader, as
asked, “Do you really understand
reading you bring from your own particular experi-
interpreter—brings you to a new sense of who you
what you are reading?” The man
ence and identity—with that of others differently
are and what you can be.
replied, “Without someone to guide
situated who read differently, and with all the readers
me, how could I?” Then he invited
preserved in tradition who have gone before you
And at those times, think back perhaps to that little
Philip to climb up and sit with him.
and who often read the same text in ways you never
child you once were, just learning to read, when even
would have imagined. I suppose you could think of
the most banal sentence was worthy of investment
Candler School of Theology as one never-ending
and you could imagine saying, “RUN, SPOT, RUN!”
and rather unpredictable “book club,” though if
The man in the passage from Acts is already literate
that’s the case, we may want to pay more attention
Or as I would say to you now:
in that he can make out the words from Isaiah that
to the refreshments.
“READ, FRIENDS, READ!” n
Acts 8:30-31 (CEB)
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Required Reading Fiction, nonfiction, light, deep, critical, inspirational— all make an appearance on this list of the latest good reads recommended by Candler faculty.
Elizabeth Corrie, assistant professor in the
David Orr’s Hope is an Imperative bridges environ-
practice of youth education and peacebuilding, recom-
mental studies and pedagogical theory, resonating
mends A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, by Peter
with Jennifer Ayres, assistant professor of reli-
Mountford. “Disguised as a 21st-century coming-of-
gious education. “Although Orr is not a theologian, he
age novel, it is an excellent introduction to how global
raises questions of meaning, formation, and vocation
capitalism works, and raises lots of wonderful ethical
in relationship to our ecological context, prompting
issues to ponder. Throw in a plot twist and a romance,
us to ask, ‘How do we flourish in an ecological faith?’”
and you have a great read!” she says.
Steven J. Kraftchick, associate professor in the practice of New Testament interpretation, recently finished Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, “a sad but compelling story about a societal response to a vilified group.” Kraftchick says the personalization in the novel helped break down some of society’s widely held stereotypes.
Emmanuel Lartey, professor of pastoral theology, care and counseling, recommends a classic: The Colonizer and the Colonized by Tunisian Jewish philosopher-sociologist Albert Memmi. This exploration of the psychological effects of colonialism on colonized and colonizers alike was confiscated by colonial police and banned throughout the world when the original French version was published in 1957. The American edition, published by
Professor of Christian Ethics Timothy Jackson
Beacon Press, is dedicated ‘to the American Negro,
recommends Stuart Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred:
A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion. “Kauffman argues persuasively that we are now in a position to
Associate Professor of
break the Galilean-Newtonian-Darwinian spell. We
Christian Ethics and Conflict
are beginning to understand that materialist determin-
Transformation Ellen Ott
ism is false, mutations are not random, and natural
Marshall gives two thumbs
selection is not the only engine driving evolution.
up to Tina Fey’s Bossypants
Rather than being Rube Goldberg machines cobbled
“because it’s hilarious—and
together by chance or welded together by necessity, we
we all need a good laugh.”
are ‘at home’ and active in the universe—‘expected’
Next up: Warren St. John’s
rather than pointless. Kauffman does not believe in
Outcasts United, about a
‘a Creator God,’ but he does consider the creativity of
refugee soccer team in
nature in which human beings participate ‘sacred.’”
The Orphan Master’s Son, a novel by Adam Johnson (Random House, 2012) I visited the DMZ with Don Saliers in November, while on a Candler trip to South Korea with him, Karen Scheib, The novel Alice Walker dubbed “The Color Purple for
and Dean Love. It was a sobering day.
the 21st century,” Daniel Black’s Perfect Peace draws
Korea’s unnaturally and tragically
kudos from Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and
divided peninsula, the tense relationship
Counseling Gregory Ellison. The story unfolds
most have with North Korea, and its
the gifts and challenges of Perfect, a child born as
close proximity to Seoul, the world’s sec-
a boy but raised by his mother as a girl. “An excel-
ond largest metropolitan area, were made graphically real as we peered over
lent resource for caregivers concerned with issues of
the blue line into North Korea. The visit was made surreal as we learned of
trauma, sexuality, and family systems,” says Ellison.
“Propaganda Village,” an illusion of a community maintained by the North Koreans that is not actually inhabited, and of the nature preserve that the DMZ has become since its establishment in 1953. A walk through an incur-
R.W. Woodruff Professor
sion tunnel, one of four dug by the North Koreans into South Korea and dis-
of New Testament and
covered as recently as 1990, made us mindful that the uneasy truce between
Christian Origins Luke
these nations is much more active than the wildlife preserve would imply.
Timothy Johnson admires the “splendid journalism on politics and culture” in Michael Kelly’s Things Worth Fighting For: Collected Writings. Next on his reading list is Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens. “Given my proclivities toward theology and art history, it will come as no surprise that the most
Our trip—worshipping in the churches of Candler graduates, visiting with
recent theological work I have read is David Brown’s
Candler and GDR alumni, meeting faculty and prospective students at a
Tradition and Imagination: Revelation and Change,”
number of universities and seminaries—was extraordinary! When I saw a
reports David Pacini, professor of historical
brief review of The Orphan Master’s Son, I was anxious to read it. The mother
theology. “Brown’s aim is to show that far from being
of the novel’s main character was an accomplished singer, kidnapped by
opposites, tradition and revelation are indissolubly
the North Koreans to entertain the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jung-Il. His father
and dynamically linked. Indeed, Brown argues that
oversaw a work camp for orphans. In time the protagonist rises through
Christian practice is deeply embedded in a narrative
the ranks of the North Korean military, visits South Korea via an incursion
that goes well beyond Scripture. The history of art
tunnel, and even visits the Texas ranch of a United States senator. Through
plays a significant role in the expansiveness of this
his eyes, a corrupt government, arbitrary in its rewards and punishments,
narrative. Even though Brown’s scholarship is massive,
and a hungry, subdued people are revealed, as are beauty and romance. It
the book is clearly written and highly accessible. Still
was a thriller I could not put down!
more, he has comparative religious sensibilities that make this a must-read for the challenges that face us in the church today.”
— Mary Lou Greenwood Boice, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
An interview with
Stacia Brown The Candler alumna and first-time novelist talks about reading, writing, and Accidents of Providence
I first met Stacia Brown 98T 07G when
I was a student in David Pacini’s Comparative Theology and Literature class and she was a guest facilitator for creative writing. To be quite frank, the class was a wonderful experience! We got to read a novel every week and then come to
By Shawn Scott 09T
class to discuss its theological themes. Needless to say, consuming this literature served as a much-needed break from Schleiermacher, Hegel, and other such philosophical heavyweights. The class was so great that a small group of us decided to keep it going with an informal book club the following summer. The group consisted of Stacia, Dr. Pacini, me, and two other students, and we have kept the book club going since that time. In addition to holding down a full-time job as a major gifts officer at Emory’s School of Medicine—and her faithful attendance at book club—Stacia has recently published her first novel, Accidents of Providence (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). The book tells the tale of Rachel Lockyer, an unmarried glove maker in seventeenth century London, who is being investigated for the murder of her illegitimate newborn. Stacia’s meticulously researched telling of Rachel’s investigation and public trial places the story in its historical and theological contexts as only a first-rate scholar and skilled novelist can, and the book is receiving wide acclaim. Though we have a strict “what happens in book club, stays in book club” policy, Stacia has granted me permission to share with you here a snippet of one of our conversations about the book and her experience writing it.
An Interview with Stacia Brown
What inspired you to write Accidents of Providence?
What is it like writing a novel while working full-time?
I began writing the book in 2006 just after finishing
How does theology fit into the book? Are there explicit theological themes in the narrative?
the final draft of my dissertation. I wanted to do
Accidents is set in Puritan London, so by the nature
can remember—I’ve always had some kind of major
something totally different, outside of my area of
of the time period, many of the characters in the
project that I’m working on around and in between
expertise. At the same time, I had all this research
story hold fast to various faith commitments. They
all the other daily requirements. I like to complain
piled up from my dissertation. I wanted to explore
also don’t quite know how to live out those commit-
about it, but secretly I probably like it, or I wouldn’t
the moral consequences of inaction as well as action.
ments in day-to-day life. I’m much less interested in
have been doing it for all these years.
The consequences of waiting too long—to do
abstract theological themes than in the messy and
something, to become something, to say something
idiosyncratic ways we try to live up to our internal-
What is your next novel about?
