Sunday, December 10, 2006

We interrupt this silence...

Recently, I've been noticing that I seem to be a bit thinner than I have been the last couple of years. Or at least I feel thinner. I've also been trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I look to myself as though I'm thinner now than I was in high school, despite the fact that in high school I had a lot more muscle and I now weigh more.

So, a classmate and I are studying for our Hebrew exam by looking at my high school and college photos and talking about people, using lots of pretty object pronouns and everything. Only right now, he's off changing his laundry (something we don't know how to say in Hebrew), and I've just been looking at the pictures.

There's one page with several pictures of me with my high school boyfriend, in various poses and lifts from show choir. I am wearing a t-shirt and shorts. One of these has me hanging down by my legs and hands - and I can see my hip bones.

Yeah. I guess I was pretty thin in high school after all.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nothing's quite the same...

In the last week, I've noticed a significant number of people in their pajamas wandering around Evanston. More, in fact, than I've seen in the last two years total. I'm sure this is linked to the opening of Cerealocity, or whatever its name is - the new cereal bar in town, where employees wear pajamas to work and customers eat cereal at all hours. My question is, am I just noticing more pajama-clad pedestrians because I'm aware they might be there, or are there actually more around?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What Better Said

I had an inspiration high today looking for a topic for my Anglican Worship paper, and I'm heading into a crash off of it.* So here's another link, one that likely has broader appeal than the last. I stumbled across Kendall's blog yesterday and was favorably impressed (doesn't hurt that she taught at Smith for a while!). I think most readers with any experience of social justice work or any liberal leanings will probably find something familiar in this post of hers.

*For those who're interested, I'm asking "Does the rite of reconciliation have a place in the missional church?" I'm likely to say yes, because of the role of repentance and absolution in Jesus' ministry and that of the earliest apostles, but then look at how the rite itself might better serve a missional church. Input welcome, particularly from those of you with some experience of what a Seabury student means by "missional."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Read this. No, really. Read it. You'll love it. (Well, some of you will, anyway. I'm pretty sure all my readers are somewhat geeky, but some of you might not be this kind of geek....)

Ok, for real this time

The schedule for THIS year's General Ordination Exams is now in fact here:

Tuesday, Jan 2: Morning: Liturgy and Church Music: Limited Resources (Book of Common
Prayer, Enriching our Worship, approved hymnals (yes, all of them))
Afternoon: Church History: Open Book

Wednesday, Jan 3: Morning: Theology: Limited Resources (Bible, BCP)
Afternoon: Contemporary Society: Limited Resources (Bible, BCP)

Thursday, Jan 4: Break

Friday, Jan 5: Morning: Theory and Practice of Ministry: Closed Book
Afternoon: Ethics and Moral Theology: Open Book

Saturday, Jan 6: Morning: Holy Scripture: Open Book

Saturday, Jan 6, 12:30 pm: Rejoice! Rejoice!

There are a couple of things I like about this schedule. One, church history is in a good place for me. It's not the first exam, so I have one to get used to the process, but it's early, so I can get it over with quickly. Two, there's no all-day question. I like that. Three, Scripture is last, and that's an area where theoretically I should be ok as long as I'm not stupid about it. Four, the subjects in which I don't write as well are paired with subjects in which I do write well.

New this year: They're going to be emailing us the GOE questions instead of having us pick them up. On the one hand, that's a quick and easy thing and very logical; on the other hand, I know that at Seabury the wireless is very unpredictable, and I can see this causing a lot of stress for those of my classmates who can't get online as easily as I can. Apparently the administrator will have hard copies in case they're needed, but I'm not totally thrilled about being the test group for a new electronic process. We still hand in the answers in person, though, so at least there won't be stress around trying to upload or attach answers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I told my mother I shouldn't play the clarinet...

What is your inner musical instrument?

You're an Oboe. Girl power?
Take this quiz!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I'm in the brain-dead state that hits right after three hours of history lecture, so I'm going to take a few minutes for this meme. I think it's a somewhat bizarre, but somewhat interesting one - just one word each?

Since I can't put caveats on my answers (so hard for me!), I'll put one here: I'm choosing to do this by word association - so the first word to pop up for me goes in, rather than the word I've thought long and hard about. In other words, they're not necessarily the most accurate descriptors, just the most immediate associations.

Yourself: dull
Your partner: no
Your hair: dirty
Your Mother: small
Your Father: grand
Your Favorite Item: blanket
Your dream last night: forgotten
Your Favorite Drink: wine
Your Dream Car: hybrid
Your Dream Home: light
The Room You Are In: cozy
Your Ex: slippery
Your fear: which?
Where you Want to be in Ten Years? home
Who you hung out with last night: me
What You're Not: energized
Muffins: blueberry
One of Your Wish List Items: RENT
Time: night
The Last Thing You Did: talk
What You Are Wearing: pink
Your favorite weather: smooth
Your Favorite Book?: longer
Last thing you ate?: cheese
Your Life: strange
Your mood: blue
Your Best Friends: smile
What are you thinking about right now?: baptism
Your car: indigo
What are you doing at the moment: theologizing
Your summer: gone
Relationship status: satisfied
What is on your tv?: antenna
What is the weather like: dark
When is the last time you laughed: earlier


I baked scones this afternoon.

I haven't eaten any, because they're for class break.

They're sitting ten feet from me.

It's not break yet.

I'm really hungry....

edited to add: Oh, and I can still smell the scones on my hands from baking them.... And it's still not break yet.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In the House of Grapes

I'm blogging tonight from the House of Grapes, where I'm poodle-sitting for Maggie while her humans are off at Diocesan Convention. I'd written more to this post earlier, but my battery died faster than I expected and I lost the post. (Really, I ought just to get a new battery - it's now lasting less than 20 minutes. Maybe over Thanksgiving break.) The gist of it is that I find the House of Grapes a very warm, calm, and centering place, despite being made of cinder block. I think it will be a good place to be this weekend. That's about all the quality I can give in a second go at this post tonight. I'll try to think of something more scintillating to offer tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stand Up

Here's the sermon I preached tonight for Missional Preaching class. I still don't feel like it's really finished, and I didn't preach it exactly like this. I added a little, finessed a little; I think it flowed a little better on my feet. Really it's part manuscript, part outline. But here's the gist of it. More than maybe any other time I've preached, this time I was really overwhelmed with all there was to say and work with, and therefore it ended up on the short side. And yes, you've already heard the opening this week. Anyway....


When I lived in Germany, one of the things that I got asked about was the pledge of allegiance. The Germans didn't understand, in the wake of World War II, how we could require American schoolchildren to stand and pledge blind allegiance, not even to the country but to a symbol thereof. They’d seen how easily that path leads to destruction.

This week my friend Nicole blogged a reminder that it happens every day, that we set ourselves at the head of that path. Nicole is an ESL teacher in Minnesota, whose kids mostly don’t understand the English texts they’re speaking and reading in school. So she spends a fair amount of time working them toward that kind of comprehension. Here’s what she related about teaching them the pledge:

“…even though students are required to say the pledge of allegiance every morning in their classrooms, a teacher can get in trouble for presuming help them to read the words…. Apparently, saying "under God" in school is okay, but discussing why you're saying it or what it means is not…. So essentially, the importance of the pledge, it's [sic] actual relevance to America, is completely superficial- the act of repeating it without comprehension is the purpose, I see now…. I really can't understand why those words are still there, spoken enthusiastically by students who have no idea what they're saying, every single school day.”

Don’t worry your pretty little head about what it means; just fall in line behind the flag.

Sound familiar? “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross; lift high the royal banner, it must not suffer loss.” The royal banner must not suffer loss. Of course, it’s supposed to represent the gospel and Jesus, but the focus is the banner. Also it’s questionable what we mean by the gospel not suffering loss – isn’t suffering loss a part of the Christian life – certainly a part of Jesus’ life? But – what are we doing? Are we reducing the gospel to one more banner behind which we’re supposed to line up?

No wonder the Christian mainstream and secular leftists have so little patience for the idea of “standing up for Jesus.” There’s a particular kind of conservative Christians who have coopted the idea – the ones who look around at distress among nations and tend to say, “that’s good! that means Jesus will come back faster! let’s help the distress along!”
Now, it’s not that the rest of us don’t see the distress. We’ve certainly got distress among nations in our day. I’m not sure any day has been without it. But mainstream and lefty types are usually appalled - I think rightly - by the attitude that our response to distress should be one either of coerced acceptance of the gospel or of fueling distress in order to bring about the second coming. That kind of response isn’t compassionate, and it’s not biblical. It’s not the way God’s people respond to disaster throughout Scripture. But we in the mainstream and to its left usually want to hide under the bed, theologically speaking. Yes, we want to fix the earthly mess, but when it comes to making theology of it, we hide and say nothing instead of giving an appropriate alternative to the ultraconservative response. And we’re pretty good at letting ourselves off the hook about it.

