Tuesday, December 30, 2003

On the Sixth Day of Christmas…

Merry Christmas, one and all! We are already halfway through the season, and way more than halfway through the break. In fact, Luke and I will be returning to Chicago tomorrow (I think), after a very full break. Christmas was fantastic, and Santa was good to us. Least shocking gift? The first season of West Wing on DVD. We’ve already watched several episodes. Yup, we’re a tad fanatic about the whole thing. Other events of break include: me preaching my first sermon since I began this whole crazy process (see below, for those of you who were following my thought process and would like to view the results). It was really well received – but this is also the congregation I grew up in. They want me to do well. Luke turned the big 25 yesterday – he has caught up with me in age once again. We had three good meals to celebrate so far, and a movie with good old friends. Really, most of break was spent connecting with friends- some we hadn’t seen for several years! Fun, but tiring.
Also over break, our good friends back here in Ann Arbor have asked us to be godparents for their new baby, who is due any second now. I have no godparents myself, and Luke’s godfather was pretty MIA over the last 24 and a half years. So – do any of you have good godparents? What has made them good godparents? I’m incredibly excited and honored – and I want to do this right.
Merry Christmas everyone – and, (given the rate of postings recently I'll be early with this rather than several days late), Happy New Year!

Da' Sermon

Here it is folks. Probably the longest post I've ever done too. NB: This was absolutely written to be delivered, not read. So please ignore the incomplete sentences- they worked in real life :)

Celebrating Christmas: A Sermon on John 1:1-18
St. Clare’s Church, Ann Arbor – December 28, 2003

In seminary, we spend a fair amount of time thinking and talking about our strengths and, shall we say, growing edges. One thing that I have rediscovered about myself is that I love planning for things. I love the part where we get ideas for a class presentation, a worship service or even a party. I like doing the preparations, getting everyone organized so that when the big day comes, we will all be ready to go. Maybe this is why Advent has always been my favorite liturgical season. Advent is all about getting ready – preparing a way for the Lord. Around here, we do this especially well with intergenerational activities, and a focus on creating contemplative time and space for each of us to get our hearts ready. Anticipation like we have in Advent is exciting. Anticipation… I love it. I like planning and getting ready. But there is always this follow-up part. After the party, we need to clean up – and worst of all, do dishes! After the excitement of brainstorming and getting a really good idea, there is always grunt work to be done to carry it out. After the excitement of a new pregnancy and a new baby, there is this small helpless person who only sleeps when you hope she will stay awake, and cries when you want to sleep, . After the excitement of moving to seminary, there is reality to be dealt with – classes, papers, tuition, and the fact that seminary is not full of perfectly kind, holy people. Excitement and anticipation often get deflated when they run over that pesky thing called reality. Christmas morning was great, except for the kids fighting over the new Playstation game. Christmas dinner would have been fun, if your crazy family didn’t all have to be in the same room. God coming to be with us on Earth, in the flesh would be fantastic – but what kind of God becomes incarnate as a baby in a manger? What kind of King lives a life as an itinerant with no place to lay His head? What kind of Messiah comes not to overthrow but to be crucified? The kind of God, King and Messiah that comes to shine light in our darkness.
This kind of let-down – this baby in the manger is easier to swallow on Christmas Eve, when we greet the coming of our Lord with a cast of thousands. As a raging extrovert, I tend to prefer the hustle and bustle of the Christmas pageant and the Christmas stories in Luke and Matthew. There is so much to see and hear - there are so many characters to identify with! We want to have dreams and visions like Joseph and Zechariah, we know what its like to be “just doing our job” and have God break in on us – and to be terrified and joyful, like the shepherds. We know what it is to wait for a child that is both longed for and unexpected, like Mary and Elizabeth. With all that going on, it is easy to lose sight of one small character – the helpless baby Jesus, lying in the manager. The mysterious folk known as the Lectionary Committee did a smart thing by giving us the first chapter of John this Sunday after Christmas. It is certainly a different picture of Emmanuel than we had on Wednesday night. There are no more adoring shepherds, the choirs of angels have returned to Heaven. In the “day-after” Christmas time – when all the presents have been opened, family and friends have gone home, and the house probably needs cleaned up– when the anticipation is over, this week our Christmas story gives us just one character to identify with: the Word made flesh, the Light shining in the darkness. This is what we have been waiting for, this is the comfort promised to us by Isaiah: The Emmanuel, God-with-us. But the good news from the Gospel of John today goes even further than this. John reminds us that God has always been with us, since the beginning. The Word made flesh shines light into the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it: the Light is then still shining today. If Advent was about hope and expectation, then Christmas is about celebration, fulfillment and miracles. Not celebration as in eggnog, presents, cookies and sparkly things – not that I have any issue with those things. But by celebration I mean something more life-encompassing, more life-giving. Our celebration continues by finding God-with-us, and proclaiming that Light in our lives – even if it means going into the darkness to find a dim light shining. Certainly, in the bright parts of our lives – singing in church choir, good friends and relationships, children we are proud of- light is as easy to find as sales at the stores this weekend. Finding God present in our dark struggles, in loneliness, illness and brokenness – that is as difficult, time-consuming, and strange as, well, as following a far-off star in search of a baby in a manger. At Christmas, we see God at work in the miraculous extravagance of Incarnation and our foretaste of the Resurrection, and we see God at work in the ridiculously ordinary circumstances of babies and animals. And, at Christmas, we discover again that those two things are not as separated as we may think.
To celebrate the ending of our fall terms, Luke and I went to see the movie “Love Actually”. The movie begins with footage from a typical airport scene. Hugh Grant, in a voice over, tells us that whenever he is feeling particularly degraded about the state of the world, he goes to the arrival gates at Heathrow Airport. Watching parents greeting children, wives and husbands, girlfriends, boy friends, old friends, love and affection are very much on display. Here, we can remember that if we look hard enough, and perhaps in some unlikely places, we will find that Love Actually is everywhere.
Continuing the Christmas celebration is as simple yet extraordinary as that. The Word became flesh, shining Light in the darkness – and continues to do so in our everyday miracles, both great and small. When a struggling teenager reaches their high school graduation because someone cared enough to see him through, God love is made flesh in our own lives. When a Christian congregation and a Jewish congregation can live together with love and respect, light has overcome darkness. When lonely people are welcomed into community, when hungry families are fed, when children are raised in love, God is with us. Find those places of light in your life, and shine that light in the darkness. Love actually is everywhere… By shining light in the darkness, we will find it, in the most unlikely places, we will find it, in a stable, in a baby, in our lives. And in small ways, as we celebrate the light each day – as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever – the Light will not be overcome. May the celebration continue!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Six Degrees of Ordination

Luke & I are about to take our leave of Chicago for the break. Tonight is Heather's ordination to the diaconate in Kalamazoo. Then on Saturday I will be chanting the litany at the diconal ordinations in my diocese, where two Seaburians (plus two other folk I am not accquainted with) will join the clerical ranks. Also on Saturday is Mark's priestly ordination, which I will be missing since I will be in Michigan. I have been to several ordianations in the Episcopal Church, and I have heard many sermons about how "This day is not just about new ClergyPerson X, but about the whole Church". As someone in the ordination process, I have always found that to be true for me. Ordinations refuel me and my sense of call. I wonder about those people who are not going through such a process. Do they feel the same? I wonder about those people who are there because its a big day for Aunt Jane or Cousin Joe? My experience at most ordinations is that the Spirit has been so present it is tangible. Even those who don't care can tell that there is something special occuring in that place. If that is not sacramental, then I don't know what is. Anyway, I think the next few days will be good ones for the Church. Please do keep all the ordinands in your prayers.

Almighty and everlasting God, from whom cometh every
good and perfect gift: Send down upon our bishops, and
other clergy, and upon the congregations committed to their
charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace: and, that they may
truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy
blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate
and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.
- Book of Common Prayer, p. 817

Friday, December 12, 2003

Waiting & Expectation

I realize that the season of Advent is maybe not the best time to be impatient, but does that apply to secular life? Luke & I tried to tape West Wing this week, and were really looking forward to sitting down and watching it, but it wasn't West Wing, it was Law & Order! I'm not sure what is going on over at NBC, but I don't like waiting for new episodes to come out. I like indulging my fantasy political world for 53 minutes each week! It gives me hope.
Speaking of waiting and hope, I have some more (somewhat incoherent) thoughts on the sermon. My home parish makes a big deal out of Advent - lots of programs, we put out a meditation book with an Advent Wreath lighting service for families, some Advent hymns, etc. We put a lot of effort into the "getting ready" for Christmas- creating opportunities for reflection, spaces for mediation and silence. So what are we waiting for? We wait for the Light - as in, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light" and we wait for Comfort, as in "Comfort, Comfort ye my people". In the Christmas season we are celebrating that the Light of the World has already come to us. Yes, we are also waiting for the fulfilment of the Kingdom, the Second Coming, the end times... but in Christmas season, we also get to celebrate the already part of the Kingdom being 'already, not yet". God is present now, Light is shining in the Darkness now, and we get to recognize, celebrate, and reflect that now. Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I can see clearly now...

