Women’s Ministries – New Cohort begins!

In less than two weeks, a new cohort of participants will begin BeADisciple.com’s certification program in Women’s Ministries!

If you haven’t heard me sing the praises of this program already – and how could you not have? – you might want to hear someone else talk about their experiences in it! Like this video with one of the 2020 participants talking about what the program was like.

January is the only time to get involved in the year-long program, because each course builds on the one before it. After January’s course on women in scripture comes March’s course on theology about and by women. Then, from August to November, the two practical courses build on that foundation of scripture and theology.

But don’t despair, there is still space available for you in the first course, beginning on January 18th! You can register today!

I really am hoping you will and I’m confident that we will all benefit from the time together!

Blessings,

Beth

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Hope, Love, & Joy!

Hope, Love, and Joy!

This picture is from my Christmas letter for 2020. It reflects the perfect split second of lighting the second candle of Advent: the moment as the match begins to leave the wick…

It’s the moment one flame starts the separation into two… when the flame is burning at its highest point even as the match head appears above the wall of the candleholder and starts, already, to cool as the flame moves away.

And then the Love continues to glow…

Perhaps this is the perfect metaphor for 2020. The match head grew cool way too fast this year, didn’t it? And yet the love still glowed through the pandemic, the racism, the politics, the murder hornets, the hurricane, the locust, the beef (and toilet paper) shortages, the fireworks at 4am day after day… Through the lack of visits with friends and family, the lack of travel around the city, the lack of enjoyment…. The lack of employment and housing and food and clothing – the lack of life! – by so many, many people…  

2020 was a lousy year.

And yet, the Love continued, didn’t it? We saw it in people standing up for others, taking responsibility, and making commitments to repair society! We saw it in health care workers who risked their health and safety to care for others who were ill and dying! We saw it in people willing to make adjustments to their lifestyles for the sake of their community! We saw it in people holding on to meeting their goals (albeit in very different ways) in education, health, relationships, etc.! We saw it in religious groups who reached out to help others in new and challenging ways! We saw it in people taking on the burdens of multiple full-time jobs from home – and others who managed to find new ways of working when their jobs dried up – and others who found peace instead of despair when no job was there to be found!

Now, I know I’m ignoring huge areas of 2020 where love was NOT reigning. I am painfully aware of those areas of ill-will in our nation right now. We might have a little of that going on ourselves if we’re honest. But that is not what will get us through this winter… and the spring… and whatever might come after that….

But this little glowing word Love… that just might suffice… May you receive, recognize, acknowledge, embrace, share, give, and flourish in love for this Christmas season and for the new year soon to come!

Blessings and Love,

Beth & Tony

God is love… if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us… let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action… From 1 John 3 & 4

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More video!!!!!

I just listened to an interview with one of the participants in the 2020 cohort of Women’s Ministries! If you’ve been wondering how people feel about the program, here’s the inside scoop! Thank you so much, Susan!

Also, I wanted to send out a reminder that Monday is the first day of winter and so my winter newsletter will go out in the morning! If you aren’t a subscriber, please sign up now!

Blessings,

Beth

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The Listening Chair!

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Meg Calvin and Miranda Priddy for The Listening Chair, about a variety of topics! You can hear it in one of their November podcasts, which is available here.

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Late notice: Three Myths about Women’s Ministries!

If you didn’t get a chance to hear this live, you can hear the recording on YouTube!

I’m sorry for the late notice but please join me tomorrow on Facebook as I talk about mythology, myths, and Women’s Ministries!

The interview with Meg Calvin will be airing at 11:30am on the BeADisciple group page on Facebook.

We’ll start with a holiday myth or two and then find our way to some deeper truths about women and their ministries!

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Women’s Ministries – January 18-February 26

The next group begins this exciting program in January 2021!

I remember my first college course on women in religion. It was in the early 1990’s and I was about as green to the topic as anyone could possibly be!

