Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars, Covenant History, and Thesis

So, I have to admit that much about the Oscars does very little for me. The glitz and glamour of the red carpet usually invokes thoughts of how much money is wasted at such events that could be better spent elsewhere or how shallow the whole thing is. I especially dislike the whole parasitic paparazzi industries that bottom feed off such events (I'm looking at you E!), making money off of making fun of/praising people's clothes (I'm looking at you Joan Rivers and Kelly Osbourne). Yet, beneath the layers of fabrication, I do believe there is some type of artistic endeavors that should be praised. I like the sound mixers and editors that get their moment in the sun for perfecting their craft; I like usually well-scripted people giving acceptance speeches when they truly are floored and speechless.I like the idea of people trying to make something beautiful and transcendent through film. So, yesterday I went to John and Lindsey Robinson's house for an Oscar party. My reflections:
1. I need to see The King's Speech.
2. James Franco was on a muscle-relaxant or narcotic drug of some type. I sometimes wondered if he was comatose or if it was some type of Weekend at Bernie's skit.
3. I like Randy Newman.
4. Helena Bonham Carter can do whatever she wants.
5. I ate appetizers at the party like a bear storing up calories for hibernation.

I'm meeting with my thesis advisors - Phil Anderson and Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom - to discuss chapter 3 today. Hopefully there won't be too many changes, and I can move on to the final chapter!

I think I have decided to do my Covenant History and Theology final paper on First Covenant Church in Duluth and the Bjorlin family's role in its inception/community life throughout the years. Here's a picture of the church:

I realize more and more that as much as I learn about the history of this world, the Church, and my denomination, I know very little about my own family history, especially on my Dad's side. So, this is step one in rectifying my familial ignorance.

31 days until the Twins opener!

Okay, I am going to get on with my day: meeting, running, reading, eating. This sums up about 80% of my days.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shower Heads, Workshops, and Nearing the End

As I've progressed through my life, one thing that has continued to be important to me is shower head placement and angles. First, low shower heads are a real drag. No one wants to duck to take a shower. To me, I go with the maxim, "the higher the better." Second, I have found that the shower head needs to be centered. I think it throws of the fung shui of the shower experience when your body is off-centered or too close to the front/back of the shower.

Today I was in a workshop with Drs. Todd Johnson (former North Park faculty and now head of Fuller's new worship Ph.D.), Lester Ruth (just got a position at Duke), Ruth Duck (Garrett- wrote the hymns "Arise Your Light is Come" and "Lead On, O Cloud of Presence"), and Mark Torgerson (Judson- expert on worship architecture). I'm sure that doesn't mean much to many, but they are some of the best scholars in liturgical studies. It was pretty great.

Yesterday I finished up my J-term paper, which officially ends my last J-term class at NPTS. Now, I only have two more classes to finish up plus a thesis and the semester/masters is complete! The end is drawing near...Keep your lampstands lit; it will come like a thief in the night; don't be caught sleeping; two master's students were walking up a hill/grinding wheat, one disappeared the other was left standing. As DC Talk sang, "I wish we'd all been ready." Here's that very song from the terrible and terrifying movie that still haunts my dreams, Thief in the Night.

A bad movie with even worse theology. I think I should have a showing of this at my house very soon...and here's to my complete stream of consciousness that led to that clip.

Dear Muammar Qaddafi,
You should leave.

I think if there's two things I inherited from my parents it's an addiction to ice cream (from Deano) and Diet Coke (MJ). I mean, there are much worse addictions you could have.

This has been one of my most random and fragmented posts in a long time. You're welcome.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February, The Key to Seminary, "Pro-Life," and Seinfeld

This happens every year, but I can't believe how fast February goes! One day you're looking for Punxfarhodabfxzdfdl;fatawney (sp?) Phil's shadow results and the next you're getting ready for March Madness brackets. Yesterday we got something in our seminary mailboxes that said, "80 days until graduation!" That's absolutely crazy! I keep forgetting that I'm graduating/that it's so soon! It's both very exciting and sad at the same time. What will I do without all these wonderful people? C'est la vie.

