this is no longer my blog
Monday, March 29, 2004
okay... so i'm feeling a little frustrated now. once again i have my preaching class tomorrow at 7:30am. now in the role of a pastor of a church, which i someday hope to be able to fulfill, preaching is by no means a small part of the job. it is one of the times when you are at your most visible, when people you don't have everyday contact with are present, and probably one of the few times that you will have so many of your congregants in one place sitting quietly and not talking back or arguing. so it's big stuff. the frustrating part is that these past three sermons i've had to write have been so frickin' difficult. the first text i was assigned was 1 thessalonians 5.1-11. it talked about the day of the lord coming like a thief in the night, and sudden destruction coming upon people like labor pains come upon a pregnant woman. that was hard enough, but then the next text i was assigned was amos 3.1-8, which is a judgment text against israel. so now i finally get a gospel text, and it turns out it's a parable about the kingdom of heaven, and i'm all excited because this one is going to be easy.... yeah, right. it's a parable about a wedding banquet and a king invites people but no one comes, and then they kill his slaves, so he sends an army to kill them and burn down their houses. so then he sends the slaves out again to just grab whoever they see and bring them to the banquet. that part sounds good. i could preach about the banquet being open to all. i like that idea. but then the king comes to check out the guests, sees a guy not wearing a wedding robe, and has him thrown into the outer darkness where there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth because many are called, and few are chosen. yikes. so after several hours, much typing and deleting and typing and deleting, i have something written. i like it, i think it is a fairly good job, but i'm scared to death of what my classmates and professors will say. i think a big part of my confidence in my call was that i did a good job with the one sermon i had to write for my intro. to preaching class last year. i thought i was the poo because i did a good job. but my first sermon this semester was basically trashed. the second one was a little better. i want to improve, i want to do better, i need to feel that sermon writing is something i can do (i said i was a good sermon writer in my internship application for crying out loud!). right or wrong i'm placing more importance on this class than my hebrew class this semester (hopefully neither of my hebrew profs are reading this right now... of course why would they... they have better things to do... love ya both, by the way ;) so yeah, now instead of getting some sleep so i can be coherent tomorrow i'm sitting here, typing in my blog and obsessing about my lack of confidence in my preaching gifts. did i mention i go for my second appointment with the counselor tomorrow? i'm sure i'll have something interesting to write when i get back from that. if for nothing else than i'm riding for about 2.5 hours in the car with a quite opinionated friend of mine. that'll be food for some writing, i would imagine.
but like i said, i have 7:30 class tomorrow, where i preach, so i should probably think about getting some rest.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
okay, so i added blogrolling to my blog. i am one step closer on my journey to blog coolness, i believe. this might lead to more people actually reading my blog, or at least people knowing about the existence of my blog. that means i'll have to step up my writing, actually have something worth reading, so that when people check out my blog they think "hey. this blog is cool. i'm gonna add it to my blog." so that means i'll have to put more thought into my writing. am i ready for this hardwork? shoot... i should've thought about this beforehand...
Saturday, March 27, 2004
mission: make blog cooler
okay, so i think i've got the basics of this blog thing down. i know how to post and how to add links. now i need to be about the business of making it cooler. i want it to be able to compete in coolness with the other blogs that are out there. i'm envisioning pictures and graphics and i would say a cooler template but the last time i changed my template i lost all of my links and had to retype them in. that was not fun. so i think in my free time (when i'm not writing my hebrew paper, or writing my sermons, or writing my paper on clergy sexual misconduct) i will research how to make my blog cooler.
but first i must eat lunch, for i am starved.
Friday, March 26, 2004
jesus is cool
Jesus is like the cool new fad... have you noticed? i mean with mel gibson's passion movie, and now there are all these other ones popping up all over, Jesus action figures, Jesus t-shirts, i even have one that says "Jesus is my homeboy." it's getting bigger than wwjd was back in the day. Jesus has made a triumphant entry into american kitsch culture. let's all wave our palm branches and shout hosannah for the arrival of our messiah, the buddy christ. i appreciate kitsch as much as anyone (i already said i have the "Jesus is my homeboy" shirt) but sometimes i wonder when too much is too much. when does Jesus lose his relevance and become just like one of the super friends? or is it a good thing that a culture that seems often diametrically opposed to the morals and values espoused by the Church are grasping and celebrating Jesus, even in a kitschy manner? it's a tough call. i wish i knew the answer. i hope that this is a sign of a deeper desire to actually be in a relationship with Jesus. i'd like to think that this kitschy Jesus could be an entry point for people into a valid and real relationship. so maybe i'll just stay in my hopeful (if a bit naive) optimism, and give people the benefit of the doubt. if for no other reason than it could serve as an entry point into a discussion, and maybe that will lead to the the desire for a real relationship...
