Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Fourth Night Lullaby

After many days away, Luke and I have made it safely back to the Windy City. It was quite a trip - I am officially deaconated, we had lreunions with old friends - some we hadn't seen in five years or so, we had a lovely Christmas with our folks. Now we are back, and oiur apartment is the kind of disater zone you get when you leave town for 10 days and come home with more stuff than when you left. Its hard to get back into the habit of blogging (yeah, yeah... insert comment about my lack of habitual blogging here, Si). Anyway, Tripp has given me a nice intro - he's posting favorite Christmas carols. It is an "Hispanic folk song" (according to the Hymnal 1982, #113), and really a lullaby carol fitting for today's rememberance of the Holy Innocents.

Duérmete, Niño lindo,
en los brazos del amor
mientras que duerme y descansa
la pena de mi dolor

A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè
A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè

No temas al rey Herodes
que nada te ha de hacer
en los brazos de tu madre
y ahí nadie te ha de ofender.

A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè
A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè

Oh sleep now, holy baby,
with your head against my breast
Meanwhile the pangs of my sorrow
are soothed and put to rest

A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè
A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè

You need not fear King Herod
He will bring no harm to you
So rest in the arms of your mother
who sings you A la ru.

A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè
A la ru, a la mè, A la ru, a la mè

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Ember Day

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
his baptism in Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spicèd tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors' faith, apostles' word,
the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken, to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Today is the ordination of many people that I know. Please pray for Charlie, Sandra, Gwynne, Elaine, the rest of the Chicago bunch, E.J., Tim, Todd, Shannon, Joyce, Lisa, and me. Peace to you all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Is that what they mean by Southern Comfort?

Food is one of the best parts of the holiday season - greasy dips, chocolate, cookies, pie, chocolate, cranberry sauce, cocktails, chocolate. So, don't get me wrong here - I'm all in favor of a little overindulgence during the holidays, and I like to watch Food Network to get me pysched up for my epicurean adventures. But when Paula can scoop mayonaise into a casserole, pour butter on top, and then say "Now thats an easy, healthy meal"... I think that may be a bit much. But perhaps those are just my Yankee roots showing through again.

Okay, I'm off to have ice cream for lunch. Hey! It has calcium!

PS - For the recipe for said casserole, click here: Baked Shrimp-Crab Salad. Mmmm. Happy Eating!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Done. Kinda. Sorta. Nope, Not Really

I'm done! Seabury classes are over, I took my last online quize (Liturgical Calendar and Daily Offices), turned in my papers (Theology and John Donne), and I even went to the good-bye party for some of the students who are leaving after this term. Then, last night, I watched some TV and played with the craft supplies I bought last week. Everything around here has the attitude and atmosphere of done. Did I mention I'm done?

Except theres a catch. I'm not done. My class at the other seminary meets next week, and I still need to write a paper over there. We're reading Teaching Community: A Pedgogy of Hope by bell hooks, which I'm enjoying. But here is one of the curses of being an extrovert: you absorb other people's attitudes even when they don't apply to you.

Perhaps there is something to learn here, about the already/not yet. Advent is good season for that after all - waiting for something that has already happened, remembering an event of the future.

Did I mention that I'm done? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Marriage of True Minds

My husband knows me so well. When I got home from Chapel this morning, he told me he had exciting news that would make me happy. After a bit of keeping me in suspsense, he told me that he called the cable company to cancel our service. (We had gotten it over the summer at a promotional rate, but planned to get rid of it once the price went up.) When he called though, they offered to keep us at the promotional rate to keep our business! Woo hoo! So, I get to keep my cable, and watch all the football, West Wing and Dawsons Creek reruns, and Food TV that I want. And I am so lucky to have a husband who understands my habit!

So, in honor of that, here is a quote from a show that has been on my mind as I reach the end of my seminary career. You can all guess what show its from.

Joey: Oh, so, in nonacademic terms, I'm just too stupid to know any better?

Wilder: Would you settle for having an open mind? For most people in college, that's the first thing to go. Wow. I hadn't pegged you for such a hardcore cynic.

Joey: I'm not.

Wilder: Look. It's like this. Most people, when they get to college, feel really insecure. It seems like everybody around them knows so much more. So they race to try to catch up, pretend to know things, instead of slowing down to actually learn them. Because they don't realize that the discomfort of uncertainty is the most precious part of the experience. See, if you can feel comfortable... not knowing, you can learn anything, anything. And if not, well, then you've stopped before you've begun.

Joey: Can I ask you one more stupid question?

Wilder: Shoot.

Joey: Who the hell is Derrida anyway?

Wilder: Ha ha! Well, uh, let's just say if literature were the star wars universe, he would be like the Darth Maul.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Advent Three

This morning at church we had one of our licensened lay preachers in the pulpit, and he just really did a splendid job. His tone and demeanor matched the service and the season. It was one of those sermons full of individual sentences and thoughts that just jump across the room and grab you. Here are two that grabbed me:

Repent- be more truthful about your past so that your future will be more hopeful.
Christian faith begins with death. That includes the death of illusions of ourselves, and our illusions of how the world is.

Not much else around here... lots of papers and projects and such. I find it hard to concentrate on school with the upcoming ordination. So, I am trying to create a game about devotion and the arts in Reformation England. Ha! Can we say "senior"?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


I love Advent, and I always have loved Advent. It used to be a big deal in Sunday School when I was little. During Advent, all the kids would meet in the Social Hall before we went to class, and we would light the Advent wreath and talk about Advent and on work on one song during the season. One year it was "What Child Is This", and we talked every week about what "laud" meant. I think I remember that year because that was the year I got chosen to light one of the Advent candles. I was so excited that afterwards, I ran and found my big sister and said "Guess what? I lit-ed the Advent Calendar!" She hasn't let me live that down yet. Anyway, the other thing we talked about was how Advent was like getting ready for a party- you have to make your house all clean and pick up the mess before you have a party, and Advent was that preparation time. It made sense to me then, and it makes sense to me now. On that note, let me give you this link. Its an online Advent Calendar from the Diocese of Washington. So far it looks beautiful, and a lovely way to keep the season for those of us who look at our computers a little too often. Just don't try to light it!

But in Chapel tonight, we sang a different kind of song about getting ready. The hymn just really struck me... partly because it was fairly unfamiliar, which is a small category at this point when we're dealing with the Hymnal 1982, and partly because I just didn't know what to make of it all. Why don't you all give it a gander, and let me know what you think?

Hymn 573
Father eternal, Ruler of creation,
Spirit of life, which moved ere form was made,
through the thick darkness covering every nation,
light to our blindness, O be thou our aid:
thy kingdom come, O Lord, thy will be done.

Races and peoples, lo, we stand divided,
and, sharing not our griefs, no joy can share;
by wars and tumults Love is mocked, derided;
his conquering cross no nation wills to bear:
thy kingdom come, O Lord, thy will be done.

Envious of heart, blind-eyed, with tongues confounded,
nation by nation still goes unforgiven,
in wrath and fear, by jealousies surrounded,
building proud towers which shall not reach to heaven:
thy kingdom come, O Lord, thy will be done.

Lust of possession worketh desolations;
there is no meekness in the powers of earth;
led by no star, the rulers of the nations
still fail to bring us to the blissful birth:
thy kingdom come, O Lord, thy will be done.

How shall we love thee, holy hidden Being,
if we love not the world which thou hast made?
O give us brother-love for better seeing
thy Word made flesh and in a manger laid:
thy kingdom come, O Lord, thy will be done.
-Words by Laurence Housman, 1919

Monday, November 29, 2004

Daily Clicks

Are you all familiar with The Hunger Site? Every day you can click on their website, and the sponsors for the day contribute a certain amount of food for every person who clicks. Plus, the Hunger Site folk raise money for the cause through ads on their sites and an online store. Really, its a great idea, and takes very little effort on our part - all you have to do is remember to visit everyday. Besides hunger, there are sister sites for child health, rainforests, breast cancer, and animal rescue shelters. Recently, they launched a new site: The Literacy Site. Go visit them and check out the new place- and trust me, this is one place where you won't wear out your welcome even if you come every day!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

My Holiday Litany

For safe travel for our family, even with snowy roads and rainy skies... and that the windshield wiper that flew off the car on the turnpike was on the passenger side
Thanks be to God

For Grandma Shaefer's health... that even at 94, she can make the trip home for our family gathering
Thanks be to God

For the Genesis Erev Thanksgiving service, my home parish's joint service with the Reform Jewish synagogue we co-own our building with, and for our nearly-30 years of friendship
Thanks be to God

For a feast that included old friends, nearly all the siblings from both of our families, four generations, three kinds of cranberry stuff, four desserts, and the biggest group of people I've ever shared a holiday dinner with
Thanks be to God

For baby kitties, and the great excuse they are to make time for visiting friends on family day
Thanks be to God

For car cd players, NPR, and all those other things that keep the driver up so the spouse can sleep in the car
Thanks be to God

For marrying into a family where my small family can fit right in, a family that laughs a lot, eats a lot and can have fun sorting 200 t-shirts
Thanks be to God

For finally being back home, and being glad to see the Chicago skyline
Thanks be to God

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations
I hear the real though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation
O'er all the tumult and the stife
I hear its music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest round me roars
I hear the truth, it liveth
What though the darkness round me close
Songs in the night it giveth
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Game...

