Monday, April 30, 2007

1) Not passing out while jogging this morning.

2) Being halfway done with my written response questions for DCOM.

3) Doing a little work outside the library and watching someone maneuver a remote-controlled car around the concrete. I found myself intrigued, and kind of hoping that whoever was controlling the thing would drive it into the library.

Friday, April 27, 2007

1. Wearing?

Well, I'm wearing blue corduroys and a dark pink, long-sleeved shirt. It's my day off, so I don't really care. Though I'm glad I didn't decide to do this right after my workout and before my shower! (Hooray for scuzzy old bathrobes!)

2. Pondering

I've been thinking a lot about the UM DCOM questions because this week's project is getting those responses written so I can send them out. Secondly, I've been thinking a lot about multicultural ministry, how it's more than just multiracial or multiethnic, and how we as a denomination talk a lot about being diverse but we have churches that are mostly homogeneous (racially, generationally, culturally, linguistically, etc...).

3. Reading

For my own sanity, I've been rereading a bit of fiction - Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series. Right now, I've past where I stopped before and am now on book 10: Crossroads of Twilight. I am bound and determined to finish this series, even though it is painfully evident that the plot has collapsed under its own weight. The earlier books were better, these later ones are OK. Give me two more books, and if the series isn't over yet, I'll most likely be screaming for the main character and all associated with him to die in the Last Battle.

4. Dreaming

I've been dreaming about life after the end of the semester, life after Drew and, best of all, married life. :-) Only a few more months!

5. Eating

I have only had Dannon Light and Fit Strawberry Yogurt this morning. For lunch, I'll be eating some leftovers. For dinner, I'm feeling like it's a day for turkey soup.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reading

You know? I wish I had the time for fruitful, outside reading. I have the stuff we're required to read for class, and I try to always be reading one book of fiction just for fun, but that leaves me with little time to read books that I'm interested in vocationally or spiritually. I think I've been reading the Bolger and Gibbs Emerging Churches ever since I picked it up last year at Annual Conference. Gah. And I want to start reading some of the more spiritual classics, but where's the time?

I think that it would be fun to have a one credit seminary class that met once per month or every other week just to sit down and discuss the relevant books we've been reading. I need some accountability in my reading list!

This isn't to downplay the importance of some of the stuff I read for class. I've encountered some terrific books as a result of my classes, like A Rabbi Reads the Psalms by Magonet (and his associated book on the Old Testament). I've read books I normally wouldn't have picked up on my own - some of which I've liked, others of which I've hated. I just wish that there'd be a little space for me to read what I want to read!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

As part of our supervised ministry course, we are required to write a 10-12 page, single-spaced paper on our Theology of Ministry that covers these areas:

  1. Pastoral Identity, including self-care.
  2. Leadership
  3. Theological understanding of ministry.
  4. Vision for ministry
  5. Implications (what courses or training do we need to take in light of what we talked about in the paper)
With some of the leading questions that they ask us to discuss in these sections, I feel as though I am hitting my head against a brick wall, particularly when it comes to (1) leadership, and (2) theological understanding of ministry.

I'm coming to understand more that ministry happens where it happens, and that more often than not, the modern church with its social club mentality is more of a hindrance than a help to creating disciples of Jesus Christ. Even a good modern church that is missionally-minded, one where disciples are made, and one that takes seriously the call to transform lives and the world...doesn't jive with what I see myself doing as a pastor. We are really taught to be chaplains in ministry - caring for those in the congregation, trying to bring more people (and more money) into the church, and trying to teach and nurture them so that they can participate more in the life of the church.

I wrestle with this. I don't think pastors and the church should simply create church-goers, and equipping the laity for ministry shouldn't just be about mentoring people so that they can organize church suppers. The church exists for the sake of those who are not a part of it - those on the margins of our communities, those who need help - because that's who Jesus would be hanging out with, hoping to transform their lives.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to have the seed of the gospel planted in a community or culture and have it grow. We are called to incarnate the gospel wherever we are, so the church in one place may look a lot different than the church in another community. We are called to be relational, as Jesus was relational, and our primary relationship is our individual and collective relationship with Jesus. We are called to be missional, as we are to be sent out into the world as opposed to waiting for people to come to us. Jesus called us to go out and make disciples. There is nothing about people coming in and becoming church-goers that give out of their pocketbook and sit and attend a worship "serve-us" for an hour.

So why I have to sit here and attempt to fill 10 pages what I can articulate in the space of a couple pages is beyond me. Though it has gotten me thinking that our modern church is pretty sick, and unless we figure out how to incarnate the gospel in postmodernity (whether that means incorporating more emerging elements into our churches, planting more churches with pastors who don't have a modern mindset, or figuring out something else entirely), our denomination is doomed.

