OK… still making some changes to the journal layout. If anyone wants to volunteer to make me a new graphic, I’m taking submissions. Otherwise, I’ll play on MS Paint this weekend and do it. (Yes… I’m lame — I have no Adobe Photoshop or anything like that, but I still get stuff done.) Also… if you know the code for making the date appear on Greymatter, please email me. I will be a happy Jen when I can get that coded correctly.
Chapel went well this morning other than someone giving me a bad prayer request. One of Jon’s classmates is in the hospital with stomach pain and when our campus pastor called, they said that she was in the labor room. Well… she’s pregnant but not having the kid. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! She’s doing fine and home now. I think she has three or four weeks left until she’s due to give birth (God willing on June 10th because that’s where my bet is). Pastor Ruth preached well this morning and I got a lot out of her message. It was Corporate Confession and Forgiveness and it was a good service.
Currently, I’m sitting at the Circ desk in the library attempting to program in CSS and failing miserably. Props to Brianna for not yelling at me as I’ve been using her journal as my template and changing things around to fit my needs, basically as a way of learning to do this. If any of you know any good tutorials, please let me know.
I’ve gotten several emails asking if I am currently open to hosting. The answer is:
NOT RIGHT NOW When people reply back, they point out that I’m already hosting one person and why can’t I host another. The answer is: I have to pay for any extra subdomains beyond what I currently have and if you want to pay me that $5 a month, be my guest. For those who ask why Brianna is so special, read both of our journals and compare them. You can figure it out. I also invited Brianna to be on my domain because she needed a place and when I prayed about taking on a hostee other than my husband, I felt a positive answer from God. Her journal is a blessing to read whenever she posts and not many journals do that to me. It also doesn’t hurt that she reminds me a lot of me in that she is also a convert, an IVCF chica, an Anglican, and into music that is theologically sound.
Now to my main point…..
In her most recent journal entry, Brianna writes:
One thing I touched on was my opinion that knowledge of the Old Testament is vital for all Christians, and as important as knowledge of the New Testament. You can’t understand one without the other, as far as Christian theology is concerned. It’s like trying to see through one eye. Your perception is completely thrown off, incomplete and confusing … I find that every time I read the prophets, I learn something new — usually something major — about God’s character. These epiphanies often help me understand the thornier aspects of theology, such as why evil exists if God is good and loving. The Old Testament helps me understand that God’s definition of things like love may not match my or my society’s definitions of those things. … The completeness of the Word is a beautiful thing.
I totally agree with her. The Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible or First Testament) is very essential to the understanding of God’s character. I hear from a lot of people that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are completely different and that isn’t true. It *is* the same God and it is a God of love. Granted, Israel is exiled but this comes after God sends them warnings that what they are doing is completely wrong. Read Amos 5. Through Amos, God sends the message that He hates their religious festivals and will not accept their offerings. He asks that “justice roll down like a river and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). If Israel would just humble themselves and put justice and righteousness into action, they would not be exiled. This isn’t a hating or merciless God. He says later on in Jeremiah that He will bring them out and He does. The example of Ruth and Deborah and Sarah and Rebecca and Rachel and Miriam and Hagar and Huldah and other women also doesn’t hurt. I’m identifying strongly with Sarah right now as I am embarking on a journey to a somewhat unknown land (i.e. Jon’s Internship and then transferring seminaries) and it is encouraging to see how God protected her and Abraham.
I also agree that God’s definition of love may not match society’s definition but it has made all the difference in my life. The hesed (Hebrew for mercy or steadfast love) of God is what Jesus showed during His ministry and what existed in the church in Acts 2:42-47. The purity standards for marriage were hard to keep (especially in our society which is very sexualized) but made for a wonderful start to marriage as Jon and I could truly enjoy ourselves and know that it was something that had been set in marriage for us that we might truly know the satisfaction of being one with each other. The Song of Songs talks about this kind of love and I think is a good way of looking at marriage love.
I so cannot wait until my copy of Daily Texts shows up…
The site we thought we would be at for Jon’s Internship backed out on us. I’m disappinted but not as much as I had thought I would be if this were to happen. They were really nice about it and explained that it was nothing to do with either of us — they were administratively swamped. I’m thankful that they discerned this before accepting us and then dropped us later on because of problems with finding an associate pastor.
