Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ordinary in Between

Late Tuesday is a great band that I was introduced to last year. I was listening to their CD this morning and was struck at how this song spoke to the place I'm at. It's so easy to get caught up in wanting to know exactly how life is going to turn out. But really God wants us to enjoy where we're at and He will surely show us what step is next. But for now--we should enjoy the ordinary in between...

"The same old stuff I have to do
Over and over and over again each day it seems
Nothing great to show of my abilities and my worth
So show me my purpose in the midst of this routine

Because I'm trying to understand why I am here at all
With so many guesses and too many simple answers
Could it be that life is not what I think at all
It's not the big things but the ordinary in between
And maybe this is not the time to be waiting for
Any better reason to be glad that I'm alive at all
So help me take each day each simple thing that I must do
To bring glory to You

And I could search out a lot of ways
To keep me doing things in attempt to make my mark
But then maybe I'd miss the mark of your desire for me
So I will trust in you and in everything I do
Do it as for you

And I am learning to understand why I am here at all
There's no need for guesses when you are the simple answer
And You show me that life is not what I think at all
It's not the big things but the ordinary in between
And maybe this is not the time to be waiting for
Any better reason to be glad that I'm alive at all

So help me take each day each simple thing that I must do
To bring glory to you"
--Nothing Great

Friday, October 20, 2006

Year #2

This post is definitely late in coming since we are beginning Week 5 of a ten week quarter, but I figured better late than never... This quarter marks a lot of things. It marks a one year anniversary of me moving to LA. It's hard to believe that a year ago I stepped on a plane filled with many curious and terrified thoughts about the many unknowns that lie ahead of me. Nevertheless I've been here and year and while it's been a hard journey at times--I love it. This quarter also marks the beginning of my second year. Because I went full time (12 units a quarter) all last year and the summer my credits mark this as the beginning of my second year. 1/3 done of the way with a Masters of Divinity!

This quarter also brought with it many new things. One--my health is completely different than it ever has been. I am still feeling better than I ever have, loving food and eating, and even able to exercise now. Next week I'll be done taking medication and for the first time in my life in 10 years I won't be taking any daily medicine--pretty exciting. All that to say--I have a whole new energy and stamina level now and because of my new level of health school and life in general are better. A second new thing is my apartment. I moved in August to a much bigger apartment in a much quieter and less stressful location. I've had fun making the space my own--for example painting my bedroom blue. Coming home to my apartment is wonderful--I love the space and location. It's amazing how a peaceful living space makes life that much calmer. Finally, a third new thing this quarter is my job. I had been looking for a job since August when this job fell into my lap a few weeks ago. I now work at the front desk of a pyschiatrist's office. It's only 8 hours a week, pays super well, and is low stress--the ideal job for me right now. I like the environment a lot--great coworkers and I'm learning a lot about the world of psychiatry. It's also really nice to be out of the Fuller bubble a bit more.

There's a life update for you--God really does have things in control because a couple months ago I had no clue where I was going to live, how my stomach was going to get better, or what kind of job I'd find--and all three outcomes to those questions are far better than I could have dreamed--praise the Lord!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Irreducibly Valuable"

In class the other day my Family Therapy and Pastoral Counseling professor used the phrase "irreducibly valuable." He said that most people are only praised in external love--the external parts of their identity (for example what you you look...what you achieve). Instead we should praise people in internal love--people are prized by God and others despite their external parts of their identity. In sum, we are "irreducibly valuable"--nothing we do can increase or decrease our value. I loved this lecture, what an amazing phrase-and how true it is! I wanted to write and share this with y'all and remind you that you are irreducibly valuable!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The many adventures of the first 2 weeks...

When I moved into my new apartment I realized I'd be there for at least 2 more years and I wanted to spruce up my bedroom. San Marino youth group had Servant Day as a fundraiser so I had 4 guys from the high school youth group help me out and they did an excellent job!

Fuller held it's annual "Rooftop Party" on the Friday of our first week back to class. It is held on the roof of an art museum nearby. It's lots of dancing--DJ'ed by our hip hop expert professor--Dr. Ralph Watkins. Here's Kristin, me, and Audrey post party.

The next few pictures are from our Presby Welcome BBQ. It was a luau this year so we dressed the part. First picture--Becca and I.
This man is one of my favorite people on Fuller's campus. His name is BJ. He works in the library and has been at Fuller for years. He cares for the students in amazing ways--whether it's cooking Indian curry for students every Tuesday for lunch or greeting the 8am classgoers every morning or giving us lollypops in the library--he never ceases to bring a smile to my face. BJ won a pinapple at the BBQ.
Sophie, me, Sarah, and even Kernie the monkey decked out for the luau.
Finally...Chris and Ryan did some hula dancing for us as we were cleaning up.

The last pictures are from a Dodger's game with the Presbys. It was a great group with the new students joining us. Notice the Dodger's cap on my head--I decided that after the many Dodgers games last year that I am now a LA Dodgers fan...even if we didn't play very well that night...
A beautiful picture of the LA skyline from the top of Dodger's stadium.
And here's the birthday girl complete with a birthday crown! It was Sarah's 25th birthday the day of the Dodgers game...Happy Birthday Sarah!

"A Joyous Occasion"

Last week I made my first step in the PC(USA) ordination process. Having been a member of San Marino Community Church for 6 months I was now allowed to go before Session (the elders of the church) and be voted on whether or not I could go "under care" with SMCC.

Before I could meet with session there was a large task that had to be completed...the actual Inquirer application. The application was quite intimidating including a detailed personal yearlong budget and 9 essays with questions such as, "What does it mean to be Presbyterian?" or "Describe the Trinity." Not all questions were quite that in depth--but they all did force me examine different aspects of my self and faith and why I was beginning the process of ordination. Once I got into writing I learned a lot in reflecting and educating myself more on the reformed tradition.

Finally the application was finished and I was ready to meet with Session. I was surprised to realize hours before the meeting I was growing more nervous. I eventually decided to sit down and try and relax in the quiet moments before I had to leave. In those moments God reminded me of a lesson I have struggled to learn for years... Becoming an Inquirer is not another achievement or accomplishment, it is a step in the process of discernment of God's call on my life. It wasn't about how well I wrote my essays or articulated myself...instead it is joining with the church body and the regional Presbytery body to discern together.

With that reminder I set off for the church and my nerves calmed. I arrived early and listened to an hour of the session meeting before they reached my part on the agenda. I had never been to a meeting like that--it was neat to see how committees of the church function . As Jeff (the head pastor) introduced me to the session he commented that the next item on the agenda was "a joyous occasion." He then asked me to share with session of how I had arrived at the point starting the ordination process. I shared a bit of my story. The session didn't have any other questions so I was sent outside while they voted. After 10 or so minutes an elder came to get me. As she escorted me back to the members they all began clapping. Jeff announced that they were excited to have me go under care with SMCC and even agreed to give some support financially! I was assigned a liason from session (a mentor type relationship) and she escorted me out of the meeting.

I still have 2 more steps to go through before I can become an Inquirer--a psychological evalutation and a meeting with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry of my Presbytery. I have no idea if I will complete the process of PC(USA) ordination but I do feel called to at least begin the process. The time with San Marino was indeed "a joyous occasion" as I was reminded that this process is not about me at all--but it is instead a communal effort of discerning future leadership for the church and that night was a great picture of communal support.