Visitin Writers Series- Nadia Bolz-Weber

On Thursday. March 5th, our class attended Nadia’s 12:15 session on religion. Her presentation focused more so on her point-of-view regarding the bible, communion, people’s role in the church, and how God affects her life as a pastor. My first impression of Nadia was not what I had originally thought of a pastor to be. Her use of foul language, body covered in ink, and overall acceptance of blasphemy ideas made me compare and contrast my own views of how a pastor should represent themselves to others.

What I found most interesting was when Nadia had called certain scripture “bullshit” and other scriptures she praised for being good groundwork for her book. This really had me pondering about how Christianity today had been modeled to fit people’s personal opinions instead of actually following what the Bible truly intended. In my opinion, a pastor should not pick and choose certain concepts from the Bible because that leads to confusion or misguidance of what God truly intends us to view as right and wrong, sinful and not sinful.

Though the presentation was a bit out of my comfort zone, I did agree with Nadia on one important issue in churches today: judgment. What I mean by judgment is the that fact that most “conservative” Christians tend to isolate or point fingers at those who indulge in “the worse sins”. I totally disagree with this as it results in low salvation rate and turns people off from God period. You can love someone and disagree with what they stand for. Personally, Christians should show a loving heart to everyone and work to make the church environment more harmonious. What I learned from Nadia, was honesty. Honesty in portraying yourself for who you are and not putting on a face. That honesty she displayed was what truly developed my admiration for her.

Nadia’s website:


Visiting Writer Series – Paul Muldoon

When I first read “Hedgehog” by Paul Muldoon a series of confused thoughts entered my head. The first several stanzas made me think of an individual having no trust in others, but the last few lines about a god losing trust in the world  made me think differently. I wondered what Muldoon’s objective was by concluding that a god distrusting the world, and using a hedgehog and snail as the respected “individuals; the trusted  and untrusted. I then began to think of Jesus (the hedgehog) and his many encounters with the Pharisees (the snail). The Pharisees tried relentless amount of times to get Jesus on their side, though personally expressing their animosity towards him. The line “We forget the god under this crown of thorns…”  made me ponder of how Jesus’s people had rejected him and sent him to the cross to die, which led to the “distrust” God has of human beings. What I found useful through Muldoon’s work is the affect of underlined meanings and the interpretations that follow by just using a few selective words. With that last bit of terminology used in “Hedgehog”, it completely changed the way I read and processed the poem in its entirety.

Link to “Hedgehog” by Paul Muldoon:

Visiting Writers Series: Katherine Howe

The excerpt of “Conversion” by Katherine Howe was most interesting as it focuses on the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts. In the excerpt, a girl waits to speak with the Reverend Green. Her name in the story is mentioned to be Ann. Ann expresses how much her feet hurt from standing, waiting on the the reverend to finish whatever he is most occupied with writing. As she waits, Ann describes how anxious and untrustworthy people are in Salem in this current time. During Ann’s wait she notices the disdain and unfriendly like behavior from the reverend’s wife and the young girl she offered a smile to. She goes on to explain and hint at something very malicious and dark occurring in Salem. Finally, when the reverend decides to see her Ann becomes hesitant as she knows she should have turned back, but still approaches  Reverend Green with what she reveals to be her confession.

What I observed to be very useful in reading this excerpt was the way Howe allowed the visualization of the thought process of the character as she pondered on the past and current events that is, to the reader, shrouded in mystery. Howe’s use of language to describe noise, expression, and human thought proved beneficial for me in regards to future writings.

Visiting Writers Series – Jesmyn Ward

While transitioning into my creative writing class I recently read an excerpt from Jesmyn Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones. The excerpt basically tells a story of a dog, China, struggling to give birth. The narrator of the story is one of four siblings and the only girl. The girl recalls back to the time her mother gave birth to the last child Junior and how she had died in the process. The narrator introduces and describes the rest of the siblings and father while waiting anxiously for the arrival of China’s puppies. The father’s tone within the story made me wonder in curiosity of how he viewed the struggling dog in birth. For instance, I imagined the reason behind his cold response to the dog’s suffering reminded him of his wife’s pain and ordeal experiencing childbirth for the last time. The older siblings’ responses to the dog also left me in wonder about how their mother’s death and China’s struggle were very similar. While reading this short piece, i began to realize the importance of tone and character persona, and how the author intends to for connections to be drawn about similar events in life yet different at the same time.

Jesmyn Ward blog info: