Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

So your headed to seminary in the fall…

February 28, 2010

I recently received an e-mail from someone who has recently been accepted to Princeton Theological Seminary.  First and foremost, CONGRATS!  It is an exciting time for sure.  For those of you still waiting to hear about whether or not you have been accepted, remember…it’s a rolling admission so if you haven’t heard yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have been declined.  A small disclaimer before I continue, please make sure to check www.ptsem.edu to make sure this information is correct.  Things change and I cannot promise you I will update this information over time.  There is a ‘search’ button at the top right of the main PTS website.

1. Financial- I know PTSEM is generous but of course I still have a heavy financial obligation.  How have you been paying for school, what works, doesn’t re: working, scholarships, etc.

  • Great question.  The institution aid at PTS is generous.  The grants they offer are very helpful.  That said, there is still quite a bit that is left to each student to cover.  I was fortunate enough to receive some scholarship money from my home church and my presbytery and I also applied for the Presbyterian Study Grant which I received as well.  This was immensely helpful and for those who are PC(USA) folks I highly recommend applying.  I  also applied for the federal Work Study which is an option here at PTS.  I work 8-10 hours a week here on campus though there are some off campus jobs as well.  For this year, I had to take out loans to cover the rest.  There is a helpful document on the Financial Aid website that covers “outside sources” for money for theological education so I highly recommend checking that out.  The way they have it set up right now it’s a bit clunky but it is being updated.  The Fund for Theological Education has a great database of scholarships and grants as well as a few they offer themselves.  I am attempting to not take out any loans for the remaining two years of seminary so hopefully that will work out!

2. Residence- Are you living in the dorms or apartments? I wondering if the ‘older’ students are spending their first year on or ‘off’ campus.

  • I am living in the dorms.  A large percentage of the students here have come straight from undergraduate school but there are some 2nd and even 3rd year students who have chosen to live in the dorms.  I graduated with my BA in 2003 so I fall into this category.  That said, the percentage of ‘older’ students is probably higher in the seminary’s apartment style living.  Unfortunately this will not be a viable option for the 2010-2011 academic year due to construction/rebuilding.  More information about that can be found here.  There are some folks who have found accommodations out in town though that seems to be a bit hard to do.  I actually like living on campus.  It is very convenient and a lot of the things in life that can be ‘stressers’ are non-issues (i.e., utility bills!).  One of the biggest downfalls is the lack of kitchen space.  Two of the dorms have a kitchenette (Alexander Hall basement and Brown Hall 1st Floor) but they are very small and you have to lug all your stuff down to cook.  All students who live on campus are required to purchase a meal plan so there isn’t a ton of cooking you would have to do, but none the less the question of meals is sometimes a struggle.   For more info on the food service here at PTS, click here.  Cafeteria style food usually makes it difficult to please everyone but although I am not always thrilled with their menu choices, there is a pretty solid salad bar as well as a sandwich/wrap bar so when all else fails, these are wonderful options.

3. Prepping – I am curious to what things you would do now (in retrospect) to prepare for the PTSEM experience.  I may defer for a year and want to maximize my prep time.

  • This is another great question.  As I see it, there are two sides to this question: logistics/finances and discernment
    • Logistics/Finances: If you have a nice set up where you are now that would allow you to save a lot of money up, deferring might be a good option.  If you have rent, bills, responsibilities that will prevent you from saving a sizable amount of money, I personally don’t think this is a good option.  And some choose to defer because of family dynamics and/or all that would be involved to make the transition to NJ.
    • Discernment: Seminary, and possibly Princeton Theological Seminary in particular, is not easy.  Seminary is not just school for the mind, it’s school for the heart and soul.  It will demand not only mental energy.  It is emotionally challenging and can also cause crisis’ of faith.  This is not to scare people away but just to be honest about the reality that seminary is demanding in ways that other degrees may not be.  Studying law, for instance, will probably not require one to bear their soul and deal with questions of doubt.  In one sense I don’t think it is possible to be fully prepared for seminary.  That said, waiting a year could help one be more prepared.  There was a reading list sent out last year so I will post that separately.

4. Spiritual atmosphere-  I have visited PTSEM but want to know if people are growing, seeking God or is it mainly an academic environment.

