Friday, October 30, 2009

wheelock and weekends

i miss latin. that class was the best. i miss Dr. Weir (i even forgot how he spells his name...). i miss his raving tangents and sporadic swearing. what a brilliant man. what a wonderful language. i miss learning a language.
wow. there is a whole lot of missing going on in this post.
i've been thinking about languages again due to the fact that i have recently overheard several conversations about biblical languages, which has made me think about how great it would be to learn hebrew one day. who knows. maybe...

tonight erin, michelle (and her friend from out of town), amy, and i watched Lars and the Real Girl. I forget how much i like that movie until i watch it again. it's really good.

i am SO RELIEVED that it is the weekend. seriously. i don't think i've been this "ready" for one in months. you know that kind of tired that is rooted deep in your bones? that's how i've felt this week...and it's been hard. i hope i can (1) sleep a lot this weekend (2) go for a walk or two by myself (3) journal. all of these are things i have needed and wanted to do but just haven't.

do you ever just stop to think about your life?...ask yourself those questions like "wow, how have i gotten here?" or think, "i didn't anticipate this two years ago..."

lately several people have asked "Andrea, are you seriously thinking grad. school?" and "You really want to do that, don't you?" or "Are you still thinking about Wheaton?" I find myself more and more willing to say "yeah, i really am thinking about grad. school. I do really want to do this. and yes, i think Wheaton is the direction I am moving in." I can't really tell you how excited this makes me...Of course I realize that a decision now does not mean anything is set in stone. things tend to shift and move around. life's timing isn't always what i think...or even want...
i find myself catching my breathe--"the thought of ACTUALLY pursuing a master's at Wheaton seems so unreal..." It's almost like I am considering the possibility of a dream really coming true, and somehow it feels really strange. Good, but strange.

i get excited thinking about a master's in clinical psychology having had the eduction i've received here to undergird it. gosh...aaaah!

ok. i really need to go to bed.

tis the season, i guess

the other night we carved pumpkins AND made christmas cookies while listening to christmas music!! it was really wonderful...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

6 papers in 6 weeks

With six weeks left of school i decided it was necessary to sit down and determine what still has to be done--with regard to major papers/projects. I have 6 papers to 6 weeks.

i think one of the reasons i haven't felt like a student this semester is the lack of writing (except for two 3-5 pagers but they don't a result, i'm not in that "writing mindset.' ugh, i don't like it). i really enjoy writing papers--at least ones that require research, thought, and a heavier sense of quality. so i think at least 4 of these papers will be really fun/challenging to write. here are the subjects:

1. Violence and Memory: Rightly Remembering the Holocaust
2. Postmodern Hermeneutics: Critique, Evaluation, and Application.
3. Implementing Church Planting Methods in the Revival of Existing Congregations
4. A Biblical Theology of Herem: Old Testament Holy War

then I have two to write for my independent study course on the Gospel of John. They aren't as "major," though.

so i guess I have a paper a week to work on. not bad...

and tonight i'm finishing up two others i've had going for a different independent course. it will be nice to only have campus courses next semester...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the cat lady

there is an elderly woman who lives on our floor with her cat. she is deaf and so we never talk, but she smiles. i smile back. you know that feeling when smiles are exchanged and it feels like more has been communicated than simply that but you just don't know what? we had that experience today in the elevator.

a few days back her cat got loose (it happens a lot). I was taking the trash to the garbage shoot when she stopped me, mouthing questions and signing her frustration over the lost feline. i apologized, saying "i haven't seen him, but i hope you find him soon." she gave me a sad, exasperated look (like she truly would ring that cats neck once she found him) and I opened the door to the trash closet. guess who ran out? her cat!! he had somehow got stuck in the trash closet. haha. she was so excited to see him. she scooped him up in her arms and they walked back down the hall fully content and happily reunited. it was really cute.

i like the cat lady.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"he has been good to us..."

this is what i told lacy when we were driving back from the airport last night after dropping mariah off. there were tears and heartache and it was painful to let go again, but there is an overwhelming sense of God's goodness in these days. He has been good to gift us with strong friends with whom we share life, climb, fall, explore, wonder, and wrestle. it was good to see sarah and mariah again--to be TOGETHER again. wow, i miss them a lot.

