Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Learning Spanish Saved My Life

The following is drawn from a message delivered in ESR and Bethany Joint Worship on March 22 by David Johns:

 Several years ago I was standing at the International Airport in Portland, Oregon waiting for a shuttle to take me to the campus of George Fox University. I was there to attend a conference and present a paper. A group of us gathered to wait for the shuttle. A gentleman asked me:
“Are you here for the FAHE conference?”
“I am,” I said.
“You teach?”
“I do,” I said. “Theology.”
He shook his head. “Well, that is a monumental waste of time.”
The problem is I had already had a number of conversations like that one at PDX. In each of the encounters I felt I was doing more than simply arguing a case for the importance of what we theologians do; I was trying to legitimize my own sense of worth, my own calling as a person of faith. And each time I walked away wondering if I really was wasting my time—and, by wasting my time, also wasting my life.
Even in the seminaries where I teach: most students come with an interest in spirituality or pastoral studies; many have reservations about theology—a mild distaste for it—the area of study in which I had invested so many years. I know very well that it can be dry and theoretical and embarrassingly clueless, but no student has ever been as blunt as the retired philosophy professor I met in Portland. The nagging doubt never quite went away.
I withdrew as much as possible and spent less time with students and co-workers. After dismissing class, it was not unusual for me to hurry to my office, close the door, and thank God I didn’t have to interact with anyone for the rest of the day. I was ready to retool and find another career…to do something that mattered.
For any of you who might be able to relate to this thus far, you know very well that such crises are not simply professional ones. They have that appearance; but they are deeper. They can eat away at one’s soul; cause one to question one’s vocation; and they can cause one to question one’s faith. They are spiritual crisis. It angered me that I might have been pouring my life into something meaningless…and worse! that I was justifying it all for God. I thought maybe God had sucked out the energy of my life, exploited me, for too many years, and now it was time to do something important…which obviously meant it was now my time.
Then I traveled with a group to Honduras in January 2006. What happened in the ten days I was there has changed my life forever. 
Without warning I fell in love with Honduras. I fell head over heels with Latino culture. And to my surprise, I fell in love with Spanish. As I look through the notebooks from my days there, I was learning words like: brother, sister, up, down, to walk, to eat, to do, and so. Basic. As an adult I knew how to count and say “hello,” and that was about all.
When I returned I began studying in earnest with a Columbian student of mine who sat patiently with me as my stilted conversation became a little more confident and as our weekly hour together shifted from mostly English to mostly Spanish.
Since then, I have returned to Honduras seven times, the last time I was accompanied by some of my own seminary students. I spent a sabbatical there too, rather than where I thought I would: in the Bodlean Library, University of Oxford, writing an important book. Since then, I’ve taught courses in New Testament theology and contemporary theology at an institute in southern Honduras, I’ve taught in Guatemala, in El Salvador, in Costa Rica, in Nicaragua, and at la Universidad Iberoamericana in Puebla, Mexico—all in Spanish, and I’ve been a scholar in residence at two different organizations in Mexico City. 
Absolutely none of this was on my radar screen a few years ago. I saw none of it coming.

I began by mentioning the nagging question of whether my work was a monumental waste of time. You’ve been patient with your time as I have narrated this personal story. But what is the point?
I want to claim that, for me, learning Spanish saved my life. This is a kind of linguistic soteriological love story.
I’ll make four points briefly:
1.      Learning Spanish awakened a delight in other people
Speaking Spanish meant I had to listen, really listen, to the people with whom I was talking. I don’t always do that well. Knowing English the way we do, we can listen without listening…not really pay attention. We can text, read, and talk, while trying to listen. Because I didn’t know the language, I had to listen carefully to what was being said. I had to ask questions. I had to look at the person with whom I was speaking. In short, by learning Spanish, I discovered, in a new way, how to delight in other people. I fell in love again with my human family.  

