starts in 2 hours...
First session is behind me. This was the class I
didn't read the email for and so didn't have read the textbook or do the paper
that was due before the start and worth 20% of my grade. I probably
wouldn't be happy if I wasn't starting from some kind of hole.
Introductions all around this a.m.: ourselves, our program, our profs.
We're a diverse bunch and thankfully I'm not the oldest student in the
room. But I'm also definitely not the youngest. I confessed my fear
of being found out to be a poser and being sent back to undergrad school.
It's mostly a room full of introverts with some of us who
enjoy occasional moments of extroversion. This will make
getting to know each other very interesting. And really, really slow.
Class #1 was all about the Story and coming back to the Text as it was written,
or maybe better to say, as it was read and heard. The prof is someone I
really respect. I didn't even know he was going to be here (remember that
email i never read?) but I've read one of his books and was very impressed.
This morning he's introduced some big ideas and started this process of
recovering the Story or the Text rather than the texts. Seeing the big
picture rather than all the little pieces we've broken it down into over the
last few hundred years. This perspective raises a lot of big questions for me,
good questions, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes. Now I
just have to finish a couple more books, write a few papers and type up my
notes within the next 24 hours.
to be continued...
Everyone else taking notes on their Mac books. ...
Essay to turn in. Check.
Prof doesn't ask for it. Check.
Forget book that class is discussing. Check.
Forget book that everyone is sharing a quote from and discussing. Check.
Sit in warm sunshine and listen to people discuss interesting and important
ideas and know this feels good. Check!
Just finished a book tonight and the follow up 3 page
report on the book. I'm so tired I'm afraid to look at the paper again in
the light of morning to find out that nothing I said made even remote sense.
I could be wrong but I think I can feel my brain cutting some new
channels and forming some new pathways.
Or it could be a stroke.
Posted by Brian
This morning's session was our "Modern Basket
Weaving 101" or whatever course you've taken that required no books, no
prep and therefore would be so easy you could sleep through and get an
"A". I went to "Spiritual Direction" prepared to hear
some lovely sounding words about prayer and growing deeper with God thru
3 hours later I'm left shattered.
Lorna, the prof, led us in a simple Ignatian exercise on gratitude followed by
a little Lectio Divina.
Basically silence punctuated by the slow reading of a piece of Scripture, in
this case a Psalm. We listen to the Pslam and then we listen for God to
speak to our hearts through a part of that reading. Silence. Then
it is slowly read again and we listen some more. Silence. Then we
share what we feel like we've been hearing or we pass.
I'll be honest and admit I went into the exercise with extremely LOW
expectations. Through the exercise it seems that God has chosen to
finally talk to me about something I've been yelling at him about, whining to
him about, pleading with him about, giving him the 'silent treatment' about and
generally pestering him about with no result. Suddenly God whispers to my
heart convicting words, strong words but words full of a love so hot that it
melts my stony heart.
I could spend the rest of the day pondering what happened to me this morning.
Instead I'm off to an afternoon of Narrative Theology and getting my mind
blown while my heart is exposed.
Live Blogging...Masters Day
2 pt. 2
This afternoon's class reminded me of the time someone
explained to me that boys and girls had some fundamental differences. I didn't understand everything that I'd just
taken in but I knew for sure that from then on my whole life was going to be
affected by that knowledge.
I broke down and had another cup of real coffee at the
break time. Paying for it now as my body
tries to figure out what to do with all this caffeine. But currently awake and getting ready for one
more session today. This one on Church
History. Next decision: Take the books
or Don't take the books? Second
decision: If I take the books should I get a hand truck to carry them?
Live Blogging...Masters Day
2 pt. 3
Thoughts from tonight's class...anyone know a way for me
to come up with $8000 quick. Does not
necessarily have to be legal. Inbox me.
My head and heart have never felt both so full at the
same time. Need to write some more
papers before bed to empty my head at least!
Blogging....Masters Day 3 it begins...
Here's a prayer we were given yesterday that resonates
deeply with my life in this season. I'm making it my daily prayer for the
conceivable future: (and even for the future of which I cannot conceive!)
Lord, I will trust You, help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.
Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You
to be stronger than each storm in me?
I determine amidst all uncertainty always to trust.
I choose to live beyond regret, and let You recreate my life.
I believe You will make a way for me
and provide for me,
if only I trust You
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times are still in Your hand.
I will believe You for my future,
chapter by chapter,
until all the story is written.
