Monday, December 17

look what we found!

yesterday was my first visit to the church that is in the process of deciding whether to extend me a call...let's call it "Liturgical Season Lutheran Church" (LSLC). I went to the second of two services, (it is a 90 minute drive, so the 8:00 service held little appeal), it wasn't a typical Sunday - it was more of a choir chorale service - so I don't have a sense of their worship style, but I had a lovely time. At the beginning of the service the call committee chair introduced me, and it certainly had the feel of "look what we found!". The people were very welcoming and friendly and I had a lovely time with the senior pastor and his wife after the service.

I continue to think that this is going to be a good match, and am just trying to enjoy the journey. In the meantime I'm working at the sem, in the office of seminary advancement, so things are busy with year-end gifts coming in and getting ready for the round of synod assemblies that will begin all too soon. As we were talking in the staff meeting today, though, it was fun to realize that I'm going to miss much of what we're talking about, because I'll be on to the next thing in my life.

Saturday, December 15

silent, but not still

My somewhat long-ish silence does not indicate that things have been at a standstill in my life. In fact, just the opposite is true. I think a large reason that I haven't written about it is because there is quite good news to report and I didn't want to jump the gun on the reporting and "jinx" it. Silly? maybe - but also quite a real feeling.

The good news is that a congregation in Northern California is soon going to be voting on me to be their associate pastor. The call committee unanimously recommended me, the council did not find anything to object to, and the congregational meeting is set for the end of January. Yes...still a ways off, but I know that the time will move quickly and there are people to meet, negotiations to be had, apartment shopping to be done...although I'm not going to sign a lease until I have a job...but the six weeks will pass probably more rapidly than I want them to, what with all that I have hanging in my academic life as well. That pesky thesis will not finish writing itself after all!

I am excited about this call - I think it's going to be a good match, and the church is up to a lot of exciting things and continue to ask how they can be engaged in the community and world. I am thrilled to be working in a staff situation, as my extrovert side continues to develop and grow.

Now that this process is "past" the church council, I feel quite positive and able to talk about it, so hopefully there will be updates to share more often...not to mention thesis progress to report. I go to the church to worship tomorrow and to spend time with the senior pastor in the afternoon.

Friday, November 23

The RevGalPals Friday Five:

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?
I was the lucky guest at the home of good friends.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?
They decided on a Spanish menu, so we had Sangria, Tapas and were supposed to have Paella, but due to over-feeding on the Tapas and how late the night got, they sent me home with a portion and that's on tap for lunch today.

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?
I am a loyal Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade watcher.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?
I guess this is in-between...I generally dislike shopping, so I don't go near a store, but will check out the websites of favorite retailers and take advantage of any on-line sales.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?
My Christmas decorations are packed away in the storage pod, so I'm unlikely to put up any this year. I do need to find the makings for an Advent wreath this week, however.

Thursday, November 22

giving thanks

In the midst of all of this waiting, I have tried to continue to remind myself of the things that I have to be thankful for, and since today is the day, a partial list:
  • family and friends who have been supportive, patient, encouraging and sympathetic; 
  • a place to live; 
  • work to pay for that place - and work that I enjoy, for the most part - work that is enjoyable, challenging and that provides space for me to learn things that will be helpful for my future life; 
  • knowing that I have places to go if this situation no longer is do-able.
It has been a long haul, and only promises to continue. The CA congregation won't likely make a decision until January, the other congregation won't even vote on the new budget (with my salary) until early February. So, I continue to wait, and repeat the mantra "we'll see what happens." 

I hope Thanksgiving is a time of friends, family and fabulous food for all! I'm having a non-traditional meal of Spanish food, but with wonderful, fun, and generous friends, so what could be better?!