—can be disastrous. But we all have been in such
ized expectations of those themes. What is my duty,
It’s the story of an earnest, young missionary in
It’s a challenge. But I’ve been like this for as long as I
situations. You wait too long
my moral obligation, to my
1900s San Francisco who accidentally marries the
for that perfect person, that
spouse, for example, or to the
wrong sister. I lifted the idea from the biblical
ideal mate. You wait too long
one I love? What do I owe my
story of Jacob, who wants to marry Rachel, but gets
to put an offer on the house.
child? What do I owe another
tricked into bedding down with Leah on his wedding
You wait too long to pursue a
person’s child? How about
night. That story always frustrated me: How could
dream and suddenly you can’t
my friend? Who counts as my
anyone be so ridiculous, so near-sighted, as to wind
travel anymore, you can’t af-
friend? What happens when
up in bed with the wrong person? So I decided to run
ford to go back to school. You
our friends fail us?
with it. It’s not a bad idea, I’ve discovered, to write
wait too long to apologize and
about something that bothers you.
mattered is irreparably dam-
Who are some of your favorite authors?
aged. I was intrigued by how
My favorite living writer is
lives are changed by waiting, by
probably Annie Dillard. My
Is there anything you think Connection readers would want to know about you and your book?
hesitation, by those moments
all-time favorite novelist is
when we think we should do
My experiences at Candler and at Emory’s Graduate
probably Ernest Hemingway.
something but we don’t.
Division of Religion gave me the confidence and the
For historical fiction, I greatly
training I needed to write this book. My teachers
admire Penelope Fitzgerald’s
and mentors didn’t tell me how to become a fiction
book about the Romantics,
writer. They had no idea that was in the works. But
The Blue Flower. I read widely
they taught me something that matters more: They
and across genres. If it’s got
taught me to read carefully and to listen intently,
a jacket cover on it and pages
to attend to the world around me. For an aspiring
inside, I’ll probably read it.
novelist, there is no greater gift. n
suddenly a relationship that
How did your time at Candler and Emory influence this book? I learned to become a more
Rachel Lockyer, an unmarried glove maker in seventeenth century London, is being investigated for the murder of her illegitimate newborn.
careful and generous reader while I was at Candler—and becoming a stronger reader helped me become a stronger writer. I also learned to think theologically and historically, and
Shawn Scott is director of annual giving at
those interests played a big role in shaping this novel.
Candler. He’s currently reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
New Books by Candler Faculty
James Abbington, Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship
Anthony A. Briggman, Assistant Professor of the History of Early Christianity
Associate editor, Total Praise: Songs and Other Worship Resources for Every Generation, GIA/National Baptist Convention, 2011
Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit, Oxford University Press, 2012
This landmark publication is a multi-faceted worship
Irenaeus’ theology of the Holy Spirit is often highly
tool for designing traditional or contemporary services,
regarded among theologians today, but that regard is
featuring 569 songs in all styles (hymns, spirituals, his-
not universal, nor has an adequate volume of literature
toric and modern gospel, and praise and worship music);
supported it. This study provides a detailed examina-
52 responsive readings; 46 litanies designed for special days throughout the
tion of certain principal, often distinctive, aspects of Irenaeus’ pneumatology.
year, such as church anniversaries, Advent, singles ministry, etc; and support-
In contrast to those who have suggested Irenaeus held a weak conception of
ing resources including the church covenant and articles of faith.
the person and work of the Holy Spirit, Briggman demonstrates that Irenaeus combined Second Temple Jewish traditions of the spirit with New Testament theology to produce the most complex Jewish-Christian pneumatology of the
Jennifer R. Ayres, Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Director of the Religious Education Program
Waiting For a Glacier to Move, Pickwick Publications, 2011
Timothy P. Jackson, Professor of Christian Ethics
When asked about his work for social change, one
Editor, The Best Love of the Child: Being Loved and Being Taught to Love as the First Human Right, Eerdmans, 2011
Presbyterian elder and activist sighed, “You always have the feeling that you’re attacking an iceberg with an ice
Much has been written about the rights owed to
pick. . . . But still, some people do listen, and it does some
children: the right to live, the right to be nurtured and
good. As they say, even glaciers move every now and then.” The work for social change is long, arduous, and yields only the smallest of results. What sustains
cared for, the right to an ample measure of health and happiness—and, especially, the right to be loved. In this
religious social activists while they chip away at social change? This book
volume, twenty scholars from across sociological, psychological, historical,
examines the practice of social activism from the inside out, exploring how
philosophical, theological, and legal disciplines argue that the right of children
activists are affected by their participation in the public sphere.
to be loved can best be fulfilled by teaching them how to love others.
New Books by Candler Faculty
Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching and Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology
David L. Petersen, Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and Franklin N. Parker Professor of Old Testament
What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith, Eerdmans, 2011
Co-editor, The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation, Brill, 2012
Tsunamis, earthquakes, famines, diseases, wars—these
Written by leading experts in the field, The Book of Genesis
and other devastating catastrophes lead Christians to
offers a wide-ranging treatment of the main aspects of
ask painful questions. Is God all-powerful? Is God good?
Genesis study. Its 29 essays fall under four main sections.
If so, how can God allow so much human suffering? These questions, taken
The first section contains studies of a more general nature, including the history
together, have been called the “theodicy problem,” and Long explores what
of Genesis in critical study, Genesis in literary and historical study, as well as
preachers can and should say in response. He reviews the origins and history
the function of Genesis in the Pentateuch. The second section contains com-
of the theodicy problem and engages the work of other thinkers who have
mentary on or interpretation of specific passages of Genesis, as well as essays
posed solutions to it. Cautioning pastors not to ignore urgent theodicy-related
on its formation, genres, and themes. The third section contains essays on the
questions arising from their parishioners, he offers biblically based approaches
textual history and reception of Genesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
to preaching on theodicy.
The final section explores the theologies of the book of Genesis, including essays on Genesis and ecology and Genesis in the context of Jewish thought.
Rex D. Matthews, Associate Professor in the Practice of Historical Theology Editor, The Renewal of United Methodism: Mission, Ministry and Connectionalism: Essays in Honor of Russell E. Richey, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, UMC 2012 A distinguished group of United Methodist seminary pro-
Brent A. Strawn, Associate Professor of Old Testament Editor, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible, Oxford University Press, 2011
fessors celebrates the life and work of Russell E. Richey
Strawn serves on the five-person editorial board for the
in this book of essays highlighting important themes
two-volume, 1,056-page OEBB, which offers a compre-
around which much of Richey’s scholarly research and writing have focused:
hensive look at the books of the Bible, including not only
ministry and mission; denominationalism and connectionalism; ecclesiology
the canonical books, but the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha,
and evangelism; and doctrine and theology. Contributors to this volume share
and a variety of genres that were popular at the time the books were written.
the conviction that the genuine renewal of United Methodism is more likely
One unique feature of this resource is a set of comparison charts of biblical
to result from careful attention to and serious engagement with the work of
canons, outlining the similarities and differences among six groups: Jewish,
the church’s scholars and teachers, exemplified by Russ Richey, than from the
Protestant, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Slavonic (Russian Orthodox),
proposals of organizational consultants and management experts from the
and Ethiopian Orthodox.
business world. Ian McFarland, Professor of Systematic Theology Editor, The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology, Cambridge University Press, 2011 Sixteen Candler faculty contributed to this 572-page volume, which contains more than 550 entries from “Abba” to “Zwingli.” McFarland served as one of four editors, responsible for drafting the initial proposal for Cambridge and managing all correspondence with the contributors. He also wrote 150 entries himself. Other Candler contributors were Noel Erskine, Timothy Jackson, Steven Kraftchick, Emmanuel Lartey, Thomas Long, Walter Lowe, Jan Love, Rex Matthews, Joy McDougall, Don Saliers, Luther Smith, Jr., John Snarey, Brent Strawn, Jonathan Strom, and M. Thomas Thangaraj.
David L. Petersen and Brent A. Strawn Common English Bible, CEB Committee, 2011 The Common English Bible is a bold new translation for the 21st century, balancing academic accuracy with modern readability. It was translated and edited by 120 biblical scholars from 24 denominations. Petersen was convener of the translation board as well as Old Testament editor; Strawn served as Hebrew associate editor. Between the two of them, they edited 33 of 39 Old Testament books. Strawn also served as first translator for the book of Deuteronomy. Other Candler faculty serving as translators include Luke Timothy Johnson, Walter Wilson, and Jacob Wright.
