2019 Synod Study Conference

This year our annual Alberta and the Territories Synod Study Conference featured keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis. She is the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary and she previously taught at Candler School of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary, and Augsburg College.

She is the author of John: Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries(2014).

In addition to addressing matters of biblical exegesis, sexism (according to the study of one scholar, only about 1 per cent of all the people in the Bible are women, and many of them either do not speak, speak only briefly, and many of them are unnamed), racism, a canon within the canon, reading and studying the Bible with the awareness of one’s own built-in biases—Professor Lewis challenged conference attendees to be more aware of what we believe about the Bible, how we read and interpret it (hermeneutics), how we prepare sermons and preach on them.

Professor Lewis also presented her exegesis of the Johannine story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria in chapter four. She encouraged those who read, study and preach on this pericope to pay attention to the details of if not each word, at least each sentence in the story. For example, the text says in verse four: “But he (i.e. Jesus) had to go through Samaria. Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? At the time Jews and Samaritans were not exactly on friendly terms. Indeed Jews avoided travelleing through Samaria and the Samaritans if they at all could. It is clear by looking at a map that Jesus definitely had at least two options in travelling back to Galilee—he could have taken a route along the coast or he could have crossed the Jordan and travelled on the east side of Samaria. Yet, he had to go through Samaria. Of course, one reason for that was to widen the scope of his ministry; to become more inclusive by welcoming women as well as men, non-Jews as well as Jews into his realm.

In addition to Rev. Dr. Lewis’s presentations, we enjoyed hearing from other presenters and had opportunity to reconnect with colleagues informally, as well as worship together.

Below is a photo of our Synod’s women clergy as well as a few visiting from other Synods and Rev. Dr. Karoline Lewis.

The Diary of a Country Priest

The Diary of a Country Priest

This summer I recently read The Diary of a Country Priest by the political writer, Georges Bernanos. As the title suggests, it is written in diary form and is set in a poor rural parish in France during the early twentieth century. The priest, an orphan, is young and sometimes naïvely idealistic, while at other times most insightful. As the Christ-figure in the novel, he has his share of suffering and matures in his faith because of it.

For those who may be interested in the novel, here are three rather profound quotes:

Rich and poor alike, you’d do better to look at yourselves in the mirror of want, for poverty is the image of your own fundamental illusion. Poverty is the emptiness in your hearts and in your hands. (p. 62)

It is very easy to surrender to God’s will when it is proved to you day after day that you can do no good. But in the end one would thankfully accept, as divine favours, set-backs and humiliations which are simply the inevitable results of our folly. (p. 190)

Even from the Cross, when Our Lord in His agony found the perfection of His saintly Humanity—even then He did not own Himself a victim of injustice. They know not what they do. Words that have meaning for the youngest child, words some would like to call childish, but the spirits of evil must have been muttering them ever since without understanding, and with ever-growing terror. (p. 292)