Monday, November 19

confusion and chaos

The long silence in blogging isn't indicative of much, other than the fact that I haven't been sure how to talk about some of what's been happening. So, I'll do a kind of bulleted update:
  • On the call front: I supplied at an area congregation and the call committee from the church I'm in process with made the trek to attend the service. I've supplied at this small church before, so they know me and it is a mutually-affectionate relationship. That definitely helped, as it didn't feel like an audition at all, even though the call committee was there. They interview one other candidate, and I'm waiting to hear from the call committee chair about time table for the rest of this process.
  • On the further call front: I had a phone call from a pastor that I have known for a couple of years. The congregation he serves is growing, albeit slowly, but they are at the point where they need to staff for growth, so they are adding an associate pastor to their staff - beginning probably in the late winter, early spring. We are going to talk tomorrow in more detail, but I'm the only name they are considering right now, so I need to be in serious discernment about this congregation, the location and the is my call or not?
  • On the academic front: I'm working again on my thesis. Slowly, but surely, I'm making progress - yay me! Maybe I can actually get this thing done by the next deadline! I'm continuing to do the TA gig for two classes, and I enjoy that. I never would have guessed that I'd be here all semester, but I'll be seeing these classes through to the end. I'm very thankful that I'm doing work that I enjoy, so I'm trying to not complain too much!
  • On the life front: I continue to be thankful for friends close and far - the encouragement, the compassion during the whining, and the laughter have all been appreciated.
So...that's the brief update on things. Maybe now that these things are "out there" I won't be so reticent to give updates...the second call process came out of the blue and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it and figure out what I think about it all. Updates will be made...I promise.

Saturday, October 27

the interview

well, I think it went well. As a friend said, "if you showed them the best you, then that's all you can do." I think I did off the best me, that is. The call committee is a group of people that seem to enjoy each other and all love their church, so it was a good time. It was pretty low pressure, which was nice, and I ended the day by spending close to an hour with the senior pastor.

Oh, I could so see myself there. The things they are looking for in this pastor are where my skills and gifts are; the part of CA the city is in is just beautiful with lakes and a river and a new city to explore all right there; I got along well with the senior pastor (although he had Joel Osteen's new book on his shelf...I should have asked, but didn't). Here I repeat my mantra..."we'll see." I supply in a Bay Area congregation in three weeks, so some of the call committee may roadtrip to see me in action, so no pressure there :-) but it is much better than a tape or a video, that's for sure!

But, the downside is that they are considering another candidate and the interview with that person doesn't happen until after Thanksgiving. Sigh. So...more waiting. I've been invited to the regional mobility conference...I may do that. I should check flight prices and see if it is a possibility - it seems like a prudent thing to do, to increase my exposure and my opportunities, and it will help me feel like I'm doing something, which at this point is a good thing!...and a rare thing.

Saturday, October 20

the end may be nigh

Jesus may be returning soon...Kansas football is on top of the Big 12 North and they are the only undefeated Big 12 team at 7-0. I remember fondly the 7-0 start of the 1995 season and the energy and enthusiasm that surrounded the program (it almost made up for all of the crud we had to put up with). There are times when I miss athletic training and there is really nothing like being part of a program that is winning. Then, I remember the politics of athletics departments, the insane hours, the rather lowish pay, the years when the program isn't winning and everyone has to bear the brunt of the blame game. Yes, I miss it when things go well - but when I see a football coach go after a support staff person, I remember why I was happy to get away from it. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever get back to it. I have worked my butt off to keep my certification current with continuing education classes and home programs and journal quizzes and CPR courses, but will it be needed I keep wondering. I worked so hard to get the stupid thing in the first place I find that I'm unwilling to let it go.

Well, I'll enjoy the run from afar and remember the joy of '95, before the wheels fell off the train, and then I'll remember the challenge and pain of '96. I was blessed to work with great people and wonderful student athletic trainers and student athletes. They made it worthwhile, even when it seemed like hell on earth.

Friday, October 19

One of the blogs I regularly check in at is RevGalBlogPals - the link is on the left if you want to check it out yourself. One of the things they do is a "Friday Five" and I'm giving today's version my first shot at here goes.

If you were a food, what would you be?

Mac and Cheese (homemade)...comforting, dependable, and you know - cheesey.

What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?

Memorable meals for me actually have to do more with the people, than with the food, I guess, as all the meals that came to mind centered on who I ate with and then went to the food. Whether holiday meals with family, or those times friends gathered in my 400sq foot apartment, the people make the meals memorable.

What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?

Ham and noodle of those Cream of Mushroom soup based casseroles...served with orange jello. (I grew up in ND, remember!)

When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?
Cheesey potatoes.

What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
Raw Oysters...not so strange when I consider the realm of strange foods, but I'm a rather conservative eater when it comes to things like this. Also, the texture of oysters creeps me out, so I've only had them once.

Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?
A nice glass of red wine.

Thursday, October 18

not quite so cranky

As previously mentioned, the bishop of my assignment synod was in town yesterday. I have been pretty angry about the apparent lack of concern expressed by the synod staff about how I am paying my bills, rent and insurance. When we spoke, his first question was, "How are you getting by?" Now, I know I was angry, and I know that I was hurt, but until he asked that question I didn't fully realize how much I needed to hear someone, "in power" ask me that question. So, we talked - I talked rather frankly with him, and with a churchwide staff person that I know, about how lately I feel like I'm in the back row a huge auditorium, standing up and waving at the mobility people on the stage, yelling "hello, here I am, hello!" I very much appreciate my relationship with this bishop - I have always been able to be honest with him and he has never made me feel like a whiner or like I'm expecting too much from him, or imposing too much on his time...when I am able to find him, that is. There are no "perfect" open calls in that synod right now, but we talked about what might be available in the not too distant future. I felt good about the conversation and will see him soon when he is back in town for another meeting.

I heard from the call committee chair of the relatively local congregation a few days ago. I am going to go "over" there on the 27th to meet with the call committee, have lunch and get shown around the area. As previously reported, I've done some preliminary scouting of the area and it's a nice part of Northern California. I'm now checking out the congregation via their references from their paperwork and people that I know in the church's conference. It still seems like a good match and I'm cautiously optimistic. Prayers for discernment are much appreciated.

Saturday, October 13

big weekend

It's an important weekend - in a weird way, I guess. For me, my name goes to a call committee today. Two other candidates are also being presented to the congregation. My skills and passions match well with what this congregation says (in their paperwork) they are looking for in an associate pastor; I would love, love, love to stay in this part of CA; but yet I'm strangely flat, emotionally speaking, about this. I hope it is because I am tired of the huge emotional ups and downs and not because I've stopped caring about all of this. I do hope that the call committee wants to begin a conversation with me - I think this is an interesting community that is asking good questions about their place in the community, and I am interested to see how I might fit in with what they are up to in their community and in the world.

It's a straight up important weekend for someone else. I have a good friend who is "on stage" this weekend at a congregation in her synod. She has interviewed and is now going to preach and show off her charming self to the congregation on a Sunday morning. Go SHM! I think, considering the location, that you should preach in your "big snake" voice.

On Wednesday, the annual bishop's visit happens at the seminary. The bishop from the synod I was assigned to will be here. I haven't heard a word from him in close to 3 months...and only once from the guy working mobility. Not once have I received contact asking if I have a job or a place to live or how I am dealing with the long wait. Maybe it is too much to ask...but I would hope not. Other friends in this situation have similar experiences - a lot of talk about being patient and what the synod needs/wants, but little effort is made to help those of us in limbo, or even to check in with us. It's very frustrating and disappointing and is what is really making me angry at this point. As a friend recently reminded me when I commented on how busy bishops and their assistants are, "but you're one of the things they are supposed to be busy with!"

Friday, October 5


I drove northeast today to visit the area of the congregation previously name goes in for an associate next Saturday. I didn't get a huge "hell no" feeling, so that was good. I didn't immediately fall in love with it either, but it's a typical outlying suburb of a big city, and the area around the church seems to be older and a little more run down, but less than a mile away there are some new developments under construction, so the congregation is in what seems to be an interesting area. The church itself is on a main thoroughfare (or what seems to be), so it's very visible from the road.

After being hugely disappointed by my last possibility, I am trying to be cautious, emotionally speaking. I have an email out to the assistant to the bishop asking about what the procedure is in this synod, so hopefully soon I'll have some idea about what to expect after he takes names to the congregation.

In my other world, I'm looking for strategies for thesis writing. I need to find a way to write while my life is a roller coaster, and I have quite a few people around me who have had to write in less than ideal circumstances, so they are helping me with suggestions and encouragement, and mostly understanding.

Wednesday, September 26

it's like a roller coaster

my life is like a roller coaster right now, that is. You may or may not know this fact about me...I hate roller coasters.

