27 March 2006

honoured to be female at Seminary

as i visited another church today for a conference, a woman came up to my friend and me. she asked if i, too, was in Seminary, and when i said, yes, she said that she was so delighted that we were there. with tears in her eyes, she mentioned that she was on the committee to advocate for women in office and to help out women at Seminary, and that 30 years ago she would never have dreamt of this happening, and even now women were on the board of trustees!!

as she left, my friend asked me how'd i felt about that brief conversation (after all, i'm not so excited about women in office nor excited to be seen as representing a cause).

and my reaction was that i did not feel misjudged or misrepresented, which kind of surprised me.

i had felt honoured by this conversation. honoured that i do get to be at Seminary studying the Bible. and honoured to feel like i'm part of the healing that God is doing in this woman's life - of dreams being answered that she had barely dared dream. through me, she could see God opening up doors for women's gifts to be used.

i, too, want very much for women's gifts to be used in the church. and i pray very much that the gifted women i know will be able to use these gifts to build up the church.
i guess i just wish that using women's gifts and the question of ordination were not so closely linked.

holding on to things lightly

i've always thought that i was good at sharing my things. after all, i lend my car out to people. i've gotten a little leery about that lately, but that has more to do with it getting old than somebody hurting it any. it's broken down on me a few times, so i've gotten used to it, but i'd feel bad if it happened to somebody else.

and i lend out books and share my time and have even gotten good at sharing food with roommates. so in my estimation i was doing well.

then a friend asked to borrow my laptop for the night. and i freaked. i made him explain why he'd want to use it (it was a reasonable request, it was only a short time, etc.) but even without the explanation, i knew that i would have to lend it to him. it's just a computer after all, and even if it's delightful, nothing is that important that i can't let it go for awhile and help out a friend.

it came back fine the next day. no surprise. and i learned another lesson about holding on to thing less tightly.

14 March 2006

when homework looks good

today had been one of those lousy homework days. i'd been working on it sort of, but it was going slow, and i'd look for a distraction every five minutes. after having spent the afternoon getting little done, i prayed and hoped that i'd be a bit more excited about homework. and i think i got my answer.

i would say that i'm a pretty good cook. and i make good pizza. and today, having moved around the frozen pizza crusts in the freezer a kazillion times already, i decided it was high time to make pizza. so i cooked some sauce and put the dough on a greased cookie tray (if i cook it a bit ahead of time, i can put extra sauce on it). checking the dough ten minutes later, i'd noticed it'd shrunk and separated some. so i put some flour on it. not much help. so i took it out and put a whole lot of flour with it. it still had a bit of a funny texture, but looked this time like it might actually get crunchy in the oven. the pizza making process continued relatively well (i'd added a smaller crust from the freezer and some leftover bread pieces to the pile) until i took it out of the oven. as i start taking out the tray with the small pizza and 'pizza breads,' i realize that i'm about to burn myself, readjust the hotpan holder, and the small pizza slides off the tray and lands top down on the bottom of the oven. as i mumble a few nasty words to myself, my brain processes that, no, i can't just scoop it off the bottom, and the smoke from the singed cheese is going to set off the fire alarm (which produces a nasty noise in the entire apartment building). after opening the sliding door and covering the fire alarm, we sat down to eat. my roommate had the pizza breads and i the remains of the small pizza (i hate wasting food - and it wasn't bad with a little extra sauce).

then we pulled out the pizza with the slightly suspicious dough. and it looked great. and tasted light and flaky. perfect for a pie. kind of funky on a pizza. [and that explains why the dough seemed a bit strange, but still vaguely familiar - at the food pantry where we get half of our food, i'd managed to pick up pie crusts instead of pizza crusts!].

my roommate summed it up nicely: i'm just having a bad pizza day.

when a glass broke with little assistance from me (and i still had to clean the oven), i realized that my evening homework - jotting down sermon ideas and looking through ugartiic textbooks - was just what i needed. it contains nothing that can be broken or dropped. and that it's on the non-adventurous side sounds kind of nice.

this wasn't exactly how i would have answered my prayer of being more motivated to do homework...

11 March 2006

not the correct response

I received an email from a prof today asking if I had a computer copy of my Lohfink review, as he cannot find my copy. The correct response is to be understanding (as i have lost student homework and it's a horribly panicky feeling) and email the prof back saying, 'of course I have a computer copy of that. let me send that right over.'