Michigan is going to the Rose Bowl!!! - although, as my mom put it, "by no fault of our own". Ouch. We played a hideous game yesterday against Ohio State, in Columbus. Luke and I were at the wedding of my college roommate (Congratulations Christine!), so we missed most of the game. We did manage to watch part of the fourth quarter- the part where our star receiver dropped a one-yard pass, and the part where our freshman quarterback threw an interception, right when we got to first-and-goal. But... as we were leaving the wedding reception to drive back to Chicago, we turned on the radio to hear that Iowa pulled it out over Wisconsin- which means Michigan shares the Big 10 Title, and we get to go to the Rose Bowl!

I called my best friend and her Michigan Marching Band Alumni husband to celebrate. He was less enthused, wishing that we had actually gotten to go to the Rose Bowl by our own efforts and beating Ohio State instead of someone else's win. So, I framed it like this: "Just think J! Ohio State was so far behind this year that even them beating us can't keep us out of the Rose Bowl!" He laughed and replied, "So thats what they teach you at seminary! You can put a postive spin on anything!" Hope and faith, my friend. Its all about hope and faith. Go Blue!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Green Light

Its finally official. I got a call from my Bishop's office today. In exactly one month, I will be ordained a transitional deacon in the Episcopal Church. I am overwhelmed, excited, humbled... really, my head was just sort of spinning for about an hour after I got the voicemail. I was also the cantor for the service that started 20 minutes after I got the voicemail. Turns out that Chapel is the perfect place to be in that situation though- especically when you're as extroverted as I am. It'll be a good day- I'll be in very good company for ordinations that day, even if that isn't physical company. I will be ordained with three other women, Shannon, Joyce and Lisa. Please keep all of us in your prayers- and hey, if you're in the Detroit area on December 18th, stop by the Cathedral of St. Paul at 10 am! Its a lovely place, and we'd love to have you.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Semon on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost

Also known as "my first sermon at my field ed site".
Malachi 3:13-4:2a,5-6
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

A new attack was launched this week, and fighting continues daily as numbers of wartime casualties climb. Devastating earthquake claims one hundred victims, while thousands more are left homeless. Ongoing drought leads to starving children.

What are we talking about here - headlines from this week’s newspapers, or apocalyptic signs as predicted by Jesus? Luke’s Gospel reading for today certainly sounds like Jesus is talking about our own time. Nations at war with one another, lives claimed every day by famine, disease or natural disaster. Towers fall so that not even a stone is left upon another. Especially since September 11th, it seems as if the world as we know it is coming to an end. Is it really good news for us to hear that Jesus knew all that would happen?

The earliest Christians thought so. Because, before we get too caught up thinking that this Gospel is an awful lot like our own times, we should remember that it also sounded a lot like the times when Luke was writing this Gospel. The Gospel of Luke was written in the mid-eighties. At that time, Jerusalem was recovering from a terrible war, and the Temple had been destroyed. The first period of severe persecution of Christians happened just shortly before Luke was writing, under the reign of Nero. It was a chaotic and unstable time, and Luke relied on the traditions of Jesus’ sayings to comfort the early church in their struggles. Apocalyptic writings are less about predicting the end of the world in some future time, as they are a way of making sense of the chaos in our own time. As Kathleen Norris writes in her book Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith,

“It is a wake-up call…to sharpen our awareness of God’s presence in and promise for the world. The word apocalypse comes from the Greek for “uncovering” or "revealing", which makes is a word about possibilities. And while uncovering something we’d just as soon keep hidden is a frightening prospect, the point of apocalypse is not to frighten us into submission” .

And, in fact, Jesus tells us just that. These signs are not intended to frighten his listeners, on the contrary, Jesus directs his audience “do not be terrified”. Fear is the natural reaction to chaos, but being terrified is not a helpful response. Fear is overwhelming, even paralyzing, especially fear of something we don’t understand. When we are living in constant fear, we cannot do anything – and doing nothing is not how Jesus calls us to live as disciples. Here, Jesus wants us to be prepared in order that we might be courageous. Unfortunately, sometimes the best way to deal with our fear is to name the worst-case scenario- whether it is the destruction of the Temple, outbreaks of violence and disaster, or being persecuted and abandoned. By naming these signs, Jesus tells us that we are not alone when we are in chaos – rather, that these things will happen as part of the order of the world. These things will not be the end, and they are not signs of God’s kingdom. Through this apocalyptic good news, we are freed from the fear that chaos will have the last word. We are free to hope for life beyond the failings and fears of this world. And, we are free to live as Christ’s disciples working towards the realm of God, no matter how the world reacts.

Our job is simply to keep on keeping on. We hold fast to what we have been given: faith, hope, love, and each other bound up in the Body of Christ. We proclaim God at work in the world, even in the chaos. We give our testimonies of hope. What is testimony? It is simply showing that God is working in our lives. As Saint Francis said, we are to “preach the Gospel at all times- if necessary, use words”. We give our testimony each time we find hope in the midst of chaos and sadness, each time we choose to love our enemies instead of seeking vengeance- whether on a global scale or in our individual lives. We preach the good news when we are not overcome with fear in the face of disaster, and reach out to those who are most marginalized among us. We tell the world about the unchanging God of Love when we are able to do these things despite the difficulties on the road of discipleship. And, we should not deceive ourselves.

Although this passage is essentially one of comfort and encouragement, Jesus does not sugar-coat the realities of the world and neither should we.

Friday night I attended a benefit concert for a woman trying to live her life this way. Amy is going to Israel/Palestine with the Christian Peacemaker Team. These delegations train in non-violence work, and then she will spend two weeks working in Hebron. One of their main tasks is escorting children to school, so that they are not harassed by the settlers. This may sound like a simple job, but the level of hostility can be shocking. When Amy stood up at the beginning of the concert to tell us about this work, she also told us that in September, two members of the Christian Peacemakers had been attacked and badly beaten while walking children to school. My friend Ryan commented, “Well, it is a war zone. May as well be upfront about that if you’re going in.” Amy knows what she is getting into – and that knowledge helps her face her fear so that she can persevere in her own work. We all face our own struggles, some more or less dramatic than others. But proclaiming the Gospel happens in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of places, and it is never an easy task. The things that are most worthy of our time are never easy. But we have hope to share- and our hope is not dependent on what happens in the world. Our hope is from knowing the loving God, who is active and present even in this world of chaos.

We do not know the day or hour when Jesus will return, and until then, there is much work to be done. In the chaos, we persevere as disciples because there are hungry people to be fed, there is hope to be shared, and there is good news to proclaim Praise Jesus who releases us from our fear, so that we can get to the real business of keep on keeping on.

Friday, November 12, 2004


I've been doing a lot of driving this week, mostly on I-94 between the two places I call home. I learned once that messing with the CD player while you're driving is bad, and can even make your car go spinning off the road, so I try not to do that anymore. So, I was listening to the radio, one of the stations in Chicago that I like. The song "1985" by Bowling for Soup came on. Its a fun song - and I'm old enough to get the references, but young enough that they don't make me feel old. The chorus goes like this:

Springstein, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
But she still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

So heres the thing. The next song they played on this station? One by U2. Without any comment from the DJ or anything. I suppose this isn't the classic definition of irony, but gosh, it amused me for at least 30 miles.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ob la di, Ob la dah

Last night at this time, I was sitting at a table, surrounded by happy laughing people and the Beatles were playing in the background, and I became aware of all the "changes and chances" of life from the last few days: Tripp was ordained on Sunday. I visited with a friend, who is six months pregnant with her first child. A very brave 18 year old girl named Catherine - my best friend's cousin- has finally lost her long battle with leukemia, and I learned that she passed away a couple weeks ago. Two wondeful friends here at Seabury got engaged (Congratulations!!!). I attended a party to celebrate twenty glorious years of the music ministry of my friend Jula, back at my home parish. Which brings me back to the table of happy laughing people. I had the amazing blessing of sitting at a table with women who have affected my life more than I think any of us even know, and simply enjoy each others time.

