Wednesday, October 31, 2007

hittin' the mid-twenties running

Well, I did go running today, so I guess I actually did hit the mid-twenties running...but honestly, I have felt crazy busy lately, which has made it feel more like trudging through mud. This is a kind of crazy birthday, one where you feel like you are supposed to have come to some grand realization about your life, your direction, your "career," and yet I'm not feeling a lot of those pressures. When I was younger, I always wondered what I'd be doing at 25. I'm not sure what I ever thought I actually would be doing, but I thought it was an age where things would finally star to make sense. In all actuality, I'm just trying to soak everything in around me. I've had to preach a lot lately, which has caused a great deal of introspection, examination, and encouragement as I've tried to share from my life in relation to the scriptures the ways I've been able to see God in our midst. Some friends have shared some encouraging words after the sermons, and it has been great to experiment and try new ways of sharing the story of God in our world and in my life with others.

I don't think that I have it figured out what I'm going to "do" or "be" in terms of a career, but I'm beginning to realize in a deeper way how those things should not define us, but rather be an overflow of our lives and our hearts. Maybe it's just the Egyptian monastics starting to shake me up a bit, or maybe it is a lot of Dr. Toom's quotes of Augustine, but either way, I have to echo the words of the great bishop, in that if our reading of the scriptures do not inform us into living a life of charity, we may be correct on a technicality of understanding the scriptures, but we still do not understand them. (my paraphrase)

on a side note, my great friend has forever raved on and on about how a monkey playing baseball with Joey, or driving an 18-wheeler, is the best thing ever, or would be the best new friend. I however would like to state that i'd rather have a bird like this. monkeys suck, birds rule.

here's to 25.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

dinner at a monastery and a night at convergence

Last Wednesday night Shey and I joined friends Tom and his wife Lore for cocktails and dinner with the brothers in the order of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, at their house in DC. It was one of the best nights I have had in a long time. Hanging out with Tom and Lore was a lot of fun, and our time with the Oblates was wonderful. They were so kind and welcoming, making us feel right at home as soon as we walked in the door. Even though we were a few minutes late after taking a wrong turn after the metro, and thus missed evening prayers, it didn't phase them one bit. Marc Gherardi is a seminarian taking a class at Leland and was our host for the evening (you may remember him from a previous post). We had a round of drinks and hors d'oeuvre, then had dinner in this warm room, with these beautiful wood tables with tall-backed chairs. The food was absolutely amazing, pastas, vegetables, wine, and great desserts and coffee. We had great conversation, and Shey and I came away sensing a stronger unity in the body of Christ after this night, and having made some new friends. Brian Zumbrum is a first-year postulant, and was a great conversation partner throughout the night and helped us to feel at home along with Marc throughout the night. Micheal Castrilli helped keep the good beverages coming our way, and encouraged the singing of fight songs, great laughs, and an overall wonderful spirit throughout the night. This was a night that I won't soon forget, and I would encourage anyone looking for a place to do a retreat, or who is looking to make some new friends in an ecumenical setting, to meet some of the Oblates, especially the guys at the house in DC. Thanks for a great night friends!

On Sunday night, Shey and I went up with some good friends, Katie and Justin Straight, and Justin's younger sister and freshman at JMU, Anna Straight to Convergence. My pastor and the George's joined us for a contemplative and meditative evening together. My friends Todd Cullop and Lisa Hawkins are co-pastoring the church and leading the arts center piece of their community, in an effort to incorporate the arts into the DNA of their community of faith, and to give voice to artists as a whole. Other friends Harp 46 led the jazz service that night, and it was a wonderful night together of prayer, reading of scripture, and conversation. It was good to catch up with some friends I haven't seen in a while, and to worship together. If you are in the Alexandria/DC area, be sure to visit Convergence if you get a chance.

Harp 46 is going on tour and is starting to pre-order their new cd. Check out their website for more info! It was good to see folks on Sunday, David Hawkins, Tom and Lore, Scott Erwin, and all the Harp friends.

Monday, October 15, 2007

visiting friends

Shey and I went down to Williamsburg on Friday to visit our good friends Seth, Leah, and Judah. It was fun to see their new place, see where Seth works, and meet their new pastor. Leah dished up some awesome homemade pizzas and Seth and I saw JMU defeat William & Mary in overtime in men's soccer. As fast as life is right now, and as restless as it is making me feel, it was great to take some time and hang out with good friends, laugh, and just share life together. Judah, their 9 month old is a lot of fun, and has such a great makes me excited for Tim and Kristen as they prepare for their first child in the next few weeks!

Seth has a great gig right now, but it would be wise for anyone reading this blog to save this picture, because if Seth ever goes on the market again for a job, this picture will win over your search committee or congregation in a heartbeat. Eat your heart out Joel Osteen, you may have been on 60 Minutes last night, but a robe has never looked this good...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

reading week

So things never seem to slow down, but this week I've got a lot to try to finish up including a paper and applying for Advanced Placement classes and starting to research some Ph.D. stuff. After some discussion with our academic dean and a couple professors, I am considering to possibly continue my studies. Anybody have any recommendations of schools, professors, programs, etc.? Anybody know how to even start this process? I figure I will spend some time researching schools, examining programs and seeing what might be a good fit for what I'd like to study and the type of professors I'd get to work with. But really, I have no idea what I'm doing, and I don't even know where to start.

The academic dean who got the ball rolling with me, asking me to at least "consider" working on a doctorate, thought that Philosophy or Philosophy for Theology, or Philosophy of Religion, or Doctorate of Theology (at Duke) were some programs to consider....I'm not that smart, so I have no idea if any of this will work, or if I'll have the energy to go on for further studies. Yet at the same time, if i do want to continue to do this whole "pastoring" thing, I would like to be able to work and financially be more independent from having to be dependent on a church and the bulk of the community's tithes going towards running an organization. I think teaching could be a great job, and I'd love to consider teaching alongside pastoring.

Maybe I'm just crazy though. I'm pretty sure I am.