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