Re-Reading Ruth…or What Does It Mean To Be A Moabite?

Some of you know that I’m taking a class in Biblical Narrative this semester. At the beginning of the semester we were focusing on the book of Jonah. But for the last two-and-a-half weeks, we’ve been paying attention to the book of Ruth. Now…if you haven’t read Ruth in a while (or haven’t ever read it), I recommend it to you.

I heard Ruth a lot as a kid; mostly Ruth 1:16-17. I heard it mostly at weddings, and it was always (and only) the woman who said it. I’ve read it through a few times. But it’s really interesting to read it through the eyes of literary analysis. And with someone who can point out things that translation takes away.

For instance, in Ruth 2:1 the NRSV says, “Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.” Those of you who know the Hebrew will know that the words used to describe Boaz are gibbor chayil. In most other places where gibbor chayil is used, it is translated as mighty warrior.” It is sometimes even used to describe G-d. So why wasn’t Boaz described as a “mighty warrior?” hmmm…makes one wonder.

Anyway…for the paper we have to write, one of the questions that our professor has for us to ponder is this….Is Ruth a typical Moabite or not?

What does it mean to be a typicalanything? Especially when the only references one has of a group are negative (as in the case of the Moabites and Ammonites).

I already know what angle I’m taking with this paper (as it will connect with my final paper for this class), but I just thought I would throw this out there

Internship Hell

I want to thank those who emailed me privately and sending along encouraging words in the struggle to find an internship for next year. And a special thanks to Scott Wells who gave me a new phrase to describe internships….the vortex of doom.

That said, it’s still mostly hell for the two UU students out here who are looking for internships. And the bane of our existence is the two-year part-time internship. Those aren’t doing us any favors. We have to live, and $400/month just ain’t gonna cut it. Not all of us have partners or are independently wealthy.

I get it….really I do. Internships cost money. And for some churches, money is a hard thing to come by. I also know that it’s required that I do a parish internship if I ever want to be fellowshipped. So somethings got to give here people. I just don’t know what yet.

Sadie Hawkins Thoughts

So we were sitting in our Bibical Narrative class this afternoon, and in talking about “archaic” Israelite practice our prof. mentioned Green Stamps. Green Stamps!! Remember those??? (we still had some at our house a couple of years ago) What was interesting was that there were a couple of people in the room who didn’t get the reference. Just imagine trying to explain Green Stamps to someone who never saw them. The best we could come up with was Frequent Flyer miles.

This has got me to thinking about other things that probably don’t create the same picture as they used to. Hence Sadie Hawkins. Does any school still do Sadie Hawkins dances anymore? I haven’t heard of one in years.

So what from your “golden” days isn’t around anymore (or not around in the same way) that you think should be?

What Would You Do?…or Looking For An Internship

What would you do if I sang out of tune…would you stand up and walk out on me…lend me your ear and I’ll sing you a song…I will try not to sing out-of-key…

Yes…I feel like I’m in a “Wonder Years” episode.

So there are two UU students here at ESR that are supposed to be heading into internships next academic year. And of course, both of us are facing problems.

What happens when you financially can’t do a two-year part-time internship (which a lot of churches seem to be moving to) can’t move to California (which is where a lot of the internships next year are) or have some other geographic limitation? That is the situation that the two of us are in and we’re struggling to find an answer.

One of us is considering forgetting about going for fellowship at all and doing her Supervised Ministry in a different area of concentration. The other of us is thinking that if all else fails, she can go home and be a “student minister” at her home church, thus fulfilling her school requirement for Supervised Ministry and putting off doing a UU internship until the congregational prospects look better. I won’t tell you which of the two I am, but I am one of them.

So the question becomes what would you do if you’re looking for an internship placement and the prospects don’t look that good? That’s the question for the two of us are looking at.

ahh….the joys of studying for the ministry.

MMPI-2…..or, Remind Me..Why Am I Doing This Again?

Those of you who are familiar with psychological tests will know this acronym, and those of you who are familiar with the UUA fellowshipping process will know that all prospective UU ministers have to take it. Well, I took it about three weeks ago now. And I have to say that I never felt the need to check myself into a mental institution before taking this, and yet right now I still don’t know what to feel about it.

So let me start with my really big problem with the test. It’s not that good of a test to give to those who are studying for the ministry. A number of the statements are phrased like “I have visions.” or “I have heard voices.” Hell Watson, lots of people who go into the ministry have visions and/or hear voices.

Next… are only allowed to answer true or false. I’m sorry but I can’t answer true or false to the statement “I would like to do what a forest ranger does.” I don’t know what a forest ranger does. So how can I say “yay” or “nay”? I’ve never been married, so should I really answer statements that are about married couples. I don’t think so. And I’m not saying “yay” or “nay” to anything about my sex life. The answer to any of those statements would be “nun ya damn bidness.”

Finally, there is the racial factor. I was more than a little confused when the results said that I was paranoid, schizotypal, and have a persecution complex. The counselor at the center said, with no hesitation, that the high persecution score is because I’m a member of a minority group. But she said nothing about the paranoid score being related to that. And I’m guessing that for her the schizotypal score didn’t register as being related. As I was concerned with being labeled paranoid and schizotypal when I got back to Indiana I called a friend, who is a clinical psychologist and works at the Indiana State Hospital and asked her if we could talk about the test. When we got together a couple of days later, she looked at me and said “Let me guess…they told you you were a paranoid schizophrenic didn’t they?” When I told her yes she said, “Don’t worry, it’s because you’re black.” Then she explained to me that in all the years that she administered the test for the Indianapolis Police Department, the people who always scored high on the paranoia, persecution and schizo- scales were African-American men. She then went on to tell me that there have been studies that show that the paranoia and persecution scores are higher with those from minority groups. She also told me that those who are very religious tend to score higher on schizo- and deviant scales.

So I’m wondering…if it’s known that those who are looking at religious vocations tend to score higher on some of these scales, why is a career center that works with large numbers of those types of people giving this test?

If it is known that those from minority groups are going to score higher on certain scales, why isn’t there something on the answer sheet that let’s a person, if they choose to, fill-in what their ethnic background is?

Remind me, why am I doing this again?