Devastating theology…

At the conservative holiness seminary I first attended, I was trained to be cut-throat in my evaluations and assessments of my peers (well, of their work, but it never really stops there, does it?).  When I first came to a liberal seminary to study feminist theology, I took on Dr. Dwight Vogel (a professor)  and dismantled his argument in front of a class.  I was ruthless. He initially got flustered and turned red.  But then he very calmly collected himself and asked me to step outside the room.  He politely said that a blood bath wasn’t the kind of theological discourse anyone at this seminary was interested in, and that I needed to step back and tone it down.

I was embarassed–almost wounded by his remarks–and fearful of what the latter half of class might bring.  But when we returned to class, he said to the group “You know, Donna is right… I hadn’t thought that through.  Donna, will you come up here and let’s talk it all the way through so we understand the significance of the argument you made, and where mine falls short.”

I vowed to never destroy someone theologically again.  He modeled for me nonviolence and respect.  And put me on a path towards peaceableness.


2 thoughts on “Devastating theology…

  1. Donna, thank you. Trying to be open and seek truth and justice honestly isn’t easy. One’s defensiveness is never far away. What results makes it worth the effort, both in terms of making one’s own perspective healthier and closer to the truth (which we always see through a glass darkly), but in building relationships that make life so much richer. And now, let’s go sing some good old gospel songs (which like one’s perspectives contain some blind spots but also some nuggets of treasured truth). – Dwight.

  2. Dwight, that was SUCH a formative moment for me. I struggled for the next couple years trying to learn to do theology ‘peaceably’. I think I’ve made strides, although I’m sure I still have my moments. 🙂

    And yes, singing around the piano with you is one of my favorite memories!



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