(Warning: Joyful utterances ahead. Those not yet finished with the term may not want to read the following just yet.)

I'm done with the term! Woo-hoo! I just handed in a sermon for Systematics class on living into the imago Dei, and now I am done. Well... i still have classes to attend tomorrow, and I need to actually hand in my journal from Plunge, but basically, I'm done. On to... the sermon for home, next week's Ember Day letter, my already assigned reading for next term, and some relaxing: scrapbooking and football! Yay. And - thanks for all the encouragement on the sermon.

Tonight though I am going out for tapas with the U of Chicago PhD crowd. Yup, I'm meeting all of Luke's classmates, and I'm really looking forward to it. Putting names with faces is always fun. Funny thing to say in a virtual medium, no?

Monday, December 08, 2003

Sermons, Sermons everywhere!

I seem to be surrounded by sermons. At least, decisions about sermons. First, the preaching rota for next term. Since the Middlers (my class) have taken "Preparing to Preach" we are considered now prepared to preach, and invited to preach at Seabury. I declined the invite. You that phrase "the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know anything"? Um, yeah. That.
Thanksgiving break was great. (Yeah, that was awhile ago, but oh well). Luke & I made it home, and I got to meet the new rector at St. Clare's, Ann Arbor. In the first five minutes of conversation, we discussed (at his impetus) whether I am receiving enough support from my home parish, and if I could preach the Sunday after Christmas. So, I am preaching at home for the first time since I officially started my discernment process, two and a half years ago. The Gospel is the same as it always is the first Sunday after Christmas. "In the beginning was the Word..." Do I have any clue at all what to say? Nope. For some reason, I'm feeling an incredible amount of pressure not to be cliche. Something about history is bouncing around in the back of my head.... when it moves its way towards the conscious part of my brain, I'll let you know. Any other thoughts would be appreciated. This has actually never been one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Abstract poetry? No thanks. I'll take a good miracle story any day.
Finally, I am working on my last preaching exercise for that same "Preparing to Preach" class. These five-sentence exerciese are actually pretty useful, and the repetition really does wonders for confidence and all that. Even though they are only five sentences, they do take some prep work. So, enough procrastination for now! Only four more days left in the term...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Holy Jokes, Batman

I like religious humor. I think its an occupational hazard. So here is one from my friend Leigh that came up in theology class today.

How do you make holy water?
Boil the hell out of it.

Its the end of the quarter, and punchiness has arrived at Seabury. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Michigan 35, Ohio State 21

Yesterday was, in my humble opion, a simply great day. Breakfast and dinner with friends (the same friends no less!), wedding dress shopping with the lovely Ms. Trish, and the most important football game of the year. Which, in case you missed the big headline on my blog somehow, we won. OSU barely even launched a comeback. It is a strange thing to watch the biggest college rivalry away from home though - no one seems to quite get how big it all is. To help fill you all in, here is an article that my mom sent me. See guys? Its not just me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

standing still

We're doing exercises in preaching class right now that involve very short (5 sentence) sermons. These really serve two purposes: to get us used to the habit of relating Scripture to the contemporary world,and to learn about our physical stuff in preaching. It has come to my attention that I never stand still. Okay, so this may not be a revelation to some of you, but seriously - I never stand still. I sway. Or bounce. Or shift. Basically, I fidget and its really hard not to. So I was thinking about what in my formation has produced that habit. I'm used to standing in front of groups with a guitar in my hands. I was taught to keep time in high school choir by stepping the beat. I'm used to spending my time with kids: they don't stand still, why should I? Anyway, then I officiated Evensong last night. I had no problem standing still to chant the collects or read the Prayer of St. Chrysostom, and a friend and I were joking that I should just sing all my sermons - my nerves would be gone, my voice would be steady, I'd know how to stand still. It made me wonder though about everyone else's favorite ways to serve the church before arriving here at seminary. Did AKMA always like to read with that booming voice of his? Do people with backgrounds in lay pastoral care tend to preach more pastoral sermons? Do other people who spend a lot of time with kids fidget as much as I do? Gee, I hope so, cuz fidgeting is fun!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Jet-Lagged Thoughts

I'm starting to adjust back to the cold, gray Central timezone. Why is it that jet lag is more difficult going east? We never got a good answer to that question before we left Hawaii. So, the trip. It was great. No, it was fan-flippin-tastic! Some things I learned while I was there:
1. Music that is well done makes a big difference in the spirit of a congregation
2. Being able to truly welcome others is the mark of a caring community
3. Laughing is good group bonding. Laughing hysterically is great group bonding.
4. Pay attention to true humility when you see it - it is amazingly beautiful, particularly in elderly Hawaiian women
5. Its hard to swim in the ocean, but "go with the flow" has new meaning for me!
6. People do still have visions, and God really works through them
7. The Sound of Music is simply a great movie, even if it is cheesy
8. Having faith in the one Church means knowing that not everyone who walks in your door will stay in your congregation, but you can help them find their church home where ever it may be

Thats all I have to say on this for now. I am taking a very long time processing this trip. I take a long time to process most things. But this week we will distill two weeks of stuff into a 45-minute presentation. If anyone is going to be around, stop by Seabury on Dec. 4th at 9am and see what we come up with!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Aloha again

We have fallen from Paradise once again - I'm back from Hawaii. Due to weather in LA, our plane landed in Chicago at 4:45 am, and now I'm off to class. My initial reaction? Go to Hawaii. Go now. Have fun. And while you're there, visit a great new church called St. Nick's, or the Episcopal Pearl Harbor Memorial Church of St. George's. You will find some of the nicest people on the planet in either place.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

all gone

I did it. I chopped my hair, and boy does it feel weird. I think I like it, and I've gotten good reactions from folks here at Seabury. I'll pay y'all later for the public compliments! Someone remarked that its a summery haircut, and how ironic that was since the temps dropped significantly this week. I was happy to remind him that its not ironic at all, since I leave for Hawaii on Friday.

On the theme of "all gone", I've had some thoughts rolling around in my head about the differences between judgment and critique. It started in a class a couple weeks ago when we were talking about non-violent resistance in the Gospel, and a group of Christians in Cental America who took up arms to defend their church. The discussion was pretty theoretical (obviously, since we were sitting happy-suburb-land) but one person suggested that we were being judgemental, that none of us could possibly understand the context of an active revolution, and could not possibly say what we would or would not do in that situation. How can we sit in Evanston and talk about whether or not these Christians understood the Gospel? (He did include himself in these comments)The point was well-taken: We certainly are in no position to judge. God alone has that position. But there must be some way for us to critique particular responses for the sake of everyone's learning. How do we as people, and especially as Christians, offer critique (not criticism per se, but critique: thoughtful responses to actions and ideas, pointing out potential pitfalls, areas to be fleshed out, etc.) while resisting the tempation to judge? An intial answer, offered by the book that spurred all of this, was integrity. Our critiques must always include ouselves and our actions. I don't think thats enough. I think the only way is that critique must be based in relationship. In knowing one another, we can place critique within context, both on the giver's and recieveing end. Perhaps a better word would be friendship - relationships of love. When I bounce ideas and plans off a friend, I can receive critique as an offer for improvement, rather than an attack or a grab for power/superiority. I suppose this doesn't always work out either, but it seems like a starting point.

In other news, I'm adding two folks to the blogroll. Todd is another seminarian, and Don is a gardener in Indiana.

Monday, October 27, 2003

three years

Just ain't enough. Thats what I've decided. Today is registration for the Winter (Epiphany) Quarter here at Seabury. I get to take my first elective - which I'm planning to fill with "Practice in Preaching" - but could also fill with Greek, Developmental Theology, or an elective at one of the other eight schools in the consortium. There is simply not enough time to take all the classes I want and think I need! Systematics is a case in point here. We have one quarter on systematic theology,which is simply not enough. I'm writing my paper on the imago Dei- what exactly do we mean by "created in the image of God"? We've already covered this in class, kind of, but there are basic themes that we haven't covered. Is the imago Dei a characteristic we posess? a potential we lost at the Fall? our destiny? I'm leaning towards the "now, not yet" model of the Kingdom - I think it applies well here. I'm also reading a book that talks about the imago Dei as something we do rather than have, per say. The author calls it "relational" model for the image. I like the idea that this is a verb, something we actively need to work out in our lives, that we live in the image of God by having right relationships. Somehow, I'm going to relate this to organ donation, specifically, living organ transplants. Anyway, while I'm enjoying this part of the paper (excpet the whole having to have it done by Wednesday thing), its frustrating to think about how much I'm missing with all our subjects. I guess thats what continuing ed is for!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

can't stop the quizzes

So, I don't really read much sci-fi, but I would've thought I was more of a Princess Leia-type...

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

In other news, Luke got a Mac Powerbook G4 laptop today. Very very exciting.