So, Monday I was rejected by the congregation in the NW - today I got paperwork and for a congregation in CA for an associate position. The position has emphasis in youth and young adults (yay!)...and they have a youth director (double yay!) which means that I won't have be act as the youth director and pastor. The congregation gets a slate of names on October 13th, and I'll be one of those people they consider. Prayers for discernment and wisdom and patience would all be good.

Monday, September 24

so much for that

So, the possibility of an opportunity is no longer a possibility. I'm in my usual first-day-of-rejection mode (it's sad that I know the rhythm this will follow...) I'm sad, discouraged, annoyed, frustrated, and this time I'm looking at job possibilities in the world of athletic training.

I'm back to zero options (well, this remains a semi-option as I may be in the next batch of candidates if these interviews don't pan out) and I'm tired of it. The seminary president said today, "it's like there's a hex on your class." So, if anyone knows and exorcist, BP and I will probably pitch in to undergo his/her ministrations. I beg you - please no pep talks or encouraging platitudes. It just stinks and nothing will change I'll grieve the dream of what could have been, wallow a bit and I'll move on soon enough.

On another note:

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Friday, September 21

the possibility of an opportunity

or so a friend of mine has billed my current situation. I'm a member of a pool of candidates ("a ton" apparently) for a call as an associate in the NW. Over the next week they are culling the group down to 2-3 final candidates. I'm cautiously hopeful - and now know what it means to feel like someplace could be "my call." There's some great ministry happening in this place and I can see myself there - my stregths and gifts could be really be put to use here. I'm calling the senior pastor next thursday (if he hasn't called me yet) to find out if I am one of the final pool. I want to be - I really do, but I'm afraid to want it too badly.

Monday, September 17

little happening....why am I so busy?

It's actually rather astounding that I feel so busy, since not much seems to be happening.

I flew to SoCal to talk to the pastor/congregation president about a week and a half ago. It was hard to really know what to think. They don't have a job description. They don't know if they want it to be a term call or an interim. No one else in the congregation knows they were talking to anyone. I think that several things give me pause with this job - 1) the uncertainty of what they even want makes it hard to evaluate; 2) moving from one temporary situation to another makes me uneasy (and this was something the sr. pastor kept wanting me to get past); 3) the sr. pastor is the primary preacher (by his job description as well as his preference), so negotiating for pulpit time would be a problem; 4) the higher worship style of the congregation is getting pared back by the sr. pastor because his preference is for a more informal style; 5) (and this is the thing that concerns me most) almost every - if not every - question that I asked the senior pastor, he turned around to ask me before he would answer it: "How do you see yourself working with an associate?" I asked..."Let me turn that around," he said. "How do you see yourself working with a senior?" Red flags started popping in my brain every time he did that. It just doesn't seem like where I am being called.

I have been in conversation with the mobility person for this area. There is a possibility - we'll see. The other "contingency" synod that I'm talking to has been harder to get a hold of. I've emailed and called the bishop several times over the past week and today I got an email from a secretary that said "we've got your paperwork, if anything looks like a match someone will contact you." A not-so-subtle "leave us alone, already" or a form email? I'm not sure.

My boss today told me that she needs to cut back my hours by at least 1/3 and maybe more. I'm not sure if I can hang here at that pay rate. I'll have to crunch the numbers on my budget and see how long I can manage it at that income level. I'm actually kind of pissed, considering how much stuff I'm being asked to do for the office, and now I'm getting rolled back. I understand the need to stay in budget...but then quit giving me more assignments! I'm actually feeling a little sick to my stomach right now because I'm not sure what this means for me, and so much is up in the air, this is just one more thing.

My thesis is a black hole at the moment. People have been encouraging, but I tend to hear it critically, and when I have to say, "I haven't gotten anything done," it is simply one more thing I'm failing at. I can't get a call, I can't get my thesis done, I can't ...., I can't....and then I feel whiny for feeling like that. I do wish things were different, and I can do something about the writing, but the words just haven't come when I've tried recently. Ugh.

On the bright side, some friends are back at PLTS for Founder's Day, so it's good to see them and catch up with their lives.

Sunday, August 26

thoughts on the road

I'm sitting in the Eugene airport, enjoying a truly fine glass of Oregon wine and reflecting...

...When a sign says "speed enforced by aircraft" what does that mean? I imagine fighter jets strafing speeders. Yes, violent, but I'm not sure how else the aircraft enforce the speed limit.

