10.31.2004

m.div. vs. m.a. v.2

part of the struggle for me is that i don't really know what i am "called" to do. the people at my school keep telling me that it is the best place to 'discern my calling.' i know they are well intentioned, but that is an expensive way to discern my call, plus that is what i spent four years at a christian college in the ministry department trying to do and am in debt up to my ears because of it.

am i called to do what my senior pastor is doing right now? no. am i called to be a "lifer" in youth ministry? no. those things, i am sure of. i've discerned those, if you will. however there are a significant number of people within my circle that consider me to be a primary source of guidance in their search of being a christian. i know that can sound very arrogant, but i'm truely not trying to be. i've got so much to learn and so many shortcomings that i feel so inadequate to do what i am doing now. or to do what might be needed of me in the future.

thanks to those of you who've taken time to help me out, your comments really are stretching and challenging me to think and see things from different angles. i feel very selfish, but if you've got anything else to say don't hesitate.

10.29.2004

m.div. vs. m.a.

my struggle over the past couple of years acedmically is still plaguing me, even though i am taking classes at saint paul school of theology. my struggle is that an m.div. is what will get me ordained in the future and is what they push all students who will be in "ministry" sometime in the future. the m.div. deals with some theology and biblical criticism, but for the most part focuses on pastoral care, preaching, liturgy, etc. very practical kinds of things, which are very import. what i really want is to go as deep as i can into theology and church history because i think the way church is going to need to change, only a good background in history and theology will get us there. our theology needs to move forward and cause our practices to change radically. i don't want to take a homiletics class and learn a modern way of preaching, when i know i will never preach those types of sermons. not because they're bad, because it's not who i am. i think that is wasting valuable time, resources, and money. scholarship is extremely important and i love to read and think deep and allow God to take my brain places it has never been and i strongly believe christians need to develop this if we are going to make a successful transition into this foreign world/age we're in. it just seems to me that an m.a. in theology is going to be more helpful in getting me to the point where i'm ready to work in a church or better yet plant a church. an m.a. doesn't mean i can't take the courses on pastoral care, or administration because i'll need those at some point, maybe. the m.div. is built for modern thinks/pastors. i'm not modern, nor will the people that i am living life with. theology and history are not quite as bound to culture as methods and practices are. those are some of the things i'm dealing. anyone out there struggling through the same kinds of things? any suggestions?

10.28.2004

the tension of emergent v.1

what is emergent? is it a movement? is it a conversation? is it a reaction against something? is it going somewhere? just what the hell is it? nobody knows, but it seems like a lot of people want to know. personally, i'm tired of defending it and talking about it. and i just got into it (whatever it is). personally, i don't care what it is either. andy crouch was the unfortunate sucker to write an article in christianity today and it is all a buzz in blogsphere and in coffee houses around the country. in a lot of ways andy did ok with the article. those that might be on the fringes, it could serve as a great way to get them into the conversation. he created a lot of tension. but he also misrepresented emergent too, but making some cutting remarks some to be funny and others to be critical. right now it cannot be defined and i like it like that, i just wish friends and family and colleagues would quit asking me to define it for them.

10.27.2004

the christian interpretation of 1st century Judaism

this morning dr. warrent carter at saint paul school of theology was talking about how hateful the christian tradition has been to Judaism as a whole, and especially 1st century Jewish tradition. he went as far as to say as christians, we've been anti-semitic. he spent about 40 minutes deconstructing the myth that the Jews were trying to earn their way to God, were hypocritical, they had dead, empty rituals/traditions, they were legalistic, and that the Jews were expecting a warrior/military messiah. he spoke very convincingly that those myths are simply not true.

it made me wonder, how convenient that we would do that. it seems funny that modern christians would continue that tradition by highlighting a few words: legalistic, hypocritical, dead ritual, and war. could it be that we are simply projecting our own downfalls or struggles on another people to make us look better? or at least feel better about how screwed up we are?

10.26.2004

churchapalooza

high school kids are amazing. this past sunday at youth group, we sat down and brainstormed some ideas of what we wanted to do event-wise over the next few months. this is a new thing for us to do. in the past we've followed traditional models of student leadership. now we are assuming that all of our students can plan and lead, so we spend one of our youth group nights every 4 or 5 weeks brainstorming and planning. sure it is a lot more messy and maybe the program won't be as slick as it might be if only a select few are the ones in charge, but it is certainly more creative and more fun, plus maybe it means a lot more and is more faithful to the gospel? so what they came up with is churchapalooza '04. starting thursday night with a switchfoot concert in westport, continuing with a film discussion on saved! and some other films, staying all night at the church and making breakfast in the morning, heading to a service project together that is an hour away, and coming back sunday night for worship and conversation. one of the students has already made a flash flyer that you can check out here. t-shirts are being made and i'm freakin out because i don't have the time to do this! but it will work out, i'm confident.