  • For me personally the academics are a natural expression of growing and seeking God.  I don’t say that to dodge the question but rather because in one respect it is hard for me to divide the two.  On the other hand, I definitely understand what you are getting at.  With the handful of professors I have had thus far I think it is fair to say that the spiritual atmosphere of the classroom depends specifically on the professor.  That is not to say that some are spiritual and others are not (that is definitely not true) but rather the professors seem to integrate this aspect differently.  Some profs open each class with prayer.  Some do not.  Some find it easy to make integrate more ministry related content into their lectures while others do not.  Because the very nature of seminary is such that our faith will be challenged by at least some of what we learn, the frequency and intensity of wrestling matches with God increase.  This to me is most definitely seeking and growing in the Lord.  To move away from the academic side of the spectrum, the student life opportunities here are quite impressive and provide many different options for personal spiritual growth and formation.  There are numerous student groups that focus on putting faith into action and the chapel office is amazing in what they endeavor to offer students in the way of worship and retreat opportunities not to mention the counseling and spiritual direction opportunities that the Student Health Benefit Plan provides.
  • So that’s the long answer.  : )  The short answer is that yes, I do believe the people here are seeking God and growing in their faith.  : )

5. What other students or professors should I connect with to really maximize my prep time and integrate well before and during my time at PTSEM.

  • SUPER GREAT QUESTION!  : )  Connecting with students and profs is a great idea.  I will tailor the answer via e-mail to the specific person who is asking this, but in general here are my suggestions.
    • To connect with students the best resource is probably Facebook.  : )  I connected with a couple folks through Facebook as well as Twitter before I got here.  One of my friends that I met here decided to search Facebook for folks at PTS that lived in her state.  She sent them messages and connected with a few folks that way.  There are also a few Student Profiles on the website so if any of those folks stick out to you.  If you decide to come to Summer Language before starting in Fall this is also a great place to meet people.  I think info about Summer Language will be posted here soon.
    • As for profs, there is a Faculty Directory with bios of each professor you can look through to find people whose scholarship lines up with your interests.

While this person asked for “the good, bad and the ugly,” I must admit this post is overall pretty positive.  While there are pluses and minuses about every institution (whether higher ed or otherwise) I honestly don’t have much that is bad to say about PTS that is bad.  But I can tell you that I have not sugar coated this post.  So hopefully my experience and commentary is helpful.  Comments can lead to more specific posts so please comment if you’d like to know more about my take on any of this.

Hello

November 1, 2008

It’s been a while hasn’t it.  For some reason I have not been up for blogging lately.  I started back to work after a week and a half of being out after the toe surgery.  It was a dreadful day.  In the time I was off I truly felt a peace with the world.  I was reading and writing.  I was interacting with people about reading and writing.  I wrote my first sermon.  I prepared to lead my very first worship service.  It was wonderful.  I thought to myself, “This is what it means to be me.”  And then I couldn’t be me anymore.  I had to go back to my 8-5, task oriented, non-creative job. And my soul was in shock and rebellion from this.  That and my toe hurt after being up on it most of the day. 

Friday was a bit better.  And then the weekend was awesome.  I got to preach for the first time.  I am planning on blogging about that more specifically later, but suffice to say it was an awesome experience.

And then I went to my 8-5, task oriented, non-creative job.  But I was a bit more content because God confirmed some things for me when I preached.  But again, more on that later.

There have been other things going on in life lately.  For one I have been very tired.  This is probably partially due to the surgery but I think it is mostly due to the weather.  The short days are really messing with me.  I am also the lead person for Operation Christmas Child at my church his year.  Fun stuff.  I love OCC.  And this week and next I am facilitating my Sunday morning Bible study.  I like all the stuff but it leaves me feeling lonely.  I feel as though I have community but then I feel as though I don’t.  Things like Facebook and Twitter are nice, but I feel as though they provide only the illusion of community instead of the reality.  I feel linked up to many, but connected to so few.  That said, I have two friends now that I can have over and still stay in my PJs.  How cool is that?  I love it.

It is sad to me that  have gotten more calls from political telemarketers than anyone else.  Truth be known, more than everyone else combined.  I took a nap after work today to avoid throwing myself a pity party, but it is hard.  Then one of my PJ friendscameover and that was nice because I didn’t have to entertain.  I just got to be me with someone else in the room.  It was really nice.  And she made me cheesy rice and brought me chocolate.

I also got information on two schools in Jerusalem that I am going to look into in hopes of going there this summer.  Another friend of mine threw out the dea of a kibbutz so I am going to look into that as well.