Lydia was my confirmation mentor when I was 12 years old. She told me she felt called to the priesthood, and when she said it, I knew that I was too. She moved away from Michigan about 10 years ago, but I've kept up with her progress through accquiantences. After her four boys (as if that isn't enough qualification for sainthood!) were all in school full time, she started seminary, and has been ordained for about two years.

Devon has been ordained longer, but is somewhat closer to me in age. We share a birthday, our undergraduate alma mater, and are both married to academics. Even though I was still in college when we met, she has always treated me as an equal adult, and was my first mentor of adulthood. She used to be the associate priest at my home church, and supported my call to ordination practically from the day we met, and was ultimately responsible for getting me started in my formal process.

Then, there is Julia. She is the music person at our church, but has always been so much more. I sang in Julia's choirs from the time I was 6 (when she arrived at St. Clares) until I moved to Chicago to start seminary at age 23. She was my first mentor and role model. She taught me to pray with music. She taught me about the beauty of liturgy and what it means for worship to really celebrate God's goodness. She is kind, funny, talented. We talked about her hospitality, her love for children and her work to see them truly included in the life of the church. She is the kind of person, who even though she has known you since you were in first grade, can talk with you as a friend and adult because she is simply that gracious. We had a service of thanksgiving, praising God for Julia and all the gifts we have been given so freely. Then, we had a party to celebrate some more. But my favorite celebration was on my drive back to Chicago this morning: for music in the car, I sang all the way from Chelsea to Kalamazoo- hymns, spirituals, songs of praise - the kind of singing that is part of my life thanks to the gifts from God, passed on through Julia's love and ministry. Not many of us get the chance to sit down at a table with the people who have shaped our lives, and even though the night was shorter than I would have liked, the moments will stay with me for a long time. But now, books are calling and its almost time for bed. Life goes on!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Here We Go...

As Si puts it (in that nagging 17-year-old voice) - "you got your rings back on. the finger is no longer an excuse for not blogging." And, he's right. The finger has healed fairly well, thanks to some friendly advice from folks around here at Seabury and the rest it had from typing. But, then I wanted to wait for a happy occasion to start blogging again. I thought last Tuesday might have been it... and while Obama did get elected in Illinois, it was still a rough night in the Shaefer household. At least West Wing season 3 came out this week... we can escape to our fantasy world where Barlett is President.
But, today is the perfect happy opportunity. Today, George Vincent Hudgins III (aka Tripp) got himself ordained. It was a glorious service - good music, good preaching, good praying. And, apparently it worked, cuz we all shared communion and then we had a party. There was food, music, laughing and teasing, and general merriment. It was a joy to watch, and an honor to be part of the day. My theme song for the night - at least, the one running through my head - is from my children's choir days - but, appropriate to the occasion I think:
Its a long a road to freedom, a-winding steep and high
But if you walk in love with the wind on your wings,
And cover the earth with the songs you sing
The miles fly by.
-Sister Miriam Therese Winter

May all the miles of your ministry be blessed with song and Sprit, my friend, and congratulations!

Monday, October 18, 2004

red and yellow and pink and green...

I love football. We've pretty much established that on this here blog. This past Saturday was the first practice for our game against Nashota House next weekend. (aka the Lavabo Bowl. Aren't we funny). Frank is really a great coach... he taught us a bunch of routes, and I had fun running the drills. He also taught us about how to catch a football so that our fingers wouldn't get jammed. Apparently, I wasn't listening. My finger is still swollen and its sort of magenta-purple-black. It doesn't hurt too much, but it doesn't bend or straighten well either. And... typing is pretty uncomfortable. Since I can't take a break from writing papers for school, I'm taking a short medical leave from here. Its gotta be better for the game on Saturday! Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

So Much for the Personals...

I actually got up early enough this morning to watch the news before I went to my class on "England in the Age of Reform". Watching the news seems like a noble activity, especially during election season. Plus, I like the people on CNN in the morning, thanks to the nice folks I stayed with over the summer. Today's story was not so noble, I'm afraid. I suppose its one way to get dates - but really? This is newsworthy? Next time, I'm sleeping fifteen minutes later and getting my laughs online.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Sermon for Philip

I have a favorite part of the day. It happens about five minutes after Luke and I both get home. I”ll sit down on the couch in our living room/dining room/kitchen, and he’ll start putting away dishes or shuffling through the pile of papers on the table, and he’ll ask “so, how was your day?’ And then start telling all the stories of the day, and he tells his. We tell all kinds of stories. Sometimes it sounds like a play-by-play for the whole day, other times there are funny or frustrating moments to focus on. Whatever the stories are, I know that my day isn’t complete without our little check-in time. There is a closeness that comes from sharing our stories with others, and bringing other people into our stories is exciting.

In some ways, this is how I like to picture Phillip on the road, telling the story of Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. The eunuch was returning home from Jerusalem, where he had gone to worship. The laws of Temple worship however would have excluded the eunuch’s full participation. He is still hoping to understand his relationship to God, which we see in his reading of Scripture, when Phillip comes along. In the short conversation that follows, Phillip discovers he has a willing listener for the story that changed his own life. Overcome with excitement, Phillip’s story bubbles and flows out with energy and enthusiasm. And Phillip must have been a great story-teller, because the Ethiopian is so caught up in the tale that he wishes to become part of the community of the story- he wants to be baptized. It was a golden opportunity, both for Phillip the story –teller, and our unnamed eunuch, the community-seeker.

Of course, this meeting was neither accidental nor coincidental. God was already at work in the heart of the eunuch, preparing him to hear the story of Jesus. And Phillip was able to hear the prompting of the Spirit and follow immediately. Now, before we chalk this up to the kind of discernment and obedience reserved for saints with a capital S, lets remember that Phillip wasn’t so in tune that he only needed to be told once. The angel/spirit is guiding him all along the way. He very well may have had second thoughts and nagging doubts. Why on earth would an evangelist go to a wilderness road? It would be dangerous, first of all, and there aren’t likely to be many people around, let alone people interested in stopping and listening to the Gospel proclaimed. This is not the way to get big numbers of conversions, its not an efficient use of resources. We’ve all had the same thoughts when opportunities arise: Its not practical. Its not a good time for me. There’s probably a better way, a better idea, a better person to do this. What makes Phillip saintly was that he chose to go anyway, to trust in the voice of the Spirit to lead him to where God was already at work.

Phillip’s resolve may also have been shaken when he discovered that God intended to work with an Ethiopian court official, the eunuch, that day. As a deacon, Phillip’s work was among the poor, the widowed and the orphaned. Someone in charge of an entire treasury was certainly not visibly in need of alms and support from the church. To make matters worse, he was a eunuch and a foreigner. Phillip had every reason to keep going down that road, to find someone who would fit in with the community more easily, someone whose presence wouldn’t be so objectionable. Perhaps this is why the Spirit must intervene again, calling Phillip to the chariot. Phillip once again answers the call, a baptism ensues, and Christianity is carried to a whole new part of the globe. All from the sharing of a story between people who dared to take a chance, and cared enough to listen.

How often do we miss our chances to teach and proclaim? It is natural to compare ourselves to Phillip’s success and feel like we come up short. Missed opportunities are par for the course. It is with good reason that our confession includes things both “done and left undone”. That is why this story is so encouraging. In today’s fast-paced world of multi-tasking, it is so easy to miss the little opportunities to serve, to love, to tell our story. This is why, even in the midst of a broken world where we are faced with human failings every day, we continue to celebrate our successes. They remind us of who we have been and who we can be. The success of Phillip and the eunuch is that both were able to recognize the moment for what it was (with apologies to Senator Kerry): Right story. Right place. Right time.

It was so right, in fact, that now the whole thing has become another story for our community. So what do we get from telling the story of Phillip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch? We are challenged to find those who are hungry to be part of a story, those who have never been invited to be part of the life of the story. We are reminded that God is surprising, we are reminded that God is already at work in the world. We are challenged to look beyond our carefully laid plans and be open to the opportunities to change lives and be changed. I don’t know what opportunities to listen to the Spirit will face you today, this week, this year. I don’t know what opportunities this community will have to live into the story of Jesus. But I am sure that moments will arise. Some of those moments will be missed, and opportunities will be lost. But stories open eyes and change lives, and this one can change ours. Here is the power of telling stories. Because of Phillip, and because of the Ethiopian eunuch, I am also sure we will be just that much more ready to open the door when opportunity knocks and the Spirit calls.