My response, however, was, 'huh? Lohfink? who's he? what review?' as a vague memory of such an assignment enters in my head. amidst a sinking suspicion that maybe there was more homework in that class than i had actually done, i go hunt down the syllabus from the previous quarter. and discover who Lohfink is and why he was supposed to make a difference in my life.

and well, guess that confirms at least part of what i have to continue doing still tonight. and tomorrow i ask for grace as i email it in.

of course, just today i had mocked several people for not remembering a meeting that we were supposed to have. i, of course, had remembered. in fact, i'd written it down in my day book.

i had also written down the Lohfink assignment in my day book. divine irony, if you ask me. (and a healthy ego minimizer.)

on the up side, besides the fact that this makes a great story as long as I don't mind being the brunt of the joke, i saw the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tonight. hilarious. strange and funny.
and i cleaned yesterday, so i've been staring at the carpet with much joy. i'm just so amazed at how it looks, which kind of gives you a clue how frequently we vaccuum :)

and hopefully i will continue to laugh. and remember grace.

06 March 2006

a poem worth holding onto

The following is a poem i discovered the other morning that deserves to be kept. and shared.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing...
Love someone who does not deserve it...
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias...
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts...
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry, "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" in Selected Poems; taken from Luci Shaw, The Crime of Living Cautiously, (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2005), 24.

04 March 2006

my blog as a word cloud

This is what my blog looks like as a word cloud. The more often a word occurs, the larger it is in the image. As you can see, the words are in alphabetical order. I had to smile when i saw what word follows love.:)

You can get your own with snapshirts
(Thanks to Dave Numan for the link.)

03 March 2006

Not the day I expected

today i was supposed to finish up my overdue paper on Isaiah 54. it's almost done. but it was almost done yesterday, too.

my errands this morning became conversations. delightful ones. but not so good for getting the homework done.

i went to the library to find the hebrew of Isaiah 54:9,14 in the Qumran scrolls. It seems like a specific enough request - and easy to do (after all, it had been when I had search for Psalm 137 in the Qumran). Not today. After half an hour of going through every book in the section, I gave up. Already annoyed i went to seek the help of a librarian (my first time), who was busy helping somebody do research. ten minutes later, without any acknowledgment from the librarian, i left to appease my annoyment by finding a movie or two to watch this weekend.
and bumped into a student (one of the favourites teachers aren't supposed to have) that i hadn't seen for a year. and caught up. and then bumped into my old roommate. and caught up. the librarian was busy again. the theological librarian was lost. and i attempted a five minute last ditch effort to find the elusive text. and then i left. feeling dreadfully unproductive. and then bumped into my old mentor. caught up. (and did i mention that on the way to the librarian the first time, i'd bumped into the current leader of InterVarsity at Calvin. and caught up.)

then i thought i'd at least get some work done in the computer lab. i got some done. but mostly i talked. about my visits to a monastery (and how normal the monks are - and hopefully conveyed the joy and peace i receive from going there - what else would one expect after going to a place where people have prayed for years?). about devotions, which is one of those conversations we at Seminary don't usually talk about. we can discuss what a text means and even how to preach it without any problems. but when it comes to how our lives are being shaped by it and how we try to make the Word of God a regular part of our lives, we're quiet and unsure. and wishing that were not so, i was suprised and delighted by the conversation.

and by that time, i had since figured out that my unproductive work day had been a day of growing in other ways. and of learning things and seeing God in unexpected places.
- like the phone call from a good friend in the midst of writing this. she encouraged me with my search for a place to live next year. and i got to encourage her. and pray together on the phone.
- and i saw God in the conversations at lunch.
= in wishing that students were invited to participate more in the structural side of things at Seminary.
= and wondering together with friends about the women in office and how to be hospitable to people who disagree with our perspective. and how the Seminary, whose administration was for women in office, long before the denomination was okay with that, could be hospitable to those who are not while still remaining very diligently hospitable to the women studying for ministry.
= and having just this morning seen how someone had graciously, and even more did so with the sense that this was the only loving thing to do, embraced and encouraged someone who held strongly to a very different theological position on something that overlapped into her life.

all in all, it was a much better day than the one i expected when i got out of bed. i pray that i might remember that. and expect more.