Friday, February 25, 2005

Chapel today...The power of Grace

  • I had the opportunity to participate in an amazing chapel service this morning. CTS student James Joyner was preaching on the Last Supper scene as it's found in Mark. He was talking about how the church and christians have become bedmates with the evil that they are supposed to be fighting against. He talked about how The Satan doesn't even have to fight anymore, because we do his work for him. When he started talking about those who have given their lives in order to fight evil, he got emotional. It was amazing how supportive the community present the spirit was in that moment. His next words testified to the resurrection of Christ as a testament to the grace of God. The grace of God truly is an amazing amazing that it conquers even death. As he closed, he offered his body and blood to the service of Christ's mission in the world. Powerful stuff!!! When Dr. Stroup invited us to the table, his line about, "Don't come because you deserve it, but because of the grace of God," I shed a few tears. Why is it that grace doesn't bring about that kind of response on a more regular basis? Anyway, it was an emotional service.
  • My friend Ani raised a great question as we walked out? Why do we greet each other with, "Peace of Christ," as we leave chapel, but as soon as we get 500 yards away, we slip back into, "How ya doin?" I think I'm going to make an effort to greet more people with Peace of Christ for a few days. It's such a better way of greeting someone.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Seminary is a funny place

  • Seminary really is a funny place. I sat through a three hour class the other night where I witnessed a great deal of skepticism and negativity. I mean, one of my classmates got worked up because our seminary is planning to have a fire drill. I think I heard him say, "fear mongering." That, or the seminary wants to make sure people can get out of one of our antiquated buildings adequately in case of a fire. Just because an establishment suggests something doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. It doesn't necessarily mean it's good, but still. I just walked out feeling like people are so negative sometimes. I mean, I tend to run on the cynical side from time to time, but I try to follow up my negativity with some thought on how to make things better. I found it interesting that we just skipped past our professor telling a story that culminated with the question, "How do I make the party better?" Looking back, I wonder if he told that story as a corrective to the negativity in the room. Anyway, seminary is a funny place.
  • We also talked about the importance of being comfortable in one's own skin...Being comfortable with yourself. We all agreed that we are drawn to following people who seem to have that quality. I think that might be what I was trying to get at in earlier discussions when I suggested that some people are natural leaders, and that others, no matter how much training they receive, will never be comfortable as leaders. I wonder if the more elemental question has to do with being comfortable as...well, as whoever you happen to be. As our conversation progressed, I sensed a huge uneasiness with claiming personal leadership styles. Does that have to do with low self-esteem, an ability to articulate exactly, being afraid of others in the room, or simply never having thought of it? In any case, I've spent some time this week thinking about being comfortable as a 28-year-old, white, 6' 4", extroverted, male, from Missouri.
  • Last weekend I visited a church in Florida. I had a great time meeting the people there. This call process is going to be so difficult. Once I visit someplace, and actually meet the people, the whole thing takes on a different, "face," if you will. Prayers for discernment would be greatly welcomed.
  • For those of you West Wing fans out there, was the episode on Wednesday, February 23rd not absolutely amazing? I found myself holding my breath at certain points during the show. I continue to be amazed at how a TV show can have such a profound impact on my brain. I should recommend that episode to Bill Harkins, my pastoral care professor. People were working through a lot of "stuff," in that episode.
  • What's so great about the barrier reef anyway? :)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Venture Cinema...The $1.99 dollar theatre. Posted by Hello

Lindsey & Laurie at Venture Cinema on Valentine's Day Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Valentine's Day plus