I know I make reference to this often, but one of my favorite things about seminary is having Fridays off. Thursday's the new Friday!

I think after my three years in seminary, I have figured out the key to success at North Park Theological Seminary: layers. You should always dress in layers when coming to the seminary because no matter what time of year it is, it may be 86 degrees in your classroom, or it may be 58 degrees; it doesn't matter if it's July or January. If you are not prepared for the classroom elements, learning will suffer. Cardigans are a great optional piece of clothing in this setting.

I signed up for the Illinois Marathon in Champagne! I'm running it with Greg Johnston and Cooper Gillan in late April. This marathon has two great advantages: 1) it's in April. The thought of running the Chicago marathon is tempting, but the thought of doing all my longest runs in the humid heat of Chicago summer is not. Anything over 75 degrees, and I wilt. I'm a delicate flower...or a piece of lettuce.... we report, you decide. 2) It's on a Saturday. I won't have to take a day off of work to do it, which is obviously good. So, I completed my first double-digit mile-run along the lake last Friday, and I'm feeling good about the endeavor. We'll see if that keeps up.

It's hard for me to take "pro-life" Republicans seriously when they not only want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood but also to cut $747 million from WIC, make cuts from headstart, and de-fund Title X, which provides funding for contraceptives, HIV/AIDS testing, gynecology exams, etc., for mostly low-income women and families who also are uninsured. Title X also states that no funds can be used, "in programs where abortion is a method of family planning." That's absolutely not pro-life. When you are pro-life, you have better be committed to taking care of children after they leave the womb. If you don't, it's simply hypocrisy and certainly cannot be labelled "pro-life." That's my political rant for today.

Thanks to Earl, I'm borrowing seasons 1-3 of Seinfeld. I sometimes forget how many of my jokes or common phrases have their origin in a Seinfeld episode or how great it is to end a day watching an episode and de-stressing. Here's a good top ten:

Okay, off to lunch!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Church Signs, Nyvall Quote, and The Piggery

So, there's a church that I pass quite a bit, and the only sign on the outside of the church is "Remember St. _______ in your will." This sign rubs me the wrong way. First, it is the only sign outside of the church. There's no, "Welcome to St. ______ parish," or even "Jesus loves you!" So, the only thing you have to say to the outside world is that you're looking for some mammon. To me, this says, "Hello all who may be looking for hope or good news. What we really need is your cash." They better watch out, or a Middle-Eastern man may break in and overturn some tables and drive some people out. I mean, they probably are hard up for cash. My brother has this theory that every large Catholic church is required to have scaffolding outside.

So, I'm reading Scott Erickson's biography/dissertation on David Nyvall and I came across my favorite quote/what I want to make my quote for my future academic life:
"God grant that some pious Bible-loving Christians were just as wise as they are hot. God grant that some higher critics were less sharp-witted. Oh, if [only] by some divine magic, clearness and warmth went always together, if great brains were always warmed by great hearts, and great hearts always enlightened by great brains."

I really love that last part (I mean, I did italicize it). Great brains and great hearts should always go together.

So, there's a restaurant up the street from me called The Piggery, and I think that's just a terrible name. Who wants to eat at a place that makes you feel obese simply by saying where you're going to eat? I mean, I wouldn't want to say, "Oh, hey, do you want to grab some food? I'm thinking we should go to Fatty-Bo-Batty's, or would you rather go to Lard House?

Do you ever get W-2's and think, "I don't remember ever working for you this year?" That happened to me this year. I don't remember getting paid by North Park, but I must have at some point. Just one more W-2 to insert into TurboTax and pray I don't get audited because I have no idea what TurboTax does with all of these numbers I'm entering.

