Friday, October 28, 2005

Profile picture

I know how to crop pictures now. Here's a close-up. Now let's see if I can put it where I want it. Posted by Picasa

Learning about pictures

Posted by Picasa
I can't figure out how else to add a picture to my profile, so I'm sending this here and then I'll play with it. This was taken at our class retreat weekend (September 9-11, 2005). A few of us went out from St. Dorothy's Rest, a retreat center owned by the Diocese of California, to this state park near Guerneville. I'm sitting in the root system of a fallen redwood tree. It's dark and far away, but the only picture I have of just myself. Anyway, I like playing in trees.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

St. Andrew's

Went to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Tacoma this morning; a friend is the priest up there. The people are really warm and welcoming. She introduced me, and many people came up and introduced themselves. They do a lot of interfaith and ecumenical outreach; it would be a neat place to keep coming to, when I'm up here. A bunch of us met for lunch afterward; everyone at the table either was living or had lived in the Bay Area. Lots to talk about.

She went to CDSP in the late '90s. We talked about everything, on the car ride home. What it was like then, what I'm doing now, how to plan future steps, who to make sure I take classes from. We talked a lot about how genuine the people are. I sound like I'm sucking up, but I'm not; it's one of the first things I noticed. All the faculty I've interacted with have treated me like an equal. They're brilliant, famous in their fields, and confident of what they know--but their egos don't get in the way. They're just people that I get to eat dinner with. We're all traveling together.

We left Olympia at 6:30 this morning. I almost fell asleep on Athanasius (my reading, don't worry) in her office, during the early service. We got home after 3. I just ate dinner, showed my friend the neat things you can do with Google Earth (a very fun time-suck, watch out), and now I'm going to go back to studying. I live a very good life.

Peace to all.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Reading Week

...aaaahhhhh. I'm sitting in the kitchen at my friends' house in Olympia; I tried to do this on the couch in the living room, but their neighbor's wireless network didn't reach that far. Just breathing, and catching up with myself. I'm going to work at the co-op a couple times, and study in public places to see who I run into--but I'm being sort of semi-incognito on purpose. Reading Week is designed to give us time to catch up, or work on projects without being interrupted. I brought a heaping box of books with me, and I need to get busy in them.

My friend June and I drove up yesterday, in her car. We left Berkeley about 10:30, after our Greek class, and I got in a little after 11 p.m. (She lives a little bit south of here. We dropped her off, and her husband took me home.) We stopped a lot, but made really good time. The weather was perfect.

Okay Olympians, why isn't it raining? I was running around in sandals barefoot in California, and I could do that here if I'd brought them. Took a walk this afternoon, and it was positively balmy. What's up with that?

Anyway... Got in last night, said hi to my friend who'd waited up for me, and crawled into my bed in the back room. Today, my godmother and I went to Traditions for what turned out to be lunch. I gave her a birthday present (hers is Wednesday), and we talked about everything. She and her friend are working on a calendar; I can't wait to see.

She said it was good to have me home for a little while. I loved hearing that. I love school, and I'm getting to really like California. But Olympia still feels like home, and it still can be. (Susan, when you read this, thank you.)

Getting up before God tomorrow morning, to go to church in Tacoma. It's time to start exploring other parishes in this diocese, when I'm up here. I'm happy in California, but the Northwest is home, and I would love to end up back here. I don't know yet what my ministry will be (or what I will wear when I'm doing it), and I'm feeling really excited to explore every path I can, everywhere I can. (In San Francisco, I really love the people of St. Aidan's, and I wouldn't be surprised if I settled in there after awhile.)

Our suffragan bishop, Nedi Rivera, was in the Bay Area for the week of October 14. Her roots are there, and she was there to give a lecture at the St. Margaret's benefit at school (to fund a chair for the education of women in ministry) and to receive an honorary doctorate. It wasn't all about the seminarians. But she gave us a lot of time, connecting with us each individually and taking us all out to dinner (the diocese paid for it). She looks after us, and cares about who we are. We are blessed to have her.

I got a 99 on my Greek test. I'd have aced it, if I'd gone with my guess on one grammar question. I thought I didn't get the grammar at all, but apparently I do. Now we're up to our necks in verbs. If you look at them as just completely wild, they're fun. (You can have six parts to one little word: prefix, augment, reduplication, stem, what our auspicious instructor Sean calls a "connector", and personal ending. Three of these are clues to figure out what tense it is.)

I'm really, really loving early church history, also. The instructor is dynamic and engaged in what he's doing, and the subject fascinates me. I turned in a paper on Arius and the Nicene Council last week, that I'd gotten a late start on, but ended up happy with. There are so many twists and turns to this whole epic story. I'm still trying to map out a heresy match game, in my head. Other people like the idea. It would be fun for future first-years, and also me, if I did it.

