Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ohio bound

I'm off today to Ohio for a weekend gathering with the diocesan commission on ministry and seminarians, as well as interviews for ordination. (Or as my roommate puts it, "Go jump through your hoops, and we'll text you things like "sit! stay!" while you're there and have treats for you when you get back.") I expect them to go well, but they're still interviews. I'm also hoping to have my pre-ordination psychological evaluation while I'm there, but there have been any number of obstacles in the way of that, so we'll see whether I can check that off the list or not. I'll probably be online some, but I'll definitely be offline a lot of the time, since there's no wireless at the diocesan camp & conference center. Keep me in your prayers this weekend, or?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Episcopalian's Dream Combo...

From the Archer... Catholic and Protestant all in one post.

You scored as Radical Catholic. You are "Radical" in its Catholic sense -- from the Latin word radix, or root. You are not just a "church person" but you are a disciple of Christ, making a total commitment to the Gospel, to voluntary poverty, and self-sacrifice for others. You give without counting the cost.

You need to be sure that you remain obedient to the Church and your superiors, and do not consider yourself a prophet or become elitist. Try to make good examinations of conscience and to be humble. - Rome of the West

Liberal Catholic


Radical Catholic


Evangelical Catholic


New Catholic


Traditional Catholic


Lukewarm Catholic


Neo-Conservative Catholic


What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with

You scored as High Church Nomad. You were raised as some kind of evangelical, but you've started to appreciate other forms of Christian piety. Specifically, you're starting to think that Roman Catholics aren't as crazy as you once thought they were. You probably won't end up going home to Rome, but Canterbury has piqued your interest.

High Church Nomad


Moderate Evangelical


Evangelical Presbyterian




Conservative Evangelical


Reformed Baptist


Presby - Old School


Fightin' Fundy


What Kind of Evangelical Are You
created with

Monday, February 26, 2007

1 Lent

This is the sermon I preached at field ed yesterday. I haven't usually posted Sunday sermons here, because I think most of my parish sermons haven't been as good as my Seabury sermons (regardless of which parish). But I think I've improved some on that this term, partly because my field ed parish doesn't expect 15 minute sermons, so I don't have to keep writing after the sermon is done. Anyway, here's yesterday's.


One of the things that’s hardest for me about the Christian life is that I can’t look Jesus in the eyes. Looking people in the eyes is a big part of how I come to trust people. There’s a line from the musical of Jekyll & Hyde that always strikes me, where the woman who Hyde beats and Jekyll heals sings “In his eyes, I see a gentle glow, and that’s where I’ll be safe, I know.” I always think that if I could just look into Jesus’ eyes, then I’d find that kind of safety, the kind that makes the danger not matter, because it can’t touch me. But Jesus isn’t standing physically before me, day in and day out, for me to learn his eyes that way.

So I look into other eyes instead, looking for Jesus there. And I usually do find Jesus there in some guise. I look into a mentor’s eyes and see a promise that he won’t give me up if I happen to fail. I look into a friend’s eyes and see a fierce protectiveness for women’s bodies, her own as well as other women’s. I look into another friend’s eyes and see unguarded playfulness.

But then I’m often also troubled by much of what I find in my friends’ eyes. I see things there that I don’t want to see there. I don’t want to look into a friend’s eyes and see that he’s learned not to trust his own body. I don’t want to look into a friend’s eyes and see that the church I love so much, and that she loves too, is basically eating her alive. That’s not what I meant when I said I wanted to find Jesus. That kind of pain makes me want simultaneously to pull back, protect myself from, and to make it better. Of course, I know that I can’t make it better, and that it would be selfish to pull myself back – and, as it turns out, not even helpful to me, really.

I’ve seen these kinds of things in my friends’ eyes for as long as I can remember. But I’ve never been able to name what I was seeing. This week, though, I read a story in Nora Gallagher’s book Things Seen and Unseen that helped me understand a little better. She says that one Maundy Thursday, she went to a footwashing service where it was so dark you couldn’t see who would wash your feet, or whose you would wash, until you got to them. She says that when it was her turn to wash, she looked up and saw her friend Ben, for whom she was caring as he was dying of AIDS, and that after she washed his feet, she lifted her head to kiss the foot, and caught his eyes.