Candler | Connection
for Real Change
Two first-year MDivs and a refugee family find the comfort of home through the power of reading. by April L. Bogle
First-year MDivs Rachelle Renee Brown and Miranda-Lynn Gartin up and left lucrative marketing careers in Ohio and California because they wanted to make a difference in the world. Little did these corporate exiles know that teaching English literacy to an immigrant Burmese family—a mom and dad with four children who had spent most or all of their lives in a Thai refugee camp—would make a world of difference disappear. Brown and Gartin were paired last August with the
They began to feel like strangers in a strange land,
Wah family by Refugee Family Services and Candler’s
though, when they found out the family was from
Contextual Education program, which places students
Burma and spoke the language Karen, and their
in social service, clinical, and ecclesial settings to
phone call to set up their first visit was greeted
gain practical ministry experience. Both students
with “wrong number” and a disconnect. Yet this
felt confident when they signed up to work with the
mutual disorientation quickly became their common
Refugee/Immigration Program. Gartin had taught
ground. They discovered it at the Wah family home
literacy in Honduras and Guatemala and felt certain
in Clarkston, Ga., which Brown and Gartin set out to
this experience would help her teach others. Brown
find—despite the phone disconnect—and then came
assumed her fluency in Spanish would be an asset.
to eagerly anticipate each week.
Reading for Real Change
“It has been transformative because I learned we’re
The Wahs fled Burma for their safety and came to the
The Wahs received these gifts with total grace, a
not all that different, and that was a huge bonding
U.S. with no jobs, no home, no country—and almost
demonstration of the family’s Christian faith the
experience,” said Gartin, who for the first time in
no English language skills.
students had rarely encountered. “Working with
her life was no longer within driving distance of
the Wahs has changed my perspective on everything,
her family. “The Wahs became my first network of
“They had left their country and lost everything, so
especially Christianity,” says Brown. “Their defini-
literacy was only a minor issue when we first met,”
tion is different from mine—peace at all costs even
says Gartin. “We immediately saw that they needed
if it requires self-sacrifice.”
Brown says the experience has been humbling and
the basics of survival in a new culture.”
convicting, especially the Wahs’ “positivity and hunger for education.”
The mutual respect—and joyful camaraderie—is Brown and Gartin realized standard literacy tools
most obvious during circle time, when Mr. Wah Say
were too advanced for the family’s situation, so
(father), Ler Paw (mother), Po Ray (21-year-old son),
“It’s shown me the opportunities we have and can
they figured out a new approach, pulling from their
Richard (18-year-old son), Plaw (16-year-old son),
share with others,” she said, adding, “but what’s
experiences of how they learned to read, understand
and Gracy (six-year-old daughter) gather on the floor
really impacted me is being allowed into the family
and speak foreign languages, and acclimate to
with Brown and Gartin to share what has trans-
time they tuck away for learning together every
unfamiliar cultures. They created a customized
pired since their last “class.” During a recent visit,
curriculum based on the family’s needs: phone
they also worked on a recurring problem—“wrong
skills, proper greetings, protocols for calling in
number, hang up” episodes. Brown and Gartin took
Still, there is no denying the stark differences.
sick to work or school. And they came up with their
turns holding a pinkie finger and thumb to their
Brown quit her Procter and Gamble job, sold her
own tools: hand-made flash cards, labels for the
ear to simulate a phone and pretended to call each
home, and headed to Candler, in part because she
furniture, early reader books, useful Web games.
member of the family.
was inspired by the school’s “Real people making
They also helped the parents decipher the gimmicks
a real difference in the real world” message. Gartin,
that come in junk mail and review the children’s
“Ring-ring,” Brown said to Mr. Wah Say, who put
from California, gave up the luxury retail industry
homework and teachers’ notes.
his pinkie and thumb to his ear to answer, smiling
and moved across the country for Candler’s
and eyes twinkling in the good-natured fun of the
Episcopal Studies program.
exercise. Giggles came from all of his children as they watched.
“Hello?” he said. “Hello, Mr. Wah Say. This is your English teacher, Rachelle. How are you?”
and can now speak his address, call his workplace,
team up against their teachers, a dissension that
and read sentences.
feels like real family fun to Gartin. This summer, she and her husband are inviting the Wahs to their home
“He says he’s too old to learn, but he’s the one I’m
for dinner. In the meantime, the sons have added
most proud of,” says Brown.
Gartin and Brown as Facebook friends.
tions in Karen. He continued, “How are you?”
Plaw and Gracy are getting good grades in school,
But the most telling moment occurred in early April
“Fine, thank you. I’m calling to remind you that
and Richard, who works with his father at a chicken
when Ler Paw and Po Ray followed their teachers out
we’re coming to visit you today. OK?”
processing plant, is making solid progress. But
to the parking lot after the week’s class was over.
“Good,” he said and nothing more. His oldest son, Po Ray, leaned over to offer further instruc-
it’s Ler Paw and Po Ray, who also have been taking English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, who
“My mother wants to know if you have your car
“All right then. We’ll see you soon. Bye.”
are excelling. Po Ray has been promoted from the
keys,” Po Ray said in perfect English. Just like their
stockroom to the kitchen at his restaurant job, and
own mothers, Ler Paw was checking to make sure
he’s now training to be a cook because he can read
they hadn’t locked the keys in the car like they did
“So,” Brown continued, looking around the circle,
recipes. His mother has completed the sixth and
last time, which had required a call to AAA.
“who hung up when I called earlier today?”
final level of ESL coursework and is ready to take the GED exam.
Plaw reluctantly raised his hand. “I did,” he said, more giggles all around. “Sorry.”
“Yes, I have them! Thank you!” Brown said, getting into the car.
The biggest sign of progress, though, is the familylike relationship the students are sharing with their
Gartin started to tear up from the sophistication of
After circle, they broke into groups. Brown worked
fellow “foreigners,” one they say will extend after
the communication—but mostly from the level of
with Mr. Wah Say and Gracy on learning individual
their Con Ed assignment ends.
caring. “We’ve come such a long way!” she said. “I
words and then how to read those words in full sen-
can’t say anymore or I’ll cry.”
tences and stories. Gartin led the mother and sons
“Their literacy has grown organically from our
in reading aloud from books and talking about what
friendship,” says Gartin. “We realized early on
Not only have these strangers helped each other
they learned. On alternate weeks, they spend their
that just studying together wasn’t working, so we
adjust to their new land, they’ve found the comfort
time playing Uno or Yahtzee instead.
of home again, too. n
The Wahs’ reading and speaking skills have im-
They celebrate together, sharing cupcakes and
proved tremendously since Brown and Gartin started
chocolate chip cookies when Ler Paw “graduated”
April Bogle is laughing her way through
working with them. Mr. Wah Say knew no English
from ESL. In games of Uno and Yahtzee, the Wahs
Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required.
Lectio Divina : The Art of Divine Reading
The Art of Divine Reading By Audrey Hindes
Scripture has always been important to me in different ways and at different times in my life. In our small private Christian school growing up, we were told to read our Bibles every day. I really tried, but the combination of a King James Version Bible and a young child just isn’t terribly productive—not for me, anyway. I was nevertheless convinced of the Bible’s importance and began to suspect that there must be hidden meanings embedded in the verses.
Both in school and in church we memorized scores
Scripture that the Benedictines call “listening with
upon scores of biblical passages. When I was four-
the ear of one’s heart.” I love that. I think it’s safe
teen my parents gave me a copy of The Living Bible.
to say that I experienced Scripture in a more deeply
Whoa. After only really knowing the KJV, I wasn’t
personal way than I ever had before. All my aca-
even sure I was reading the same thing. I turned to
demic training was still there in the background,
passages I had memorized and was shocked and
but it wasn’t the primary framework for reading.
fascinated by the differences. Why were they differ-
I was “listening with the ear of my heart.” I don’t
ent? Why were there so many translations? Which
remember everything about that first experience, but
one could I trust? By my senior year in high school,
I remember that the word that stood out to me was
I had decided that the only way to get to the bottom
“thin,” and I’m pretty sure it was from Mark, and
of things was to take Greek.
that the translation was The Message, because it was talking about the festival of “thin” bread rather than
So I did. In college I took two years of Greek. I
“unleavened” bread. And I know that I will never
double-majored in biblical studies and classics.
hear that passage in the same way again because it
I took loads of Bible classes, Latin, and Pseudepig-
was what I needed to hear that day. And that’s the
rapha in my quest to “dig deep.” Then I went to
beauty of Lectio to me: No matter how many times I
graduate school and got a master of arts in Biblical
have studied or heard a passage, it can speak to me
Languages. I became a Bible professor and taught
in fresh ways when I engage it as God’s living word
Bible at a university for seven years. But for me,
for me that day.
within just a couple of years, it wasn’t enough anymore. I hardly ever heard a satisfying sermon.