Too bad the gospel doesn’t.

Admittedly, this particular gospel reading’s been tainted by centuries of royal banners whose own importance comes to overshadow that for which they stand, but the gospel tells us nevertheless, “Stand up.” “Stand up and raise your heads.” Not “stand up and cheer and then go back to fueling more distress.” Not “fix what you can and ignore the theological ramifications.” Stand up and raise your heads. Look around.

Don’t pretend the distress isn’t there. Don’t stop responding to it. We still need earthly compassion.

But take a minute to stand up and look around for the Kingdom of God breaking in among distress – because Luke’s Jesus tells us that the distress is a surefire sign that the Kingdom is around somewhere.

So, in other words, go ahead and “stand up, stand up for Jesus.” If we know what we’re about when we stand up, we can raise our heads unashamed of the gospel.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In praise of heat and light

You've heard me write here before, I believe, about my deep gratitude for the days when we have heat in the winter. Tonight I want to praise whomever invented the sticky heating pad thing. Seriously. The idea that you take the plastic off from around something, peel off the back, and have a perfectly safe and useful heating pad that can go with you anywhere? That's just brilliant.

Also, I'm tickled pink that Seymour left the hallway lights on late. Usually I come out of class at 9:30 and all the lights are off in the hallways between class and my suite. I trot back and forth turning them on and off so that I'm never in the dark but I'm also not leaving them all on, and that's a pain. (Plus, I don't love wandering about dark buildings alone in general.) So I was thrilled tonight just to go home like I would any other time of day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why the Germans are confused

When I lived in Germany, one of the things that I got asked about was the pledge of allegiance. The Germans didn't understand, in the wake of World War II, how we could require American schoolchildren to stand and pledge blind allegiance, not even to the country but to a symbol thereof.

Today, Rosynic doesn't understand either, and I'm with her. If we're going to require or expect kids to say the pledge, can't we at least allow ESL teachers to explain what the pledge means? And if we're going to be that fussy about using the word "God" in classrooms even for discussion, then maybe we really shouldn't have it in the pledge. At any rate, I'm definitely against requiring anybody to say something without allowing them the option to learn what it means.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Between yesterday's retreat and today's train ride to church, I've been reading Henri Nouwen's Out of Solitude. In the third meditation, he tells the story of an old Notre Dame professor who said, "I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work."

I'm often pretty good at remembering this, especially since I'm in a field that's sort of composed of interruptions, but since I'd already given the last two days to other things (retreat, dinner with friends, sleeping enough), I'd really been counting on getting a fair amount of school work done today. That hasn't happened - in fact I've accomplished nothing that's directly related to a class (though I have managed a little Greek). In a lot of ways, this has been a weekend of interruptions. But Nouwen is fresh in my mind, so I'm choosing to reframe this weekend. Instead of complaining that I've gotten nothing done, here's what I have accomplished today:

~I made it to church, something that wasn't a foregone conclusion when I went to bed last night. While there, I filled in as torchbearer/server for the first time. I'd rehearsed the process a couple of weeks ago, but this isn't your standard torchbearing routine, so I wasn't totally on top of things - still, I made only one mistake, thanks to a very helpful and experienced lead torchbearer/server. Doing this for real for the first time also reminded me how often we take things for granted once we've done them for a while, and how teaching and training need not to assume that kind of basic knowledge right off the bat. Two years at Seabury has taught me a lot, but my instincts are still pretty much formed by a low church childhood and a background in stage managing dance - both pretty forgiving environments.

~I finished the last bit of Out of Solitude on the way home from church.

~I had four good phone conversations. One was general catching up with an out-of-town friend who's visiting soon. One was with another out-of-town friend whose grandmother isn't doing so well, so that one was less joyful, but I'm always grateful when my friends feel free to call on me for help of any sort. One was with my father, who gave me a chance to be proud of him and my mother. They'll be putting up my friend this week while he visits his grandmother, and I'm proud of how natural that kind of hospitality has become for my parents. Maybe it was always that natural, but I don't remember growing up that way, and it's always exciting to me to hear my parents view their house as something to be shared. The last call was from a friend who's just out of town for a little while, but whom I've missed seeing and hearing from over the last week. It was great to laugh with him some, and to remember how soon all of the Plunge groups will be back. I can't wait - this year's Plungers are a very cool bunch.

~My bathroom is cleaner now than it's been in a while. I don't like cleaning it at all, but there's always a sense of satisfaction in having such a clean bathroom. My sink especially had just not looked quite clean enough lately, and it's nice to see it scrubbed down again.

~I took time to eat when I was hungry, despite the fact that there were other things to be done, and I ate simple, decent food. I sometimes let myself pretend that other things are more important than taking care of such mundane bodily demands as food, and I recognize that that's not my healthiest tendency. Today I paid attention.

In light of those kinds of interruptions, I'm more willing to say that I made the most the time I had this weekend. No, my history and Hebrew aren't done, and I haven't made any progress on my end-of-term projects, but looking at my list I don't see anything that's not important. Sometimes there are more things that qualify as important than there is time for them. The work always gets done, in the end, at least here in the stained glass penthouse, but I don't always manage time for these others. I'll get back to the work now, but with a sense of gratitude and not resentment for the fullness of the weekend.

How do you say "accent?"

Quality posting doesn't mean I can't also post quizzes...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland

The Northeast


The South

The West


North Central

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

This would be no surprise to my college roommate, who always maintained that I put the same "a" in "drama" as in "apple." (I don't, by the way.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

So much for that

Well, it turned out that I was away from my computer all day yesterday, so obviously I won't make the post-a-day thing for the whole month. But if Lent has taught me nothing else, it's taught me that you get back to your commitment right away after you break it, rather than giving it up altogether, so here goes. This will be short, though, because I got hit with a cold this morning and my focus is not what it might be right now.

Today, I spent the day at a retreat in Barrington, along with a few friends. During the closing Eucharist, I have to confess I heard little of the sermon. My friends said it was good, but I wasn't listening. Instead, I was watching a dancing evergreen.

Yes, a dancing evergreen - someone had turned on the heat right at the beginning of the sermon, and it was blowing the branch of a very delicate, almost fernlike, evergreen that lives in the back corner of the chapel. Now, I've been feeling just ever so slightly ashamed of how little I've grieved this year about the anniversary of my friend Emily's death Nov. 3. But as I was watching the fronds (?) of the evergreen dance, I could almost hear her say to me, "Don't worry about it. You're doing other things right now. But you and I have a date for right after you get here."

I'm utterly incapable right now of expressing in words how I felt just then, so I'll just say it was really great to "hear" from her in that way, and to be reminded that it's ok to heal.

And now I'm off to bed, even though it's only 9 pm, in hopes of being ready tomorrow for a full day of church, cleaning, and homework.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two, two, two obsessions in one?

I've had babies on the brain for a long time. I mean, I was always one of those little girls who wanted to hang around babies, who looked forward to babysitting (the younger the better), etc. But for the last five years, really, I've been increasingly aware of my desire for children. Now, I am very aware that that's a terrible idea just at the moment: I'm a single young woman living in a seminary dorm with an income of maybe $3000 a year if I'm lucky.* But it's there. I am, at this point, actively seeking out ways to alleviate this intense desire. I spend two worship services a week holding the organist's baby; I'm starting to think about saving for adoption; I enthusiastically support my married friends who want babies soon.

On a completely different note, I've also been impatient lately with my knitting. I like the blanket that I've been working on for the last couple of years, but it's a huge project and rather unwieldy. It's also not so much a real pattern as it is knit purl knit purl, and I've been wanting to try out some other patterns.

Ergo, I've decided to take up baby blankets. Baby blankets are smaller and more manageable than the big woolen monster. They have fun colors and patterns. They have practical uses. I can try things out. I can use up yarn that I have lying around. And it satisfies a tiny part of my baby longing.

Now if I can just keep myself from knitting instead of doing homework....

*In my head, Marge Simpson chastises Bart "Don't make fun of grad students! They just made a terrible life choice!" every time I state my income.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Mission

I am a child of Seabury, and therefore I know that I have no mission, but rather seek to participate in God's mission.