Friday, October 08, 2004


I'm preaching on Monday, in the chapel here at Seabury. We are celebrating the feast of Phillip the Deacon and Evangelist - as in, Phillip who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in the book of Acts. I love this story, and always have. Maybe that is why I'm having an awful time collecting my thoughts into something that resembles a sermon. Floating in my head are several thoughts, including a line from Into the Woods- "Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor"- and this story about story-telling from Martin Buber (via Elizabeth Johson's Consder Jesus, p. 61-62):
A rabbi related the following: "My grandfather was paralyzed. One day he was asked to tell about something that happened with his teacher, the great Balshem. then he told how this saintly Balshem used to leap about and dacne while he was at his prayers. As he went on with the story my grandfather stood up: he was so carried away that he had to show how the master had done it and he started to caper about dancing. From that moment he was cured." Says Buber, that is how stores should be told."

Somewhere between opportunity and stories lies my sermon. Please do pray that it finds me before Monday! In the meantime, I'll leave with this quote from theology class to chew on for a bit: Dialogue means being gracious enough to say who you really are.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Insert Appropriate 80's Reference Here

Well, looky here! No really. Look. And then cheer very very loudly. In honor of this (and because its due in a couple hours), I'm writing my thoughts about Jesus as Teacher. Here are a couple snippets of my draft thus far:

The Incarnation is a physically specific idea – the scandal of particularity is that Jesus had specific parents, a specific hometown, specific friends. He was not afraid or ashamed of how he lived, or how those around him lived. Rather, he used his surroundings as the starting point for his teaching, as illustration for his stories. This did not mean Jesus accepted the given context as unchangeable or ideal, but his ministry and teaching were inspired and intertwined with the context of Incarnated life.

Jesus message was fundamentally one of hope. Jesus shared not only a vision of a world-to-come, but demonstrated that the kingdom of God is breaking in all around us.

As a teacher and preacher, Jesus knew the power of words. He knew that words matter, how we use them matters, and our silence matters. Teachers are communicators. Jesus was able communicate the vision of God’s life and love so clearly that we are clinging to it nearly two thousand years later.

Congratulations, Dr. Yamada!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Once Upon A Time…

On this day in history in (courtesy of the History Channel):
1856... First installment of Madame Bovary is published
1890... Congress creates Yosemite National Park
1918... Lawrence of Arabia captures Damascus
1936... Franco becomes head of Spain
1955... The Honeymooners debuts

1978... I debuted! And 26 years later, I think John Denver has me covered - "I have to say it now, its been a good life, all in all. Its really fine to have a chance to hang around." Oh, and - second quarter of a century, here I come!

Monday, September 27, 2004


Today marks the start of another school year here at Seabury, which is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the freshness and excitement of new beginnings, and I thought I would celebrate with a short list of firsts.

My first post in a long while. Yes, I have been remiss in my posting. I know, I know. The best thing I can say about this is I have been on strike. As I may have mentioned, I am a raging extrovert. Part of being an extrovert, as least this particular one, is that I process my thoughts verbally, with other people. The last month has included a good deal of alone time. In some ways, that was very good for me – I always need to work on being myself when I am by myself – but in other ways, it was difficult. Writing is a second step in my thought process, with human interaction always being first. Limited human encounters means limited writing. Consider it part protest, part personality quirk. And, since classes are beginning, consider it over.

My first Baptist wedding. Okay, so really I’m just stretching to get in a note of congratulations to Tripp and Trish. The wedding was joyous and beautiful, the music was great (although I’m biased there), the party was a blast, and the bride and groom were gorgeous and glowing. It was great spending time with friends, and meeting folks I know from stories and blogs. All to celebrate love. Many, many years of happiness to you both!

The first day of classes. Well, my classes at Seabury don’t start until tomorrow. I have “the senior classes”- England in the Age of Reform; Anglican Identity; Anglican Worship; and Sex, Money & Real Estate: Canon Law. It’ll be a long day- we have all four of those classes on the same day. Other folks, including the new students started classes this afternoon. It was also the first Eucharist of the school year, and our new Theology & Ethics professor preached and presided at the service. She noted that this is a new beginning for some, and the beginning of an end for others of us. Yep, it sure is. Ready or not, here comes senior year.

My first assignment. I am also taking a seminar in Christian Education over at Garrett called Christology & Teaching. Our first writing assignment is due next Monday. We are to write four to six “convictions” we hold about Jesus as teacher. When they called Jesus “Rabbi’, what did they mean? What does it mean for us today? I’m not entirely sure what all I’ll have to say about that, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with living in relationship, with hope, and with changing people, changing lives. Its what I’ve learned so far in this place, and I’m pretty sure I’ve learned Jesus here. But with all these firsts, I feel like I’m just beginning. And friends, that is a good feeling.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Don't worry, I'm not talking about my physical health. That seems to be intact. I am, however, starting to think that computer geekiness is contagious. Really. Before I came to Seabury, I liked my computer because it was pretty and I could burn CDs. That was about it. Then I took up chatting online. Then I started a blog. And now, I'm playing with new software. Bookster is helping me catalog my books for GOEs. Plus, its just nice to have a catalog of my books- it even has a "lent to..." feature, so I can remember where my books are when they aren't safe at home. Thanks to Mark for the heads up on that piece of shareware. Then, last night, Si and I travelled down to Indiana to surprise Jane for her birthday. That was a great trip- learning, surprising, eating, laughing. While we were waiting for the birthday girl to wake up from her nap, Bruce showed us the pretty-ness of iCal, and the cool online sharing you can do. Did I mention its pretty, with lots of colors? I guess I have strayed too far from my roots. Too bad frequent posting doesn't seem as contagious as general geekiness. Small steps, friends, small steps!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Home Sweet Home

Luke and I traveled back to Michigan this past weekend. Again. I'm starting to get confused about where I live. Anyway, it was actually a joyful trip, where we attended the wedding of a friend of mine from high school. The wedding was fun, it was good to catch up with a couple old friends, and the dancing was a blast. My friend is such a trooper- she has had a saga of painful incidents involving a broken foot and nerve damage. After another scan right before the wedding, they decided to put on another cast, but also decided to wait until after the wedding when she is back in Delaware. The last three months have been so difficult with her injury that the couple started laughing during the "in sickness and in health" part of the vows!There was no way a broken foot was going to stop her though- she walked down the aisle, said her vows, and danced with her new husband, her dad, family and friends, all with a broken foot. That kind of dedication bodes well for a marriage, I'm pretty sure. Many blessings and happy years, Chris & Emily!

While we were home, Luke and I passed a house for sale, right near my church back home. Its pale green stucco, with dark green trim. It has hardwood floors, a big backyard, and a nice little porch. Basically, we love it. Unfortunately, we don't live in Michigan, and even though we're moving back next year, we have no idea where. Still, it was great fun to plan how to decorate, how we would expand the kitchen, what to plant in the garden, and what kind of parties we could have. And- perhaps more importantly- it was great to know that our ideas of a perfect little house are very similar. House fantasies continue anon.

Back in Chicago, it turns out that the internet is pretty much down at my house for now, and I'm not sure how long the outage will last. Luckily, I have all these other summer projects that are taking up the time I'm not spending online chatting and reading blogs. My office is filled with piles of books, as I've decided to rearrange all of my seminary books. Until now, I've mostly shelved them by term, that is, when I buy my books each term, I just put all of them on the shelf together. I'm thinking that in the middle of General Ordination Exams though, I'm not going to want to spend time saying "Gee... which term was New Testament II with that little book on Paul?" So, I am attempting to organize generally by topic, aiming towards canonical categories for the GOEs. Of course, my office is also known as our spare bedroom, and there are people planning on sleeping on the futon in a week or so. They'd probably appreciate it if I finished my little project soon. Of course, I'd appreciate having a bit more space. What was I saying about house-dreaming?

Friday, August 13, 2004


So, when I said I'd post the sermon tomorrow, that was an approximation of time. I'm a big fan of the "better late than never" school! So, the Clare sermon is posted here. To celebrate Clare's actual feast day, Stephanie and I travelled north to the Wisconsin State Fair. There was dancing corn, a Pom-pom competition, maple cotton candy, adorable bouncing baby sheep (seriously- they look like they're on a trampoline!), bunnies and chickens and cows- oh my! It was a fabulous day. Even though it culminated in scary noises from the car, and Luke and Wes coming to our rescue, it was still a fabulous day.

Does anyone know the musical that has the State Fair song in it? Someone was asking...

Monday, August 09, 2004

Its That Time Again

Tonight is the NFL Hall of Fame game, and the first night of Monday Night Football! I am so excited! I didn't even know it was starting already. I can't believe we're this far into the summer. But oh boy do I love football. Broncos and Redskins... it should be a good game.

