Tag Archives: Los Angeles

What Super Target Taught Me about Redemptive Suffering

Or How Behind Some Purchases, There Are Stories

I believe that this latest purchase of mine deserved a blog post, and I tried to make it as offensive as possible. Hey, at least it wasn’t Wal-Mart.

Anyhow, as a substitute teacher I had an assignment for multiple days in the month of May. It was a middle school, and 8th graders at that. Most of the days were okay, but the first three were extremely trying. A group of male students used language bordering on sexual harassment with the other teacher in the room, while remaining hostile to both teachers throughout the duration of the assignment. I commute to work via public transportation. And although the school was close, I took 2 buses. Instead of tolerating the wait for the second bus, and wanting to get some exercise that would let me let off some steam, I decided to walk the last 10 minutes, risking passing by a school whose philosophy I am oh so fond of (that was sarcasm).  Anyhow, one morning, I got to work early, and I met two people in the teachers’ lounge who were giving away free breakfast. Of course I accepted, and they also suggested that I could win a $15 gift card to Target if I entered a drawing gave away my personal information for them to call me as representatives of their financial institution.  So, I agreed, and low and behold, I won.

After those rough days with classes averaging about 40 students (unique circumstance–something about the state government interfering with ‘standardized testing’), I thought that this would certainly make up for it.  Womanist and feminist theologians have huge qualms (as do I) with the notion that suffering is somehow redemptive.  Personally, I am still struggling with this concept. I do remember one time, at a bible study, after telling my trying time at a work place setting, someone tried to re-assure me that I was going to be okay, that what I was going through would make me a better person, and I just eschewed of the thought instantly.  My experience had not, and still has not made me a better person.

Similarly, when I got to Target today, I knew I had limits of what I could buy, and I had my choice (little to my knowledge–since part of Target’s greatness is that it has one-day specials for movies) of Aaron McGruders’s The Boondocks Season 3, Joss Whedon‘s Angel seasons 1 & 2, Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse Season 2, and Joss Whedon’s Firefly.  Firefly won out, since I knew there was no way that it would ever be $16.99 ever again.

Does this purchase “redeem” my suffering I experienced at that middle school?

No, but it does make me all that much happier!

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Notes from WTS 2010: Conclusion

Overall, I think it was an edifying experiences for me to hear the presentations and ideas of others.  I felt glee as persons seemed interested in the direction of my theological studies.

Seeing William Abraham of SMU Perkins square off with Richard Hays of Duke on the challenges of narrative interpretations of Scripture was thought provoking.  It made me re-think readings of the Gospel of Luke and the stories of Elijah the prophet, and the inter-textual relationship between the two.

I also decided to make it a habit that whenever I go to an academic conference for religious studies (who knows, maybe someday I’ll be invited to a conference outside of religious studies someday), to attempt to attend the sessions on Philosophical Theology since that is where my interests are.

I also learned never to take Los Angeles International Airport if my destination is in Pomona, California. Yeah, L.A. has three airports for a good reason. Learned that one the hard way.

Truth and Peace,

Rod