Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 257 (Deep Fried Oreos)

I made deep fried Oreos for Beer & Theology today. I know it might sound gross, but trust me, they're amazing! In a weird quirk of culinary magic, throwing battering Oreos and tossing them into hot grease actually make them taste better! I could go so far as to say that frying them makes them taste like a fancy dessert.

To make deep fried Oreos, all you have to do is freeze the Oreos and then dip them in pancake batter and fry them until they are golden brown. You should freeze the Oreos for at least 2 hours before frying them.

You might be tempted to eat them right after taking them out of the oil, but they will be boiling lava hot! Let them cool for a bit before partaking of their delectable scrumptiousness and dust them with a bit of powdered sugar if you want to be extra fancy. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 256 (Caller ID)

Nothing too deep today; just gotta say: God bless the person who invented caller ID!

Some crazy woman keeps calling me today from an unknown number and refuses to leave a message. FYI, I do not answer my phone if I do not recognize the phone number on the caller ID. I got a voicemail from my dad this morning saying that a woman keeps calling them asking for them for me because I have some "business with them." They gave her my number because she wouldn't leave them alone O_o. I need to train them better...

I have no idea who this person could be and if it was actually important, I have to believe that she would have left at least one message in the 6 times that she's called today. Plus, she won't tell my parents who she is or what this whole "business" thing is. All I have to say is if she doesn't leave a message telling me who the heck she is, she's not going to be talking to me.

Moral of story: If you want to talk to me, leave a message.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 255 (LGBT Welcome)

We had another LGBT meeting today, and let me tell you, we have our work cut out for us! I think we named the group "LGBT Welcome," but I'm not really sure? Here is the updated draft of the Inclusive Community Statement, although I'm pretty sure it's going to be updated again in the next day or so...

San Francisco Theological Seminary, as a seminary of the PC(USA), as an academic institution preparing faithful followers of Christ for enacting God's will on earth as it is in heaven, and as a community of Christians committed to the radical inclusivity exemplified in the life and teaching of our Redeemer Jesus Christ, welcomes brothers and sisters of every age, race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nation of origin and physical ability.

Seminary education, as a gateway to ministry in the Church at large, requires awareness of when children of God are being systematically barred not only from serving God to their fullest, but also from being Fully alive. Therefore, we emphasize that we stand firmly in solidarity with our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) sisters and brothers in our community of SFTS in, with, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, which convicted us to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We seek to do this by advocating the full inclusion and participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the Church universal and our world community, by using education and compassion to eradicate homophobia and injustice in our Seminary, our Church, and our World, and by celebrating the faithful contributions of LGBT individuals to the Church and our world. At SFTS, we strive for this by:

1) Equipping our students
Including LGBT writers, Queer Theology, and alternative sexualities' perspectives in our curriculum. SFTS prepares whole leaders for the whole church.

2) Supporting all our graduates
While SFTS celebrates the accomplishments of all its graduates, it makes a concerted and conspicuous effort to affirm the ministries of our LGBT alumni and alumnae.

3) Transforming our world
By beginning within our Seminary community and going out into the world, SFTS aims to work against sexual and/or gender injustice and inequality. We welcome those who would join us in our celebration of God's expansive light.

Our first step is to start talking to people about it, and we have some ideas as to how to disseminate information about what this statement is for and why we think it's important. It's going to take a of work and a lot of courage, but I know that God is behind this movement and that we cannot fail.

I see many fruits coming from the work ahead of us reaching far beyond the inclusion of this statement. Now is a time of healing and growth for the seminary and I'm excited that God has chosen us to be a part of it!

Day 254 (Rise of the Eldrazi)

Epic gaming today! Doug bought a box of the new Magic: The Gathering set that came out a few days ago, Rise of the Eldrazi, and six of us split the cost of the box and did a weird sealed/draft/tournament thing. Click here for more info: Magic: The

I'd write more, but my sick body is screaming at me to get to bed.

Night, all!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 253 (Me vs The Cold)

The cold is winning...

I went to Exegesis today even though I was totally sick because if i didn't then I would have dropped one letter grade. It's totally my fault because earlier in the term I didn't go to class when I should have. Oh well...

I did skip out on Theology and tried to get some sleep because I think today would have only been the 3rd time missing that class. It was my first time missing Prophets today, but I still had to drive over to the GTU because there was no one else registered to drive the van. I didn't go to class though because sitting in a 3 hour class with a cold is tantamount to masochistic behavior. I brought a book to read instead. No real brain power required there.

