Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spring is here! (and so are the butterflies)

Well, at least the spring SEMESTER is's still bleeping cold outside with huge piles of snow blocking the sidewalks.
I'm back at school. Classes start tomorrow.
I have new notebooks, new text books, a whole slew of new papers that I can procrastinate about writing (once I finish procrastinating about the paper that's due tomorrow for my Winter session class).

This semester I'm taking:
History of Christianity I
Systematic Theology II
Seasons of Celebration: Worshiping Through the Liturgical Year
Introduction to Preaching

I'm trying to stick with a balance of half theory/half practice each semester so I'm not too loaded down with reading, writng papers, and generally bending my brain into a pretzel...
The Worship class should be fun as we'll be broken into groups with each group picking a liturgical season to design and present a worship service for.
The Preaching class was a last minute choice. I was going to wait and take a preaching class in tandem with my Field Ed assignment next year, and even then I had no intention of taking the Intro to Preaching class. Given that I've had 10 years of preaching experience I thought I'd take something more esoteric, like "The Jazz of Preaching" or "Holistic Preaching" (I have no idea what that is but it sounds cool).

I changed my mind when a 2nd year student told me that she took Intro to Preaching last year and the Professor announced on the first day of class that they would not be allowed to use a manuscript or notes for any of the preaching assignments.
My response was: "WHAT WHAT WHAT???!!
Basically, this is preaching without a net.
The thought of doing this terrified me so much that I knew I had to take this class.

The class is not meant to teach us how to preach without a manuscript as a rule, but rather it's meant to make us BETTER manuscript preachers. Preaching without notes will force me to know my stuff and get my point across in a more direct way; it will allow me to tell stories in a more natural, conversational manner, and get me in the habit of maintaining eye contact with the congregation for longer periods of time.
Although I'm looking forward to the challenge, I also know that this class is going to stress me out to no end. I anticipate a lot of Tuesday nights spent memorizing and practicing in my dorm room, and a lot of Wednesday mornings spent fretting in class with my stomach doing the cha-cha just waiting for my turn to be over. ;-)

But this is why we do stuff like this, right?
Turn our lives upside down, try something new, risk being the sole flubbering fool in a room full of our amazingly capable peers. Every now and then we have go out and S-T-R-E-T-C-H ourselves beyond the point that we feel comfortable going. We may discover a talent that we never knew we had, or we may say, "yeah, I'm never doing THAT again!"
Either way it beats sitting at home wondering what we could have, should have, would have done if we only had the guts to try.
Hello guts.
I expect to be seeing (and feeling) a lot of you over the next few months.
Just don't get too comfortable. I hope to be showing you the door before too long.

Now lets get down to business.
A new semester is here and we've got some Jesus learnin' to do!

Friday, January 16, 2009

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye...

Adieu, Adieu, to you and you and you!

After watching Bush's farewell address on TV last night I just have one thing to say...


Well ok, that's actually three things, but they needed to be said.

Oh, and one more thing - George, please stay in Texas.
Remember what Thomas Wolfe said, "You can't go home again."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

I got my final grades for the fall semester (insert drum roll here)....
and I got a B+ in Systematic Theology!!
When I saw the grade I literally jumped up and down in my dorm room.
You'd think I won the lottery or something. And in a way I did, because anything less then a B would have dropped me below the 3.5 GPA I need to maintain for my scholarship.
Thankfully, with an A, A-, and a B+ (and a "Pass" for the class I took Pass/Fail) I managed to eek out a 3.7 for my first semester.

Now it is time to do the happy dance!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

You can't teach an old coat new tricks...

So, I bought a new winter coat.
The day after I got home for Christmas break I was browsing in Sears and they had a huge sale on Lands End coats, so I bought one.
It's red and puffy and oh so warm.
I've been wearing the same basic black winter coat for 10+ years, so buying a new winter coat - especially a red one - is a big deal for me.

Now that I have two coats I thought I would alternate between the two, but in reality I haven't worn the old coat since I bought the new one.
So it took me all of two seconds to decide to leave the old coat hanging on the back of the dining room chair as I packed up to head back to school this morning.
My winter class is only two weeks long and then I'll be back home for a week, so I can decide then whether I need to have both coats up in Boston.
My SO and I packed up the car, made the 3 hour drive to Boston, and shortly before reaching the Newton exit on the Mass Pike, I reached into my bag to dig out my dorm room keys.
And then I realized that they were in my coat pocket.

No....not in the pocket of my NEW red winter coat.
Why would they be there?
That would make too much sense.
They were in the pocket of my old black winter coat, hanging on the back of a chair 150 miles away from where I needed them to be.

Not a big deal.
I could get a replacement set from my building's res rep.
Unless she was on vacation in California....which she was.
So.........we turned the car around and drove back home to CT, and found the keys exactly where I thought they would be.

The sad part is that I remember zippering the keys safely in my coat pocket rather then in my bag where I usually keep them, thinking 'I may forget my bag, but this coat goes wherever I go.'
Just as it has for the past 10 years.
And then I bought a new coat.

Now I will be driving myself back to Boston tomorrow.
One 5-hour+ round trip per weekend is enough for my SO, and she graciously agreed to walk to work for 2 weeks so I can keep the car.

I get the car AND I have a new red puffy coat?
It must be my lucky day! ;-)