i've been thinking about how patient God is with us. I, in turn, am so impatient with him. this realization has quieted me today and i found myself in the culby 2 prayer room for awhile resting in the silence of that space. sacred moments are everywhere but sometimes they get lost in the business. i have to push for them. we pray that he break in and interrupt. he does that, thankfully, but sometimes we need to interrupt our routines, too.

senioritis has hit me hard this semester. probably because i haven't found my classes all that exhilarating. I look forward to next semester, though, and i think it will be a good one for "going out." gosh, i can hardly believe this time is almost over...

today i registered:

Intro. to Music-someone...?
Contemporary Islam-Dr. Namaan
Senior Seminar-Dr. Schmutzer
Wellness (1/2 semester)-Dunn
Directed Study NT elective-Dr. Peterman

I'm not sure what the directed study will be. I met with Dr. Peterman today and he said it is wide open--so I'm meeting with him in a week to determine more. I think I'd like to do something in the Gospels but I don't know what. ANYTHING? Gosh, these sorts of decisions are ridiculously hard for me...
I'm going to be a TA for the new Theology of Suffering class. Can't tell you how excited this makes me. I will also be working on my internship (developing a course book for A Biblical Theology of Global Violence). I am eager to devote time to these two, considering that I'll only be taking 13 credits, 4 of which include an intro. class and wellness. yeah, i know, it's a really nice schedule. I'll be working still and I would like to take a local pottery class one night a week. It will be a good semester--I just have to finish pushing through this one first.

i'm exhausted. seriously. everything in me wants to sleep. i'm going to go to the library for a few hours to work on some of my independent study classes and then i hope to get to bed no later than 8:30 or 9:00 tonight.

a thought to leave you with: do you ever feel like you leave your prayers at the feet of God and walk away, uncertain of how they've been received? this might be for any number of reasons--friends are telling you one thing, you are thinking another, God seems silent, your very soul seems pinched--like you want more faith to believe but for some reason it's just really hard right now...? i'm there right now. sometimes it's hard to trust God. it grows wearisome. i trust for others' sake, for my own, for unknown and unspoken things...and there is waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

this weekend was a "sighing of soul" kind of weekend. yes, in talking with friends i uncovered some of these "hard" thoughts and feelings, but i am also living in a deeply contented place. these are my sputterings and i realize they are a little scattered but whatever...ha. i don't care. have a good tuesday afternoon--stop to take deep breathes and, you know, enjoy a beautiful tree or look at the sky :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

apples and gifted moments

do you ever live days that are obviously "gifted" days? i mean, frequented with moments in which you say to yourself, "this moment is beautiful and so intentionally given to me." today has been one such day. i am privileged to look back on it and say "thank you, my God, for life lived today." the weather couldn't have been better. the colors were spectacular--i think today might have been the peak. the breeze scattered leaves, blowing them into my face as I sat on a sunny bench to eat an apple. i brainstormed a little with Dr. Schmutzer about my internship, continued dialoguing over The End of Memory, and caught some more of the vision i have for my future. i sat on houghton roof with whitney for an hour sipping a blended chai while talking about life, sharing wonder, and sitting in quiet over some of life's not-so-easy questions. i slacklined in washington park for half an hour (stepped in dog poop barefoot, but that's beside the point) and sat in crunchy, musty leaves.

i now find myself sitting in a library cubicle thinking about the homework i don't want to do but need to. Sarah and Mariah come into town in about 6 hrs--i can hardly believe the reunion weekend is here. i am SO anxious to see them. sigh.

i wish i had more time to read the books i've been wanting to read but don't have time to. today in Holocaust and the Crisis of Evil, McDuffee urged us to read, read, read (in particular, the Communist Manifesto). I wish I could take him up on it. Maybe i just need to prioritize a little bit better. hmmm. i might try to incorporate more "other" reading into my schedule. the problem is, the second half of the semester is going to be fuller than the first--lots of papers and projects. i got one of them approved today, which is exciting (and, in turn, motivational). For Cross Cultural Church Planting, a class I am often discouraged by, I have been given permission to write the major research paper/project on how church planting methods can (and ought) be used to revive existing churches. It bothers me how flippantly the class suggests we "give up on" dying churches for the purpose of planting new ones. I'm realizing more and more how much my heart is directed toward healing, nurturing, and ministering to redeem, not simply to create something new. does that make sense? so, with regard to this class, the "appeal" for me is not in starting new churches all the time but rather in addressing WHY existing churches are dying. What's happening here? What do these churches need that they aren't getting? How can we renew the health of congregations...?