Thursday, March 25, 2004
I just got back from a local pub in town, and met with a wonderful woman who is a pastor of a church in seattle. it is often labeled as a "postmodern" church, but she feels that the church can't be labeled as "po.mo." she believes the church (as do i... it's in the creed, yo) to be holy and apostolic but neither modern nor postmodern. her church serves in the postmodern context. it's a storefront church, with an internet lounge, art gallery, tea bar, with church services on saturday. they have a house church format, with small groups meeting in various places throughout the week, and then "all group" worship on saturday. she just said some very inspiring things tonight, especially about this whole homosexual "issue." she said with her, and her church, it is not an issue. do you love jesus? then you're welcome, regardless of your sexual/gender orientation. that's the whole deal. we get so caught up in issues, these tiny little things that divide us, and we let them divide us, and we forget the bigger picture. hey... we love jesus. who cares if i'm gay or straight, lutheran, presbyterian, catholic, episcopalian, assembly of god... whatever... shouldn't we focus more on what unites us (JESUS) than what divides us? the website for her church is http://www.apostleschurch.org and like i said i'm not the most tech/web savvie person you've ever met, but i'll try to figure out how to put it in the links, again. i had it figured out once before, but then i thought i'd be stylish and change the template and i lost all the websites i linked to and all of the blogs i linked. so never again, regardless of how much i may despise this template after a while, it's staying the way it is. until i'm so famous that i can hire someone to be in charge of my blog. then it will be pretty.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
spring is in the air
i wore shorts and sandals today. it was a great day. it was nice and warm and the sun was shining. the only bad thing was that the seminary grounds crew put fertilizer on the grass, because it is supposed to rain tomorrow. so that means we couldn't go on the grass without these little white balls of rage burning holes in my feet. or maybe that's a bit dramatic, but there were signs that said we weren't allowed to go on the grass. grrrr...
but that is not enough to get my excitement down. i'm going to wear shorts again tomorrow. now that the weather was nice enough to break them out i'm going to have a hard time putting them back if the temperature drops. i think i was meant for a warm climate. too bad all of my family lives in nebraska and ohio... neither of which are known for their temperate climates.
Monday, March 22, 2004
on the road to the white house
okay, not exactly the white house, but my friend mike and i decided to go ahead and put our names in to run for seminary co-presidents for sure. we needed 17 signatures to get nominated, and i ended up getting us 31. just to see how many i could get, the extra don't really do anything special for us. there are other people running for co-presidents, one duo is for sure, the other is still unsure. i wouldn't be surprised if the other duo wins because they are a male/female team. but i'm not going to be heartbroken if i'm not elected. in fact, i think it might be a relief if i'm not. but then why am i running? i don't know. that's a good question. i know that mike and i would do a good job if we were elected, and we would give it our best, but do i really want all of that responsibility for my senior year.
you know, it would be nice if life decisions were easy. can i just say that?
oh, so i have an update on my plant. i decided to name her sophia. not only is it Greek for "wisdom" (hey, look at the title... i readily admit i'm a church nerd) but it is also that kooky old woman from the golden girls. and she seems to be doing better. her new leaf has sprouted and the other day at the store i bought these little fertilizer spikes to stick down in the soil. so i put those in yesterday and watered her again. we'll see if there are any improvements soon. i'll keep you updated, because i know you are on the edge of your seats with anticipation.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
so i haven't posted on this blog in a while, and there is probably no one to notice or to mourn my absence. however, i've decided to not let that stop me from returning to post some more. there is no real reason for my absence. it's not like i've been super busy or kidnapped or comatose or anything like that. simply just didn't think of it, and when i did i either wasn't at the computer or didn't have the energy/imagination needed to write a post. but now i'm waiting to go to my friend's birthday party in about 50 minutes, and i can't bring myself to do anything constructive so i thought i'd write something.