So how does it work? There are four basic steps:
I couldn’t stomach any devotional literature. On
reading, meditation, prayer, and rest, also known
the other hand, I didn’t really care about things
by the Latin lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio.
like textual emendation all that much either (yes,
Each step is associated with different questions and
I know it has its place and importance).
followed by a time of silence. Before beginning, start by quieting the mind and heart and praying for the
And then one day I experienced Lectio Divina—
“divine reading”—an ancient way of praying
Biblical Bonding Lectio Divina is traditionally a solitary pursuit,
Communal Lectio Divina works well in small
resonated with them; after the second, why it’s
but it can also be a group exercise that pro-
congregational units, such as Sunday school
speaking to them at this point in their lives;
motes community and trust. “I find that Lectio
classes or youth groups. The steps—lectio,
and after a silent period during which each
has a way of leveling the playing field,” says
meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio—remain
member prays and converses with God, they
Hindes. “No matter what someone’s back-
the same, but there’s an option to share with
may share what they will take from the experi-
ground or knowledge of Scripture is, they can
the group following each reading or period
ence. The group may read the text aloud in
sit around the text together and be nourished
of silence. For example, after the first reading
unison or have one person serve as the leader
and refreshed by the experience.”
of the text, members may share the word that
for the session.
Lectio Divina : The Art of Divine Reading
LECTIO The first part, lectio, is a slow and gradual reading
I love the analogy of eating as a way to understand
God’s response, we might as well not even call it a
of a Scripture passage—perhaps several times—
Lectio. Eating, chewing, swallowing, and being
personal relationship—not if all we’re doing is firing
followed by the questions “What stood out to you?
refreshed correlates to reading, meditating, prayer,
off a to-do list for God based on what we think needs
What word or phrase ‘sparkled’ or ‘shimmered’?”
and resting. When eating, we first taste, we notice
to happen. We say we want to know God’s will for
It’s just noticing, without commentary, question,
what we put into our mouths. Then we start to chew
our lives, but are we really listening?
or assessment—that’s the hard part.
on it and break it down. When we swallow food, we take it down deep inside of us and it literally
Now instead of asking whether I hear an invitation,
becomes a part of us and helps us to become healthy
I ask: What can I take with me in my pocket? What
After reading is meditatio (meditation), where you
and grow. Finally, after eating a healthy meal, we are
word or phrase, image or feeling, can I take with me
reflect on what you read. Why did that word or
refreshed and restored and we can rest.
and carry around today? As a person who likes little
trinkets and mementos, that question resonates with
phrase stand out to you? What is going on in your life that you are touched by it? What is within you
My practice of Lectio has changed a bit since my first
me a lot. I love reaching back into my pocket, pulling
that is responding to this?
encounter with it, most notably in the third step
out something that sparkles, and continuing to be
of prayer. It is one thing to tell God any manner of
refreshed by it throughout the day. n
things—but it is another to have an actual conversa-
In the third part, oratio (prayer), bring that word or
tion, to wait and listen to hear what God might say
phrase into conversation with God. What is God try-
in response. Sometimes it is very hard to be patient,
ing to show you through this word or phrase? Listen
to be still, and to be quiet. But when God speaks, it
Audrey Hindes is program associate for academic
for an invitation in the passage, to do, be, or become
is unmistakable because it’s usually not something
and international support at Candler. She is currently
something in response to what you have read.
that I would have said myself. Without waiting for
reading Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.
Finally, in contemplatio (contemplation), simply rest in God’s presence. This step often employs the practice of centering prayer, a form of silent prayer that promotes resting in God’s direct presence without the intermediaries of thoughts, words, or images.
Some groups choose to use upcoming lectionary readings to prepare for worship, but Hindes says that any Scripture reading will do: “My favorite passages for a group are those you’ve heard so many times that you immediately tune out when you hear them,”
so loved the world....
she says. “Using Lectio Divina allows the text to have new life breathed into it, so you can hear it as God’s word again.”
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Now Now & Then: A Faculty Dialogue In April, Ellen Ott Marshall,
Bill Mallard: What is it like teaching conflict trans-
and think about resources for transformation and
associate professor of Christian
formation at Candler School of Theology in the
peacebuilding at that site. We continue to hear from
ethics and conflict transforma-
alumni that they wished they’d learned more in
tion, and William Mallard, profes-
seminary about effectively addressing conflict. How Ellen Ott Marshall: This spring I did an intense
do you deal with fights over the hymnal? How do
conflict transformation skills workshop course
you deal with grouchy people who don’t get along?
with students over two weekends. It was a really
And how do you deal with the simmering hostilities
between teaching at Candler now
positive and remarkable experience. The students
in a congregational setting?
and in decades past.
saw natural overlap between the skills for conflict
sor emeritus of church history, talked about the differences
transformation and the skills for ministry. There’s
Mallard: Well, I just think that’s so fine. We had
also overlap in the skills for conflict transformation
pastoral care, of course, and ethics, but we had not
and things they had learned in terms of pastoral
gone into conflict transformation.
care and counseling about listening and affirming and responding appropriately. They came into that
Marshall: The language of conflict transformation,
setting nicely equipped and ready to go, and then
for me, has this theological claim attached to it:
had context for ministry—where there are plenty of
that this is God’s work, the process of transform-
conflicts to be found.
ing sites of conflict. The other piece, the hope of it is that sometimes, if a conflict can’t be resolved,
In the fall I’m teaching one of the Contextual Educa-
it’s still possible that relationships and persons and
tion electives. Throughout the semester the students
institutions can be constructively changed even if
will do an analysis of conflict at their Con Ed sites
the conflict itself isn’t resolved.
Then But one of the downsides that I really struggle with
Mallard: And you teach ethics as well?
Marshall: Did you adjust?
Marshall: I do. I did a conflict studies master’s
Mallard: I leaped into it! I worked at great length on
that inhibits our ability to focus for an extended pe-
degree at Notre Dame and then I did a PhD in
my transparencies, getting them ready for the next
riod of time on one thing. You’re constantly enticed
Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt, so my home base
day. These were the days when Professor Roberta
by the hyperlink to go to the next thing. We lose the
is Christian ethics, but I understand so much of
Bondi and I taught Christian Thought together.
ability to just sit with a page of text and contemplate
the work in Christian ethics to be about sorting
Transparencies enabled Roberta to illustrate her
it. There’s something about our ability to receive a
through disagreements and helping people talk
lectures. For example, when she got to Gregory of
lot of information and the expectation that we can
Nyssa and the problems of sin, Roberta illustrated
process a lot of information quickly that cuts against
gluttony by drawing a picture of a giant strawberry
that practice of pausing with the text.
is, there’s something about engaging technology
Mallard: I received my degree in church history in
milkshake, and right next to it, a tiny little picture
1956. Then I taught at Sweet Briar College as an
of her. And this, she said, is gluttony! Now, I’m
Mallard: In my day, we had team teaching. In 1969,
instructor in religion. I came to Candler in 1957 and
not sure whether something has been lost here. My
there were three sections of church history with
taught here until I retired in 2000.
impression of PowerPoint is that it’s pretty stiff. I’m
three different faculty. When Dean Laney came, he
not sure Roberta could draw a picture of herself next
said, let’s combine all the sections into one large
to a giant milkshake on PowerPoint. What are the
lecture class and put together a team of two and let
advantages and disadvantages of technology as you
them teach the whole crowd.
Marshall: Do you miss anything about teaching? Mallard: I would, except I have a Sunday school
have experienced them? So we did that. Some team teaching fell by the way,
class at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church Marshall: One of the things that’s helpful in my
but for Professor Bondi and me, it just worked won-
introductory course is using technology to give
derfully. We were so happy to have that team work-
Now someone asked, how was it teaching here with-
a 360-degree look at a topic by pulling in videos,
ing together. And at the time, women on the faculty
out technology? But, you see, we had technology!
maps, and images very quickly. We are able to move
were quite new. I think Roberta was the second. We
The man in charge of media for Candler pressed me
to an interview with a theologian that we’re reading
modeled this team for students, a male and female
to abandon chalkboard and chalk for an overhead
and then to a news piece about the context that he or
working together on theological education. That
projector and screen. That was, indeed, an advance!
she is engaging. You can bring in a lot of material to
was a contribution that we were very happy about.
enrich the study of a topic.
There’s no team teaching now, I gather?
that meets most Sundays. It keeps my hand in it.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Marshall: I think it happens in small ways. There are
Marshall: I think the majority of students still come
When I first came, there were no African-American
different kinds of informal partnerships—guest lec-
here intending to pursue ordination and go right
students at Emory. The idea down at state govern-
turing and conversations on pedagogy. I’ve enjoyed
into parish ministry. I do have conversations with
ment was that if anyone tried to break the segrega-
working with students in the Graduate Division of
students who are less clear about that. Some want
tion laws in colleges and universities, then they
Religion at Emory who serve as teaching associates.
to do faith-related social work, not necessarily in a
would pass taxation laws against them and simply
I’ve been lucky to have really capable, great TAs, and
parish context but still attached to ecclesial bodies
tax them out of existence. The School of Theology
we configure ourselves as a teaching team. I did a
in some way. I have folks thinking about a PhD in
faculty was convinced—this was around 1958—that
little bit of team teaching at my previous institution
ethics or a practical theology degree. I think there’s
there was no way we could continue with integrity
and really enjoyed it. You learn so much.
a healthy spread of people in the program. I don’t
without being open to students regardless of race.
know the demographics of students from when you
We sent a message to central administration from
Mallard: Oh, yes! Eastern church history had been
were here, but we now have an increasing body of
the theology faculty: We’ve decided to have an open
omitted in my education, so I was rapidly taking
policy on admissions in the School of Theology.
as God Loves, and if you’ve never had a copy, get it.
