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[Danny Arnold] Purchase…Wait…I Mean, Save the Commodity!

We begin with commodities. The Indian women, former prostitutes, who produce PUNJAMMIES, sleepwear for American women, are named as such “to be used for other’s gain.” To be clear from the beginning, forced prostitution, this commoditization of women, is unequivocally wrong. PUNJAMMIES is offered, then, as a way out. However, despite this moral imperative we should critically examine how the umbrella organization for PUNJAMMIES. the International Princess Project (IPP), narrates this project of liberation. A short video captures the organization.


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[Russell Johnson] Walt Disney Presents “Martyr’s Mirror, or The Bloody Theater”

Another essay from the festschrift, from the co-editor, Russell Johnson.  Russell is a 2nd-year MTS student at Duke Divinity School

And They Died Happily Ever After, Or: Walt Disney Presents “Martyr’s Mirror, or The Bloody Theater” 

Russell Johnson

This essay is inspired by Amy Laura Hall in four ways. First, it stems from an insight that formed the backbone of the class “Love in the Christian Tradition,” namely, the fact that our imaginations are fed much more by stories than by arguments. Thus, if we want to think about ethics, that we have to look critically at the narratives that have shaped and continue to shape us. Second, the essay treats on some “Hallian” subject matter: Disney movies, the raising of children, and the complicated relationship between happiness and brokenness. Third, this project began as an essay and ended as a sermon, reflecting the blurring of those two categories that Professor Hall encourages and in some ways embodies. Fourth, the essay is exploratory rather than authoritative. When her students write essays, Professor Hall encourages them to begin not with a thesis statement, but with a burning question. The way to write theology is like the recommended way to see Venice: get yourself horribly lost and then try to find your way around, taking the time to soak in everything you encounter. There’s a conclusion, but it’s far from conclusive. Interestingly enough, the same could be said about the lives of martyrs…

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[Austin Rivera] What the Church Could Learn From Frank Herbert

We’re going to continue posting essays from the festschrift (with the authors’ permissions.)  This time it is a pleasure to introduce Austin RIvera, a 3rd year MDiv  student at Duke Divinity School and candidate for elder’s orders in the UMC.

What the Church Could Learn From Frank Herbert:Reflections on Heretics of Dune

 I am not usually a reader of novels, but just recently, feeling again the urge to indulge myself in some classic science fiction, I decided to read Frank Herbert’s Heretics of Dune, the fifth novel in his “Dune Chronicles.”  I had read the fourth novel, God Emperor of Dune, in my first year of college, and picked up Heretics of Dune a little while ago at a used book store, thinking I would probably enjoy some time continuing the series.  Herbert is an author whose art as a novelist is not equal to the ideas he engages, but that does not make those ideas any less fascinating.  I suppose I should warn you at this point that there will be spoilers in the rest of this.

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[Lillian Daniel] Spiritual but Not Religious? Please Talk to my Friend Amy Laura.

Recently, Russell Johnson and I edited an impromptu festschrift for Dr. Hall.  One of the most amusing contributions came from Lillian Daniel, who also happened to be this year’s preacher for Convocation and Pastors’ School at Duke Divinity School.  We offer it here as a special Fall Break treat for our readers.

On August 31, 2011, the author published a daily devotional on the website, “Spiritual but Not Religious? Please Stop Boring Me.”  Several weeks of intense prayer and meditation on readers’ comments followed:

Why is a minister expressing frustration with folks who choose not to attend a church?  This is not the work of Jesus, is it?  I’m offended.  I do not feel embraced or inspired. The tone was unnecessarily snarky.

In response to these thoughtful ecclesiological and Christological insights, she is working to change her ways.

Matthew 16:18

“And I tell you that you are Amy Laura Hall, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Reflection by Lillian Daniel
On airplanes, I dread the conversation with the person who finds out I am a minister and wants to use the flight time to explain to me that he is “spiritual but not religious.” Such a person will always share this as if it is some kind of daring insight, unique to him, bold in its rebellion against the religious status quo. Next thing you know, he’s telling me that he finds God in the sunsets.

That is why now, I travel everywhere with Amy Laura Hall, and ask her to sit next to these people instead. Read more

[Tripp York] Five Questions with Amy Laura Hall

Tripp recently moved his blog, Amish Jihadi, to The Other Journal.  This interview originally appeared on his page.

TY: What’s it like having double x chromosomes?

ALH: Tricky, scary, and fun. I learned during my first months in the ministry that people aren’t scared of me. People would talk to me about the mess of their lives, maybe because it was really obvious that my life wasn’t all picture princess perfect. I think also it is because I am not only XX, but short. So, God seems sometimes to use me to help people be honest with themselves about their problems — their fears, vices, desires — and this somehow can, with pastoral wisdom (which sometimes God throws my way) help lead to a bit more self-awareness and even, eventually, healing for others. Read more

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