Saturday, May 29, 2010

The day in numbers

Once I have visual aids in the form of pictures and video, I'll share all about the epic road trip with Kristin. For now, here is a glimpse at my day:

1000: miles driven
15.5: hours behind the wheel
2: bathroom/gas stops
80: percentage of my windshield that is currently covered in bugs
7.5: number of times I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior, thanks to the dozens of Christian radio stations, billboards and bumper stickers I saw today
4: number of people I probably annoyed by following them and using them for cruise control
1: drunk guy who stumbled into the gas station in Sweetwater, TX. He rode his horse there (not even kidding) and came to buy a case of beer. Oh Texas.
3: Toby Keith songs I listened to in their entirety.
1.5: minutes I stood staring at the mail on my table, wondering how it got there until I realized I grabbed it from my mailbox 10 minutes ago. Time to go to bed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Epic road trip

I'm about to head to the airport to pick up Kristin, former college roommate and BFF. We plan to conquer Austin tomorrow, scoping out the beautiful and weird parts of the city.

Then, an epic journey across the country.

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We haven't spent more than a few hours together since college and I think this adventure is long overdue.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Help

The Help The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I heard the premise of this book I was hesitant: a white woman writing in the voices of black housekeepers in Mississippi in 1963? This could be terrible. But it didn't take long before I realized how genuine and heartfelt the story is. It is clear that Stockett has approached this book with great caution and has created a beautiful portrayal of the reality that 1960s Mississippi faced but also issues that remain problematic today. I had to pace myself during this busy semester, but once finals were over I plunged in full force and finished it in two sittings, crying through the last 100 pages. I can't say enough about character development - there were times when I felt so connected to the characters, they may have well been acquaintances in real life. I get the sense that Mae Mobley and Skeeter are partly autobiographical because their relationships with their housekeepers are too full of emotion not to be based on the author's experience. What a joy to realize how far our society has come since 1962, but how heartbreaking to realize how far we still have to go. The struggle between races is still overwhelming, as shown in the recent immigration battle in Arizona. I imagine a real book called "The Help" documenting the experiences and stories of undocumented people living here in the states. What an uproar that would cause!I have so many favorite quotes from this book, but one in particular sticks out in my mind: in response to one of the housekeepers giving input to the book, her pastor tells her "There may be some hard times ahead...If it comes to that, the Church will help you in every way." What a poignant reminder of how the Church was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement and what a challenge to the Church today as it seems to fall short of it's purpose.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

How did they make those eyebrows so expressive?

Final exams are this week. I think once I've had a chance to process this semester, I'll share more about how things went from February to May, but for now I'm focused on cramming my brain full of Hebrew paradigms and theologians and books of the New Testament. As I've been preparing for two questions on the Book of Revelation for our study group, I've needed a little inspiration to get my thoughts going. For some reason the finale of the show "Dinosaurs" came to my mind. The last episode of the series was somewhat of a crap way to end the show, but I've found it amusing as I gather thoughts about eschatology. Here is Earl Sinclair's apology speech about how he destroyed the world, bringing about it's distinction. Kinda relevant for where our reality is heading. I can imagine the BP execs giving this speech to their families...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Preachin' it

When I began applying for seminary and thinking about this path, I didn't consider parish ministry (being a preacher in a church) as an option. I kept this attitude through the fall semester and every time a professor said something like "...when you're a pastor this will help you..." or "...someday when you're preaching..." I always sort of rolled my eyes at these statements and thought "Oh great, they're trying to make us conform into these cookie cutter preachers and send us to the pulpit. Blah"

In February when I had my first meeting with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, one of the members asked my what scared me the most about this seminary/ordination process. I told them I was most scared that I would end up a preacher. I was determined to stay the course and head toward some sort of alternative ministry and didn't consider parish ministry as an option.

But then I read a book this semester for our Worship class that spoke to my heart. It is called The Worshiping Body: The Art of Leading Worship by Kimberly Long. This book has transformed how I look at worship, which I don't really have time to get into, but I wanted to mention this passage:

If the pulpit makes preachers uncomfortable, it may not be an altogether bad thing, for proclamation of the Word is not a task for the fainthearted. One approaches preaching with fear and trembling; who are we to think that we might have a word from the Lord? It is only by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that we are able to speak ––and only because of the grace of God that we are allowed to go through with it.

Preaching scares the bejeezers out of me. Turns out that's okay.

At this point I'm considering parish ministry.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Does Your Booty Pop?

Wednesday was one of those quirky nights at work when things just kept getting weirder and weirder.

For starters, as I was walking into the store, I accidentally walked through the set of Friday Night Lights that was filming outside. So if you watch the show and see a scene where a bunch of guys are arguing and throwing papers outside of a Walgreens, look for the clueless woman in the background. That would be me.

Things started out relatively normal, until an hour into my shift when a co-worker discovered a bag of poo that was left in the hall outside the bathroom. Human poo. I'd heard things like that happen all the time at our store, but this was the first time I'd witnessed it. I also got to witness my manager poke it with a stick, which brought much laughter from the rest of us.

After that debacle, we discovered the Booty Pops that arrived in the new shipment. If you're unfamiliar with the Booty Pop, check out the commercial:

Despite the fact that this product makes the feminist in me ache, this is totally hilarious! For a solid 10 minutes me and five other employees were paralyzed by laughter. We opened one up to check them out and one of the guys tried it on over his pants. I think you had to be there to appreciate the hilarity, but it was one of those moments when I looked around and was struck by the beauty of humanity. I think the words of Thomas Merton appropriately describe how I felt in that moment, just insert "East Side Drugstore" where it says Louisville:

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream...I have the immense joy of being [human], a member of a race in which God became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

I can somewhat relate to Thomas Merton who felt isolated in his monastic life. Seminary=stigma. I've become known as "the preacher girl" by folks at the store which can be good or bad––as soon as people find out you're a pastor, or learning to become a pastor, they seem to unload all of their sorrows on you. But I'm grateful for the escape from the seminary bubble that this job allows, especially during these moments when we're doubled over laughing at something as ridiculous as the Booty Pop.