Now moving on to ITM homework...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 252 (General Assembly)

I had my first conference call today. It was kind of weird. I've heard of conference calls before, but I've never actually thought about the reality of them. At first I thought it was pretty cool to be doing something "technological" like that, but then I realized this technology has been around for a pretty long time. You know, just one of those embarrassing thoughts that you have every now and then.

Heather convinced me to be part of a group at the General Assembly of the PCUSA this year, which happens to be in Minneapolis, MN this year in July. This group will be trying to foster an environment of acceptance and love for all members of the PCUSA, but especially towards those who identify as being part of the LGBT community.

Since I've been planning a road trip for this summer, I figured I can just incorporate this experience into it. Also, as a person who has been a lifelong Presbyterian, I think it's important for me to see how the General Assembly operates. Should be fun; I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 251 (The Shack)

I started reading The Shack last night, and felt compelled to finish reading it this morning. It is the story of a man who experiences a terrible loss in his life and God reaches out to him in the form of a note asking the man to come visit God in a shack. When the man goes there, he is greeted by a large African woman, a Hebrew man and an Asian woman. The result is an intense emotional journey that transforms him to the core of his being.

To say the book is good would be a severe and unfair understatement. There were several times that I had to put the book down and just cry before I could pick it up and continue reading. I know I ended my last blog with a plead for any readers to watch a specific movie, and I feel the need to do the same for this book. Please, please, please read this book!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 250 (Lawn Dogs)

I finally got around to sharing my favorite movie with some people today, although to be fair I did already show it to Terra during the Christmas break. Please don't judge this movie by it's cover art or the description on the back. Whoever designed the DVD cover created an epic fail!

Lawn Dogs is a modern day fairy tale centering around 10-year-old Devon and Trent, a professional lawn mower in his early twenties. The two loaners discover in each other a kindred spirit and their friendship seems inevitable, however the community does not take to this. The movie is haunting in its imagery and sound, lingering with you long after you have seen it, and the symbolism run as deep as any story you can possibly encounter.

If you have not seen this movie, I beg you to please give it a chance. As an Indy Film, its quirkiness will not appeal to all, but its message is one that needs to be heard by all. And, although this message may not be immediately apparent at first, but it sinks deep into the psyche, to help grow and change all that see it. And, this is what all good movies should do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 249 (Magic Extravaganza)

The Marshmallow finally asked to play Magic today. Usually, when I teach someone, they're pretty much done for a while after the first 2 or 3 games. Marshmallow took to the game rather quickly, he is a gamer after all, and we proceeded to play for 8 hours. Yes, you saw that right, 8 hours. Now I have to admit that when many people play Magic, they tend to lose track of time. But, this doesn't usually happen with first time players. It was really fun though, cuz I got to play a bunch of my decks that don't normally see the light of day.

Afterwards, I also got to teach Terra how to play! It's a good thing that I built those beginner teaching decks! I'm gonna go to bed now and see if I can get up at 5:00 am to watch the meteor shower later, but I don't know how wise that would be as I am still sick. But, I love meteor showers!

What to do, what to do...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 248 (Full Inclusion)

We had a Student Association (SAC, not sure what the "C" stands for) meeting today. There were several issues that came up, but one that really struck home for me was the discussion of an LGBT Inclusion Policy. Here is the text:

San Francisco Theological Seminary, as a seminary of the PC(USA), as an academic institution preparing faithful followers of Christ for enacting God's will on earth as it is in heaven, and as a community of committed Christians to the radical inclusivity exemplified in the life and teaching of our Redeemer Jesus Christ stand firmly and in solidarity with our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers in our community of SFTS, state of California, nation of the United States, denomination of Christianity, and world of our Creator in, with, and through the power of the Holy Spirit which has firmly convicted us with righteousness and holiness in this endeavor.

Now, I am aware that this is not the typical language you would find on such an inclusion policy, but as several people pointed out, the chance of this policy getting adopted "as is" is pretty much slim to none. I'm sure it would have to go through several committees and rewrites and hopefully, if the school would even go for it, it would bear at least a passing resemblance to its original form.

The point of bringing this up with the administration, I believe, is simply to get some dialogue going. There was some resistance to even this phase of the action, however, because some of the student body might not be on board with it.

