Archive for July, 2008

Fall 2009

July 30, 2008

Well, it looks like maybe I will get to go to seminary full time at a denominational (PC(USA)) seminary in Fall 2009.  Anyone have any thoughts on where to go?  There isn’t really anything holding me to any one specific place though I think I would like to stay on the east coast.  I was dabling with the idea of San Fran (and I ave relatives there too!) but air fare is not cheap.  I am also thinking about Princeton too…because (honestly) it’s Princeton.  I think I would really like the fact that it is, as my pastor said, the most academic of PC(USA) seminaries.  I am somewhat amazed at when the deadlines are so I need to decide where I want to apply.  I have already started working on the application for PTS. 

So where did you go to seminary?  What did you like about it?  What’s the community like?  Anyone have any advice for finacing?

For Sale

July 29, 2008

I am selling some stuff on e-bay.  Please leave a comment if you are interested.

Sold Out

July 26, 2008

I am 27 and I am single.  As it turns out, I am an oddball for my generation.  Though this is not news to me (I’ve been an oddball for my whole life for one reason or another), it is frustrating.  People talk about how this generation is not in church and wonder why…I haven’t read the book unChristian but I have heard some of the numbers in sermons that support this.  I have read blogs where people ask wonderingly how to get the 20 and 30-somethings back.  And honestly it kinda pisses me off.  I am still in church because I love the church.  Warts and all, I love her (which is where the “oddball” things comes into play).  She has so much potential!  But in so many ways, we have sold out.  It makes me want to leave sometimes.  We prioritze our lives away to create hierarchies of responsibility which allow us to be neat and tidy with our responses to the various expectations that are thrown our way instead of relying on the Spirit to direct us.  We idolize the family unit.  We place it above the body of Christ.  We worship it as the be all end all for the american dream.  While the specifics of that american dream may have changed, the family is still highly sought after even if that is “only” a partner in crime (aka spouse).  People were made for relationships.  The body of Christ should be the epitomy of that.  Instead we all come together for a few short hours every week and pretend to be united.  Don’t get me wrong, we are united in the Spirit and there is nothing we can do that will change that fact.  But practically speaking the church seems to me to be a bunch of individuals who allude themselves that they live in community.  And I am a culprit myself.  We have our own homes, our own cars, our own mixers and microwaves and radios and TVs and laptops and…  We live in the illusion that we don’t need each other.  We have pay at the pump, self serve, and self check outs because I can do it all by myself damn it.  Sounds like something a 2 year old would say.  So if you want to bring the 20 and 30 somethings back, it seems to me that at least part of that needs to be offering relationship.  There are a lot of smart people out there with great suggestions for the more practical side of things but my 2 cents is this: even if you do all the right things as per the experts on post-modernity and emergent culture, if you are not working to build relationships with people, you aren’t going to attract this age group.  Tell me you need me.  Tell me I matter.  Tell me you are okay with me being me.  Tell me your community will benefit from what I have to offer.  And make sure you mean it.  Instead of prioritizing life, live it to it’s fullest.  Do you think a single 20 or 30 something might enjoy hanging out with you and your family?  And I’m not talking about just on Christmas when everyone magically starts thinking about people who have eaten hundreds of meals alone throughout the year.  Stop compartmentalizing things and let’s share.  Let’s live our messy lives with the messyness touching. 

A note of caution: Don’t require me to be anything other than what God made me to be.  Even if the way you understand that is different from the way I understand that.  We don’t buy into guilt or manipulation.  It makes us feel icky inside and scares us away.  If I need to be changed, God knows it and will bring it about and might even use you to do it, but that must be on God’s timeline…not yours.

This rant is officially over.  Hopefully I will not have to eat any of these words.  Writing this has been a bit cathartic so even if I do oh well.  These ideas are not fully formed in my head but control and perfection are idols I have bowed down to for far too long.

The Shack: A book review

July 26, 2008
I bought The Shack, by William Young, on Wednesday and finished it 3 days later.  For me that’s usually an indication that the book is very, very good.  If you are not open to the possibility that your perception of God and the world we live in might be…well, really wrong or at best very distorted, you will probably not like this book.  If you realize or at least have a sneaking suspision that when Paul said “we see through a mirror dimly” it was a severe understatement, you will enjoy The Shack immensely.  To start off with, I would recommend not reading the intro before you start the book.  I read it after I finished the book and I am so glad I did.  It just has too much info in it and it would have made me think too rationally about the story as it unfolds.  It is my humble opinion that you will get more out of the book by waiting to read the intro.  That said, I do recommend that you read it!  There’s some important info in there!
So a little about the plotline, Mack, the protagonist of the story, takes his children on a camping trip.  Unfortunately, just before they are about to leave, the youngest child, a little girl named Missy, is abducted.  Due to a clue left at the last place Missy was, it is probably that Missy is about to be brutally murdered.  The rest of the story deals with the aftermath of this and is a journey through one mans pain and confusion over the evil of this world.  His ideas about God, the way God interacts with humanity, and the way we should go about living this thing called life are explored, challenged, and restored.

I got a lot out of this book.  I think it is just what I needed in this moment in my life.  While my story does not contain anything as horrifying as the abduction of a child, there are a few ways in which Mack’s story is my own.  And I daresay that there are ways in which Mack’s story is our story.  It is well worth the read and it is doubtful that you will regret it.

Photo by: Natalie Maynor

Communication

July 26, 2008

The picture in this post is of a cover plate for a light switch.  It is made of metal and it is typical of what is used on Navy ships.  I keep this cover plate on my desk and may actually put it in a frame of some sort.  This cover plate is a visual reminder of a very important lesson I learned in the Navy: when you ask someone to do something, it is important that you take care to communicate any expectations that are attached to your request.  So here’s the story:

I had a division (smaller than a department) of 5 or 6 guys and our spaces (translation: rooms) were soon to be inspected by the Commanding Officer so we were touching up (or completelyrenovating) some things.  As the cover plate on one of the switches looked kinda sloppy, I said to one of the guys, “Please rough up this cover plate so we can paint it.”  I think back on that now and laugh.  He roughed it up all right.  I am not sure if you can see in the picure but the cover plate is dented and bent and gouged with every bit of paint removed from it.  What I meant for him to do was simply scuff up the paint that was on there so new paint would stick to it.  But I assumed he had the same experience I did and that he would intuitively know exactly what I meant.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  You know what happens when you assume…you make an a** out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’  (Get it?  ass-u-me?  Ha ha ha…) 

i just saw the cover plate sitting on my desk and figured I would share my tidbit of learning with the world.  That is all.  : )