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386 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE Philippians I used to forget my Greek New Testament on purpose, so the future seminarians would share with me. They smelled like sweat and prayer and oatmeal cookies and trying too hard to get God to love them, too hard. In a notebook carried back from Africa, just to be different, I copied out the Greek in my best handwriting. Rejoice, rejoice, we translated, but I didn't want to; instead I skulked around campus, brooding about why God wasn't born a woman. The seminarians were growing their beards in a very apostolic style. One of them was headed to Mexico that summer to get dirty for Jesus, while another used to sit outside the chapel for hours, arm around his small, weeping girlfriend. It must have been a difficult life. Now the building where we used to push our desks into a circle has burned to the ground. Rejoice, rejoice, the book kept saying, and Jesus kept getting jerked between heaven and earth like a jumping jack on a string called kenosis, emptying and filling himself again. CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE At that time, Saint Paul was imprisoned in another country. Bynow the seminarians have taken up youth groups and wives and children. Or they became the big, gawky white guy in the photograph of smiling brown orphans. I don't know why some buildings burned to cinders instantly, while others only turned a little gray, just kissed by ash and smoke, and I don't know why God touches down on some of us and not on others, and I don't know why sometimes a prisoner doesn't even have a window to look out of when he writes Rejoice, rejoice and other times an earthquake rattles him free. HANNAH FAITH NOTESS 387 ...


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