Projects Summary, 2014-2015:
1., Our major project was our 2014 annual
conference presented by our friend and local scholar, Dr. Toni Craven,
retired, TCU’s Brite Divinity School.
Dr. Craven walked us through a hundred years of Judith scholarship as her
approach to Old Testament Wisdom (Sophia) literature, and the Theology of
Wisdom Literature. “The roles of Woman Wisdom in creation, providence, and
revelation and the feminine images associated with God’s involvement in the
conception and nurture of humanity are iconoclastic texts that subvert the
idols of patriarchy.” (LP, p.34)
She reminded us again of lessons to be learned from the named
and unnamed women and female representations of the Bible. Dr, Craven helped
us step back and reflect that the People of God are on a journey from linear
to non-linear thinking and progression from traditional modernist to
non-traditional post-modern studies. As a result we live in tension; we
strive to hold the proliferation of interpretive strategies in dynamic
relationship. Dr. Craven contrasted orthodox conventions and orthodox faith:
“Creative imagination may subvert orthodox conventions in order to usher
into existence a new life-defining and life-orienting reality.” (LP, p. 51)
Almost immediately after this Spring Event, we both
established a budget for the 2015 Spring Conference and created a listing of
nationally known journalists, theologians and civic leaders to invite. The
general criterion was to offer the community of North Texas an interesting
voice we might otherwise never be exposed to, to enrich us, to put us in the
know a current issues of importance. As it turned out, one highly
recommended speaker’s schedule matched our preferred dates, author and
artist Jan Phillips. Anyone needing evidence of Providence will find it
here: Toni Craven’s insistence on exercising “creative imagination”
dovetails perfectly with the selected 2015 speaker’s resume and her workshop
theme of evolutionary creativity and spiritual awakening.
2., Collaboration: Members attended or were represented at the
following events which served to leaven our discussions:
# The annual Call To Action conference, in Nashville TN
# The annual Center for Action and Contemplation’s “Conspiracy for God,” a
series of Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy, in Albuquerque NM.
# Fr. John Dear presentation, Campaign Non-Violence and the Nonviolent Life,
Cathedral of Hope, Dallas
# The Dallas Open Window group’s annual Open Forum with Fr. Donald Cozzens,
“Notes From the Underground.” (Our president, Rita Cotterly was a panelist
following Cozzen’s presentation, to the theme, The State of the Church six
months into Pope Francis’ papacy.)
# The NunJustice Project’s Prayer Vigil in solidarity with the Leadership
Conference of Women Religious and Sr. Elizabeth Johnson.
# Member review and on-going promotion of the Catholic Bill of Rights and
3., Correspondence: Identifying ourselves as a North Texas
progressive reform-concerned group we continue to collect signatures and
voice our concerns to ecclesial authorities.
# We have addressed Cardinal Baldiseri and USCCB representatives who will
participate in the 2015 Synod on the Family in Rome.
# We celebrated the first anniversary of our new bishop as we did his the
news of his selecti n and his ordination, with a card and words of support
# We also, as a group and many of us as individuals, voiced our saddess at
the closing of the Catholic Renewal Center and Book Store, and our
disappointment at the abrupt and dismissive way the matter was handled.
# Individual voices: On several other occasions our members reported they
had written letters to authorities. or had letters printed in the newspaper
expressing an opinion regarding some issue bearing on the church --or due to
absence of official church public witness in the Fort Worth community.
# As appropriate, we as a group and as individuals continue to address or to
carbon-copy the Papal Legate in Washington DC, to document our concerns.
4., Self-development deserves acknowledgement as an on-going project.
These three articles distributed and talked over at meetings indicate the
range of our interests:
# “Is religion the biggest problem facing feminism today?” –Christine
Schenk. (Feminism: the radical notion that women are people.)
# A Commonweal interview of cardinal Walter Kaspar, “Merciful God, Merciful
# Fortune magazine’s feature, “Holy Reformer: How Pope Francis plans to
restructure the Vatican’s scandal-plagued finances and generate more money
for the church.”
5., Retreat. Finally, each Spring, our membership goes on retreat to
a hill top ranch near Benbrook for a day, to enjoy the natural setting and
one another’s company, to examine our fidelity to our mission statement, to
plot our course, to rededicate ourselves with thanks and praise to the Holy
Trinity as is right and just--to use the familiar words of the liturgy.