Okay, I'm reading before heading to bed. By One Spirit is calling my name.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

WXRT, Covers, and Smart Wool

You know what I've been really loving lately? WXRT. For those of you not familiar, WXRT is a Chicago radio station that tunes in at 93.1 on your FM dial. It plays a ton of great new rock/indie stuff plus some great classic rock that might not be a little more obscure than what is played on WDRV (The Drive). On Friday they had an "Under the Covers" day where they played nothing but covers of great songs. It was wonderful. My favorite covers:
1. Twist and Shout- The Beatles. There version is by far superior to the original by the Isley brothers.
2. All Along the Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix. Love the original and love the classic.
3. Hurt - Johnny Cash. Who knew he could pull off Nine Inch Nails? Give it a listen.

4. With a Little Help from My Friends- Joe Cocker. I do think it may even be superior to the Beatles version. Sorry, Ringo!
5. Stairway to Heaven - Dolly Parton. Okay, not really, but she does do a version, and you should listen to it. It's crazy. Oh, don't worry, here it is.

6. Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine. I like it better than Postal Service's, that's for sure.
7. Sanctuary- Red Horse. This Eliza Gilkyson song is taken to greater heights by Lucy Kaplansy in Red Horse (a band which includes Gilkyson).
8. The Water Is Wide- John Gorka. I don't know if you can cover a traditional song, but I love this one.

That's all I can think of right now. There are many Beatles covers that I think are pretty great like Across the Universe's rendition of "Let It Be" or Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work It Out," but I've done a list of favorite Beatles covers on a previous post.

Today before church I was overturning my closet and hamper looking for one of my smart wool socks. Seriously, I was like the woman searching for the lost coin or the guy trying to find the pearl of great price in the Bible. And really, it's not that bad of an analogy because with inflation and whatnot, that gold coin might not pay for two smart wool socks in this day and age. Those things are pricey!

I finished a rough draft of my third chapter! So, now a meeting with my co-advisors (Michelle and Phil) and hopefully I'll get to working on a draft of chapter 4. Well, I'm going to take a nap. Preaching can really take it out of you! Later.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More School, Making It, and Santa Fe

Well, I should note that I have made a decision: I'm staying in Chicago for another year and applying for Ph.D. programs in the fall in liturgical studies/theology/ethics (still deciding). Lately, I'd been feeling like I had my feet on two ice floes: one floe on pastoral work and one floe on Ph.D. work and a professorial vocation. The ice floes kind of made me feel safe because I could jump on one or the other if another started to sink. However, as I continued floating along, the floes began to move away from one another. I was not pursuing either with enough intentionality because to pursue either with vigor would require leaving the other. I was at the "hour of decision."

When it came to decide, I realized the only reason I wasn't going towards the Ph.D. floe (okay, that metaphor needs to end--no more ice floe talk. Nothing is worse than a metaphor that has overstayed its welcome.) was because the thought of obtaining a Ph.D. was daunting. While fear is a powerful motivator, I decided it shouldn't be the deciding motivation for such a big decision. If I chose the pastoral route, I knew I'd always wonder what what would have happened. So, I officially left the call process last week and now am moving forward. While there's a bit of fear that goes along with it, there has also been tremendous peace in the decision, so I think that's a good sign, right?

Speaking of big news, I made it through the biannual "Bjorlin Lean Times," which falls in early February and October when I wait for my loan checks to come in after running almost completely out of money. This one was worsened by the fact that it was right before the pay period at church, North Park, and World Relief. I was down to about $40 and running low on some necessities. However, the check came today and was deposited shortly thereafter. "Baby you're a rich man/baby you're a rich man/baby you're a rich man too."

