Seminary Anxiety and Hope

27 05 2008

Lately I’ve been very concerned about financing seminary, even though it will be September of 2010 or 2011 before I start. One of the projects the Diocese has given to me is to pay off or at least pay down considerably the student loans I have from my undergraduate studies. There is *some* financial aid out there but most of our seminarians come out with a great deal of student loan debt. In fact, the ratio of financial aid out there other than loans to the amount of need can be summed up as that of diddly / squat.

While I am dutifully paying more than the minimum payment in the hopes to get what is considered manageable, the thought keeps coming back to me … what is the point of getting out of debt with the intention of back in, and possibly the end result being even deeper in debt once seminary is finished?

This is the point where I tend to get the most frustrated. Not only do I need to pay off / down the existing loans, but I will also need to find a way to keep my apartment in the city, regardless of where I go to school AND just the general expense of daily living (like food, clothing, etc). I mean, it’s not like I will have a husband that I live with that will be able to take on a larger share of the expenses …

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Basement Cat

27 05 2008

Decaptioned and shamelessly taken from I Can Haz Cheeseburger …

I call it ….. Basement Cat in the Garden of Eden

Captions anyone?

Three Men I Admire the Most — Father, Son and Holy Ghost

19 05 2008

Anytime I start to write about the Trinity, I generally wind up taking old notes and updating them from the texts instead of starting from scratch. I am reminded of the story where St Augustine comes across a boy on the beach putting water from the ocean into a hole. When Auggie tries to explain the futility of trying to pour the ocean into a hole, the boy, who is actually an angel in disguise, says “and neither can you, Augustine, hope to wrap your little mind around something as big as the Trinity”

In my own small attempt to talk about the Trinity, I figure I would follow Jesus’ example of talking about the Kingdom of God. He says a lot about what it’s like but never really says what it is, probably because in part that our minds are too puny to grasp such a concept and its meaning. But here goes …..

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Goin to the chapel ..

15 05 2008

From the New York Times ….

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court has overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, paving the way for the state to become the second in the United States where gay and lesbian residents can marry.

The justices released the 4-3 decision Thursday, saying that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.

Outside the courthouse, gay marriage supporters cried and cheered as news spread of the decision.

In striking down the ban, the court said, “In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.”

The cases were brought by the city of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples, Equality California and another gay rights group in March 2004 after the court halted San Francisco’s monthlong same-sex wedding march that took place at Mayor Gavin Newsom’s direction.

“Today the California Supreme Court took a giant leap to ensure that everybody — not just in the state of California, but throughout the country — will have equal treatment under the law,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who argued the case for San Francisco.

A very nice win …. as they say, “as goes California, so goes the nation” or something like this.


Ok, I know I have some CA readers out there, or at least some folks who are familiar with how the relationships between the branches of gov’t work.  What is the next step?  Does this go to the State Legislature?  Or is the State of California now required to grant marriage licenses to GLBT couples? Enquiring minds want to know.

Life has a funny way ….

14 05 2008

of getting in the way of blogging …. I do hope to get my thoughts (as scattered as they might be) on John 16 and 17 up soon as well as finishing up the Bonhoeffer exercise.

In the meanwhile, thanks to Jarred over at Musings of a Confused Man for pointing me to Slacktivist’s scathing critique of Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins’ book Left Behind. Slacktivist is a Baptist who has nothing but sharp criticism for the book, and quite frankly the critique shows how uncharitable the religious right is. Also, the books are Very Bad Writing mixed with Very Bad Theology.

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John’s Farewell Discourses 2

6 05 2008

“I am the vine and my Father is the vine-grower. I am the vine and you are the branches.” (John 15)

The second and innermost circle of the Farewell Discourses is John 15, where Jesus uses the image of the vine to describe his relationship to the Father and to his disciples, which includes us, for we are to imagine that Jesus is speaking with us as well as to the 11.

Jesus calls himself the vine and the Father is the vine-grower. The Father removes from the vine all the branches that do not bear fruit, and those that do bear fruit are pruned so they may be more abundant. Even now, the pruning has begun with the disciples because one of their own has been lost (Judas) and will not be replaced until much later in the person of Matthias.

We are encouraged to live in and with Christ and remain connected to the vine for just as a branch cannot bear fruit unless it is connected to the vine, we can do nothing apart from Jesus. Without him we will only wither and die just as surely as those who have been removed will die. Indeed, Jesus desires for us to continually remain in him so we may bear fruit.

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Physics and Faith … the “String Theory” of salvation

5 05 2008

Before I move on to John 15, I wanted to pause and summarize briefly what I’m calling the “string theory” of salvation. Much of this is taken from a sermon my rector preached on John 14 a few years ago and my own very limited understanding of physics.

One of the goals of physics is to find a theory that can explains how the universe works. Out of this has come the theory of relativity, which explains how the very big things work … gravity, the speed of light, black holes and so on. Also out of this has come the field of quantum mechanics which speaks to how things work on the subatomic level. They both seem to work well and scientists can make accurate prediction using them. The big problem is that the theories are very inconsistent with each other. It’s like the rules of the universe change when going from the really big to the really small and you cannot make predictions on the subatomic level using mathematical formulas associated with the theory of relativity.

In his sermon, my rector compared it to looking great in a striped shirt and having a fabulous pair of plaid pants, but if you try to wear them together, you wind up looking ridiculous and the outfit just doesn’t work.

In John 14 you have a very inclusive statement followed very soon by a very exclusive one. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places, and I am going to prepare a place for you” could be called the theological cousin of the Theory of Relativity and “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me” could be the counterpart to Quantum Mechanics. In the universe, two seemingly inconsistent laws live side-by-side and all of creation keeps humming along. In John, the universal and the particular meet in almost the same breath, and Jesus keeps on going as if he has not said anything contradictory. Creation proudly wears its striped shirt and plaid pants and is ready for a night on the town.

Physicists, not content to just live with the fact that the universe should not function according to two inconsistent laws, and there must be some way the whole thing just works. String theory is a recent development that appears to hold much promise into filling in the gaps between the universal and the particular, finding out why Creation appears to act in inconsistent and sometimes contradictory ways.

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