Waldmeir’s wisdom

The Spiritual Life CORE team hosted their second Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews on Friday, Oct. 27. This installment featured Dr. John Waldmeir, a professor in the religious studies department.

This event, held twice a semester, brings in someone in the Loras community to lead those in attendance in both discussion and lecture over different topics in faith.

CORE team, a Spiritual Life organization, holds different events throughout the year One of the most popular events is the Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews. Named for the root beer keg that is famously at every event, students gather in the Pub in the ACC to discuss theology and faith.

Waldmeir has taught at Loras for about 20 years. His courses focus on reading Jewish and Christian scriptures as well as comparing and contrasting different religious traditions. During this time, he has published five books such as “Cathedrals of Bone, The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature” and is currently finishing a book about contemporary Muslim literature. He has also held the annual John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Studies twice.

With his background in Jewish and Christian scriptures, Waldmeir chose to speak on the topic of ‘Jesus as teacher.’ To start the night, Waldmeir asked a question.

“What do you think of when you hear Jesus described as a teacher?”

The audience gave a variety of answers including how Jesus used parables, shared radical teachings, was an effective teacher for different audiences, and started teaching at the age of 12.

Waldmeir explained that in the four Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus is called teacher 10 times. Some translations include rabbi, the Jewish leader whose role is to guide and teach. Throughout the Gospels, the authors use a traditional form of Jewish teaching called midrash. Midrash uses different passages from the Bible to interpret another, allowing multiple layers of interpretation.

In order to show the use of midrash, Waldmeir led the group in a scriptural analysis of passages from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Each passage contained the same story though they were presented in different ways. In the passages chosen, Jesus addresses the two most important commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). This answer was a midrash in itself as Jesus referred to two other passages from other books of the Bible, Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Also, his words are repeated in Matthew 22:37-40 and Luke 10:27.

The rest of the evening was spent comparing and discussing the passages. The audience realized that each story was presented in a slightly different context, showing how the authors used the style of midrash to create their own interpretation of what Jesus said. These led to different interpretations of Jesus as a teacher.

“Dr. Waldmeir’s talk about Jesus as a teacher was very informative,” said sophomore Abby Armstrong. “He is a great speaker and was very knowledgeable about the topic.”

Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews continues to be a popular CORE team event because of the wide range of speakers and topics for students to listen to.

“We got to take an in-depthlook on the different accounts of Jesus as teacher and learn a little bit about what those teachings meant,” CORE team co-leader Callie Owens said. “We also learned what they could mean for current listeners.”

HSBB will continue next semester along with more events from CORE team. The next activitiy is a meditation night in the Spiritual Life office on Monday, Nov. 13. To get ready for the holiday season, they will also be hosting crafts, cookies, and cocoa on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 9 p.m.

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