Did you see a big shift in your time in the demo-
The reactions were very interesting. In those days,
The first semester her book was out, she made
graphic makeup of the student body?
on Oxford Road, there was a waffle shop. I went in
notes under Roberta. Her first book was To Love
one day, and there was a sign pasted on the cash
it required reading in Christian Thought, and at Christmas, we found the students were giving it to
Mallard: Oh, yes. I think of two revolutions while
register: “We cash checks for Emory students only.”
their friends as Christmas gifts. First I ever heard of
I was here. One was the racial revolution and the
I said, “Surely that means you’ll cash a check from
a required text becoming a Christmas gift!
development of the African-American contingent in
an Emory faculty member.” There was an old man
the student body, which was wonderful and amaz-
sitting on a stool at the counter, who said, “He’ll
Ellen, what is your sense of the MDiv students now?
ing. The other was the gender revolution. My first
cash it for you if you’re not from the School of The-
Are they very strongly geared toward graduating and
advisee who was a woman came in 1970. These
ology.” I said to him, “But I am from the School of
going to the parish? I have the impression that in
were remarkable and beautiful changes in the
Theology,” and he was fit to be tied. It was like he’d
some cases, students think that before they enter the
never seen one of us before! He stirred his coffee,
parish system they will do something else.
swallowed it down, and walked out whispering this, that, and the other.
“There’s something about teaching conflict transformation and ethics in diverse classrooms that enriches the experience.”
“There were two revolutions in the student body during my time: the racial revolution and the gender revolution.”
But it was so important and so wonderful to see
African-American men, and the last quarter was
When Boers said to us, “we’ve got to stand togeth-
these two revolutions. Of course, when the women
Korean women. I had scattered in there one white
er,” we did. That group of young Turks who bonded
began coming to the School of Theology, the first
man and one Korean man who was the spouse of
in the late ’60s was instrumental in Dr. Laney
problem was that men realized the women were
one of the Korean women. It was a wonderful class.
coming to be the new dean, and that was a turning
making the best grades in all the classes. That was
I’d anticipated white women and black women in
point in the School of Theology’s modern history.
one of the realities they had to get used to.
the class, but to have representatives of the Korean
Dr. Laney came and opened the windows and let in
voice and African-American men in the mix, too—
fresh air. That faculty had a sense of bonding and
Marshall: And they had to put women’s bathrooms
it was a great experience. There’s something about
we were pulling for each other. Academic faculty
in Bishops Hall!
teaching these materials in diverse classrooms that
anywhere you go are fighting like crazy. They’re
enriches the experience.
going to compete with each other, and be questioning each other, but we supported each other.
Mallard: How about that? Was there any particular challenge to you to come into the field of ethics and
Mallard: In the 1960s there was tension everywhere,
It started with reading each other’s papers. That
conflict transformation as a woman?
as everybody knows. At Candler, we had a sense
atmosphere of mutual support and concern then
of struggle in the faculty between the younger and
continued in the theology faculty and I think it still
Marshall: No, I don’t think so. Although, I found
some of the older leadership at the time, who called
continues. Does it?
there was an expectation that because I’m a woman
us the young Turks. In those days, the full profes-
in the field of Christian ethics, I must do feminist
sors met as a committee with the dean to deal with
Marshall: Yes, I think it does. This is a very happy
ethics. I took feminist theology, but I didn’t have
various issues that the non-tenured young faculty
place to work and teach. We don’t agree on every-
much training in feminist ethics. Now I do, and
were not privy to. Some of us young Turks began to
thing, but we play well together. That means being
I’m happy I do, but it caught me up short because I
meet together. We read each other’s papers and cri-
honest about our points of disagreement, practic-
wasn’t trained in it.
tiqued each other’s work and had a sort of bonding.
ing a civil dialogue when we disagree, and pulling
The group included Ted Weber, Ted Runyon, Hen-
together for the good of the whole. I think you initi-
Actually, feminist and womanist ethics was one of
drik Boers, Manfred Hoffman, and a few others. We
ated a good spirit with your young Turks.
the first classes I taught here, and I was thinking of
felt like we had to hold the line on what we thought
it when you were describing those two revolutions.
was the integrity of our work in theological educa-
Mallard: Well, if so, then I’m very grateful, because
The course was 26 students divided into quarters:
tion. Boers said to us, “Now, my friends, we have to
I felt that was the best thing that came out of a tense
A quarter of the class was white women, a quarter
stand together and be solid with one another.”
time—that spirit of mutuality and closeness. n
was African-American women, a quarter was
Does it matter HOW you read a hymn? By Molly Edmonds
Does It Matter How You Read a Hymn?
On March 19-21, Candler School of Theology
Though Bell provided a handout with hymns and
you sing that before knowing whether it says ‘I offer
presented “The Singing Church: Current Trends and
psalms that were sung during his event, he began
to God all my candies’ or ‘all my dogs and cats,’ then
Emerging Practices in Congregational Song.” One
his presentation by teaching several texts and tunes
it makes both the music and the text disposable.
of the themes that emerged over the course of three
directly to the crowd.
And it makes music instantly forgettable, because it flashes up and then it’s gone.”
days of worship and workshops was the idea that the texts of hymns must be more carefully
“I do that to remind people they don’t need music
considered in order to be effective and meaningful
in front of them to sing,” he said. “There are choirs
“How can your faith be shaped by worship if you
to our spiritual development. And according to John
in this world who would find it an inconvenience to
don’t know what you’ve sung? How can you relate
Bell, a hymn writer and worship resource leader
read music while they’re singing. They feel if it’s not
spiritually to music if you don’t have the words, if
from Scotland’s Iona Community, we haven’t been
inside them, then it means nothing to God. We sing
they’re all inside the memory box of the projector?”
well equipped to undertake that kind of reflection.
with greater integrity the less we have to read.”
Bell asked, noting that he meets people who keep church bulletins that contain the hymn numbers or
“In North America, you have a particular affection
Bell attributes our dependence on hymnals and
the anthem texts that have resonated with them—a
for interlined text in music, or staff music,” said
handouts to our lack of faith in our memories. Some
practice often eliminated by the use of projectors.
Bell, who presented an evening of song during the
cultural critics blame faulty memories on the Inter-
conference. “In Europe, it’s more common to have
net, as people don’t bother to memorize facts that
Bell cites “Come Down, O Love Divine” as one of his
the verses separate from the music. It puts as much
they can find easily with Google. Bell doesn’t think
own personal favorite hymns. While he advocates
value on the text as the tune.”
this particular issue is the Internet’s fault, but he is
closer reading of the words that churches sing, he
contemptuous of one technological trend that’s been
emphasizes that these texts must be as functional as
adopted by some churches.
they are beautiful.
with staff music, you can’t reflect on the words,” he
“I can’t stand projectors,” Bell said. “They ruin
“A hymn isn’t just the text of a gifted poet; it’s some-
said. “People sing syllables rather than sentences.”
congregational song. I don’t believe you should offer
thing to which people can say ‘amen,’” he said. “If
God only half of what you can see. If there’s a pro-
the people can’t say ‘amen,’ then it’s not appropriate
jected screen that says, ‘I offer to God all my…’ and
for congregational song.” n
“I’ve sung hymns in North American congregations and then had no idea what I’ve just sung, because
John Bell recently enjoyed reading So Much for All That by Lionel Shriver, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, and The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. Molly Edmonds just finished the 720-page biography Lincoln by David Herbert Donald, followed by The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Reading Beyond the Lines
Volunteers Increase Pitts’ Reach Around the World By Chris Pollette | Photos by M. Patrick Graham
When many people think of going to a university library, they imagine shelves of books, a quiet environment where they can find the materials they need to sit, read, study, and digest their reading. For most people, that picture still holds true, but for a handful of volunteers at Pitts Theology Library, it’s become a place to share what they read with the world outside the walls of the library. Pitts is renowned for the depth and breadth of its
around four pages in length require
became so intrigued by the
collections, including more than 120,000 rare books,
about two hours.
hymnody collection and the
pamphlets, and manuscripts, many dating back
original imprints by Martin
centuries. People visit the library from all over the
Work begins when the original
Luther that she chose to become
world—but increasingly, Pitts is bringing its collec-
documents are photographed or
a library volunteer. Fessele’s
tions to the world by transcribing its vast holdings
scanned into a computer. These
language skills made her a
of original manuscripts into digital formats made
digital originals are then posted on
natural choice to translate hand-
available via the Internet.
the Pitts Library website. Volunteers
written letters in old German,
—either at the library or working
an experience she likens to
Although digitizing and transcribing print and man-
remotely—then transcribe the
uscript materials is highly useful for 21st-century
letters and email the transcriptions
scholars worldwide, the conversion process is labor
to Pitts’ archivist, Robert Presutti. Because some
form of these letters written in an age before email
intensive and expensive. Encouraging volunteers to
documents are difficult to read, each is typically
and digital documents became the standard.
help staff the library’s digitization and transcrip-
assigned to two volunteers; their efforts are later
tion projects satisfies both the volunteers’ desire to
compared with one another to address possible
Steve Morgan and Lew Engle are retirees interested
contribute and Pitts’ desire to share its collections
inconsistencies. Once each document is finalized,
in finding a way to contribute to scholarship. They
with a broader base of scholars, according to Library
the transcription and the original scan are uploaded
volunteer regularly at Pitts, where they’ve digitized
Director M. Patrick Graham.
to the website for public access.