Oh yeah, and I preached this weekend. It went really well, and I got some of those wonderful comments- the kind where people tell you about the important thing they heard, and it isn't even something you said. The best compliment though? One of the girls who used to be in my youth group was acolyting at 8:00 church. She told her mom that she actually listened to the whole sermon- and then she wanted to stay and listen to me talk in Adult Ed! I miss those kids from our youth group. Anyway, the sermon needs a bit of fixing up, and I'll post it tomorrow.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


I'm very sure that its not possible to be in two places at one time. I'm also pretty sure that its not possible to be driving at two speeds. So, when Luke and I were driving home from the Prince concert on Tuesday night, and the spedometer said we were going 0 miles per hour when we were clearly moving, and when Stephanie & I were stopped at a red light and the spedometer said I was going 110 miles per hour, it became clear that something was very wrong with our car. Luckily, Wes owns the exact same car and we got a mechanic referral from him. Now we just need to hope that they can fix my poor car in time for me to drive home and preach!

Friday am Addendum: The car is all better now. Turns out there was a short in a wire, probably from driving through a huge puddle on the way home on Tuesday. And, I would recommend this mechanic anytime- they were friendly and speedy.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Embroiderers, Good Weather and Television

... to name just a few of the patronages of Saint Clare. Saint Clare is also the patron of my home church, back in Ann Arbor, where I will be preaching this coming Sunday. We will be celebrating the Feast of St. Clare, transferred from August 11. Coincidentally, the Gospel reading for St. Clare is also the lectionary reading for this Sunday: Luke 12:32-37: "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom..."

I don't have my sermon nailed down yet, but I am convinced that this reading relates to the blessing from Enriching Our Worship attributed to St. Clare - "Live without fear: your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves yo as a mother, Go in peace to follow the good road and may God's blessing be with you always."

I think its also related to this comment from The West Wing. The staff are talking about repealing the estate tax, and how it would only affect 4500 families. President Bartlett comments, "It doesn't matter that it only affects 4500 families. Thats the problem with the American Dream. Its makes everyone concerned for the day they're going to be rich."

This is my favorite part of writing sermons, playing connect the dots with bits and pieces of inspiration. Now I just pray that it moves along more quickly!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

In A Jam

I have spent time the last two afternoons with a whole new activity- jam-making! Stephanie and I have been crushing blueberries, hulling currants, chopping cherries and slicing peaches, and now we have three batches of jam to show for it! Its such a satisfying process, especially since we finished our session by coming back over to my house and eating croissants with sour cherry-peach jam. I learned two things in the process. First, jam is absolutely not diabetic-friendly- I had no idea how much sugar went into the stuff! Secondly, sitting around preparing fruit, drinking a beer and chit-chatting with a friend is an absolutely fabulous way to spend a summer afternoon. It felt old-fashioned and relaxing in that "I"m being productive but I don't care how long it takes" kind of way. Just the right combination of lazy, social and sugar.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Done Done Done

My paper is handed in, we had our final lecture (on Hope and Theodicy), and we did the class evaluations. The list of Books I Want to Read, and the list of Books I Probably Should Read are both significantly longer at the end of this three week class. Luckily, Walter Brueggemann's Old Tesatment Theology can be added to the list of Books I Have Read. The class was amazing, and I'd really recommned the Notre Dame summer session classes. Its a great format, we had great people in our class. Just a wonderful way to spend some time when you're homesick for some good academia. I did post my twelve theses over at my other page. Its not my best writing, but I had some fun fleshing out what I like to call "both/and theology", and played a bit with some Old Testament ethics. I'll share a couple of thoughts I'm excited about from my paper here, and y'all can feel free to browse the rest as you see fit:

paragraph #7 - The ethics of the Old Testament are available to us not just in what Israel says, but how Israel chooses to present their witness.

paragraph #11 - Feminist theologians should continue the task of casting light on the history of patriarchy in interpretation and doctrine, but our primary task should be articulating the truths we know of God, life and the world in our own ways and our own voices.

paragraph #5 - Hope is the binding verb for Israel, and that hope is grounded in YHWH’s abiding presence and continued action. Therefore, the primary verb for YHWH in relation to Israel is found in Exodus 3:14: “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM' ”.

Now.. Chicago, here I come!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Ten down, Two to Go!

I am working on my final paper for Dr. Brueggemann. Naturally, I have mostly left it til the last day, although I did some stuff before today. That is an improvement for me. Anway, I have two last Scripture verses for you all:

"Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh." - Ecclesiastes 12:12

"While he was making this defence, Festus exclaimed, ‘You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!" - Acts 26:24

Very often, the words we preach are as much for ourselves as for the congregation. I will post my theses on my other page when i'm done with them. In the meantime, for a distraction of another sort, go over to Tripp's page and read Barack Obama's speech one more time. I just think he is fabulous.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Prophetic Utterance

We have been talking about prophets and poetry in class for the last couple days. Today, we talked about promise and judgement in Isaiah and Jeremiah. Professor Brueggemann cited this verse as the mantra of all Cubs fans:

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" - Jeremiah 8:20

Did I mention that the Prof is a Cardinals fan? Ah well. Its still another fun & entertaining out-of-context verse. Now, since Professor Brueggemann has graciously given us a break from our daily papers, I need to get to work on my final paper.

Saturday, July 24, 2004


I am staying with friends near Notre Dame while I take the Brueggemann class, and one of the things we do is watch the news twice a day. I think CNN needs to fill time sometimes, because they run news all day. So, this week, I learned that PETA has announced the Sexiest Vegetarians of the Year!Turns out that Andre 3000 from Outkast and Alicia Silverstone were this years big winners. My top pick didn't even make the list, but then again, I guess Luke isn't really famous enough yet! I think they should have the Sexy Vegetarians give some advice on how to be vegetarian - like their favorite cookbooks, or how they get enough protein. Of course, celebrities probably don't always cook for themselves, so I 'll just give you my favorites instead.
Moosewood Cooks At Home is yet another cookbook put out by the Moosewood Collective in Ithaca, New York. I like this one best because the recipies are fast, pretty easy, and they suggest menu combinations.

Jack Bishop's Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbookis also really amazing. Pasta, stuffed veggies, fritters, polenta, salads. My favorites out of here are Zuchinni-Lemon Fritters and Satueed Chery Tomatoes. Plus, there are pretty pictures! What could be better?

Thursday, July 22, 2004

En Español

Every afternoon about this time, a group of students comes into my favorite ND computer lab. They always speak Spanish. I have this bad habit whenever I'm around Spanish of eavesdropping. Really, it serves two functions. First, I feel special when i can actually pull out a few words and understand them. Second, its a very good reminder that I used to know Spanish and really wish my Spanish was still at a functioning level. Then, College of Preachers held its first conference on preaching in Spanish. Someday, I will have my second language back in shape and I will be able to attend that conference. Someday.

By the way... I am so proud of myself for figuring out how to include the "ñ" in the title!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Maxin' and Relaxin'

Professor Brueggemann gave us the day off from writing our reflection papers, and I am happy for the break. It also means I can spend some time looking up some extra articles for our final paper. We need to write 12 thesis statements, and then do some exposition (about a paragraph) on each one. Personally, I would rather come up with one good idea and spend more time on the exposition. But, I don't get to make up the assignments. Not yet, at least.

So, I'm sitting in the Touchdown Jesus library again. There is a really nice reflecting pool out front, with a low marble wall around it. I noticed today that there is a little tiny bridge going over the wall into the water! I guess its for ducks. Or very tiny people who want to go swimming in the pool. Anyway, it makes me happy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

More Bible Trivia

I have yet another favorite strange Bible verse, this one quoted in Brueggemann's book!

The LORD said to me again, "Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes." - Hosea 3:1

Raisin cakes?! Whats with the raisin cakes? I have no idea. Does this mean I should only eat chocolate-chip cookies instead of the oatmeal raisin ones? What about granola bars? Ah well, it was worth a laugh in the middle of an intense prophetic book.

Monday, July 19, 2004

94 and counting...

