Taking a much-needed break

Hey there-

So it’s spring break, and I am taking a break from blogging  for a bit as well… and the internet for that matter.  I will be back next week, but until then, hopefully I will be finding some space to breathe and reflect and recharge.



I got tagged by Bruce… *my shot at PresbyMEME 5*

Hey there world; so BRC tagged me on his moderator blog to partake in his most recent blog-game– PresbyMEME 5. Here’s the deal, straight from Bruce’s blog:

Meme: a list of questions that is passed along from blogger to blogger in order to learn things about people, increase traffic and be annoying to those who never do memes 😉 Think chain letter for blogs, but without any horrible ramifications if you stop it.

Some of us NEVER do them, some will only do them if an actual friend tags us, others never met a meme they didn’t like. I am pretty much in the middle on this one. I’ll do it if it is interesting and/or a friend invites me to do it.

So . . . I thought, what about a Presbyterian Church (USA) specific Meme that would not only draw us into some conversations but also help us learn a little about one another.

The rules are pretty basic

  • in about 25 words each, answer the following five questions;
  • tag five presbyterian bloggers and send them a note to let them know they were tagged;
  • be sure to link or send a trackback to this post;

presbyMEME 5

  1. What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?
  2. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?
  3. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?
  4. If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be?
  5. If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?

Extra Credit: Jesus shows up at General Assembly this year, what does he say to the Presbyterian Church (USA)?

Question 1: What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?

PYT (Presbyterian Youth Triennium). For the first time I felt what it was like to be surrounded by EXCITED Presbyterians. It was both insane and intoxicating.

Question 2: On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?

Tormenting Seminarians 🙂 … J/K. I think it would be nice though to spend less time fighting and “reorganizing” our infrastructure because we are freaking out over money.

Question 3: On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?

Taking a cue from Jesus and TAKING RISKS, encouraging people to engage our reformation heritage and be creative, to seek God both in and outside the church, to listen for the Holy Spirit in unlikely places.

Question 4: If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year, what would it be?

Good question Bruce! I think, honestly, that I would choose Matthew 6:25-34:

Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?
“Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
“Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

Question 5: If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?

A Platypus. Sometimes we feel like we are trying to be too much for everybody and end up feeling awkward. But then again, the platypus is remarkably resilient, and has super-venom skills to protect itself… so maybe its not such a bad thing?

Extra Credit: Jesus shows up at General Assembly this year, what does he say to the Presbyterian Church (USA)?

If Jesus showed up at GA, I think he might steal the microphone, tell us to get off our butts and go outside and be something to somebody instead of talking and fighting about it. Jesus would remind us that the point of the church is to serve the world and glorify God, and that this is the only way. He might also make a joke about Calvin.

TAGGED: Drew Tatusko, Neal Locke, Pastor David, Ben Daniel, Landon Whitsitt, Ryan Pappan

Thanks be to GOD!

I don’t know the details yet, but I do know this: I got offered a job on Broad Street Ministry’s Youth Initiative Staff for the summer!!!! This is gonna be awesome… I have been praying about it and hoping for it, and I am so super stoked to get the opportunity to do this.

Thanks be to God, and Philly here I come!

Whadda Whadda Week….

If you didn’t guess from the title, it’s been a “week.”  Not only has my time been consistently filled with various obligations, but my mind has been filled persistently with all sorts of things that are troubling me.  For instance, this week we read the section on Predestination and Election in the Institutes for class, which has disrupted my formerly warm and fuzzy feelings about Calvin and left me with the beginnings of either bitterness and/or frustration toward the man.  Maybe it is just me, but I find little that is comforting in the doctrine.  I can see why it was comforting to those to whom it was initially written, but even knowing that I cannot spare the doctrine from my sense that for all it is comforting it is problematic.  Perhaps it is my context, but all I know about New Testament scholarship and historical Jesus and source criticism makes me wary of the confidence with which Calvin approaches the issue.  Never mind the fact that the doctrine seems tangentially important at best.  Ultimately, I guess I wish that, like many other things, Calvin had been content to leave things that are ultimately in the jurisdiction of God and God alone to God rather than setting what amounts to a easily misinterpreted and often hurtful doctrine on paper.  Next up is providence, so I have little hope it will get much better.

Other than that, I just have a lot coming up in my life.  I am preaching this Sunday and on Thursday, and the things I am thinking about preaching will require some finesse.  So I am troubled by the prospect of figuring out how to preach what is in my heart and what I see in Scripture this year as we come to Palm Sunday with grace and love.  We shall see how it goes, I guess.

And the last thing–I am waiting to hear on a job opportunity for the summer that I have been praying and praying and praying would work out…. hopefully I will hear in the next day or so, but it is leaving me a bit antsy as I wait for the word back.

Grace and peace, I guess is what I need these days.  Grace and peace.

update on the chastity stuff

So, in the midst of thinking about chastity, I posted my thoughts on presbymergent as well as my own blog, and I must say that there has been some very interesting discussion on the issue of chastity as a result. If anyone is interested, I recommend checking it out… it is definitely worth reading. I particular, I have been intrigued by some of the ideas that have emerged from the discussion– in particular, I am realizing how much potential chastity might have for notions of “kingdom living” for those of us interested in that sort of thing. Anyways, I offer it up.

What is the deal with Chastity?

Hey there– So I am completely drowning in seminary homework, and I intended to flesh this post out more than I really have the time to do, but if I don’t post it I never will.

So here’s the “point” of the post– Karen Sloan and I met over coffee a couple weeks ago and had this amazing conversation about the church and about our struggles and journeys within the PCUSA.  Towards the end of the conversation, we somehow found ourselves on the subject of chastity.  I found myself confused by the term– what has it and what does it mean for the church today?  How has chastity been interpreted and reinterpreted within the Presbyterian Church over time?  Does it mean more that simple abstinence?  And if so, what is the “more”?

Perhaps this all stems from confusion over the meaning of “chastity in singleness, fidelity in marriage,” but ultimately I think there is more to it than that.  I feel both intrigued and challenged by the ambiguous concept of chastity, and my gut tells me that it has quite a bit to offer the church as long as we can save the term from becoming a synonym for abstinence.  So, with that very hurried and brief overview of my thoughts over the past month or so, I ask the question that has persisted for me: what does “chastity” have to offer the church today?