Monday, October 13, 2003

to blog or not to blog

ha, ha. I'm cheesy. Anyway, I was thinking about my hesitantancy to blog. Its quite a powerful thing that I can post my opinion to this captive audience. I have all these people (okay, like 10 maybe) who read this - I can get them to read anything I want to say!! That kind of power is incredibly humbling too... what on earth do I have to say that anyone would want to spend their time reading? Surely the proverbial "them" could be reading something much more edifying than, say, this post. Enter the classic middle ground. If I believe that my readers are a captive audience, and I can say whatever I like and they have to take it, I will either a) hear about it in the comments part and/or b) lose all three of my faithful readers. If I focus on how little I can really offer in these online conversations, then I would never blog at all and the conversation is diminished and I am wallowing in self-indulgent pity. Ugh.
In this way, I find blogging to be like participation in worship. When preparing for worship, we must take care that we are not so concerned with our own offerings that we fail to notice the gifts of others, or worse, the presence of God in those around us. But if we are so quick to let others do the offering, convinced of our own unworthiness, then we will never be able to participate fully. This is why community is so essential to our worship life. In our common life, we are able to understand ourselves as gifted and valuable, yet we are able to understand ourselves as unsure, inadequate and broken. And thankfully, in faith, we are able to see God present and active in it all.


well, my long-term absence was not planned, but I think a vacation from blogging has been good for my sanity. The funny thing is, I meant to post something new fairly quickly, so that the whole Hawaii thing wasn't the first entry on my page. The best laid plans....
I have this great little book called Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven, But... by C. McNair Wilson. Its goes through all these words (angels, forbidden fruit, gravy, pain and suffering, rock star) and explains them in relation to God. Its really funny and witty. I thought I would give you a couple excerpts for today.

Forever: What God writes on a questionaire or an application when they ask "How long at current address?"

Gifted: All children are Gifted. They are born gifted. Given special qualities by their Creator that make them uniquely who they are - unlike anyone else. Just ask the mother of twins or triplets: no two children are exactly alike. Each of us are different. Special. This specialness is the Creator's gift. But along the way, we keep giving children more and more presents and taking away their gifts.

Impossible: The only assignments that God will handle personally. With all others, he asks us "What are you going to do about that?"

Stable: It could well be said that Jesus had a very stable beginning.

Thursday, October 02, 2003


One of the best things Seabury has in its curriculum is this course called "plunge." Okay, its not really called that but thats what we call it. Anyway, as part of this course, we get split up into little groups, and sent around the country to do a two-week intensive study of a congregation. Its really all very cool. And why am I so chipper about this assignment that I have not yet done? Well, folks, cuz the rumors are true. Plunge assignments came out yesterday, and I am indeed going to St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Kapolei, Hawaii. (pause for shocked remarks). News travels fast around here - see the comments on the previous entry, from my Mississippi friend. I also got an email from England already. I am really really excited about this, for the obvious reason (I'm going to Hawaii for two weeks!) and for other reasons. St. Nicholas is a church-plant, and they worship in an elementary school cafeteria. They are doing a lot with kids and youth, running adult ed classes - and its a totally different culture. There is much to be learned, I'm sure. For now though, I'm just really excited!

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

quarter century

As of today, I have lived on this planet for twenty-five years. Happy Birthday to me! I like birthdays, I like reflecting on the year past and the year ahead. Today has been a very good day, with lots of well-wishes from my classmates. I am incredibly happy to be at Seabury. Last year, my birthday was on the second day of classes, and I hardly knew anyone. I was pretty homesick, since I spent my first 23 birthdays in Ann Arbor. Now I have a community in this place, I am pleased to be celebrating life's occasions with my friends. Its a funny thing, how communities give such deeper meaning to life's little joys and changes. For any of you in the Chicago area, we're celebrating the past quarter of a century with a party, Friday night at the Shaefer and Reich apartments and you're welcome to join us and whoever else shows up!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

i love...

Back-to-School Shopping! I love getting organized at the beginning of the year. Us student-types (and maybe faculty-types, I can't speak for them) are lucky in that we get two new years. Its just a good feeling to get energized about the new beginning, make resolutions for the school year (I swear, this year I'm going to start my papers earlier!), get everything organized (and color-coded. Go J personality!). Now, a lot of this will fall to the wayside by mid-November, but then January 1st rolls around and its time for a whole new batch of resolutions. So, one of the things I'm thinking about for starting this school year is a haircut. I'm thinking something along these lines:

I realize that this means nothing to some of you, having never seen me, but I like posting pictures on the web anyway.

Please pray for us folk here at Seabury as we start another year of school!

Friday, September 26, 2003


Dave & I visited the United Library booksale this week. I picked up a couple praise music hymnals, Luther's Shorter Catechism, and On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kueblher-Ross. It was a good time. While we were there, Dave made this pronouncement: You can definitely have too many books, but you can never have enough. Wise words, my friend!
(Dave did attribute this to someone else, but I don't remember who...)

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Gracious and Unending

I love evensong, which should come as no surprise, given the title of this here blog. I especially like evensong at the beginning of the year at Seabury, when attendance is high and voices are strong. Tonight though, I was tired and sort of out of it. So when the Phos Hilaron got to the part You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices, O Son of God, O Giver of Life, I felt a bit guilty. So, as a result, I'm sharing my favorite link to praise music downloads: higherpraise.com I can't vouch for anything else on their site- I havne't really ever checked it out. But they have an immense amount of praise music lyrics & guitar chords, some with sound bites too. And while I realize that not everyone who frequents this site is overjoyed by praise music, I am. Don't you just love that anyone can post anything they want on the web?

Monday, September 22, 2003

Back to Life, Back to Reality

I love the Twin Cities. They are absolutely gorgeous, and we all had a great time. Coleman is cute and smiley, and his sister Svea holds conversations and is much more of a little girl than a toddler now. Time flies! Anyway, we are back safe and sound in Chicago, and life moves on quickly! Luke started orientation this morning for his school, and Seabury orientation is in full swing. I have been practicing music and getting ready for other worship committee jobs all day. Happily, life is not so swinging that I don't have time to watch football. Raiders v. Broncos on Monday Night Football! woo-hoo! TV is my weakness. I just really like it. And this is premiere week, starting off with the Emmys - where West Wing received some awards. For those of you who don't like to watch as much TV as I do, here are are two things to check out on your computers: an article about the primate of South Africa speaking against Anglican schism, and the website for Trevor's band, the Lyndales. (Trevor being our gracious host in the twin cities)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

malls, minnesota and mystery

Today was a blast and I bought things. I know its superficial, but I am a serious fan of retail therapy. Today's purchases were made at Gurnee Mills. Trish, Anna, and the beautiful baby Sofie and I trekked up to the outlets, and returned with many bags. I got red pants, a new purse, a purple tie for Luke, and an outfit for my friend Devon's baby. The baby clothes will be a present for Coleman, who is six months old, and whom I will meet for the first time tomorrow. Another road trip! Tripp, Trish, Luke & I will be piling into the Civic and taking off for Minneapolis for the weekend. Its really a lovely city, with big lakes and walking paths, and a really good ice cream store called Sebatian Joes. Then, orientation will start here at Seabury and down at University of Chicago for Luke. Sigh. Road trips are absolutely the best way to end summer vacation though... kicking back in a tank top and shorts, listening to Paul Simon and Lauryn Hill, and just driving. Anything becomes possible.

I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thoughts a possibility
And the voices are heard, but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
Maybe an equal mystery

-Mystery, Indigo Girls

Monday, September 15, 2003

Another quiz

I liked this quiz that I found on Wes' new page. Um, does this really sound like me? I'm not sure what I did to get this answer....

You are Revelation
You are Revelation.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

going to the chapel

surprisingly, this song hasn't been in my head until now. Friday was the Worship Committee retreat here at Seabury, and it went well. Retreat is a misnomer, its really a long meeting with food and Eucharist at the end of the day. But, we have a great group of people, and I'm really excited to be working with them this year.

The rest of the weekend was fun... I spent a lot of time with Tripp and Trish, since Luke was out of town from Wednesday to Saturday. Then, joy of joys, Tripp and Trish got engaged! I'm incredibly thrilled, as are many other folk who posted nice things on Tripp's page. Yay. I just think the whole thing is fan-flippin-tastic. Now, I am off to watch football, for the third day in a row. Life is very good, yes?

Thursday, September 11, 2003


"For the happy man prayer is only a jumble of words, until the day when sorrow comes to explain to him the sublime language by means of which he speaks to God." -The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas

I like quotes. Real Simple magazine uses the most random quotes for their articles. Graduate school has taught me to read for quotes - it helps me get through all the reading faster. So, in my fun reading before school (The Count of Monte Cristo) the above quote jumped out at me. I don't think I agree with it. However, it made me think of CPE. I wonder if this philosophy is why we're requred to do the program?

