Saturday, December 30, 2006

Commander of the British Empire (CBE), Canon Dr. Christina Baxter

It was announced by 10 Downing Street on Saturday 11 June that Canon Dr Christina Baxter, Principal of St John’s Nottingham, had been awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire award) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. This is for services to the Church of England

Here Christina is pictured receiving her CBE from Her Majesty the Queen on Thursday 13th October.

Christina is my "Doctor-Mother", my primary supervisor in my PhD research. She is a Barth scholar. Shortly after I arrived in England for my first year of study, Christina had been named by the London Times, I think, one of the 100 most important women in the UK. She is the highest ranking layperson in the Anglican Church and the 2nd most important woman in the church (the Queen is no. 1).

Christina was a womderful supervisor for my thesis. She is a systematic theologian as well as a lay leader in the Church of England. She can be intimidating but I was comforted when on my first visit with her, I saw the "purple monster", (Pentecostal Spirituality) by one of my other mentors, Steve Land, lying on her shelf, (not shelved but lying out as if it had been read recently!). I actually saw it everywhere I went in British Academia!).

Christina recently authored "The Wounds of Jesus", a reflection for Lent in which she cites Chris Thomas' work on footwashing.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cabeza De Vaca - Transformed Conquistador

Last night Corky and I watched several segments of Michael Woods' BBC/PBS series "Conquistadors". As with all of Woods' historical works, the narrative is compelling and the video is beautiful. I love the way he tells the story, using present-day footage, in this case, of Latin America. This particular series is full of pathos, and is ultimately tragic. The story of Cabeza De Vaca is the most provocative. Cabeza, a "gentleman conquistador" (an oxymoron!), after a shipwreck is transformed by his experience of living with the Indians. He discovers that they are human. Most interesting is his transformation into a kind of healer/shaman. Upon his return to Spain, Cabeza documented miracles of healing among the Indians, the result of prayer for the sick.

Cabeza's story is a glimpse into what might have been. As Woods recalls the words of one Aztec priest: we could have accepted that there was One Almighty God but we could not accept that He had authorized the Pope to claim our land. But what if the Spanish conquistadors, and the later French, Dutch and English, had simply lived among the Indians, learning from them, respecting them and preaching the Gospel of Jesus, not the values of an institution? And what if the Gospel had been presented with no association with greed for gold? How might the Kingdom of God been advanced? And how much more like the Kingdom would the western church be today?

I am Moltmann-Finney

What an interesting topic for theological research! The continuity and discontinuity in Moltmann and Finney! That's "who I am" according to the "Which Theologian Are You?" quiz (see the link at left under "Time Travel Can Be Fun").

Just off the top of my head: both are insistent on the essentiality of "experience"; both are concerned with social justice; both place a high emphasis on pneumatology. Discontinuity? Finney is higher on transcendence of God while Moltmann emphasizes the immanence of God. Any other ideas?

Take the quiz and let me know who you are! I promise I won't base your grade on your theological predispositions!

Already-Not Yet

I know that the phrase "my students" sounds possessive, maybe even elitist or vain. Sometimes I actually feel bad calling myself a teacher, as I learn as much from "my students" as they do from me. I love the diversity found among seminary students. I've been privileged to facilitate classes where students from both Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, China and other parts of Asia and Africa all shared together in the theological educational process.

One comment, from a former student, asks if the blog is for former students as well as present ones. I'm thrilled that those who've moved on would want to participate in the conversation! It is so distressing to go to McKay's and find books I've used as textbooks on the shelf! I really want to believe that the conversation goes on. So...yes, survivors are welcome! Those who've already obtained completion of the seminary program, and those who've not obtained it all!

By the way, the action should pick up on this blog once the January and Spring semesters begin!