And she says, “I saw in him not the best that was in him, but what made him uniquely Ben, what made him not any other person in the world: his memories, his imagination, his tenderness, and his hope. And I saw something else, Good Friday’s shadow, way in the back of his eyes.”

Good Friday’s shadow. That’s what I’ve seen in all those eyes. And today, I’m wondering if those who had been with Jesus before he went into the wilderness saw that same shadow in Jesus’ eyes when he came out. I think it was there. I don’t know whether Jesus always knew what was going to happen in his life, even in a broad sense.

But whether Jesus knew going into the wilderness that the cross awaited him, I think he knows coming out that Good Friday is the inevitable end to this path that he’s on. He walks out of the wilderness with the shadow of Good Friday in the back of his eyes. Even Jesus can’t have this kind of encounter and come out of it unchanged. The wilderness gets into who Jesus thought he’d be.

But Good Friday is not all there is. And if, as I suspect, the tempting in the wilderness gave Jesus a clearer sense of who he was meant to be on earth, then I suspect that piece was more clearly visible in his eyes after the desert too. I’d guess that his companions saw there a new power to cast out demons, born of his recent victory in the wilderness. Maybe they saw a new depth of compassion, probably beyond any compassion they’d ever known before. Even before the cross, I think his eyes must have held not only the shadow of Good Friday, but everything that made him uniquely himself. And I believe that that included the shadow of Easter as well. Not in the sense that Jesus knew exactly what would happen after he was crucified, though maybe he did – but I think there was a new, unquenchable hope in God, that whatever would happen on Good Friday would not be the final word.

For now, though, Jesus’ face is set toward Jerusalem, where prophets go to die. And if we want to observe a holy Lent, we have to set our own faces toward Jerusalem, toward the cross. We have to accompany Jesus into the wilderness today, and then once we walk out of the wilderness, we have to set our faces toward Good Friday. We need to keep looking into each other’s eyes, right at that Good Friday shadow. Not trying to fix the shadow or make it go away, even out of genuine love for each other. Lent is not about fixing the darkness, but about sitting with each other in the depths, moving deeper and deeper together. And that’s how we find Jesus – not by trying to scramble up the slick sides on our own, but by following him down into the deepest parts, trusting that he’ll lead us out into the light on the other side. Each Sunday, each day of Lent, we strip away another layer that stands between us and our acceptance and experience of Good Friday, until finally we stand before the cross, undefended. Not because we’ve pretended our way through the story, but because we’ve lived our way into its heart.

It won’t all happen this Lent, for any of us. It will probably take us all our lives really to be able to stand at the foot of the cross totally undefended. But the point isn’t to get there this year so much as to take the next step. Today, it’s our job to walk into the wilderness – intentionally, knowing that it will be hard. Tomorrow, maybe, it will be time for us to face the devil, even though we’d rather not. And the next day, God willing, we’ll walk back out of that wilderness and start moving toward what’s next, toward what’s going to be even harder.

I should warn you – if you cross that threshold today, and let the Spirit lead you into that wilderness, you will come out changed. And that change will not remain secret. It will show in your eyes. Your friends will look into your eyes and see a new shadow there, a deeper knowledge of what awaits on Good Friday. The wilderness is not a safe place, and it does not lead to a safe end. But if we can bring ourselves to go out into the wilderness anyway, and to keep looking at the Good Friday in each other’s eyes, eventually there will be a glimmer of Easter – a glimmer and then a brilliant shining, and love will conquer the danger once and for all.

I changed!

I was skimming old quizzes on here for a friend, and found the old Which Devastating Hope Crew Member Are You? quiz. So, since I'm still not on the crew, I thought I'd take it again, and see if I were still First Mate Emily. As it turns out, I'm not:

Which Devastating Hope crew member are you?