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

3 states, 3 bands, 1 day

Monday, I went to Indiana, met up with Jane, then to Michigan to see Heather and the Allegan County Fair. While the sloppey joes, homemade raspberry pie, and HUGE eclairs were enough to warrant the trip, we went to see Sixpence None the Richer and Jars of Clay. What a fabulous concert - we had a great time! The lead singer for Sixpence is about seven months pregnant (Jane's guess, I concur) and did a whole show. You go girl! Jars of Clay did a bunch of songs I knew, so that was fun too. Before their encore, the lead singer came out a did a talk on the AIDS epidemic in Africa. It was powerful. He talked stats - 8,000 people die every day from the disease. He talked about the people he met when he visited last year, about the loss of hope and dreams, and the dreams and hopes of one child who will not likely live long enough to fulfill them. Then he talked about the Church's response. He called the Church to do more, and not ignore these people in need just because some say AIDS is the consequence of sin. He said "We have been so well loved. We should be able to love well." He gave us a link to check out - World Vision's Hope Initiative sponsors children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Just thought I'd pass it on. Blessings, y'all!

Monday, September 08, 2003


I like routine. At my old job, I had a great morning routine that involved coffee, checking my email, stopping by my friend Amy's office, reading the headlines on nytimes.com, and eventually getting down to business. Jane has been talking about conditioning her brain back to seminary reading. For me, its getting myself readjusted to having a routine. Inertia is definitely working against me on this one, but I think that routine is very good for people. I think that this year, I will insititute more routines into my life: going to Einstein's with Luke on Sundays between work and football, balancing my checkbook more regularly, getting up at a reasonable time (9:00) even when I don't have class in the morning, starting papers more than a couple days before they're due. Now, nobody hold your breath - I've been working on some of these for several academic years with very little progress. But here is one routine I think all us bloggers could do - go to The Hunger Site everyday, and click on the little button. There are six of these sites now, and its a very easy way to do a very little bit to help out. So check it out, and add it to your routine. Cuz hey - routine is good for you!

Friday, September 05, 2003


So, I have been away for awhile for a couple of reasons. First of all, I couldn't log in to my page for a couple days, but I appear to have come back to life. Yay. Secondly, Luke and I decided this week to take a very spur-of-the-moment trip back to Ann Arbor. We were being a good organized married couple on Tuesday, and sat down to compare planners for the next couple weeks, to figure out who had what appointments, when we could go home for a couple days, that sort of thing. It turned out that this week was the only time we could go home, so we packed up and left. It was fun to just get up and go. We only told a couple people we were leaving, and made plans to see friends on the way home via cell phone. It is a strange world we live in, where we can travel and communicate in an instant.
In other spontaneous-related news, my mom sent me the link for an Improv jazz festival in Baltimore called High Zero. My sister, Katt, is one of the musicians there. They like her a lot, and say nice things about her such as "one of the most inspired of the new generation of Boston improvisors". I have tried to explain to people in the past the kind of stuff my sister does with her music - this is it folks.
Tonight there will be a wedding rehearsal, then a dinner, then tomorrow a birthday bash for Heather and a wedding. Ah, life changes. They happen, may as well mark it with a party!

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Take Me Out...

I just got back from my first baseball game at Wrigley Field! Now, as some of you may recall, I am not a baseball fan. I like football. But its true - going to a real game at a stadium is fun. I had a hot dog, and french fries and cotton candy, and I got to see Sammy Sosa hit a really good one, even though it didn't count for anything cuz they tagged the other guy out. Baseball is definitely much better in person. There were two big differences between this, and football games at the Big House in Ann Arbor. First, baseball is a much prettier game than football... the field is nice and green, and the players don't rip up all the grass in the process of playing the game. On the other hand, these fans weren't very nice - it takes an awful lot of Michigan fans to boo their own players. It seemed pretty common at Wrigley. So, is that a baseball/football thing? A college/pro thing? I dunno. Anyway, the game was a lot of fun. Now, time to figure out how to get tickets to Soldier Field...
PS - Michigan won its season opener today. Yay! College Football season is here!!

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Catch Me Fall

My mind and body are at odds at the moment. Part of me is incredibly aware that its summer, since its so dang hot in my apartment right now. Word to the wise - cinderblock apartments seriously resemble brick ovens. But this other part of me is settling into that fall mode. I grew up in a university town, and this time of year is when new students come to town, and recent grads go off to new schools and new places. Nothing makes that clearer than helping someone move. Today I helped Alex move. He is off to a new school and a new place. This place where we have studied, argued, played, cried, laughed and all that jazz will not be the same without him. He will be missed. During this big day of packing and moving, I got to spend time with a new kid on the block. He is here for just one term, doing the Chicago Collegiate Seminarians Program - sort of like study abroad at seminary. I think he will be great to get to know. He is amused that we all have blogs. HA! So much to learn. All in all, this coming and going makes for a long day. I will now lay me down to sleep.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Answers At Last

Well, I think waiting on these has made me even more verbose. Thanks Jane, for the questions! Da' Rules follow below as well. Heres my attempt at answers:

1. Being a newlywed (15 months and counting!), what's the biggest adjustment been for you?
Two things come to mind here. First of all, and I know this seems obvious and superficial, but the name change thing was really big. I’m still not quite used to it – I rented a car to go home a couple weeks ago, and accidentally initialed the rental papers “SH”. Oops. Seriously though, its weird to just have a different name all of a sudden. My maiden name – Hernandez, for those who don’t’ know – was also one of my only ties to my Hispanic background. I’ve said this in class before, that I’m not used to having to explain to people that I’m half & half, because the name did that for me. I definitely took that for granted. The other big adjustment has been simply figuring out how Luke and I are different as a married couple than as a dating couple. We’ve been together since we were 17, and we’ve worked through a lot of the stuff about always having to check in with someone before making plans, those sorts of couple-ness issues. But we agree that there is something very different about being married – when we figure out what that actually is, I’ll let you know!

2. You're the elected chair of the Worship Committee at Seabury. Why did you run, and what are your goals for your term?
As I’m stressing about the Committee retreat, I’ve been asking myself the same question! Just kidding. I came to Seabury because, to me, this place valued community life more than any other seminary I looked at. This is not saying we have community life mastered by any means, but I think we try hard. Christian community is about worship, for worship, and fed by worship. We come to Christ through worship, and by coming “with joy to meet out Lord” we meet one another in new ways, with new eyes, hearts and minds. Worship is the source and the end of our lives in, with and for Jesus. Simply put, this is where my passion lies. My skills – organizing, planning and preparing, listening (I hope – passion can easily get in the way on that one…) –meet the task, I believe. After much prayer and deliberation, it simply seemed to be the best place for me to serve. My goals? For now, to re-gather the committee, and hear why each one of them has agreed to serve. My dream? That worship at Seabury remains/becomes/is central to our community life. For everyone to attend, participate, and find God is the familiar and the new, and in that, to recognize the Spirit that is at work in each person and this place. Yup, that was all really cheesy – but like I said, I’m stressing over this retreat. Prayers welcome!

3. Music--- especially liturgical music-- is a big part of your faith. What is your favorite hymn, and why?
Sigh. Really, just one? Argh. I was raised in the choir at my church, and I used to be known for being able to name hymns with two notes, match hymn numbers to the hymn, all that jazz. Music is absolutely a big part of my faith – singing taught me what it means to pray. So, ask me this question another day, and you may get a completely different answer! This summer, Be Thou My Vision has run through my head quite a bit. I love the tune, I love the words, I love the way the song sort of lilts along in its simple way. I also love the descant I know from a choral arrangement, but that’s another story.

4. Who are your heroes? What do you look for in the people you look up to?
When I was a kid, I was really into Amelia Earhart and Betsy Ross. I don’t really even remember why. These days, my heroes are more personal. Julia, my choir director back home. She taught me to sing and to pray, that children matter in the church, and that serving God is a gift that deserves all our efforts and talents. I used to want her job, until I realized it meant learning to play piano, and I hated practicing! In general, I look up to people who change the lives of the people around them simply by being themselves. People like that tend to be secure in their identity, gifts and talents, but are humble at the same time. They give out of a desire to serve, rather than a sense of superiority. I also appreciate people who can – and have- weathered storms with grace.

5. Your home parish shares worship space with a Jewish congregation. How does that work? Where are the joys and struggles in that arrangement?
The church (St. Clare of Assisi) and the temple created a joint organization in 1974 called Genesis. Genesis owns the building, and basically administrates the building and such. The architecture is very cool – we built a new building about ten years ago. Our sanctuary is semi-circle… the altar is still in front, but the people on the sides pretty much face each other. The altar is granite, and is up on a bimah (circular, raised platform.) Behind it are big wooden panels – when the fold all the way closed, there is a cross, and side places that serve as credence tables. Folded all the way the other way is the Torah. Its beautiful. The joys are many – living in this relationship is, we hope, a real testament to what interfaith peace can look like. We have a Thanksgiving service together, we used to do a pulpit switch, and we have a Genesis seder meal, did a Habitat House a couple years ago, staff a homeless shelter together. We are not there to convert each other, or try and blend our faith traditions. In fact, I think that is part of why it works so well. The struggles tend to be day-to-day things… building the new building was a big strain on the relationship. For the 25th anniversary, a rabbinical student who grew up at TBE (the Jewish congregation) preached. She was born in 1974, same as Genesis, and this was right after the shootings at the LA daycare. She talked about “tolerance”, and said that “tolerance” isn’t good enough. What she learned growing up with Genesis was respect, and that was what she intended to work for. I can’t say much more than that.