The last two days when I begin spontaneously whistling or singing (which happens quite often for me), the song that has been coming to my lips is, "Sante Fe" from the Newsies. If you do not know this song, here it is:

I have to admit that I always loved this song when I was a child. I think it gave me romantic notions of the southwest, of freedom, of making one's way on your own. Ironically, as I have aged with this film, it is clear that this is not even one of the good songs in this musical, especially that terrible instrumental/dance in the middle. However, it must hold a firm place in my subconscious to come up involuntarily in the last few days. Maybe I'm subconsciously yearning for freedom? Maybe I need a trip to the Southwest? Maybe I need to watch Dark Knight? Who knows?

Also, mark your calendars for Sunday, when I will be preaching at ResCov. Service starts at 10:30; be there!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Side View Mirror Fail, The End of Dibs, and Budgets

I forgot to mention this in previous posts, but on Wednesday of last week my side view mirror was smashed while parked up by Loyola. Let me set the scene: I just walked out of this gorgeous chapel on Lake Michigan where I participated in an ethereal taize service and was feeling at peace with the world and generally at ease. Nothing maintains that contemplative mood like walking out to see your side view mirror smashed without a note from the offender. Needless to say, the short sentences of praise that are repeatedly sung throughout the taize service were replaced by other less worshipful short sentences. If I ever find the person who did this, I swear I will...give them a dirty look...provided they are looking the other way. Take that, hit-and-runner!

"Ding Dong the Dibs are Dead!" (sing to the tune of "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.") The Trib is reporting that the city finally put down the gauntlet and said that dibs must end, noting that it will begin clearing "any remaining debris" from the streets. As usual, the city's about a week and a half behind, but I'll take it. I just thought it was my duty to report the end of this abominable practice.

I remember at North Park when Marva Dawn came and talked about how budgets were moral documents. I can't help but thinking that Obama's already deep cuts on social programs will be even deeper when a budget is "compromised" with Republicans. It seems that this budget will be balanced on the backs of the poor, as the saying goes.

I have written the first two pages of my third chapter on my thesis meaning I have officially started all parts of it! Now all I have to do is finish it. What I'm really nervous about is sending my first two chapters to the Seminary Librarian (Norma) so she can check my footnotes. I'm sure she'll find a plethora of problems, as I tend to view footnoting as more of an art than a science, doing what feels right.

Okay, I'm going to read some Nyvall and go to bed. Later.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Whirlyball and My Valetine's Edition: Ten Reasons I Love Chicago

Well, yesterday the ResCov community went and played some whirlyball! For those of you who don't know, whirlyball is kind of a combination between bumper cars and lacrosse, except played with a wiffle ball and those shorter hand-held scoops. You drive around attempting to launch the wiffle ball into a target roughly the size of a basketball hoop mounted at each end of the "court." Here's what it looks like:

It was a great event and fun to socialize with ResCov'ers in a less formal environment. The only downside to the evening was what happened just prior to leaving. So, as many of you know, if there is one sacrosanct part of my life, it is the Sunday afternoon nap. To me, nothing screams (or maybe, "whispers" would be a better verb) sabbath like a good nap after a church service and lunch. However, this was already put in jeopardy after some slow service at Bad Apple (but the food was delicious!). I got home at 3:15, texted TK and Sarah (my upstairs neighbors) to get a ride, and set my alarm to get up in time to get up and leave for whirlyball, which started at 5.

Next thing I know, TK is knocking at my door, and I jump out of bed, throw on my shoes, and get in the truck on my way to whirlyball. So, upon coming home I did some homework, read some books, and went to bed. In the middle of the night at exactly 4:32 am my alarm went off on my phone, and I woke up completely disoriented doing all I could to make whatever was making noise stop making noise. Ahh, the joys of setting your clock to am vs pm or vice versa.