Wesley was really on to something back in the 18th century, with his radical call to discipleship, service to those on the margins, and covenanting together for mutual growth and accountability. I may be a bit harsh in saying this, but if we can't even follow Wesley's example, Jesus' example might be a little too much for us to handle.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I miss Maine....

I went to Costco yesterday and ended up buying Dole strawberries (for which I was chastised for later - I had no idea Dole was a bad company!). In any case, I just had some for breakfast. They were good, but nothing like the ones we would get at Maxwells - sweet, juicy, and oh so delicious.

I'm feeling more than a little homesick for Maine. I'll get up there in a few weeks for my DCOM meeting (insert ominous music here), and then I'll be up again periodically for two graduations, a wedding...and then I'll at least be in New England for conference. But right now, boy do I miss it!

One of the toll-takers at one of the booths I pass through on my way to church on the GSP talks to me about Maine every single time I pass through. He mentions how he visited Mansfield Stadium in Bangor and talks about Steven King. While I can't say that I've spent considerable amount of time in Bangor (i.e., never), it's nice that (a) there's a toll worker on the GSP that actually talks to people and (b) it reminds me of Maine.

I would so love to go back to Maine to do ministry. I know that's up to the discretion of God and the Cabinet, but I can hope, right?

Friday, April 13, 2007

I am still breathing after the Paschal festival, though just barely with all the work I have to do and the sermon I have to write (which is coming along nicely, if I do say so myself).

But in-between the busy-ness and the late nights and the fast pace of life, I have found some time for jogging. Well, jogging and walking. If you follow the link, you'll find a program designed to get you from couch potato to running 5k in 9 weeks. I have just finished my third week (though I repeated the first one). A group of four of us has been doing this consistently for two weeks now, and I'm so amazed that I can feel the difference. Right now, I'm actually looking forward to doing a bit of jogging (scary, isn't it?)!

It has been a good bit of self-care for me. Plus, if it helps me reach my target weight in time for my wedding, I am all for it!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! He is Risen indeed!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

So we had this week off from classes, as the majority of us are in church settings and are very, very, very busy this time of year (for a very good reason...it's close to the end of the semester and we've all procrastin-, I mean...church. Lots of church services going on. Yeah. That's it. Church.)

I, for one, don't know where this last week went. I don't feel like I've been able to properly get into the spirit of Holy Week, primarily because I've been thinking ahead to Easter, and then again to good ol' doubting Thomas the week after (because that's the week I'm preaching next). For example, Jesus was in the tomb all day on this Holiest of Saturdays...and I had Easter on the brain.

Well, at least I got a good dose of Good Friday. I wonder if that covers all of Holy Week?

On the other hand, Good Friday has reinforced my uneasiness regarding penal substitution, the notion that Christ took the hit from God for our sins. At one of the services I attended yesterday, we sang "In Christ Alone," which isn't an awful song, everything being said. Sure, I have some issues with some of the lines, but I had a visceral reaction to the line: "'Til on the cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied." This doesn't portray a very appealing picture of God...parental abuse for our sake just doesn't sit right with me, and it takes his death out of context and glorifies it. To me, his death is meaningless without the resurrection, which penal substitution ignores.

Perhaps more thoughts on this later. For now, it's bedtime...

A New Record!

7 Good Friday worship services in one day! Now, I only participated in one, but still! Impressive, if I do say so myself...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

April Showers...

...bring May flowers, but what do April flurries bring?

Your guess is as good as mine!

While we haven't had the shocking 14 inches of snow like central Maine had (have yet to check with my parents for the Cape total), we, too, can say, "It snowed in April!"

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Apparently, my computer and break time for school don't quite fit together as nicely as I had hoped, seeing as my computer takes the "break" part literally. My power adapter is having..."issues". Dell sent a new one (the part that plugs into your computer and ends in a box). Yet I found out that that wasn't the problem. The actual problem is somewhere in the thingy that plugs into the wall to the thingy that plugs into the box (I believe those are the technical terms too).

Normally this would be OK. Normally, I'd just make sure that the battery can be charged when my adapter has decided to work, and then when it doesn't...I'll still be covered and I can get work done. But no! My battery is one of the one's Dell has recalled. It's already past its potential fire moment though (one day several months ago it got *really* hot and I almost burned myself on my computer), but it only holds 10 minutes of charge, if that. It is most definitely dead. Fortunately my new battery has shipped, and should be here within 6-9 business days. I only hope that my cord issue will be solved then...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big Fat "F"

So I've pretty much been a miserable failure this Lent in terms of keeping up with my disciplines. Yep. Blog every day? Failure. Eating meat? Almost a failure. Meditating for twenty minutes every day? Hah! A definite failure. But Lent isn't over, and I plan on making a strong dash for the finish line....

...so that on Easter, I can sit back and relax in the evening with some Moo Shu Pork. Mmmm....