Category Archives: tamisha

On The Ground

So one of the things I’ve found when it comes to higher education is that it can produce a side effect of social awkwardness. This side effect is usually caused by the constant engagement with ideas that only make sense as an idea, yet don’t hold much weight in reality. But they are intriguing, provocative, and you can spend time pondering them in the quiet of your home, alone, and convince yourself that you are a genius. Yet, after engaging with these ideas for an extended period of time, you too no longer hold much weight in reality.

Being a very social person, you could only imagine my fear. Continue reading

Game Changers

So one of the things that you tend to do A LOT in graduate school is read. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a certified book lover so this is not a bad thing (if anything, it is icing on the cake). But sometimes, in the midst of the thousands of pages of history, systematic theology, and other technical books, it becomes difficult to keep up and even the most dedicated book enthusiast can get frustrated.

That being said, it says a lot about a book when you find one that you actually want to read word-for-word (now I know what you are thinking, but skimming is not bad, trust me). This is not to say that other books are “bad” per se, but you will find as you look back that some books, well, some books changed your life. They are the GAME CHANGERS as I would put it. They reveal a truth or show you a new angle or simply resonate with you so that you can’t get them out of your mind. You talk about them to everyone, even when the class is over. You quote them in future papers. You even dream of writing like that someday. So while there are some books (good books) that help you create a proper framework or seek to challenge some of what you believe; there are some that simply blow your mind. There are some that change the game.

Here is my list of 5 game changers (thus far) and why they changed the game:


It was my very first quarter here at Fuller when I took Pastoral Care and Abuse with Dale Ryan. I didn’t know it yet, but I would soon find that I was broken, and needed much help. I had been working from a place of severe spiritual burnout and was dealing with a lot (particularly with my then home church). What was beautiful about this book (and the class) was two things: 1. It helped me to identify what was going on and 2. It helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone. The authors of this book not only bring their incredible expertise but their experience in a way that was much needed for my first quarter and is still something I go back to two years later.


I read this book in the Fall of 2011 for my Exegetical Methods class. This book offered incredible insight into the way that the bible is read in a culture other than my own, but it allowed me to see how it is significant to hear how others read the bible and how that can create for a richer understanding of the Gospel. I still find myself talking about the landscape example the author uses in this book to show the importance of readings from other cultures and perspectives. It has been foundational in creating the framework for the importance of what I want to study in the future.


One of the reasons this book is a game changer is because, well quite simply, it made my brain hurt. Maybe it was because I’m not that fluent in politics but this book challenged me to not only see politics in a new light but to see just how political the ministry of Jesus was. It also gave me a new word, “normative.” Not so much new in the fact that I’ve never heard it before, but in that it challenges you to see how Jesus is normative for what it means to be human. Challenge accepted.


Whoever said big things come in small packages must have just finished this book. I’m currently reading it for my Homiletics class and out of the 91 pages of this book I find myself on page 9…and its already on the list. Nuff said.


Let me start by saying that this book is not required reading…but it IS required reading (if that makes sense). I didn’t have to read it for class but if Jesus is normative for what it means to be human than this book will be normative for what I want to write. I’ve been stuck in the introduction for a while, because there is something extraordinary about having your mind BLOWN and world ROCKED by a simple story. What Jennings calls for in this book, a shift of our imaginations, speaks to me on so many levels that I have a feeling I will be reading this for a very, very long time.

Advent

So during our school Advent Chapel services, I was asked to offer a reflection on Joy and Suffering. The initial email asked if I would be able to reflect on Joy and Suffering in front of my peers, professors, staff members and administrators. Oh, and all in 5 mins…so, you know, no pressure. After sweating bullets for a week trying to figure out how I was going to reconcile suffering in the world with joy at all, let alone try to explain it in 5 mins, I ran into the director of Chapel who eased my suffering tremendously by saying “just share your story.” It was a relief, to say the least, and gave me the space I needed to reflect on how finding joy in suffering had affected me personally.

So, I wanted to share that reflection with you. If you prefer to watch it, you can simply click the link here and go to our Vimeo page where you can watch my reflection and several other reflections as well as sermons from other chapel services (which are really great by the way). I’m also including it in writing below. I hope it blesses you in this Advent season. Continue reading

Thankful

I’m writing this blog in the Library on campus. Now, lets not get confused; I am not so much thankful for the library (although it is a great one); I am actually thankful that I am in the library. Allow me to explain:
Today is the first day I’ve been outside in the last few days really. Why do you ask? Well, I’ve been a bit under the weather. Now, for those of us math wiz students should be able to understand the following
Being sick + finals week = …
Well, you get the picture.
My being in the library is not the root of my thankfulness, but the root of my thankfulness is the reason that I am in the library.
And that, my friends, is nothing more than…(wait for it)…COMMUNITY.
Now I know what you may be thinking “she always talks about community.” And you would be right. I have learned, especially during my time here, just how important community is. And I got another lesson these past few days.
Allow me to let you in on a secret: I’m not very good at being sick. I hate it actually. And being sick while you are attempting to write an argument on the inspiration and authority of scripture for your Systematic Theology class is no party either. But it had to be done, and I am thankful that I didn’t have to do it alone.
I had friends to come to my rescue! They brought me orange juice, and soup, even cookies! They posted nice things on Facebook and send me encouraging messages. Needless to say, they were awesome! It was exactly what I needed to get through those days.
And that, my friends, is what I am thankful for. Community: short, sweet and to the point. I know that so many people are probably thankful for community here at Fuller as well, but honestly, I can see why. It’s what the Kingdom is all about.