Yesterday as I was leaving whirlyball, I looked over and saw the skyline of Chicago and remembered how much fondness my heart holds for the "city of big shoulders." I have to admit when I first arrived at North Park, the city was terrible. I hated the traffic, I hated the noise, I hated the fast pace. Yet, slowly the tendrils of Chicago began to draw me in. So today, instead of spending time discussing the things I would change in Chicago, in honor of Valentine's Day, here's a list of the things I love about Chicago:
1. History. The city is full of it! Every building, every neighborhood, every street corner seems saturated with history if you are aware and open to it. I have been watching Ken Burns' Jazz documentary and seeing the places downtown where greats like Louis Armstrong played, you are reminded that this city, even in times of terrible racial discrimination, people like Armstrong brought forth beauty deeper than the hate.
2. Cultural events/festivals/concerts/shows. During my undergrad, I sadly missed out on much that happened outside of the Kedzie, Lawrence, Kimball, Foster block (which is to say, basically everything happening in the city besides North Park choir and band concerts...oh, and Midori). However, upon coming back I have been more intentional about taking part in some of the summer fests, CSO, Ravinia (although after all the lawn chairs I have destroyed on my overnight raids over the last week, I don't know what people will sit on this summer; sorry, I couldn't resist one last shot at parking dibs.), Shakespeare Theater, lots of Barrel of Monkeys shows, Millennium Park, Lyric Opera, Old Town School of Folk, and all for reduced rates because of my student discount (or free if you usher at Shakespeare). I don't think I will realize how great this actually is until I move away from Chicago.
3. Differences. One thing I notice when I got home to Duluth is how much can tend to be uniform. In Chicago, things are different: different nationalities, different ethnicities, different opinions, different cultures, different opportunities, different restaurants, differences of every kind. While I'm obviously not free of prejudice, I think diversity and difference is something that has slowly deconstructed many things I thought I knew.
4. The lake. Now, I don't often take advantage of the lakefront, but as someone who hails from the largest freshwater port in the world, it is nice to know in my subconscious that it is there to my east, allowing for at least visions of freedom when I feel confined.
5. Giardiniera (a hot pepper relish). I love giardiniera on hot roast beef sandwiches, although I don't indulge myself very often for basic dietary reasons. Giardiniera gives everything a little zest and pop to turn a bland dish into something great. Chicago loves their giardiniera; it's even served at Subways in the city!
6. People my age. I know this isn't specific to Chicago, but after living in Mason City, Iowa for two years, it is nice to be in a place where there are a large group of 25-35 year-olds doing many different things.
7. Loose traffic laws. I don't mind being able to speed or roll a stop sign without worrying about being pulled over.
8. Resurrection Covenant Church. Now, I know it's slightly cheesy (or egotistical) to say you love your church when you are on staff, but I feel very blessed to be a part of this particular congregation. It's not often you work for a church that you first chose to attend.
9. Chicago Sports. Now, I am not really a Cubs fan (though they are my NL team), a Bears fan (quite the opposite), a Blackhawks fan (although I will cheer for them), or the South-Side-team-that-must-not-be-named, but I like how sports unify the city and how people are passionate about their teams. Baseball season, especially in my neighborhood, is a fun time, even if I complain about the extra traffic most of the time.
10. Parks. They have some great ones. My favorite is still Legion Park by North Park that has been my running route for many years even as I have moved off the North Park campus. Whenever I run, it's like meeting an old friend (and many times you do meet old friends in that park!).

I could now go on to a top ten list about what I don't like, but I don't think I will. Let's stay positive this Valentine's Day!

Today I finished my sermon on loving enemies and praying for those that persecute you. If you want to hear this sermon, you should come to Resurrection Covenant on Sunday at 10:30! Okay, bedtime.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Reimbursements, Crying, David Nyvall, and Birthday Parties: My Future Biography Title

One thing I really have trouble with is turning in receipts for reimbursement. You think when money was on the line, I would, as a poor grad student, be much more proactive in turning these in to get the money back in the checking account ASAP. On the one hand, it's good not to be too attached to money; on the other, I act as if I have a bunch of extra cash lying around to burn. Yesterday I finally gathered a bunch of receipts and will be getting a $200 check. So, on the bright side, it's kind of like a savings account right?