I wish I could have joined in on the discussion, but as people were talking, especially when they were defending the policy, I found myself getting quite emotional. I knew that if I started talking about it, I would probably not be able to hold myself together.

While I wish I could say I was surprised by some of the things that people said against the policy, I guess I have to say at most that I was disappointed. One of the arguments against presenting the policy to the administration as coming from the students is that there are some students that might not agree with such a policy.

My question is, "So what?"

Since when did the church teach us to cater to those who want to keep oppressed people oppressed? Did Jesus not reach out to those who are suffering and in need of help? Aren't we supposed to do what's right, regardless of what other people may think of it?

I am so tired of being an "outsider." Why is it okay for the world to shove me into a box labeled "different and unworthy?" I am a human being and I have the same worries and concerns about life that anyone else does.

It is not okay to treat me like this!


To anyone that disagrees with me, you better brush up on your theology, because you will have to answer to God at some point. I do not say this as a threat, only to make sure that people have thought long and hard about their personal beliefs, where those beliefs come from and what they do with them.

I'm tired of being society's punching bag. Gay people! Listen up! We cannot sit on the sidelines anymore. Do you want your rights? Go out there and fight for them! Do you want people to treat you with respect? Then DEMAND that they do!

The world is changing and one day these issues will no longer be issues. I would simply prefer they happen sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 247 (My Mother's Eyes)

So, after being annoyed about not feeling comfortable with sharing my poem, My Father's Eyes, I figured out the perfect solution! I wrote another poem called My Mother's Eyes, using feminine images for God. The two poems can now exist as a duality and I no longer have to worry about any "inclusive language" issues, because I think from now on, I should recite the poems together. I didn't have enough time to memorize it, but as Christina says, there is no reason I can't read it to the group. For those of you who were not able to make it to poetry night, here it is in all of its newly written glory:

My Mother's Eyes

I am beautiful in my Mother's eyes,

Made by her plan, made by her will,

Whether you measure by wit or elation,

Or by faith or by station,

I am unique in all of creation.

I am beautiful in my Mother's eyes,

For she is the wisdom that created the world,

She created all in heaven and Earth,

And she was there with me on the day of my birth,

The water, the fountain from which I draw worth.

I am beautiful in my Mother's eyes,

She looks right to the core of me,

She sees the truth that resides there,

The love and the warmth, the compassionate care,

The insecure heart with its own cross to bear.

I am beautiful in my Mother's eyes,

And she forgives what I’ve done,

No sin is too big for her,

No trespass too much for her,

No wrongdoing or evil too bad in this world,

For she is my mother.

I am beautiful in my Mother's eyes,

A glorious spirit of mercy and grace,

With her as my center and her as my base,

I will journey on ‘til we meet face to face.

Because I am beautiful in my Mother's eyes.

Day 246 (A Sudden Rain)

I had no idea it was gonna start raining today. We were just sitting quietly in Holy Grounds playing Word on the Street, a fun game where you try to take letters off the board by thinking of words according to categories determined by the game. I lost twice, but my brain shuts down pretty fast in high pressure situations. (there was a timer O_o)

Marshmallow would like to remind me that I did in fact lose twice.

Anyway, it's pouring rain now and it's a hour and a half past midnight and I need to walk home. Totally unprepared. Oh well, at least the next things on the agenda after walking through the rain is shower and sleep, which I really need cuz my allergies have been acting up today, which is weird cuz I don't normally have an allergy problem.

Back and tattoo are doing okay for anyone keeping track. Neither is totally good, but I think things are going well. Earl the burl (that's what I named the redwood burl I bought from Muir Woods that grows redwood shoots) is 6 inches tall now! I really hope he's not a temporary thing, but I don't know if redwood burls grow roots.

Alright, nothing spectacular today...hopefully there will be more excitement tomorrow! XD

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 245 (Stargazing)

Abby, one of my classmates up here at SFTS, graciously took us outside to do some stargazing tonight for a short study break. We went out to the graduation field, which was unfortunately lit by by a huge floodlight, but was one of the darker places on the campus to look up at the stars. Still, she showed us Mars, Leo, Gemini, Canis Minor, Virgo and Auriga. Not sure what that last one is supposed to look like, never heard of it before. It was really fun learning about the stars and the constellations and some of the mythology surrounding them. We even saw a big shooting star!