Official Rules
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying "interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions
6. And, sure, I will answer reasonable follow up questions if you leave them in my comments.

Monday, August 25, 2003

So Many Questions

So, I decided to join in on the five questions game that Tripp introduced us to. Jane has sent me the following questions:

1. Being a newlywed (15 months and counting!), what's the biggest adjustment been for you?

2. You're the elected chair of the Worship Committee at Seabury. Why did you run, and what are your goals for your term?

3. Music--- especially liturgical music-- is a big part of your faith. What is your favorite hymn, and why?

4. Who are your heroes? What do you look for in the people you look up to?

5. Your home parish shares worship space with a Jewish congregation. How does that work? Where are the joys and struggles in that arrangement?

Answers coming soon...

Time Is Our Side

So, what am I doing with my free time now the CPE is over? The much-needed organizing of my fianances? Working on my scrapbook from my wedding (which was 15 months ago)? Nope. I'm doing nothing useful, I'm afraid. I ran errands with Luke this morning, then he went on a day trip to Wisconsin in our new Honda Civic, so i am carless and playing on the computer. So, out of my un-productivity, I found a fun quiz on Stephanie's livejournal. Yay. I'm not totally convinced of the results, but oh well...

You are a Folkie. Good for you.

What kind of Sixties Person are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, August 21, 2003


How are you? Well, I'm blessed. Thats what I hear over and over again at this hospital. And that is about all I can say today. I just returned from saying good-bye to the staff on my floor, and thanking them for the incredible hospitality they have shown me. With all our difficulties in CPE this summer - which were real and serious - I have been touched and moved by these people I have spent my time with. Being surounded by fellow Christians is truly a blessing. Saying goodbye to fellow Christians - friends, associates - is incredibly difficult, even when you know that it is time for the change. I'm not sure I will ever learn to do this well. But I have been and will continue to be blessed by each encounter, and each friend that I must say good-bye to.
Hey Now, I will be praying for you
Hey now, you're gonna pray for me
'Cause what we have been through together
Is changing us now, can change us forever
Hey Now, I'm gonna pray for you
Hey now, you're gonna pray for me
And its gonna be different, yeah
Its gonna be better yeah
Its gonna be Jesus, and all of us, in this together
Hey Now
-Amy Grant, Songs From the Loft

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Hours and Hours

I'm up past my bedtime, but it is for time well spent. I have a quote for my day:
You cannot find peace by running away from life.
Its from The Hours, which I still haven't seen. I'll have to get around to that. I just liked the quote, and wanted to share it. Thats all. Good night!

Monday, August 11, 2003

With or Without You

WAHOOO!! I'm posting from my apartment, and if I could, I would do flips cuz I'm so happy to have my internet back. We'll see how long it lasts (you never can tell) but for now, Mark, my new next door neighbor, is my hero. There goes my good excuse for not posting very often. Regarding that, I realize that I have been utterly silent on the election of Gene Robinson to the episcopate. Those of you who know me probably know that I am happy with the decision, and in support of this move. However, I have simply not had the energy to articulate my opinions in "real life" and online, so online lost. My current thought, though, is this: I am tired of hearing the general statement that "the other side" (whichever side that may be) is obviously motivated by something other than their understanding of God in Christ. Clearly, my understanding of the message of Scripture is not the same as some other folks - but my beliefs that openly gay people should continue in ministry is not motivated by being "PC" or a desire to somehow radically overthrow the entire church. Similarly, I'm fairly sure that those who are currently opposed to the decision to elect Gene Robinson aren't opposed simply because are afraid of change. I'm also sure that there are people on both sides who are motivated by those things. But if you don't want your side labeled that way, then stop making assumptions about the "other side". hopefully, then and only then can we actually have discussion.
On the way home from work today, Andrew and I saw a bumper sticker. It had a picture of a church on it, and said "A Gift from God. Assembly Required." I liked it.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Happy Song

There is a praise song called the Happy Song. I was introduced to it last week. This is completely irrelevant, except that I'm very happy tonight for two reasons. First, Luke is back from his conference in DC, and that is a good thing. Five days apart is the longest we've been apart since we got married. Second reason - Monday Night Football is on tonight!! Yay pre-season. I'm just so very excited about the whole thing... although I'm not particularly excited about the Packers or the Chiefs. I'm a Raiders/Broncos/Bears/Patriots/Lions fan. What do these teams have in common? Well, I'll let you all figure that out. You're smart people. Yay football!!

Friday, August 01, 2003

Inspired by a Patient

Dear God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself...and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe this:
I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.
I hope I have that desire in everything I do.
I hope I never persist in anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it at the time.
Therefore I will trust You always, for though I may be lost - and in the shadow of death - I will not be afraid, because I know You will never leave me to face my troubles all alone.

Thomas Merton

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Blessed Assurance

Tripp posted a link to the Belief-O-Matic quiz. Since I got up way too early this morning, and I'm feeling a bit punchy, I thought I would post my results. I know, posting two days in row. The world may end. So what else is new?
Here are my results:

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Orthodox Quaker (99%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (86%)
4. Eastern Orthodox (82%)
5. Roman Catholic (82%)
6. Seventh Day Adventist (78%)
7. Liberal Quakers (74%)
8. Unitarian Universalism (66%)
9. Reform Judaism (64%)
10. Sikhism (54%)

Its good to know that the Belief-o-Matic thinks I'm in the right place! There is something to be said for consistency, I suppose.

On a side note, our car is dying a slow and painful death. Luke and I will be looking for a used car to buy, something along the lines of a 1999 Civic, or maybe a Saturn or Toyota. People seem to be opinonated about cars, so anyone have advice for us?

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Pithy, Witty and Sweet

Its always fun to have friends describe you in a short amount of time. Pithy, witty and sweet was what I got tonight, as part of a conversation encouraging me to post. Being the sucker for flattery that I am (and I am choosing to take that description as flattery), here I am in the computer lab, writing a post when I should be going to bed. With friends like these…
I have actually had several posts in mind, but without my internet at home, I seem to forget about posting most of the time.

First, an update. Luke left tonight for Washington DC. He will be seeing a couple friends tomorrow, then lobbying on Capitol Hill (which sounds completely surreal to me still, so I have to keep saying it), and then attending the 2020 Democrats conference this weekend. His vision statement was selected for this initial conference, along with two friends from college. He is incredibly excited about the whole trip. I am too, except for the part that means him being away for five days.

Backing up a couple days now… CPE is changing drastically for our little group down at Bethany. Those of you who follow Tripp and/or Andrew’s pages may be aware that we have had significant issues with our group supervisor. As of Monday however, she is no longer our supervisor. The group feels an overwhelming sense of relief about this. It is also an adjustment to go from being stressed, tensed and beaten down all the time to having a healthy non-dysfunctional supervisor. Thanks, but I’ll keep the adjustment. I’ll also keep our former supervisor in my prayers. It was really a difficult experience for everyone, and we had a group to support us.

My summer reading is coming along, slowly but surely. I finished Telling Secrets by Fredrick Buechner (Thanks, Leigh!!!). I really enjoyed it. The writing style was very conversational, which I love and is easy for me to follow. Maybe thats an extrovert thing? I’ve been known to say in the past that I don’t particularly enjoy reading because I would rather be chatting with people. Telling Secrets felt like I was chatting with someone, and I liked that feeling. It is about the importance of telling our stories, because in telling our stories we come to understand that the Living God is at work in our lives, all the time, and enables us to witness to that presence. I think I will read the one he wrote about being in seminary sometime. First, though, I’ve started Life Together. The first four pages had so many ideas that I had to put it down and think about it for a day or so though. This could take a while. Luckily, its not too long.

Finally, I’ve been following a bit of the discussion over at Tripp’s page with his friend Megan about forgiveness and the Church. On a vaguely related note, I was thinking about how we accept repentance. A situation at work today led to one of the associates apologizing to most of the chaplain interns individually. It was incredibly awkward. The poor guy had good intentions, but simply crossed some boundaries. Our former supervisor was no different - she had good intentions, but severely missed the mark. We spend a good deal of time talking about repenting our wrongs and very little time talking about how to be on the receiving end of that kind of grace. Is this connected to the trend that we are more comfortable calling others out than being called out? I don’t really know. Maybe I will have to say about this once I get further into Life Together. Maybe not. Only time will tell. Until then, Vaya Con Dios!

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Yesterday, I received an email with the subject line "You will be assimilated. We are Blog. Resistance is Futile." The email contained the much-anticipated news that Wes Ono, seminary spouse and computer geek extroidinaire, has started his own blog. Welcome Aboard, Wes!!

