Disquieting Times at ABSW

Okay. That’s a terrible title, “click bait” if you will. Sorry about that, but we just could not pass it up.

On Saturday, November 9 Jennifer Grant and Cathleen Falsani joined by several contributors to their collection of devotionals entitled Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels. We have posted about this book previously on the blog. It’s a great collection of reflections on the passages of scripture that may actually cause us some discomfort.

A crowd of forty or more people gathered representing various communities in the San Francisco area to hear the contributors share why they chose the verses they chose, to share what it was that they were working out with the scriptures.

Cathleen Falsani spoke of her rebellion and the rebellion of many of her friends. “We rebelled from something good (referring to Southern Baptist spiritual formation) to something better.” Ana Broadway shared her story of being a missionary in Berkeley and how the experience left her spiritually dry and doubtful. She said, “I think the reason I am still a Christian is because of people and books like Disquiet Time that gave me permission to question and engage.”

Jay Johnson, a professor at our sister school, Pacific School of Religion, shared his understanding of apocalypse, the constant unveiling of God’s purpose in the world. It’s not a violent end, he proclaimed, but a revealing, like removing the wrapping from a gift. Jay said his mission is to “ask how we can make hope out of the Christian texts and traditions.”

Carolyn Reyes, a former PSR student, now a social worker and Buddhist here in the East Bay, spoke powerfully of the story of the woman with a flow of blood and how that story’s importance and meaning has changed for her over time. Dean LeAnn Flesher spoke of how some parts of the Bible are actually meant to entertain us, to shock us, to make us laugh. “It’s not all so serious!” she explained. Our Director of Admissions, Tripp Hudgins, spoke of the vagaries of translation and how so much of what we understand of the Bible is the fruit of our decisions. We decide what it means to us and we make more choices from there. “What do you want to do with it?” he asked.

It was a great evening of laughter and honesty. And we hope to bring you many more such events here at American Baptist Seminary of The West. If you are interested in knowing more about Disquiet Time, be sure to visit the website or buy a copy of the book from your nearest bookstore.

black and whiteSpecial thanks to Jennifer Grant for help in writing this post.

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