Strengthen me with Your blessing
and appoint to me the task.
Teach me to live with eternity in view.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven.
make my obedience count for You.
(excerpts from, "A Call to Risky Living")
The Prayer of St. Brendan the Navigator, 486-575 AD
Celtic Daily Prayer: From the Northumbria Community,
Harper Collins Publishers, 2000, pp. 191-193
Live Blogging...Masters Day
3 pt. 2
Morning class is over and so is lunch. We were rambling around the 16th and 17th
century this morning. Part of our
conversation had to do with the arts and the ability for "verse to arrest
what the sermon may not". What have
we lost in the Church by elevating lecture over the other arts? We looked at Teresa of Avila, George Herbert
and got stuck with George on our way to Blaise Pascal.
I came here expecting information, instead I'm
encountering transformation. I spent
most of the morning feeling weepy and nearly burst into tears during our
reading of some of Herbert's poetry. I
would blame it on being over-tired but I have slept well the last two nights.
Here's a taste and one of the bits that nearly did me in.
Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be
"You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
made the eyes but I?"
"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore
dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste
So I did
sit and eat.
Live Blogging...Masters Day
3 pt. 3
This afternoon we were back to the Old Testament
Story. I decided to show I was a cool as
the rest of the kids so I brought my laptop over with me. I couldn't plug in where I was sitting so the
battery ran out in 3, 2, 1... So I end up sitting there with a laptop I'm not
using with my pen and paper on top of it.
I'm becoming that old guy we had in class when I was back in my college
days. No one has called me sir or mr.
yet, no pat on the head or offers to help down the steps but I can feel it
I over-shared in class this afternoon. Another sign I'm becoming that guy. I'm so charged up by what I'm studying, the
things we're reading, the insights others are sharing and the thoughts all of
this is provoking that it's hard not to over-share.
Here's a taster of some stuff that's coming out of this
process for me:
God, perfect and full, made us for his good
pleasure. He/she found expression for
the joy he has in being himself/herself in the act of creating image bearers -
beings who would be the exact reflection of himself - Male and Female. The Story says they were created with purpose
- “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish
in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the
ground.” This is important, this
matters. The end of the story is
revealed from the very beginning. We
were not made to pass through life and get a heaven bonus when we die. We were made for Eden, heaven on earth, to
reflect the glory of God. It begins with
people and place and the Story is that we are finishing the work that God
started by extending paradise and filling it with more Image Bearers.
Mankind opts for a different Story. Love requires a choice and when faced with
the opportunity to choose love, mankind chose fear, shame and
disconnection. Don't be harsh, we keep
making the same choice over and over again with God, each other and
nature. God had given Man his word and
Man did not trust God and take him at his word.
But God refuses to give up on the Story and even in the face of this
betrayal he calls them out of hiding, covers up their shame and promises them
hope. A child would be born that would
crush the deceiver in the garden but would himself be wounded in the process.
Crushing the deceiver would restore the image that has been broken and
continues to be broken from DNA strand to DNA strand. The Story hasn't changed, its ending is
certain but at present we are in the middle of the Story and we're invited to
be part of the restoration of eden project that God has under way.
God tries again with Noah. Noah does the same thing Adam did. God tries again with Abram/Abraham who does
the same thing as Adam. God tries again
with Moses & Israel who over and over again do exactly the same thing Adam
did, exchange the true image they were created with for the lie. God tries again with David and this time it
looks promising until David looks down and sees bathing Bathsheba and trades in
Eden building for Viagra, adultery and murder.
God keeps calling us back to the Story and we keep wanting to write our
own ending. So now God interjects
himself into the Story to be the progenitor of a people who will have a new
DNA. He comes to solve the unsolvable
problem as Jesus.
So he lives as the exact representation of the Image of
God - Adam again - but this time he doesn't choose against God - even though it
costs him his life. Now the Eden project
actually stands a chance because the sin problem is eradicated, the serpent's
head is crushed though it wounds Jesus, the promised child who all those
genealogies were looking for. It cost
him everything but provides us the fresh beginning that cannot be stopped. It makes time run backwards now so we feel
like we're living forward but we are really all growing younger and bit by bit
the damage is being reversed and the Story is getting back on track.
We don't obey God to avoid a fiery end, that's the wrong
story. We obey God because he's written
the music that we want to play.
