Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington, M. Div.

I am in receipt of a gift of tools for seeing The Word of God as some of the world’s most learned theologians.  The gift of interpretation of scripture is from God and my grandmama used to sing about, “what the world didn’t give…”.  It is at this level that I have sought to pass on this gift.  So here we go.

When the world seeks to “take it away”… this gift, I am reminded of the letter that I pulled out of my mailbox and has a date of 9/11, 1979:

“On behalf of The Howard Thurman Educational Trust an invitation to participate in A Seven Day Intensive Seminar discussion with me on The Grounds and The Meaning of Religious Experience.”

‘Religious Experience’, he said. Take the time out of your personal and private lives and come and sit with me for seven days while we ponder what is rock bottom, what does it mean— Religious Experience?’  And— ‘I’ll pay for it!  It is a scholarship, a reward— for your commitment to faith at the

“nerve center of your consent.”

One of the sources he submitted to us is called the “Keeper of The Kinds” which served to bring us to how great the religious experience is in creation.  Tree-hood, Tree-kind.  Penguin-hood, Penguin-Kind (he collected penguins with conversation about how ‘religious the penguin’).

What I want to raise here is an extension of a concept known as ‘de-mythologizing grandmother’.  It is an ideology that found it’s way into the Ph. D. Level Biblical Studies classrooms that has to do with the ‘myth of grandmother’.  It aims at the role of ‘faith-keeper of grandma’ in (but certainly not exclusive to) the Black Community.  It has come into a more deeper understanding for me as of late as it has found it’s way into the Weekly Bible Life Dialogue in which I am engaging and inviting you to join me on Facebook Live -Thursdays 6:pm @Divided We Fall-Dialogue on The Great Divides.

I have a plaque that reads, “God could not be everywhere, so he created grandmothers” which basically says it all.  It is directed towards the family in which children have been raised with and/or by a grandmother who was responsible for the transmission of faith.  I went there with them as one whose grandmother was, in fact, the second parent in the home.  A grandmother whose faith in God set the foundation of faith for us, not just on Sunday in providing the community faith based knowledge; but on a daily basis in practice.

A grandmother whose teachings last far beyond a single lifetime.  A grandmother whose memory continues to provide meaning to ‘eternal life’.  And so because there is not space and time here to further state the reality of ‘grandmama’s myth’, I referenced it to say I “knew church” because of all the church(s) my grandmother took me to in the weighty matter of ‘passing on faith’.  The ‘transmission of faith’ to a ‘new generation’— a task that ‘fell’ or was ‘appointed’ to grandma.  They say, we think she ‘Is God’.  I say, ‘she does have wings!’  Indeed: a ““Keeper of The Kinds”.

by email: myfathersmansionpress@gmail.com

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