Bernard Lonergan, one of the most important Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, would name this a conversion—a conversion is a kind of falling in love, he said.
Conversion, as lived, affects all of [one’s] conscious and intentional operations. It directs [one’s] gaze, pervades [one’s] imagination, releases the symbols that penetrate to the depths of [one’s] psyche. It enriches [one’s] understanding, guides [one’s] judgments, reinforces [one’s] decisions. (Method in theology, 131)

2.      Learning Spanish allowed me to risk, to stretch beyond what was familiar and comfortable
I like to appear competent in the eyes of others, especially when I speak in public. However, each time I open my mouth to speak Spanish, I make some mistake…I’m becoming fluent, but I’m not native, and as much as I’d like to think I am Mexican these days, I’m not fooling anyone! So, each and every conversation I have requires risking not appearing competent.
When we take a risk, it is easier to take another…and another. And it becomes easier to trust that God is present even in the places of challenge and stretching. But our institutions—churches, seminaries, other religious organizations—are conservative, no matter how progressive we claim to be; in one sense, these institutions’ first order of business is survival—how do we keep going. Risk is hard enough without complicating it with this survival instinct.
I think we believe: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” But we will never see the: “I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” if we are hunkered down in enclaves of familiarity, comfort, and stasis. (Isaiah 43:19)  Learning Spanish has helped me risk taking risks.

3.      Learning Spanish opened my eyes to the urgency of what I do…but in a different perspective.

I was in Copán Ruinas, Honduras waiting to begin a workshop. People trickled into the church a few at a time, walking from various parts of the small town and the mountainous region surrounding it. Shortly before time to begin a little Toyota pickup truck pulled in carrying nine or ten people. The pastor told me that these folks had driven all day from El Salvador to participate in the workshop I was offering.
I was overwhelmed. I—literally, not metaphorically— locked myself in the bathroom and prayed (in the spirit of nearly every call narrative in the bible): “God, you have the wrong person! I’m not cut out for this. What I do is not important enough to ride in the back of a pickup truck for nine hours.”
When I spoke with a Honduran friend of mine about this he shook his head and said, “Don’t be crazy! What could be more important than what we are doing here tonight?”
I realized the questions I was pursing were born more out of the academy than out flesh and blood. Why? Because I wasn’t pressing into life with the kind of abandon that allows one to know the “joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men [and women] of this age.” (Gaudium et Spes, 1)  Learning Spanish taught me this. In so many ways we play games. We’re institution building, reputation building, ego building. In the midst of all this inflated self-importance we forget Jesus. While trying to become the “best of these” we forget about the “least of these.” There is an urgency about what we are doing here; but believe me, it sharpens the mind and focuses the resolve when you see, coming up the driveway, a pickup truck packed full of people arriving to hear what you have to say. You have to quickly separate wheat from chaff, truth from bullshit.
4.      Learning Spanish helped me to see the invisible, particularly the exploited and the impoverished. 
Our world aches with the suffering of untold millions of people. However, most of these people are invisible to us. Even in our religious institutions. Like many Christians, I was aware of poverty and would say that praying for the poor was part of my Christian duty … or volunteering in a soup kitchen, or something of the sort. But, again, like many Christians, even though I would say helping the poor was important, I did not know anyone who was poor…really destitute. “The poor” was a category; it did not have a name. I did not know the name of anyone who works for pennies a day to sew cheap socks and underwear for people like me who stuff them in Christmas stockings next to my fireplace. But to paraphrase Jacques Lacan: The poor do not exist. Neither does the immigrant, nor the refugee, nor the Iraqi, nor the Republican. As categories, they do not exist.

We can travel the world—get the passport stamp to prove it—and post our photos on Facebook; we can travel the world and not see a thing.

Learning Spanish has opened my eyes to the world, its joy, and its suffering as never before. This was the point of so many feminist writers in the 70s around the theme of “raising consciousness.” We’re not invited to see something new or novel—but simply to see what is. That’s harder than it sounds and there are powerful interests benefiting from us not seeing. But once we see, really see, we either have to consciously choose to ignore what is before us, or allow our life to be forever changed; after being brought to our consciousness, a reality uncovered will be made visible again and again, even in places we thought we knew well. Something happens when this happens; as Frederick Herzog observed: “You don't understand what theology is unless you have looked in the face of suffering, unless you have become an atheist in the presence of pain.”

Learning Spanish made the invisible visible, and it gave me a voice with which to speak with the world.

