Thursday, January 31, 2013

Schools, Priests and Prayerbooks...Oh my!

So I'm taking several fun courses this semester. God the Holy Spirit, Evangelism & Church Planting, Leading Worship in the Prayer Book Tradition, Church Planting Methods (all those are at Trinity) and Church & College along with my capstone (at Geneva). Church...Church...Church...at school. It's great. It's a breath of fresh air. I've spent most of the last six and a half years being, on the whole, academic and not much in the way of ministry experience. Sure, I had an internship. Sure, I served in churches and went on mission trips. Sure, I had an evangelism course. Sure, I was in student groups, prayer groups, and all that other stuff and they were important things for me and are part of how I am where I am today...

But when I'm expected to think about the practices of ministry and start working them out, to train, to be equipped, to start equipping others...it's just exciting. I need it. I love it. It makes me think and live in a way that no amount of Hebrew exegesis, church history, or liturgical history can ever hope to. What my experience in higher ed always shows me is that I'm a Churchman, not a scholar-educator or "student affairs professional." I thank God for my classmates who I can see clearly are those scholar-educators, and great researchers and the next big thing in student affairs. I expect these guys and girls are going to totally transform the field and, in many ways, bring Gospel to a field that has been defined by "law" since its inception. I'm excited to see what they do and want to encourage and edify them in any way I can.

But I believe that much of that encouragement will come from under the collar. Some think I'm destined for academic regalia. But I'm headed for a cassock, not a gown-- a collar, not a hood-and-cap. It's somewhat frightening and totally exciting. Proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, declaring grace to those under law (and its consequences of guilt, shame, and condemnation), and reminding the people of God that the Holy Spirit is in our midst, is empowering our worship, is uniting us with Christ so that we are always benefitting from His work on the cross, and will keep us until the day Christ returns to do away with sin, death, and Satan once and for all..

Okay, so this got theological. Which I said this blog wouldn't be about. But ministry excites me...and the focus this season has on training and practicing that ministry is exciting. So, oh well.

Monday, January 28, 2013

First...Time

So it's been a long time since I've blogged anything that was just personal or amusing. Probably haven't really done that since Xanga was a thing (shout-out to those of you who still remember Xanga!). Thinking about it, I've gained a Bachelor's degree since then. And I'm almost done with one Master's degree...and just passed the half-way mark of a second Master's degree. Time has passed -- at times very quickly and at times very slowly.

Almost a year ago (February 19!) I was confirmed and received into the Anglican Church. It was a wonderful night, and I remain grateful for having this communion as a home after feeling like I was always on the fringe in whatever church tradition I was in (always too "(fill-in-the-blank)" for somebody!). But anyway, my parents (who are awesome) got me a really nice watch as a confirmation gift. I'm ashamed to say I've worn it more in the past four days than I have all of 2012 combined. But I'm determined to make use of it.

So, I took the watch off a bit ago and just held it up to my ear. Just held it there. It's been so long since I've heard anything like a ticking clock. I didn't realize how much I missed that sound. Even crazier: I didn't realize how comforting that tick-tick-tick of the seconds is. This digital age has many amazing things and what technology is capable of (even how blogging has evolved in the nine years that I've fooled around with the concept!) is nothing short of wondrous. But I'm afraid that the digital age lost the comfort of tangibly-measured time. Instead of tick-tick-tick to be aware of how the seconds pass, we're faced with empty time between instances of checking our cellphones for a sequence of three or four numbers.

Listing to that tick-tick-tick for five minutes was relaxing. I don't know why. I don't know what I gained from it. It's not a question of mere nostalgia, because I am far from believing that the "good ol' days" are behind us (they aren't). But for the two minutes that I sat there with the watch against my ear and my eyes closed, that tick-tick-tick put me in touch with a part of my humanity that I haven't felt for awhile. I don't know what it is, and maybe I never will, but I think I want to try to keep finding it.

PS: If you're wondering...this blog isn't going to be serious theology or ministry-related. Just musings...out-loud stream-of-consciousness and the tick-tick-tick of the watch my parents got me.