I don't know what is wrong with me, but lately I have been a big crybaby. I think one of the catalysts for my emotions is the organ. I think I've started crying three times during the past week when a hymn is sung in worship with organ accompaniment (during Midwinter, last night's hymn sing, and watching a documentary the other night). Yet, as professor Phil Anderson says, Sometimes you just "sing a verse, cry a verse."

I think it's time for me to get another bookcase. Mine is completely full, as is my upright piano. Right now there are...let me count...74 books on my piano. There is one row lined up against the wall, but most of the books are stacked vertically in ugly piles that might be getting a shade unruly.

My new hero is Covenant pioneer and former North Park president David Nyvall. It's amazing to read his writings from almost a hundred years and see someone who will not give in to the dualistic temptation to make faith either wholly emotional or wholly intellectual. He stakes his claim as an intellectual pietist whose faith is enhanced by intellectual endeavors and science rather than threatened by it. It is another reminder to me why I am in the Covenant Church because he represents what the Covenant Church is at its best. I'm reading his biography right now, and it is wonderful. Here's the picture of him that hangs in our Seminary building, Nyvall hall (obviously named after him):

I really need to get out of bed and go for a run. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I mean, I'm not even sure the spirit is willing at this point.

Oh, and you are all invited to my joint birthday party with Joe Schupbach, Sarah Bauer, and Imron Bhatti entitled, "I Wear My Sunglasses in Lava." Here is the promotional material that Joe made:

Yes, that is me second from the left. The party is Feb. 26th at Spyner's Pub (4623 N. Western) starting at 8. You should come. That's all!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Thoughts on Dibs

Okay, a few more thoughts on parking dibs, and then I swear I'm done. It's turning me into a vigilante.
1. It's a week later; this is too long to have your garbage in public streets. At this point, Chicago sanitation should assume all things on the street is garbage and toss it.
2. Okay, I know I'm getting a little too into it, but in a culture that is already so privatized, what does it say that we are now claiming the public (the street) as private as well? If I pick up garbage in a park, does that mean I get to claim that spot as my own? Should I cordon off that area as mine because I did a public service for the public good? No!
3. Calling dibs in antithetical to healthy community and general neighborliness (as is not shoveling anything at all if you are able-bodied). I'm going to write a book called It Takes a Village to Clear a Street.
4. Above all, I'm a hypocrite. The only reason this bothers me so much is because it inconveniences me and makes parking difficult when I commute to school. Yet, I feel as if the critiques are valid nonetheless.

Okay, I promise that is the last word on parking dibs.

This is a sad statement, but one of the small joys of my grad school life is long appendices, endnotes, and indexes in required reading. There is nothing better than being assigned a book and flipping to the back to see 100 pages are unnecessary, shortening your reading significantly. This is especially -- and obviously-- true for those books that aren't really stimulating the imagination. I mean, there's something gratifying about large chunks of footnotes too because of how fast you can flip through the pages. I guess the difference between endnotes and footnotes is kind of the difference between delayed and instant gratification.

Chapter 2 has been okayed on the thesis, so I'm moving on to chapter 3! It's always good to find that your work has not been in vain. Now begins the next large chunk of research before the writing of the next chapter.

Okay, that's all. Tonight I'm going to go to a taize service, Friday to a hymn sing, and Saturday to Chicago Shakespeare Theater's As You Like It. So plenty to look forward to if I can find parking!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Parking Dibs, Super Bowl, and Life Decisions

Hello, my adoring readers! Well, as the snow has finally relented and people have stopped foaming at the mouth with stories of snow, I want to discuss my evolving views on the issue of parking spot "dibs." For those of you who are not from Chicago, after a big snowstorm in the city, many people will dig themselves out of their parking spot and then put random assortments of junk - usually lawn chairs, garbage cans, or bins of various kinds - in the spot to call dibs for when they return. The thought is that since they took the time to dig out this spot, it is rightfully theirs until the snow is cleared. Here's a picture of dibs in action.