Bartender Greta: You are extremely mysterious, but you make a damn fine martini. You fight secretly for your deeply held convictions, and when your duties do not take you elsewhere, you love joining your friends on their crazy adventures.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Which is very interesting.

Also, since I lost my old comments when I switched services last year, you should all go take this quiz, even if you already did, and then leave a comment with your result, because I remember being very amused by knowing which of my St. Louis friends other people were. Ta!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Now that's what you call ironic....

Feb 1, 2007: Holy Spirit hands me a sermon stating that words can't explain the way I know God by the look in your eyes.

Feb 24, 2007: Holy Spirit says, "Bwahahahaha! Now preach about how you know Jesus by the look in people's eyes."

I am not amused. (Though my roommates are.)

Song of the Week

I'll Miss You Till I Meet You - Dar Williams

I tried again, I went last night.
Another day was just not right.*
And as I drove myself back home,
A little voice said just be alone,
But sometimes I think I see you in a crowd,
It's not picture perfect, you're just meant for me somehow,

And I'll miss you till I meet you,
I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.

I love the world just as it is.
And I won't lose my faith in it.
But there are days I think of you
Saying, 'hey, that's beautiful,
Yeah, I see it too.'
It all goes by so fast, like waving hands
You want to capture things,
find someone who understands,

And I'll miss you till I meet you,
I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.

Can you keep me awake?
I thought you could help,
Just to feel my way,
Find my better self.

I'll miss you, I'll miss you, I miss you all the time.

The morning's gone, all dreamed away,
But that's all right, it's Saturday,
When people think that they might see
The next chapter, their destiny.
And when Monday morning comes around,
I'll get the work done, but I'll listen for the sound.

And I'll miss you till I meet you,
I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.

*Yeah, I know the lyrics say "date." I hear "day."

For what it's worth

I really thought that a nice benefit of not being an undergrad anymore (at least not officially, Les) would be that I wouldn't have to deal with 3 am fire alarms any more. 3 am fire alarms are among my least favorite things in life. They do very little to make me well-rested or to reduce my general fears that Bad Things Will Happen to those I love.

For those of you who are sleeping comfortably in the apartments, get a nice few hours. You're about to wake up to no heat again, in which we dorm-dwellers will be joining you this time. Hurray for pipes bursting.

Having voiced these objections, I'm going to try for a few more hours before I have to finish writing Sunday's sermon. Which will apparently be something I do from a coffee shop or something. (Here's hoping that the pipe break/heat shutoff at my field ed parish is fixed before Sunday....)

[Later: Ok, there seems to be heat after all. Apparently they were wrong about it killing the heat, or they fixed it really fast, or I imagined it all in a sleepless haze. I don't much care - I'm just glad to have the heat.]

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Books, again

I should be writing a sermon. What better use of time, then, than a meme?

Instructions: in italics=have read the book; with asterisks=want to read the book; with crosses=own the book; with question marks=unfamiliar with the book. And I'm adding: with slashes (/)=have read part of the book (Via The Little Professor - except I changed the font stuff because bolding doesn't show up well with my terrible colors.)

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. *Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. /Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. †The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. †The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. †The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. †Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. ?Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. ?A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. †Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. †Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. †Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. /A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. †Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. ?Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. ?The Stand (Stephen King)
19. †Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. †*Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. †The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. †Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. ?The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. *Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. †The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) (ok - I used to own it - I'm not sure where it is)
27. †Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. †The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. †1984 (Orwell)
35. *The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. ?The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. ?The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. †The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. ?The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. †/The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. ?Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. †The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. †Bible
46. †*Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. /The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. /The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. †A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. ?The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. †Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. ?The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. *The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. *The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. *War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. ?Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
66. *One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. *The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. /Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. *Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. /Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. ?Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. †The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. ?The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. /A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) (I actually can't remember if I've read this or not)
78. ?The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. ?The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. †Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. ?Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. †Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. ?Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. †/Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. ?The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. ?Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. ?Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. ?In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. †The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I love you all...

