Thursday, March 23, 2017

Proud to Mentor Students as developing Scholars!

I do my best to mentor young people!

Proud of Moriah for her work in SNU's Undergraduate Research Symposium!  

Please excuse the mis-spelling of my name by my home institution.  🤔 





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oxford University with another great student!

SNU Student to Participate in 2017 Scholarship Fellowship with Museum of the Bible

Junior, Brayden Hunt in The School of Theology & Ministry will be on scholarship with stipend at Oxford University this summer. The School of Theology & Ministry at SNU is proud to announce for the sixth consecutive year that students working with Dr. Marty Alan Michelson will be participating in a scholarship fellowship with the Museum of the Bible.

Every year since 2012, Michelson students in Biblical Hebrew have made application to a Summer Institute for students interested in Biblical textual scholarship and Christian apologetics. Hunt will receive fully funded travel, a scholarship to the Oxford University program of study, and a cash stipend for the scholarship he has conducted working with Cairo Genizah Hebrew texts. Hunt will be in Oxford in May and June of 2017.

Hunt has noted his excitement for the program. "Working with Dr. Michelson in Hebrew, and with other excellent SNU faculty, has enabled me to learn more about the Bible. I look forward to this summer and the future of my work in the study of the Bible."

Dr. Steve Betts, Dean of the College of Humanities, has said: "Congratulations to Brayden Hunt and Dr. Michelson on this significant accomplishment. SNU is very grateful to the Green family and the Museum of the Bible for this generous gift, and the opportunity for our students to participate in research of this caliber is invaluable. We are truly grateful."

Hunt is one of less than 40 University students chosen, from applicants in an international pool of candidates. Participation in this event grew out of the student's involvement in their program of study at SNU and their selective engagement connection with the Museum of the Bible Scholar's Initiative. Selected students are given hands-on access to early Christian texts in the context of mentoring relationships with professors that help emerging scholars' train for issues unique to Christian vocation in academic life. Hunt was one of a few chosen from a high number of worthy candidates. The letter of acceptance notes: "Your application to Logos in Oxford has been successful, and we are delighted to invite you to join us in England this summer . . . We heartily congratulate you on this award!"

Hunt & Michelson will be in the United Kingdom and Oxford University in May and June of 2017 working alongside world-renowned scholars in Textual Studies, Biblical Studies, Classics, Christian Philosophy, and Apologetics. Engagement, collaboration, and instruction will include professors from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, Trinity Western University, Notre Dame University, Indiana Wesleyan University, and the University of London in addition to hosting faculty at Oxford University through Wycliffe College.

“The Museum of the Bible continues to offer our SNU students scholarships and stipends based on the generosity of the Museum and the scholarly acumen of SNU students,” said Michelson. “We are proud of those training for ministry in the School of Theology &Ministry at SNU.”

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Books, books, books.

What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars by David Wood.  The concept of Moral Injury and the need for Soul Repair is not new - though the labels are new and our discernment of the true ruptures is only newly beginning to be discerned.  What happens to women and men who serve in war is no longer labeled just "shell-shock" as some temporary experience, new considerations are given to how war leaves behind morally injured humans that emerge from complex situations of conflict.  This data and these stories should help us re-think our patterns and practices of militarized violence.

Fields of Blood:  Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong.  Karen's a compelling author of significant magnitude, weaving vast amounts of data/history together.  A book I'll need to re-read for various aspects of learning from diverse religions that I had studied, though do not know as well as Armstrong has portrayed. I learned and have yet more to learn from this text.  Here is a better, full review from the New York Times.

Writing My Wrongs:  Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor.  An easy read with good narrative on a complicated life story.  Originally James White now Shaka, he writes to tell his story and implicates his own journey and the complex prison system.  Revealing in so many ways, troubling.  Rated-R for sure.  I'm thankful for reading the story and yet still feel the fracture(s) of the life he lived, the murder he caused, and the brokenness of "the system" of incarceration.

