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!