Don’t Read This Post (Vol. I): An Exercise in Hubris

When I started this blog, my intention was that it be a place where we can 1) answer Frequently Asked Questions; and 2) provide more timely updates than are allowed for in our monthly prayer letter, which is written about three weeks before it is published.

I’ve come to learn, though, that once the FAQ’s have been written, and now that we are in waiting mode (i.e., waiting for E’s adoption to go through, and for the birth of Quartus), the need for updates beyond what’s included in the monthly prayer letter have been minimal, and do not really warrant a new blog post. I’ve found that I’m hesitant to write, in large part because I’m concerned that I’ll be wasting my friends’, family’s, and other likeminded folks’ time.

However, my desire to stay in contact with those of you who are interested in doing so, and to provide more frequent, smaller updates, has overcome my reluctance. My plan is to write more frequently, beginning with any updates followed by my summary, followed by commentary on books and articles addressing one of two topics: veterinary medicine in Ethiopia and/or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Hopefully it’s interesting to some of you, and for those who aren’t particularly interested (I get it), you can read the updates without having to slog through my ramblings.

Updates

The most significant update is that my stepdad, R.E. Peterson (I called him Pete) passed away on April 14th. I’ve known Pete since I was six years old, when he and my mom started dating. They married when I was 12, and we moved in with him at that time. To say that my world changed is an absolute understatement. Whatever work ethic, self discipline, and commitment to family that I have, I owe to him. Words cannot express how grateful I am for his unconditional love for my mom, my sister, and me.

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Mom, me, Pete, and Crystal, Christmas ~1993

His funeral was held on April 27th, when the Orthodox Church celebrated Holy Saturday this year. The vigil for Pascha (Easter) began at 11:30 pm that evening, and we got home just before 4 am Sunday morning. Holy Saturday celebrates Christ’s time in the tomb, whereby Hades was destroyed and he emerged victorious on Sunday morning. What a blessing that Pete’s funeral will forever be associated for me with the death and resurrection that gives such hope.

Pete’s death meant that we left Colorado Springs the day that we were supposed to begin our month-long training at Mission Training International, and that this (mandatory) training has therefore been postponed. It looks like Quartus will be too young for us to attend the summer session, and that we will therefore have to attend the fall session. This means that we will likely leave for Ethiopia in October at the earliest.

Meanwhile, we will stay busy with the adoption, the arrival of boy #4, the logistics of moving to Ethiopia (still working on the most cost-effective way to get my library over there), and curricula planning (Kristen with homeschool; me with infectious diseases and biblical languages), among other things.

The other item of note is the interview my friend Scott Elliott did with me on his blog, Resurrected Living:

Kristen says it’s probably worth watching; I can’t watch myself talk long enough to know if it is or not. Many thanks to Scott for his kind interest and consideration. His ministry is truly a blessing to me.

Intro to Isaac’s The Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahïdo Church

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I’ve decided that for the next few posts, I’m going to alternate between some Ethiopian veterinary articles I’ve recently read, and Ephraim Isaac’s book, The Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahïdo Church. Here, I’ll introduce this book, and in subsequent posts, I’ll work through it one chapter at a time.

Ephraim Isaac is an extremely well-known (especially in his Ethiopian homeland) and erudite scholar of ancient Semitic (particularly Ethiopian) languages, culture, and religion. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a PhD from Harvard University, and was the first professor of the Harvard University Department of African and Afro-American Studies. His translation of the the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) is found in Charlesworth’s edition of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, arguably the most popular edition used in graduate studies.

Isaac himself is the son of an Ethiopian mother and a Yemeni Jewish father; he is not a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahïdo Church (EOTC). The book reflects this in its emphasis on the uniquely Jewish character of the EOTC – something that certainly warrants elucidation and discussion, but is more thoroughly discussed by Isaac than in any other source I’ve encountered.

As a sort of preview, I give here the table of contents:

  1. Origins of Ethiopian Civilization
  2. Brief History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahïdo Church
  3. The Judaic Character of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
  4. Teachings of the Ethiopian Church
  5. The Bible in Ethiopia
  6. The Role of Fasting in the Ethiopian Church
  7. The Ethiopian Liturgy and Calendar
  8. The Church and Education
  9. Ethiopian Church Music
  10. The Church and Its Institutions
  11. The Church and Writing
  12. Church and State
  13. Church and Society
  14. The Ethiopian Church and Other Religions
  15. Ethiopianism – Significance for Africans and Afro-Americans

I read this book several years ago, and I remember then encountering a number of things that I questioned, and a few that I was fairly sure were incorrect. Hopefully we can explore these items as we take our time moving through this book.

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