... one or two at a time.

You Are 20% Extrovert, 80% Introvert

You are quite reserved
You aren't afraid of social situations...
But you very much prefer to go it alone
And why not? You're your own best friend!

Monday, February 19, 2007

A hat!

Pippa has made me a hat - a warm-looking one at that - in Ohio State colors. The hat is red and sturdy, with gray flowers on the front. It's quite impressive. (It's also an especially kind gift, considering that Pippa is convinced I have about 3 times as much clothing as I need.) I'd show you a picture of it, except, I don't do that here. Also I haven't photographed it. But hurray for hats - and go Bucks!

Friday, February 16, 2007


I just took a half-hour nap in the chapel after evening prayer, curled up in a patch of warm light between the altar rail and the altar, facing the tabernacle.

It was seriously fantastic.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

happy happy

So, I admit that when Seabury and Garrett worship together, I usually attend out of a reluctant commitment to ecumenism. That is to say, ecumenism's fine and good, but if Garrett students aren't required to attend Garrett chapel, I don't think I should have to give up my own chapel service to go to theirs. But I go, because I (generally) do what I'm told.

Today, however, it was so, so worth it. Today, we sang praise music. Without murdering it. It's been a while since I got to do that, and I'd missed it a lot - especially since my most recent worship experiences have turned me pretty well against the high church stuff for a while. (I'll come back to liking it - but not for at least a couple months more, maybe not until the fall even.) I haven't been that happy in church for a long time. I didn't even care that I didn't know most of the songs. (Of course, the beauty of praise music is that you don't have to - they're musically predictable enough that you can just hear the intro or first line and have a pretty good sense of how the rest of the song will go.)

Now, of course, those of us who went "ooh! ooh! praise music!" are trying to figure out "wait - when do we get more of that?" Still - I got to sing praise music today! Yay for that!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In preparation for heading off to Ohio in a few weeks and being duly examined for ordination, I have to do a psych eval. (In my diocese, you do a psych eval before postulancy, and then again before ordination if it's been three years since you got postulancy.) This is fine, though it certainly doesn't thrill me.

Prior to said evaluation, you have to sign a release. Again, fine. I understand that the bishop will get this report, that they'll follow legal guidelines for not sharing it, etc.


I also have to agree never to try to see the results or get a copy of the report.

This bothers me greatly. If we're trying to create a process that's open, that encourages honesty and self-disclosure and gives people the confidence that that won't be used against them, we need access to reports of the state of our minds. I'm disappointed that my diocese, which mostly has a really good and safe process, requires us to waive this privilege.

On a happier note, I have just learned that I will not have to meet with the diocesan Board of Examining Chaplains to discuss deficiencies in my academic preparation and the possibility of remedial work before ordination. Thanks be to God for that.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday afternoon

I'm pretty sure I live in the only suite anywhere where the conversation about the purpose of the cleaning rota goes like this:

Beth: Kay, did you clean the bathroom this weekend?
Kay: Well...
Jenny Jo: Kay?
Kay: I only cleaned part of it.
Beth: Kay! It's not your weekend!
Jenny Jo: That defeats the purpose of the rota!
Kay: But I had a few minutes on Friday, and I had these new Mr Clean erasers I wanted to use.
(Beth and Jenny Jo exchange looks.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Yesterday, I mailed the letter to my bishop asking him pretty please to ordain me to the transitional diaconate in June. Soon the dean should be sending a letter from the faculty telling him that's a good idea. Soon after that, I'll go home to be psychologically and spiritually poked and prodded to determine if the diocese agrees. Soon after that, I'll go to the clinic and get physically poked and prodded to determine if there's blood in my veins and air in my lungs. Soon after that, I'll be getting a degree. Soon after that, God willing and the bishop and people consenting, I will kneel before the bishop and have hands laid on me.