Volunteers at Pitts are working to transcribe articles
Volunteers for Pitts’ transcription projects come
in the Henry Edward Manning collection, the James
from a wide variety of backgrounds, and include
Archer sermons, the Lewis Frederick Havermale
students, professionals from outside the Emory
collection, and the Henry Renaud Turner Brandreth
community, and retirees. Among those drawn to the
papers. Graham says the work on a single docu-
library is German native Brigitte Fessele, who visited
ment does not necessarily require large quantities
the library on the advice of Pitts volunteer Roy Wise.
of volunteer time. Note-card-sized letters often
Fessele was first interested in examining and reading
take around 30 minutes to transcribe, and sermons
some of the rare materials for herself, and then
reading Shakespeare. She says she admires the content and
Steve Morgan & Lew Engle
Reading Beyond the Lines
thousands of pages of sermon notes found in the personal papers of Henry Edward Cardinal Manning—work that helps scholars understand Manning’s role in the Catholic Church in England and illustrate his influence on English society. His papers are part of the library’s English Religious History Collection, which also includes letters from John Henry Cardinal Newman, a contemporary of Manning’s whose recent beatification drew attention to his papers from scholars worldwide. Yazhu Li—“Lia” to her friends—began volunteering at Pitts in part to improve
her English skills. She earned her undergraduate degree in French and social work at China’s Xiamen
sermons of James Archer, a Catholic priest living
University. Now, hoping to enroll in an American
in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries
graduate school to study accounting, Li has been
whose sermon topics include religious persecu-
helping transcribe and translate materials in the
tion, spirituality, and marriage. Having transcribed
Louis Frederick Havermale collection from English
manuscripts at the American Philosophical Society
to Mandarin. Havermale, a Methodist pastor from
and Harvard University, Silliman needed little
Illinois, served as a missionary in China from 1916 to
introduction to the work he was asked to do at Pitts.
1922. His papers are beneficial to many interested in
In fact, in his teaching days, he said, one of the most
Chinese history, both from theological and politi-
rewarding aspects of transcription was having the
cal standpoints. Li’s transcriptions of Havermale’s
opportunity to examine the relationship between
work provide valuable historical information on
authors and their works.
Chinese life shortly after the fall of the Qing Dynasty,
Robert Silliman “It’s something unique and different,” says retiree
when civil war and the actions of Chinese warlords
That sort of intellectual curiosity is what makes the
Engle. “We can do anything, but we choose to come
provided a backdrop of violence.
volunteer transcription projects at Pitts attractive to
to Pitts.” n
so many. There is an allure that encourages volunThe lure of making continuing contributions to
teers to take on a new document when they complete
scholarship is compelling enough to bring emeritus
another, a satisfaction in knowing that, through
Chris Pollette is reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The
history professor Robert Silliman back to Emory to
their efforts, these works can be shared with others
Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,
volunteer at Pitts. Silliman has been transcribing the
around the world.
but he’s too shy to discuss it in public.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Campaign Update The incredible generosity of Candler’s donors continues to strengthen the school, enabling us to better fulfill our mission of educating faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world. You’ve already read of one high-impact gift from the Rollins family that will usher us into the next phase of this great school’s story. Allow me to share with you some other gifts that promise to sustain Candler’s people and programs for years to come.
other denominations as well. The awards will be
Continuing the Momentum
made through the Candler Advantage program,
Candler continues to make impressive strides
which extends students’ professional education and
toward reaching all of our goals related to Campaign
Emory, Emory University’s $1.6 billion fund-raising
practical skills for
endeavor that combines private support and Emory’s
people, places, and programs to make a powerful
by immersing them
contribution to the world. At this time, Candler con-
tinues to seek funds for the Erskine, Smith, Mosley
for 10 weeks of full-
Scholarship Endowment, the L. Bevel Jones Chair
in the Practice of Ministry, and the Laney Legacy in Moral Leadership Endowment. Additionally,
Rebecca Redd Herring
“As important as Candler was to
funds are needed to support Candler’s programs of Lifelong Learning, International Initiatives, Black
Rebecca, and as important as it was to her to support
Church Studies, Methodist Studies, Baptist Studies,
other women in ministry, I could think of no better
Episcopal Studies, and student scholarships.
way to honor her,” Lee Herring said.
Candler’s students, the church, and the larger soci-
Growing Student Scholarships
ety benefit from the generosity of alumni and friends
In May, Candler received a gift of nearly $700,000
who care deeply about the positive transformation of
from the estate of Mr. C. Milburn Purdy. Mr. Purdy
the world. I encourage you to follow in the example
Honoring a Legacy
was a member of Candler’s Committee of 100 for
of our graduating class: Direct your gift toward an
Lee Herring has made a gift to establish the Rebecca
38 years. His estate gift will establish the C. Milburn
area that speaks to you and help Candler continue to
Redd Herring Endowment for Women in Pastoral
and Nellie Grace Purdy Scholarship Endowment.
prepare the highest caliber of Christian leaders and
Ministry in memory of his wife, who earned a master
Mr. and Mrs. Purdy were longtime members of
scholars—real people who make a real difference in
of divinity degree from Candler in 1995. After gradu-
St. Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta.
the real world.
ating, Rebecca Herring was appointed to Georgia’s Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, where
Giving from the Start
she became the first female associate pastor in the
In a wonderful example of sacrificial giving,
church’s 150-year history.
Candler’s Senior Class raised more than $10,000
—Mathew A. Pinson, Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Relations
to support their new alma mater. Thanks to the The Rebecca Redd Herring Endowment for Women
campaign’s energetic leadership and tailored giving
in Pastoral Ministry will provide stipends for United
options, nearly three-quarters of graduating seniors
Methodist students in the master of divinity degree
chose to participate. Their spirit of “because I have
Mathew Pinson is currently reading Not Your Parents’
program who are preparing for ordained pastoral
been given much” is both inspiring and challenging!
Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship
ministry; funds may be awarded to those from
See the full story on the next page.
by J. Clif Christopher.
Graduates Give in Record Numbers Before receiving their diplomas on May 14, the Class of 2012 gave back—in a big way.
What Alumni are Reading What books have been occupying the spare moments of Candler Alumni Board members? Here are a few of their recommendations:
The graduating class raised $10,386.51 for Candler through their senior class gift campaign. The class had a participation rate of 73 percent, the highest of any class in recent history.
Jeremy Pridgeon 02T, chair of the Candler Alumni Board, recently read Necessary Endings: The Employees,
“I believe in Candler
Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in
and what it has to
Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud. The book “helped
offer to future stu-
in dealing with retrenchment and decline in local congre-
dents, so deciding to
gations affected by the economic downturn,” he said.
give and encouraging my classmates to give was easy,” said
Olivia Poole 09T said that A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce
Cameron is great for any animal lover. “It’s a fun, relax-
who served on the
ing book to read on vacation,” she reported. Next up:
Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice
“Giving back was important to me because someone invested in me. A scholarship made it possible for me to attend Candler, and it has been the chance of a lifetime,” she explained. “Helping others have the same advantages I’ve had is such a gift.”
