My passion for the Bible began when I eight or nine years old, somewhere in there, when on occasion my dad would take me to synagogue, where he sang. I remember watching the men in synagogue pray the words of scripture, murmuring and weeping, lovingly touching and kissing the Torah, and I wished I could read what they were reading.
Imagine, then, my wonder when I was given a Bible of my own!
I got my first Bible when I was nine years old, totally unexpectedly. I had no idea people went around handing out free books, let alone something as rare (or so I thought) as a Bible. I could hardly believe I now owned such a treasure. So, I figured I should probably read it, and I did, the whole thing, from preface to concordance. I was hooked. Studying the Bible became my lifelong pleasure and pursuit. Fast-forward to my late twenties, had my first baby, cold turkey plunge from career woman to stay-at-home-mom, and a friend invited me to a local BSF, International class (Bible Study Fellowship). That first visit eventually became a nearly thirty-year career, "teaching the Bible to change lives," in various leadership positions, culminating as Teaching Leader of 350-500 adult students from 2003 to 2013, Area Advisor from 2013-2018, and part of the training team at headquarters from 2014-2018. I am still answering God’s call to teach, counsel, mentor, and train in His word and Spirit through retreats, Bible studies, and books. I also serve on the teaching and pastoral teams of my church, New Hope Chapel, Arnold, MD. A long-time “armchair archaeologist,” I joined the Board of Directors for the Biblical Archaeology Forum in 2013 and have participated in two excavations, Tel Kabri and Tel Akko, both in Israel. At the end of the Akko Excavation, I was invited to join their study team, and continue to spend a month in Israel each summer. Another passion of mine is the healing work of counseling, and serve as a lay counselor and trainer in affiliation with The Lay Counselor Institute. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College, and a Masters in Theological Studies with Portland Seminary (George Fox University). I am currently in the application process to join a doctoral program in Theological Studies in the nearish future.
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And I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line any time at GraceandPeaceJoanne@gmail.com
The purposes in the human mind are like deep water, but the intelligent will draw them out.Proverbs 20:5
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13
Whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces enduranceJames 1:2-3
Myers-Brigg – INTJ (Same as C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen)
Favorite Book – I’d rather say favorite authors—Ursula Le Guin, Harry Ironside, A.W. Tozer, but even there, each time I write down a name, ten more appear in my mind’s eye, of people who have changed my life through their books.
I do keep returning to two seminal works: “ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church” (Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost) and “The Practice of the Presence of God” (Brother Lawrence). I am not the same person after having read those books.
Why I Started a Blog – I used to be a moderator on Theologica (a now defunct forum) and really miss the deep discussions we had there, among the diverse Body of Christ, running the gamut of all three branches of Christendom. God’s book is written in story, poetry, plays, axioms, autobiography, letters, comedy, allegory, and song. It is a conversation piece, and I’m eager to learn from everyone here.
Inspirational quote(s) – “’Don’t know,’ said Button Bright.’” (The Road to Oz)
Theological Interests – ecology, gender, mental illness, organic church
Hobbies – Reading, making music, writing, archaeology
Denomination/Tradition – Trans-Denominational, with Organic Leanings