Luke's grandma turns 94 this month. She is an amazing lady, really the matriarch of the family. Luke and I won't be seeing her on her birthday this year, so we stopped by her place on Sunday for dinner. She recently moved into an assisted living home, where she has already made many friends. She told us about the new minister at her church, how the cousins are doing, and talked about whether or not anyone would want to actually live in the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Ann Arbor. She is very excited about my becoming a "minister" and told me she found a saying I might use sometime in a sermon:
Inner Peace
I am passing this on to you becasue it has deifnitely owrked for me. By following the simple advice I read in an article, I have finally found inner peace. It reads: "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started." I looked around to see all the things I started and hadn't finished. So, today I have finished one bottle of white wine, a bottle of red wine, a bottle of Apple Pucker, my Prozac, a large box of chocolates and a quart of beer. You have no idea how good I feel. You may pass this on to those you feel are in need of Inner Peace.
The best part? I think Grandma would actually love to hear a sermon with all that worked in. Gosh, I hope I'm as sharp-witted and have such a sense of humor when I'm half her age. Happy Birthday Grandma!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Something about being back in class makes me want to blog more. Coincidence? I think not. So, speaking of being in class - I love the model of short, intensive courses where you can focus all your energy on the one class. Some of us like to fantasize about the seminary we're going to have someday. I would love to plan a curriculum based on the short-term, one class model. It wouldn't be so different from quarters- in a ten week period, you would take three classes, just one at a time. The curriculum could be filled out with lectures on other subjects, or afternoon-long workshops. The model would makes "interdisciplinary" work a bit more difficult, but I think that could be developed through the lectures. It would probably be very taxing on professors, however, if they only taught every other "term" it might be doable for them as well. If this interests you, and you want to go to seminary (or teach!) in about fifteen-twenty years, let me know and I'll sign you up!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Those Summer Nights

Well, my exicting love affair for the summer is here: Old Testament Theology with Walter Brueggemann. We're two days into our short class (three weeks at Notre Dame) and its amazing. Prof. Brueggemann is funny, witty, insightful, patient, respectful - and a rhetorical textual critic who has no more use for historic criticism than I do! Woo hoo! This does mean that my summer nights consist of lots of reading- we're using Brueggemann's own book, Theology of the Old Testament. Its a bit of an ironic title, since the Prof has already said that he doesn't believe you can have a systematic theology of the Old Testament- rather, there are many voices present in the text, and the tradition has been careful to preserve the countertestimony with the testimony. The book utilizes a whole trial-witness-testimony metaphor for interpretation and theology that is compelling to me as well. My reflection for tomorrow (we submit a one-page reflection each morning) will reflect on the role of community in this metaphor. Did I mention I love this class?

In other news... my LH* has been published!! I'm very excited about this. Here is the abstract for the article... the full text doesn't seem to available online. Yet? I'm not sure. It will appear in the journal Administration in Social Work. Anyway, its really wonderful.

One more important learning from class this morning.
"{God said} I will accept no bull from your house" - Psalm 50:9.

Sometimes taking verses out of context is just more fun.

*LH=lovely husband, of course!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

On the Road Again

Here we go again. In the next week and a half I will:
- Hope and wish for all the best for my best friend's mom, being remarried on Saturday It will be wonderful and joyous- Josy's new stepdad is great guy - but it will also be just a touch bittersweet. Luke and I were close with Josy's dad, who died a few years ago, and we miss him too. But Josy's mom couldn't have found a nicer guy. Blessings and good wishes for them!

-Remember how to be a camp counselor!Its been four years since I was at camp, but with seven years of camp staff before that, I'm hoping I'll get right back into the swing of things. I can't find my markers though- thats a bit unnerving. Thanks goodness for pre-camp Target shopping trips, and for old camp friends who remind you about them!

-Drive a whole lotI'm getting to know my car very well lately. I've never been one for naming my car, but we're spending so much time together, I feel our relationship could jump another level.

I will miss y'all while I'm gone!

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Obvious and Not-So-Obvious

Obvious: The ordinations were great in Mississippi. Jeff and Bill both look great in their collars. It was wonderful to see them, Catharine and Sydney the dog. Also, I got to meet David and his lovely wife, and one of the kids. It was all around a good thing, and the Church is a richer place for its two new deacons.

Not so Obvious: I told someone I would get them a Captain Obvious shirt for Awards Night this year, and I forgot. So, I decided to do a Google search for "Captian Obvious tshirt"- I figured that a picture of one might suffice. In the process, I found this story: Stuff that Happenend to Thing #5 - Part 13: Attack of the Killer Pacifists. I have no idea where it came from or why its there. But its funny.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Southland in the Springtime

So, I doubt it feels like spring in Mississippi right now, but Luke and I are headed down South anyway, to watch Bishop Gray make some deacons! Specifically, my former neighbor Sacristan Jeff, and Out-of-the-Box Bill. It will be a glorious weekend, even if it is bookended by 12 hours of driving each way.
In other news, NYTimes.com posted the article this morning: Scientists Teleport Not Kirk, but an Atom. How cool is that? Basically, the can take the characteristics of one atom and project them onto another. The scientists say that this is likely impossible to do with humans. But 100 years ago, who would've thought it was possible for an atom? I can't wait to get me a transporter!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Pistons 100, Lakers 87!

Luke is a happy camper.

What I Did With My Summer Vacation, Part 1

What are you really looking forward to this summer? That was the subject of discussion at our dinner last night (sidebar: Ethiopian Diamond is a fantabulous restaurant!), with friends of Luke's from school. Asking people what they're excited about is a great ice breaker- my husband is awfully smart that way. So, here are a couple of my answers for today. First, Luke and I are going down to Mississippi for a couple of ordinations this weekend. The second floor is a very lonely place without our southern neighbors, so I'm really looking forward to the trip. The next weekend, Luke and I head to Michigan. We'll be helping out with a Leaders-In-Training program at a camp near Mackinac. The director is an old friend, and I'm really excited to be working with her. I'll be leading Bible study and some worship, and Luke will be doing some teambuilding and workshops. We're using a book called Learning Leadership by Michael Brandwein. I like what he has to say: Leadership is really a set of skills, and those skills can be taught, developed, learned. He is not a fan of "gifts" language however, basically because it a) doesn't give credit to the hard development work most leaders do, and keeps us from stuyding that development and b) it lets the rest of us off the hook... if we aren't already leaders, it must be because its just not our gift. I think Christian leadership really needs to be able to talk about gifts, without falling into those traps. The younger kids at the camp will have a Baptismal Covenant theme. I'm going to try and tie all this in together. Thoughts, ideas, and prayers from the peanut gallery are always appreciated.
Enough from my report. What is everyone else looking forward to this summer?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Hometown Happenings

So, its been a really long time. And I don't even mean since I blogged last! I am sitting on our couch watching Game 4 of the NBA Finals with Luke. My basketball-fan husband tells me its been 14 years since the Pistons were last in the finals. Then he ususally quizzes me on who the star players were. (Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars.. I forget the rest.) Anyway, much to Frank's disappointment, the Pistons are up in the series 2-1 at this point. We'll see where we are at the end of the night. Here is an interesting conundrum about the game though: Before the tipoff, Kid Rock came out to sing in the National Anthem singing part. Except, he didn't sing the National Anthem, he sang "America The Beautiful". Now, I happen to think that "America The Beautiful" is a really great song, and would be a better national anthem than the "Star-Spangled Banner". Why the switch? I'm confuzzled, but still cheering for the Pistons!!

(Apparently, the song-switch was good luck! Pistons beat the Lakers 88-80!)

Friday, June 04, 2004

The Race Set Before Us

I am not sure if the race is ending or beginning, but something big happened today. Seabury Class of 2004 graduated. It was a glorious ceremony with streamers, organ, processionals, tears, hugs and smiles. And, everyone got the hood they were supposed to get, I might add! I have been blessed beyond measure by those of you who will be leaving Seabury- graduates, family, faculty and staff who are moving on. I suppose its only fair to have share such wondeful people with everyone else. There are new races to run with perseverance, and new people to love. And life goes on... I have a sermon to write, a bag to pack, and a gathering to attend. Ob-lah-di, Ob-lah-da!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Times They Are A Changin

Another academic year at Seabury is done, except for the whole commencement business. Busy-ness? Either one I suppose. I am a big person for closure and ritual, so I'm looking forward to commencement. The last week has been good in this way too. Last Thursday was Awards Night. During the beautiful and wonderfully-planned service, I received the W. Taylor Stevenson Award in Contemporary Theology. You can read it here, if you'd like. I was able to pass on my John Calvin (Low Church) award and Martha Stewart Award, reincarnated as the Fab Five Award, during the sillines that followed the beautiful service. All in all, it was a jolly good time. Then last night, I was able to be a cantor with http://janellen.blogspot.com/ while our AngloBaptist friend officiated at the last Evensong of the year, and the Librarian read the Scripture. It was beautiful, a gift, and God was glorified. And, I don't believe for a second that it is the last Evensong the Anglobaptist will officiate. Today I get continued closure on the year: Bossing around the graduates at rehearsal! Fun is such an important part of closure.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Get it Out

I am cranky today, and someone suggested that I post all the things that are making me cranky so I can get over it. (He had a vested interest in making me less cranky). And you, lucky readers, get to partake.
Facts that Raise My Crankiness Level
- Its Memorial Day, but the seminary was open and I still had class
- Its the last week of classes, so I have a paper and two presentations due in the next two days
- My internet was down for a good portion of the day, so I couldn't work on some of my projects due tomorrow
- This week is graduation- and a huge number of my friends are leaving
- The weather can't make up its mind between pouring rain and sunshine
- Jane and I had planned on cheese fries all day... but the cheese fry place was closed for the holiday
- Did I mention that lots of my friends are graduating and moving away?

