Northwestern has a long list of ways it attempts to reach out to its students. Recently, there has been a growing trend of book discussions on campus, covering a wide range of topics. Two current topics are occurring in discussions, one lead by Martha Draayer and one co-lead by Barb Dewald and Dr. Cambria Kaltwasser. Draayer’s discussion is covering the intersectionality between race, racism, division and other related topics. Dewald and Dr. Kaltwasser’s discussion is covering the topic of women in ministry and leadership.
Dewald, NW’s associate dean of christian formation, is eager about the discussion currently taking place under her and Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies Dr. Kaltwasser’s care.
“Since we are women who have theological training and are in ministry, we have a passion for scripture and a desire to explore and come alongside others as they consider their place in God’s world,” Dewald said. “Dr. Cambria Kaltwasser and I partner to provide opportunities to encourage, empower and inform ministry and leadership in women.”
Dewald and Kaltwasser are reading Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts by Lucy Peppiatt. Peppiatt covers passages from Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Peter, 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians. Peppiatt argues that a complementarian view holds to ancient texts that have been distorted by the patriarchal view.
“[The discussion is] really just an open discussion time for anyone interested in looking at scripture texts related to women,” Dewald commented.
Hearing the insights of everyone is something that has made the discussions enjoyable for many who take part. However, only a portion of the 25 signed up students can join in the discussion during the intended time slot, Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in Ramaker because of various scheduling conflicts. Anyone who is interested in looking at scripture texts related to women in ministry and leadership can join the discussion, all that’s required is contacting campus ministry for a copy of the book or purchasing your own.
Several hours later the same day and in the same room, Draayer’s discussion topic will be taking place, at 7:30 p.m. in Ramaker. Draayer and those signed up will be reading No Longer Strangers, Transforming Evangelism with Immigrant Communities by Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi Page. This book offers an improved look at evangelism that acknowledges the pain of trauma, oppression, persecution and the aftermath of colonialism.
Covering the intersection of a multitude of topics related to race and racism, Draayer and those joining her in the discussion are diving into the questions that come into play with systemic injustice as the leading sources of conversation. Draayer hopes to “build a community that is safe for all to explore questions they are wrestling with related to race in America.”
A book club allows the group to explore topics further from the conversations that take place in everyday life. Having full-fledged conversations in a controlled environment pushes the discussers to think of ways to contribute to solutions to the issues at hand, starting in our own communities.
“Simply asking each other questions without informing ourselves from various perspective on the topic paints an incomplete picture,” Draayer said.
Book discussions like Dewald’s and Dr. Kaltwasser’s and Draayer’s engage students on relevant topics outside of the classroom and are a voluntary way to develop conversations about how to push and encourage each other and make differences in this tricky world.