Courage and Defiance: Spies, Saboteurs, & Survivors in WWII Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson.  Of course I engage stories related to the Shoah (the Holocaust).  This collection of stories is testimony to those who stood in the face of overwhelming domination to work for a world of solidarity.

I Am A Man: Chief Standing Bears Journey for Justice by Joe Starita.  I will re-read this book.  When I think about "what we did" to push out the indigenous persons who lived on this continent before the "white man" arrived, I will remember this story and grieve.  A powerful story that forces me to ponder the privilege of my skin and the horrors of our forefathers who mistreated the integrity of vast number of indigenous persons on the continent of North America.

The Color of Grace: How One Woman's Brokenness Brought Healing & Hope to Child Survivors of War by Bethany Haley Williams.  A powerful story of compassion enacted.  Love made real.  Reads like a journal, though it is Bethany's story.

Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry by Jeffery A Lieberman.  I wish I could have read this book as part of my Masters course in Psychopathology many years ago.  It gives a compelling review of how the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual became a reality, along with some narrative and biographical complexity to its history.  A great read.

He Wins, She Wins by Willard F. Harley.  Always trying to tool up resources for working with others.  This book was helpful with a win-win model and always insuring big commitments in life have buy-in from each spouse.  A good read for working through and sharing life with a loved one.

The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Mark Nepo.  I'm not too into the books that suggest an inward journey of self-revelation that is somehow "the" way of coming to know ones-self.  And yet, we all need good "inner-work" to think, to pause, to reflect.  Honestly, I probably read this book too quickly to celebrate it the way others have! :(

Dataclysm:  Who We Are (When We Think No One is Looking) by Christian Rudder. Human behavior meets the internet.  What we can learn about humans based on what they post (do) online  Fascinating.

Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psycotherapy by Irvin Yalom.  Ten stories, well written, of Yalom's work with persons dealing with their existence.  Yalom has never disappointed.

The Way of the Wise: Simple Truths for Living Well by Kevin Leman.  A reflection on wisdom from the book of Proverbs.  Stories and anecdotes to "warm the soul" and cause readers to reflect on life and value - and God.

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick.  In truth, I knew Benedict Arnold only as a "traitor" to the American cause . . . and that's it!  I know much more know.  Great history, well written.

Ruthless:  Scientology, My Son David Miscavige & Me by Ronald Miscavige.  Scientology fascinates me - as a movement untethered to anything - and yet it has a following.  It's fascinating to me.  I think it will last into the next century or two . . . or more.  I'm not sure we can ever know "the truth" about those inside, and I'm not sure I can trust this report, though I sense there is more truth than fiction in the account rendered here.

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Change the World.  A kids book, so not much to read, though I'm thankful for books like this that tell stories that we all should read.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.  I read this in 2016, then again in 2017.  I found it fascinating.  We know so little about so many indigenous persons from history.  And they may have been much more fascinating and ingenious than we have previously thought possible.

Why We Work by Barry Schwartz.  Not much more than the TED talk.  Do work that feeds your soul.

Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct and the Rise of Los Angeles by Les Standiford.  I marvel at the feats of engineers and civic bands of workers and the politics behind taxation and money to have created the big cities in the world.  This story follows the journey of water and how channelling it - and navigating all the complexities involved with it - made Los Angeles a reality.  I learned much.  I found the story fascinating.

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.  I found the narrative of this historical journey to be enthralling.  I simply can't imagine having the "gumption" and "nerve" to do what these men did . . . and to have survived.  The planning, the danger . . . wow.

Mindfulness by Ellen J Langer.  I think I need to audio-read this book in snippets - when I'm out doing other things.  It's an old book - and the reviews on it are good.  I think I would do better to audioread it like a podcast, than to "plow through it" as I do with many books.  I want to come back to this one.

