Friday, December 16, 2011

Officially On Break

Christmas break has come, and not a minute too soon. I turned in my last homework assignment for the term on Wednesday and officially concluded my penultimate trimester at the Seattle School. Only one more trimester left. Only 3 more classes. Only 6 more credits. Graduation is just around the corner.

The assignment I finished this week was my Integrative Project. This is the comprehensive project that all M.Div. students must complete in their final year at my school. It is a 25-35 page paper that serves to summarize and 'integrate' your entire seminary experience. Mine ended up at 26 pages. I was initially unsure as to what to write about and I changed my topic about half-way into my research, but I am glad I did. My first idea was fine, but was essentially a mini-dissertation. What I settled on was effectively an integration of all I had been learning through the past 3 years.


Throughout the last number of years, I have kept a constantly growing list of ideas that would one day be the foundation of the church I lead. For my project, I collated these thoughts into 5 foundational principals and unpacked each one according to its theory and practice. The five concepts are:
  1. Worship as 'Denouement'
  2. Social Justice/Missional Living
  3. A Willingness to be Evangelized
  4. Holistic Living
  5. The Priesthood of All Believers
Throughout the next semester I will spend some time blogging about what I mean by each of these phrases...but not now, because I need a few weeks off from thinking and writing. I am extremely proud of the work I have done on this and think this document, and the ideas it contains, will be extremely beneficial in my ministry. This is a document that I can pass on to my regional pastor to let her know exactly what I believe and am passionate about. These thoughts will help me be concise and articulate in job interviews when explaining what sort of pastor that church would be employing. And more than anything, I believe that if churches were to take these 5 foundational principals seriously, they would radically transform their neighborhood, city, and world.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fantastic Quote

I'm working on a project for school where I'm collecting thoughts and quotes from many of the books I've been reading over the past 3 years (probably more like 6 or 7) as an integration of all that I've learned in seminary. As I was looking through the book "How (Not) to Speak of God" by the brilliant Irish philosopher Peter Rollins, I was reminded of this enlightening quote and thought I would share it with you. These thoughts seem especially relevant in the midst of our current economic climate. Enjoy!
"For too long the Church has been seen as an oasis in the desert--offering water to those who are thirsty. In contrast, the emerging community appears more as a desert in the oasis of life, offering silence, space and desolation amidst the sickly nourishment of Western capitalism. It is in this desert, as we wander together as nomads, that God is to be found. For it is here that we are nourished by our hunger."

My Last Year In My 20s

Yesterday was my birthday and I had a great day of celebrating. It started with 3 rounds of disc golf, continued with a few hours of rock climbing at the gym, and concluded with the senior recital of one of Mandy's work-study students. It was a fantastic day...but the celebration continues this evening. Since last night was a Thursday night, we had decided to hang out with our friends tonight instead. So tonight we are getting together for dinner with a bunch of friends and then we are all going to the Family Fun Center in Renton for some mini-golf, go carts, and batting cages. Should be a great time.

A co-worker asked me on Wednesday if my last year had been a good one. I instantly replied that it hadn't really been all that great and that I thought the next year would be better. I said this because I still feel like Mandy and I are in this strange liminal space where we are waiting for the next step. I will be graduating in April and am pursuing ordination, so for now we are just having to be patient. While I really do believe that this next year (my last year in my 20s) will be a great year, the more I thought about the year that was, the less negative I was about it.

This past year really has been a great one. The main reason it was great was that we got to spend 2 weeks in Africa visiting our friends Brian and Nicole. This was an amazing adventure that I will NEVER forget, and was truly the highlight of our year. But this last year also included a lot of other fun trips. We spent a weekend in Portland with David and Michelle, I spent a weekend in Squamish mountain biking and rock climbing with David and Matt B., we were in Ohio for Matt A. and Michelle's wedding, I spent a week in San Diego at a conference with some friends, and a group of us were in Whistler mountain biking for 3 days. All in all, a lot of great traveling.

This year also saw us move into a nice, new apartment with a great view overlooking the Cascades (which I am enjoying right now). This larger apartment also afforded us the space for Mandy's sister Kathy to come live with us for a while. It has been great having her here and getting to know her as an adult. What a blessing.

I'm grateful to my co-worker for asking me about my year, because it has invited me to process the year that was and to celebrate, rather than simply lament the frustrations of our future uncertainty. This has been a great year of great adventures with great friends and family. Truly a blessed season of life.