Five months are going to go by very fast....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Accountability Post

I need to remember to be off caffeine for probably the next week or so altogether. I also need to drink less decaf and more water. I'm pretty sure I've let myself get dehydrated this week, and that simply won't work. (Probably eating something before 3 pm most days wouldn't be a bad idea either.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Feast of St. Brigid

I preached tonight at Seabury, which I love doing, even if it scares me. This one certainly scared the hell out of me, mostly because I preached it without notes (something I've only ever dared in class before) but a little because it's more vulnerable than most of mine.

I'm not sure that I've ever had such a powerful experience preaching before. The whole service was really powerful, actually, in a lot of little ways. I had an especially hard time distributing communion - a couple of times I had to try twice to get the words "the body of Christ" to leave my mouth. But the preaching was a lot of it. Preaching always takes something out of me, and at Seabury it always takes a fair amount, but this one really took almost everything I had. From the feedback I got, the sermon seems to have worked for the congregation also.

I did write a text for organizational purposes, and I'm putting it below, though I'm not sure this sermon works as well in text form as it does spoken. It's obviously not exact, since I didn't use the text, but particular words stick in my mind, so it's pretty close. Oh - the biblical text is 1 Cor. 1:26-31.


Last week my roommate stopped writing, looked around her room, and said. “Every flat surface in this room has a book on it. I think I’m looking for the words I can’t seem to find in my head.” Boy, did that ring true for me. My gut reaction to most problems, certainly most writing and thinking problems, is to look for another book to fix it. Someone asks me, “What do you know about…?” and my first instinct is that I know I have a bookshelf. I start thinking about what I’ve read that I could give them, not what I know about x. In fact, if someone asks me about my own experience, I’m likely still to reach for a book. I’m likely to ask someone else to explain it for me, to flip through pages until I find someone who has.

Words hold wisdom. In words, the wisdom of one time can be pinned down and passed forward to future generations, and we can pick it up again a hundred or a thousand years later. Words are what let me in on all the marvelous thinking that people far more insightful than I are figuring out. Words are how I figure out what I’m thinking. That’s a lot of why I feel so at home in this place. The seminary often wants to tell us that words, especially written words, are of immense worth – are, in fact, worth more than experience. And I already tend to hold words over experience as a source of wisdom, so that becomes a pretty comfortable place for me to live. I get to hide out in my love of books, and call it wisdom.

But the things that mean the most to me, the things that show me God most clearly, are not, in the end, books. In fact, maybe part of why I look so quickly to books is that when it comes to God, words don’t come easily to me. I want to hear how someone else has taken a smell, a glance, a texture, and translated it to the written word, because I need to put it into words somehow in order to preach it.

The closest I can come to articulating my desire for God is very often to open the hymnal and sing “Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm, be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray, your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.” The closest I can come to articulating what I believe, what the Church believes, about God, is usually to quote Scripture or Augustine or Madeleine L’Engle. For the same reason, I was never much good at writing Happening affirmations or psych notes or love letters. I was always better at collecting quotations for my friends and lovers than writing out my own sentiment.

But even there, even with the most articulate words I can find, they don’t go far enough. No words can convey to you the way that I know God by the touch of your hand, by the taste of fresh chamomile, by the smell of my grandmother’s perfume. Maybe some of you know something about what that’s like – maybe words can take us far enough to meet in the middle between our experiences of God – but they’ll never take us all the way across. How can I tell you about the particular glow of a torch on the lake, when it’s not really about the glow at all but everything that brings me to the place where I see that glow? How can I tell you?

I can’t. But I find a little comfort, and a little clarity, in wondering whether maybe God couldn’t either. Whether maybe that’s why the Word became flesh; as Paul says, “became for us wisdom from God.” I’d like to think that God can shape words to do exactly what they ought to do; that God’s eloquence far outshines any of ours. But after centuries of speaking to us, maybe even God couldn’t explain God’s love for us without coming himself and looking us in the eyes.

Just curious

Is anyone else surprised to see that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is scheduled to be released only a week after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes out in theaters?