...I was talking with some women today about seminary education and how people, in particular women, can support the education of future church leaders through their gifts of prayer and money. All were amazed at the cost of education (1 year at PLTS costs almost $28,000, on average, for all expenses). It's a pricey endeavor, but yet we still jump in. God is funny that way.

...My last year in Kansas I worked with the Women's VB team as well as track and field. The VB team was in Eugene this weekend, playing in a tourney at OU. (sorry Katie for the earlier mistake!) So, I spent last night in a hot, hot gym reliving my past, a bit. Unfortunately I never managed to get together with the coaches to talk, but I got to say hi and chat for a bit with their current ATC.

...At church this morning, there was a baptism. And even though the pastor (in my opinion) butchered the liturgy - by its placement and not one single mention of sin, or evil - I still teared up. Watching this family bring their child to the font, in this time and place where that is truly counter-cultural, moves me. Now, about the evil thing - no, I don't think baptism should focus on sin and evil, but if we don't talk about the realities of the human condition and the state of the world (i.e. sin and evil), then Jesus' life, death and resurrection doesn't really mean much. Sure we're saved, but what are we saved from and saved for?

...Semfem recently posted on my post from a while back about waiting. Well, blush and shuffle of the feet over the nice things she said, but it makes me wonder about how we should support others in these weird, liminal spaces. I have a fabulous friend who already is amazing pastor, who continues to wait - after 18 months of waiting, no wonder she is occasionally cranky about it. I'm cranky and it's only been 6 months! I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't called her because I'm not sure what to say (I usually have a better reason, but that's at the root of it). I know how unhelpful the pep talk crap is, so how do I support this fabulous woman without sounding condescending or patronizing? Maybe the best way is to say nothing at all and to simply be there - but that is so hard through a medium like the phone, that depends on speech.

These are my thoughts this fine day in Eugene, OR. I continue to pray and think about the term call situation in SoCal (I had a pastor say to me yesterday "you deserve better than that!) as well as the opportunity at PLTS. Fine, so God gave me the ability to make decisions - do I need to make so many at once?!

Thursday, August 23

when it rains...

So - opportunities keep piling on...all temporary at this point, though. The job at the seminary that I thought was going to work out a couple of months ago has become vacant again. This time they want me to take it - with salary and benefits. The snarky part of me wants to simply say, "you had this opportunity two months ago and passed - your loss." Another part of me thinks "benefits!" I have plans to go to SoCal in two weeks to check out the opportunity down there, so I'm not comiting to anything until after that trip, but I'm talking to the VP on Monday...we'll see.

I'm off to Oregon tomorrow - I really feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants on this one. I don't have much of an idea of what I'm doing, but I'll give it my best shot.

Wednesday, August 22

the sound of silence's been a quiet few weeks on the call front, but in other parts of my life it's been lively -

I've moved...again. This move was just across the parking lot of the seminary to a room in Sawyer Hall (the head lunch lady room, to those of you who know campus). I'm attempting to "girlify" the room a bit, as it's last six inhabitants (at least) have been male. It's not too bad, actually - although a bit creepy at the beginning with the new noises. However, these days, I hardly ever think that a homicidal maniac will notice that the windows by my bed don't actually shut all the way, let alone latch securely. I amuse myself, when I lock the doors, but yet sleep next to a window that a raccoon could open (which, actually is more of a concern than the homicidal maniac).

I've also been walking with a friend as she has been making hard decisions in her life. I think she's doing the right thing, and often I can just sit on the phone and listen and support her decisions.

I'm getting ready to travel this weekend to Eugene, OR for the Office of Seminary Development. I'm going to attend an event on Saturday where one of my favorite professors, ever is going to be talking (Dr. Marty Stortz). Sunday I'm going to attend church at a local congregation and hopefully speak with some of the women about PLTS's Philanthropy push on women. Being a spokesperson for the seminary is cool...and scary - I don't know what I'm doing - I really don't...but it'll be a good time, I'm sure.

A bit of news on the call front happenened this week, though. A congregation in SoCal is looking for a term call associate (i.e. the call would end after a specific period of time). They have a need for a second pastor but know from recent experience how slowly the call process can move. I'm trying to be open, but don't want to move from one temporary position to another. I'm in a good place, am getting my thesis going again (no, really, I am!), and don't want to drop all of this to only be in the same position of waiting in a year. A wise person suggested to me today though, that I may consider negotiating for a two-year term. Any wisdom, friends?

