My first semester of graduate school has ended with me earning the grade of A+ in two classes and a A in the third class. Not bad for a 70-year-old with a wonky memory! Thankfully, because I was able to convince the one professor who gave multiple-choice exams to allow me to write essays instead, I didn’t have to worry about memorization.
I am thankful to God for instilling in me a love for learning. My major is Religious Studies, but we are not learning theology, per se, but the impact of religion as a social institution. I always knew that Douglas and I read the Bible different, one from a male point of view and one from a female point of view. I now understand that each person brings their own experiences and social positions to the reading of religious materials, and, therefore, each of us determine how the verses pertain, or don’t pertain, to us.
For example, in my final paper for one class, I wrote about the Samaritan woman at the well and Mary Magdalene as I perceived them. Often the two women are preached as prostitutes and/or immoral women. But a more careful reading of the Scriptures from a woman’s point of view demonstrated to me that there is nothing in the Scriptures that could lead to such a conclusion. I looked carefully in the verses and never found one word that suggested that Jesus saw them as “bad” girls or women.
The Samaritan woman had been married five times. At that time in the culture, only men had access to divorce. So, for whatever reasons, she had been rejected five times by men. Then Jesus comes along and accepts her as she is and even enjoys their theological debate regarding living water and where and how to worship God. To be viewed as worthy of the time of the Messiah, no wonder she went excitedly running and shouting, “Come see a man who told me all that I ever did! Could he be the Messiah?”
In terms of Mary Magdalene, she is often denigrated because she had seven demons exorcised by Jesus. But, in the instance of the Gentile man who had a “legion” or a whole lot of demons exorcised and transferred to a herd of pigs, never is he referred to as immoral and certainly not as a prostitute. So, it isn’t right to equate demon-possession as proof of immorality and impurity for women but not for men.
So, you can see that I am having fun, although in the midst of so much reading and writing as is required in a graduate-level class, I often ask myself what was I thinking to put this kind of stress on myself, especially when I have to stay home and do homework while Douglas goes out to play. But, I love it so much and I am so thankful for this opportunity, even as a small voice reminds me that no paper is worth having a stroke or a heart attack. I just remember that, as I did when I earned my doctorate over 15 years ago, every paper eventually gets done. And the A’s demonstrate that there is still a lot of learning in this old gal! It feels good to write on my blog again! I have missed it!