As the World Turns

I like to blame my not posting on not having web in my apartment at the moment, but really, I could very easily walk across the parking lot and use the computer lab. So, sorry folks, but I'm just lazy. I'm sure everyone's world will keep revolving. My CPE world is still revolving. It is continually difficult, but we had an intervention of sorts last week, and life is getting better. Also, I had a lovely catharsis today (crying, spouting stupid thoughts that were getting me down) and good conversation with much support ensued. I felt very loved, and really a whole lot better. Gift of tears? Heck yeah, I can tell you all about that.
Not much else in other news. My mom was in town this weekend, and we had a blast. Her and Luke like to talk politics, and we all like to go out to eat. We went to Ravinnia and saw the Chicago Symphony, ate dim sum with Tripp, Trish, and some North Shore folk, and wandered around Navy Pier. It was a good time.
Speaking of good times, I'm off to do a quick round in the ED before nighttime prayers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Night is for Stillness

I'm jinxing myself with that heading, oh well. It seems that I only write when I'm on-call these days. So I'm back at the hospital, hanging out in the chaplains office. I read the night prayer over the PA system, and it made me think of a night prayer from the New Zealand prayer book. I don't remember exactly how it goes, but I think it starts "It is night. THe night is for stillness.." My mother-in-law always liked that one. My night has been relatively quiet so far, but I had my first solo visit to the behavioral unit. I was pretty nervous, but it turned out to be a pleasant visit. Just a gentleman needing prayer and strength to turn his life around and continue with rehab. We see a lot of that around here - Tripp sees it everyday. Sigh.
Last night I saw a wonderful wonderful thing: Abraham's Calling (staring the lovely & talented Trish Austin). Luke and Tripp and I saw it, and Frank was there doing the "talk-back" after the show. The show was beautifully done, it was thought provoking, and I really encourage everyone to go see it. You just should. Okay, I may not be very convincing tonight because I'm too tired to think of a better reason, so I'm going to go with the "You should do it because I say so" reason. Ask Tripp, Frank, Luke or Trish for a better reason!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Back Together Again

Luke & I have returned from sunny California, to rainy Chicago. Sigh... we were sort of hoping that our flight would be cancelled because of Chicago's nasty weather and we would be able to stay in the Bay Area another day. Ah well. The wedding was amazing, my best friend was beautiful. (I realize I'm biased, but seriously, she is drop-dead gorgeous.) Luke and I really want to move out there some day, its a really wonderful place. It was also wonderful to come back home, be picked up by Tripp and Trish, and enjoy their company in the car. Now, it is time for bed because I have CPE in the morning.
I added a link to my sidebar - it belongs to Alex, another Seabury seminarian. His blog is fun to read, and he puts funny cartoons on it too. You all should enjoy it, if you haven't been there yet!

Monday, June 30, 2003

I Do, I Do

The Shaefer household has been busy tonight. Luke is getting ready to leave tomorrow for California. My best friend is getting married on Saturday in Berkeley, CA and Luke and I are both in the wedding party. I get to be the "Lady of Honor"... neither of us liked the sound of "matron", so we improvised. Josy and I have been best friends since we were 12ish, and that is quite a long time. I'm having a hard time adjusting to her getting married, and owning a house. But this weekend should be a grand affair, and Luke looks awfully handsome in a tux! You can check out their wedding website here and see pictures of Josy and Jason. Yup, shes marrying a computer geek. But hey - you're reading a blog right now, aren't you?
In other news, CPE continues to be a bit frustrating with our supervisor issues, but group discussions are getting more, um, shall we say, frank? So perhaps this will bring good things for our little group. The five of us are at least bonding in our frustration. I have also completed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was scary. Bill has said some interesting things about the book already on his blog. Its still sinking in for me. Now I need something else to read however. I'm considering Bonhoeffer's Life Together, and being encouraged by my fellow CPE-er (Tripp) but I may want something a bit lighter. Ideas anyone?
Finally, a quote from my friend Liz's livejournal: Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself! I am large, I contain multitudes" - Walt Whitman

Thursday, June 26, 2003

All Through The Night

I am on my first overnight on call here at Bethany. Our hospital does a nice thing...at 9 am and 9 pm, the chaplain on duty reads a prayer over the PA system. It has to be very short, since its the same PA system they use to call codes, but its just nice. I've heard from several patients who really appreciate it. I love doing it, its really very peaceful. Unfortunately, being peaceful means that I don't have much to say on my blog tonight, but I've been neglecting it way too long. So, instead, I'm going to post some song lyrics that I like. I learned it from Heather, when we were playing our guitars earlier this year. It was sort of our theme song last week. Tripp and I both like the song, and then one of the staff chaplains here was playing it, so Tripp and I sang it with a family we were sitting with. Then I kept hearing it in the car... anyway, its just one of those things. So here y'all go! (The song is called Heart of Worship, but I don't know who sings the version on the radio...)

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless Your heart
I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Rainbows and Gifts

CPE is tiring. I suppose that many of you who read this page probably already know that though. Sigh, there goes my enlightening thought for the day. Our little CPE group is doing well, and I'm beginning to settle into the non-Anglican world of Bethany Hospital. I can certainly be thankful for all the faith-filled people I'm surrounded by during the day - staff, patients, everyone! We are still having some struggles in organization and communication between our supervisor and the staff chaplains. So, I may have organization on my mind, but Jeff and Trevor's posts made me think about it. I love organizing things, I love organizing people. My house is messy, so you wouldn't know it, but I just like organization. CPE is not the best place for people who like to organize things into categories. I've always relied on my ability to create structure, and in t he world of the hospital, its just not my job. I'm finding little ways to use this gift of mine though, while I develop these other skills. But its very tiring! So, looking at Trevor's pretty bookshelfs made me happy. And thats a great thing when you're tired!

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Mississippi Moon

We just ended a lovely dinner party here on the second floor. Its nice to live in community. Luke & I have enjoyed three sets of company this weekend. We had a visit from some priestly friends from Ohio on Friday, dinner with some Oberlin people on Saturday, and then tonight's dinner party here at home. I really am a raging extrovert, I love having all these people in my life. So, CPE should do me well then, all these people! The first week of orientation went pretty well. The hospital is about as friendly as we could ever hope for, and the chaplains are really well integrated into the care team. There are no Epsicopalians down there, save me and Andrew, so Tripp is getting a kick out of us trying to fit into this free church culture. I think my background in camp and Happening (high school renewal weekend) will serve me well. I'm going to be on the Nursery/OB-GYN floor, sharing it with another chaplain who is covering the Labor/Delivery side of the floor. It should be a good summer over all.
Here is a recipe for y'all that i had Saturday. It was about the best thing I'd ever eaten:
Slice some good Italian bread, and spread pesto on it.
Heat up marinara sauce (good marinara, not Prego) with some chunks of goats cheese in the oven.
Stir that up, then spread it on the pesto bread.
Eat as much as you can take.
Thanks Matt!!

Thursday, June 05, 2003


I am waiting for copies of the Seabury commencement scripts to print. Jeff, Alex and I are heading over to St. Luke's to get everything ready for tomorrow's ceremony, and it all just feels strange. I've lived in a university town my whole life, so graduations aren't a new thing to me, but this somehow feels different. Maybe it's because this graduation is accompanied by ordinations. Maybe its because I'm sad that there are wondeful people leaving this community, that I barely had a chance to get to know. Maybe its because this graduation means I'm one year closer to this crazy dream of the priesthood. Maybe its because this graduation falls just two days before my first wedding anniversary. Or maybe its just because its still only 55 degrees in Evanston, and thats just not right!

Monday, June 02, 2003

Plastic Religion - A Post for Ethics

In Ethics, the theme of capitalism and consumerism have surfaced again and again. I have been thinking about the issue some, but didn't have anything to post about it. Then this weekend, I was reading my friend Nell's livejournal, and she has this to say:
Everything is so cheaply made these days because of the consumeristic attitude of this country. Case in point: Sewing machines aren't made out of cast iron anymore, they are made out of plastic, and therefore break in 5 years so you have to go out and buy a new one. On the other hand, the two sewing machines my grandmother got when my mom was young are still perfectly functional, and they are 40 years old. We have an apple peeler that 60 years old or something crazy like that, and guess what. It still works. 'The Graduate' was right, there was a great future in plastics. But by great we don't mean good. I want to write a minizine about how plastic and the governmental farm subsidies were the downfall of society.
Im interested in this idea that consumerist attitudes reduce quality. I have heard that consumerist attitudes can increase creativity, as we strive to satisfy our need to buy crap, we keep inventing crap to buy. So, where is this boundary for the Church? I don’t think that the Church can ignore the culture we live in. But how do we know when we are simply producing to fill the need to consume, versus when we are producing to fill the need to have relationship with Christ? I think the answer comes back again to the guidance of the Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit.

