Monday, October 31, 2005

I Want A Broken Heart

This is the theme of my days recently.

"I've got faith in the bank
and money in my heart
I've got a calloused place
where your ring used to be, my love

I've traded naked and unashamed
for a better place to hide
for a righteous mask
a suit of fig leaves and lies

I thought the cattle on a thousand hills
was not enough to pay my bills
and I fell in love with those who proved me wrong
and now I want a broken heart"
-Derek Webb
I am way too good at ignoring the voice that whispers, "You are even more calloused to all of this than you even realize."
It's a scary prayer - the one for brokenness that is.
I can rest in God's grace - but I think my problem is too much rest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You should learn something new every day

First, I'd like to share a few things I learned this past weekend on my bus trip w/ highschoolers to see "Wicked":
  • Perfume is a weapon. It should be strictly regulated - especially in small enclosed areas.
  • The ushers at nice theaters have become much more aggressive lately. We had one lady yelling across half the balcony at people taking pictures. She stressed me out.
  • According to the girl in front of me on the bus, "All religions are basically about the same thing - God. There are just so many different kinds because people disagree on the small things. Like, Martin Luther was a monk, but he wanted to get married and have kids. So he nailed those things on the door, and that's how we got Protestants!"
  • There are still very few guys in high school choir. Poor souls.
  • I. love. Chicago. I need to live in an urban area. I might hate it, but at least I'd get it out of my system.
  • My sister is VERY cool. We had fun eating Twizzlers during the show and laughing at the scary usher. I'm really glad I got to go see "Wicked" - but especially with Mary.

My new toy: It tracks the songs you listen to, shows you others who have similar tastes in music, and has an option for streaming radio. Muy bueno.

Oh, and the UofI Homecoming game was fun too. Our parking place was SWEEEET. Spear and I made up a loyalty song to the company that provided it ("We're loyal to you H.D. Smith..."). The boys were very patient with me and my marching band nerdiness. We stood by the tunnel as the band entered, we went up to the east balcony to watch pre-game, we ran down the big ramps, and they listened to me ramble about the fossil band. Between the band and the Stevie Wonder (YEAH, Stevie Wonder!!) we listened to, I was dancing quite a bit over the course of the evening. The football game itself? Not worth speaking of. However, we did stay to the end.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Come, weekend, come!

So my weekend is going to be quite full....but fortunately it will be things I enjoy a lot!

Friday I get to go with my sister's high school choir to Chicago to see Wicked. (British voice: Wwwwiiiiicked!) I haven't seen a professional show in a long while....probably a year at I'm so ready. Mary told me to bring a book for the bus ride since she'd be hanging out with her friends. Hah! I'm not familiar with the show - but have heard great things. I'm hoping Ana Gastayer will still be performing.

Then Saturday is the U of I homecoming football game. Again, it's been since fall 2003 since I've been to a game - so I'm quite overdue. Time to get out my Marching Illini music again. I'm also going with fellow Illini fans. (We're used to the team not doing so well. We're still loyal.)

Good music....good experiences outside the normal Springfield realm....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A moment from the Willow A2 Conference

2 student registrations for a Willow Creek A2 Conference
3 nights at a nice hotel
A tank of gas to get up to the suburbs
7 nationally known speakers/pastors
3 different worship teams leading in a 1 year-old worship auditorium with all the bells & whistles
4,000 other church leaders attending the same conference
Having your best friend lean over halfway through the 2nd day of the conference and whisper, "I'm tired of worshipping": Priceless!

Had a good week - it was nice to get away and just take in a bunch of different perspectives. It was also fun to be with my friend. We had some good car time - tough, but hopefully productive conversations.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus Day

  • Began: 9:30am
  • Climate: A perfect autumn day
  • Menu: Leftover cajun chicken pasta and CHEESY BISCUITS from Red Lobster...and a iced chai in the afternoon
  • Soundtrack: John Mayer - specifically, "Why Georgia" and "Love Song for No One"
  • Achievements: Shopping without purchasing and remembering my horn lesson on a holiday
  • Locations: The apartment, the parentals (when no one was there), JC Penneys, Lincoln Memorial Gardens (standing in for Allerton Park), and church - 3 usuals, 1 planned, and 1 exceptional
  • Uniform: Jeans and my new Geneva Vikings t-shirt
  • Pondering: Life purpose, love (or lack thereof), and new resolve to be disciplined
  • Productive moments: folding laundry, putting away dishes (note the lack of homework/work items)
  • Evening Plans: Undetermined

Thursday, October 06, 2005

In praise of seminary...and Southern Baptists?!?

I've definitely complained plenty about being in grad school while working a full time job over the past few years. However, I feel the need to sing the praises of seminary for a moment. I am taking a COOL class this semester.

It's called "Contemporary Protestant Church Theologies" - and it's allowing me to take a more in-depth look at the major Protestant groups. Up to this point most of my knowledge of "other" groups has been stereotypes and worship practices.

This week I had to teach the class (it's in a seminar format) on the Southern Baptist Convention. I have to say - it was fascinating to get a more specific idea about the theology and structure of this group. Stereotypes don't really cut it.

Usually when I have a big school project I'm working on it hangs like a cloud over my head and I'm in a MOOD about having to do it. For whatever reason, this project wasn't like that. I still procrastinated (I mean...of course...) - but I didn't mind doing the work.

This class has already allowed me to converse on a much better level with my friends from other branches of Christianity. It's a shame I can't go to class next week - they're looking at the Reformed family.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On serving...

I've wanted to process the church's lastest "emphasis" for a while - but now that it's somewhat over I'm able to step back and take it in easier. The idea? The Church Has Left the Building. Re-looking at what it means to BE the church - in particular, how part of the worship of our church needs to be a visible reflection of Christ in our community.

So we took breakfast to teachers. We read to kids at schools. We washed cars for free and picked up trash. We encouraged everyone to invest in the lives of others - just for the sake of loving and caring for them. We try to actually get to know our neighbors. We hosted a really fun movie on the lawn/carnival last Friday (picture above).
I expected to hear words of thanks from the people we served...and we did. However, what has been more surprising is the words of thanks from the people who had the chance to serve. Isn't that funny? We serve others - but we are the ones who change the most.

I really enjoyed getting "out of the building." I've known for a while that I need to do it more. I spend so much of my time at work (church) or school (seminary) - that it can be stifling. In little steps - but intentionally - this has to change.

I just have to say - I have never been so excited about what God's teaching us as a church. It's nothing new - we're just starting to "get it" a bit better. I don't know what's next with this group of people called the church - but I am so glad to be a part of it.