This week, I'm going to do more work with verbs, partly to really understand them and partly for fun. Catch up my reading on everything. Work on a bibliography for Anglican Tradition and Life; I'm doing a research paper on the New Zealand Prayer Book, and the church there. Read enough of what I'm behind in, in my Old Testament class, to figure out how to write an exegetical paper using any type of Biblical criticism I want.

I'll also work six hours at the co-op, possibly more. And try to see people. There's a reason they don't call this "vacation."

More later!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I am the worst blogger in the world.

Now that we know this, let's go on. It's getting really interesting here. Aside from feeling (and being) academically behind all the time, all of my fault lines are shifting. I'm standing on a volcano. And it's exactly what I want.

Quick recap: Left Olympia August 12. Spent two weeks with a friend in the Central Valley, visiting hardware stores, tearing up her floor, hurting my back, and camping on the coast, bonding with each other, God, wild creatures and space aliens. We had an incredible time. Her rector and I are long-time friends as well; we met when I was 16. I'm now 80 miles from them. I can drive out on random weekends and see family. I love that. I'm going out this Saturday, I think.

Got here the last week of August... I remember it was a Thursday. Orientation started the following Tuesday; I think the 29th. I threw my stuff onto the middle of my dorm room floor, and went on with exploring. It's still a royal mess in here.

I'm here to do school, and I love it and want to--and there are so many distractions. (I ought to be reading right now.) I finally started calling spiritual directors--first I'd meant to, then I had to. The ground is shifting under me. I don't know if that's a direct response to what I'm learning, or just what happens when you're in this place, and everyone around you is charged with change. I'm thinking all the time about what I want to do when I'm done here--at the same time, planning ways to make school take longer. There's so much I want to experience, try on, have time to suck at before I need to be really good. I'm aware that people will be watching me closely--and I want to rock my own world as well as theirs. At the same time, I know that it starts with simple trust. All I need to do is walk out into the ocean. God will take care of surrounding me with water. (The temperature, taste, and critters swimming in it aren't up to me.)

Went to a presentation last Thursday, after Community Night (Eucharist and dinner). I'd seen Karen but didn't know her; she's ahead of me, and we'd never talked. She spent five weeks last summer working in South Africa, at a shelter/school for kids who have lost both parents to AIDS. I found myself asking in all seriousness, who do I talk to if I want to do this? She and I are meeting Wednesday to discuss contacts and funding. (The main expense is travel--I looked online when I got home, and round-trip airfare between SeaTac and Johannesburg is $2100. Once you get there, it's obscene to think about money--these people don't have enough food, and the exchange rate is 6 rand to the dollar.) I'm serious about doing this. I was thinking about something like Bishop's Ranch or Holden, and still should write to them. But I've had it in my head for years that I want to do HIV/AIDS work in Africa, and never really followed up on it--either I felt like I couldn't, or whatever. This just dropped into my lap. It's possible.

I went to St. Aidan's in San Francisco last Sunday. I'd wanted to, but felt shy about it because that's where we stole Nedi from. (Non-Episcopalians--the former priest at St. Aidan's is the current suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Olympia, living and working in Seattle.) My mentor goes there, and told me it would be fine. It was. I overheard a couple talking, at the bus stop by the Glen Park BART station, about how late the #52 was. Aha, I thought, they'll know--and went over to ask them about it. They said that it's a second-run line--that means it gets pulled to other routes if there are problems. Oh.

"I'm from Olympia. That doesn't happen there."
"Where are you going?"
"St. Aidan's."
"We are too. Do you know Nedi?"
"I've met her twice."

It was that easy. They showed me around, introduced me publicly as a first-year CDSP student from Olympia... and then took me to a Thai place for lunch in downtown Berkeley. (They live one BART stop away from me.) It was about as friendly as an inquisition could be. They invited me to their stewardship dinner--one of them chairs the committee--and I went, Friday. Everybody is so warm, so inclusive. I went to Good Shepherd in Berkeley this morning, and missed the joyful chaos of St. Aidan's. I'm leery of committing to them--in my heart or verbally--before they know who their new rector will be. I'm not just looking for a place to hang out on Sunday mornings--I need a community I can get neck-deep busy in, and trust to do discernment with me later. I love these people. I've been once and I have friends. That wouldn't happen everywhere.

I need to read and get some sleep. Spent four hours yesterday in a faculty member's garden at the far (west) side of San Francisco. We got a lot done and had a good time and talk together--and I'm embarrassingly sore. Need to start swimming, or something.

Peace, love, and blessings to all. I'll try to keep this up once a week, from here.