Tuesday, March 06, 2007
For Yahweh your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.

I added fractions today. Not exactly what I signed up for when I started grad school. But this is where reading the Bible and taking it seriously has gotten me. 23 7/8 + 17 5/8. My Greek Septuagint suddenly feels much safer than this 7th grade math book.

"Lance said you can help me with my homework, but I don't have any today," Solo tells me. Solo just turned 13 and he's in the seventh grade. He tells me his family has been in the United States for three and a half years. Lance is a buddy of mine who volunteers with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Five minutes hearing Lance pitch KRM, and you're like, "Where do I sign up?" That's more or less how I got here at the Doumbia household. That, and all these passages from the Old Testament that talk about how much God cares about fatherless kids, widows and refugees.

Solo is one of five boys. Babu, 15, is laying on the couch watching TV. Michael is a year old, just old enough to walk and old enough to babble incoherently. He bounces like a pinball around the house. He walks up to me as I sit at the kitchen table, with his big mocha eyes beaming and his arm outstretched, opening and closing his fist. I lean down and he gets a handful of beard and giggles.

Solo and I spend an hour or so wrestling with fractions. I don't remember fractions being such an abstract concept. I think about pies. We talk about adding together whole pies and pieces of pies. Then there's the whole issue of how you can add pieces together and get more than a whole.

But after awhile, a confidence starts to form in Solo's face that wasn't there when we started. "One more," he says for the third time, a little more eager than the last time. At 6:30, it's time to pick up his little brother Ali (7) from the school next door, so we walk over there together.

Maybe some of the best seminary lessons are learned in a seventh grade math book.

posted by Peter at 10:47 PM
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