so i found out that i will be spending the next year of my life in good ol' [editor's note: to assume some sort of anonymity, the exact location has been removed]
- the childhood home of [former president]
. fun exciting times. i will not be the first intern from my seminary at this church, however i will be the first non-second career seminarian intern there. the youngest by almost twenty years, at least as far back as the last five years. so i will be a big change from what they're used to.
in other news, i went to therapy the other day. the psychological kind. i'm not sociopathic or psychopathic or anything exciting like that. merely poor self image/esteem. so i'm going to work on my feelings of inadequacy and fun stuff like that. on one hand, i feel weird broadcasting that on something as public as the internet. on the other hand, i'm not scared because i think i might be the only person who reads this. and besides, there's nothing wrong with going to therapy. i think everyone could benefit from it, and just because you go to therapy does not make you a bad person. there. now i've spoken in defense of my brothas and sistahs who go to therapy. i've done my duty.
i also might run for co-president of the student body for my senior year of seminary (the year after i get back from internship). the last few years the elections have just been a joke because we haven't had more than one option on either (co)president or vice-president. so my friend mike and i decided we'd make it an election this year and throw our names into the ballot as co-prezes. although we're not too sure we want it. and we're not sure how people will react to two males running together, rather than the traditional male/female team. the feminists might be angry. but there is nothing in the student handbook and guidelines that says you need gender equity and balance in the presidency. and it's not like just because neither mike or i are women that we will not listen to or advocate for the women-folk, or womyn (if that's your cup of tea...). we are both fairly liberated men. i mean i work on the feminist issues newsletter for our seminary (which doesn't prove anything, but i AM one of the few men on the staff).
anyway, i've spent 12 minutes of the 50 that i had before the birthday party of my friend. so i've at least managed to partially fulfill the goal that i set out towards when i began typing this entry. maybe i will be more faithful in my blogging attempts after this. who knows.
thanks for (not) reading.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
i should be sleeping
I have my homiletics (preaching) class tomorrow at freakin' 7:30 in the morning. If I go to bed right now and get up in a decent time to take a shower so I'm not stanky for class, then that would give me about 6.5 hours of sleep. But I can't sleep. Because not only is my preaching class tomorrow, but tomorrow is THE day. The day I find out where the heck I'll be living for the next year of my life.
Perhaps I need some explanation here. I am a 3rd year middler at seminary. Lutheran seminary is a normally four year process, you start out your first year as a junior, your second year is a middler, your third year you are on internship and your fourth year you come back and are a senior. I, however, have spent three years here before my internship, making me a third year middler or a "muddler." Now you don't get an internship at seminary like you do for normal jobs, where you have a lot of power and control in figuring out where you will be going. Here at seminary (I guess I should qualify that statement and say the seminary I go to, and as far as I know all of the other ELCA seminaries, as well) a committee decides where you are going. They read your application, read the applications from the different internship sites, and then try to match you up with a supervisor and site where they think you will fit the best. I'm not sure how much I agree with that process, but oh well. Not a whole lot I can do about it right now. It's tomorrow. If I had a problem with it I should have said something about it before now. By tomorrow I mean Wednesday, not tomorrow as in when I wake up after going to sleep tonight, because that would only be Tuesday.
So basically this Wednesday I find out where I am being put for the next year of my life. I could end up in Arkansas or Texas or Wyoming or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania or California or Oregon or Nebraska or Kansas or North Dakota or Illinois or Michigan or any number of places. I have no idea. It's almost surreal. A committee of professors and students have probably already figured out and made the decision for me. I am at their mercy. Holy freakin' crap. So just think, when my internship starts in 5 months (holy cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) my posts should get more interesting. Probably a heckuva lot more interesting than driving for donuts or eating at buffets. But since no one probably reads this anyway, I'll just entertain myself. But now I think I'm going to go to bed. I probably won't fall asleep. I'll just lay there and freak out about internship. But at least if I do fall asleep I'll be in bed and not sitting in my desk chair. Then my neck won't hurt tomorrow. Night y'all (I'm preparing for Texas or Arkansas with that one.)
