Monday, June 27, 2005


I have a new name. My dentist's receptionist had written me into the appointment book with a few letters missing. So, I was listed as "Rain" when I showed up at his office today. I rather like it! It suits me. Now, if only we would get some rain to water the earth...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Chop, Chop

Chop is what I needed to do with about three minutes of my sermon today. Yesterday, when speaking the text aloud, it came out to exactly 11 minutes, all three times. It's not that any actual time limit exists, but in my mind, 14 minutes was too long. I didn't see anyone yawning, though. And my no-nonsense friend (the other Iowa deputy to GC from my parish) said with tears in her eyes, "That was so from the heart. You got me."

Good, I think; but even so, it's scary how easy it is to ad-lib in a sermon, even using a text. Now I have a whole month to prepare for the next one...and the very next day, I'll start...G R E E K !!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Homiletic Countdown

At last I have a draft of my sermon for Sunday morning, after practicing homiletic avoidance on Wednesday and homiletic procrastination yesterday. One of my delays has been conflicting feelings about using a written sermon. A dear friend here vehemently objects to sermons read from a text, saying that he could just take a copy and read it at home. (He has fine qualitities anyway -- really!) So, with his preference in mind, I had hoped to deliver a "sermon without notes" but I'm really not ready to do that in two days. This is only my 7th sermon (yes, it's pitiful, but I've counted them) and I still favor a text.

I solicit your prayers for my authentic preaching of the gospel this Sunday at 9 a.m. I also wonder how those of you with more preaching experience feel about the use of notes or text versus preaching with no written words of any kind. I'd value your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Can't Believe I'm Falling For These Quizzes

Thanks to Beth, I was curious enough to take this quiz:

You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!

by John Irving

Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire
faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest
this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking
moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Yoga Mat

This is no time for Beth to be away from Internet service! The new yoga mat I bought today, made by Gaiam, is called a Namaste mat, and every time I unroll it I will think of her!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Alphabetized Spices

While preparing Coq au Vin tonight, Noah noticed that our (very large) spice cabinet contains alphabetized spices. Never mind that the spices have been arranged that way for the 17 years we've lived in this house -- but is such an arrangement so unusual? It seems as though grocery stores display spices in this fashion. I suppose a problem emerges when trying to decide whether to shelve crushed red pepper under 'c,' 'r,' or 'p,' but now I wonder if alphabetizing one's spices counts as odd behavior! My previous rector, in fact, found it quite amusing when I rearranged her spice cabinet, and then insisted that I do the condiments next. So please, someone, tell me that of course your spices also are in such an order.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I just registered for Elementary NT Greek, a six week intensive course offered at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque. I begin on July 25. So, I hereby solicit your votes: is this a good thing? Or have I lost my marbles?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Meeting Marilynne Robinson

Today I met Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead, following her reading at Borders. (The Christian Century reviews her book in its May 17, 2005 issue. Here's a glimpse: "Without lapsing into sentimentality, [Robinson] conveys a pastor's peculiar way of construing the world, revealing throughout the novel some of the reasons those who are called to this vocation can feel strangely blessed by it.") Robinson has a dry wit and creatively fielded the few really weird questions from the audience, such as "Are you content?" In the novel, her stories of unique circumstances of baptism and communion stand out as grace-filled moments that I'm still thinking about. I recommend this book for your summer reading pleasure.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Anglican Anniversary

21 years ago on this date, former Bishop of Iowa Walter Righter (a.k.a. Number Seven) placed his hands on my head and received me into the Episcopal Church. I remember an attack of nerves as I walked to the front of the Cathedral in Davenport and knelt before the bishop. On the way back to my seat, though, I was tremendously happy. Joy and lightness wrapped a different color around the day. If someone had told me then that I'd be a seminarian 20 years later, I'm not sure that I'd have been entirely surprised.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mysterious Unsolved Struggles

One week ago today, our History of Christian Life and Thought II class at Seabury went on a field trip with Paula Barker to Northwestern Library's Special Collections room. After viewing illuminated manuscripts and other gems, we filed out through a workroom, where my eye gravitated to a single grey box labelled "Unsolved Struggles." I was so taken with what these struggles might be (how old? how rare?) that I stood motionless, and pointed out the mysterious box to Laurel. I wondered about the unnamed struggles for days, and I continue to wonder why we notice the things that we do, while others miss them entirely.

Since then, summer has come; it was 94 degrees in Davenport today. Having arrived home on Saturday, I note some thoughts thus far:

*Sentences beginning with "Mom..." are sweeter music than ever.
*A tall botanist with a reddish mustache is sleeping in my bed. Cool.
*I am descant deprived. No one at home sings like Susie, Beth, Jane and Judith.
*I had a nightmare that another 15-pp. paper was due for Pastoral Care yesterday -- and I didn't do it!
*I can't make a simple decision: take summer Greek or not? It might rule out a summer trip.
*Cooking again is great when there's an herb garden outside the back door.
*I think constantly of my classmates who have begun CPE. I hope it's as rewarding for them as it was for me in 2003.
*My dog is a steady companion, and listens without complaint to my sermon ideas for later this month.
*I need to be as patient with computer problems as Noah is. Actually, I wouldn't mind being as patient as Noah in all other ways, as well.
*I miss chapel! Maybe it's warmed up in there by now.

Sweet dreams to all.