June 21, 2019

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

The Gifts of Wisdom
Proverbs 8

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In his reflections on Proverbs 8, Gordon Matties silences the temptations of prosperity— what he calls a “health and wealth gospel”—so we might hear the true call of Woman Wisdom. “A closer look” at this proverb, according to Matties, “reveals a more demanding path to flourishing” than our own prosperity—“a path that serves the good of others, that lives by a vision of righteousness and justice, and that lives for the sake of the other” (ABS, p. 14).

This reminds me of Glen Guyton’s recent charge to Mennonite Church USA in the wake of George Floyd’s murder: “We need to engage in more costly peacemaking, rooted in radical discipleship, which seeks to dismantle systems of oppression.”[1] The key word for me is costly. It is the word I keep thinking about. This is a call to sacrifice, to relinquish power, to surrender privilege, to walk away from security, to stand with the suffering Christ.

God calls us, in the voice of Woman Wisdom, to flourish, but this is not a discreet category defined by our personal investment portfolio, square footage, or happiness. To live in the “rich inheritance” of verse 21, we are called to intertwine our lives with the lives of others, to see prosperity not as an individual, familial, or even congregational category but a shared experience that reaches out, in Matties’s words, to “the entire human community and all of creation” (ABS, p. 19).

In this moment, I am profoundly aware of the ways my flourishing is intertwined with so many others. It is evident in the public good of social distancing amid COVID-19, in the chant “All lives can’t matter until black lives matter,” and in the complex interdependencies so apparent in the natural world that surrounds and supports us.

How can I, how must I, follow Woman Wisdom into a life of shared flourishing? What is required of me to live wisely today, in this moment, in ways both “ordinary” as Matties emphasizes and “radical” as Guyton encourages?

—Kerry Hasler-Brooks, kerry.hasler.brooks@gmail.com

© 2020

1. Glen Guyton, “We Need to Engage in More Costly Peacemaking,” Mennonite Church USA, June 1, 2020.

Kerry Hasler-Brooks is a professor of American Literature at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania. She researches and teaches at the intersections of race, gender, literature, and vocation and has written on diverse American women writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Maria Ruiz de Burton, Katherine Anne Porter, Toni Morrison, and Edwidge Danticat. She lives on an organic vegetable farm run by her husband, Nathan; loves to explore in the fields and woods with their two young children; and recently joined the 300-year-old community at Salford Mennonite Church, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, where she is learning to hear and practice anew the call of Jesus to radical peace, love, and welcome.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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