The Power of Story Series

Reclaiming your Cultural Stories in Communities of Faith

Sometime last year, I embarked on my first blog series. The series was entitled “The University Series” which sought to engage how we live together as the Body of Christ acknowledging and celebrating our diversity. Though it was short lived (since us bloggers were moved to this new fancy home, that is) it was a lot of fun and I (among others) really enjoyed it. Just as I was thinking about whether to bring it back or not, a friend asked if I’d be willing to speak at Week Four. Now, Week Four is a student group on campus that offers students a chance to give a talk that answers the question, “If you could tell future seminarians one thing, what would it be?” I was honored to say the least, and sought to think about what I should talk about. Since it was this Summer and I was taking a Directed Study course on the Gospels and Oral Tradition, I thought it would be cool to see how the power of story would be influential in the way we interacted. The result was the talk, “The Power of Story: Reclaiming your Cultural Story in a Community of Faith.” As I was putting together material for the talk, I remembered that blog series. So, I decided that now was a good time to bring this series back.

So, allow me to tell you a little bit about what this series will entail and why I feel it is important.
I originally used the term “university” because I heard it used in a sermon once. The preacher used it as a way of finding “unity” within “diversity” thus the term “university.” I thought the term would be perfect as we were talking about not only how to engage diversity in the body of Christ but how to do so on campus. But instead of just including my two cents on the topic (which I did, naturally) I thought it would be a great idea to include actual stories from students on campus of different backgrounds that answered the same set of questions and shared how they were claiming their cultural stories in communities of faith. (I will try to re-post the stories on the other site so that you can read those as well)
So, now for the important stuff. The reason that hearing stories like these is important is because it answers important questions like, . What did it mean to move from paper (or being statically diverse) to practice (actually engaging diversity)? What did it mean to hear from people of different backgrounds? What would they have to say about our theology? The reason that stories do this best is because story has a way of drawing us in; giving us something to relate to but reminding us that the story is also beyond us. No matter how “real” they are; they are magical. They bring us together in a way that stating facts and tossing around ideas just can’t. I believe that it is necessary that we learn to reclaim our cultural stories in communities of faith for three reasons:

1. Our theology and our church is in need of a desperate awakening that challenges the way we view our church in light of the dominant culture.

2) we need to realize that we are only deceiving ourselves and limiting God if we continue to deny the varied expressions that is the result of worshiping with other cultures and

3) we would be foolish to forget that we are a storied people; brought together by the telling of a story, not as an attempt to re-write ours per se, but a story of a God who decided to plant himself within our story, in order that it might be redeemed.

It is that story of a people and their God that brought all of us together, from various backgrounds, all throughout time. God could have just stated the facts; but He decided to tell us a story. I believe that we can do the same. And I also believe that diversity, multi-culturalism, and engaging the body of Christ are also important. It just so happens that story is an amazing way to engage diversity.

So I hope you look out for those stories as we allow students on campus so share how the Gospel has impacted their culture. We are also going to share how some communities are engaging their diversity and how it is impacting their churches and other communities. We are also open to answering any questions that any of the readers may have so feel free to engage with these stories.

I hope that many of you will begin to take the time to ask yourself how you can reclaim your cultural story within a community of faith. For some, that may mean taking the time to better understand your cultural story. For others, it may just mean finding the space to tell and the people to listen. Either way, I hope you are able to reclaim your story, and to see how it too has been redeemed.

Until next time folks…

Sometimes you wanna go…

Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

Admit it, you love that song. I know I do. Its one of those songs that just makes you feel warm inside. Not the warm feeling you get when Christmas comes around, but something like that. Its the feeling you get when you know you are a part of something. When you know you are loved.
Now I don’t mean to get super sentimental but we all love that feeling. The feeling of being accepted is something that we all seek after (whether we like to admit it or not) and it is certainly something we look for when we have a major life change (say like going back to school!). Continue reading

Gospels: World ROCKED, Mind BLOWN

Dr. Goldingay (Professor of Old Testament) once said that the reason he decided to study the Old Testament was because “it was the first class I ever took.” When I think about taking NS500: Gospels with Tommy Givens, I can completely understand what Dr. Goldingay was talking about.
I will never forget how afraid I was (terrified even) to start at Fuller. I didn’t know anything about theology and I haven’t been in a classroom for four years. Surely this must be insane! But nevertheless, I was also excited to be embarking on a new adventure. But I couldn’t help but to be nervous walking into my first class: Gospels.
Great start right? Starting seminary with a Gospels class (I highly recommend it). But this class far exceeded my expectations (which were none since I had no clue what to expect). It made me rethink the way I read the bible completely! In fact, it was such an eye opening experience that I wrote a blog about it (go figure!). Here’s a snippit… Continue reading