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Visiting professor speaks on scripture

Caitlin Housley | Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sr. Carolyn Osiek, a visiting professor from Texas Christian University, said scripture can shape one’s growth in God during a lecture Tuesday at Saint Mary’s.

The lecture, “Scripture and Spirituality: Touching a Finger to the Flame,” is a part of the Center for Spirituality’s spring lecture series.

“Scripture models and reflects to us how we can be as people of God, as disciples, and as ministers of the Word,” Osiek said.

Osiek first provided her own definition of scripture.

“[Scripture is] simply how we live what we believe,” she said.

Sometimes the dissection of scripture to become more like God can pose quite a daunting task, Osiek said. Community is key to understanding scripture’s role in Christian life.

“Scripture is a family story that tells us who we are,” she said. “We belong to a family with a long history.”

From this family, followers of the faith can draw on the models of community, discipleship and ministry to better understand scripture.

The three models of community are people on the move, assembly at the holy place and gathering of the holy ones, Osiek said.

Disciples look to people on the move to serve as examples of people who travel to share God’s word. Assembly at the holy place shows the generations of followers that come in faith, and disciples can learn from the gathering of the holy ones because they are people of the Holy Spirit, Osiek said.

Within models of discipleship, Osiek outlined the concepts of the journey, rootedness and companionship.

“The journey of life is a familiar metaphor. We have personal journeys of discovery … journeys from doubt to faith … from darkness to light, but how do we handle the constant shift and changes in our life?” Osiek said.

Rootedness and companionship are both essential on the journey because they provide security, something Osiek considers hard to find in this fast-paced world.

Osiek also distinguished four major categories of religious vocation: apostle, prophet, teacher and healer.

“[The apostle] delights in going to new situations and beginning again to share God’s love,” Osiek said.

The prophet is the rarest category, she said, yet it has never ceased existing in the church. Prophets are those who see what others have yet to see.

“Prophets have a vision and feel compelled to communication that vision. But, not everyone who feels compelled to communicate is a prophet,” she said. “It doesn’t work both ways.”

The teacher delights in showing others the way, and the healer delights in making others whole in various aspects of their lives, and repairing damage, she said.

With all of these models, Osiek encouraged the audience to not just read scripture but to eat it, in the sense of one eating food for nourishment. Digesting scripture, she said, nourishes the Christian life and soul.