Saturday, August 4


I'm in very Northern California tonight. I have driven US-101 north five hours to supply at a two point parish in two small towns south of Eureka. The last two hours were on winding roads through redwoods - and for about 20 miles I drove a scenic road that runs parallel to the 101. Because I had no radio reception (and no cell phone - sorry Kari!) I was listening to my iPod. As I was diving this road with giant Redwood trees towering over me, the Indigo Girls song "The Wood Song" started to play. At first I was amused by the connection of being surrounded by so much wood while singing along. And then I listened to what they - and I - were singing:

No way construction of this tricky plan,
Was built by other than a greater hand.
With a love that passes all out understanding,
Watching closely over the journey.
But what it takes to cross the great divide,
Seems more than all the courage I can muster up inside.
Although we get to have some answers when we reach the other side,
The prize is always worth the rocky ride.

But the wood is tired and the wood is old
And we’ll make it fine if the weather holds.
But if the weather holds we’ll have missed the point,
That’s where I need to go.

Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look
Skip to the final chapter of the book.
And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took,
To get us where we are this far.
But the question drowns in its futility.
And even I have got to laugh at me
No one gets to miss the storm of what will be,
Just holding on for the ride.

These are verses two and three, and the whole song really captures where I'm at now - the confusion, the struggle, and the hope for something good to come out of all of this.

Friday, July 27

all is quiet...

It's been a while since I've posted, but there isn't much new to report. I have living arrangements secured, I have two TA jobs (Christian Ed and American Lutheranism) and two part time jobs at the seminary. I am working on the health insurance issue now, and hopefully will have some temporary insurance lined up in the next week.

I continue to be astounded by people's generosity and support and am thankful for it. But it is so easy to get discouraged and think that this will be my reality forever. Intellectually, I know that isn't the case - I know that I'll be doing ministry somewhere, sometime before too long - but the other part of me wants to look at God and say, "OK, you got me into this...time to pony up! Where's the job, where's the place to call home for longer than a few months...where's the payout for this commitment I've made?" But, that's not how it works, is it?

I continue to be amazed, however, along with my friends in this situation, at the (apparent?) lack of understanding on the behalf of synod staff. We keep getting comments like..."it never takes this long." Well, clearly sometimes is does take this long...thanks for your help. My favorite has been "well, so you have a place to live" - like that makes everything OK and bills and insurance aren't an issue...not to mention meaningful work. I consider myself lucky that I can remain in a place that challenges me - intellectually, personally, theologically - and in which I know I will continue to grow and gain skills and knowledge that will benefit me in my future ministry. Not everyone is so lucky. I also like this one: "the perfect church is just waiting for you out there somewhere"...OK, but what about my life now and maybe the close-to-perfect or not-so-perfect place that I could be serving. It all ends up sounding condescending and is infuriating. Not the supportive tone they are probably looking for. It's just so frustrating and it would be worse without supportive friends and family...keep the encouragement and the prayers coming.

Thursday, July 19

button pushers

I was driving in Berkeley today, running some errands of questionable importance, but they helped me avoid reading for my it's all good. At many intersections, people were waiting for the light to change and repeatedly pushing the pedestrian light button whilst they waited. Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that one push is the same as 50 pushes, and it only (for most lights) makes the androgynous walking person light up rather than the rude, red hand. It's the same phenomenon at elevators, where some people seem to be under the impressing that the faster the call button is pushed, the more rapidly the elevator will arrive at their floor. I guess that's the question - do people really believe this? Or is it just something to do while waiting - something that gives the impression of control over the changing of the light or arrival speed of an elevator? These are the questions that keep me up at night, my friends.

Tuesday, July 17

options opening

Today I made some contacts and some progress in opening my options for call. I visited with the campus ministry deployed staff person and talked about options and what I need to do to get on their radar. I do still feel called to campus ministry, but I know that I would learn a lot in a more traditional congregational setting, so my other two contacts were also welcome. I emailed the bishops and one bishop's assistant for the synods to which my paperwork will be sent. One of them has two congregations that have asked specifically for a first call pastor, so that is hopeful. The bishop's assistant from the other synod called me this evening and left a message saying that he was looking forward to finding a time when we could talk about opportunities, so that is a good sign as well.