I love stargazing, but I rarely find myself in a good place to do it. There's usually too much light pollution. If you ever get a chance to leave the city light to look up at the night sky, there are fewer things as breathtaking. I remember going to Sequoia National Park a few years back and looking up at the night sky. There were so many stars in the sky that the sky almost looked gray. The Milky Way was a bright swath of stars going across the sky; the stars were just so much brighter than I ever remember seeing them.

So much homework to do, so little time to look at the stars...*sigh*

Day 244 (Notes From a Wingman)

Ian, Gavin, Ryan and I went with Chris to a club called Temple last night to celebrate Chris' birthday. It was a pretty neat club, but, and this is weird coming from a gay guy, it was a bit too much of a sausage fest, because Heather bailed on us. Gavin and I finally managed at one point to get everyone on the dance floor, but it was a little awkward dancing with 5 straight guys. We really needed a girl there to get everyone into it, or I could have used another gay guy to dance with. I danced by myself quite a bit last night, but it's just not the same as dancing with another person.

We had dinner there first so that we wouldn't have to pay the cover charge to get in. I got a Kobe beef burger, which was to die for! After dinner, they converted the restaurant into a dance floor and opened up the other levels. It had a great ambiance and three different areas with different kinds of music.

Early on in the night, this girl came up to me and just started talking. We talked a bit and I asked her to dance with Chris for his birthday. She ended up talking to her for like 15 minutes, and then she ended up going onto the dance floor with Gavin. I'm not really sure what happened, but they ended up coming back in like 30 seconds. Then she went out onto the dance floor with Chris, but the were out there for an even shorter period of time. Then she left.

We saw her throughout the night dancing (among other things) with various men.

I figured I should try again. There were two women, quite pretty, who had been sitting on a couch the whole night. I figured they were just waiting for someone to ask them to dance. So I asked one of them if they would dance with Chris for his birthday. She asked how old he was, and I told her, and she laughed, saying she was too old for him. Strike two.

I didn't really try again after that. I think I need to brush up on my wingman skills.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 243 (Party Day)

Oh, seminary is just too much fun sometimes.

There were two parties going on at the same time today. One was at Annette's house, our Old Testament professor. She made some great pasta for us and the wine was flowing. Great conversation, lots of laughs. I named Annette's couch Grabcuck.

Unfortunately, we only had one person show up from the GTU. He was really cool though, Brother Matthew from the Dominican School. He stayed until the end, past midnight. Afterwards, I showed him around the school.

Erin was having her birthday party at the same time and some of them showed up at Annette's.

After giving Brother Matthew the tour of the school, I came back to Holy Ground and discovered Ian, Chris, Gavin and Heather teaching Tom how to dance. I think you can imagine what I'm watching right now.

The Carebear picture if for Annette because she didn't know what they were when we were talking about them. XD

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 242 (Back Pain)

I haven't written about this yet because there have been more important things to write about, but I totally tweaked out my back on Monday. When I was getting out of the van at the GTU, I was bent over like an "L" because I was sitting in the back seat, and when I got out and straightened up, there was an explosion of pain in my lower back. You know how sometimes pain can take your breath away, especially when it's unexpected? It was like that. And, I had nothing to compare it to, because I've never had back pain before, so I was worried that I might have done something really bad to it.

I waddled to class, trying not to move my back, but it only really hurt when I changed position from standing to sitting, or from sitting to standing. So, when I got home, Katie Buck gave me some ibuprofen and I went to bed, worried about what I would feel like the next morning.

Luckily, when I did wake up the next morning, my back was just kind of achy. When I woke up yesterday, it was a little stiff and a little sore, but otherwise okay. This morning, it felt mostly normal, not 100%. I'm just trying to be careful with it. Don't really need to add that to my list of issues.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 241 (Negative Spaces)

I've been learning a lot about the apaphatic aspects of theology this term. That is, saying what God is not like as opposed to was God is like. So you can say God is like a mother, but to be completely accurate, you have to also say that God is not like a mother. God is like a father, but God is not like a father. God is like (insert analogy here). The apaphatic statement that must accompany that would be the opposite of that statement.

We come across this idea a lot in centering prayer. For those of you who have never done this, you spend the whole time emptying your mind in an attempt to deepen your relationship with or grow closer to God. Actually, you can never truly empty your mind, the human brain just doesn't work that way, but you are supposed to let the thoughts roam freely through your mind without really paying attention to them. It's hard and it takes practice, but it is possible to do it for small amounts of time (think 20 or 30 seconds) after a while.

