Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shuffle's Favorite

My ipod may be trying to tell me something, or it may just have good taste.

The Wood Song - Indigo Girls
The thin horizon of a plan is almost clear
My friends and I have had a tough time
Bruising our brains hard up against change
All the old dogs and the magician
Now I see were in the boat in two by twos
Only the heart that we have for a tool we could use
And the very close quarters are hard to get used to
Love weighs the hull down with its weight

But the wood is tired and the wood is old
And we'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go

No way construction of this tricky plan
Was built by other than a greater hand
With a love that passes all out understanding
Watching closely over the journey
Yeah but what it takes to cross the great divide
Seems more than all the courage I can muster up inside
But we get to have some answers when we reach the other side
The prize is always worth the rocky ride

But the wood is tired and the wood is old
And we'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
Thats where I need to go

Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look
Skip to the final chapter of the book
And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took
To get us where we are this far yeah
But the question drowns in its futility
And even I have got to laugh at me
No one gets to miss the storm of what will be
Just holding on for the ride

The wood is tired and the wood is old
We'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
Thats where I need to go

Friday, February 22, 2008

Seabury Prayers

Distressing news about Seabury, my seminary alma mater, has been floating around for a day or so now. In short, they have elected to end the 3-year M.Div program, suspend all admissions, and make alternative arrangements for current masters/certificate students to complete their degrees while the Planning Committee does its work to figure out the "what next" of theological education. The details of this, through the Dean's official letter, can be found here. Its worth reading all the way through.

"Mixed emotions" might be the only way to describe my reaction fairly - though, in that mix, I'm not finding much positive right now. I'm worried for friends trying to get through the ordination process, who don't need added complications to an already-complicated system. I'm very worried for friends whose careers and livelihoods have huge question marks hanging over them. I'm concerned and sad that the institution that formed me for ministry might cease to exist, despite the best efforts of people who love it and work on its behalf.

Beyond my concerns for these folks, though, I am concerned about the larger church. Twice now (at least), General Convention has essentially ignored the cries that our seminaries need a new way to fund preparation for ministry. In a sermon earlier this week, the Dean commented that
"It would be injudicious of me to compare the Episcopal Church to scribes and Pharisees, so please don’t call your bishops and tell them I did; but it does seem to me that the institutional church has laid on all of us seminaries burdens which it is not itself willing to help us bear. The church has fewer students and no money with which to support us, and yet it it continues to demand that we behave in certain historical institutional ways."
I believe that there is need for traditional seminary education. I believe that there is value in face-to-face classroom experience. I believe that the Church needs leaders who have learned to debate in a classroom and then share evening worship and dinner. But I believe that the seminaries cannot continue to do this as lone operators. Until the Episcopal Church finds a way to support formation for ordained ministry, this will not be the last dean's letter like this.

Please pray for this community, and for the church.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Google Calendar Can Haz Grammar

Have you discovered Google Calendar yet? Its our new family favorite. You can set up online calendars, for free, and share them with other users. The research project that Luke works on uses it to set up interviews and meetings. We each keep our indivdual calendars updated there, as well as a family calendar. I also run a calendar of continuing education and conference opportunities, and when I decide to register for one, I can simply switch it over to the calendar that Luke sees too. You can import from iCal, it has pretty colors, you can set it to remind you of upcoming events. Basically, we're very happy with it.

Not all programs are glitch-free of course. Those little reminders? Well, they're just fill-in-the-blank things, so they can sound a little funny. For instance, I occsionally schedule conference calls, and the reminder looks like this:

Phone: Mr Rev (Susie) is happening at 10:30 in phone

Google can haz grammar. Our family can haz organizing. I still think we win.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Or... Twelve years of dating and marriage.

Thursdays are my day off. I know this is somewhat odd, but it was the only thing that would work when I started this clergy-life a couple years ago, and now I love it. All that to say, I actually had Valentines Day off this year! I was going to cook salmon and champagne risotto and panna cotta (why yes, I watch Everyday Italian with Giada, why do you ask?) but after spending 10 hours in the car in two days, I just wasn't up for it. So we decided to go out to dinner see a movie, and just hang out for the day.

After lunch and a West Wing episode, Luke surprised me with chocolates! Of course, we're sharing them, so its partly a present for himself, but it was pretty great considering we aren't always big on holiday presents. Case in point... later in the afternoon, he said "I'm so proud of myself for getting you flowers!" Um... or not.

Apparently, going out to dinner and seeing a movie is a popular choice for Valentines Day. Around 4pm or so, Luke thought we should try and get reservations for dinner. Well, no one had space for a reservation. Oops. Oh well, we figured, they must leave some openings for people who drop in - we'll just give it a try. So, we went to our movie (Definitely, Maybe - pretty cute) and headed out to dinner. First restaurant? 3 hour wait. The next couple weren't any better. At that point, we were hungry, and decided that take-out pizza and buffalo wings (for me, not for the vegetarian) on the living room floor with some more West Wing sounded just fine.

As we left restaurants #2 and #3 both packed with young couples hoping to get seated, Luke said "Wow. It must really suck to be a guy who plans to take a date out for dinner on Valentine's Day, and didn't think far enough ahead to make reservations. Thats so sad for them."

Ten minutes later, we both realized how ironic and funny that was. And we're still laughing.

I'd say Valentine's Day number 12 was an all-around success.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lenten Hope

So give me hope
Give me hope

That emptiness brings fullness

And loss of love brings wholeness

To us all

-Hand Me Downs, Indigo Girls