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Kairos #192

Kairos #192

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Published by: kairosapts on Oct 30, 2009
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10/30/2009

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THE VOICE OF THE COMMUNITY
1
 kairoj 
A Weekly Newspaper Issue 192, Nov. 2-6 , 2009
Life is aboutRelationships:
Reflections from Zambia
 Melea White is a Senior MDiv/MSSW dual degree student currentlycompleting her studies in Luska, Zambia.
Some American friends who were staying on the campusof Justo Mwale Theological University College in Lusaka,Zambia, left in August. They offered to let me stay in theirhouse until the woman replacing them comes inNovember (so I could save some money and watch afterthe house). Their only request was that I keep theirhousekeeper, a Zambian woman, on for the two months Ilive here.Those of you who know me would know that I consideredthis a terrible request.I know that people have different ideas about a whiteperson hiring someone from a different ethnic group for a job like housekeeping. Some believe that one is merelyproviding employment for a person in need, others believe that one is feeding into the system of racism, andyet others fall somewhere in-between. I am constantly thinking about what my racial status and/or privilege does in any given situation, so I tend to fallmore in line with the idea that hiring a person from anygroup perpetuates negative racial stereotypes (and the factthat living quarters for the house help, which is often onthe house owner’s land, is referred to as the “servants’quarters” here does not help). This does not mean that Ithink everyone should agree with me – I understand thatother people simply want to provide someone in needwith a job, and I respect this decision.Needless to say, when I was asked to keep theirhousekeeper on, I was incredibly uncomfortable. I washappy to help this woman out, so initially I thought about just paying her and telling her not to come and clean, but
© 2009 Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Life in Zambia
Fellow seminarystudent Melea White,who currently lives andworks in Zambia,shares her reflectionsabout her life in Luska.
Pages 1-2
Invite to Write
 Middler Jeff Saddington, JuniorAmanda Robinson andDual Degree studentAmber Reber reply tothe invitation to write.
Pages 1-3, 5, 11-12
Five Minutes with. . .
Reporter ChristianSchmidt catches threepeople and asks them five questions.
Page 4
Interview by KrystalLeedy
Reporter Krystal Leedyinterviews HomileticsProfessor Rev. Dr.Kristin Saldine. Findout why
Page 6
Corpus ChristiChallenge
Student group CorpusChristi invites theseminary communityto involve themselvesin social justice issues.
 
Page 8-9
Student Senate MeetingNotes
Student Senate makestheir notes public. Seeminutes of their“summit” and of the10/27 meeting.
Page 14 & 15
John Calvin PumpkinCarved by John Leedy
 
ISSUE 192 WWW.AUSTINSEMINARY.TYPEPAD.PORTAL/KAIROS.HTML
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then realized that this could easily be misunderstood, anddid not want her thinking I did not trust her or want herin the house.Then I thought I had come up with the perfect solution.My friend told me that the housekeeper could not read orwrite because she stopped attending school at grade four.SO, I decided that I would have her help me learn Nyanjaand I would help her learn to read – I would pay her forhelping me and teach her to read along the way.With this idea in mind, I decided that I would talk to herabout my idea the first day she was at the house.I was so disappointed when I discovered that she speaksvery little English. There was no way we couldcommunicate well enough to teach each other as much asI had hoped we would.I realized in that moment that I was a huge jerk. Whatwas I thinking? I was just assuming that she wouldgratefully accept my offer to educate her. Even though Iwas uncomfortable with her ‘working for me,’ wasn’t it just as racist for me to think that I, an educated whitewoman, could just swoop in and educate her, which I wasessentially doing to make myself feel better?In the time we’ve been together, though, we have formeda relationship. We are able to communicate relativelywell now, and have shared many things with each other.Two weeks ago, she taught me some Nyanja sayings andI taught her the English alphabet.Last week, she taught me some things in the garden. Joyfully, I have been able to pass on greetings from herprevious employers/friends, who left Zambia, which isvery special to her. In the end, I have learned much morefrom her than she has from me. But isn’t that how italways goes?!Indeed, life is about relationships. It is about letting themform over time, and waiting until there is appropriatespace to teach and learn from one another.
-Melea White
Divine Mystery
Amanda Robinson is a Unitarian Universalist Junior MDiv studentand native to the Austin Region.
Now two months into my seminary journey, I am stillfeeling very welcomed at APTS. That welcome is one of the reasons I chose to come here. Another is that I didn’twant to go to a school where everybody thinks just likeme; I wanted to be challenged to think and grow indifferent ways.Now that I am here, I am enjoying my classes and findingthat the professors are genuinely passionate, not justabout their subjects, but also about what we are all doinghere. They believe that what they do—and what we do—matters, and I appreciate that, even if I don’t always believe in the same way that they do.I come from traditions that honor and recognize God inand through many forms, names, and religions. In thesame way that I am known to different people in differentways: daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, student, etc.,God is known to different people in different ways:Rama, Shiva, Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh, Allah, etc.The practices that people use to connect and interact withdivinity are different, too—study, meditation, prayer,chanting, magic—but they are the same in that they areall expressions of humanity reaching out and opening upto divinity.Through my work, I have the great privilege to talk toand meet people of faith from different denominationsand religious traditions who are working on justice issuesin their congregations and communities.I work for an interfaith education and advocacyorganization called Texas Impact, whose motto is “peopleof faith working for justice.” I feel blessed to be able tovisit different houses of worship, to pray with peopleover meals, and to listen to people’s stories about theircongregations—their joys, frustrations, and concerns.Regardless of the denomination or the religion, thechallenges and joys of being in community are the same.Whenever I find myself in a house of worship for the firsttime, I feel like a kid in a candy store; I love to explorethese spaces that are central to the community, spaces
 
