Hidden Beasts

OzBy Dr. Oz Cole-Arnal (far left in photo), former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

I was visiting my oldest son Bill and his partner Darlene when I heard the awful news of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I felt gut-punched and burst into tears. With so much hatred in the world, with the “othering” of all God’s vulnerable—Jews, blacks, women, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ– reaching new heights of murderous invective and hate as the wave of neo-Fascism arising throughout the western democracies, this attack in Squirrel Hill struck me exceedingly close to home. I am an ex-American from Western Pennsylvania, roughly an hour by auto to Pittsburgh, yet the emotions involve a deeper gut-wrenching connection than the thirty-mile jaunt by car to that city. Continue reading

A Spirituality of the Feet Moment

OzBy Dr. Oz Cole-Arnal (far left in photo), former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

As a “once upon a time” born-again fundamentalist Lutheran, nurtured and raised in a Pennsylvania steel town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who bought into that epoch’s anti-Catholicism and anti-Communism, I reflected the standard “White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant—Male” (WASP-M) privilege while being blithely unaware of the advantages this reality provided. My intense discovery of the quintessential Protestant core belief that we are made right with God, through no works of our own but solely though divine love manifested through Christ’s cross and made personal through trust in this radical God of love, combined with my academic love and success, led me to the ordained Lutheran ministry and the hope of teaching New Testament after a stint in parish ministry. Such a dream was turned on its head by a more profound conversion on the evening of April 4, 1968 when the blood of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. poured out on the balcony of Memphis, Tennessee’s Lorraine Motel. At the very moment I heard the news of his death, I feel to my knees and through my tears, vowed never to be silent in the face of injustice. Whether or not I have been true to that pledge remains in God’s loving hands, precisely where it belongs, but I highlight here one glorious moment of a fifty-year pilgrimage that I celebrate to this very day. Continue reading