There is much affluence and abundance in the countries I’ve visited, but it has been my time with those on the margins that has made my theology more edgy. It has given a risky and frisky quality to my teaching. It is no longer adequate to simply talk about this teaching or that doctrine or about some abstract moment in the church’s history without drawing a deeper connection or offering a more textured critique. Rather, my work is today more impassioned with a deep concern for how we as people of faith can interrogate our own practices and our own commitments and how we can evaluate whether we are contributing to the world’s suffering, or whether we are speaking a word of hope and life.

In short, learning Spanish saved my life. It opened me to the joy of other people, it has helped me learn to take risks; it has helped me see how my work really can be meaningful. It has made me aware, directly, of realities I would rather have overlooked. 

I no longer worry whether my work is a monumental waste of time; I worry these days whether I will have enough time to do the monumental work that lies before me.

May the grace of God:
open our eyes,
loosen our tongues,
and set our lives right in the middle
of all the action,
in the places where
faith, hope, and love are most needed.

David Johns is a graduate of ESR and the School's Associate Professor of Theology.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm Just a Girl

ESR student Jodi Jones offers a reflection on Peter Rollins’ new book, The Idolatry of God. Rollins will be on campus at ESR as the keynote speaker for our annual Willson Lectures on April 8.

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I'm exposed
And it's no big surprise
Don't you think I know
Exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me
To hold your hand
'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me
Don't let me out of your sight
I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don't let me have any rights
No Doubt, I’m Just a Girl

In the US, women have earned the right to die on the battlefield. They have not only proven themselves as competent, but also as having a unique perspective and having something distinctive to add to the conversation. As theologians they have shown themselves to be intelligent, witty, and pioneers in new ways of thinking. Yet, the world still tries to force us to hold the hand of the people in power. While the American woman has overcome much of the hard power oppression, the soft power still creeps forward in insidious ways. One of those ways came to my attention last week as I prepared for our Willson lecturer, Peter Rollins.

I recently began to read Peter Rollins’ book The Idolatry of God in preparation for his upcoming visit. My interest in his work was centered on his assertion that faith is in “embrac[ing] our brokenness” and in “accept[ing] the difficulties of existence” (Rollins, back cover), which I felt I could apply to my chaplaincy. I was only a few pages into his book when I was overcome with feelings that I can only describe as rage and humiliation. The emergence of these feelings centered on a story Rollins’ uses to explain creatio ex nihilo.  The story is one in which a man tricks his friend’s wife into reluctantly exposing her naked body to him for four hundred dollars (Rollins, 10-11).

The sting of these feelings continued when Rollins used two more misogynistic examples without apology. In a milder instance, Rollins uses Immanuel Kant’s example of a man’s desire to sleep with a woman to be heightened by an obstacle (Rollins, 29). This is followed by an example where a woman remains in a destructive relationship with “someone who is highly respected” so that she can “get a form of pleasure from other people…wishing they were in her position” (Rollins, 40). While the last two cases of sexism are less impactful, in light of the first story they build upon a negative view of women in general.   It is a view in which women are sexual objects to be manipulated and in which they are manipulative. Thus far, forty pages into the book, I have not read a positive view of women in Rollins’ book that offsets the growing negative view. Disturbingly, it seems as if Rollins is unaware of his sexist views.

Let me tell you very briefly about the women I know. None of them have a pink ribbon over their eyes, and very few of them have had anyone who holds their hands. They have made it in a world as single moms, as deeply caring pastors or chaplains, as teachers and students, as people who will scratch and climb and stumble toward success not just for themselves, but for others. They are women who, even after months or years of demeaning abuse, will find the strength to get out of destructive relationships even if it means being homeless for a while. They are, in brief, women who would eat rice and beans month after month before they would reluctantly expose themselves to a power hungry neighbor.

Now, let me tell you briefly about some of the men I know. They care deeply for myriad causes, their heads rear back in disgust when I read them the sexist drivel I have alluded to above, they are people who love and want to be loved. They have sacrificed greatly in service to their beliefs and to others. And, as far as I know, they would eat rice and beans month after month so they could give their desperate neighbor much needed money.

And, there is the crux of sexism. It creates a world where women and men are belittled. It creates caricatures of people who love, who make mistakes, and who imperfectly stumble toward God. It has not, though, brought about the Kin-dom of God. It has not honored all as the beloved children of God that we know ourselves to be.