But if I weren't, it would be my mission to convince people that NOTHING reverses, lessens, reduces, or protects us from the risk of death. Risk of death is 100% for all living things, barring Jesus' return in our lifetimes. Today's BBC News reports: "The scientists estimated resveratrol reduced the risk of death in the mice by about 31%, a point similar to the lifespan for the standard diet mice." Were I this person's editor, I would note that it ought to report that resveratrol reduced the risk of dying early, or that resveratrol can extend expected lifespan, or something of the sort. This was a running gag between my critical care supervisor and me when I did CPE, as he would often ask during spiritual care rounds,"Is this person dying?" and I would steadfastly claim that all of us were dying, but that I had not the power to predict time and place, before conceding that some looked nearer death than others. In this case, my position was perhaps a bit extreme. Nevertheless, I maintain that we need to remember just how little power we have to predict time of death for any person. People who look on the edge of death turn out not to die for weeks, months, or years; people who seem perfectly healthy get hit by cars, or shot, or drop dead of undetected heart problems, or whatever. Either way, we will all die. The Feasts of All Saints and All the Faithful Departed seem as good a time as any to remind ourselves of our own mortality and how little control we have over it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Reformation Day, I Guess

I've never made much of Reformation Day (why should I?), but today feels a lot more like Reformation Day than like Halloween. Class at the Methodist seminary in the morning, class on the English Reformation(s) in the evening, class on the creeds in between. Admittedly, there's been a lot of high fructose corn syrup floating around today, but not much in the way of costumes and parties, for me.

In other news, I'm thinking of taking up the NaBloPoMo challenge. (Yeah, I know I need to decide soon.) NaBloPoMo, for those who haven't run across it, is National Blog Posting Month, a spin-off of National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a quality post every day in the month of November.

"But you haven't even managed to post crap on a regular basis lately!" I hear readers protesting. True. There's been a lot in my personal life that hasn't been bloggable this month. But I'm hoping that a public commitment on a limited term basis might spur me to get back to things here, and certainly NaBloPoMo reminds me that the point of my blog is not in fact to make a daily report on what I ate for lunch or who I called on the phone. Yes, part of the point is to keep people updated on my life, but equally important is the discipline of writing for public consumption on a regular basis. (If I did that, perhaps I'd learn not to use so many prepositions in one sentence.) I've got a couple of thoughts scribbled from back in September that I can start out with.

What the heck - I've convinced myself. I'll give it a try.

Here's to a month of posting something other than dribble!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Or not

So, I was thinking about GOEs, and I got to thinking about how odd it was that only I seemed to have the letter to candidates yet. Also that the exam schedule for this year was a LOT like last year's. Exactly alike, in fact. So, I looked at a calendar, and realized that the dates listed don't occur this year. There's no Tuesday, Jan. 3 at all. Apparently "Letter to Candidates" meant "for last year" not "for this year" - but in my initial process of finding my way around the site, I read only the parts that looked important - things like titles and charts. I neglected the fine print that included a year. This obviously clears up a lot about why only I had the schedule, though nothing at all about why only I among my colleagues here have access to the website. I apologize for the ruckus, and will try in future to slow down and use my brain earlier in the process. (Though, I do think it would be helpful if the website made these things a little more obvious.) Sorry!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Citing my sources

Fellow GOE-takers who hadn't seen the previous info yet: It comes from an email I got from the General Board of Examining Chaplains announcing the fact of my registration. I assume I got this email before you because a) my diocese is faster and nicer than yours (probably true either way) or b) my diocese put my email on the registration and yours didn't giv yours out (also possible). I have faith that you too will receive this information in (over)due time.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Peace offering?

I've been mostly silent on here in recent days, and still don't have much to say here. So in lieu of my usual posts, here's the sermon I preached in Seabury's chapel yesterday - more or less as I actually preached it:

Last week after Matriculation, a few of us ended up in the chapel looking at the space, and talking about it. And one of the things that came up for me as we talked was the importance of where I sit in this chapel. I need to be able to see things to give them my full attention a lot of the time, and it turns out there are only about five seats in this chapel where I can reliably see the pulpit, the crossing, the presider’s seat, and the altar. So I sit in one of those. But it would actually be important for me to sit on that side of the chapel even if sight lines weren’t such a problem for me, because it matters to me that I sit on the side of the theologians.

Now, that’s partly a positive statement, in that I think of myself much more readily as a theologian than as a missionary, something I’m sure is shocking to many of you. But it’s the flip side, the negative of that statement, that really makes it so important to me. It’s less a matter of needing to sit with the theologians than it is of needing to sit facing the missionaries. I’m in very little danger of forgetting about the theologians, or of forgetting that doing theology is part of my call. If I’m going to forget something, I’m going to forget that I’m also called to mission. Even when I remember, I often feel as though when Jesus says “You also are to testify,” he can’t possibly mean me - he means you all. So as I worship in this chapel, I need to look up and remember both how much the church needs its missionaries, and that I too have a part in God’s mission. I may be theological in my reasons for why mission is so important, but my theology becomes incomplete, maybe even false, when I neglect the missional elements.

I think this is part of the church’s message to all of us on this particular feast, the feast of Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer. By lumping these three bishops together, the church reminds us not only that they knew each other, but that we don’t get one without the others. Cranmer was a scholar and theologian who more or less had to be pulled into the public life. Latimer railed against clergy who stayed safely in their studies and universities and never preached the gospel. The whole calendar of saints operates this way, to a certain extent. The Church put Ridley on the calendar for his reforming zeal in tearing out images and altars – but in only a few weeks, we’ll celebrate the feast of John of Damascus, whose Defense of Holy Images helped ensure that icons and liturgical art would have a place in the Church. And the church tells us that they’re a package deal. Not Cranmer, or Latimer, or Ridley; not liturgy or preaching or theology; but all of these together, all at once.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Five: Comforts

It's a good day for this one.

Comfort beverage: Hot. If I'm home, usually tea. If I'm out, usually coffee/latte. Hot cider (no caramel!) is very good when it's in season.

Comfort chair: Usually not so much a chair as a couch. Up here I like my green loveseat with my throw blanket to curl up in.

Comfort read: Little Women. Occasionally a Madeleine L'Engle novel for a change, but mostly Little Women.

Comfort television/DVD/music: TV: West Wing. DVD: Kissing Jessica Stein. Music: I keep a sad songs playlist for just such occasions - mostly composed of Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, etc.

Comfort companion(s): I have no lovers or pets (ok, I have a fish, but that hardly counts here). I guess my comfort companions would be certain friends who know me well and who don't mind when I need to be silent and/or sad for a while. Or, in a pinch, my Care Bears.

Interesting that comfort food is not listed.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Five Things Feminism Has Done For Me

The Happy Feminist has tagged everyone, so here goes:

1. Feminism has paved the way for me to sit in a graduate course.

2. Feminism has made it possible for me to speak and write my mind - not only in private, but in public, and even in opposition to men.

3. Feminism has put before me women writers who demonstrate that the way is (at least partly) open to me to try publishing.

4. Feminism has created environments (Girl Scouts, Smith College) in which I can learn to flourish specifically as a woman - environments that have taught me what it means still to be marked for gender in this world, and how to be hopeful but not naive about that.

5. Feminism allows me to believe that I'll be ordained a deacon in eight months and a priest in two years. Thanks be to God!

For my part, I tag Susie, Marisa, Jane, Micah, and AKMA (who I don't expect will actually take it up, but whose response I'd love to hear).

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weather wonders

It's a bit strange to be pulling on flannel pajamas while planning shorts, skirts, tank tops, and t-shirts for next weekend, especially when I'm not actually even leaving Province V.

Friday, September 29, 2006

For the record

I'm not in favor of the new practice among historians of calling English Puritans "the godly Anglicans."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quarter of creativity

Granted that the gender balance is off for my booklists this quarter, it looks like my classes will mostly be quite excellent this term, in terms of both individual quality and balance of learning/work styles. A rundown:

Canon Law: is pretty much what it sounds like. Lots of reading canons and legal cases. If I were taking it for credit, there'd be a final. But I'm auditing it, so it's just sitting in a class on Monday nights talking about legal stuff.

Hebrew: is, of course, a beginning language course. As any of you who have ever learned languages will know, it has its own ways of thinking, and the workload is mostly exercises and quizzes and so forth. Lots of learning really new stuff, very little critical analysis writing.

England in the Age of Reform: One of my three-hour night classes. Likely to be mostly the lecture/discussion model during class meetings, though also a snack break each time. The usual kinds of reading assignments. But instead of "write three 7 page papers" or something of the sort, there's a final project. On almost anything you want. There's a research component, but it requires only four sources and the written part is only four pages. Mostly it's a project/presentation - creativity encouraged.

Anglican Worship: This is my Typical Graduate Course (if not a typical Seabury course). Read some big thick academic books. Write a longish (20-25 page) paper. Take a final. Listen to lectures.

Missional Preaching: Seminar-style, discussion-oriented, investigative class sessions. Read two books and report in on particular chapters; preach once. Again with the creativity - we're encouraged to reflect on whether our missional preaching will be in the form of a sermon or some other means.

