Sarah Heath: You Go GRRL!

The Rev. Sarah Heath Photo by David Tosti, 2014.

The Rev. Sarah Heath
Photo by David Tosti, 2014.

We are so proud of Sarah Heath.

We are proud of and endlessly grateful for the friend we call “Mini Rev” all the time, really, but particularly so today.

Sarah contributed a chapter to Disquiet Time where she addresses scripture often used to argue against the ordination of women. Sarah is, if you already weren’t aware, an ordained United Methodist minister and pastor. And she’s a great one at that.

Frankly, Sarah has one of the most obvious pastoral gifts we’ve ever encountered (and many of us go to church for a living.) She has a gift and she uses it with amazing grace, joy, and artistry.

This past Sunday, someone decided to lash out at her by posting an ersatz “theses” to the front door of the church she shepherds, castigating her and denouncing her flock as “apostate” for having a woman lead it.

Click HERE to read Sarah’s most excellent response.
You go GRRL!

Guest Post: Steve Beard on Wrestling Disquietly with the Bible

Steve Beard of Thunderstruck

Steve Beard of Thunderstruck

Over at Thuderstruck.org, Steve Beard writes a compelling review of Disquiet Time, one that we wanted to share with you.

Beard writes in part:

With nearly 50 different contributors, this isn’t an authoritative text on biblical interpretation. Instead, it is more like a funky theological jam session – no sheet music, brother riffing off of sister, guitar solos, tooting of the horns, banging of the drums, thumping of the bass – testifying about both estrangement and enduring love for the Bible.

As I delved into the book, faces popped into my mind of people in my life who could relate to certain chapters. My son and nephews would howl at the offbeat but serious treatment of the use of “dung” in the Scripture. My mom would probably choose to skip over that chapter.

In all honesty, there is much beauty and brokenness and vulnerability in Disquiet Time. The easy endeavor would be to collect testimonies of those who’ve left the faith because of disillusionment with the Bible, hypocrisy at church, and unanswered prayers from an invisible God who is often difficult to understand. Instead, Disquiet Time lassoed up writers in the throes of wrestling with the challenges that thoughtful faith provokes. Many of them lay out their struggles with great honesty.

Read the full text of Beard’s review HERE.

Guest Post: Sarah Heath’s Disquieting Confession

By the Rev. Sarah Heath

I have a confession to make: the closest thing I have to a daily devotional is the a flip calendar in the staff bathroom at my office.

Yup, it is true. I am horrible at doing a daily “quiet time.” For those of you not familiar with the term “quiet time,” it is a time each day that a Christian takes to study scripture, pray, and reflect. People often use a devotional book as a tool for guiding their daily discipline.

Despite my own lackluster devotional discipline, I’m a contributing author for the just released Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels–a book of reflections on scripture. Seem crazy? I won’t after some background context…

When I was in college, several of my friends were really consistent at doing a daily “quiet time.” One friend carried around a tattered copy of The Upper Room (a daily devotional with scripture and encouragement). I would see her reading it whenever we had a bit of free time. We didn’t go to a Christian college so, you can imagine her sitting on a bench bible in one hand tattered devotional in the other was an unusual site. She was just such a “good” Christian.

I always wondered if I was even a real Christian because I never seemed to stick with a devotional past the first couple of chapters. Our college pastors would emphasize the value of having a daily devotional, but I never could do it. I even wrote in a devotional magazine for teens a couple of times. But when they sent me the free subscription for being a contributing author I couldn’t seem to make myself read it daily instead I would sit down and read it all at once.

I remember trying to make a habit of waking up early in the morning and reading a daily bit of scripture and a lesson. I would sit down to read and either nod off or find myself daydreaming. To beat this bad habit I started doing a quiet time with a journal in hand. I would end up drawing and although the time was spent with God it never fit the mold of an official “quiet time.”

One year I decided to use the book Co-dependent No More as my daily devotional, and for once it stuck. Anyone who works in the helping professions can tell you there is a certain personality that often goes along with the job. We tend to allow ourselves to become so other focused we truly become co-dependent. I found the devotional at a library’s free give away table. It seemed so enticing, a daily look at the ways we can release the need to control our lives and the lives of others. I loved that the book invited me to wrestle daily with how we are to walk with God. The daily readings, that sometimes included scripture, would give me inspiration without giving me the answers.

The reason that the other devotionals didn’t work for me was that they tried to tie up all the loose ends of the scripture passage in about a ten minute block of reading. I don’t like that in sitcoms and I definitely don’t like that when it comes to the bible. Not everything can be answered so quickly and when I read scripture I find so many more questions than answers. As I read scripture it comes alive and I end up with a page of questions.

Perhaps that is why I love reading scripture for sermon preparation. I have a chance to look through commentaries and really question why scripture says certain things, leaves out others, and is sometimes the most confusing piece of literature ever written. When I would read devotionals I always felt like I had just skimmed the surface.

So you can imagine my hesitance when a good friend Cathleen asked me to be part of her book devotional book project. She was getting a bunch of authors and generally curious humans together to write a new devotional. What hooked me was when she shared that the title would be “Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels.” That was a devotional I could get behind!

I imagine I am often walking between faithful and scoundrel. The editors, Cathleen Falsani and Jennifer Grant, invited us to share the part of scripture that bothered us most. I wrote about a part of scripture that has always bothered me: the idea that women are to be silent. I remember the first time I read it. It didn’t make sense to me.

I knew amazing women who had so much to offer the church. Why would God silence them? Now I have spent a good amount of time in seminary wrestling with that scripture and I have come to a nice understanding of why it is there, and how it has been misused, but as a college student that would have thrown me. If that bit of scripture had popped up while I was reading my daily devotional, I would have been left with more questions than answers.

As an adult I have learned that God is often worshiped by those questions we ask. When something doesn’t sit right with us we really look into it and it causes us to become single minded and focused as we investigate a passage. I think that is why I am so excited that I was part of the Disquiet Time team. It is a book full of ideas that continue to challenge us as we look at scripture. It causes us to pause and look deeper. It doesn’t promise a nice tidy wrap up but it does promise us that we will be challenged and through that challenge we will grow.

So, I hope you will read it and that it will be the kind of devotional you are excited to engage. Considering it asks the questions of why there are so many passages about poop, angelic netherbits, and what the end times is really all about I can’t see how it wouldn’t be something that would cause you to come back again and again.

If you are interested in purchasing the book or learning more about it is available through Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, IndieBound and elsewhere.

Read more here: http://revsarahheath.com/disquiet-time/