I will change the lyrics of No Doubt’s song just slightly: I know exactly where I stand/this world [cannot force me to hold your hand]. That change represents the joy and transformation of living in the Light of God. As an American woman, I have freedoms other women in the world do not have. I am able to choose a counter-culture stance where I value all of God’s good creation to the best of my ability. But, I do not stop there. I continue to love even as I am hurt. I continue to make myself vulnerable even as it deeply scares me. I continue to believe that God’s Kin-dom is in the here and now and that together we can make a change.

This reflection is meant to only be the beginning of a conversation. I wonder, for example, to what extent a person’s message is tainted by the messenger. After all, none of us claims perfection, and we all write and speak from our own context. How do we live out the testimonies of peace, integrity, and equality in situations where someone is a little racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or elitist? What about when they are blatantly racist, sexist, etc.? In a recent email, [ESR Dean] Jay Marshall expressed the desire to have a community-wide discussion about how Rollins ties what Christians believe and what they say and do with themes such as social justice and realized eschatology. For those who have read his books, how do you perceive his message in connection to the reflections above?

As I said, I am intending this to be the beginning of a conversation. What are your thoughts? What are your questions?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Helen Keller—A Woman of Faith and Action

ESR student Anna Woofenden delivered the following message in Earlham School of Religion Worship on Thursday, March 14 2013. You can also listen to the audio here: http://annawoofenden.com/2013/03/17/helen-keller-a-woman-of-faith-and-action/.

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.” 
― Helen Keller

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” ― Helen Keller

“Happiness does not come from without, it comes from within”
― Helen Keller

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” 
 Helen Keller

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” 
 Helen Keller

“Love should not be viewed as a detached effect of the soul, or an organ, or a faculty, or a function. Love involves the whole body of conscious thought—intention, purpose, endeavor, motives, and impulses—often suppressed, but always latent, ready at any moment to embody itself in act. It takes on face, hands, and feet through the faculties and organs; it works and talks, and will not be checked by any external circumstance once it begins to move toward an objective. Love, the all-important doctrine, is not a vague, aimless emotion, but the desire for good united with wisdom and fulfilled in right action.”
–Helen Keller

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” 
 Helen Keller

A young child.
            A water pump.
                        A child who is blind and deaf.
                                    A teacher who persistently spells.

            Into the hand of the child.
            In an attempt to communicate
as the icy well water
pours over the child’s hand.

These may be the familiar images that arise when you think of the woman whose life story we explore today. Helen Keller.

This iconic story of overcoming the loss of physical sight and hearing has become a beloved tale of resilience and perseverance as this frustrated child becomes able to communicate, attends school and college and travels the world as an advocate for those with disabilities. Helen Keller the poster child for the blind and deaf.

Images you might not be so familiar with: Helen Keller the Swedenborgian theologian and Helen Keller a prophetic voice for social change. It is these two I want to bring forward today.

But first…beginnings.

Helen Keller was born in 1880, an energetic, curious, and alert child.  At age two she suffered a serious illness that left her completely blind and deaf. Keller spent the next few years of her childhood struggling to communicate and connect with others, going into rages and tantrums of frustration with her inability to interact with the world around her.

In looking back at this time of life, she writes, “Truly I have looked into the heart of darkness, and refused to yield to its paralyzing influence.”[1]  Helen’s life changed dramatically when she was gently and firmly taught by her teacher and guide, Annie Sullivan.  It was Annie who opened up the world of language to Helen, and through language gave her the ability to connect to ideas, people, and life around her.

Helen was an inquisitive child, asking questions and wondering about everything. She writes: “As a little child I naturally wanted to know who made everything in the world, and I was told that nature had made earth and sky and water and all living creatures. This satisfied me for a time, and I was happy among the rose trees of my mother’s garden, or on the bank of a river or out in the daisy-covered fields.”[2] Keller learned quickly and was a voracious student. Alexander Graham Bell had assisted Keller’s parents in finding her teacher Annie Sullivan and later recommended Perkins School of the Blind as a next step for her education and growth.