Now, at first this seemed fair to me; if you are going to take the time to dig a spot out, you should have it for a while. Also, since I have the luxury of having a parking lot to park in, I didn't feel that it was right for me to have a strong opinion one way or the other. However, this changed when I began trying to visit people in other areas of the city. Nothing is more frustrating than circling endlessly around city blocks looking at crappy lawn furniture and bins sitting in spaces that could be taken by the cars they were meant for. My new position is this: Shoveling out your spot entitles you to one thing: getting out of said spot (I know, two colons in one sentence is weird). If you want to always have a spot you can: 1) pay for a spot in a parking lot or 2) fill out the necessary permits and build a garage. Then, you can fill that personal spot with all the assorted lawn furniture you want. Heck, you can sleep in it for all I care.

So, today I was daydreaming of spending my afternoon walking the cities of north Chicago throwing people's assorted spot-saving paraphernalia into the sidewalks and opening up the hundreds of saved parking spots to the masses. I chose not to do this because:
1. I didn't want to get beaten senselessly by a mob of angry Chicagoans.
2. I think it might have thrown the city of Chicago into a dystopian nightmare of looting and general rioting as people took revenge on the cars that had the audacity to move their dibs garbage. In my mind it involved zombies; I don't know where they came from in this scenario, but they're there now, so you'll have to deal with them.
3. Most importantly, it was Sunday afternoon, and Sunday afternoon is nap time.

Your welcome for sparing Chicago of all this unnecessary zombie violence. My laziness (I'm a slothful 9 on the enneagram after all) has probably spared many a post-apocalpytic nightmare.

The Super Bowl just ended. I am happy that Aaron Rogers won, happy that Ben Roethlisberger did not win, sad the rest of the Packers won, and sad the rest of the Steelers lost. My favorite commercial had to be the Bridgestone Tire commercial where the driver avoids a beaver who returns the favor by blocking his entrance onto a collapsed bridge over a raging river. The fist pump to the chest is what got me.

Well, Midwinter was great, but I can't say I'm ready for school to begin again. I feel like I should be done after those strenuous first two weeks. In good news, I have two chapters of my thesis completed, a third in rough draft form, and another paper almost finished. I'm feeling like things are coming together.

Okay, hypothetically if I was having to choose between being a pastor and a professor, which would you pick for me?


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well, I don't know if you heard, but it's snowing in Chicago right now. I'm just glad people aren't overreacting. Midwinter (my denomination's annual pastors' meeting) is also happening out at the O'Hare Hyatt, and there should have been some type of drinking game devised today around the words "stuck," "snowpocalypse," "stranded," "blizzard," "flight delays," "thunder snow," and "whiteout." Although, if there was such a game, the hotel would have been filled with passed-out/belligerent pastors. My joke was to go up to a group of friends pretending to talk on my cell phone while urgently shouting all of these buzz words in a stream-of-conscience/word salad kind of way. The drive home from the hotel wasn't actually too bad. For me, it's much easier to drive when there's a lot of snow than when its really icy. At least you can better predict how your car is going to react and slide.

Now, I am at home with a 2 Below (a New Belgium beer that seemed appropriate) watching Ken Burns' Jazz documentary laying on the couch with the blanket and pillow from my bed. It's pretty wonderful, and I don't intend to move for some time.

On Monday, I did something I've never done before; I shopped at an art store (Dick Blick to be exact). I needed to pick up supplies for an artist in our church community who was going to make some art for the sanctuary (don't think felt banners!). Well, if ever I get to prideful, that can be cured by going into an art store. Even walking in with a list didn't help. I walked around for a few minutes staring helplessly at all the different paints before I finally humbled myself and asked for help. I'm sure I sounded like a uncultured neanderthal grunting, "ME...NEED... PAINT!" So, the guy took me by the figurative hand and helped me find all that I needed. The trip ended up taking much longer than I originally planned, but I think it was successful.

Well, I'm tired.