In some ways, it's sort of like a sabbatical. After six terms where classes have mostly involved a collection of 5-10 page papers, this term says to me, "By all means, I want you to continue using your brain in productive ways, but take a term to think really hard, explore some new areas, and do some different kinds of work, instead of the same-old, same-old. Come back again ready to do the work given you to do, even if that's more of the same old stuff." It's going to take time and effort and energy, as well it should - but it offers me a lot in return, I think.

Fall Quarter Gender Balance Award

One word: Boo.

More words: I have now been to each of my fall classes at least once, and am reasonably sure of the books assigned. Therefore, it's time for the quarterly Gender Balance Award. I'm sad to say that no one comes out particularly well this term, but let's see what we have. (I remind my readers that the Gender Balance Award isn't primarily about relative lack of horridness, but about actual achievement.)

Canon Law: One course pack consisting of case studies, which a)doesn't count as a book, and b) doesn't really even have constituent authors in the usual sense. Also the Constitution & Canons of ECUSA and of my diocese, which also don't have authors in the usual sense. Rating: Not really applicable. Nothing by women, but nothing exactly by men, either.

Hebrew: Lexicon, edited (as far as I can tell) by three men. Hebrew Bible - like the Constitution & Canons, there's not much wiggle room on authorship here, nor do we have the usual sort of authors. Grammar - by a man. Grammar key - co-authored by two men and a woman. Rating: Hmm. Well. Not what I'd call good, but not entirely abysmal, for a biblical language class, I guess. Still, I'm supposed to stick by my guns here (also I should find a less militaristic metaphor for that).... We'll call nearly acceptable.

England in the Age of Reform: Three required books, all by men. (This doesn't count, because it's not a book on my shelf, but just to be thorough: instead of two of those books, you can watch a series of DVDs. That's resource is also by a man.) Rating: Unacceptable.

Anglican Worship: Four (big) books. Three by men. One edited by a man and a woman - the man is the theologian and the woman is a publisher. The editorial committee for that one was 2/2 - not bad. The contributors, on the other hand? 7 out of 52 are women. Rating: We'll go with the "nearly acceptable" I gave to Hebrew, I guess. It's better than nothing, but it's still not a book by a woman or fairly divided between men and women.

Missional Preaching: Two books. One by two men. One by a committee that included a couple of women, but more men, and edited by a man. Rating: Unacceptable.

I'm sorry to say it, but the Gender Balance Award will not be given this quarter. I can't bring myself to give an award for anything less than an 'acceptable' rating.

We'll be off winter quarter doing field ed full time, so tune in again in the spring to see whether anyone manages to garner the Gender Balance Award then!

And so it begins.

Tonight's dinner: Tilapia. Rice w/peas. Green bean casserole (yep, just like Grandma used to make). Oh, and rolls. And date cake or spice cake or something like that.

Tonight's conversation with the new chef:
Yodabeth: Hi, Chef.
Chef: Hi.
Y: Is there a vegetarian entree tonight?
C: The green beans are vegetarian.
Y: Yes, thanks. Is there an entree, though?
C: Green beans.
Y: Well, the green beans and rice are veggie, yes. But they're side dishes. So there's no vegetarian entree?
C: No.
Y: Ok.

(Point of order: some of this repetition was to ensure clarity, as English is not the new chef's first language. Her English is pretty good, but it seems to be worth double checking things.)

This is a slightly different approach to training a new chef than I've taken before. That's partly because the old approach hasn't worked all that well, and partly because this chef seems to be very adaptable in other ways. Someone asked "Do we have Cremora here?" and the next day we did, for instance. So I'm starting slow, planting a seed. It was also closer to an entree than, say, a pan of over-steamed vegetables, so that's something, and it's the first day that there's been a problem at all. Plus, at least she didn't think that the fish was vegetarian, which was an initial problem with last year's new chef. I'm hoping that tonight's conversation will inspire a bit of rethinking on her part before we move to actual suggestions. (Empowered and empowering cooks, etc.)

Perhaps I could start a 12-step program for chefs addicted to meat-centered meals. Step One: Admit that green beans (squash, broccoli, etc.) are not an entree. Time will tell whether we've accomplished this step tonight and can move on to step two, or whether we need to spend some more time with step one.

I do like Wippell.

Wippell makes a clergy shirt that fits me. Really well. The collar needs to go up a size, and the sleeves shorten a bit. But that's why they send Wippell reps who know things to measure us and sell us things. Actually, I wasn't looking to buy today - I was looking for Christmas. Which is another great thing about Wippell - Wippell Man put my measurements for that shirt into a gift registry, so that I can send my parents there for Christmas.

Yes, they're expensive. But they're expensive for a reason, which is something that doesn't seem to be true of some clergy outfitters. And while I'll mostly still convert my own blouses, I expect, I also want a couple of really nice official black clergy shirts that look really good and fit really well. Really. And, as Wippell Man pointed out to me, they'll be happy to make me as many as I want. (Which, right now, is probably one.)

Monday, September 25, 2006


I think I understand now why Davies makes a habit of following every night class with a nightcap. Night classes M-T-W, with GOE prep on Thurs, will be a significant challenge this term.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

one of those things

So, one of my former campers has an away message up saying "So I'm writing a paper about "Attitudes Toward Sex in Antebellum America"... it's pretty damn sweet." The thing is, I was amazed to realize that she's now in college. I had her as a Program Aide when I worked resident camp - so, when she was 12 or 13. Funny how six years turns that into 18 or 19... but I still can't quite picture her as anything but "the camper who worked in the horse barn but didn't like showers."

Saturday, September 23, 2006


PSU 6 - OSU 28 ... because of TWO interceptions for touchdowns in the last ten minutes of the game. That's the closest I've come to really joyful in a good while.

Someday, maybe, I'll learn to root for teams that don't only settle things in the last inning/quarter/period of the game - but it's kind of exciting this way, if also stressful.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Orientation = done. There will be a follow-up meeting of some sort so that Court can drill Raisin and me on what he needs to know, but as now, I'm basically no longer an orientation chair. I like being an orientation chair, but this is an intense relief.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

... followed by annoyance

So, to end my day, which wasn't stellar to begin with (for no particular reason - things went fine, it just wasn't a great day)?

1) I've lost my keys. I first missed them after dinner and I know I had them when I ran to get a Bible for Taize, so they ought to be by the mailboxes or in the chapel or refectory, or in my room. But I can't find them. I am at least into my room for now, though.

2) A friend called to tell me that she's about to restart the ordination process for the third time. The problem? Mostly that she's a lesbian. Not partnered, even (no, it shouldn't make a difference, but it sometimes does), but out. She was about to be licensed (she's Amer. Bapt., not Episcopalian) this month, but now she's got to restart.

So I'm frustrated with myself, and angry at the church. An excellent end to the day.


If I am reading my syllabus correctly, it seems that our quiz on the Hebrew alphabet will not be until Tuesday. I was so not looking forward to having a quiz during orientation - but now I see there is none scheduled then. I hope class substantiates this relief and does not destroy it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

If you must

I can hear murmurs across the hall. I want to poke my head in over there (a surprisingly easy thing right now, since their suite door doesn't close, but we'll work on that) and say "No, you silly things, go back to bed! Sleep while you can!" I understand that even if they're not morning people (which they may be), it's the first morning of orientation and they both want showers and probably breakfast before morning prayer. I'm sure I wanted the same two years ago. But I personally would rather not have been up before 7, and therefore feel as though they ought to sleep as late as possible.

I'm going to make either a terrible or an excellent mother someday (I hope). At any rate, I do have to be up now, because I am a Mighty Tri-Chair and must ensure that the newbies have breakfast to eat. So off I go.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


What she said.


(Actually, what I wish she'd said at the beginning, is that she doesn't understand the "argument" of "If x is true, the following horrible things will happen; therefore x is false." But otherwise, I think she's spot-on.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Out of straws

Some of you may recall last Thursday's cockroach sighting in the common room. The truly attentive may even remember last year's tempest in the teapot, so to speak. Last year, we traced them to the utility sink in the stairwell, and the maintenance crew disposed of them. Last week, I let it go since I only saw one once.

Tonight, I turned on my bedroom light and - another? the same? - cockroach ran between my legs and under my bed.

I remind my readers that bugs do not, as a general rule, bother me all that much. But cockroaches do not belong in my indoor quarters. Especially not indoor quarters which I've cleaned top to bottom at least once, and in some parts twice or more, in the last ten days. (Though I've been advised that the men's suite which shares a wall with mine is not so clean as mine - and there's a door between the two suites which is only blocked up enough to keep humans from passing between.)

I, myself, am unsettled. Unsettled and thoroughly displeased.

But the worst part is that tomorrow I get one new suitemate and Sunday I get another. They're new to Seabury altogether, and while I don't know that the roach(es) have made it to the other side of the suite, I suspect it won't be long, at least. It is thoroughly unfair and inhospitable to subject new residents to roaches.

