Thursday, October 27, 2005

I've got a problem: I'm in love!

So, I'm on break right now, and I know I should be reading for school, I should be getting ahead with my reading and writing in preparation for a very busy week coming up, but I can't seem to get away from my new love. I'm totally enrapt. I seem to think so often of my love that I can't focus on much else. I want so much to learn about, see and visit my new love that it's making it very hard to focus.

Wait, I should define exactly what I'm talking about here. Some of you might be, I don't have a girlfriend. I'm not in love with another woman silly! I'm in love with the UK! I'm totally infautated with the idea of living in Great Britain, possibly studying there - maybe up in Scotland @ St. Mary's College the divinity school for St. Andrew's. I've been reading Susan Howatch's Scandalous Risks and it just cements for me that I want to be over there. I want to experience the ol' CofE, the suffocation of class structure, the exquisite stone buildings, centuries old cathedrals... I just want to be there. But right now, I'm stuck here. So... I end up spending hours looking at the possiblities of studying abroad. I've looked into the different programs St. Mary's College has to offer. I've looked a little at her faculty and the overseas students info. The only problem (besides the fact that I'm neglecting my studies here to do this) is that in 2 years, when I'm finally done here at PTS, I'll have a 15 mo. old baby, school debt (and/or credit card debt) that will still need paying off and normally it would be the time where I'd be looking to get ordained and settle in a church. But what about my love? What about England or Scotland? What about Europe? She calls my name!

Then of course, the thougth occurs to me - what about for a sabbatical? What about in 7 years or so? But could I wait that long? Would I still want to go? Would our family be in the right place then? Uggghhhh!!! Why can't my love and I just be together? Bridgette understands. Heck, she wants to go too! If only...

Photo courtesy of Ian Britton (c)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sobering Break...

It's Fall Reading Week here at Princeton Seminary, which means that it's time for me to get caught up or get ahead in my reading for the semester. There's need for both. But yesterday, Bridgette and I took the Seminary's yearly tour of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Now, it would be quite normal, I'm sure, to sit here and wax eloquently about the deep and profound experience that it was, the fact that I'm still processing everything etc. But to be honest, I don't exactly feel that way. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not in ANY WAY trying to downplay the memorial, the trip or the holocaust at all. It's just that I'm surprised that I was not moved more. In some ways, I think it has to do with the fact that none of it was really new to me. I had been fascinated with the Second World War form an early age. I had read about Hitler in grade 7 (not fascinated with him in any sort of "wow he was cool" way at all) and in Canada, this was in many ways the most recent war when I grew up, so it was the one most studied and talked about. There was never an attempt to downplay the depth of depravity that the Nazi's had sunk to in the holocaust, if anything that was the one thing that was emphasized the most - we had to remember to make sure that something like that would never happen again.

So, as I travelled through the museum, in some ways it was like returning to things that were familiar with me. I definitely got a new look at them, there were new images, tangible artifacts that were amazing... but in some ways, it was still a museum to the past. As much as I tried to put myself in that place, there remained a certain level of detachment. I couldn't escape the fact that this horrific event happened apart from me, not just geographically, but in time - it happened a full generation before I was born. But maybe, that's simply the way it must be. Maybe, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe, for those of us that cannot remember the event as a lived experience, it is simply enough to remember that for millions upon millions - it was. And unless we are vigilant, it can again be a horrific event for millions more...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This is why I'm in School...

At 9am this morning, after dropping Bridgette off at work, my friend Andrew and I went to our precept of "16th Century Lutheran and Reformed Confessions" taught by the above pictured Dr. Bruce McCormack. Usually our precept consists of us asking questions, which he writes on the whiteboard and subsequently answers with interjections from us. It's enormously useful and informative. Today however, he spend the first 40 minutes going over the 16th Century Lutheran, 19th Century Lutheran and finally the (or his) current Reformed view of Kenoticism - Jesus' emptying Himself in the incarnation. It was BRILLIANT.

Now, that was great, but the truth is, that's not exactly why I'm in school. After that, we spent 10 minutes going over a few questions. What happened AFTERWARDS is why I'm here. Four of us stayed after class and we spent 40 minutes (making 3 of us late for our next class) chatting, talking, making this stuff practical, etc. Getting THAT from a professor is why I'm in school. To hear stories from a professor that shed light onto the material and onto what we do outside of the classroom... as he's sitting on the table crosslegged... priceless!

Yes, I'm here to read. Yes, I'm here to write. Yes, I'm here to learn. And in those 40 minutes, I learned SO much. THAT is why I'm in School...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

So Many Thoughts, so little time

I have so much reading to do and so little time to do it. I've been struck by so much lately and have had just no opportunity to share it... no outlet for it. I mean, I'm writing... but not what I really want to say.

