Monday, October 26, 2009

Park your donkey for a minute and look around.

I know, I know, it's been forever since I posted...part of the reason is because I wanted as many people as possible to see the first thing on my blog, my note titled, A Circle of Wisdom. (If you haven't read it yet, please take a moment to read it, or reread it, and give me any feedback that comes to mind. Your ideas are important to me.) So, I'm back from my hiatus from blog writing, and now I want to share bits and segments from my dear friend Nikki's senior sermon and my reflections upon it. Her sermon deeply moved me today for several reasons. The first reason was it's premise is near and dear to my heart. Namely, my focus of the importance of becoming united in our faith all the while keeping our diversity in tact; and seeing past the hurts and disappointments people, through the vehicle of religion, can exert on us . Impossible you might say...maybe not so much. I'm going to take this step by step. I'm going to include scripture, creeds, my understanding of what I learned in my New Testament class, and in my Old Testament class...what I learned in theology and from some of my favorite writers and poets. I might even end the series with a my own creed, and perhaps some of you can join in the writing of it. The title of this blog series, Park your donkey for a minute and look around.. This was a quote directly from Nikki's sermon and it stood out to me as a great play on words in light of the 1st century Christian juxtaposed with the 21st century person, Christian or otherwise.
The first thing to ponder: The pericope from Acts 2: 1-13, which Nikki's sermon was based upon. What does this passage mean to you? What words jump out? How does it apply to your life today?

Acts of the Apostles 2.1-13
The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’, 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Circle of Wisdom

Last week I wrote a Facebook status that said, “Looking for ingenuity, inspiration and wisdom...”. I'm naming and enunciating that very same status with all of you now through this note. I am at a place in life, in my seminary journey namely, where I am needing to gather wise and imaginative people around me for advice and inspiration. Some aspects of my request come out of simply needing to help problem solve; some lie in the realm of needing rejuvenation from working so hard for so long without much true Sabbath in between. I'm looking for trusted people made up of different ages and backgrounds to gather around me in a circle of wisdom.

Glimpse of the Issue:

Two years ago I made a commitment to God, the Austin Seminary community, my home faith community and to myself to follow a calling and go to seminary. That first year I juggled teaching full time and school. I quickly discovered I could not do both together sane-fully :-). So, I put forth everything I had (sold my home and cashed in my TRS savings) to go to school full time and live on campus. Additionally, at the same time, I made the decision that I needed to switch degree plans to provide me with a more professionally balanced educational base that could potentially open more employment opportunities after I graduated. Financially and emotionally that was not part of the plan but I believed God's hand was upon me and somehow everything would work itself out. Along the way in the last year, God has given me confirmation that I'm where God wants me to be. Not only have I grown intellectually and spiritually, but I just completed a successful hospital internship and am currently interning in a congregational setting with nurturing and faithful people. I've made strides in wrestling with some of my inner conflicts to push my own self out of the way in order to be open and available to hear God's rhythms in and around others, which ultimately leads to having the pastoral skills to help others find God for themselves in spite of any brokenness.

With all that all said, even though I am working two campus jobs, receive a substantial tuition scholarship and small student loans, my original monetary means have just about run out. I am looking for a circle of wisdom to surround me with prayer and help me come up with creative solutions. That's the problem solving aspect. The flip side of the same coin is the aspect of what I call, infused refreshment. It's the encouragement of inspiration and knowing that support is given in acceptance, understanding and love. It's not the hand out but the hand up. It's the arm around the shoulder in prayer. It's seeing the finish line in the distance and knowing there's a glass of water being held out from the sidelines. It's sharing in a bit of healing fun. It's all reciprocal, grace-filled and God blessed, and thus much appreciated.

Please consider being apart of my circle of wisdom. I actually would like to have a get-together with folks soon where I can gather ideas and brainstorm ways I can “survive” and thrive in the next 18 months or so. (I hope to graduate in May 2011, but may be able to finish coursework as early as the end of the 2010 fall term. At the start of this coming spring semester, I'll have 125 credits completed toward the 180 needed to earn a MDiv., so that means I'll have 55 credits left to graduate after this coming January, each course being typically six credits each. )

Circle of Wisdom

If you're willing to be apart of the meeting circle, please leave a comment to indicate that and your availability. If not, I would be blessed by a note of encouragement, and or an idea you can share with me. Please include me in your prayers and how I might pray for you in return in Christ's love.

Much, much love,