  • Have you ever had one of those days when you see an ex and it just throws off your whole day? Well, that happened to me today. Without going into the details, I saw an ex, and it sent my emotions into a bit of a tailspin. What is it about former relationships that wreak such havoc on us? I mean, in our brains, we know that some people aren't right for us, yet we still yearn to recapture a closeness with them. Anyway, my day was a bit emotionally topsy turvy.
  • I'm gonna go ahead and confess that I had a big drink at Los Bravos in Decatur, GA, and, "my brain," in the words of Winnie the Pooh, "feels fluffy."
  • For Valentine's Day, I went to dinner with Weicher, Laurie, Lindsey, Jonathan, and Shannon at a chain restaurant (Chili's) and then went to see Ray at the dollar theatre. Actually, it now costs $1.99. I mean, what's up with that? Why not just charge $2.00? Is it that we feel like we're spending less if we don't actually see the $2? They must keep a lot of pennies on hand. Anyway, it was a good time. I took a couple of pictures that I might post later. I let the girl at the concession stand convince me to buy the large soda for fifty cents more. I didn't even remember buying it until half way through the movie. I did, however, munch down on some Hot Tamales. I love those things...especially at movies. I was really thankful to that crowd of folks for including me in the festivities. I feel like everyone in that group has been so gracious to me. They could have easily decided to turn their backs on me, but have, instead, included me on more occasions than I probably deserve.
  • This call process thing is starting to wear on me. I just found out this evening that a church I interviewed with wants me to come visit, but has called some near and dear friends and told them they're exploring other options. It seems that some feelings are going to be hurt before this is all over.
  • E'erbody in the Club Gettin' Tipsy! I love this song. I think my most vivid memories of it are from basketball at Shandon and one particular night at...well, at that dance club in Columbia, SC. I hate it when I forget stuff like that. Crazy stupid song, but way fun.
  • We had some interesting discussions again tonight in Final Things. I think I'll save my reflections on that when I'm feeling a bit more awake. The getting up early each day this week is catching up with me. Until then, know that I'm still struggling a good bit with what it means to be a Christian leader. I've decided I'm open to the idea that all people are leaders, but still not sure that works out. Convince me.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

By the Power of Grayskull

  • If anybody is looking for some great He-Man and She-Ra stuff, including desktop themes, wallpapers, sound clips, and videos, check out It's a great site for all of us former He-Man fans. I love staring my computer and hearing He-Man say, "By the Power of Grayskull...I Have the Power!!!"
  • I'm feeling a bit troubled about some stuff related to one of my classes this semester. Last night, we were asked to share faith statements that reflected our understanding of Christian leadership. There were a variety of understandings and thoughts, and I love that. Unfortunately, my roommate Davis got attacked, which sucked. I felt like he was naming a tendency that all of us share to some degree of turning our deepfelt convictions and causes into God. He tried to be vulnerable, and people attacked it. Not cool dude...not cool. I was also bothered by comments made in response to class on an e-mail forum. People voiced being highly uncomfortable with sharing their statements of faith. As I've thought about that through the day, it bothers me more and more. I mean, what is it that we're doing as ministers of word and sacrament? I mean, isn't that what we do when we step into the pulpit to preach or pray? How are we supposed to become a community of faith if we're afraid to share our faith? Yes, there will be times when we don't feel safe, but in the end, are we called to safety? Won't the faith community be strengthened by people who are willing to share their faith honestly and openly? It seems that we need to create spaces where faith can be expressed, heard, and maybe even challenged. Isn't one of our tasks in ministry to help people articulate the faith of I and the faith of we and then share that faith with others? Don't we need to feel comfortable sharing our faith with everyone we meet in terms that show some sort of passion and maybe even vulnerability? All in all, it troubles me that so many future ministers conceive of faith as such a private thing. What is it about the culture/society we live in that we're afraid to boldly claim our faith, even at the risk of being rejected, judged, or even cast out?
  • Finally, as I was working out today, I was plugged into the mp3 player (not an ipod because I'm a poor seminarian), and a fellow student came in and turned on the Maury Povich show. Every guest was a woman who was giving a man a paternity test for one of her children. About half of them ended up being the father. There was one girl who had been on the show 9 times for a previous child and was back for a new child. Whereas I'm totally against censorship, I wonder if the producers of that show might be more consicentious about what they "glorify," and how they reward people for making bad choices. It makes me sad that there are so many women out there who really have no idea who fathered their child. What has our society said to them that allows them devalue themselves in that way?