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that our professor – Dr. Christina Bucher – changed my world.

First, in one of my long, hand-written probably quite boring papers, she highlighted every one of my passive verbs! (Thank you, Chris; I think about that shocking yellow so very often!)

Second, she presented me with writers like Carol Christ and Judith Plaskow (Womanspirit Rising still sits on my bookshelf!), as well as Mary Daly and many others!

And third, she modeled what was, to me, a new method of teaching. I’d see it again in seminary but Chris was the first professor I experienced who put the emphasis on discussion instead of lecture, giving me a model for my own teaching opportunities!

I remember sitting around a long conference table with the other students – in my memory it was a mile long and there were 20 or 30 of them! And I remember the confusion, excitement, and delight I felt in every discussion!

So to be sharing the stories of women in the Bible (as well as women’s theology in the second course of this program) with others who might be just as green as I was 30 years ago… well, it’s one of the high-points of my career!

One of the participants from the 2020 session, wrote this in her evaluation: Many of the stories about women have been really eye-opening. I will NEVER skim over another mention of a woman in the Bible again!

Maybe you are where I was so long ago – or where this participant was a year ago? Looking for some deeper understanding of the women who are in the Bible – and ready to build theologically and practically on that foundation?

If so, I can’t wait to meet you! Learn more about the Women’s Ministries certification program and register for the first course by clicking on this link!

Blessings,

Beth

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Leaving Facebook….

I don’t know if I’m following a pattern or straying from a path…. but I’m leaving Facebook. Many reasons – bots, politics, personalities, etc. – but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to say in touch with my family and friends and colleagues!

So, over the next week or so, you’ll likely see some of this information show up in a variety of ways.

First, you can always connect with me professionally on LinkedIn. While it isn’t the home of food pictures or miles walked, it is a good way to see what I am doing in the work areas of my life. And if we connect there, I can also see more of what you are doing professionally, as well! https://www.linkedin.com/in/revbethperry/

Second, at least for awhile, I’m likely to post those food/walking/etc. pictures on Instagram! Not that they’ll look all that different from the ones I’ve been posting for years but you’ll know I haven’t taken a turn to eating caviar or hiding inside the apartment all the time! https://www.instagram.com/revbethperry/

Third, probably the best way to know what is happening in my life is to be on the list for my quarterly/seasonal newsletter. The next one comes out the first day of winter in December. In about 6 years, there have only been 2 or 3 times that I’ve sent more than the four quarterly emails so you can be sure your inbox won’t get overloaded! Click here to subscribe to the newsletter.

And that leads to one other way to stay in touch: my annual Christmas letter. Most years it arrives around Christmas but I do remember getting them out in March one especially busy year! It is just my spiritual reflections on a year and a season – I can’t guarantee that it will be any better this year than any other one. Feel free to email me at bethfaf@gmail.com to have your email address added to my list!

Actually, there’s one other way to stay in touch – take a BeADisciple course with me from time to time! There’s a Teach Adult course (a link is in the column to the right of this post) and I’m so looking forward to the Women’s Ministry Certificate Program that begins again in January 2021!

And of course… you can find me here from time to time!

Blessings,

Beth

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Overload…

I imagine a lot of you are just like me right now: overloaded.

If you’re a parent of young children, you’re likely struggling with their online presence again – as well as your own work and personal care!

If you’re a pastor, you’re likely overloaded with figuring out how to turn a typical fall into a “new normal” online fall!

And if you’re a worker with children and youth – paid or unpaid – you are likely to be trying to figure out how to apply your Safe Church, Safe Sanctuary, or other risk reduction policy to the online setting for your ministries this fall!

In the covid19 era, we’ve got a lot to think about! How to apply your current policy in new settings – or how to edit your policy to meet current needs – should be part of your thinking!

The new version of my old Safe Sanctuary course – Creating Safe Spaces for Children and Youth Ministries – got its start earlier this year. You can read some feedback from it in the righthand column.

