We just got home from dinner. A family in the church adopted us and we had a great time with their daughters, their husbands, and the extended family that showed up. I made my family’s orzo recipe and got rave reviews and requests for it. After dinner, we took a walk through the snowy woods and played pool and talked. It was great and I came home to two lovey, sleepy kitties.

To all y’all in the U.S. and abroad: Happy Thanksgiving!

My Day

My gingerbread cat is a bit angry with me. First, I chopped 8 inches off of my hair this morning (and I will post pics when I get them back on Sunday — I promise) and then I had Jon take a picture of both of us… WITH THE FLASH!!!!!! He sulked under the bed for the rest of the day.

After Jon left this morning, I went for a walk around the neighborhood and took pictures of the snow before it melted. We went from a marshmellow world this morning to a melted world this afternoon and was perched on the chair waiting for me, so I got some very nice pictures of him — he is such a photogenic beast.

This evening was the community Thanksgiving service. I was standing around before the service and got impressed into carrying the banner for St. Paul’s. This banner itself is about 6 feet long (vertically) and the pole adds another 3-4 feet. I’m all of… 5’1″ on a good day. I did manage to maneuver OK and though I think I almost gave Bill a heart attack, I did pretty well. It was a nice service and the music was all stuff I knew.

Tomorrow I have to assemble the pasta salad that we’re bringing to dinner. And…. I GET TO SLEEP IN!!!!!!!

Meanwhile… Robin Williams is on Whose Line!

OK… Open for business a few days early…

I was getting a little too impatient about waiting until Advent actually starts to open up my blog so… I announce the grand opening of Magnificat, a weblog which will now house my thoughts and such. It will be done in Greymatter until I learn how to manipulate MT a bit better.

The color scheme is blues and purples and candles because this is an Advent layout. Advent is the liturgical season that happens during the 4 weeks preceding Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ and is probably my favorite liturgical season. So… enjoy the layout and I’ll start posting some more here later!

Oh yes… I have a re-direct script (muchos gracias Krissy) at /blog, so if you are coming there off of that link, please update your links. Thanks!

Worship and Such Things

Academic Schtuff
I finished my Ministry of Worship paper at 13:25 (yes, I use European/hospital/military time) and spent the next 20 minutes trying to get it to print. I race into class only to hear my professor say, “Oh Jen! If you need more time on your paper, just give it to me on Wednesday. I’d rather have you in class on time than your paper on time.” *Jen gnashes her teeth* At least I have time to revise it…

In class today, we watched a Tridentine Mass from 1962 which was interesting and then compared it with a Mass done at St. Peter’s Church in Cleveland. It was interesting to see the comparison. The Tridentine Mass was very detached from the congregation as the priest said most of the major stuff quietly to himself wheras the contemporary Mass had the people standing around the altar. I think there is a place for the ethereal and reverential in life but one also needs to look at the communal things.

Last night when I had done my reflection paper on Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry (basically the ecumenical understanding of most of the major sacraments), I was talking to Dane who was one of the leaders of my college fellowship and also one of my surrogate parents. I was explaining the paper topic to him and talking about my argument and he asked me one of the most obvious questions:

“Does contemporary music obviate the sacraments?”
My answer: “Ummmm…. yes and no. Let me email you on that.”

Leave it to a seeker and non-liturgical person to come up with the most obvious question that I should be asking! I rewrote portions of my paper based on my responses to that.

Life Schtuff
Currently, I’m sitting at the circ desk of the seminary library chilling since I go from 8:00 – 20:30 on Mondays and 8:00-21:30 on Wednesday. At least I have a break for dinner tonight, which is good because I have Seminary Choir at 7 and that’s one of those times when a full stomach is not a bad thing. I got a 15 minute lunch today because I was working on my paper and I’ve been going straight through since then. I have another paper to do tonight (New Testament I — I have to compare and contrast Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright on a subject from “The Meaning of Jesus”) which should be interesting to write. Borg drives me up the wall because he claims to be Christian but has some pretty heretical ideas. I’m much more inclined to agree with Wright — maybe because he is Anglican and the canon of Westminster Abbey while Borg is just a comparative religion professor at Oregon State — a school not known for its Religion program.

Faith Schtuff
I’ve been trying to learn the discipline of spending time in daily devotion for at least two years now. Honestly, I’m becoming disgusted at my inability do it. Maybe that’s a step, though: realizing that I can’t do it on my own. I know that my tendecy to rely on my own strength and ability is one of my greatest weaknesses as a Christian. It’s rooted in the (aggressively anti-Christian) way I was raised. I grew up in a fiercely independant, self-reliant family, and that way of living has brought me a great deal of worldly success. I often think it would be easier for me to surrender to and rely on God if I experienced more failure in my life, but for the most part, I don’t. And that makes it much, much too easy to ignore my Lord and plow through by myself. Right now I’m just trying to pray that God will teach me how to follow Him and be with Him, since I clearly don’t know. I feel like I’m stuck in an endless cycle, and every rotation dulls my awareness of God just a little more, draws me further from him and more into myself. I’d like to get out soon, please.
Brianna (my beloved hostee) in her journal

That’s basically my same thought. My devotional life is sporadic at best right now because it seems like I’m just doing too much. One thing that we often talk about here is the tendency to get caught up in the academic things of religion and to not nurture the emotional and spiritual parts of ourselves. The last time I was able to spend five uninterrupted minutes of prayer before last Saturday was… umm…. maybe a few weeks before? This is really hard for me to deal with in myself because as a potential pastor, I really should be developing better habits. I’m going to be under just as much of a time crunch as a pastor and I need to at least get some devotional time in place. I feel like I am literally running like a headless chicken. I do attend chapel daily and I count my choir time as prayer but I really don’t get any personal devotional time like I should. Perhaps tomorrow morning when Jon is in class?

Topping all of this off, Jen *REALLY* wants a nap…