As she soaked up her studies, she began to ask more questions, questions about God and Jesus and religion and justice. “I inquired about God, and again I was baffled. Friends tried to tell me that God was the creator, and that he was everywhere, that he knew all the needs, joys, and sorrows of every human life…I was drawn irresistibly to such a glorious, lovable being and I longed to really understand something about him. I persisted in asking questions about God and Jesus ‘Why did they kill him? Why does God make some people good and others bad? Why must we all die?”[3]

It was during this time of questioning, while at Perkins School for the Blind, Helen was introduced to the writings of 18th century mystic and theologian Emmanuel Swedenborg by John Hitz, a colleague of Alexander Graham Bell’s, whom she later would call “the foster-father of my soul.”[4]  Hitz gave her a Braille copy of Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell when she was fourteen years old. Hitz warned Keller that it might not make sense to her at first, but that it would in time “satisfy (me) with a likeness of God as loveable as the one in my heart.[5]

When Helen began reading Heaven and Hell, a new opening in her spiritual life began.  “I was as little aware of the new joy coming into my life as I had been years before when I stood on the piazza steps awaiting my teacher. Impelled only by the curiously of a young girl who loves to read, I opened the that big book... My heart gave a joyous bound. Here was a faith that emphasized what I felt so keenly… The words ‘Love’ and ‘Wisdom’ seemed to caress my fingers from paragraph to paragraph and these two words released in me new forces to stimulate my somewhat indolent nature and urge me forward evermore.”[6]

Helen’s engagement with Swedenborg’s teachings was life-long; she avidly read and wrote about her spiritual journey and how God shaped her after this first encounter with the writer.  “It has given color and reality and unity to my thought of the life to come; it has exalted my ideas of love, truth and usefulness; it has been my strongest incitement to overcome limitations.”[7]

It is clear from Helen’s writing that her faith was core to who she was and from it her life arose. When we look at her legacy and her phenomenal life-long mission to help those who were blind, deaf, or disabled, her work for the emancipation of women and the equal rights and care for all people, we can see the threads back to her theological grounding. 

Helen’s ability to live fully, despite her disability is one that has been greatly admired by many. Her physical disabilities gave her much she could have complained about, or fallen victim to, but instead she chose to approach her life’s limitations as teachers and opportunities for internal change.

She credits her approach to challenges to her spiritual path. She states, “Long ago, I determined not to complain. The mortally wounded must strive to live out their days for the sake of others. That is what religion is for—to keep the heart brave to fight it out to the end with a smiling face.” [8]  She saw her challenges as opportunities for growth and internal transformation as she took to heart Swedenborg’s teaching that “Limitations of all kinds are forms of chastening to encourage self-development and true freedom.” [9]

Helen knew in her own being that God had called her to important work to do in the world, and that she needed to continue to do her own internal work in order to follow this call to bring reformation to others.

She writes about feeling like Joan of Arc at times, willing to follow the voice that says, "Come" through any hardship or struggle. As her life progressed, we see her moving through the obvious struggle of functioning without hearing or eyesight with incredible strength, tenacity, and dedication to internal and external reform. Keller scholar Dr. Ray Silverman remarks that Keller "saw herself as a social reformer devoted to relieving human suffering." [10]

The reform that Helen fought for was often expressed as a need for external outcome, such as women's right to vote and economic equality. Her spiritual writings, however, called for a reform of the spirit as well.  She spoke up for educational systems that were not exclusively focused on the intellect, encouraging compassion, consideration, and empathy as worthy educational goals.[11] 

Seeing the need for systems to be transformed strengthened her commitment to be a voice for internal transformation; she believed that transforming individuals would contribute to changing society as a whole. She drew heavily on Swedenborg's teaching that humanity without love and pity is "worse than a beast,"[12] and spoke to the recklessness of the power of thought when it is used for harming others. She called for reformation of the human spirit, and a spiritual vision where love, wisdom, and useful service prevail.

Throughout Helen Keller’s writings and speeches, she shares that the overarching message that she drew from the teachings of Swedenborg was one of God’s love for all people—regardless of their religious beliefs and allegiances. Having read the many volumes of Swedenborg's writings, she sums up her reading of his central theology with three ideas: "God as Divine Love, God as Divine Wisdom, and God as Divine Power for use."[13]  She shares her vision for this eminence of God’s love for all people as she reflects who God is by saying, “Such teachings lift one up to a mountain summit where the atmosphere is clear of hatred, and one can perceive that the nature of the Divine Being is love and wisdom and use, and God never changes in God’s attitude toward any one at any time.” [14]