So, centering prayer is the spiritual practice that we're doing in my Spiritual Leadership class right now. Take the stuff that I'm learning in there, mix it up with Theology and all the crazy stuff that Annette's been teaching us and you've got some pretty weird stuff going on in my brain right now.

Today, we were discussing our thoughts on how we think centering prayer may have changed us and the discussion leader talked about how when we were using icons in Lectio Divina last term, it was just as important to pay attention to the negative spaces as it was to look at the shapes of the images themselves. This lead my friend Mary to make the comment that the pauses between words and notes in music were just as important as the notes and the lyrics. Without the pauses, you wouldn't have music; it would just be noise.

I had a similar thought about scripture not too long ago, but I never thought I would share it with anyone. At least, it had not occurred to me to share it with anyone. But, it was so similar to what they were saying that I had to share it, and I have to give credit to Annette Schellenberg for helping to form this idea in my head. I realized one day while reading the Bible that there was more than just the words on the page. There was all of that lovely negative space around the words, between the words, around the edges of the page. I realized that God was there too, shining out from between the words, from the beautiful shapes of negative space around the letters. It's the apaphatic aspect of scripture, the part of God that we can't describe.

It's like the Bible is a portal that we can look through to see God. We need the words to form the portal, but at the same time, the words are a screen because they cannot show us everything about God. You can't take away the screen though, because if you do you take away the portal. This isn't to say that God doesn't come through in the words themselves; most of what we know about God comes from the words. It's just that there is so much more to God than that. Pay attention to those negative spaces as you read scripture because they are as much a part of the scriptures as the words are. The shapes are beautiful, just as the mystery of God is beautiful. We may never understand what the negative spaces are telling us, but we are nourished by them and whether we are aware of it or not, those spaces are helping us to understand the divine mystery that is our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Sustainer, the Holy Triune God.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 240 (Gender Issues)

So, tonight is poetry night. Generally, I really look forward to poetry night, and tonight was no exception. The theme is "God & Experience" which was exciting because I have a poem that I've been meaning to re-memorize that I've kept putting off, and it fits perfectly in this theme. I also wanted to do my poem, "My Father's Eyes," but I realized that this poem is not "gender sensitive." It refers to God in strongly masculine terms and used male pronouns throughout. And it talks about Jesus, who most people will agree is male. I still really like the poem, and I feel that it speaks truly to my experience and emotion, but I no longer feel comfortable sharing it with people at my school. Which is unfortunate. I'm not sure if that speaks to my lack of courage or the seeming reverse sexism that exists at SFTS, but there you go.

Since this is my blog and I can post whatever I want here, I will share My Father's Eyes with all of you, my blog audience. Please take no offense to the masculine references to God, it's simply a result of the limitations of the English language, my upbringing and the point of my life that I was at when I wrote it. Meanwhile, I will mourn the loss of the freedom to express myself that I had thought I had found when first coming to seminary.

My Father's Eyes

I am glorious in my Father's eyes,
Made by his hand, by his design,
I'm the only one that can be me,
And I can be no one else but me,
Because that is what he made me to be.

I am glorious in my Father's eyes,
I answer to no one but him because he is my creator,
He is my maker and maker of all things,
And in my ear his truth rings,
And in my ear his voice sings.

I am glorious in my Father's eyes,
No matter what anyone says,
Not my mom or my dad of my siblings or friends,
Because at the end of the road, or when a relationship ends,
It is He who steps forward or his Son that he sends.

I am glorious in my Father's eyes,
And he forgives my transgressions,
Whether I know what I've done, or through no fault of my own,
He will stand by my side, in my flesh and my bone,
Seal my heart and my soul so no evil is sown.

I am glorious in my Father's eyes,
A beautiful spirit of mercy and light,
And because of his love it's his fight that I fight,
And I will stand by his side because I know that it's right.
Because I am glorious in my Father's eyes.

* Addendum: I had the date wrong, poetry night is next week

Day 239 (McDonald's)

Yes, it is true. To my shame, I have broken my 6 year McDonald's fast and had McDonald's for dinner tonight. (I'm not really sure how long it was, but it was a long time, probably longer that 6 years. On the off chance that my guess was too long, I didn't want to make it look like I was exaggerating.)

