Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.
1. Women and Advent
The Gospel of Luke starts of with a bang with Mary’s “Magnificat,” a section of Scripture made into songs, poems and stories over the ages. In this Sojourners article, Joe Kay talks about hearing God in a female voice and what that can mean to us today.
2. Mexican hot chocolate cookies
I love the combination of cayenne pepper and chocolate so much so that I need to eat it in cookie form every year. With the winter-ish weather, Mexican hot chocolate cookies are a cozy option. This recipe is one of many out there combining both ingredients. Take it easy on the cayenne if you’re not used to your cookies having a bit of a “kick.
3. On being an exchange student
After Ted Mueller was arrested in North Newton, Kansas, in October, women have come forward with their experiences of sexual assault and harassment at his hands. A frequent guest of Bethel College, some of Mueller’s victims were exchange students. This echoes a similar situation with a man who frequented Goshen (Indiana) College’s campus for years. In this article, Into Account executive director Stephanie Krehbiel talks about the vulnerability that can come with being an exchange student from her own experience in France.
4. Sylvia Plath’s holiday cooking tips
I used a Sylvia Plath poem as an intro for a sermon I gave around this time last year. It was probably the biggest mistake I’ve made with a sermon (aside from the one where I described an entire episode of Grey’s Anatomy), but I can’t get enough of the moody poet. Here, McSweeny’s gently mocks Plath’s poetic style by interpreting what might have been her holiday cooking tips. On stuffing: “You’ll want to use lots of herbs, herbs from the ground—The ground, dirt between my fingers. Dirt—our mortal blanket.”
5. Giving back
Tis’ the season of giving. Many people make charitable contributions before the end of the year. While many of us often think of Mennonite Central Committee or our alma mater, we forget about organizations doing important work that aren’t connected necessarily to other Mennonites. RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) works with survivors of rape, abuse and incest by offering 24/7 confidential support via their hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) along with consulting, public policy and education to communities large and small. Consider giving to them for their 25th anniversary making a difference in people’s lives, including mine. Find a link to donate here.
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.