Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I've got the need, the need for Creeds!

I had my first class today: Creeds. We will be studying the history, development, and neccesity of the Creed (and creeds). We have what seems to be a very good prof., mostly because she quoted Piaget, who has a warm spot in this old Montessori heart. The first exercise we had in class was to meditate, silently for 10 minutes, on what we believe. Then she asked us to write it down, without saying so, we were creating our first creeds. Here is mine, please excuse the almost utter lack of overt christian dogma (and exceedingly loose when it does), I thought the idea was to get to the very base of our beliefs:

There seems to be more than there is.
I believe our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, and mind mediate experience.
I believe there is something Other, we deliniate and frame this Other as God; we do this dumbly.
I believe humanity has a special relationship with the Other and the Other with humanity. This relationship might be familial.
The Other, became wholly unified with humanity, somehow, in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth.
I believe in the evolution of the spirit to greater freedom and non-attachment, these are our signs of solidarity with the Other.

There it is. Likely to change soon. Besides, the Nicene Creed wasn't written in five minutes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Can we start already?

I'm just about oriented out. We are in the middle of a two day workshop from CREDO, which is a group from the Episcopal Church Pension Group. All the info is great but I want to start talking theology. I'd like to be in discussion, can we just commence with the larnin'?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Promised Land

Can a landscape be healing? Surely, that's why people go the beach, mountains, etc. Does this mean there are toxic landscapes? I won't go in on that at this time, but suffice it to say that I had no idea how healing simply being up here can be. Here's some pics of a drive down the mountain to get some milk.

Chapel of All Saints

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day in the Life

6 a.m.= first born taps my face to wake me.
6:15-7:40=breakfast with children, coffee with groggy mate, get ready,A,H, and BSB spot two skunks in our yards, leave for class.
7:40-7:50=ride bike slowly to School of Theology, watch the school wake up.
7:50-8:00= talk with new friends and the dean.
8:00-8:30= morning prayer and my personal practice.
8:30-8:50=coffee and prep for class
8:50-10:05=Introduction to Theological Writing, taught by a damn genius.
10:05-10:30=break, do email, more coffee, talk.
10:30-11:55: Theo. writing part 2, understand the database and indexes, also how best to use Chicago Manual of Style
11:55-1:00=Lunch, bbq chicken,salad, pink pie.
1:00-2:50=Speaking the word, a public speaking class, today we met in COTA=chapel of the apostles.
St. Paul is really growing on me.
2:50-3:05=Bike home, the place is teeming with undergrads.
3:05-4:40=play, talk, chill with the fam. Life is good.
4:40-5:15=cook tacos, make chips
5:15-6:ish eat, laugh, on the porch, breeze blowing, we are in love with this place.
6:15?=walk to classmate's new house to help her move in.
7:00=walk home, load the kids into the car, pack books, waters, and banjo.
7:05: drive approximately 1.5 miles to the Sewanee Community Center.
7:05-7:10=unload children, walk very slowly into the community center.
7:10-8:30 jam my ass off with some killer musicians. About 6 fiddlers, three guitarist, one other banjo player, and a dulcimer. I loved this so much. We took turns calling the songs, each song was played for about five minutes, "enough time for somebody to learn the song." Another, idea on how long to play was offered by one guy, (in your best Tennessee mountain accent)"We play it until everybody attains, whatchya callit? Nirvana!" And I did. The kids did fairly well, BSB got to do some knitting, and as we left A got to tap out a rhythm on some wooden spoons. Also, as we left we snagged some freebie cukes.
8:30-now=A to bed, H passing out on our bed, this blog, and off to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Peace and goodnight

Everything made new

This is stream of conscious, sorry, I have alot to hash out. Orientation is almost over. And what an orientation it has been! The first week was a true orientation process: learning how to live up here on the Mountain. How worship is conducted, how to address people, even how to dress! I got my academic gown. For those who have been to Sewanee, you know that it looks very much like Oxford and a little like Hogwarts. Well, on Wednesday's we wear academic gowns (always unzipped). They say that it is a nod to Oxford and its role in helping the University, I'll look into that.

Worship. Each day we do morning and evening prayer, plus a noon Eucharist. Last week I went to church 16 times! Needless to say, I've learned more about the Book of Common Prayer in the first week than I did in the first several years of trying to plod through it on my own. The BCP is really a wonderful document, and the Bible quotes it all the time! (that's and Episcopalian joke)

That's all for now, I need to get back to class. I'll keep up this blog, because it has recently come to my attention that people actually read it from time to time. But I think the blog will also be a place for me to daily keep track of what I need to, not just a journal but a log on the web, a web log... a blog?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Imaginary places, and how to live there.

So orientation starts in about two hours. We've been here for three weeks and have loved every second of it. I've come to the conclusion though that Sewanee is not a real place. Sure it's got three dimensions and is bound by time...sort of.
Part of the unrealness of Sewanee is the fact that we are being supported to such a high degree, not a characteristic of the "real world." But there are other realms besides the real world. Neverland, Wonderland, Oz, Narnia, Sewanee. These are all places where one goes to so that certain psychic and spiritual activities can be acted out in an accelerated way. These heroic, imaginary places are designed to change you, and I am so ready and grateful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New York Times likes it up here

Note, article is from 1984, the campus has changed a little, so have the numbers. Link

Friday, August 1, 2008

Training for humility

Coming to the Mountain, the days and weeks leading up to it,and the move itself, was an exercise in humility. Such an out pouring of support and generousity. Several people gave up large portions of their day (and some gave several consecutive days, thanks parents and in-laws!)just to help us out. When we arrived at Sewanee there were several people just waiting to help, amazing. All this is humbling.

Humility is a virtue we don't spend too much time with anymore. In our pride we equate humility with humiliation. That's the rub, pride. Pride takes the grace out of a gift and calls it humiliation. There is grace in a gift given, but there is grace in a gift received. That grace is the acceptance of a gift in full humility, full nakedness about your situation. Humility says, "Thank you, I really needed this, and I can't pay you back."

Humility then leads to gratitude. How many have heard the preacher say that we need to have the attitude of gratitude. But do we really? Life, albeit short so far, on the Mountain has shown me, nay, given me the space to have gratitude for insects, rain, dinner at the table, AJ's wink.

Mary Oliver gets to it when she writes in her poem Messenger: Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.