So tomorrow, although it is Saturday, I will make some phone calls and arrange for someone to do something about the situation.

Perhaps it's a good thing that this happened the night before I have to get up at 5 anyway. It's not like I was planning on sleeping in....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Confessions of a Teenage Lizard

Oh. My. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen? So bad. So incredibly hilarious. You can read the liveblogged version over at Pastor V's. As he says, the movie has true contemporary resonance.

Not quite the same sort of resonance as Godzilla, though. He's from France. You know how the French are. Very resonant.

This might or might not have made more sense if I'd blogged it live. Next time we'll try to liveblog in sync. Or something.

(Ok, I've had too much pizza and ice cream and laughter, and I'm a little loopy. But it's a happy loopy.)


Indigo Girls tour dates in cities where I might possibly be:

Cleveland, Oct 22* - This is a Sunday. I suppose it wouldn't be impossible - but see below.

St Louis, Oct 26 - Well, Oct 27-28 are my diocesan convention, and seniors are required to go. So I'll be heading to Cleveland that day.

Chicago, Oct 27, 28 - See above.

I. Am. Not. Happy.

*I've actually danced several times on the stage where they're playing this concert. That would be cooler if I could, you know, GO.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We interrupt this orientation obsession...

My preaching professor just pointed me to this comic strip from Sunday. Said it reminded him of me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fairy Land!

A mini fairy land came today in my mail from two of my favorite people. It has a pink carraige, and two pink thrones with heart backs, and a horse and a pegasus and a swan and two doves, and a prince and princess and a fairy prince and fairy princess, and a magic mirror. The fairies have a little trouble standing up, but they're fairies. The largest piece is the carraige, which is about as long as my thumb (and my thumb isn't all that big).

It's all very fun. Thanks, guys!

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I am, of course, watching the Ohio State - Texas game right now. That's not amazing. What's amazing is that I'm watching it in MY OWN SUITE. Yes - I broke down about 6:30 and went to Target to buy the best TV antenna they could sell me. Granted, when my parents' reception looks like this, they call the TV guys to have it fixed, but for my brick penthouse, a little snow ain't bad. I can sit on my own couch and eat guacamole and drink wine in my own space, and even blog in front of the game, because I have channels now!

Friday, September 08, 2006

In case anyone had forgotten, or somehow missed it

Mary Louise Parker is gorgeous.

Just fyi.

My Autobiography (meme)

Ok, I wasn't going to do this because it's long, but since no one is in the offices to do business with, and I saw it on two blogs in a row on my RSS, I am. But, I think I should state that I think "My autobiography" is a dumb meme title.

Fill this out in your own words and repost as, "My autobiography."

1.Where did you take or get your profile picture?
Don't have one.

2.What exactly are you wearing right now?
My usual dark brown leather sandals, short denim skirt, deep purple strappy tank, white eyelet short-sleeve blouse (unbuttoned). (I should probably qualify that - in my world "short skirt" means "above the knee but decidedly longer than it is wide")

3.What is your current problem?
Hmm. Well, we're a little behind on some of the details for new student orientation. I guess that's what happens when none of the tri-chairs are really on campus much of the summer.

4.What makes you most happy?
Spending time with really good friends

5.What's the name of the song that you're listening to?
Do You Hear What I Hear? - because it still plays in my head whenever I hear a siren, such as the one passing us now.

6.Has anyone you've been really close with passed away?

7.Do you ever watch MTV?
Ever? I have watched it, yes, but never on a regular basis and not in a long time.

8.What's something that really annoys you?
Cockroaches in a newly cleaned apartment.

Chapter 1:All About You

1.Middle name:
Amy (And yes, if my brother had been a girl, he'd have been Meg)

Besides Beth? Spud, primarily, or diminutives thereof. But also Yoda, Bo, Chameleon, Opal, and probably a few others at times. (Yeah, I grew up at Girl Scout camp.)

3.Current location:
The far, far right edge of the futon in my common room

4.Eye color:

Chapter 2:Family

1.Do you live with your parents:

2.Do you get along with your parent(s):

3.Are your parents married/separated/divorced

4.Do you have any Siblings?:
1 little brother

Chapter 3: favorite...

1. Ice Cream:
Um. Hmm. Favorite. You mean just one? Well, I like mint chocolate chip a lot. And cookies and cream. And peppermint stick. And Phish Food. And Dove Irresistably Raspberry. And...

I don't have a favorite season so much as I really, really like the beginning of each season. So, right now my favorite season is fall, but really I like the novelty of it.

At the moment, Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo and Dove something moisturizing conditioner. But I switch around, mostly between those brands. They're cheap.

Chapter 4: Do You..

1.Dance in the shower:
Clearly you've never seen my shower. I can barely shower in my shower.

2.Write on your hand:
Well, I try to avoid it. But eventually, if I keep forgetting a thing, I usually will.

3.Call people back:
Yes. But occasionally it takes me a ridiculously long time.

4.Believe in love:
Well, yeah.

5.Sleep on a certain side of the bed
Yeah, the top side, generally. (No, really, when I'm in a double bed I generally sleep on the right side.

6. Any bad habits:

7. Any mental health issues?
Nothing diagnosed.

Chapter 5: Have You...

1.Broken a bone:

2.Sprained stuff:
That's an interesting question. I've never been treated for a sprain, but five years ago I fell on my thumb while taping a circle on the floor, and it got puffy and purple and took a really long time to heal and still doesn't look quite the same as the other one. So, maybe.

3.Had physical therapy?:

4.Gotten stitches:

5.Taken Pain killers?

6.Gone SCUBA diving or snorkeling:

7.Been stung by a bee:

8.Thrown up at the dentist:

9.Sworn in front of your parents:

10.Had detention:
That's another interesting question. I don't remember ever being in detention, though I seem to remember my whole class being assigned detention once or twice. Possibly I just got out of those. NO. WAIT. I do remember one detention - several friends of mine were making "candy carrots" (carrots with other lunch foods/drinks mixed in) at lunch one day in third grade, at the table where I was sitting (not actually participating). The lunch lady decided we all needed to sit at the detention table for a few days for playing with food, because no one would take the blame for it. I was the only one whose mother didn't call the principal and insist that her darling daughter couldn't possibly sit at the detention table - so while my friends were back making more candy carrots the next two days, I was sitting at the detention table alone.

11.Been sent to the principal's office:
No. This one I'm sure about.

12.Been called a ho?
See Chapter 2, answer 4, about having a little brother.

Chapter 6: Who/What was the last

I assume you mean the last one I myself saw, which would be Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Or maybe Fellowship of the Ring. I don't remember in which order I watched them.

2.Person to text you:
Hmm. No one texts me now, but we used to text all the time in Germany. So, one of the other Smithies I went to Germany with, I guess - probably Jessica.

3.Person you called:

4.Person you hugged:
Milner, at the peace this morning.

5.Person you tackled?
Um. I can't say for sure, because I can't remember the last time I tackled someone. But I'd say my little brother is probably a good guess.

6.Thing you touched:
Ok, this is a ridiculous question. This is a MEME. I am touching my keyboard. Right. Now.

7.Thing you ate:
Hmm. Either a piece of popcorn or a Gobstopper.

8.Thing you drank:

9.Thing you said:

10.Friend you miss the most that has moved:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Survey says...

Your Fashion Style is Girly

You dress to look beautiful and show off what you've got
Dresses, skirts, heels... whatever it takes to turn heads
You love feeling like a girl in any setting
Even your workout clothes are cute and feminine!

Of course, I was also remarkably close to this:

Your Fashion Style is Sporty

You're a natural beauty who doesn't need fancy clothes to look good
You prefer your clothes to be comfortable, so you can stay on the go
For you, femininity is not how you wear - but how you wear it.
Still, don't be afraid to show off that great body in a dress or skirt!

Or this:

Your Fashion Style is Classic

You like what's stood the test of time...
Simple, well styled clothes that don't scream trendy
You stay updated and modern, but your clothes stay in style for a while
You wouldn't be caught in animal prints, fake fur, or super bright colors

But they didn't tell me what kind of party I was dressing for, so I didn't know which outfit to pick. Personally, I suspect I'm more the last one - out of sheer fashion laziness.