I found out I will get to go to my Aunt and Uncle’s for Thanksgiving which is good.  My mom’s b-day is the day before so it will be good to see her for sure.

I am finally getting organized at work.  After a year of trying to figure everything out without having a lot to go on, I am finally organizing it all.  It’ quite amazing really.  I have a new boss now and he is pretty awesome and has made work much less stressful.  I am thankful for that.  I only hope that his ledership is a gift from God to help me stay in this place as long as I am supposed to.  But I am really wondering how long that is going to be.  Maybe it’s much shorter than I think.  Who knows.

Been thinking a lot lately about LGBT “issues” to include ordination of LGBT people.  I am reading a book called “A Time to Embrace” by William Stacy Johnson.  I also want to read Jack Rogers’ “Jesus, The Bible, And Homosexuality” and maybe “The Children are Free” by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler (I think).  It seems to me that since i am seeking ordination in PC(USA) I should seek to understand both sides of the issues which for me means learning much more about those who support ordination of LGBT people since my faith journey was predominantly fundamental until about a year and a half ago.

I have had a few folks send me messages on Facebook to ask me what I am up to lately.  When I reply “working on my M-div” I seem to be getting silence.  It irks me that fundies think if they don’t agree with something ignoring it will be helpful.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it.  Or maybe they are rallying the troops to attack from all sides.  Maybe the are all praying for me in hopes that I will repent of my wickedness and turn from my wicked ways.  If they are, I both appreciate it and am annoyed by it.  *shrug*

In other news, I voted via absentee ballot the other day.  Decided to do that due to the toe surgery.  I am now officially an Obama Mama as Carol put it.  : )

Well, I guess that’s all for now.  Lots of ramblings, but hey…it’s something.

Dizzy Izzy & Electric Bulls

September 27, 2008

About 7 years ago, I broke my left pinky.  The story goes like this. 

Once upon a time there was a college student who played dizzy izzy with a club she was in.  The rules were 5 spins n the bat and then run 50 feet or so (I’m not good at guestimating distances).  We all did this without any mishaps and then faculty leader of the club said something along the lines of, “That wasn’t rediculous enough!  Do it again with 10 spins!”  Hmmm.  So ten spins I did and then I did one more on my way down to the grassy field.  I hyper extended my pinky, ring finger, and middle finger on the left hand.  Because of the way our bdies are designed, my pinky broke in order to prevent my tendon from snapping.  Tendons take way longer to heal so I was glad in a weird sort of way that Ibroke my pinky.  I also vowed to never play dizzy-izzy again.

Today I have added something to my “never again” list: riding electric bulls.  I rode one today and when I fell off, my leg did something a bit unnatural and my toe bent under my weight in such a way thatI broke it.  But it is n ordinary break.  Noooooo, I have to be unique in all I do.  It’s my MO.  As you can see in the photo, the tip of the bone near the joint broke off.  So whereas many toe breaks are taped together and they heal naturally, I am in a splint and on crutches and have to go see an orthopedic surgeon.  The nurse said, “I’ve never seen a break like that.”  Do I get points for originality?

I twittered about this as it was happening (i.e., in the exam room) and want to say thanks to Carol for making me laugh out loud in the patient first.  When I told her what happened she responded with, “Oh my gosh.  That’s EVEN BETTER [than dropping a hammer on it].  If you’re gonna break a bone, then you might as well do it while falling off an electric bull.”  I was kinda getting bummed out about the effect this is going to have on life so thanks fo lifting my spirits, Carol.

Tweet, tweet…

September 13, 2008

So I decided to “join” twitter.  My initial response is:

1) It is neat.
2) It is addictive.

I was also very intrigued by the most distinguished moderators blog titled Three Ways to Stay Connected.  He said: “Online interaction is NOT an extra burden or item on my to-do list, but a natural extension of the way I interact with and have experienced the community and the world.”  That is eve opening for me.  It is challenging to me.  It is encouraging to me.  And who knew that blogging was a spiritual practice!

I am also challenged that someone who defines themselves as “a quickly aging Presbyterian pastor who is probably not as cool or hip as [he] once thought [he] was” is far exceeding my techno abilities!  There are 14, yes FOURTEEN, icons on his blog that I don’t have a clue what the are and yet he has them all linked together! 

The world is transforming and I don’t want to be left behind.  Now…to figure out how to twitter on facebook…