This is a pretty good approximation of my life right now.
- I watched the movie "Shutter Island" Monday night. I thought it was really good, especially after overcoming a clumsy first act. Beloved would have hated it, for reasons I won't go into here, as they'll spoil the movie for those of you who haven't seen it. But when I went to check out the book at our library this morning, I couldn't find it. The library computer insists there are copies in the building, but not on any of the shelves on which it's listed. Considering the movie deals with our perceptions and the nature of identity and reality, I found the experience just a bit unsettling. Which, I'm sure, would make the author very happy to know - any time art impacts life that deeply, the artist should be proud.
- It's no secret I'm quite the europhile. Matter of fact, if I hadn't met Beloved during seminary, I might have tried to find a call in Germany or Ireland. I believe very deeply in the roundabout, government-run health care, pension and social benefits, and much of what I've seen in trips to Ireland, the UK and Germany. That having been said, I stopped reading Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan about halfway through. I agreed with his central argument: the European way of life, particularly the German version, is a far better fit for people like myself. But his writing was so convoluted, and his argument so incredibly subjective and lacking statistical analysis (other than the ones that prove his argument, of course) that I just kept getting more and more annoyed. It's bad enough when I find someone with whom I disagree annoying; it's much worse when it's someone who tends to see things the way I do!
- If you're looking for good "sit in my office and get lots of work done" music, the Palestrina channel on Pandora is a good place to start. Sometimes I think I was born 450 years too late. Then I go use the toilet, take a drink out of the tap without wondering if it'll kill me, and give my kid some medicine instead of wondering if she'll survive her most recent infection, and I remember why I've got it so good now.
- The switch to Sunday nights for worship is mainly going well. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to break bread together, worship, then spend time around the fire talking theology (our schedule is Sunday Night Supper at 5:00, Worship at 6:00, Fireside Theology at 7:30). I'm surprised at how much I enjoy having Sunday mornings free at the moment, but I'm also nervous that none of the congregations I've contacted about supply preaching have even responded to my queries. And, as you might expect, our student numbers have dropped for worship. More promotion seems in order, and as with most changes, steadfast patience during the uncomfortable first days.
- I went for my first run in over a month Monday morning. Chris' post about running was so inspirational I decided my kvetching about running this year just needs to stop. Now I read that he's struggling a bit, too. This is the running life: you can only enjoy it one or two strides at a time, it seems. This could also be a metaphor for real life, not just the part of it I spend schlepping my fat ass around Ames.
- Tonight will be our second week using the "Prayer Around the Cross" liturgy from Susan Briehl and Tom Witt. Last week I put together a very basic cross using planter boxes filled with sand, and arranged kneeling pads around the cross. Unfortunately, there's some sort of short in our lighting in the sanctuary, so the central floods remain lit at all times. Hopefully this will be fixed tonight and we'll be able to worship by candlelight alone. I hope the students were as moved by the experience last week as I was - this is a wonderful addition to our worship life.