After Hebrew class this morning, I met up with Pippa for the day. Those of you who know Pippa will not be surprised that it was a delightful day, but somehow it was even more delightful than expected. Perhaps I've just been away awhile. At any rate, we packed a picnic lunch - hummus sandwiches, fresh guacamole, chips, carrots, and a bit of pomegranate - and took it out the the Botanic Garden. After lunch we walked the gardens, which are considerably more spectacular in September than in March, came back, and played a game of Mille Borne. After doing our afternoon chores, we made dinner - microwave gourmet: spaghetti and salad - then played a few games of Sequence, then went for gelato. Then we watched Belles on Their Toes, complete with commentary (we'd both seen it before), and played a few games of Uno. Things got a bit exciting in the middle of the movie when Pippa asked "What's that?" and I followed her gaze to a cockroach crawling across the common room floor. I don't mind a few bugs, but I do mind cockroaches in my living quarters (as I've mentioned). Since I just got back in town and spent the last two days cleaning, I fail to see how this can in any way be my own fault. Tomorrow, a work order. Anyway, I'm unusually exhausted for 10 pm (of course, I've also been waking up before my alarm recently), but very satisfied. It was a fun day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In more mundane news...

(Ok, the last post was pretty mundane too. Whatever.)

I have spent two days unpacking, cleaning, etc. My space is now not only livable but ready for guests. This is lucky, since I have one coming for at least the day and possibly the night tomorrow, and she tends more toward the neat side than I do. There are still a few things scattered about - I haven't yet taken my vestments to be laundered, for instance, so they're over the back of the futon. But it looks like a place someone lives, rather than a place someone stores things. Also, the floors are clean. That's more of a rare treat for me than it ought to be, but there you are.

In the midst of all this, I have also managed to have two meals with friends, do a bit of cooking, eat healthy raw foods (like the yummy salad I had for first lunch today), watch two movies and ten episodes of West Wing, and do my Hebrew homework. The Hebrew homework is a strange sort of challenge, in that the assignment itself isn't tough - we're to greet each other and at least two professors in Hebrew between classe sessions, as well as practicing a particular setting of the Hamotzi. The tough thing is that I and the other Seabury students aren't actually in class yet except for Hebrew - so I barely see him, and have not seen professors at all. My solution? I have been greeting my computer in Hebrew when talking with a professor online. (We're also not supposed to write any form of Hebrew yet.)

So, by special request for those of you who complained that reading my blog didn't tell you what I did all summer, that's what I've done the last two days.


So, today I received a lovely note from my summer rector.

In an envelope addressed:

The Getting Close to Reverend Beth

It made me giggle.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I've returned safely to Evanston, and have convinced my wireless to work again. I'm grateful to have returned to a suite that wasn't covered in an inch of dust, and to keys in my mailbox, and to friends who helped move my things in from the car. I've also started Hebrew class, and am hard at unpacking and cleaning and grocery shopping and other tasks of moving back in.

It's been noted that my entries this summer didn't tell much about what I'd actually been doing. I'll try to remedy that now that I'm back without the distraction of family.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Popping in

I made it through my grandmother's birthday celebration, triple preaching this morning, and the family at our house this afternoon. (Turns out that when my brother and his fiancee leave, I become the coolest playmate available for my cousin's kids, who are 8 and 5.)

There's still a bit of family here, but it's time for me to finish packing my bags and start packing the car now. Tomorrow, Evanston!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Five: Life in the Fast Lane

(Obviously, I'm making a lot of progress on that sermon.)

1. Driving: an enjoyable way to clear the mind? a means to an end? a chance to be quiet with one's thoughts? a necessary evil? the downfall of our planet and its fossil fuels? Discuss. Usually, a means to an end. I enjoy it, most of the time, but I don't usually drive to clear the mind - especially since I believe that driving is best undertaken while the mind is already pretty clear.

2. Do you drive the speed limit? A little faster? Slower? Have you ever gotten a ticket? I tend to drive a little faster than the speed limit - by which I mean, mostly I drive about 5 miles faster and occasionally I drive a fair bit faster.

3. Do you take public transportation? When? What's your opinion of the experience?
When it seems reasonable. When I'm in Chicago, I usually take public instead of driving if at all feasible, though I don't mind if someone else drives. When I'm in Cleveland, it's almost never reasonable - there's not much of it, and the nearest park-and-ride is fifteen minutes away in the opposite direction from the city, so taking the rapid to ball games isn't really a strong option for us.

4. Complete this sentence: _____________ has the worst drivers I've ever experienced. St. Louis, no question. Especially in the parking lots of grocery stores (especially the Schnuck's in Richmond Heights).

5. According to the Census Bureau, reverendmother's fair city has the 6th longest average commute in the United States at 29 minutes each way. How does your personal commute rate? Well, at the moment, my commute is pretty short - from my bedroom to my kitchen table it takes me about 20-25 seconds. My commute this summer to work was about 20-25 minutes each way (exactly average for my city, the 31st in the nation at 23.5 minutes). My commute at school is somewhere in between - about two and a half minutes from my third floor suite to the second floor classrooms or the first floor chapel.

Bonus for the brutally honest: It has been said, and the MythBusters have confirmed, that cell phones can impede driving ability almost as much as drinking. Do you talk on a cell phone while driving? Rarely. I do it more in Cleveland than in Chicago, because my parents' house has bad reception, but I think I've still only done it once all summer. I do answer the phone while driving unless it's immediately stupid to do so, but I usually talk just long enough to know there's no emergency and then say "I'm driving. Good-bye."

Reason #13, 497 Why I Am Not Cut Out For A Rector

I love preaching (yeah, I know), but sermon writing/prep makes me absolutely batty and desperate. Ok, let me qualify that. Trying to craft sermons longer than about six minutes makes me absolutely batty and desperate. Crafting 3-7 minute sermons is still kind of fun, even a couple of weeks in a row. Still, I'm glad to be looking in a direction that's less likely to include someone expecting me to preach 10-15 minutes every week for thirty years running.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Does anyone know why about every other time I open Mozilla (where my home page is Blogger Home) it says the document has no data, and the other times it works fine? It's been happening for, oh, three days now?


Smith College lets alumnae change their address online, with a link on the front page of its alumnae section. I'm just sayin'.

How to change your billing address in the technology age

11:15: Log on to (Visa, MasterCard, etc) website
11:18: Figure out that you need to go to sponsoring bank's website
11:19: Log on to bank site
11:22: Discover that you can't do it online, or at least can't figure out how to right now
11:23: Call number on back of card
11:25: Finally get to main menu
11:26: Discover that "for address" means "if you want ours"
11:27: Return to main menu
11:28: Press 0 to speak with a representative
11:29: Begin blogging about changing billing address
11:32: Speak with customer service representative
11:33: Convince her that you really do want to change billing address
11:35: Establish new billing address
11:37: Finish rejecting other associated offers
11:38: Post

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Time to go

There are things I like to do with people, and there are things I like to do alone. Sermon writing and packing are things I do best when left to my own devices. Unfortunately, they also seem to be things about which my parents want to advise me. I do not blame my parents for the fact that I'm unhappy with several parts of tomorrow's sermon. It is not at all their fault that I seem to be in a rut right now (not a preaching-the-same-thing-every-week one, but the kind where I seem to be utterly unable to fix the mistakes that I know are there). It's also not an invitation for them to explain to me what I should do about it (especially since neither of them has ever actually DONE it. Come to think of it, I'm not sure the last time either of them wrote anything other than an email or a memo.)

It's time for me to get back to Evanston - unfortunately, I've got another week, in which I still have to pack all my stuff, fix this sermon as best I can, write another one for next Sunday, and spend a lot of family time.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Then Again, Maybe I Won't

I was going to write you a beautiful poem...

I mean, I was going to write you all a real, actual post. Then my mother called and asked me to come help reorganize her new library (she's recently become the high school librarian). And you know how I feel about organizing books....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Very Model of a Modern Minor Generalist

So, I was just listening to my iTunes, which includes a couple of uploaded albums from my flirting-with-fundamentalism period - and by "couple" I might actually just mean "one," Steven Curtis Chapman's Heaven in the Real World album.* I'm not sure there are any others in there. Anyway, "Dancing with the Dinosaur" came up, and it occurred to me that the lyrics to that particular song read somewhat like a modernist Christian anthem. It starts out:
Once upon a time not so long ago in a land not so far away
Right and wrong were not quite so hard to know
And black and white were not so gray

Then there's the bridge:
Right is right and wrong is wrong just like it has been along
We cannot sit by and see conscience become history
So come on, get up and dance
Dance this dance with me
(Gonna keep on dancing, gonna keep on dancing with the dinosaur
Gonna keep on dancing, gonna keep on dancing with the dinosaur)

I've been reading about postmodernism, theology, and Scripture the last couple of weeks, and continuing to discover how many of my long-standing (read: since before memory) habits and tendencies fall under that umbrella. Suddenly, I'm a little clearer on why parts of that song never quite sat well with me. (Yeah, I never really made a very good fundamentalist. I dropped it about as soon as I figured out that "serious Christian" didn't have to equate to "fundamentalist." Which, really, didn't take that long.) It might be interesting to spend a little more time thinking about the ways this particular song, artist, and/or genre are or are not thoroughly intertwined with/dependent on modernism. (For instance, he seems to assume that before the "tolerance movement" everyone (at least in the Church) saw things as black and white all the time, whereas I think Augustine's work on grace and free will pretty well shoots that down all by itself.) I wouldn't be surprised, really, to learn that someone's already doing/done this with the genre, but this song seems particularly useful for that kind of investigation.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

While I'm at it

While I'm here and book posting, this one came from the Little Professor: Which authors dominate your shelves? (Domination = five or more books)

This is from memory, since most of my books are at school, but here's a guess: Louisa May Alcott, Madeleine L'Engle, Maud Hart Lovelace, L.M. Montgomery, J.K. Rowling, Valerie Tripp, Shakespeare, Ann M. Martin, Toni Morrison, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Irving Stone... ok, I'm not sure I can think of any from my shelves at school that I have in such volume, except L'Engle. (I do not count either General Convention or the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music as an author.) These are all from home.

