A friend of mine recently asked whether I had a list of books “that have been particularly impactful or interesting,” especially in the realm of spirituality and religion—and suggested that if I didn’t already have such a list, I could put one together for one of my next blog posts. It took me a while to actually put the list together, but it’s ended up being a really interesting exercise. Of the forty books that I’ve picked, some have been more influential than others.
Wil Gafney and her *Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church° continue to be a source of inspiration for me. For the past two weeks, her readings for the relevant Sundays of the season of Ordinary Time in the Christian liturgical year have begun with Samuel’s miraculous birth to Hannah. I’ve just now completed the reading for Proper 6 reading, in which Hannah’s pleas for a child despite her seeming infertility are answered.
I read a passage in Wil Gafney’s A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church this morning that really stood out to me—especially as it related to two things I’ve recently written. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Easter hope, acknowledging that
[a literal] resurrection is something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around, but I figure that if I can try to muster the belief in the impossibility of the resurrection, I can have the belief that we can overcome racism, fix poverty, and solve other seemingly impossible tasks facing us.
Over the past five years, my belief in a literal resurrection has gone down, but (perhaps unexpectedly) my love for Easter has gone up. For my congregation’s 2022 Easter service, I was invited to say contribute during a certain part of the service. I shared with the congregation that the resurrection is something that’s hard for me to wrap my head around, but I figure that if I can try to muster the belief in the impossibility of the resurrection, I can have the belief that we can overcome racism, fix poverty, and solve other seemingly impossible tasks facing us.
One recurring question that I’ve had while working on my “rereading the Book of Mormon” project is asking what should be understood by the common phrase “the Lord” in the text of this book of scripture. In Bible translations, this is a bit more straightforward: “the Lord” is often used as a euphemism for the divine name YHWH and could be read in that way. Before going any further with this discussion, I want to acknowledge that my writing out and speculating on the divine name here may (or will likely) be seen as disrespectful or offensive by many Jews (and even some Christians—I admire Wil Gafney’s approach to the divine name).
Libraries are beautiful places: I just left one with four volumes of Star Wars/Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics and a copy of Dr. Wil Gafney’s “Womanist Midrash.”