Ember Letter: Lent 2012

Dear Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno,

I hope this Ember letter finds you well during this season of Lent. I have been trying to prepare my heart and soul for the celebration of the resurrection by fasting once a week and feasting on the words of Anglo-Catholic author Evelyn Underhill.[1] I have been thinking a lot about preparation this season as I prepare for Holy Week as well as other upcoming events.

The main event that I am looking forward to this year is a summer school program in the Netherlands. Theologian James Alison encouraged me to apply to the program, which will study the works of French philosopher René Girard in Leusden with other students and scholars from around the world. I followed his advice and was accepted into the program and now hope to deepen my understanding of Girard’s Mimetic Theory, a theory that offers insight into the anthropological roots of violence in order to find paths of non-violent reconciliation. My girlfriend will also be presenting a paper at the International Conference for the Society of Biblical Literature in Amsterdam, so we look forward to making a month-long trip out of our excursions. I especially look forward to revisiting Taizé, France for a week or so before my summer school program begins.

The work I accomplish in Leusden will contribute to my doctoral work as well as to my ministry. In fact, I am currently teaching an adult education class at my Field Education site, in which we are reading the Gospel of John in light of Girard’s insights. The parishioners really seem to be enjoying the new ideas and the lively discussions that have emerged. The class also involves reading the Gospel of John in light of Second Temple Judaism, and even Rabbinic Judaism, which brings me to the next significant event for which I am preparing…

During the last week of March, I will be presenting a paper at an academic conference at Boston College on comparative theology. I will be sharing insights gleaned from my experience co-teaching comparative theology with Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski at CDSP last semester. Our class focused primarily on comparative theology between Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, which will also be the focus of my paper. I am particularly looking forward to reconnecting with my old friend Rev. Won-Jae Hur, who will also be participating in the conference. Our friendship has deepened over the years since we first worked together at Church of Our Saviour.

I am also preparing to lead a parish retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, CA in early March (around the time of my birthday) and, after concluding my adult education class, I look forward to returning to the pulpit. A couple weeks ago, a parishioner approached me and told me how the last sermon that I preached on silence invited her to create a safe and sacred space with her son, who was seriously thinking about dropping out of high school.[2] Although she usually likes to fill the silence with her words, she decided to sit silently with her son in his room, with my sermon “as her mantra.” In response to the patient and open silence, her son began to cry and then opened up to his mother and the two of them stayed up late into the night, having a long and heartfelt conversation. Deeply encouraged by this story, I also hope to practice patience and silence during this season of preparation, knowing that profound conversations lay ahead in Healdsburg, Boston, and the Netherlands and that joy awaits in the celebration of the resurrection on Easter morning.

Blessings to you, Bishop Bruno!

Yours,

Daniel DeForest London


[1] I am reading Lent with Evelyn Underhill: Selections from Her Writings edited by George M. Belshaw (Harrisburg PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1990).

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About deforestlondon

Episcopal priest
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One Response to Ember Letter: Lent 2012

  1. Sharon Obuchon-Staub says:

    I love to read about you and your most interesting plans. My prayers are with you.

    Sharon

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