I'll keep thinking, but now it's time for shower and bed.

If Ryan's posting, I am too.

(For clarity's sake, I mean this Ryan.)

1. One book that changed your life:
Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women is the first one that came to mind.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Bible (Since that's not a terribly interesting answer in these circles, if I could have two I'd also want Little Women.)

4. One book that made you laugh:
Jon Stewart (&co.), America (the book)

5. One book that made you cry:
Nicholas Wolsterstorff, Lament for a Son - five lines in, and all the way through

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Rumor has it that, before she left the public eye, Madeleine L'Engle was working on a novel about Meg Murry after her kids have left home....

7. One book that you wish you had never read:
Alas, Babylon. That's 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Stephen Fowl, Engaging Scripture

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Augustine's Confessions

Friday, July 21, 2006

Spud! camp! yay!

YAY!!! I just got off the phone, and the universe seems to like me today. After 30 minutes on two different phone calls, it works out that:

~I'm supposed to be at day camp on Tues on a day off.
~Core Camp needs someone tomorrow.
~I'm off tomorrow.
~Parishioner died today, which was expected. (93 years old, had major stroke on Sunday.)
~The funeral is not until Monday.
~Our on-call/supply/future part-time priest and parish administrator are doing all the prep work, which is minimal.

Ergo: I still get to do both camp gigs, without interfering in the slightest with my pastoral responsibilities. YAY!!!! I'm going to my camps! Both of them! Soon!

Also, on my way out to core camp tonight, I'm stopping to have dinner with a camp friend and meet her daughter, who she adopted right after I started seminary.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Kristian - if you happen to read this, my parents' house has terrible phone reception, especially during the summer storms we've been getting, and I've lost your email address. Sorry - hope to connect soon!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Maybe not all the way there...

I've been feeling much more like my parents' house is home than I have in several years. This makes sense, really - it's been a while since I've lived here consistently. Today, though, I was reminded that we're not really all the way there yet.

I had to look up directions to a house within walking distance of my parents' house, only a few houses away from the house where my grammar school best friend lived. I have been back and forth between her house and mine countless times, even on my own. I just haven't done it in over ten years.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Amazing what being home can do to a girl...

I'm sitting at the kitchen table watching A Philadelphia Story and buffing my nails. I've never in my life buffed my nails before, but I've been reading my childhood novels lately, from a time and place where nail polish wasn't yet socially acceptable, and I've been inspired to buff my nails. It's astounding, really, what a difference mere buffing makes. I may not even get around to paint them at all, they're so pretty just filed and buffed.

I do like Keira Knightley...

Which Pirates of the Caribbean character are you?

Friday, July 07, 2006


Ok, season 6 of West Wing does in fact bite, and the Canadian invasion thing is a little forced, but overall, "A Good Day" is really a decent episode. It's nice to have a breath of fresh writing in the middle of the season.

(Yeah, I know I'm a little behind. Don't anyone tell me anything about the rest of the series - if Susie can keep from telling me about it, you can too.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hi there!

I expect to be around here a bit more now - my parents now have working wireless! My mother recently bought a new laptop for her new work, and she needed to be able to access the internet, but didn't want to leave my dad without internet at home, so they got wireless. The computer guys have finally, after a week or so, figured out how to hook the old one up to dsl and the new one up to wireless on the same system. (Turns out, hooking in my iBook, not so difficult.) So, I can now blog and especially read blogs much more easily. (Yay for having my RSS feed back!) I can't guarantee I'll have much to say, as usual, but I can say it now.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Those who follow debates over interpretations of Scripture, particularly in the current Anglican climate, may find this Sermon on the Current Dispute Over Turning Off Cellphones in the British Library Reading Rooms more amusing than those who don't follow such debates, but it's worth reading either way.

For my part, I've already read it, so I'm heading back to Rory and Ryan and Kate's house to shower and iron and warble in preparation for Hope and Andrew's ordination to the priesthood tonight.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


No, I'm not traumatized by the PB election, nor anything of the sort. I've just been crazy busy for the last week. I'm trying to put in a little extra time right now because I'll be out of the office Weds-Sat this week, plus I have to get ready for the ordinations and wedding themselves. Also, living with my parents, while wonderful, takes up more time than living by myself. We've been to a ball game, driven out to my cousin's engagement party (finally - they've been dating for six years), hosted my brother's financial advising welcome event, etc. So when I have had a couple of minutes, they've mostly been devoted to laundry, ironing, cooking, or sleeping.

As to my last post - I'd been highly concerned about how Bishop Jefferts Schori had gotten elected, based on things I'd heard from various sources around Convention the previous couple of days. In the days since, it's become pretty clear to me that the bishops responded to her capacity, leadership, maturity, and clear-headedness rather than pushing for a particular agenda (either right or left), though it's entirely possible that was an element also. I'm still slightly concerned about international ramifications, but mostly I'm just very pleased at their choice.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Not now

I'm entirely too conflicted to comment on the election of Jefferts Schiori as Presiding Bishop right now. I'll try to work something out here later.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

For the record

I object to having to get up before 7 more than once in the same week. Really, I'd just as soon be able to sleep until 8 every day and 9 or 10 once every couple of weeks, but I accept that 8:00 services don't really allow that schedule. I just don't think I should have to do it on other days besides Sunday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I danced!

Tonight, I went back to my old studio and braved the advanced class at my old dance studio. I'm relieved to report that my body still remembers a lot. Mentally, I can still keep up, and physically I'm not even doing all that badly. Am I out of shape? Yes. I'm a little slower, considerably less flexible, and significantly rounder than I was when I stopped dancing. (Although, skinny seems to have gone out of vogue in that studio - I was by no means unusually large for that class, which was both nice and odd.) But my turnout is still as good as my bone structure will allow, I can still pick up combinations about as well as most of the girls (even if it's because I'm paying better attention), and it didn't hurt too much. (I kept going back and forth during barre between wanting to push myself and wanting not to injure myself. Then I pushed my leg a little too high during an arabesque and decided to go for not injuring myself. Hey, I never said I liked being out of shape....) Sadly, the only plain technique class this summer is Tuesdays at 4:15, which is a little tough with work, but I'm told I can come learn choreography for the fall performance and stand in for missing dancers, and there's an adult beginners class, so I should be able to take some classes, anyway. I'm pretty excited about it (can you tell?).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The short version

is that the job is going very well. I've written one newsletter article and started a second, both of which are due Thursday; made two hospital visits; helped with a community meal that the church runs; read book one of Bede's Ecclesiastical History; made a couple of phone calls to parishioners; explained the magic of converting clergy shirts to the office staff; and been to a staff meeting, two liturgies, and a youth pool party. Oh, and my rector is off at General Convention and won't be back until Thursday, so I've been learning the ropes on my own, which has been sort of fun.

Monday, June 12, 2006


We haven't had a meme here this month... so here's one from Badgering.