I got the supposed Angus Swiss Mushroom burger. As you might have guessed, I was not impressed by this meal, nor the wimpy things that were passed off as fries. The reason I stopped eating fast food so long ago was that it just started to make me feel weird. Nothing really bad happened, but I noticed a funny sensation the last two times I ate fast food before I gave it up, and I decided that fast food just was not good for me. (Hello Mr. Obvious!)

So, I ate McDonald's tonight because I was hungry, pressed for time, and was already going through the drive through for a friend of mine. I knew this before, but I obviously wasn't missing anything. I just hope I don't have any negative consequences as a result of tonight's experiment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 238 (More Technological Issues)

I spent over an hour and a half trying to figure out what was wrong with my new Verizon USB wireless card. As the title of this blog suggests, I was not successful. I think the problem here might be the lack of Verizon coverage in my area. They may have the most coverage of any network, but unfortunately, it's not enough to get my Internet up and running. This is unfortunate because I really need Internet and I don't want to go back to AT&T. This is doubly bad because as they are the network with the most coverage, they would be ideal to stay with during my road trip. However, I have a hard time justifying paying $60.00 a month for a wireless card that I can't use. What to do, what to do...

Read Theology. I'll figure this out later...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 237 (Technology)

This post is a little early tonight because I need to blog while the blogging's good. Technology and I seem to not be getting along very well right now. It seems like every day there's a problem with the WiFi at Holy Grounds, and I'm constantly having to restart the wireless router, modem, and/or my computer in order to get a signal.

So, before whatever it is that happens to mess up this intricate dance of technology, I am going to do today's blog entry.

Dammit! I think a mosquito just bit me! ARGH! >_<

Also on the technology front is the new Verizon mobile Internet data card that I got to replace the one I had from AT&T. (Cuz AT&T's customer service sucks!) I got the thing yesterday and have yet been able to get on-line with it. I can't even tell you how many times I've tried to get the damn thing to work! Apparently I still need to activate it, but every time I try, I get an "unknown error: 31" I guess it can't be that unknown if it can be assigned a number. As part of the deal, I had to agree to a 2-year contract. This thing better get fixed!

Why does this always happen to me?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 235 (Psychiatric Evaluation)

I took my psych eval today. WOW! 3 hours of filling in true/false bubbles to answer statements like: "You have fear of water," "You like to talk about sex," "You think people are out to get you," "You have wanted to be a girl," "You are interested in mechanics magazines," "You hear voices," and "If you were an artist, you would paint pictures of flowers."

I'm hoping it doesn't come back with some weird stuff, because I might have taken it more like I was taking an SAT rather than a psych eval. Cuz there were some questions that I thought were mostly true, but strictly speaking were not true all of the time, so I still marked them false. (and vice versa of course)

Oh well, we'll see. Hopefully I'm not crazy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 234 (Theology Reading)

I just realized how much reading I have to do for Theology tomorrow. Eeek!

Not much happened today. Did some reading, cleaned my room, cooked some chicken, made a starter box of Magic cards for Katie Buck. You know, the usual.

Now, back to reading!

Day 233 (Infant Baptism)

My Christian Education professor told us a really cute story today. She was helping with a baptism of a toddler named Nancy on Easter Sunday. Usually, Lutherans baptize children as infants, but there was some visa problem with getting the girl's grandmothers over and they had finally managed to get one grandmother to the United States, so they decided to go ahead with the baptism.

So the pastor was holding Nancy, which was already a problem, because Nancy the toddler, as the professor put it, "Was on the go."

The pastor poured a scoop of water on Nancy's head saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father," and Nancy looked up at her with a surprised expression that said, "Why are you pouring water on me?"

The pastor got another scoop of water and poured it on Nancy's head saying, "The Son," and Nancy made an indignant, "Ah!" sound. Everyone had to hold in a chuckle.

The pastor had to do one more scoop to finish the baptism. She she poured it on Nancy's head saying, "And the Holy Spirit," and Nancy pulled in a breath and scrunched up her face, about to cry. But, she decided not to. The pastor looked down at her and smiled and said, "You're very brave."