Of course, being the optimist, I can't just leave a list like that alone. Ready for list two?
Facts that Lower My Crankiness Level
- Luke and I became godparents this weekend. Our godson's name is Christian, and he is beautiful, happy and wonderful- all twenty pounds of him at five months!!
- I love my home parish. I miss it while I"m here, and it was great to be there yesterday
- Some of said friends (see first list) got together for lunch today. Mmmm stirfry.
- We sang "The Day Thou Gavest" at Evensong tonight, which I love
- I did finish two papers this morning
- Best of all, I have friends who know my crankiness so well they can make me laugh even when I don't want to

I guess life is pretty good after all! Back to work now.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Thou My True Word

Jane and Tripp have already told you that the Festival of Homiletics was amazing, and was it ever! We enjoyed a week of preaching (the long kind, not the five-minute Seabury kind!), music, worship, fun. I absolutley understand all those folks who attended week long revivals- it was exhausting and exhilarating, inspired and inspiring in all senses of the word. For fun, I decided to collect some quotes from the week to share with you all, so you can get just a glimpse of the week we shared together:
"You know, if I wasn't driving 75 in a 45 mile an hour zone, it might be less frightening" - Micah, on driving through PA mountains, construction, and mysterious fog at 1 am

"Be nice to the complainers- they're only praising you in a different way." Rev. Hartness, chaplain at the National Cathedral, giving advice to the five eager seminarians

"I hate squirrels. They're all reincarnated sex offenders." Judy. Need more be said?

"Religion is a defense against repentence" - Thomas Long, on why preaching repentence in Advent

"You know who Tripp reminds me of? That guy in high school. You know the one... your dad told you to be home at 1, but he's sitting in the car saying, "Why do you wanna listen to your dad? You don't really have to go home..." Lemwood, having known Tripp for a total of 30 minutes

"Theres a Hershey Kiss in every silence" Judy. Still, nothing more to say!

"We have gotten into preaching hoop-skirt sermons. You know, the kind that cover everything and touch nothing." - Dr. James Forbes

"Be thou my wisdom and thou my true word
I ever with thee and thou with me Lord
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O Ruler of All" - Be Thou My Vision, my favorite hymn, sung or played five times at our conference

I have been asked by my Rector back home to talk about encountering the Holy Spirit, for Pentecost next week. After this week of hearing God speak through preachers, singers, and good friends, I will have no trouble. Alleluia, Christ is risen!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Confessions? or De Doctrina?

"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Thats a quiz for seminarians if I ever saw one! Thanks to Salty Vicar for the link...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Ready, Set, Read!

It is reading week here at Seabury, so I am taking a break from studying to update my blog. First, I've added some folks to the blog roll! Everyone say hi to Frog, Mitch, Robyn, our Mississippi friend and the CYSI Online crew. To celebrate, here is a bloggame I found over at Frog's page:

10 bands you have been listening to a lot lately:
Indigo Girls (duh, no shock there!); Lauryn Hill; Jennifer Knapp;
Liz Phair;
Great Big Sea;
Dar Williams;
John Denver;
Secret Garden Soundtrack (yeah, I know, its not a band so much...);
Paul Simon;
Indigo Girls (they get to count twice, cuz I listen to them THAT much!)

9 things you look forward to:
Festival of Homiletics in DC!;
my date on Saturday;
summer weather;
having kids (someday);
Taste of Chicago festival;
Pentecost- our godson will be Baptized then;
Thursday Lunches;
going to weddings this summer;
being ordained (someday... hopefully a sooner "someday" than the kids though)

8 things you like to wear:
tank tops;
my jeans with the ripped hems;
my purple striped cardigan;
my strawberry shortcake tshirt;
nail polish;
bare feet

7 things that annoy you:
people who hum/sing while i'm talking to them;
when the internet doesn't work;
talking during movies;
running out of milk;
people who don't read stuff, and then complain they're out of the loop;
bob dylan impersonations;

6 things you say most days:
what do you want for dinner?;
I should be studying...;
And also with you;
i love you!;
Dude! So, what's up with...;
let's get ice cream

5 things you do every day:
drink a sugary beverage;
put on make-up;
think about cleaning up the house;
sing - usually in Chapel;
pet Sydney

4 people you want to spend more time with:
All the people who are graduating and moving away!

3 movies you could watch over and over again:
Moulin Rouge;
Princess Bride;

2 of your favorite songs at the moment:
"All That We Let In" - Indigo Girls;
"Martyrs and Theieves" - Jennifer Knapp

1 person you could spend the rest of your life with:
Luke! Thats why I married him!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A Quick Laugh

One of my projects as Worship Chair at Seabury was to organize a training on the use of incense. Luckily for me, our gracious friend the Sacristan had agreed to lead said training. So, as a dutiful organizer, I sent an email out to the community announcing the date and time. A witty student replied to me email, saying "Sorry I can't be there, though I would like to get some scents of how things are done." I love incense jokes.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Music and Mystery

I spent most of last night and most of this morning attending a fantastic workshop on Lift Every Voice and Sing II, one of ECUSA's five hymnals. A great blend of singing, stories, history and humor. It was a blast - and in honor of that, stop over at Jane's page and put in your favorite hymn.
Upon returning from said workshop, some nice soul had put flowers in a paper basket on my door! I have no idea who they are from (Luke is out of town, so the obvious suspect is ruled out) but it was just lovely. To tie up the day, here are some more Indigo Girls lyrics for y'all.

There must be a 1000 things you would die for
I can hardly think of two
But not everything is better spoken aloud
Not when I’m talking to you

Oh the pirate gets the ship and the girl tonight
Breaks a bottle to christen her
Basking in the exploits of her thief
She’s a very good listener
Maybe that’s all that we need
Is to meet in the middle of impossibility
We’re standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery
- Mystery, Indigo Girls

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

How Sweet It Is!

Yesterday, Tripp reported on Free Scoop Day at Ben & Jerry's. It was well attended by Seabury folk :) In case there is no Ben & Jerry's near you (Mark), or you just missed Free Scoop Day, you have another chance. Today is Free Scoop Day at BaskinRobbins! I love free ice cream.

PS- Today's links brought to you by a fun little program Mark made... much less typing = more time for ice cream!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Hindsight is 20/20??

I have been thinking about adoption lately. Not as in “Gee, let’s adopt a baby right now” but as a potential option, down the road. I do not know much about the subject, and I am glad when I can learn more about how it all works. With that said…. This 20/20 story is ridiculous! Adoption is NOT a competition, with a baby as a prize. Adoption is hard on the biological mother. It is (from what I’ve heard) a long and difficult process for those wishing to bring a child into their families. I appreciate the effort to illuminate the adoption process… but I just can’t believe that this is the way to do it. Children are people who need love and care and support. Children are not something we compete over, or a prize to win with the best marketing strategy. I am glad that there is a family who really wants this child. Really, I am. And I hope that the other families who want so much to have a child are able to find a child in need of a loving home. Adoption is a wonderful thing. A child being raised by parents who will love and care for him is a beautiful thing. It does not need a “competition” to make it any more exciting.

If you also think this is a bad idea, here is a link to email the 20/20 people.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Too Much Fun, Up Too Late

I found this on a friend's blog- online bubble wrap! It even comes in more than one form. Thanks for the distraction, frog... quick, easy and fun. What more could you want at midnight?

chicks, guitars, wisdom

You see the crosses on the sdie of the road
or tied with ribbons in the median
They make me gratful I can go this mile
Lay me down at night and wake me up again

Kat writes a poem and sticks it on my truck
We Don't Believe in War and We Don't Believe in Luck
The birds were calling to her, what were they saying
as the gate blew open and the tops of the trees were swaying

I pass the cemetery, walk my dog down there
I read the names in stone and I say a silent prayer
When I get home you're cooking supper on the stove
And the greatest gift of life is still our love

And I don't know where it all began
And I don't know where it all will end
We're better off for all that we let in
- Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls), "All That We Let In"

Friday, April 23, 2004

Something Fishy

I am having a tuna melt for lunch today. In my experience, people have a very strong reaction to tuna for some reason or another. For me, I just get the Bumble Bee Tuna song stuck in my head. If you want it stuck in your head too, go here!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Cultivating Boldness

I preached at a Seabury Eucharist for the first time today, on the feast of Alphege.

