Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Decision; A First Draft

A few days ago I posted a vague status on Facebook about prayers for decision-making.  I subsequently got at least a half dozen phone calls asking if I had a job offer.  Before I go any further, let's make one thing clear: the search and call process is NOT like a normal job search.  The average search is 6-9 months.  The people doing the hiring are church members, so they do not meet on a daily basis to facilitate quick decisions.  So, no, I don't have a job offer.  In fact, at this point I doubt if any church has actually read my profile.  I'm glad to know that my friends/family care about my search, so I'm not trying to say "STOP ASKING" or anything like that, but just want you to know for at least a few months the answer will almost definitely be "no."  

The status was actually about something that probably seems insignificant to the rest of you, but it is huge for me.  I found out on Monday that my thesis was not going to be accepted in its current form.  The reasoning is totally justified.  It needs a lot of work in terms of having a method to organize my thoughts and research.  It's a first draft.  I was offered two options.  1) to do a major overhaul in less than two weeks or 2) to count it as two directed studies so that I can graduate, but not have a thesis.  

Writing a thesis is not a requirement for this degree.  It's something that I did because I believed I had something important to say about the Book of Judith.  While I was trying to decide, I asked myself, "What was the purpose of writing this thesis, and did I accomplish it?"  In writing it, I wanted to tell people that Judith is a part of the Christian story and her character should be known to Christians today so that we can use her to help us understand our relationships with God just as any other character in the Bible does.  My thesis emphasized the way that she is misunderstood through her representation in art, which is why I've occasionally posted some horrific painting of Judith decapitating Holofernes.  What I decided is that I can accomplish my purpose now just as well as I could with a thesis in hand at my graduation on May 18th.  I'm not going to stop telling people about Judith.  I'm not going to stop researching Judith.  I'm not going to stop writing about Judith.  But the fact is, I'm graduating in 15 days.  A moving van is leaving Missouri with all of our possessions on May 21st and we are leaving on June 2nd.  I have two papers and a sermon to write.  I have a birthday to celebrate (today!).  Finding the time to revamp my thesis to the extent that I believe necessary would be exactly the opposite of what so many are encouraging me to do-- to take care of myself. 

So friends, a decision has been made.  Between now and the time I graduate, I'm done working on this.  But I have a beautiful first draft-- 84 pages that are clear about my excitement and passion for this woman.  And I am so proud of it. 

MORE THAN THE DECAPITATION: Painting the Rest of Judith's Story
in Narrative and Feminist Critical Perspective


  1. Joanna -- I have always been interested in Judith, but never took the time to learn more -- would you be willing to let me read your wonderful first draft?? LeeAnne

    1. Of course! What's the best e-mail address? You can just e-mail me at and I can reply with it. Thanks! :)

  2. I love the picture of you with your draft... your huge smile... that it is your birthday... that you have made a decision... that you have a path forward. But mostly I love that you are taking care of yourself!


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