Obedience isn't a burden, it's playing the melodies and harmonies of
Eden, it's keeping in time with the
Rhythm of God. It's making sweet music
Now Jesus produces his own offspring - the followers of
Jesus, pregnant with the very blessing of God, his Holy Spirit, the pure
expression of God's love and delight in Himself - empowering and transforming
us into the same image bearers that Jesus himself is. So Jesus plays Adam and the Church plays Eve
and we are fruitful and we multiply, not by force or coercion, that's another
story, but by love. We continue the
story and sometimes it costs us our very lives as well but little by little we
recreate Eden, the Kingdom of God, the land where no one goes hungry, where
everyone can find a home, where no one lies to you and no one feels the need to
lie about themselves. A place where sick
are healed, poor feel rich, broken are mended and old are made new.
This is the Story and every man, woman and child on earth
has been invited to be part of this Story that will have the happy ending that
God always intended it to have, where the lion lays down with the lamb, where
peace reigns, where there is no fear and nothing to fear, where locks are
meaningless and gold has lost all value other than it's colour. This is where we are going and nothing can stop
this Story. We who follow Jesus, who are
born of God, invite everyone, everywhere around us to join this Story that they
are already in by being the restored image of God on earth, cracked to be sure
but just as surely being restored day by day.
This is our story, this is our hope, this is our
Live Blogging...Masters Day
Today started last night for me. We'd brought Blaise Pascal up yesterday and
many people in the class had a positive reaction to the reading we'd done in
his book, Pensees. I didn't. I found it boring, disjointed and bland. I was thinking about this last night since we
were due to discuss him this morning. I
decided to check the online translation against my printed Penguin Classic.
Turns out the Penguin did me in. The sections I was supposed to read were
completely different online than in my printed copy. The online version fit in to our course. Turns out I had been reading, in my printed
version, the scraps of incomplete ideas collected at the back and what was
almost a bibliography at the end of the book.
So last night I did some power reading and came away with an entirely
different experience of Pascal.
Favourite quote: "The knowledge of God is very far
from the love of Him." And this
from a man arguing for reason.
Take-aways from this morning:
Someone in class can strongly disagree with my take on
things and say exactly the opposite of what I've said or even say I'm wrong and
we're still friends when we get up from the table. Even if they think my idea sucks it doesn't
mean they think I do. This is bliss.
Pastoring is more art than science.
People in New Zealand wrestle in heart and head with some
of the very same things we wrestle with on P.E.I.
Story, story everywhere - how did I not see this so
People from California and Arizona, Australia and New
Zealand all freeze before Canadians do.
And one more poem from Herbert. For all, but especially pastors:
When God at
first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
“For if I
should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should
“Yet let him
keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to
Live Blogging...Masters Day
4 pt. 2
There seem to be two kinds of people in the world now,
those who whiten their teeth and those who don't.
My head feels like ground that has sat under a 4 day
Nowhere left for the water to go, it just stands on my
This afternoon was rich.
Lights go on like old school camera bulbs around the room. Flashes of brilliance making me blink in
A very old story comes to life. No longer Other. I discover that I am in this Story, this is
our Story and it always has been. It not
only changes my view forward but it re-frames everything that has ever happened
in my past and it makes sense of my now.
The forest. The
trees. It is possible to take one in
without missing the other.
If you know caffeine makes you blurt things out and feel
anxious, one cup is probably bad, the second is just plain stupid.
Live Blogging...Masters Day
Title for today: When You Learn a Heresy
It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that this
morning's session was my Luther moment.
As Luther sat translating the text of the book of Romans as a Roman
Catholic, this self-abusing German monk has an "aha!" moment. (no connection to Alan Partridge) He didn't
leap up and start the Reformation but the dramatic changes that would come into
his life could be traced back to that solitary moment of discovery.
This morning was like that for me. A visiting lecturer from the U.K. taught us
on the Image of God language that informs Genesis 1 and is repeated through the
rest of the Bible. As I sat listening,
dots were connecting, things began to both fall into place and fall away from
my system of belief. And like Luther,
there is something present in me and something developing that I know full well
will sound like heresy to my generation.
But more than that, will dramatically change the trajectory of my
life. (and yes, this scares me)
So, what do you do when you learn a heresy that you know
I'm packing up today.
This will be my last post until Monday probably. I've revised my plan to sneak a girl into my
room for the night. Instead I'm getting
picked up after my last class today and this elusive girl is taking me home to
her place for the weekend!!! Now that's University life baby!!!