I was also able to find some motivation today to work again on my thesis and I got some good research done...another good step. Perhaps I am finally coming out of the "pit of despair" (OK, so it wasn't that bad, but if you imagine an Albino humpback saying it...). There are glimpses of hope and I am thankful for that. My heart is lighter and things seem not so bleak tonight.

Monday, July 16


Sometimes when I'm in the midst of a mess it's hard to see the good. As I sit in my dorm room, where I normally can see the lights of San Francisco (tonight it's foggy!), I find myself thinking of all of the support I have received. The good wishes, the prayers, the patience to sit through another bout of me whining...I have amazing family and friends.

It is true that this will all work out, somehow, some way. And in the meantime, I get to live in this amazing place and have a roof over my head and jobs to pay for that roof. I have people at the seminary looking for things for me to do to help with that and their generosity astounds me. When I can back away from the center of the storm and see that I am not alone here, but in fact supported and encouraged and loved by so many people, I can't help but feel blessed and humbled.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, your prayers and your patience.

Sunday, July 15

bishop contact

I spoke to "my" bishop on Friday. He told me that there are no congregations right now that are accepting names. There may be one in the next few weeks, although he isn't sure about their openness to a first call person. There is also the possibility of an associate position becoming available as well. He is understanding and compassionate and he certainly didn't want me to be in this position. He offered, reluctantly because he wants me to stay in the synod, to release my name to other synods and he'll get that process started this week.

It looks like I will be a TA for a class in the fall and also do a couple of other part-time gigs at the seminary. So, tomorrow I'll start the process of looking for a mainstay job...Barnes and Noble, Borders and Starbucks are top on the list of phone calls for the morning. If anyone has any suggestions or brilliant ideas, post them in the comments.

Thursday, July 12


I had dinner with a friend tonight. When we sat at the table, she looked at me and said, "You look weary." I am...i am weary of waiting...i am weary of trying to figure out how to pay for rent and insurance and student loans...i am weary of feeling like i'm standing still...i am weary of having others pass me by on the road to employment...i am weary of not being able to focus...i am weary of juggling six jobs...i am weary of having to pretend that i appreciate the pep talks i get from people...i am weary of having to do all this on my own...i AM weary.

Today is a bad day, as you can tell. The cool temp/transition job I thought was going to work at the seminary likely isn't, so now I am piecing together other options, which is nerve-wracking and tiring and it never feels like enough. I made a comment to some dorm residents the other day that i can't wait to have one which i got the lecture that being a pastor is more than one job. Clearly, not what I meant. As reticent as I was (and sometimes still am) about the parish pastor gig, I am ready to do it. Let's get on with this, already. As I wait for my phone to ring I'm frustrated and cranky and tired and, well...weary.

Saturday, July 7

rejection stinks

I think I should write a catchy little tune for that title...although "love hurts" is running through my head right now.

As the post title indicates, St. Da Kine has released me from their call process. The other candidate they interviewed had more experience in the areas they were looking for. I had to admit, I'm not terribly disappointed, as they had many issues (and a Praise service) that I didn't want to have to deal with, but it still is hard to be rejected. The call committee chairperson phoned last night to give me the news, and I am thankful that they were speedy in letting me know. She ended the call with a little pep talk that caught me as a bit condescending, considering she is aware that I have no job and no home firmly lined up for after July. I have some prospects, which will keep me at the seminary, actually, but nothing is confirmed and I am trying to not put the cart too far before the horse.

Staying in California makes the most sense, as it keeps me closer to churches that may want to interview as well as two major airports. I worry about becoming "the student that never left" but this may be where I am supposed to be right now - everything seems to be lining up in a way that suggests that. As someone pointed out to me recently, it's not like I'm turning down viable options to stay, but rather this may turn out to be a good place for me to ride out this transition time in a city that I love.

I am a bit frustrated and discouraged, but I am trying to trust God's guidance and be alert to what the Holy Spirit is telling me. Not always an easy thing for someone with a patience disorder.

