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summer 2012

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 laurel.hanna@emory.edu

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

32

Features: 10

See Spot Run: Reading as a Spiritual Practice

Carol Newsom ponders the spiritual dimensions of reading

22

Reading for Real Change

Contextual Education changes the lives of two first-years and a refugee family

25

Lectio Divina: The Art of Divine Reading

An ancient way of praying Scripture the Benedictines call

“listening with the ear of one’s heart”

32

Does It Matter How You Read a Hymn?

John Bell of Scotland’s Iona Community on hymns, memory, and technology


2

Candler Connection | Summer 2012

The Collect

“We believe Connection can foster community among the 7,500 Candler alumni around the world.�


The Collect

Welcome

3

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.


Candler News

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,

foundation’s namesake.

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

building project.


Candler News

5

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


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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.


Candler News

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

01

God allow such devastation? Long is Bandy Professor of Preaching and Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology.

02

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Candler Connection | Summer 2012

03

04

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

distinguished series.”

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.


Candler News

“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

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See Spot Run : Reading as a Spiritual Practice

11

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

and presence.


See Spot Run : Reading as a Spiritual Practice

13

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

new way.

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

the covenant.

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.


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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

as follows:

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

not anticipated.

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

readers again.

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

Antebellum period.

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)


16

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:

also colonized.’

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.’”

Clarkston, Georgia.


Required Reading

17

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?

19

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.


20

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

early church.

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

21

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.


2

Candler | Connection

Reading

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

23

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-

friends here.”

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,

Wednesday afternoon.”

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-

“OK.”

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

“Bye.”

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.

became friends.”

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

LECTIO DIVINA:

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.

25


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—

Spirit’s guidance.

“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

27

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

MEDITATIO

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

ORATIO

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

CONTEMPLATIO

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,”

For God

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.”


28

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-

21st century?

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

across differences.

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.


30

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

second-career folks.

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

student body.

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?

33

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.


34

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

Brigitte Fessele

reading Shakespeare. She says she admires the content and

Steve Morgan & Lew Engle


Reading Beyond the Lines

35

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

Yazhu Li

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.


36

Candler Connection | Summer 2012

Giving

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

strengthens their

Emory, Emory University’s $1.6 billion fund-raising

practical skills for

endeavor that combines private support and Emory’s

church leadership

people, places, and programs to make a powerful

by immersing them

contribution to the world. At this time, Candler con-

in congregations

tinues to seek funds for the Erskine, Smith, Mosley

for 10 weeks of full-

Scholarship Endowment, the L. Bevel Jones Chair

time ministry.

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

Samantha Lewis,

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:

campaign committee.

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

larger campaign.

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.


38

Candler Connection | Summer 2012

02

01 04

03

08

Commencement 2012

On Monday, May 14, Candler School of Theology took part in Emory University’s 167th Commencement exercises. The university awarded more than 4,100 degrees, including 126 to Candler’s newest alumni. Photos 1 and 3 by Emory Photo/Video; all others by Cindy Brown 09T.


Commencement 2012

39

06 09 05 10 07

11 01

The Atlanta Pipe Band led the academic procession onto Emory’s Quadrangle at 8 a.m. for the all-schools ceremony.

02

A steady drizzle fell in the early morning hours, but the rain let up when the ceremony began.

03

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.

05

MDiv graduate Dalan Vanterpool during the all-schools ceremony, where Emory President James Wagner conferred the degrees.

06

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.

08

Dean Love commended the Class of 2012 for its commitment to social justice, community building, rich worship experiences, and philanthropy.

09

After the diploma ceremony, friends and family members snapped photos of happy graduates.

10

Graduate Jung Won An received flowers to mark the special occasion.

11

A simple piece of paper—but it represents several years of hard work.


Class Notes

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.

90s

00s

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.


Class Notes

41

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

Vanderbilt University.

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.


42

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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ents University pres y at Emory Claiborne ool of Theolog ker Shane Candler Sch ist and spea Christian activ on issues of prominent er speaker -aft ght nding r 23. A sou ne is a fou on Octobe justice, Sha in inner g and social community peacemakin Way, a faith Another The Simple DVD series partner of ured in the of several a. He is feat or lphi auth ade ling city Phil bestsel Jesus for and is the and sible ion Pos Revolut World Is Irresistible l Street The Wal g the udin in books, incl been featured rs. ne’s work has io, among othe President. Sha l Public Rad , and Nationa y, please Journal, CNN olog The ool of Candler Sch at du. nts eve ry.e For more andler.emo ne at www.c visit us onli

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

43

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

Worship Schedule

For details and to RSVP, contact candleralum@emory.edu.

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

candleradmissions@emory.edu.

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.


44

Candler Connection | Summer 2012

Benediction

On Reading

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

join them.

Brooks Holifield is reading Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes.


“...books have themes, motifs, figures, and tropes that give us a richer experience when we take note of them.�


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.


Candler Connection Summer 2012