Something to It

I know, I lapsed on the whole blogging thing. But I finished two papers over the weekend, so ha! So, there should be some catching up... Thursday Night was Awards' Night here at Seabury, and a jolly good time was had! I received the John Calvin award, for being so dang low-church. Then, when I got the award (its a plain wooden cross with the former recipient's names) I discovered that I was in good company! David, who used to live in my apartment got the award, as did another woman from my home parish who was here in 1997! So, in honor of that, I went and copied Calvin's commentary on the Gospel of John for my New Testament paper. I also got a football referee award from Todd, and the Martha Stewart award. I didn't think I really deserved that one, until last night. I was ironing linens at midnight, and watching Newsies (Disney musical about the newspaper boy strike, with Christian Bale) and enjoying myself. Sigh... I should subscribe to her magazine. I read it every month anyway, right Stephanie?
So, there are more blogs forthcoming, I need two more posts for Trevor's class. First, a random question for anyone who knows: There is a song, and they only lyrics I know are "Ooh, child, things are gonna get eaiser, Oooh, they're gonna be brighter" It was in that TV-miniseries on the 70's... Anyone know what its called and who its by? Thanks!

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Keep Singing

So, a funny thing about this blogging world is that it affects how I hear conversations in class. While in-class conversations happen, I'm running a parallel conversation in my head... "Well, Cliff would probably say this..." or "Yeah, Jeff/Tripp/Jane posted about that last week...." So, its no suprise that after my post on voice, it affected how I engaged in a discussion in Ethics class. Heres my post for that.

What Sidelines? – An Ethics Post

A line from Thursday’s Bruce Cockburn Moment stuck out to me No adult of sound mind can be an innocent bystander. Obviously, it struck some other folks, as our conversation on the hazing in Glenbrook went on for quite awhile. Before that conversation, it reminded me of my old job doing teambuilding. We used to tell our groups (mostly junior and senior high kids) that sitting out was a form of group participation. They always looked at us like we were nuts, which is partly what we were going for. We would then explain that the choices they made affected the entire group, and they should not give themselves the luxury of thinking that choosing to sit off on the sidelines wasnt going to affect the group interaction and development. This is true in life as well – our choices affect the people around us and the world we live. That includes our choices to act, and our choice not to act, our choices to speak up and our choices to be silent, our choice to engage or our choice to sit out. Our voices are gifts from God, and we are expected to use them. Our liturgy recognizes this - in the Confession of Sin, we confess that we have sinned by thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. Living a Christian life means not having the luxury of saying ‘Its not my problem’. But it does mean having the luxury of knowing that when we mess up, we can ask for and receive forgiveness, then get up and jump right back into the game of life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I Can Hear You

Some ideas - or more accurately, some questions are shaping around the idea of voice.
This is partly due to a comment from David Weinberger’s presentation that has been bouncing around the back of my head for the last week. Someone (Sorry, don’t remember who) mentioned that the practice of blogging has influenced other areas of their life, that they are more likely to speak up in meetings and such, because they have developed this online voice. After the presentation, it was noted that I didnt say much during the discussion. (okay, I didnt say anything.) For some reason, this has become my MO in classes too – I tend to stay quiet more days than not. Its not that I don’t have anything to say. I’m really not sure how to account for this apparent loss of voice. Yet, I dont feel that Im not heard when I do speak. Which is the greater problem for relationship and community? The loss of voice, of the feeling of not being heard? What does it mean to be heard? It does not mean that people will agree with you, necessarily. It definitely doesnt mean getting your way on everything. So what does it mean? I think being heard is when the other person’s voice can stop long enough to recognize your voice. And using our voices for building others up. The Parker Palmer book we’re reading for Congregation Development talks about the practice of hospitality in your private voice, and how that affects your public self. I’m not sure where all this rambling is going, but I have a feeling these voices in my head arent going anywhere. For now though, I must turn my blog voice to Ethics.

Veggie Tales – A Posting for Ethics

Tuesdays class focused on Michael Budde’s discussion of TV as a culture industry. After discussing the formative effects TV has on American/Western culture (he even suggests, on pg. 73, that television has nearly supplanted culture), Budde concludes that the Church cannot use these methods to perpetuate the radical alternative that is the Christian faith to the world. It seems that there are two underlying assumptions at work here. First, Budde seems to be proposing a more separatist Christian ethic, arguing against too much engagement with the “world”. I just dont buy that. Jesus used cultural references to teach his disciples and the crowds. I know it’s a cliché, but we are called to be in the world, just not of it. Secondly, I think Budde is equating method with motivation. He claims that if the Church has control of all the networks, there would be too much pressure for them to keep the money-machine of TV running as a money-machine, even if it did fund good evangelism and social justice works. This temptation for ‘easy money’ is not specific to television, or global culture industries, or even the 21st century! Greed, easy success, oversized pride causing oversized dreams of human accomplishment – we have stories about that, the Tower of Babel for one. Methods can always be misused. But that misuse does not make them bad methods. So, when I have Sunday School kids in my church someday, Im not going to hesitate to watch Veggie Tales with them, sing the silly songs with Larry and talk about what weve learned. Because learning is exactly what can, does, and will happen. If it werent, why would we or Budde care this much about TV to begin with?

Monday, May 19, 2003

Midnight Train

I have Suzanne Vega's song "Tom's Diner" stuck in my head. I heard it on the radio this morning, and I knew that it would be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I like being right!
It has been a full couple of days - hence, the lack o' blogging. I also attended Thursday night's presentation of "Why the Web Matters" with David Weinberger. There are great "live" accounts to be read over at Tripp's blog and AKMA's blog, as well as good comments at Jane's and Mark's. Much of the post-lecture conversation involved a discussion around on-line identity: what does it mean to "be" on the web? what does it mean to "know" someone on the web? is this the same kind of "knowing" as face-to-face knowing? No, of course it isn't the same. Its not the same with people you know in "real" life, and its not the same for people you've never met in person. If it were the same kind of relating, why would we be experimenting with all these different ways to connect online? The conversation reminded me of some chats I've had with a non-Seabury friend. She is moving home this weekend, and has discovered that she now has three "homes", in three different states. Each place is very different, and fills a different part of her heart. For some, this kind of segmented life could lead to a person who is never at ease in one place. For her (and me, as I learn what it means to have more than one home), these places make her a more complete person. I feel that way about on-line relations. I am able to express myself in different ways, to know others in different ways, and those interactions have changed me. Unfortunately, they seem to have changed me into someone who stays up way too late! Goodnight y'all.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Circles and Circles

I love procrastinating. Yesterday, I spent a great chunk of time procrastinating at the Art Institute. It is a very good thing to live in a big city, where I can go see Monets for free on Tuesdays. Dave, Stephanie, Carlisle (the three-year old), Robert H, and Andrew and I all hopped on the train yesterday, and spent some time down at the museum. Carlisle was in a great mood, and we had a good time drawing pictures and counting things on the train ride. At the museum, we met up with Nathan, Alex and the other Robert. We have to do a project for history, so after the boys took some pictures for that, we wandered up to the Impressionism wing. I LOVE the impressionism wing. There is a whole room full of Monet paintings, and I was a happy camper. I decided to get a ride back home with Alex, Nathan, and Robert, who had driven downtown. So we went to the parking garage.... or so we thought. First, we ended up in the wrong parking garage. Once we made it to the right parking garage, the boys still couldn't remeber where the car was - and this place was huge!!! So, we wandered around for an hour (literally, an hour) and finally found Alex's car. You know those situations that are fun for about 10 minutes, and then just get annoying? um, yeah. Luckily, its also one of the stories that we can use to make fun of Alex!
So, now I am working on my ethics paper for Trevor. I'm trying to write about the ethics of parenting - not reproductive technology , adoption, or anything like that. Just the part where you actually have the kids and are trying to raise them. Yup, I know I don't have kids... thats why I have the luxury of trying to write about the ethics of parenting without focusing on particular situations. I have a feeling this paper may come back to haunt me in several years. (Folks with kids, insert knowing smiles here). Back to work now, with this quote: "While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, 'You are our of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!" Acts 26:24

Monday, May 12, 2003


Luke and I got back last night from a weekend in Ann Arbor, visiting our moms for Mother's Day. We managed to see my mom, Luke's parents, Luke's grandma, aunt and uncle, and a few friends, all in one 48-hour visit. Its a good thing I'm an extrovert! Luke, on the other hand... well, lets just say he was really tired by the time we got home last night. The trip brought much good news as well - one friend is newly pregnant, another friend received his postulancy, and Luke's dad has finished the draft of his book. We got to go to our home parish too, which was wonderful. I did come to a realization though, that this parish I have called home for my entire life will never again be my home parish. At the same time, I realized how much Seabury has become home. In high school, our show choir did a medley from The Wiz, and this song came to mind:
When I think of home,
I think of a place where there's
love overflowing
I wish I was home, I wish I was back there
With the things I've been knowing

So, I guess I'm just feeling pretty blessed that I feel I have two homes these days. But, if any of y'all want to come visit Ann Arbor someday, I'll be glad to take you... as long as you're willing to go to my favorite ice cream store!