Hopefully, I'l get to experience moments like this when I'm a pastor.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 232 (The List)

I've been talking to Tom a lot lately about relationships. While the thought is not new to me, these conversations have brought to light once again that I would like to not be single anymore. 30 years is long enough. So, I the hopes that "just putting it out there" might have some effect on the universe/God/karma/social networks/whatever, here is my list of criteria that I am looking for in an ideal mate. Yes, I understand that we are not supposed to make lists, but I most of these are "deal-breakers" and the rest I figure I just need if I'm going to be happy in the relationship. I tried to order these from most important to least, but really, I think a guy would have to qualify in every area for a relationship to work. So, without further ado, The List!

1) He must be gay.

This one should be obvious, but I feel it must be stated. I do not need, nor do I want to deal with the drama of some guy who is in an "experimental" stage of his life or who is so deep in the closet that when someone opens the door, it's like staring at the lights of an on-coming train from the opposite end of a mountain tunnel. I need a man who knows who he is and what he wants.

2) Emotionally stable.

Similar reasoning to the first point. I just don't need the drama and I'm not looking for a "fixer-upper." I've dealt with enough crazy in my life and I just don't need it that close to me. Part of being emotionally stable means no drug or alcohol abuse. He can drink, as long as he's not getting drunk all the time or doing crazy things like flying off the handle or driving while intoxicated. Basically, I need someone that's not crazy.

3) Monogamy

I'm old-school. Nuff said.

4) Above average emotional IQ

This is important for relationships. He has to understand his own emotions and be able to articulate them as well as be able to read the emotions of others with some reasonable degree of competence. I don't need a psych major here, just someone who knows if he's being an ass and is thus able to stop whatever it is that is pissing off the people around him.

5) Sweetness/kindness/compassion

Yeah, not really looking for the "bad boy." I couldn't think of a single word for this quality, but I think you get the idea. These five things are probably the most important things that I'm looking for.

6) No tobacco use

I cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke. Maybe it's because it was just never around me when I was a child. Also, my uncle died from smoking. Chewing isn't as bad, but it's still gross. Bottom line, I don't want to kiss him and taste any of that and I certainly don't want to fall in love with someone who is killing himself so that I have to watch him die a slow and painful death from cancer later on.

7) A sense of humor

Hopefully the guy I end up with will make me laugh. He doesn't have to be a comedian, but he shouldn't take himself too seriously. I've been thinking about all of the people that I hang out with, and it honestly doesn't take a lot to get me to crack a smile. I just want him to be someone that I can have fun with.

8) Above average intelligence

I need to be able to talk to the guy. I am not saying this to be full of myself because I do not consider myself to be a genius or anything, but I'm pretty sure I am of above average intelligence. I'm going to be dealing with some pretty intellectual stuff as a pastor and I hope that the guy that ends up being my significant other will be able to understand at least a little bit of what I do.

9) Age range: 25-40

This is probably the one that I'm the most flexible on, but I figure I should be at least someone close in age to him.

So, that's the list. If you know anyone that fits all of these qualification, please, please, please send him my way. If he needs to know about me, there is of course this blog and I like to think that I also fit the qualifications on my own list. It's out there now. God/universe/karma/social network, do your stuff!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 231 (Happy Easter!)

Gonna keep it short today because I have been sitting in front of a computer screen for WAY too many hours today. I just finished my Prophets paper and am looking forward to turning off my computer for the night. I started it around noon today, and because of my natural tendency to prefer distractions to homework, took me until about 9:00 pm. Now, I just have to finish my Theology reading, O_o.

I went to my Baptist church this morning, hoping for some kind of special Easter service, especially since I haven't been there in almost a month. It was pretty much the same-old, same-old. I was also kind of disappointed in the sermon because it was mostly an apologetic on how Jesus actually did raise from the dead. I spent most of it wondering why he was trying to prove to a bunch of people sitting in church that Jesus' resurrection wasn't faked. I came to the conclusion that should we encounter a non-believer asking for proof, then we would have some kind of answer for them, but I was always taught that you could never prove the events of the Bible. Doesn't the ability to believe come from God? Maybe it's a Baptist thing.

I've been eating peepshi to sustain myself through the paper-writing process and I think it's high time for some real food. Happy Easter everybody!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 230 (Peepshi)

One of my facebook buddies posted a hilarious link for "peepshi" the other day, and I thought this would be a wonderful activity for Easter. Peepshi is, of course, sushi made with peeps. Because the flavor profiles of seaweed, soy sauce and wasabi does not really go very well with peeps, the instructions call for Rice Krispies Treats instead of rice and Fruit Roll-Ups instead of sheets of seaweed. It goes on to say that peeps are "sassy enough on their own," and do not require substitutes for wasabi and/or ginger. I think pre-packaged Rice Krispies Treats are foul, so I made some from scratch. I don't really understand the concept of buying something prepackaged that takes literally 5 minutes to make and tastes much, much, much better when homemade.