Did you hear it in the Gospel today? Do no be afraid. The first graders in my Sunday school class up in Kennilworth could tell you that that is what an angel always says. I always thought this greeting of choice had to do with the fact that suddenly seeing an angel would be a frightening experience. But I think what is really frightening is the earth-shaking, life-shattering news the angels always seem to bring- Unto to you is born this day… Why do you look for the living among the dead?…
Jesus news for us today is also life shattering: We have nothing to fear except our God, and that God is one who knows us so intimately that the hairs on our head are counted. I don’t know about you, but that is better than I know myself. We are not even to fear death itself. Now, most of us do not likely live with the fear that our Christianity will get us killed. Persecution and death are simply not high on my list of fears. Yet, I am afraid. When we are out and meeting new people, I have been known to dodge the question about what I do. You know this conversation: So, what do you do? Oh, I’m in school. Really, what do you study? Well…
What am I afraid of? It varies. With my conservative sister-in-law’s family, I didn’t want to be condemned by them, or even start a fight at a nice dinner. At the symphony with our artsy friends, I want to avoid that awkward moment, when people stop talking to you because they don’t know what to say to a priest. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, or be the wrong person and somehow give Christianity a bad name or accidentally turn someone from the Church. Do any of these fears sound familiar? Yet, I want to be the kind of Christian who – when brought in front of tribunals and magistrates- will be solid in my faith. Martyrs are not made at the moment of their death. That kind of bold faith is only built over time. Boldness cannot wait until we are faced with a dramatic choice – we must cultivate it daily. We are here in training for leadership in the church. We will be a community that encourages boldness in proclamation? In some ways, we already are. Some of us have put great strain on friendships and family relations by following the call to serve God in this way. In this place we have begun very difficult work in our efforts against racism. We strengthen our faith and our relationship with God each time we take a risk to support a classmate, to resolve conflict rather than hold a grudge, or seek to include a voice that is not being heard. And we weaken our faith each time we fail in taking risks to spread the Good News, when we allow negativity to become our entire outlook, when we fail to welcome visitors or our fellow community members because we are afraid of what the alternatives might look like. Do not be afraid- our God knows us well enough to count the hairs on our head- certainly that means knowing us well enough to know that we will miss opportunities, that we will fall short in our proclamation. There will always be room for improvement as we cultivate boldness among us. But what better Easter message than “Do Not Be Afraid”? Because, when we do stand up for grace and for love, we will encounter the loving, surprising God and we will be able to say Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Alleluia, Alleluia, Give thanks to the Risen Lord!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Give praise to his Name!

Hail Thee Festival Day! Blest Day that art hallowed for ever...

May your Easter Day be filled with blessings and your heart be filled with the hope and love of the risen Lord, today and always!

Friday, April 09, 2004


This is a fun thing, from Tripp's friend Jane, via Tripp:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

So, here goes...
"Thanks for your advice," she said.
Real Boys, by William Pollack
Funny. Its really a provocative book, but you wouldn't know it from that little piece!

Good Friday Taize

Per crucem et passionem tuam, liberanos Domine, Liberanos Domine, Liberanos Domine, Domine

Through your cross and passion, give us freedom, Lord

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom
Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The Quiz a.k.a. "Brownie Points with AKMA"

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, April 02, 2004

Office Space

I am hanging out at North Shore Baptist today, temping for the lovely Ms. Trish. Its fairly quiet, but not too much so. I was a church secretary at a Presby church in college for a couple years. I wanted to be a secretary when I was kid. Then, in high school, we took these career aptitude tests, and one of the top choices for me was a secretary! Really, its all about destiny. Or Meyers-Briggs. Or something.
For those of you who wanted to be radio DJs (thats you Micah & Tripp!), here is a new radio station. (Warning- serious liberal bent ahead) Al Franken and some of his like-minded funny friends have launched Air America. Even if you don't agree with him, Al Franken is just darn funny. And us lucky Chicagoans can get the channel on our very own radios- AM 950. Happy listening!

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Ordinary Day

Last night I went to see Great Big Sea for the fourth time. I love them. I love them. I love them. My favorite song of theirs is called Ordinary Day, and we listened to it a LOT in CPE last summer. So Tripp, Andrew & I decided to go hear it live, along with Luke, Trish and Jenni. It was a blast. And later today, my best friend is coming to town! She has never visited me at Seabury, and I can't wait for her to meet my friends and see my school. She also does school with her life- she is a high school drama teacher at Oakland School for the Arts. Her job is very diffcult, but she loves it very much. It will be a great visit! She is coming to most of my classes with me- Genesis with Frank, Anglicans & Authority with Trevor. Let the fun commence!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

A Fun Distraction - Part 2

Here is a fun link I got from Mark - Design Your Own Church Signs! Just click on one of the sample signs, and start designing. Just for Seabury folk, Mark designed one that says "This Week- Juxtaposition and Its Importance to Your Faith". I know you've always wanted a place to try out those pithy sayings you've been saving up- here is your chance!

Monday, March 22, 2004

Dream, Dream, Dream

I confess that I am hooked on The Apprentice- the reality show where people are competing for a job running one of Donald Trump's companies. I didn't realize just how hooked I was though. Last night, I had a dream where I was a contestant on the Apprentice. The task was to design and sell automobiles- and of course, the team who earned the most money in sales won. There were only three people on our team, and I wasn't the Project Manager, but I came up with idea to sell SUVs- they cost more than regular cars, and they're very popular, so we'd make more money. Our team won, and then I had to go buy a shirt and tie, but I couldn't find any that matched. Clearly this is not reality- I'm doing engineering work and I don't know how to shop!
Then, in Theology class today (yes, classes have started again here at Seabury, more on that another day) Trevor was talking about Thomas Aquinas' argument structure. He noted how Aquinas would set up an answer that some might give, then take it apart, and land at his final answer. I daydreamed for a moment (just a moment, Trevor, I promise!) and pictured Thomas Aquinas on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? "Well, Regis... Mr. So&So might say A because blah blah blah, but really, they are missing the Scriptural connection. The answer is actually D. Final answer". It amused me, and I learned that I watch too much TV.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Kids Say...

I love teaching Sunday School, and here is one of a million reasons why. A few of the kids in the class across the hall from mine usually get there early, and today some of them beat all their teachers. So, another floating teacher stopped by and said "You don't have any teachers? Maybe you can teach the class!" The kid responded "I want God to teach class today." Me too, dear. Me too.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

day and night

Some people are naturally early-risers. Other people are naturally night-owls. I've never spent too much time thinking about this, and how we get this way. I do enjoy nature vs. nurture conversations, even though they are impossible to solve. Personally, I've always been one to sleep in - but my mom definitely encouraged it. I even have a bit of a reptuation for it around school. But for the past week or so, I've been waking up early. This is the first day I realized that I just couldn't get back to sleep. Maybe I was still riled up from the rockin' Irish band I saw last night.And its my Spring Break- when I should be sleeping in! Sometimes, I am convinced we live in a backwards world, my friends.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Happy St. Pat's!

I've always liked St. Patrick's Day. When I was a kid, my parents would make us green "near-beer". Near-beer is actually really disgusting. You put about an inch or two of beer in a glass, and fill the rest with water. But, it was special and it was green, so I always drank it! Tonight there will be no green near-beer, but plenty of good music and good friends. St. Patrick's Day is also my in-laws wedding anniversary- they hit 30 years today. 30 years of marriage is some kind of miracle, and although I suppose it can't be attributed to St. Patrick directly, its nice to have a saint to associate with. So, enjoy the day- and while you're at it, say a prayer for peace, in Northern Ireland, around the world and in our lives.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Did I mention Bruce is my hero?

Monday, March 08, 2004

Third Grade

Here is a fun distraction for you. If you're not feeling on top of theology or computer programming or statistics, see if you can do US states. Hopefully, it will make you feel smarter again. I may not get through this quarter of my master's program, but at least I can pass third grade!

Friday, March 05, 2004

Too Virtual?

I keep a blog, obviously. I like connecting with people over the web, and keeping up with friends. But an online church? This will take some thought.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Write Now

No, I am not giving up my blog for Lent. I am giving up caffienated beverages because I found myself way too dependent on my Cherry Coke. However, I am pretty much giving up the blog until the end of the term. But, to keep my lovely friends and readers updated, here are some of the things that are occupying my mind at the moment.
For New Testament: the relation between faith in works in James 2:14-26, and how that relates to Paul in general. (Actually, strike that- its printing as I type. yay!)
For History: the rise of Pentecostalism in Latin America, and (separately) education as a social movement in the Second Great Awakening. Did y'all know that Oberlin, my husband's alma mater, was founded as part of that movement?
For Ethics: Should Christians be involved in the political process, specifically voting? I'm falling down on "yes" here, and I think the liberation theologians will help me explain that.
For Preaching: How did Mary Magdalene react to the Resurrection?
Come Spring Break, my brain will be tired and full, which is usually a nice feeling of contentment. Until then, I will be typing away. I guess that is a kind of Lenten discipline too. Good luck to everyone else finishing up a term!

PS- Speaking of writing, congrats to Tripp on getting published!!