Helen’s life, teaching, and writing was a continual outpouring of this love from God to all people as she became a sought-after voice for social reform. Silverman touts Keller’s widespread engagement with these movements.
Helen did indeed carry the banner of social reform to all, and fought valiantly to raise consciousness about the plight of the handicapped. But Helen’s social reform did not stop at combating preventable blindness.”[15]  Silverman goes on to outline Keller’s work with the suffrage movement, speaking up for social injustice and against racial prejudice and corrupt politics, denouncing business greed, and openly speaking against the horrors of war.[16]

She shares her draw to see God in all religious paths when she writes: "Instinctively, I found my greatest satisfaction in working with men and women everywhere who ask not, 'Shall I labor among Christians or Jews or Buddhist?' but rather say 'God, in thy wisdom help me to decrease the sorrows of thy children and increase their advantages and joys.'"[17] 

She writes about being told by "narrow people" that those who are not Christians would be punished. She describes her soul being "revolted" as she considered the possibility of the wonderful people she knew who had lived and died for truth as they saw it ending up in hell. Helen was able to reconcile her Universalism with her Christianity through Swedenborg’s teachings on the symbolism of Jesus Christ. "I found that 'Jesus' stands for divine good, good wrought into deeds, and 'Christ' symbolizes Divine Truth, sending forth new thought, new life, and joy in the minds of all people, therefore no one who believes in God and lives right is ever condemned."[18]  She went on to write often about this view of salvation and how it informed her life, action, and teaching.  Helen’s theological understanding of God being one who created and loves all people came to life in her work, as she advocated for those who were not being seen by society at large.

Through Helen’s beliefs and her own disabilities, she becomes passionate about issues of equality and the care of all people.  According to Dennis Wepman, author of one of the many biographies of Keller, she had been long distressed about poverty and its effects on American children. She had also become a staunch suffragist—an advocate of women’s right to vote”.[19]  Joan Dash, another Keller biographer, connects Keller's actions for justice to her own experience of feeling on the margins. "When she visited the foul-smelling slums of New York, she was reminded of her hopeless and powerless existence as a child,”[20] which spurred on her work to bring hope to those who are suffering.

As we hear stories of lives such as this one, I notice it is easy to write ourselves out of the story. The person we look to is in some other realm or possibility. We tell ourselves we can’t expect to be one of “those people” who leaves an impact on the world. We draw a line between ourselves and the mothers and fathers we look to for inspiration. Helen Keller’s story calls us each to action and contemplation, work and theological reflection in our own lives and ways.

Her words echo with us…
“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.” 

We are only one. But we are one. I am one. You are one. You cannot do everything, but you can still do something.

Helen calls us to live a life of action and a life of beauty and contemplation.

Helen Keller’s life calls us to do. Arising from our faith in a loving God, to do something that we can do in the world.

She calls us to give bread to those that are hungry,
                        Stand for those that are oppressed,
                                    Serve a God of love,
                                                And bring the beauty of the fragrant roses to the world.

[1]  Helen Keller and Ray Silverman, How I would Help the World (West Chester, Pa.: Swedenborg Foundation Press, 2011), 7.
[2] Keller, Silverman, and Keller, Light in My Darkness, 22.

[3]  Ibid. Page 23.

[4]  Keller and Silverman, How I would Help the World (West Chester, Pa.: Swedenborg Foundation Press, 2011), 28.
[5]  Ibid. Page 29.
[6] Ibid. Page 32
[7]  Ibid. Page 11.
[8]  Ibid.
[9]  Helen Keller , My Religion. (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1927), 144.
[10]  Keller and Silverman, How I would Help the World, 35.
[11]  Ibid. Page 42.
[12]  Ibid.
[13]  Emanuel Swedenborg and Jonathan S. Rose , The New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg (West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation, 2000), 298.
[14]  Keller and Silverman, How I would Help the World, 77.
[15]  Dennis Wepman, Helen Keller (New York: Chelsea House, 1987), 33.
[16]  Keller and Silverman, How I would Help the World, 18.
[17]  Ibid. Page 10.
[18]  Keller, Silverman, and Keller, Light in My Darkness, 88.
[19]  Wepman, Helen Keller, 68.
[20]  Dash, The World at Her Fingertips : The Story of Helen Keller, 129.