My heart bends in the direction of member care...soul care...self care...there is a growing need and wow, if this need is ignored any longer......?

I'm excited to write the paper now.

My major paper for my Holocaust class is on the role of memory in suffering/trauma--specifically, as it relates to the events of the Holocaust. One of the major thinkers/writers i'll be studying is Elie Wiesel. I've already read a bit of his works and am eager to study more. I'm especially anxious to write this one since I've been reading The End of Memory. The idea of redeeming memory has been popping up all over the place recently...

I still have one more sermon to preach in November and am not sure at all what I'd like to do...It's to be a New Testament text. hmm. I'll have to give that one some concerted thought soon.

This has gotten long. sorry. there are a million and one thoughts bouncing around in my head and i had to get some of them out before i dive into this paper i'm writing on 1 Cor. 3:9-17....i am very ready to be done with this paper...i've been looking at it for far too long. sigh.

ok. gotta go.
i hope you live to recognize gifted moments this week! they are there, but sometimes they are shy and quiet. just look.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

mmm pumpkin muffins

i'm eating one of yesterday mornings pumpkin muffins from this recipe: smitten kitchen. I added chopped walnuts to the tops of them...delicious :)

A lot's happened since i last posted. peter mulvey came and went (it was an amazing show)

Kira is here visiting. It's been delightful having her here. man oh man, the best reunion ever :)
we've spend tons of time laughing, telling and remembering good stories, walking around chicago, watching movies, making good food...yesterday was our day in the city--the first "sunny" day since she got here wednesday night. It was a shedd aquarium free day so we made our way all the way down there only to find that the line was insanely long.

we didn't even think twice about waiting.

so we walked back up Michigan ave., saw the bean, took pictures, drank pumpkin spice lattes, ate chipotle, walked up to chicago, went into water tower, etc.

It was a lot of fun. The city was chaotic and busy which made us laugh on more than one occasion. It reminded us of Elf so, naturally, we watched it last night. Such a good movie. we made shrinky dinks (i had never made them before!) and then had breakfast burritos and smoothies for dinner.
Today is church and then Karyn's Cooked (vegan restaurant) for lunch! Then we have a few more craft projects we want to work on...maybe go to the bead store on Wells and work on Christmas presents for people.'s been so wonderful to have her here. i love our friendship.

In other news, my sister is PREGNANT again! Yes, I am super excited. She's due may 25. ack!!

Alright. I should get going. Hopefully this was a sufficient update for my long absence :) The days have been dreary, cold, and wet. Not at all beautiful fall days--except for windows of sun. Grey days are hard for me...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

you know when you read something that is as if it were spoken by your own heart? you think, "ah, you've captured what i somehow cannot, thank you..."

So writes Heschel:

"Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal." -Abraham Heschel

God of the absurdities

I really enjoyed my Life in Bible Times class last Tuesday. Sometimes he is scattered and hard to follow (learning to teach still) but he had some really wonderful points last class. We were talking about Wisdom Literature--both in the Bible and the ANE (ancient near east). In discussing Job, he mentioned how when the absurdities of this world are experienced--things that hurt, cause questioning, don't make sense, etc.--we can remember God as master of the absurdities, which is what He reveals Himself to be in Scripture. He engages the broken heart in dialogue, lament, and questioning. He closes the lion's mouth. He calms the raging sea. As revealed in the book of Job, He is Creator of the universe, in management of that universe, and rules over the wild (other-worldly) creatures that are outside of man's domain.
When you encounter the absurd, who is God and what does He say? This moment of question, for many, is a loss of faith. The God of the Bible reveals himself as master of the absurdities...and God reigns over the things you have yet to encounter and experience.
So we wrestle to develop a true and honest theology in the midst of these hard things (faith trying to make sense of experience). We learn lament, we build community, we share lives with each other, we open our homes...
The Bible doesn't offer pristine, downloadable theology such that we "plug in" and transfer an easy-to-live faith.

- - - - - - -
Come and see, look on this mystery
The Lord of the Universe, nailed to a tree
Christ our God, spilling His Holy blood
Bowing in anguish, His sacred head

Sing to Jesus, Lord of our shame
Lord of our sinful hearts.
He is our great Redeemer.
Sing to Jesus, Honor His name.
Sing of His faithfulness, pouring His life out unto death

Come you weary and He will give you rest
Come you who mourn, lay on His breast
Christ who died, risen in Paradise
Giver of mercy, Giver of Life

Sing to Jesus His is the throne
Now and forever,
He is the King of Heaven.
Sing to Jesus, we are His own.
Now and forever sing for the love our God has shown.