10.21.2004

i stand corrected

after whining about no one reading this, i found out that someone does. thanks for validating my existence on blogger! i've just had a hard time getting everything done that i need to and i was complaining and wondering if there were things that needed to be cut out. i love being able to write out my questions, frustrations, musings, rants, etc. and if there are a couple people out there that enjoy reading them, then that is great. and if there are none who will read this, then that is great too...i'll just keep on either way. i'm going to a training day at YouthFront to make our Truewell website more chic and then my wife and I are heading to a little town called Weston to stay at a B&B and hang out together away from all the craziness. Apparently there is an Irish Pub that is amazing right across the street, I can't wait!

10.20.2004

on having multiple homes

have you ever lived in two places at the same time? if you have, imagine what that is like because i feel like that is where i am at these days. right now, i have two full-time gigs and two blogs. i struggle to know where to spend most of my time, energy, thinking, etc. school is full-time and the church is full-time, and i don't feel like i am giving either my full attention. same way in blogsphere. i have this xanga blog, which is much more about staying in touch with students (current and former), and this blog is a lot of my questions, rants, and personal shit that i'm dealing with. no one reads this one, but it helps me put my thoughts down. i'm not quite sure my two blogs can be combined, and i'm struggling to combine my church and school duties into one thing. i don't have time to live in four places at once. i don't know what to do. i hate not knowing what to do. my heart wants to put a lot of energy into this blog or moving to typepad exclusively, but i'm not sure those that read my xanga (teenagers & college freshmen) would dig that, and they are important to me. here's to not knowing shit:)

10.19.2004

its a little bizarre

i just started thinking, how should i write on this blog? should i write in a way that is for me, like a personal journal that i wouldn't expect anyone to read, or should i write in a way that i expect other people to be reading it? because, as far as i know, no one reads this. so what's the point? i've got questions that discussion boards on emergent just won't do for, but i've got nowhere to ask them or get them answered more specifically. does that mean i should advertise? that seems a bit wrong to me. this is just feeling a little too bizarre for me right now. i'm just going to stew in this weirdness and keep blogging because i like it. hmm.

10.15.2004

why do my words not match my intentions?

so i made this comment on http://theoblogy.blogspot.com about Tony's wife having a narrow view of bloggers. when i wrote it, i meant for it to be funny. but then i just read it after being removed from how "funny" it was going to be and it didn't sound too good. but now there is nothing i can do about it. it just seems that is what happens to me a lot. why is it that the idea that is in my head cannot be conveyed to the person i am trying to communicate with or about? what often happens is i end up sticking my foot in my mouth, when if i would have said what i was really intending then i wouldn't have to taste rubber all the time. maybe that is why i identify with homer simpson so well. he seems to have good intentions, but ends up saying the dumbest things.

so i guess my question is, who takes more ownership in conversation? does the communicator take more responsibility to watch what they say, or does the listener take more ownership in how they perceive what has been said? i'm sure there is an element of both. but i wonder if, since we are to be in relationship with each other, there is a bit more responsibility on the receiver of the idea or thought communicated to understand what is being communicated. for example when my wife says something in a group of people that may be offensive, should i get offended when i know her and her intentions? or do i receive that idea differently than someone in that group who may not know her as well? because in the case of this comment, i had a presupposition that tony would know me well enough to understand my cynical/sarcastic sense of humor, but maybe he doesn't know me that well. if that is the case, then i may need to always be interpreting my relationship with someone while i am communicating, which can be quite a daunting task. this would probably mean that we must do away with presuppositions when we communicate. the problem then is, can we ever get past surface level communication and build authentic community if we don't work with a certain set of biases? if we could all be autonomous knowers and objective receivers then this question would be moot, but we are not those things. we are in relationship and we are very subjective people. this creates a lot of problems with communication and those problems are multi-layered. what i mean by multi-layered is that our forms of communication and our audiences/communities are layered. for example i communicate with my wife, friends, family, youth group, church members, church staff, etc in individual ways, but also in group settings. so how does a pastor know how to speak to their community? the pastor interprets what is going to be said from the communities stand point? i'm not sure that is even possible. can i really ever know how a person is going to receive the words that i give them? my head is spinning and i can go on no more.

this is probably a pretty simple thing and for some reason my brain won't let my heart understand it.

10.13.2004

finally back up

i'm finally back up after two days of being with no web access. it actually was a good thing for me, because i was able to focus on getting a couple of things done. very mundane administrative things, but they needed to be done, nonetheless.
today was my final day of Hebrew Bible and tomorrow we start the Christian Scriptures. it has been very helpful for me to think our Bible in those terms. i always have struggled with using the terms "Old" and "New" in front of the Testaments. just by the very titles we have in our modern bibles suggests that one is more valid than the other. of course that idea comes from living in a culture that values the new because for some reason new means better. describing the bible as hebrew and christian scriptures does a couple things for me. one it reminds of the origin and context of what is that i am holding in my hands. it also elevates the text to something that is sacred and meaningful that the word 'bible' no longer does for me. i am finding a richness in the way i read, speak, and think of the scriptures now, just by changing the titles.

