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Someone needs to remind me that I have no need of an iPad, that I’m a poor graduate student and that my money could and should be spent better elsewhere. Because I recently got to use an iPad and realized how much fun they are. In addition, I just checked out the iPad 2 online, and you can’t find a sexier piece of technology.
So either tell me why I shouldn’t have one, or tell me all the reasons I should. Technically, I have the money because I spent less on my new car than I got from my settlement on my old car. So while that money should be earmarked for school, I could also use part of it on new technology if I so decided.
You want to know what I do for fun?
Yes, you do. I know you do.
And so, in my kindness, I am going to let you know.
I write course schedules and life plans. It’s true. I have at least three different versions of course schedules for the next one to two years here. And I mean both different degree options and different layouts. I have it in lists; I have it in tables. I know how to finish in one year, two years or three years. One year would give me one an MABS. Two years would give me one degree plus an MDiv equivalency. Three years would give me one degree plus one equivalency plus my ThM. (The slight problem is that after this coming fall, I have to decide because that is when things start to change depending on what I ultimately want.)
I plan and consider and erase and write in, and I love it.
Sometimes life throws you curve balls, which is why I’ve planned for all of those, too. I plan out what I’ll do if I can’t finish or decide not to. I plan on what I’d do if I was going to move, or if I was going to stay in the area. These plans, naturally, are slightly more theoretical, so they rarely make it onto paper, but trust me when I say they exist in my mind.
Sometimes I call up one of my good friends and tell her I have a new life plan. As soon as I’ve told her the plan (which generally has a very unrealistic time line), she tells me I’d better get on it if I’m going to accomplish it. I like that she never tells me they won’t happen, even though we both know that’s true.
Just how much of a nerd does this make me?
In three weeks, I can dance again (I think). However, I’ve decided that in the interest of living consistently with my faith, I can’t go blues dancing anymore. While I love it (truly love it), it’s not exactly the most clean dance. In fact, it’s pretty much pure sketch. However, swing dancing, in my opinion, is a better option anyway. My goal this summer will be to go dancing at least once a week, maybe twice if I can manage the time. But probably just once. And it will be great exercise, great fun, a great detox.
Speaking of healthy living choices (of which I think dancing is superb), I am trying to eat healthier. I know, I know. I say that a lot. But this time I mean it. My dad is doing the Atkin’s thing. I don’t want to go hardcore Atkins by any means, but I do think that limiting my total carbs can’t hurt. Especially the simple carbs, which really means sugar since I rarely buy anything ‘white’ anymore.
One of the staff members here that I’m friends with doesn’t eat anything that has sugar listed in the top four ingredients. It has to be fifth or more.* That seems like a really simple rule for limiting sugar intake, something I definitely need to do. I think I’m going to try it.
Now, of course, the thing is that I’m not a food waster. So I have to work my way through some of the food I have here and will just make a slow change to healthier eating.
This could work.
[*I asked about things like peanut butter or yogurt. Apparently you can grind your own peanuts at Fred Meyer to make peanut butter, which he claims is better than any peanut butter he's ever had, and there is a carb smart yogurt or something that doesn't have any added sugar. He also threw in a tip about the Simply Fruit Jam by Smuckers, but I already buy that because I prefer natural sugars anyway.]
Panicked? Only a wee bit. Denial is often my answer.
It’s Thursday. On Monday I have my Greek final, on Tuesday I have my 1 Corinthians and Historical Theology finals, on Wednesday I have my Growth & Development final. Then I can breathe.
But after that, I have to pack. And I hate packing.
But then it will be summer. Work, thesis, summer class, dancing, Saturday fun days: all good things to come.
Today I realized that just because the boys at seminary don’t want to flirt with me (or date me), doesn’t mean that it’s me. I mean, to be fair, it could be me. But it could, just as much, if not more, be them.
Example: I was at the dealership today, getting a car from Enterprise (whilst my “new” car gets a few things fixed. Did I tell you yet that I got a car this weekend?). The guy, who looked to be around my age, was definitely flirting with me. The problem? I hadn’t had any coffee yet, and so was incapable of doing much more than smiling. I think I would have flirted back, though, had there been any caffeine in my system at all.
