I am awed by the expanse of the ocean, humbled beside the great redwood tree. I am healed by down pouring rain, alive when standing on the mountain top. I am renewed when quieted by the depth of the piney woods, hope filled by the song of the birds. To learn to be still and content is itself a precious gift – a pearl, rare and beautiful.
This I believe, God is in and through all things. God is within the still quiet moments and in the strenuous trek to the mountain top. This I believe, we are made whole in relationship to one another. We cannot be fully human without the experience of love in relationship, friendship and companionship.
As a child, I grew to know God in a loving home nestled beneath the Rocky Mountains. There, in nurturing love, I learned that it is okay to question and grow, falter and fail, try and succeed. In this nurturing love, I learned there is no need to hold onto fear. Fear is the root of our pain. When we give up the power of fear, we also find the joy of hope.
This I believe, human beings are created for love and out of love. Wiser people than I have taught me, through the years, it is not nonsense to think and act out of love. Is love an elusive and impossible notion? I think not. I have come to believe, in every language and in every heart, love is the only real experience of wholeness we can offer or receive. It is the anecdote to our pain -the balm in Gilead.
As an adult, through college years and growing into middle age, I have come to understand that love cannot and will not allow us to stand aside when injustice claims the life or hope of another. True love is compelled to act. True love will stand when others cannot, speak with others are silenced, and carry the wounded all the way…through the valley of death to a place filled with new life. This I believe, a life “on fire” is a life full of giving. The generous heart never runs empty and is filled and refilled with inexplicable peace.
A child beneath the awestruck mountains, an adult traveling through distant lands, and an older woman peering through the woods of middle age, the child taught to explore is the same child quieted within who as an adult stands on the strength of nurturing love, an arbiter of justice and vessel of hope. So when asked, what to do I believe, I will undoubtedly answer, I believe in love.
The Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg is Brite’s Vice President for Advancement. Dr. Rodenberg recently completed a two-year intentional interim presidency at the Disciples Seminary Foundation, Claremont, California, where she gave leadership to the completion of a successful capital campaign. From 2006-2009 she served the Foundation as Dean for Southern California. She has also served as a missionary in Swaziland of the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, as a congregational minister in Kentucky and California, and as a campus minister at the University of Kentucky. In addition, she has taught courses in Christian Ethics, Inter-Cultural Studies, World Religions, the Sociology of Religion, and History and Polity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as an adjunct member of the faculties of Claremont School of Theology and San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Dr. Rodenberg holds degrees from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkley, CA (Ph.D. Christian Ethics/Religion in Society), Lexington Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Texas Christian University (B.A.). She has also studied at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland, and United Theological College, Bangalore, South India.
She is married to John Rodenberg and they are the parents of Heather and Matthew.