Tuesday, July 3

thoughts in the light of day

This morning, I'm feeling much the same as I did last night. Although, I have come to a more sure understanding that this call would not be an easy first call, and if the church decides to pursue me as a candidate, I need to have a conversation with the synod office about what kind of support they will provide for me, and the congregation, if they call me. There definitely needs to be some conflict resolution work done, and I'll need some church growth/redevelopment training to make this work.

Monday, July 2

the phone interview

Tonight was the night. I talked with the call committee of St. Da Kine for about an hour. They asked about my experience in worship leadership, and planning and style of preaching. They were concerned about how I would deal with two different styles of worship so I talked a bit about how my internship site had two different services and i spent a year navigating that. They asked about my free time activities and how that might work for me, which was a nice thing to hear them be concerned about.

Obviously we talked a lot about the Praise service. When they asked me about my experience in worship planning, I did say that I would expect to be involved in worship planning for every service at the church I served - in choosing the music and the liturgical one commented, so it may be a good thing or a bad thing in their minds. They also were interested in my experience and philosophy around children's sermons and my previous work with youth and young adults.

I talked a lot about working with them to decide what to try for their various ministry needs and talking and listening to people. I was clear that I'm not going to show up with a bag of 'tricks' that have worked in other places and plan to implement them at St. Da Kine. I did point out, that even if I had a bag of tricks they likely wouldn't translate from Lawrence, KS to the OC and that a lot had changed in the lives of teens in the last 7 years anyway.

They will let me know in a week if they want to continue to pursue this and work out a time for me to travel down there to meet them and preach - the usual interviewing gig.

Overall, I feel better about it than I thought that I would. No huge red flags came up for me. I have some reservations still, but I'm open to pursuing this further if they decide to do that. On the other hand, if they decide not to have me come for a face to face, I wouldn't be devastated...annoyed that I'm still unemployed, but not devastated.

Sunday, July 1

dorm living

Today I officially check out of my apartment and turn in my keys. I've been living in the dorm for a few days now and it's not so bad, I guess. There are only four of us living here this summer and some guests coming and going so it's much quieter than the last time I lived here. Also, this time around there is WiFi access which makes life much more enjoyable - being able to use the internet in my room is a huge plus. I still have some things to unpack and stash away for the month, but I'm feeling good about this move - and the view from my room cannot be beat!

Tomorrow is the phone interview. I had a friend who reminded me of the positive aspect of a phone interview - especially with a place I'm unsure about - and that is that we can get the harder questions out of the way without having to invest too much time and energy into a site visit and me preaching, etc. I continue to have strong reservations about this, so we'll see what happens.

More tomorrow after the phone call...

Wednesday, June 27


I'm packing up my apartment. Today my storage cube arrives and I begin the process of loading most of my stuff in it for an undetermined amount of time. It's been an interesting process this time around. I will not have access to the storage cube after it goes to the storage yard, so I have had to decide what I can live without for the next.....well, however long it takes to get a job and a home. I've catalogues all my books, and have donated several bags of clothes and shoes. I've kept more of both than I probably should have, but it's a decent sized cube. I'm moving up to the dorm as well, and while I'm happy to be staying in Berkeley for a while longer, giving me the opportunity to continue to work at my several jobs, as well as on my thesis, I feel like I am stalled out. It's not a comfortable feeling and one I'm going to have to get used to, I guess.

Saturday, June 23

St. Da Kine

[the build-up to this post is on my livejournal blog - I'm moving over here to ditch the ads and have more fun with the layout. If you want to read what came before check out]

I'm in a call process with a congregation - which I'm calling "St. Da Kine." They are starting with a phone interview - ick. "Ick" because so much communication happens non-verbally and I'll be sitting in an office at the seminary, and to them, hundreds of miles away, I'll simply be a voice coming out of a box on the table.

I'm not sure I'm the person for this call, anyway. It's a congregation that has been struggling due to an old conflict and dwindling worship numbers. They've recently started a praise service, which they are excited about, understandably, but I have concerns about praise services, in general. Not to launch a worship war here (if anyone actually is reading this), but in general, the music tends to be theologically problematic - it most often presents an non-incarnational Christology, is very individualistic (more "I" than "we" in the lyrics), and is emotionally narrow - it's in the name, after all.

That all being said, I'm trying to be open to where the Spirit is leading and keep an open mind to the challenges and blessings of the new call - wherever it may be.