So, out in the real world, men flirt with me all the time. And before I came to seminary, I used to get asked out. (Granted, I generally didn’t recognize that they were asking me out, so I’d go out with them only to find I was on a date, when I thought we were just hanging out.) And I used to go on tons of non-date-dates with my guy friends.
So maybe there is hope for life after seminary, where men know how to be men and ask a woman out. Which is too bad that I’ll have to wait that long, because there are several quality guys here, to be quite honest.
I’ve realized something anew about myself. I am a vindictive person. Perhaps not so much in action, but certainly in my head. I can’t tell you all the terrible things I think to do to someone who has hurt me, all the ways that I want them to hurt the same way I hurt. The only redeeming factor is that I don’t act on these impulses, but even that is tainted because I think my motivation is so that others around me don’t know what a truly awful person I am.
But Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
And Paul said in Romans 12:17-21, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I’ve got a long way to go.
“If you don’t believe in Easter,” Owen Meany said. “Don’t kid yourself—Don’t call yourself a Christian.”
John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
My friend Pete Rollins is an author and philosopher. Some say this scraggy character from Belfast is a heretic (a label Pete enjoys being thrown at him); others say he is no more than an iconoclastic showman who enjoys shocking evangelical audiences.
Pete had just returned from speaking at Calvin College, where his controversial remarks about the resurrection of Jesus were making quite a stir on the blogosphere. He described the scene to me over beers, just after returning home. Here’s how he relates the scene on his blog:
At one point in the proceedings someone asked if my theoretical position led me to denying the Resurrection of Christ. This question allowed me the opportunity to communicate clearly and concisely my thoughts on the subject, which I repeat here.
“Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think.
I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.
However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.”
Was Pete being elusive, or purposely throwing the question back on the audience member who perhaps had hoped he could finally reveal to all that Pete Rollins wasn’t a genuine member of the evangelical tribe?
I wasn’t there so I can’t impute wrong motives to either Pete or his questioner, but I know this: Pete’s answer was right. Our belief in the resurrection of Jesus is proved daily, not yearly. May our belief that Easter is “the main event,” go beyond the notional, beyond being a theological abstraction in the days ahead.
I’ve applied for an incomplete for one of my courses. It amounts to a course extension so that I have time to finish the big reflection paper for the class. I tell you this, it is my backup plan. If I can finish the book this weekend, I could pull a late night on Monday and have the paper ready for Tuesday. I used to do that all the time in undergrad. But I was younger then.
My history prof encouraged me to take Readings in Patristic Greek with him next Spring. He said I’ll really like it and that if there’s not enough folk for a class, I can take it as an independent study.
One of my favorite faculty/staff from here has been laid off due to budget issues. I am so incredibly sad about this. What am I going to do next year if I can’t pop into his office for a chat? I should like to say there are plenty of other places to cut costs, but what do I know. Regardless, he’s here till the end of June, so I have a bit of time left.
Two weeks left.
Here’s my dilemma. I want to do it all.
I’ve recently been approved to work on the pastoral care team (sounds official, eh?) at a local transition house for women (& their children) who are going through drug/alcohol/other rehabilitation. I’m excited to start, although I suspect I have to wait until I have a car.
I also have a desire to volunteer at a nursing home. I’ve done a lot of elder care and a lot of ministry with this demographic in the past, and it’s something that is often overlooked.
And, if that isn’t enough, I really want to get involved with adolescents (although this one surprises me the most). I feel like I should be involved with those younger than me, with hopes of being a good role model or at least a positive influence in their lives. Or something like that.
I actually think I could find the time to do all of those if the opportunities arise. I just have to be more organized than I currently am, but it would be worth it.
So, steps to take:
1. Start at first ministry (get a car & attend orientation).
2. Find a church.
3. Call local nursing homes & see if I can come.
4. Find youth? I’m not sure how to do this one outside of a church context. Which leads back to the importance of Step 2.
Yes! This could be possible. I am sure of it.