I just ordered my copy of Daily Texts since I accidentally left my other one in California. I know that I can get it online but I really like having a hard copy of the book. I’m also not a user of their devotional method but I can usually get some really good prayer for the day out of it. I haven’t been able to really get into my prayer or devo times since I left California and I think it’s because I’m so used to using the specific book. They give you two verses (one Old Testament and one New Testament) and then a prayer. I usually can build my prayers for the day around the prayers they give.
Brian seems to be doing better. I cannot imagine his pain right now and I’m thankful that he’s reaching outward. I’m also thankful for the messages he’s left in my Livejournal. Brian was one of my best friends at UCSC and I am really thankful to be in more constant communication with him.
My friend Brian just called me and told me that his brother died. It’s been two weeks and he’s finally been able to get in touch with me. Words do not accurately convey the amount of shock that I am in and how awful I feel for Brian and his family. I wish I could be in California sitting there hugging him right now and after I yelled at him for not calling me sooner (which I am allowed to do because I am a mere pipsqeak compared to him), we talked about God stuff. I prayed with him which made me feel like I could do something other than simply be present. Yet, isn’t that what we ask of God — that He simply be present with us in our time of trial? It’s the best gift we can receive from our Heavenly Father and it is the only gift I can give right now. I just pray that it is enough.
While listening to the music for Choral Evensong while trying to fall asleep tonight (which failed miserably — read the entry for April 16 which was up for all of…. 3 hours?), tears started rolling down my face, especially as I was listening to the Randall Thompson Alleluia and the arrangement of Precious Lord Take My Hand. The Gospel Mass that we are doing was also convicting, especially the Credo which is basically repetition of “I believe in the Holy Spirit/And the Holy Catholic Church/I believe in one baptism for the remision of sin and rebirth/ I believe in the resurrection and the communion of saints on this earth/ I believe when my life is over, I’m going home just to live with my God!/ I believe, I believe, I believe in God/ I believe, I believe in God.” I am so thankful that I know that my Redeemer lives and that with my eyes, I will see God when I pass from this world to the next.
Please pray for Brian and his family. Please pray for his brother Kevin.
I haven’t been able to update lately because FrontPage has been spazzing because of the picture files.. My spiritual life has also been pretty crazy. I’m doing OK spiritually but I’m just exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well and my asthma is getting really bad. This means that my prayer times at night have been shorter and I’ve been a lot more panicky.
We had Consortium Day on Thursday so I got to hang out with the men from the Josephinum (the Pontifical College in Columbus — apparently you have to graduate from one of these colleges to be a pope). We had a few lectures on Islam which were fascinating, some discussion, and then some worship. It was strange having my voice stand out above everyone else’s and I’m thankful that it was at least a hymn that I knew.
I am also helping to lead Holden Evening Prayer this quarter on Wednesday evenings. I have a very patient co-leader so I’ve been slowly getting used to singing it. I sang some of the intercessions on my own last week and am doing part of the Magnificat this week. In Ministry of Worship, we watched a video on the catechuminate at a Catholic Church in Dallas on Monday and it was fascinating. They baptized by immersion and were very lavish in the chrism. They poured a bunch on peoples’ heads and made the sign of the cross over the whole head. They also sang the Celtic Alleluia after each baptism. When the newly baptized went to change, the priest invited everyone up to the baptismal pool to renew their vows. It was amazing to hear people describe the process. Only I and one other person had baptism experiences like that. It made me think of my favorite neophyte Laura (though she wasn’t baptized on Easter Vigil).
Today, I went to church with Imani, one of my classmates. She attends Love Zion Missionary Baptist Church here in town and it was a fun service. I went to Sunday School with her and then went to the service which was 3.5 hours. It was wonderful worship and the music was really fun — I think it’s the first time I’ve been able to really get down and party in church for a long time! The sermon was on three words in John 20:19: “then Jesus came”. Pastor Woods asked us where we would be if Jesus had not come. It was the stereotypical Baptist sermon, making it powerful and enjoyable. It was nice to be able to “Amen” things.
Jon preaches on Tuesday and I am looking forward to it. His sermon will be on Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who was martyred for taking part in a plot to assassinate Hitler. (The Nazi’s were as brutal to the church as they were in many other ways.) In two weeks, I get to supply preach in northern Ohio and I am REALLY looking forward to it.
Well… I’m back from Cali, I’m married, and I’m in the process of moving out of my dorm. I’ll be updating infrequently for a while. Here’s a lovely graphic from Victoria for the time being….