Bryan Brooks 01T enjoyed The Collected Sermons of Fred B. Craddock because it was “a chance to look over the
The majority of funds raised will be directed toward the Theology
shoulder of a master homiletician at work. It also makes
School Fund for Excellence, which commits every dollar received to
a great source of daily devotional reading.”
student scholarships. However, for the first time, other funds will benefit from this year’s senior class gift as well, because students could choose how to allocate their individual gifts within the
John Simmons 96T recommends Plain, Honest Men by
Richard Beeman. “The book is about the origins of the U.S. Constitution, so it was meaningful to me as I was
“If students had strong passions about particular programs they’d
getting ready to go to General Conference to rewrite the
participated in while at Candler, we found a way to direct their gift to
Book of Discipline.” Next he’ll be tackling A Different Kind
that program,” said Lauren McCrary, assistant director of develop-
of Smart, which deals with emotional intelligence.
ment, who offered oversight and guidance to the campaign committee. To raise funds, the senior class held events ranging from a silent
Jimmy Asbell 91T found Going Deep: Becoming A Person
auction to a basketball game between faculty and graduating students.
of Influence by Gordon McDonald “a good look at making
The campaign committee was co-chaired by MDiv student Tim Moore
disciples in the local church—not by the usual program-
and MTS student Jung Won An.
matic model, but more organically.” He also enjoyed At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. “Both
“The campaign was so successful because we have a great class,”
educational and entertaining, the book covers the history
said Lewis. “I know everyone says that, but for us, it’s really true.
and origin of many of the household things we think of
We have a bunch of people who truly care about Candler.”
as normal,” he said. Next on his reading list is Like Fire in the Bones by Walter Brueggemann.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
On Monday, May 14, Candler School of Theology took part in Emory Universityâ€™s 167th Commencement exercises. The university awarded more than 4,100 degrees, including 126 to Candlerâ€™s newest alumni. Photos 1 and 3 by Emory Photo/Video; all others by Cindy Brown 09T.
06 09 05 10 07
The Atlanta Pipe Band led the academic procession onto Emory’s Quadrangle at 8 a.m. for the all-schools ceremony.
A steady drizzle fell in the early morning hours, but the rain let up when the ceremony began.
An estimated 15,000 people gathered on the Quad for the event.
04 Candler’s student marshals, MDiv graduate
Leah Lyman Waldron (right) and MTS graduate Amanda Davis (left), were chosen for their records of academic excellence.
MDiv graduate Dalan Vanterpool during the all-schools ceremony, where Emory President James Wagner conferred the degrees.
After the ceremony on the Quad, Candler students processed to Glenn Memorial to receive their diplomas.
07 Rex D. Matthews, associate professor in the
practice of historical theology, was Candler’s recipient of the 2012 Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest honor for teaching.
Dean Love commended the Class of 2012 for its commitment to social justice, community building, rich worship experiences, and philanthropy.
After the diploma ceremony, friends and family members snapped photos of happy graduates.
Graduate Jung Won An received flowers to mark the special occasion.
A simple piece of paper—but it represents several years of hard work.
Submit Your Class Notes! Share what’s new and notable in your life with the rest of the Candler community. We report class notes in Connection and in our monthly e-newsletters. Send us your class notes and associated photographs via our online form: www.candler.emory.edu/submit-class-notes.
50s–70s Roy H. Ryan 54T published a new e-book, Hot Button Issues for Religion and Politics: The Role of Religion in a Pluralistic Society.
Canon G. Kerry Robb 61T is serving as an interim rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Steven Phillip Brey 90T was named dean of arts and humanities at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Romeo L. Del Rosario 72T is currently serving as country director of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church in Cambodia.
D. Jonathan Watts 90T was awarded the distinction of Oxford Foundation Fellow through the Graduate Theological Foundation. He spent time at Oxford University doing research on an upcoming document “Our Hearts Strangely Warmed: A Practical Theology to Worship in the Wesleyan Tradition.”
Andrea Lee Mockridge 00T was ordained in the United Church of Christ on August 27, 2011, at St. Luke UCC, Grand Pass, Missouri, and installed as pastor and teacher of St. Paul’s UCC and St. Luke UCC.
Dan Brown 79T was appointed District Superintendent of the Griffin District of the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Philip L. Strom 79T was appointed District Superintendent of the Southern Prairie Districts in the Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
80s C. Wayne Perry 80T was named chair of the Amridge University PhD program. Maddox J. Woodbery, Jr. 80OX 82C 85T is a military chaplain. He was promoted to Colonel and assigned as the 7th Signal Command Chaplain at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. Laurie Morrison 86T is currently a training specialist for First Data Inc. Terry Fleming 87T was appointed District Superintendent of the Augusta District of the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Lance Wayne Moore 87T 95T has released a new book titled A Monkey Could Do It: How Wall Street Robs Main Street. The book examines the growing gap between the rich and the poor and applies theology to political ethics.
Susan J. Latimer 92T is the rector of St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church in Temple Terrace, Florida. Ann M. McClellan 93T is the associate minister at Mountain View United Methodist Church in Woodland Park, Colorado. Sue Ann Cecilia Curran 94T is currently an IT Project Manager with the Virginia Community College System. Jeffrey Paul Johnson 94T was appointed the Florida State Director for AARP. Lisa D. Heilig 95T is the recipient of the 2012 Ed Paul Award for Leadership in Transitional Ministry from the Metropolitan Community Churches, awarded for “defining and modeling what it means to be an Intentional Interim.” Tricia Carolyn Anderson 97T 08G and Jennifer A. Watts 05G welcomed their son, Oliver Charles Anderson-Watts, on March 21, 2011. Mary E. Packard 99T married Keith Krueger on March 26, 2011.
Anne N. Bullock 01T 10G recently published Real Austin: The Homeless and the Image of God. Caryl Peden Griffin 01T was appointed to an Extension Ministry with the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, developing biosafety and biosecurity in the expansion of laboratory capacity to address major emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in Africa and the Middle East. Richard Mark Wright 01T recently published Stop the Church’s Revolving Door, detailing a structured ministry to help rebuild authentic personal relationships within the church. Markeva Gwendolyn Hill 04T is releasing a new book, Womanism Against SociallyConstructed Matriarchal Images: A Theoretical Model Towards a Therapeutic Goal. Erin Christine Cash 06T is the new director of admissions at Lexington Theological Seminary. Kimberly S. Jackson 09T received the Hugh White Award from the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice for her outstanding advocacy and organizing for economic and worker justice with the cafeteria workers at the Atlanta University Center. Dane Warren Martin 09T and Gretchen Van Ess Martin 11T 12PH married on February 25, 2012.
10s Dianne D. Glave 10T has been appointed as the associate pastor at Ingomar Church in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, effective July 1, 2012. Christina Amalia Repoley 11T is the founding Executive Director of Quaker Voluntary Service, a national year of service program for young adults in the Quaker tradition. This program is launching its first year with six volunteers in Atlanta in August 2012. For more information see: www.quakervoluntaryservice.org. Gerhard Venter 11T is a Christian pain coach and recently published his academic writings from his Candler years as an e-book titled Teach Me, and I Will Be Quiet: Theological Essays 2007-2011.
In Memoriam Jean F. Hall 43OX 46T died March 12, 2012. She played piano in several Methodist churches in North Georgia. She was the widow of Paul Victor Hall 42OX 44C 47T, who was a minister in the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. William Jackson Lamb 51T died March 8, 2012. He was a minister in the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Lucius Zimmon Hall, Jr. 52T died December 17, 2011. Travis A. Warlick 53T died January 7, 2012. He was a minister in the North Alabama Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. A. Tegler Greer 54T died December 24, 2011. He was a minister in the South Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Charles Augustus Culbreth, Jr. 52C 55T died March 6, 2012. He was a minister in the South Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church Roland McDaniel 58T died March 4, 2012. He pastored in the Church of God and was a professor at Lee College in Cleveland, Tennessee. David B. Sargent, Jr. 49OX 51C 59T died December 29, 2011. He was a minister in the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. James P. Branch 60T died February 23, 2012. He served as pastor of Montrose Baptist Church, Elim Baptist Church, and as a counselor at the Methodist Children’s Home in Macon, Georgia. James Deyerle Foster 60T died March 3, 2012. He was a minister in the East Ohio Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Paul G. Durbin 61T died February 17, 2012. He was a member of the Louisiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and a Brigadier General Chaplain in the Army National Guard. Helen Deere Bundrant 61T died January 16, 2012. She was a missionary in South Korea for 22 years and was a member of New Beginning Fellowship Church in Cookeville, Tennessee. Lemuel C. Carter 66T died December 18, 2011. He was a minister in the South Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Raymond W. Gibson, Jr. 67T died December 13, 2011. He was a minister in the Kentucky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Ray Garrison Burrell, Jr. 71T died March 7, 2012. Jerry A. Pulliam 71T died February 14, 2012. He was a minister in the Arkansas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Rebecca Redd Herring 95T died December 29, 2011. She was a minister in the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. She served as Associate Pastor at Sandy Springs UMC and Cumming First UMC.
Four Alumni Named Dempster Scholars Four of the eight students selected by the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as the next class of Dempster Scholars are Candler alumni: Carolyn Davis 06T
Sangwoo Kim 03T
Gerald Liu 04T
Adam Ployd 06T
(Texas Annual Conference) is cur-
(New England Annual Conference) is
(Mississippi Annual Conference) is
(Virginia Annual Conference)
rently enrolled in a PhD program at
currently enrolled in a ThD program
currently enrolled in a PhD program
is currently enrolled in a PhD
at Duke Divinity School.
at Vanderbilt University.
program at Emory University.