5 Items in my Fridge:

1. Hummus
2. Leftover pierogies and peas
3. Leftover peas with no pierogies
4. Lots of yogurt
5. Sam Adams Summertime

5 Items in my Closet:

1. Fun new brown striped summer work pants
2. New turquoise sleeveless blouse with covered buttons that will be a clergy shirt when it grows up
3. New polka-dotted two piece dress outfit (yeah, ok, it looks better than it sounds)
4. New turquoise linen jacket (yay!)
5. New eyelet short-sleeved blouses

5 Items in my Car:

1. Road atlas
2. Box of books to read at work
3. Prayer book/hymnal
4. Collars and electrical tape, for hospital visits
5. Broken hanger pieces (from Thanksgiving still)

5 Items in my Purse:

1. Wallet
2. Sunglasses
3. Burt's Bees Champagne Lip Shimmer
4. Phone
5. Rosary

5 Items on my Desk: I am the Incredible Movable Intern With No Real Desk right now, but on my desk in my room at home I have:

1. Old magazines
2. Sophomore yearbook from high school, because I was looking someone up last time I was home and my parents have decided to store my yearbooks on a high shelf where I can't put it away
3. Orientation CD
4. Diocesan aid form
5. The picture of Yoda that Emily ripped out of her high school ethics textbook for me

5 Items Flowering in my Garden:
1. Little spiky white things
2. Slightly bigger, slightly less spiky, two-toned pink things
3. Little pink things
4. Peonies
5. Roses

Saturday, June 10, 2006

In Which Yodabeth Discovers "Summer Clothing"

Growing up, clothing divided into three categories: church/dressy, school, and play. As an adult, that's become: church/dressy, school, and camp. Indeed, church/dressy includes a remarkably well filled out professional wardrobe for someone who's 25 and only ever worked campus ministry and camp jobs. As far as I'm concerned, professional clothing involves blouses, gray/black/chocolate pants (often wool or lined or both), long dark skirts, suits, etc. You have clothes for the academic year, and you have clothes for the camp season. And when you work in a hospital instead of a camp for a summer, you wear the former, because it's a professional (and highly air-conditioned) environment.

Today I discovered that not all clothing falls into the binary division of "fall/winter" or "camp". Today, I sat (figuratively) at my mother's knee and learned of a thing called "summer clothing." Today, my parents and I went to the outlets, where I acquired things like sleeveless and short-sleeved blouses, knee length skirts with bright colors, and ankle-length pants (some of which are pale). Today, my mother and Jane came very close to convincing me that a long black linen skirt with a nice top (not a blouse!) will be an entirely professional outfit for my first day at my internship parish tomorrow. I still have my suspicions, but since I am not yet permitted to retreat into clericals, I will wear this outfit, and I will act professional enough that there will be no doubt as to whether I ought to be working there. (Admittedly, the action/speech part is the more important part of the professionalism equation even in indubitably professional clothing.) I am informed that in the 21st century, a suit on a summer Sunday, or even a more formal blouse, will be overdoing it, even for an intern on her first Sunday at the church.

I am now trying to accustom myself to this new reality. My camp wardrobe is in a camping pack in the basement. My winter clothes are (mostly) in Evanston. Instead of either, the closet contains things suitable for summer work wear. (Ok, so it also has most of my blouses and a lot of my winter pants. I change slowly.)

Tune in tomorrow night to find out what happens when I show up in the aforementioned suit-free outfit!

Friday, June 09, 2006


I've made it back to the Cleveland area, gone to my father's retirement party, and am now settling in at my parents' house.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Say hey hey...

While cleaning and packing today, I found the disk of 2004 camp pictures and loaded them onto my computer. I just took a few minutes to look at them again, and I'd forgotten just how much fun that summer was. Yes, the summer had its disasters and its crazy-making parts - for instance, camp pictures should by all rights exclude scenes of me sitting at my computer working in the office. But 2004, especially for Core Camp, we had the best camp staff I've ever ever worked with, and there was no way it was not going to be fun. You could make a lot of camp brochures with happy and capable-looking staff out of the pictures from that summer. I know I'm doing what I need to do for this summer, but I suspect it won't include hysterical scenes of the staff trying to relearn handstands or make marshmallow taffy with our hands or form a crew of Cereal Pirates. I miss my traveling circus!!!

Green trees around us
Blue skies above
Friends all around us
In a world filled with love
Taps sounding softly
Hearts beating true
As we all say
Goodnight to you....

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Popping in...

No, I'm not still stuck in the paper. Yes, I finished it. Yes, I have my doubts about it, but I'm not enumerating them here where my professor can read my doubts before my paper. Yes, we've finished both classes and graduation. I've also done three parties, one Official Trustee Dinner, and an ordination; tomorrow I'll go to an installation, Monday a curriculum meeting and lunch, Tuesday a lunch meeting about my field ed, games with Pippa, and Tuesday night dinner... etc. I leave for Cleveland-y parts on Friday, then Saturday I go shopping for summer clothes that aren't camp-appropriate, and Sunday I start my internship - which is an 11-week parish gig.

So while I think I'll be around more starting tomorrow (heck, I haven't even read blogs since Wednesday, I don't think) - if I'm not, you'll know why.

Monday, May 29, 2006


I've been plugging right along on my Matthew paper, and was feeling encouraged that this was really going to happen in the time remaining before the due date without too much blood and tears. But now I'm stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. I'm about a quarter of the way down page 12 of what I think will be 17 pages, and I'm stuck. I've got an outline that tells me what I'm supposed to talk about, but suddenly none of it makes sense to me anymore. I have nothing to say. Where did all my thoughts go??? When I left at 5:30, I was totally into the paper. Now, nothing. Grr.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hot, hot, hot

This won't be news to anyone who reads the paper or watches TV news, or who lives up this way, but it's HOT. 92 degrees Fahrenheit (at 7:30 pm!) is not exactly paper-writing weather. It's not exactly what I think of as May weather, either. Have I mentioned that I'm really excited to be living in air-conditioning this summer? I've still got my windows shut in the common room, because I'm pretty sure it's actually still hotter outside than in here, but it's not what I'd call comfortable either. I think this is a good time to run down to the library and find that footnote I'm missing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Status messages

Middler student: "five more days of torture"

Senior student: "1 blessed week until graduation!"

Ah, perspective....

Except not really...

Ok, I really am about to go finish a paper, but I was just looking at Commencement pictures on Smith's website (trying originally to find a picture of Davis Center to link to), and I had to share. There is a picture of the '81 alums in the Ivy Day parade that shows one holding a sign on which is printed "'81: When the greatest risk of sex was pregnancy."

Um. Wow. Ok. I know this is a women's college, and there are fewer occurrences of STDs on women's college campuses than on coed campuses, partly because lesbian sex tends to be a little safer as far as diseases go - but is she serious? Just because you thought the greatest risk was pregnancy doesn't mean it was true, woman - STDs have been around for years and years and years - and especially now that we know way more about sex, disease, and the early 80s than anyone did then, why on earth would you make such a claim?

I think I'm glad the picture doesn't show the face of the woman holding that sign. Ugh.

Long time passing...

I've been away a few days, and I'll probably be away a few more. It's that time of the term, and finishing off the Awards Night service last night really only means it's time to buckle down hard* and finish off the last couple of papers (which unfortunately are more sizeable than most papers here). I've just scheduled out every hour between now and Wednesday morning, and blogging doesn't make an appearance.**

*What Seabury needs is Davis Center. That is, not really, because I'm probably much healthier for not having easy access to Davis french fries and Seattle's Best Coffee, but in an ideal world. (And yes, I know that Smith no longer has Davis either, which is a travesty, and that NU's Norris Center is not that far away, but Norris doesn't have quite the charm that Davis Center had, not being located in a big yellow 19th century New England house with a ballroom upstairs.)

**Well, every hour between 8:30 this morning and next Wednesday - I refuse to count the next two hours as real time, since by all rights I ought to be asleep. I am, however, about to go see what I can magically accomplish in that time on no sleep.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Books! More of them!

I'll post my own thoughts in response to this later, but for now here's an interesting link to a post about the question "What's the best work of American fiction in the last 25 years?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cabbages and Kings

Center of Gravitas has an excellent post today about misogyny, from the recent Burger King ad to disgusting behavior by a local classroom king. It's worth a read.

(By the way, does anyone else find it odd that the fast food chain airing that ad is also the only one with a decent veggie burger?)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Go. Now.

Many of you will already have seen this link on AKMA's blog, but if you haven't, go now and read Holyoffice's Very Short Guide to Christianity. Don't miss the christology addendum in the comments. (2005 GOE takers will be pleased to note that he begins by defining premillenialism.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers and fathers...

So, I've got mixed feelings about Mother's Day, for a lot of the usual reasons - I love my mother and my grandmothers and like having a day to celebrate them, but I know any number of people for whom it's a day to miss their mothers or to wish they had different relationships with their mothers, or who can't have children, or who are raising them under problematic circumstances, or children who never had a mother to begin with, or, or.... This is especially true as I get further into adulthood and have to ponder the chances of ever being a mother myself.

Still, I like Mother's Day and Father's Day as long as I don't think too hard about it. If I didn't have two significant papers looming, I'd be working on a project that's in the back of my head - an art piece using images from my family's history - both sides, pieces we'd rather not think about (plantations, for instance), pieces we're proud of (signing the Declaration, Lucretia Coffin Mott, etc). If I could pull it off well, it would make a good mother's/father's day gift to my parents. I might try my hand at it this summer when I'm home, even though it will be badly timed for a gift.

Instead - well, I was going to offer a Mother's Day song. But I can't find the lyrics anywhere and I don't myself own the recording (my mother does). So, um, happy Mother's Day, everyone.