Sing to Jesus, Lord of our shame
Lord of our sinful hearts.
He is our great Redeemer.
Sing to Jesus, Honor His name.

Sing to Jesus His is the throne
Now and forever,
He is the King of Heaven.
Sing to Jesus, we are His own.
Now and forever sing for the love our God has shown.

Monday, October 05, 2009


autumn makes me think of candles which makes me think of winter and christmas...which makes me think of christmas music. so...what has my recent urge been? you guessed it, christmas music. i have three of sufjan stevens christmas albums. they are incredible. but i told myself not until november. who starts listening to christmas music in OCTOBER???!! This is nonsense. erin--brilliant roommate that she is--said i could listen to ONE song to "get it out of my system." I hope it works. We're currently listening to Sufjan's "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." this is one of my favorite christmas songs. sigh...

ok. to the books!!!

fly, fly away

George Eliot said something to the effect that if he were a bird, he would fly around the world chasing the successive autumns. i think i would, too.

today i am grateful for a warm home, a bed, food, and this hot cup of coffee i am now drinking. so many don't have these things and we are entering into colder seasons and longer/darker days. for me there is the joy and anticipation of family gatherings, tradition, meals, gifts, togetherness. i enjoy this time of year very much--mom always said i was the family "traditionalist." well, i am aware of those who don't share the same joy and anticipation of this season--even friends close to me. my season of "full-heart" reminders is another soul's season of pain and "heart-loss." Lord, step into our seasons of unique need.

Friday, October 02, 2009

oh, unashamed life!

life doesn't ask permission. things happen to us--so unexpectedly sometimes. each new moment offers opportunities and challenges; choices and possibilities. how we react and respond to these circumstances has a lot to say about the meaning we find in life.

lately i've been bloated with joy. at times it almost seems like a terrible distraction. i find myself asking, again, "is it possible to love my life too much?" you know, in the christian community we like to emphasize that we are "made for another world" and "citizens of heaven." this is true, of course. i still agree with Lewis that "if i find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that i was made for a different world." But, we are also humans--temporal--living in a temporal world. i believe the loves and pleasures we rightly enjoy here on earth are reflections of a greater--fuller--expression of those things in heaven. as one friend put it, we are experiencing "flecks of heaven" on this earth. I can imagine Brueggemann calling them "cadences of home."

when i walk to and from work there's a tree on the side of the road that is one of a kind: it is changing color before all the others. i have stopped several times to pick up leaves for pressing. i catch my breath at the beauty.

at times my heart feels near bursting when i feel the morning sun on my face or catch the twinkle in the eye of a passing stranger. i am very pleased with my life. i love what i am learning. i am privileged to struggle in order that growth and maturity might be possible. i am grateful that God has given me so much (grace upon grace)--a strong, thinking mind, a hopeful heart, a vibrant soul. i don't ever want to take these things for granted.

I'm still reading The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World. It's taking me a long time because of all the other things i am doing along the way. It is a troublesome read for me because it stirs some of the "same old" concerns and frustrations. Like...if we, as the church, don't develop a theology of suffering, we have no way of entering into this "redemptive memory" and the task of "remembering rightly." we won't be able to bring healing through (and to) memory.
yes, this troubles me. I am troubled that there is so little care and concern about this subject. the world speaks using voices of suffering. the souls of the world are well acquainted with lament-speech. the hearts of the world long for truth-telling about the condition they're in. this cannot be done without developing a theology of suffering. this cannot be done if the church does not learn to hear voices of suffering and lament, for the hope of telling the truth about God, about redemption, and about humankind.

more and more i want to engage this issue. more and more i want to find ways to get my head, hands, and heart deeper involved.

as image-bearers and ambassadors, can we be agents and avenues of redemption in this world? how can we challenge and encourage the church (ourselves) to be a better expression of this redemption?

these questions poke and prod me.

well, it's been a long week and i'm exhausted. goodnight, all. i hope tonight finds you well--able to enjoy a fall night wherever you are. think of noticing the beauty of our days. let it catch your breath.