12 September 2008

Friday Five: Back To School!

It's been a while since I played a Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals - here's this week's edition:

It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!
1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far?
Yes, someone from our household is going back to school: me! Well, not really 'back to school,' but close. It's my first fall semester as a campus pastor, so I'm also getting back into the swing of the academic calendar (which, by the way, is far superior to the Gregorian calendar, IMHO).

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid?
Both, like many kids. Being a farm kid, I spent a lot of time playing with my brothers and working for my dad over the summer, so seeing friends all day instead of a few hours for baseball practice and swimming lessons was cool. I've always loved buying pencils, notebooks, and the like for the beginning of a new school year, too. But facing hours of enforced learning was always tough: I'm a self-directed learner and school was always tough for me, not for lack of intelligence or ability, but for the restraints teachers had to use to keep me in line with the rest of the class.

3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now?
Mom always wanted a picture of us boys before we got on the bus the first day of school, and there was always a trip to Sioux City for a few new school outfits, but nothing beyond that. Since our girls aren't school age yet, we don't do anything special, but something will be in the works when that day rolls around, I'm sure.

4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc?
Nike Air basketball shoes were HUGE when I was in high school, and I remember the day I found some Nike Air Whatevers on sale. That was pretty cool for me. :-)
Another memory that always makes me laugh is my freshman year in high school. Small schools like ours let all the kids practice with the varsity for all sports, so when football kicked off I was thrown into the mix against our varsity team, which ended the year ranked #2 and lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual state champion. After two days of two-a-days I was so sore that when we arrived in Sioux City for the aforementioned shopping trip, I had to LIFT my legs out of the back seat of our Buick with my hands because I couldn't move them otherwise. It was worse than the aftermath of any marathon I've run!

5. What was your best year of school?
My last year of seminary was about as good as it gets for me. Finally seeing the end of a LONG educational road (six years undergrad + 1 year working + 4 years M.Div.) was just part of it. I finally hit my stride in terms of classes, interests and motivation, and it showed. I did my best work by far that senior year, including a ton of work on Bonhoeffer and a great job as a teaching assistant for Dr. James Nestingen, who is still a major influence for my theology and my preaching. I met Kristin that year, and by the time graduation rolled around I was pretty sure we'd be making things permanent very quickly. To top it off, a friend nominated me to give the graduate address at our commencement ceremony, and the rest of the committee voted me in. Quite the privilege, and likely the highlight of my academic life thus far.


  1. whoa- I thought my path to ordination was long, but 4 years is a breeze in comparrison to your route. Love the school photo thought!

  2. It's interesting to hear about your small school and football. For four years I taught 2nd and 3rd grades at a small school in Oregon--only 250 kids K-12.

    Your commitment to finish your ordination process is commendable.