Suffice to say I will be putting some thoughts on Barth & Atonement shortly - from Church Dogmatics. In the meantime, I'll be reading Bosch's Transforming Mission and writing a paper for Monday. Hopefully, I can get through 180 pages in 8 hours...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

My Family is a TRIP... literally

So, if there's ever been a question as to why I'm so loud and obnoxious, one need only look to the family of my birth. They're in town for the weekend, and it's funny 'cause everywhere I go with them, be it the flag football field, the mall, BabiesRus, Dinner... somehow I become the quiet one. I don't know if it's that I've changed a lot since moving out, getting married and stuff, or it's that I've always been a little more like that. I tend to think that I've adapted more to my surroundings, which aren't quite as loud and chaotic as they used to be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy to have my family in town visiting this weekend. They made the trip from Cambridge, Ontario which should take 8-9 hours (it took them 12+ but there's no need to talk about that). It's fun to have them here, have them experience a little bit of our lives and what we do - see our apartment and stuff.

But it is different. It's funny because every time I see them it's like I feel a little less theirs and a little more Bridgette's. They're my family... but at the same time, we're carving out our own little family. It's a wierd experience. It feels like a further stage of individuation or something. Being 27 years old, married for 5 years and expecting our first child in February, I'd think that I should have figured out that whole individuation by now. But I guess I still have some growing up to do. Funny how it takes your family to show you that...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oh my goodness - I felt the baby!

I've been a little busy lately. There's been tons of stuff from class that I've wanted to write on. But I haven't found the time yet. Before I do though, I've just GOT to talk about this.

No photo could aptly convey what happened the other night. Bridgette had gone to get ready to turn in for the night and was lying on the bed. She asked me to come in for a second while I was doing something (for the life of me, I can't remember what). When I'd finished up I and walked into the bedroom I said something to the effect of "Why, do you want me to feel the baby?" and she said "Yeah".

Now, you've got to understand something. I've been a little jealous for the past month because Bridgette has been able to feel the baby moving around but nothing can be felt on the outside. Our doctor of course said something like 6-8 weeks is when I'd be able to - after she did. So, when Bridgette told me to come check out her belly, I was surprised and excited.

I proceeded to put my hands on her belly, just below the belly-button, just as hers were. For a second, I felt nothing. Then she hicupped - or so I thought.

"Was that you?"

"No" she replied

"Oh my goodness!" I said... but that wasn't all. What followed was amazing. I've felt babies before (My mom had my sister when I was 13, my brother when I was 16) but this was early! I felt a distinct push from a hand or foot or head, like twice on my hand. Not just some general pressure, but something very specific.

Now some guys don't care too much about things like this. I would call these men IDIOTS. From the very beginning, I've been extremely excited about this pregancy. I've been to every doctor's visit, every ultrasound (3 so far). When we first saw the babies heartbeat - that was awesome. When we first HEARD the babie's hearbeat, that was incredible. When we saw the 20 week ultrasound, the baby moving around, being able to count the fingers and toes, seeing bones... whoa.

But when I first FELT the baby... words can't describe.

I think this relates pretty well to Spiritual things too. So often, we get a promise. We're promised salvation. We're promised blessing. We're promised whatever. But nothing comes. We sit around, hearing others talk of their blessings, talk of their triumphs, talk of their freedom... and all we do is wait. Maybe some well-meaning people come up to us and reassure us, they tell us that ours is on the way too. They remind us of God's faithfulness. They remind us of Scripture, of those that have gone before us, their struggles and triumphs and how God did what God promised for them as well.

But somehow, it's not the same. Until...

Until, it happens for us. Until that remarkable day when God DOES rend the heavens and come down. Until that marvelous day in OUR lives when that needed provision, that long-awaited freedom, that overflowing joy washes over us and we cry Hallelujah!

There's a long wait in the meantime so often. But when we are touched, it is so amazing, words fail to convey, pictures cannot do justice, silence is far too loud...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Getting my Groove On

What I usually find is the most difficult part of starting something new is getting into some kind of rhythm. Now, as you can see from the picture... "I've got rhythm, I've got music..." but the problem is matching MY rhythm to what's going on around me. Case in point would be this new semester. I'm not going to sit here complaining about my situation (14 credit hours, 10hr internship, 8-12 hr/wk job, plus being married) because I know there are TONS of people out there doing so much more, and having it so much worse (Gulf Coast - case in point).

But that's because I'm not talking about the amount of stuff I'm doing. In College I held down a full course load, part-time job, ran track, was a Resident Adviser and my senior year was planning a wedding (and taking Biblical Greek) - so what I'm saying is that I'm used to doing a lot. The problem is getting into the rhythm and flow of doing what you're doing so that everything gets done and that nothing gets pushed to the side that is important.

In fact, I think this semseter more than any other time in my life is going to force me into being proactive. My class schedule is EXTREMELY frontloaded. I have but 1 hour of class on Thursday and Friday each (meaning I have 11 hours Mon-Wed). This means that I have to make sure I'm spending time Thursday and Friday being proactive about reading for the following week. For me, this is not a skill I have yet to acquire.

Now, as a Christian in particular, I think this is an extremely necessary perspective that we all need to get behind in some way or another. The truth is, our existence seems very frontloaded. It matters for the future, so much what we do now. The consequences of the future, of our eternal future, matter in the right here and now. We can't live our lives thinking that "some day" we'll do this or that, "some day" we'll start really living for God. We have to do it now, because frankly, "some day" will never happen...