PS - Lizzie, I fixed the link. Thanks for the heads up!

Thursday, May 08, 2003

The World before 9 am

I actually got up and attended Matins this morning, much to my astonishment. And I was incredibly glad for it! Have you been to those worship services where it feels like the lessons, psalms, and music were put together specifically for your renewal? It is quite overwhelming. That was this morning's service for me today. A truly wonderful way to begin a day.
Then, a sentiment at Jenni's journal that echoes most with some of my struggles the last few weeks: I tried not to get caught up in any drama today, one of my friends said the way to survive around here is just to be jaded and distanful. I think that could work in some cases, but that just isn't my life story in Christ. You go, pink lady!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Well, It’s a Start - Ethics I

I have had two nagging questions about this virtue-narrative ethic we have been working out of, both from the Truth book. First, with the emphasis on “radical sensitivity to suffering” that Middleton and Walsh propose as one of two “anti-totalizing” effects in the Biblical Meta-narrative, how do we explain some our (meaning, The Church’s) responsibility for causing others to suffer, whether directly or indirectly? Basically, this is a question about who gets to tell the story – if women had been the primary storytellers, I’m pretty sure we would have had women’s ordination long ago, and maybe (I’m only saying maybe here) we wouldn’t have launched the Crusades. So that’s question one. Question two is connected – How does this model deal with conflicting ideas of the narrative held by people who claim the same narrative? The two ideals that Middleton & Walsh have reduced the Biblical story to are great – but I doubt that everyone who claims the name of Christian would agree. So what are we to do with those disagreements? Luckily, the scholars are a step ahead of me here! Michael Budde begins to address these issues at the end of chapter four in The (Magic) Kingdom of God. He suggests that while the range of Christian stories in not infinite, it does not follow that there is only one version that can or should be told, heard, and lived. (p. 66) Sadly, this is about all Budde has to say on the topic of these criticisms. But he goes on to talk about the importance of passing on, receiving, and living the Christian faith. Maybe the answer is just patience – over time, the narrative will grow as saints are born, live and die. Of course, the answer for me always involves hope – hope that we are continually guided by the Spirit in our doings, and hope that we are able to count ourselves among those saints.

I've added a couple more folks to the links column: Jenni is a another seminarian, and Lizzie is a student at Vassar and a friend from home. Welcome ladies!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Up on the Roof

It has been a good night... we had a sort of improptu Cinco De Mayo party here on the 2nd floor, which was fun. Then Luke & I settled down to watch a bit of Letterman before bed. I was overjoyed to find that Dave has resurrected the activity of throwing things off the roof of the building. Tonight's objects included five five-gallon jugs of water, a bowl of chocolate pudding, and 35 gallons of super balls. When I was a kid, my brother and sister and I would get endless amounts of joy and entertainment in throwing various items down the stairs - stuffed animals, books, our Speak 'N Spell. Once they threw me down, but our parents didn't like that idea... Anyway, I got a lot of stupid giggles out of the Letterman skit and it was a good stress relief.
In other news, I had a CPE interview today. Some of you may remember that I had a CPE site already set... but my orginal first-choice place emailed last week with an open spot. I've been very torn about what to do here, and would appreciate some prayers for clarity in my decision. Muchas gracias, and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Past, Present & Future

I've had a good weekend so far, which also means I've done pretty much no work. I joined in the celebrations for Trish's 30th birthday, and had a wondeful time. Her play,Heartbreak Waltz, was beautiful and wonderful. Trish was, of course, absolutely amazing. She is truly talented. If you didn't go see the show last Friday, you should go soon. Then, we were off to Tripp's to enjoy Jeff's gumbo and great conversation with great friends. Saturday invovled more friends and fun: walking in the morning with Catherine, Anna, and Jolene, and then grabbing Stephanie to go to the Long Grove Chocolate Festival. Mmmm... chocolate fondue. The festival was actually less about chocolate than I was expecting, but we still had a blast. Luke & I had dinner with Dave and Stephanie too. Stephanie is a really good cook. Yummy day.
I've re-connected (in the online sort of way) with a few friends of mine from home, three women who are finishing their first year of college right about now. Their livejournals have involved some reminiscing and some looking ahead, and a note of frustration at being caught inbetween two worlds. In short, their conversations are really echoing with me. Seminary is quite the liminal place... this crucible of formation means that we are always stuck inbetween something: we're aspirants waiting for postulancy, postulants waiting for candidacy, people away from home, but we may never really go back home. We're not clergy, but we're not longer exactly lay people either. Even today's weather is inbetween: please either rain, or let the sun come out!! Geez. Its always nice to know that I have several friends on the other side of this ordination journey. And, in case they read this, there are plenty of folks on the other side of "college/camp" journey too. Holler if you need us!
But practical things first... I need to go to the store and get milk. Yum, I love milk.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

My Night-time Verses

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everthing has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the minsitry of reconciliation - 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

the thin horizon of a plan is almost clear
my friends and i have had a tough time
bruising our brains hard up against change
all the old dogs and the magician
now i see we're in the boat in two by twos
only the heart that we have for a tool we could use
and the very close quarters are hard to get used to
love weighs the hull down with its weight

but the wood is tired and the wood is old
and we'll make it fine if the weather holds
but if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
that's where i need to go

no way construction of this tricky plan
was built by other than a greater hand
with a love that passes all out understanding
watching closely over the journey
yeah but what it takes to cross the great divide
seems more than all the courage i can muster up inside
although we get to have some answers when we reach the other side
the prize is always worth the rocky ride

but the wood is tired and the wood is old
and we'll make it fine if the weather holds
but if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
that's where i need to go

sometimes i ask to sneak a closer look
skip to the final chapter of the book
and then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took
to get us where we are this far yeah
but the question drowns in it's futility
and even i have got to laugh at me
no one gets to miss the storm of what will be
just holding on for the ride

the wood is tired and the wood is old
we'll make it fine if the weather holds
but if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
that's where i need to go
-Indigo Girls, The Wood Song

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It has been raining all day here in Evanston. As I mentioned to Trevor yesterday, my moods tend to run in sync with the weather report. So, it has been a bit of a long day, and the edge-iness of being in seminary is wearing on me and my classmates. Thankfully, David has replied in words that I was too tired to think of. Maybe that is what community is for - when you are too tired, annoyed, or confused to find hope in brokeness, someone else is there to remind you how. Thanks David.
On another (hopefully more cheery note), I was thinking in class today about how I got hooked into this blogging thing. At my old job, I was on the "tech innovations" committee, and part of my being in that group meant investigating blogs. I had a few that I read regularly for a while, although I don't seem to remember any of them anymore. So I came to Seabury a bit primed for this whole blogging thing. And then, to find that my new neighbor (Jeff) and some of his friends (Tripp) did this... how could I not get involved? And now, I have been hooked. I wonder how everyone else around here got hooked. Was it an immediate conversion experience? Or were y'all slowly converted as you learned and tried it out? Yup, I'm trying to make not-so-subtle connections between the blogging world and evangelism. But hey, that is where my mind wandered this morning in my sullen, rainy mood. I guess rain ain't all bad.

By the way, I've added some links to my sidebar- they are other Seabury juniors in Ethics class with me. Smart ones, all of them, with some very different backgrounds and ideas. Just more fuel for the procrastination fire, in case anyone needs it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003


Okay, so I was checking out a friend's livejournal, and there is a quiz for what RENT! character you are... Sort of like the Monty Python quiz that Tripp and Juliet had posted the other day.
Here's mine:
Joanne - the lawyer. You care about life, and
freedom. You also care about beautiful women
who steal your heart and your time. Don't let
it get to you.

Which RENT Character Are YOU?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, April 28, 2003

No Guarantees- An Ethics Posting

In a recent Ethics entry, John Hickey puts forth the family as an obvious place where narrative ethic is lived out – traditions are lived out and handed down, family stories are shared. He then concludes that : anyone who has already experienced bright little faces turning into snarling teenagers and then suddenly transformed into those strange creatures known as independent adult children knows that there is no guarantee whatsoever of any shared virtues, practices, or telos.
At the end of chapter 5 of Truth is Stranger, I think this is exactly the point Middleton and Walsh are making. At the end of this chapter on the Biblical metanarrative, they state that the Scriptures contain “the resources to shatter totalizing readings, to convert the reader, to align us with God’s purposes of shalom, compassion and justice.”(p.107) At the same time, they conclude that this conversion is not automatic, and is not guaranteed. It requires response from the reader, and constant engagement. As Christians, any guarantees we have do not lie in other humans. Our hope does not depend on humanity’s ability to get the story right. So no, this ethical framework is not a guarantee that those who follow us will do any better than we did. What it hopefully does is raise our awareness of who we are, who we have been, and who we are called to be – and to keep on trying to be those people. Without guarantees, but always with hope.

As a side note... Luke was watching a Sunday am news show before we went to church this week. I just caught the conclusion, but the host was ending the show by noting how we have lost the language of ethics. Sound familiar, anyone?