Anyway, the results are in the picture above. There's something incredibly sick, twisted and wrong, yet immensely satisfying about mutilating peeps to make sushi. Until next time, may all of your cooking adventures be soft, sticky, sweet and unnaturally colored. Happy Easter!

Day 229 (Spring Break)

The Internet connection at Holy Grounds is obviously unreliable, hence this post being 14 hours late. All I was going to say is that we need to petition for a 2-week spring break. I week just doesn't cut it. I spent all of last week recovering from the previous week and trying to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully next week will be better O_o

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 228 (The Marien Revelation)

I was contacted a few weeks ago about doing a book review on my blog. I was quite flattered that someone thought my blog was significant enough to warrant doing a book review, and I was intrigued by what I was told about the premise of the book. Apparently, the book was about the possibility of Jesus being gay. This bothered me a little bit, because my Puritan-influenced “American” upbringing had always portrayed Jesus as a sexless being. I’m not sure why Americans are so prude, but for the most part, we don’t want to think about Jesus having sex, gay or otherwise.

Still, I like to think that I know better than to judge a book by its cover, so I agreed to do it. That, and like I said, I was quite flattered to be asked to do such a thing. That book review was supposed to be done by today. I’ve been reading the book slowly over the past few weeks, and to be completely honest, I did not like it. For several reasons that I will explain later, it was not an easy book to read, and my only motivation for finishing it was the aforementioned book review.

My first issue with the book was the multitude of explicitly described sex acts. (Remember, American = Prude.) The first time it happened, I was quite surprised at the author’s boldness and seemingly shamelessness in writing what he described. I didn’t think too much of it at first because I did not expect to have to read such things every five or so pages. It just wasn’t something I was expecting to have to read about in a book about Jesus. Oh, and it wasn’t necessarily Jesus having the sex, which to be honest was surprising given the angle with which the book was presented to me.

My second problem with the book was the seeming disregard of biblical scholarship when it came to the historicity of the Jesus story. I understand that the main tool we have in understand who and what Jesus was is the Bible, which is obviously a heavily biased document, but this HAS to be more accurate than just making up some crazy story willy nilly about what MIGHT have happened. The author seems to think that the Jews of the time were pluralistic people that lied and murdered to perpetuate the myths surrounding their supposed faith. I go to a very liberal school and to think that anything of what happened in the book could have actually happened in history is completely absurd to me. The only people who will think that anything described in the book with regards to the historical Jesus is even remotely possible are people who already don’t care about Biblical scholarship in the first place. This book will not be taken seriously by anyone who actually cares about facts or is SERIOUSLY interested in Christian theology. Anyone trying to debunk Christianity or who has no serious interest in Christianity will likely have no problem with this book, but as they say, this book preaches to the choir.

My third problem with the book is strictly literary. The author jumps back and forth in time, which I normally appreciate because I’m not a huge fan of strictly linear story-telling, but the time jumps as frantic and unclear and the reader is often left wondering where on the timeline he or she actually is. Obviously, this makes it difficult to follow the storyline, much less keep up with the author’s twisted theology. There are also frequent jumps between the third person, second person and first person. These jumps in viewpoint seemed to be the author’s attempt to get the reader to sympathize with the various characters, but as with the jumps in time, only served to confuse what was actually happening.

Would I recommend this book to anyone? No, but it is a curiosity indeed, and if anyone is curious about what an alternate-world Christianity might look like, then this book certainly presents that. Will it convince anyone of it’s premises that isn’t already on that bent? I doubt it, but if you want to be able to understand where such a person is coming from, then this may be the book for you. The Marien Revelation was a strange and perverted ride, and while I’m usually a fan of roller coasters, this is certainly a ride where I’ll be covering my mouth with one hand and raising the other.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 227 (Rude People)

I read this and it just made me sick. Some people have decided to picket at any military funeral that they can get to holding signs with anti-gay slogans, claiming that soldiers' deaths are God's way of punishing us for accepting gay people. It is truly disturbing how evil some people can be.