Saturday, January 22, 2005

Drip. Drop. Drip.

Civil engineering is not for me.

I'd never really thought about it before, and one wouldn't necessarily expect that I would have this revelation at seminary. Seminary life generally doesn't have a lot to do with civil engineering. But today, I got some hands-on educational experience in designing a water control system. It started several hours ago with the realization that a blizzard and the sound of rain on the windows are somewhat incongruous, and the discovery that the snow was blowing right through my (closed) windows and creating a lovely stream running onto and over my windowsill. I'm all for streams and rain and all those lovely things - but I prefer that they stay outside. So for the last several hours, I've been off-again, on-again engineering a combination of cups, bowls, flower pots, and paper towels to contain the flow of water. It's off-again, on-again because I'm so utterly not an engineer of any kind, and so my setup is only mostly effective. About every 15 minutes to an hour, I start hearing water dripping onto the floor instead of into the pots, and I have to go make an adjustment.

On the other hand, such practical experience is not totally unrelated to a priestly vocation. We'll file it under "useful skills for a parish priest to have when the sexton has left/doesn't exist" and ignore, for the moment, the myriad question marks about what I'm actually supposed to do once I become a priest.

I'm supposed to be writing a newsletter article on the role of the community in baptism right now. The article itself shouldn't be that hard, but somehow, despite my affinity for the early church, I'm having a hard time weaving in anything about how the early church informs this theology. I'm tempted to give up on baptism for tonight and just stick to reading for the Jeremiah paper that's due this week also. Given my theology of the goodness and trustworthiness of God, there's a certain irony to the fact that my first three biblical studies papers here are about a) the idea that God commands/condones/etc child sacrifice (Isaac), b) the idea that God lies, and probably c) the idea that God might be described through metaphors of sexual violence against God's people. Certainly not the topics I would have chosen on their own, but that's where I've ended up with these three texts.

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