10.11.2004

this weekend had its ups and downs. friday night marie and i did our grocery shopping and crap because saturday had a full plate, which i'll get to later. it was good to get everything done, kind of. we got a new door knob for our bathroom and the one we picked up was missing 4 screws and the latching mechanism was broke. i spent a couple hours trying to fix it, but no luck. then we realized that we had left our candle at walmart. apparentely the check out lady thought we didn't really need it (maybe we just left it, but its easier to blame the walmart lady). so guess who goes back to walmart at 11pm to get the candle. well marie was already in bed by then. that was friday.

saturday morning i got up early and headed to home depot to return our items that didn't work and got a new door knob and then i headed to the church to go to our service project. only 6 show up, 3 adults and 3 students. and three of them were from the same family. a little disappointing, but we went and worked and it was good. got back in time to catch the ohio state football game. it was aweful. the bucks played so bad. the refs didn't help, but we should've overcome their mistakes. we caused two fumbles that the officials blew the whistle on, so we never got the ball. even if we had, we couldn't have scored a touchdown anyway, so it doesn't matter. i won't be like a chiefs fan and say the refs lost the game for us. hope that didn't sting too bad. then in the evening steak and shake was in order and then to westport for tea drops. great place to chill out and have some good tea.

sunday. church and youth group, and a concert in the middle. we raised nearly $2,000 in all for sierra, which is what the concert was for. good job church. youth group seemed to go all right. numbers were back down again, not really sure why. oh well. middle schoolers are crazy. was way too tired to write my paper that i just turned in, so i wrote it this morning, starting at 4am. what a great weekend.
jon

my weekend

this weekend had its ups and downs. friday night marie and i did our grocery shopping and crap because saturday had a full plate, which i'll get to later. it was good to get everything done, kind of. we got a new door knob for our bathroom and the one we picked up was missing 4 screws and the latching mechanism was broke. i spent a couple hours trying to fix it, but no luck. then we realized that we had left our candle at walmart. apparentely the check out lady thought we didn't really need it (maybe we just left it, but its easier to blame the walmart lady). so guess who goes back to walmart at 11pm to get the candle. well marie was already in bed by then. that was friday.

saturday morning i got up early and headed to home depot to return our items that didn't work and got a new door knob and then i headed to the church to go to our service project. only 6 show up, 3 adults and 3 students. and three of them were from the same family. a little disappointing, but we went and worked and it was good. got back in time to catch the ohio state football game. it was aweful. the bucks played so bad. the refs didn't help, but we should've overcome their mistakes. we caused two fumbles that the officials blew the whistle on, so we never got the ball. even if we had, we couldn't have scored a touchdown anyway, so it doesn't matter. i won't be like a chiefs fan and say the refs lost the game for us. hope that didn't sting too bad. then in the evening steak and shake was in order and then to westport for tea drops. great place to chill out and have some good tea.

sunday. church and youth group, and a concert in the middle. we raised nearly $2,000 in all for sierra, which is what the concert was for. good job church. youth group seemed to go all right. numbers were back down again, not really sure why. oh well. middle schoolers are crazy. was way too tired to write my paper that i just turned in, so i wrote it this morning, starting at 4am. what a great weekend.

jon

10.08.2004

the tension of ordination

there are things i really love about the united methodist church. theologically i am comfortable alligning myself them, for the most part. there are times when i love how they deal with social issues like war, homosexuality, abortion, etc and there are other times when i hate the way they deal with them. as of right now i would define myself as a post-denominationalist, but practically speaking, that is a bit impossible in the united states. it is also quite untrue because i am a member of the united methodist church, am working at a u.m. church, and am attending a u.m. seminary receiving u.m. money. the question i deal with everyday is whether or not i can faithfully begin the ordination process for this denomination with all of my problems that i have with it. i suppose i'll have serious issues with any denomination, so is it possible to be ordained without pledging allegiance to a denomination? i just don't know if i want to go through all of this shit. and from what i've heard by other "candidates" for ordination, that is exactly the word to describe it.

10.07.2004

school and vocation

so i've been in class for several weeks now, almost half of the semester is gone. so some realizations i've made up to this point. i thought that i could get by through life as a procrastinator and do ok. wrong. before now i knew i was unorganized, but thought if i worked long enough or lived long enough that i would just become organized. so far, wrong. before seminary, i was barely getting things done at the church. now i'm cutting them even closer. my brain is on overload. i can't seem to get a handle on anything right now. i'm pretty sure, i'm not cut out to be a program director. when i actually get to my office to work i freeze up. i don't know what the hell i need to do. it is really stressing me out, and i'm typically not the kind to get stressed. it pisses me off too, because i hate being like this, and i'm pretty sure god doesn't want me being like this. how do i get organized and stop procrastinating? people tell me to just write out a schedule. very thoughtful and i've tried it. but when i don't know what to put down besides meetings, class, and lunch those schedules don't really help much. this sucks. and it is pretty much all my fault. so i guess i suck. ok enough whining, i've got phone calls to make. (which i've put off for about 1 1/2 hours already).