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Monica Rice, Master of Arts

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Monica Rice
Master of Arts

MonicaWhen my vocational calling led me to consider a seminary education, I visited Bethany out of a sense of Brethren obligation. Growing up in a Brethren family and congregation, attending a Brethren college, and then participating in several years of Brethren Volunteer Service, I felt a strong commitment to Brethren institutions. However, I felt ready to experience a different faith community for graduate study. I made plans to attend an urban Chicago seminary, but chose to visit Bethany to know that I had considered it as an option.

My prospective student visit was filled with community, appreciation for vocation, and deep listening to the Spirit’s gentle leading. I was overwhelmed with the dedication and academic excellence of the faculty that took personal time to greet me and share their encouragement of my vocational path. It was refreshing to see passion for the work of the church and theological study, and because of the visit I realized that what I perceived as a sense of obligation is actually underpinning dedication and enthusiasm for the unique ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

In the fall of 2008 I will be attending Bethany Theological Seminary as a Master of Arts candidate, working with faculty to integrate the passions of my life: the study of religion with literature, with goals to use my education to teach at the undergraduate or graduate level. Although some of my course work may be groundbreaking for the Bethany curriculum, I found faculty were truly interested in developing my sense of calling and discovering with me what this sort of integration may mean. I am extremely excited to begin my studies and continue my journey in the community of Bethany Theological Seminary.

Matt Boersma
Master of Arts

MattMy thesis began its journey while learning Hebrew at the University of Notre Dame, back when I was an employee in the Information Technology department. Among the many Hebrew texts read, it was the Song of Songs in particular that caught my attention. I knew that historically it had been interpreted as an allegorical text exploring God's love of Israel (or the church), but I had not encountered the deeply sensual nature of the images and the erotic tone of the text. Reading through the book, the unabashed sexuality of the words struck me as completely different than how the rest of the Bible treats sex. During the previous semester we had read selections of Ezekiel, where sex and female desire is cast as idolatrous and evil. In the Song, it is unashamed and extolled.