Dempster Graduate Fellowships support doctoral students committed to serving the church by becoming professors who will educate the next generation of United Methodist pastors. The fellowships are funded by the denomination’s Ministerial Education Fund through GBHEM’s Division of Ordained Ministry.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
Upcoming at Candler Shane Claiborne “Jesus for President” October 23
Candler School of Theology presents prominent Christian activist and bestselling author Shane Claiborne on October 23 in Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church. A sought-after speaker on Jesus, peacemaking, and social justice, Claiborne will offer “Jesus for President,” a talk designed to spark the Christian political imagination. Far from endorsing one political party or candidate, “Jesus for President” reminds us that our ultimate hope lies not in partisan political options but in Jesus and the incarnation of the church as a people ‘set apart’ from this world. So how are believers to function in the political system? Shane Claiborne is a founding partner of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner-city Philadelphia that has helped to birth and connect “ordinary radical” faith communities around the world. His ministry experience is varied, from a 10-week stint working alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta, to a year spent serving a wealthy mega-congregation at Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago. During the war in Iraq, he spent three weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team. The bestselling author of several books, including The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President, Claiborne is featured in the DVD series Another World is Possible. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and National Public Radio,
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Stay tuned to www.candler.emory.edu for more details about this special event.
Shane Claiborne recommends Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen, From Brokenness to Community by Jean Vanier, and God’s Revolution: Justice, Community, and the Coming Kingdom by Eberhard Arnold.
Upcoming at Candler
an ideological aversion to bloodshed, but a deeply-
Reformation Day at Emory October 25
rooted refusal of violence as an option for Christians
The 2012 Reformation Day at Emory takes as its
Each June, Candler’s Office of Lifelong Learning
and a re-interpretation of the cosmic order of the
theme, “The Kessler Collection after Twenty-Five
offers NICFA for church administrators, financial
Roman world based on a new sacrificial system that
Years.” This year’s program celebrates the first 25
secretaries, volunteers, and clergy. The program
expressed itself as civil disobedience. Kalantzis is
years of the Kessler Collection by noting its value
is offered in four weeklong seminars and covers
director of The Wheaton Center for Early Christian
for scholars, students, and the church. Featured
such topics as church administration, property
Studies and a faculty fellow with the Humanitarian
speakers are Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson
management, communication and marketing,
Disaster Institute. Free.
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
National Institute in Church Finance and Administration June 4–29
rejection of war and military service was not simply
human resources, managing church conflict, legal
Dewey W. Kramer, professor emerita of German and humanities at DeKalb College; the Rt. Rev.
management. The NICFA program fulfills the cur-
Homecoming Events September 28
riculum requirement for achieving certification as a
Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon, 12:00 p.m.
Diocese of Atlanta; and Jan Rippentrop, a doctoral
and tax matters, strategic planning, and financial
church administrator. For details, visit tinyurl.com/ nicfa2012. Dates for 2013 are June 3–28.
Youth Theological Initiative Summer Academy July 7–28 The YTI Summer Academy gathers rising high school juniors and seniors from across the country for an intensive experience in Christian theological education. The goal is to cultivate public theologians for the church and world. For details, visit www.yti.emory.edu.
Candler School of Theology Building / Swanson Art Tour, 5:00 p.m.
J. Neil Alexander, former bishop of the Episcopal student at Emory University. The Candler Singers will present a luncheon concert under the direction of Barbara Day Miller.
Fall Reunion Dinner / Dessert, 6:30 p.m.; for classes of 1977, 1987, 2002, 2007, 2012
For details and to RSVP, contact email@example.com.
Candler has a rich worship life. Join us at these regular worship services in Cannon Chapel:
First Tuesday October 2, November 6, December 4 First Tuesday is an opportunity for potential students
Dean’s Lecture Series: “There Will (Not) Be Blood! Early Christian Attitudes Toward War and Military Service” September 19, 11:00 a.m., CST 252
to learn more about Candler School of Theology
George Kalantzis, associate professor of theology
your friends and neighbors who are contemplating
at Wheaton College, kicks off the 2012–2013 Dean’s
seminary. More information is available by emailing
Lecture Series by proposing that the early Church’s
through an information session and by visiting with current students and admissions advisors. The evening includes a casual dinner and a talk by one of our distinguished faculty members. Invite
Tuesdays: Service of Word and Table at 11:05 a.m. Wednesdays: Evensong and Eucharist at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays: Service of Word at 11:05 a.m. Fridays: Eucharist at 11:05 a.m.
For a full listing of events at Candler School of Theology, please visit us online at www.candler.emory.edu.
Candler Connection | Summer 2012
By E. Brooks Holifield, C. H. Candler Professor of American Church History, Emeritus
Reading is not what it used to be.
cannot be reduced to a few summary sentences but
and unfaith, vocation and relationships, duty and
I’m not referring to the 25 percent of American
rather that narratives give us a density of sequences,
obligation, evil and error, class and race, gender and
adults who read no books last year—a substantial
reversals, characterizations, place descriptions,
sexuality, and a score of other realities that surround
drop since 1990. I’m also not referring to the recent
ironic turns, and complicated relationships that
us daily. And in reading nonfiction, we discovered
literary theorists who have proposed new ways to
form something like a self-contained world in which
that we could not understand one book in isolation,
read or shown us the complex relationships between
we briefly transcend our everyday habits. We discov-
that a book was part of a conversation, perhaps a
readers and their books. I’m not even alluding to
ered that poetry could condense a seeming com-
debate, and that we read one book better if we read
cultural battles over the “canon” of books in the
monplace into a metaphor or image that allowed us
others that help us see the same question from
curriculum. And I’m certainly not speaking about
to see the ordinary as if it were strange, indeed, as if
different points of view.
the transition in the eighteenth century, which I
we were seeing it for the first time. This was not, however, the end of our learning anew
learned about from the historian David Hall, from “intensive” reading, which verged on memorization,
When we read nonfiction, we learned to read not
how to read. Some of us learned that the careful
to the “extensive” reading that characterizes the way
simply for the information but for the argument,
reading of books developed other skills—skills
most of us leap from book to book—a transition
the often-elusive main point. We learned to hold
of attentiveness, observation, and sympathy that
that rested on the early-nineteenth century change
ourselves back from jumping too quickly to conclu-
changed our everyday lives. We learned that efforts
from the scarcity to the abundance of books. Finally,
sions, prematurely filling the margins of our books
to read carefully are strangely analogous to our ef-
I’m not referring to the way reading now divides us,
with interjections of our own opinions, correcting
forts to listen to others, to observe subtle alterations
as the sociologist Jackson Carroll revealed when his
authors right and left. We learned instead how to
in a group, to pick up cues, and to persevere in our
surveys found that liberal and conservative ministers
get inside the author’s point of view and reserve
listening even when another person seems boring or
rarely read the same books. That has probably been
judgment until we had seen things from his or
alien. Reading, in short, became a form of discipline
true for centuries.
her perspective. This required still a different
that spilled over into other spheres of our lives.
manner of reading, one in which we related the I’m talking, rather, about how our reading—yours
chapters carefully to one another, attended to the
But a few diligent souls have learned that reading
and mine—has changed.
way sentences and paragraphs formed units of
can be a form of spiritual discipline, a means of at-
thought, and kept our attention on the way authors
tentiveness that taught them to conform themselves,
When we were children, we mostly read books
used evidence and argument. We learned how to
now and then, to the Real, to escape the clawing
simply for fun, for the excitement of compelling
relate each part of a book to all the other parts. We
demands of their own egos, and to listen for the
stories, and woe to us if we lose that childlike way
learned to read critically.
One who listens to us. For these people, especially, reading is not what it used to be. May we one day
of reading. But at some point we also began to learn that books, especially novels, have themes, motifs,
Yet that was not the end of our learning to read,
figures, and tropes that give us a richer experience
for we discovered that novels could give us insight
when we take note of them. We learned that fiction
about our own world—insight into matters of faith
Brooks Holifield is reading Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes.
â€œ...books have themes, motifs, figures, and tropes that give us a richer experience when we take note of them.â€?
Emory University Candler School of Theology 1531 Dickey Drive Atlanta, GA 30322
Jad and Shelly Denmark had been married nine years and had three children under the age of six when they were called to seminary to pursue MDiv degrees—at the same time. Candler’s financial aid package made their simultaneous education possible. Now, with degrees in hand, the Denmarks are off to Orlando, Florida, where Jad will serve as an associate pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Shelly will enjoy some time off from her studies before applying to doctoral programs.
Candler Empowers Real Possibilities.