And it will get a second airing in October, starting the 12th and running for two weeks.

I’d love to see you there – and to help bear your load!

Blessings,

Beth

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Biblical Interpretation…

I just updated the reviews for my upcoming course on biblical interpretation (side bar to your right). So I guess it makes sense to talk about that topic here, on this Friday evening when I want to just put my feet up and relax!

But I do love talking about biblical interpretation… and it’s so deep a well to venture into that one can talk about it for a long time!

So let’s pick a verse and see what happens….

I’m preaching this Sunday so here’s verse 8 from Romans 13 in the NRSV: Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

If we’re going to interpret that verse, we might start by reading it in several other translations. In the NIV, it reads: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

In the KJV, it reads: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

In the CEV, it reads: Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands.

And in the CEB, it reads: Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law.

There’s some difference there, isn’t there? Like who it is we’re to love? Is it “another,” “others,” or “each other”? Is it enough that we love one other person – will that fulfill the law? Or is it plural – others – how many? all the others? Or is it each other – only those who love us too?

We might also go to some commentaries or research articles. I found a research article that said this verse is the start of a section designed to shake us out of our complacency. And another that said Paul intended this to be ironic! Another said that this verse supports the obedience of the law because doing that is how one shows love to another. And another said that it is part of a political argument Paul is making!

So now instead of one question, we have five! Maybe now we start asking some friends for help. What do they think this verse means? And, if we are blessed with a diversity of friends, we might find even more questions come up. Someone might say this is clearly a recommendation to avoid financial debt while another might think it is clearly a denunciation of Judaic law!

By now you are wishing I had chosen to put my feet up this evening, aren’t you?

Seriously, while it may sound a little daunting, this is just the start of a fascinating and deeply enriching process of biblical interpretation. The process where we start with words on the page but go beyond our own limited understanding of them. And where we can find ourselves encountering God along the way!

If you are thinking about signing up for this course, I strongly recommend reading the rather challenging book before the course begins on September 14th! And I hope to see you there!

Blessings,

Beth

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Accountability

As I looked at my note on my calendar this morning, telling me to post an article here today, I knew it needed to be about boundaries.

I spent some time lately looking at the topic of misuse of power in churches – both by clergy and lay leadership – and I read a variety of ideas about having healthy boundaries.

Many of them started the whole process with having a good sense of self-care! Which is so important to a workaholic like me!  I actually have to build up boundaries to ensure I take care of myself!

When I was in seminary, I used to put a sign on my dorm room door: Prayer at 9pm. At 8:55, I put the books away and cleared up the note cards, pens/highlighers, and all the other accouterments of research. Then I took time to pray. Sometimes folks (or a folk) dropped by; other times I prayed alone. But if I hadn’t put the sign on the door, I’d have worked through the night.

I made myself accountable to my whole dorm floor in order to get the time I needed to take spiritual care of myself.

Today it’s Calendar (formerly iCal). I schedule my meals, my exercise, my showers. Occasionally on a Saturday I schedule “spa day.” “Reading” goes on there as well as some sort of art/music/culture activity that keeps me a little saner in this covid19 existence.

I put the day/times I’m cooking dinner and the zoom meetings I’ll be in and all the work that I intend to do. All in various colors. And running from about 6am to 11pm every weekday and some weekends.

Some people who’ve seen my calendar say it’s the scariest thing they’ve ever seen. But I find it to be supportive!

I make myself accountable to my calendar so that I not only get my work done but I also do it in a way that keeps me healthy and centered!

I also use accountability partners to help me maintain my productivity – you’ve probably seen me write about the Get-it-Done accountability group. And I lead a course in Becoming an Accountable Disciple about how to have those kinds of boundaries in a church community!

If you aren’t taking that first step in having good boundaries – if you aren’t taking care of yourself – I invite you to join in the discipleship course that begins on August 10th!

Blessings!

Beth

 

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