American Girls:  Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers.  I'm still trying to figure out my girls - now late teenagers.  This book has helped me, and yet, I'm still perplexed by what we've experienced with our girls.  I have no doubt that the extremes of screen time, always being online, and access to dis-embodied texts and pornography are radically reshaping our teens - boys and girls - and our future will be framed in worse ways as a result of much of it.  It scares me.

Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World by Harold Kushner.  I read Kushner's Why Bad Things Happen to God People a long time ago.  If I were to sit down with this book and that book, side-by-side, I'm not sure that I would have learned much more.  There was nothing in the book that seemed compelling to me.  Nothing extraordinary, though I am sure some tidbits would be meaningful to some persons, here and there.


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Grief work - hard & rewarding

Being with people as they grieve is hard work.  

Yet, rewarding.

Life is complex.

Love people.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A guest in our home . . . and I am deeply troubled.


A student from my first semester of full-time teaching is staying in our home tonight.

What a joy to welcome him into our home!

He was raised in Tulsa, the son of a preacher.  He trained for ministry and for most of the past 18 years he's been a pastor in Texas.  The past several years he has pastored a large, historic Baptist church in Dallas.

In the past year, I have seen him almost every week. He has started a new church in Oklahoma City that worships on Saturday and our family has worshipped with this new church nearly every weekend.  

He's a trusted friend. I love him.  

Since it was the first time he had any reason to stay overnight in our home, in the last minutes before he went off to the bedroom, we had to configure some plans for the morning on who is going where, when and how at what time - with our family routines and when we drive off to work and school.

Our guest will be leaving our home earlier than us in the morning to go to the gym, and then, will need to come back into our home after we depart, to gather his belongings and carry-on with his day.

He said to me, "Dr. Michelson, how am I going to get back in?" 

I was standing in the room of our house with the back-sliding glass door and I immediately walked to the door and said:  "I'll just leave this unlocked and you can come back in right here" as I unlocked the door to insure I did not forget in the morning.

Without a single break in the conversation - not even for a second - he said directly and without joking, in a declarative way: "Dr. Michelson!!!  A Black man walking around the back of your property and coming in your back door . . . and you don't think one of your neighbors will shoot me?" 

For a second it caught me off guard, but I quickly realized he was correct.

After a moment's hesitation, I planned for him to use my garage door opener, and pull his car in garage when he returned. I assured him he'd be fine on his return as  the garage door would shut behind his car and no one would see him enter our home.

Minutes later I headed off to bed myself.

I lay in bed for several minutes - and have arisen to type these words.  I just can't get this problem out of my head.

It troubles me deeply.

My friend . . .  a person I trust, care about, and love - and a person I know loves me - was not just aware that he had to be mindful (and afraid!) to visit my home "unattended" - he was INSTANTLY aware of it.

He didn't take a minute to say:  "You know, Dr. Michelson, I was thinking . . . "  

He didn't take even ten seconds to question my back-sliding-glass-door plan.  

He INSTANTLY "knew" it was a bad idea for a black man to be coming around the back of a house, in my neighborhood, entering through the back door.

It troubles me.

We've had numerous college students and high-school teens - largely friends of our own children - come in the back door of our home on many occasions!  We've come home on many occasions to one-or-another set of friends waiting on our porch, walking in-or-out of our home, lugging furniture or music equipment in and out for various "parties" or "gigs."  

We've had several former students "live with us" for a week or two, or for weeks of the summer.  

On no single occasion did any of them question their safety or fear being seen as a trespasser as they entered the front door, back door, or garage door of our property.

And yet a friend I care about as deeply as any of these others, who is Black, processed in milliseconds the "threat" that he might pose to some person's perception that he did not belong in my home . . . and he instantly knew to be wary of the threat.  

The fact that he has to live processing this as a threat, and that is runs so deeply in his thinking that it was an instant awareness for him . . .  makes me deeply, deeply, sad.

And I can't sleep as I think about it.

It troubles me deeply in many ways.

I don't want my friend, nor his wife, nor his children to feel unsafe because of the color of their skin.

I don't want anyone to feel unsafe because of the color of their skin.

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.