Friday, June 23, 2006

The Power of Music

Nothing gets me more ready for a day than to wake up to "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. Before every Greek midterm and final I psyched myself to "Be a Man" from the Mulan soundtrack. Hearing Daniel Powter sing "Bad Day" was a regular occurance during finals week. Diana Ross' "You Can't Hurry Love" gives me hope. Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" has been my theme song since I graduated college. The familar opening beats of Phantom Planets' "California" played on my cell phone months before moving to LA. I instantly am transported to the Duke quad with hundreds of Tipsters running in circles when I hear REM's "End of the World." And I still feel the pride of Moore Hall when the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back comes on. Celine Dion belting out "My Heart will Go On" floods my brain with memories of 8th grade sleepovers.

I could go on and on, my point is that music is powerful. I love how one song can get a person to run five more minutes on the treadmill. One song at a punk rock concert brings an entire club full of people to a higher energy level than I've ever seen in my entire life. One song can give words to the feeling of a couple hopelessly in love. One song brings thousands of people declaring their praise for God together. One song can bring a person to tears as they remember a loved one...

I have been around music all of my life. From my Dad singing "My Girl" when I was little to hearing painfully sung church hymns to practicing a Mozart Sonata over and over on the piano--I grew up with music. The meaning of songs changed as I got older for example I found those boring church hymns to be now filled with truth.

Recently I have seen a new way that music is powerful. After a rough couple of weeks a dear friend made me a CD of "love, comfort, and reminders." Each song spoke the truth of a God who loves me, a God who is constant, and a God who cares. My favorite song on the CD is "Held" by Natalie Grant...look at some of the lyrics:
"This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held"
As I first heard that song immediately I began to cry. What a beautiful image of God! I have played that song on repeat wherever I am--in my car, on my computer, on my ipod. Music can make us laugh, cry, and dream...and music can be healing!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Buber Strikes Again

I can hardly believe it--but as two weeks ago I am done with my first year of seminary! Technically I still have to take summer classes but if I continue full time with classes I will graduate in exactly two years. After such a hard quarter I had to mark that occasion.

Spring quarter was my toughest academic load yet. I have already blogged about the frustrations and joys of Greek. What I haven't blogged about are my other two classes. My other classes Spring Quarter were Medieval Reformation Theology with John Thompson and Christ and Culture with President Mouw.

I think they can both be summed up by saying..."Buber strikes again." On my post about Greek an anonymous commenter saw an I-Thou moment. An I-Thou moment is from the philosopher Martin Buber...said simply--a moment of connection or an "ah-ha" moment.

Both classes were taught by Presbyterian professors (one of which is our president). In my church history class I had the chance to read some of the original works of Reformers. I was particularly interested in reading Calvin since I am in the Presbyterian denomination. As I struggled to make sense of Calvin's writing in my church history class, I was able to hear President Mouw share his views on Calvinism and stories of application of Calvinism in the world today in my philosophy class.

Late at night as I formed arguments for Calvin's doctrines for a paper assignment I was hit with an I-Thou moment. I actually believed and agreed with what I was writing! Coming to Fuller I was unsure of my theology. I definitely don't claim to have all the answers now--but I realized that from the basics of what I have learned about Calvin in the last 10 weeks I had come to agree with--even love some of how Calvin explains life.

I know that my theology will continue to be changed and shaped as time goes on but for now I'm going to steal a quote off our Fuller Presbyterian Tshirt and say..."Calvin is a stud." :)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Presby Banquet, Memorial Day, Foundations Pictures

Happy Memorial Day! On Monday the Presbys headed out to Garfield Park and spent the day grilling, playing volleyball, and hanging out. Here are some pictures from the day:

Look at our pyramid! Bottom: Jenn, Sophie, Becca; Middle: Denise and Sarah; Top: me
After much food and excercise we were tired seminary students....Sophie, me and Sarah
This is my new friend Daisy--Denise's beautiful golden retreiver. Since Daisy weighs as much as I do she took me on many walks or adventures around the park. It was especially fun when I was laying down and she dragged me on my belly into the middle of the volleyball game. Since then Denise has taught me how to discipline Daisy.
Aww...Sophie, me and Sarah. I have great friends! And of course, Kernie the monkey:)
The volleyball game. They played 4+ games! Here's Tim and Becca in mid-play.

Another big event of the last couple weeks was our final Foundations of Ministry small group. This is the random group of first year seminary students that we were placed with back in September. Since then we have met almost every week discussing some aspect of spritual traditions. I can't say that I'm not glad that Foundations is over. I'll still see my small group but it won't be under mandatory circumstances with mandatory discussion topics anymore. Here's my small group: me, Jesse, Dan, Noel, Pat, and Emily

Lastly was the Prebyterian Banquet--an end of the year celebration to honor our graduates.

This is a photo of the group "Westside Reformed"--see, we Presbyterians aren't always the frozen chosen!

Next year's Student Advisory Board--thanks to you all for all you do! Front: Alan, Ryan, David, our advisor Ron; Middle: Jenn, Sarah, Sophie, Denise; and in the Tree: Bob and Lisa

The group worshipping during the banquet.
Haha here's one of our graduates Reese looking a bit frightened at Becca.