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that are both functional and sacred. I venture into thesanctuary and try to get a feel for the worship space. Iwander down hallways and peer into classrooms. I locatethe nursery and smile at the bright, cheery spaces peoplecreate for their youngest members.It is pretty clear to me that all religious communities aregroups of people who come together intentionally toserve each other, God (however She is known there), andthe world the best way they can. And each congregationis a beautiful, amazing thing.At this moment of my life, I feel like I am in the place thatI am supposed to be right now, lack of sleepnotwithstanding. And I think this is why I find myself more easily moved to tears lately—they are tears of joyand beauty, you see. My religious background, job,family, and seminary experience are conspiring togetherto reveal the infinite beauty, expanse, and variety of divine Mystery in all areas of my life. For that and somuch more, I am immensely grateful.
- Amanda Robinson
Making a discovery
Christian Schmidt is a junior MDiv Unitarian Universalist studentunder care of the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Conference.
I remember it like it was last week, and given that it reallywas just eight months ago, that’s not so strange. I droveover from Bryan, where I had been living the past 3 years, back to my hometown to visit Austin PresbyterianTheological Seminary for Discovery Weekend.I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to attend APTS, but I knewthat there had been Unitarian Universalist students herein the past, and staying in Texas had great appeal for me.So I was ready to give it a try, even if just for a weekend.The first person I met on campus (if memory serves) wasSally Wright, and if that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know whatis. Sally grew up in Bryan, so we at least had that to talk about. She was friendly, and helpful, and really seemedhappy I was checking out the seminary.And she wasn’t alone. This school does prospectivestudent weekends right. I won’t knock any other schools, but I visited three others and applied to one more, andthis was far and away the best impression I had.I think the reason is simple. We’re really glad to havevisitors here. We want people to check out ourcommunity and see if it’s right for them. It’s not the placefor everybody, but I truly believe that it’s the best place onearth if you’re meant to be here.For me, it was perfect. I wanted a place where I felt likepart of a big family, where I could live on-campus withmy fellow students, where I could get support, love andmotivation to be my best. (And being back in Austindidn’t hurt matters.)From that Discovery Weekend last February, I felt thatthis could be that place for me.Eight weeks in, I still feel that way. My classmates aresome of my best friends, and I can’t imagine goingthrough this without them. Even in the midst of midterms, remembering what brought me here helped mestay positive.I know I’m the right place for me. And I hope my fellowstudents remember what brought them here. And, for anyprospective students reading this, my blessings and alittle advice: Take a look around, ask every crazy questionyou have, let this place and these people tell you what it’slike to be here. And I hope to see you next Fall.
-Christian Schmidt
Thanksgiving CelebrationLunch!
Wednesday, November 18th,11:45 a.m. -1:30 p.m.Dean Michael Jinkins will bestow blessings uponthe Thanksgiving meal at 11:45 a.m.MENUTurkey and Dressing Green Bean CasseroleMashed Potatoes Cranberry SauceYams RollsCorn SaladPumpkin Pie
Pecan PieCost is $6.00 and includes a drink. Please notethat this will be the only meal option for this day.

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