Monday, March 08, 2004
my plant is stunted
It was May of last year, about graduation time, and a friend of mine who had graduated from seminary gave me a cutting of a plant in a little plastic water cup. So I diligently watered it, and kept it in the sun. When it began there were three big leaves that pretty much made up the whole plant. Sometime after I got it it sprouted another leaf, but then it seemed to just stop. I kept it in the little cup for awhile, but then I thought maybe it was root bound and that was why it wasn't growing anymore. So I got a bigger pot that already had some dirt in it, and I cut away the plastic cup and tried to loosen up the roots, but it turns out there was really just one long stringy root. It didn't seem root bound at all. But I figured that I was already mid-process so I would keep going. So I dug a little hole in the soil of the bigger pot and nestled the plant into it and covered up its root. I watered it a lot, it seems to like water. Since then there has been a new leaf offshoot that looks like its coming, but it is taking forever to fully emerge. I'm wondering if perhaps the pot is too big for the small plant. But I don't know if I should subject the poor plant to another repotting, and I don't really have a plethora of pots in my dorm room. The only other one is about the same size as the current pot. Maybe the plant needs a name. Maybe the plant is struggling because it doesn't have a sense of identity. Hmm... And I can't just randomly think of a name. It has to fit the plant. This will take some pondering.
Sunday, March 07, 2004
donuts and bishops
A couple of friends from school and I decided that tonight was a good night to drive to a nearby town for Krispy Kremes as a way to procrastinate homework, and also because fresh Krispy Kreme donuts are divine. And by using divine I mean "supremely good or beautiful; magnificent" not the alternative meaning of "having the nature of or being a deity." Because to truly worship donuts would just be silliness. So it was on the way to this nearby town, and it is a bit of a drive, that we were listening to NPR. They announced that the Reverend V. Gene Robinson was installed as Bishop Coadjutor of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Episcopal church. He was elected about six months ago and was installed today. I know it's Lent, so I'm not supposed to, but I'm going to step out on a line and say "Alleluia!!!" This has been a touchy subject lately, many people think that it will end in a division of the church (speaking from an ELCA vantage point, anyway) and I, for one, believe this to be an awesome step in the right direction. I have met so many gifted people who are unable to become ordained pastors in the church because they are homosexual and choose to be in a relationship. On the one hand we have people lamenting because of the pastor shortage, how there aren't enough ordained ministers to fill the open parishes, but then there is this population of gifted and amazing people that they won't allow to be ordained. It's a horrible tragedy. So congratulations V. Gene Robinson. You have my support.
Bloggers must have an elevated sense of self. They seem to think that people want to read all the little tidbits of nothing that they share, whether it be about a canoe trip or the size of a pregnant woman's stomach or the fact that they ate at a buffet and had a theological epiphany... Oh wait...
Actually, I'm content in the fact that probably no one reads what I write here. This is my litte cul-de-sac on the information super highway. There's probably even a roadsign at the entry that says "No Outlet" so people turn around before they even venture close enough. That's fine with me. I don't know what I'd do if I knew that people were actually interested in reading the stuff I put here. I'd probably think that they were weird stalker types, or I'd think that what I said was interesting and thought provoking or at the least entertaining. Then I'd think I was some cool, hip internet columnist when in fact I'm a boring, procrastinating seminary student who tries to find anything to do other than the homework that he should be doing. And no one wants that to happen. Best to keep me in my place.
Saturday, March 06, 2004
So I went out to eat with my neighbor for supper, and we went to a buffet place. It got me thinking that a buffet is a lot like God's grace. There is an abundance of it, and each are given as much as they need, and there's always some left over. The only real catch, however, is that I have to pay $6.94 for this buffet. That's where the comparison falls short. You see, God's grace is a free gift. God doesn't charge us $6.94 a piece. In fact, if you think about it, it's like God picked up the tab for our grace buffet. God paid the ultimate price in sending God's son to die for us. It's like we made it to the cashier and God said "You know what? It's on me. Go and eat abundantly." And every time we come together for Eucharist it's a reminder of the grace buffet, and a foretaste of the even better one to come. Oh, and another thing, this buffet place's fried chicken wasn't that good. Grace tastes a lot better.
So I've visited a lot of websites and they all have links to blogs. It seemed like the cool thing to do, so I thought why not jump on the band wagon of cool and start my own blog. The only thing is, I have just recently been exposed to blogs (tech savvie is not one of my main spiritual gifts) and so I really am not entirely sure as to what the point of a blog is supposed to be. I've been doing my research, which has consisted of checking out other peoples' blogs to see what they are about. The main problem with that is that they are so diverse that it really hasn't helped me at all. I'm in a quandary. I've begun a blog and I have no idea what blogs are about. Maybe I'll figure it out after a while... Who knows.
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