My term paper is titled “Sin and Satan in the Qurʾān and Bible” for “SARS-1000: The Qur’an: Origin, Application, Interpretations.” This Spring 2022 class was lead by Professor Mahjabeen Dhala, at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. The paper begins:
In this paper, I consider sin and Satan, with a focus on the stories of Joseph and Job, both in the Qurʾān and in the Bible. I chose this topic because, as a jail Chaplain, I find prisoners are very aware of sin and Satan, and I wanted to learn more. The anthropomorphic personification of Satan is a huge topic, so I have concentrated on a limited set of scriptural verses to keep to term paper length, rather than allowing this to grow into a dissertation. There is much more to be said based on the thousands of scholarly and religious works (many with conflicting opinions) written on these topics over many centuries. I assert that ideas of embodied sin and the personification of Satan evolved over at least a thousand years (between 500 BCE and 610 CE), through Biblical and Qurʾānic stories and exegetical understandings that are sometimes not substantiated by sacred texts. Historical evolution presupposes a starting point, and this paper considers alternatives for the first Biblical mention of sin.
Katy Dickinson Women of Faith in Jail This presents a jail chaplain’s view on how women prisoners’s experience, especially their faith experience, is different from that of men in the American justice system. In many ways, the lives of American women and men prisoners are similarly marginalized; however, the systemic social and economic disadvantages of women in our society are reflected in the lives of female inmates. For example, women are usually the primary caretakers for children from whom incarceration separates them, women often enter the carceral system having had more traumatic experiences, and all-too-often women undergo more trauma in jail and prison. As a result, working with women inmates as a chaplain or officer can be more complex and emotionally intense compared to working with male prisoners. While some avoid working with women, others find special satisfaction in supporting female prisoners. A groundbreaking report has just been published about women prisoners and their unique challenges and patterns.
Here is a link to the whole submission, if you want more text (and references). The event will be recorded but not available online in real time.
Images Copyright (c) 2023 Katy Dickinson. If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home).
This semester at the Graduate Theological Union‘s Berkeley School of Theology, I am taking three classes as part of my Doctor of Ministry studies. They are: “The Qur’an: Origin, Application, Interpretations” (Dr. Majabeen Dhala, Center for Islamic Studies), “Introduction to Prison Ministry” (Father George Williams, Jesuit School of Theology), and “Examining the Case for Reparations for African Americans” (Dr. Ronald Burris & Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins, BST).
I just gave my first presentation in Dr. Dhala’s class, called “Joseph – Yusuf.” In this presentation, I considered the story of the patriarch / prophet Joseph – Yusuf as presented in the Torah / Hebrew Bible and in the Qur’an, in the context of my ministry as a jail chaplain. The class and I had a good discussion!
You can see the whole presentation here. See the last pages of my presentation for where I found the images and other sources.
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“The Problem: As part of changing a life path that repeatedly ends in Santa Clara County jail, many inmates want to learn about and develop their faith and theology but lack resource access and the reading capability or education to move forward. Inmates who are Spanish language speakers, have reading difficulties, and those with mental health challenges are at a particular disadvantage and are often isolated and disempowered. America’s punishment-based, racist and classist carceral system, and the constant population churn inside jails, militate against empowering inmates’s spiritual well-being, success, and change of life. Tailoring educational and faith programs to particularly disadvantaged inmates may help to reduce long-term recidivism.
The Purpose: To support the most invisible of the largely-unseen and severely marginalized population of jail prisoners in Santa Clara County, this project revises existing Bible study and theological reflection program materials to support inmates in three particularly-underserved and vulnerable groups: those whose primary language is Spanish, and/or have mental health challenges, and/or have reading comprehension difficulties. Making materials more accessible may help to encourage their faith walk, sustain their difficult journey, and discourage recidivism after release.”
Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy‘s training was held last weekend: Going In, Staying In jail ministry training is for new and returning volunteers and focuses on orientation to chaplaincy and facility updates as well as context specific skill building such as trauma informed ministry and cultural humility. The training is free and open to all over the age of 21. The opening meditation titled “Choosing to Incarcerate Yourself” was presented by CIC Associate Director & Facility Chaplain, Angel Hernandez. Green bracelets saying “I Choose to be Incarcerated – CIC Ministries Jail Chaplains” were distributed.
I was inspired by Chaplain Angel’s talk, especially when he said: “We have these ministry trainings so that as Chaplains, you need to choose incarceration as well. Not like those that are incarcerated, and not like those who have families inside. You choose the surroundings of incarceration in order to be with those inside. We have these ministry trainings so that you can understand what it is like to be inside… We are a ministry that seeks out people that choose incarceration. That know that their rights are left, like their phones, like their smart watches, their rights are left in the car. We look for people that allow the direction of the law inside to have the authority, regardless of the title you have worked so hard to attain on the outside. We look for people who are willing to humble themselves…. As you consider being a chaplain, or if you have been a chaplain for some time, we ask that you understand that you choose incarceration to then be inspiration to those inside. Hebrews 13:3: “Remember those in prison as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home). Images Copyright 2022 by Katy Dickinson.