May 31, 2009


"We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know; God wants us to realize [God's] presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved. That is true relationship between God and scientific knowledge, but it is also true of the wider human problems of death, suffering and guilt."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"If holiness is happening, it is happening in the thick of reality, not replacing the world as we know, not banishing death, but defying its terror as the last word."
- Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith

May 28, 2009

tasting touching hearing seeing breathing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-ee cummings

May 18, 2009

orientation towards perfection

Some readers find a point of vulnerability in what they take to be religion’s flaccid, Polyanna-like, happy-days optimism. Religious people, says Delphinias, live their lives “in a state of blissfully blind oblivion.” They rely on holy texts that they are “to believe in without question.” (C.C.) “No evidence, no problem — just take it on faith.” (Michael) They don’t allow themselves to be bothered by anything. Religion, says Charles, “cannot deal with doubt and dissent,” and he adds this challenge: “What say you about that, Professor?”

What I say, and I say it to all those quoted in the previous paragraph, is what religion are you talking about? The religions I know are about nothing but doubt and dissent, and the struggles of faith, the dark night of the soul, feelings of unworthiness, serial backsliding, the abyss of despair. Whether it is the book of Job, the Confessions of St. Augustine, Calvin’s Institutes, Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding to The Chief of Sinners,” Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling” and a thousand other texts, the religious life is depicted as one of aspiration within the conviction of frailty. The heart of that life, as Eagleton reminds us, is not a set of propositions about the world (although there is some of that), but an orientation toward perfection by a being that is radically imperfect.

- Stanley Fish, God Talk pt 2

May 17, 2009

runaway train

The dismantling has begun. I've got six boxes of books and an empty, dusty bookshelf. My room is being taken apart, slowly at first and then it will turn hectic as family arrives and the deadline arrives.

As much as I'm excited to be living a block from the Bryant Lake Bowl, must it be at the expense of not living next to Josh? As much as I'm looking forward to seeing my family, their presence carries an unspoken ultimatum.

I've mentioned it before, but I'm cursed by finding good people everywhere I've lived. I find myself missing the place where I'm not, regardless of place or people. Right now I'm itching to get back to Minneapolis, but I know it means I'm leaving New Haven indefinitely. And I know once I go, things won't stay the same here. Jake's leaving, people are moving, the inherent impermanence of the school kicks in and they start all over again in the fall. And after next year, I'll barely know anyone here. The buildings will be the same, but the city will not.

Maybe I just need to stop listening to Ben Folds when I'm doing sad things like packing. It'd help if I didn't hear "And life barrels on like a runaway train/Where the passengers change/They don't change anything/You get off; someone else can get on."

I just gotta keep reminding myself that the train ends in Minneapolis.

May 16, 2009


The lion has been de-maned.

May 14, 2009

rear view mirrors

I've been thinking about what-ifs lately, about the different paths my life could have taken. Maybe because I'm in a period of transition or because I've seen tv shows and movies with alternative timelines (due to time travel), but the concept that my life could be fundamentally different is intriguing.

But too many what-ifs lead to not enough what's-nexts.

In a sense, we need rear view mirrors. Something that we can glance in and see where we've come from, but not by sacrificing where we're looking and where we're going.

Regardless of this, I'm going to Minneapolis, arriving May 29. Transitions, indeed.

May 5, 2009


Finished. Completed. Done. I am done. Slid that paper under the door this morning and I've been free and clear since... well, with the exception of the graduation meeting I went to where I'm on a committee to plan a bunch of events for the week leading up to graduation. Oops? Naah, it'll be fun.

View outside my window this morning. Nice and rainy (but green).

My stack of books, two layers deep and two layers wide.

May 2, 2009


I went to the farmer's market this morning and came home with an apple pie. Not only did I buy a pie, but Olivia and Amir both bought pies. So we now have three homemade pies in our house. Potentially dangerous and definitely delicious.

Apart from the pies, my day today has slowed considerably in relation to the past 10 or so. I'm not completely done with work, but yesterday was crazy busy and stressful. I'm a relatively laid-back person (ok, completely laid back), but I just about hit the ceiling yesterday. I can only think of one other time before this when I was as stressed as I was yesterday, and then it manifested itself when I burst into tears because I couldn't pass a truck on a 2 lane highway. My body feels physically exhausted from yesterday - the arches of my feet hurt, my legs are sore, I'm out of energy. It's completely out of character for me to be that stressed, and it's interesting my body responded by forcing me to take a break. I was going to anyway, but I'm definitely moving a little slower today. I also haven't gone for a run in a week or so, and I'm betting that hasn't helped my stress level either. Signs of stress around the house include frequent yells/screams, often in the style of the "kittens inspired by kittens" girl, and jumping up and down on our couches and chairs, sometimes everyone at the same time. Yeah, we're cool.

So what did I do yesterday/this week that stressed me so much? Well, I handed in three papers, for starters. One for GLBTQ Pastoral Care, one for Death in Music, Art and Liturgy and one for Film and Liturgy. I wrote my gaycare paper last week, so that was taken care of by Saturday. That one was on GLBTQ youth in rural/small town areas and building community. I wrote my Death paper at the beginning of the week, finishing Tuesday after going to Spring Fling and seeing the Decemberists play. I wrote that one about Imitation of Life (1959) and its depiction of a black ars moriendi (art of dying). Then I wrote my Film and Liturgy paper on The Secret Life of Bees (2008) and how it establishes the domestic as a sacred sphere, in particular, for black women. That one I wrote Thursday and finished on Friday, trying to get it done before the Community Dinner that night. In addition to finishing three papers, I also had a Community Dinner, Div School Idol and an after-party at our house. Friday morning I had to shop for the dinner, then later in the afternoon, pick up the grills and start the cooking, plus arrange the whole thing. Thankfully, I had many helpers and many hands for the task, so I was a little less crazy. I kept getting impatient with the charcoal, wanting it to light faster and be ready faster, but my friend helping me just reminded me that I had to wait for it to light up, it wasn't going to help if I kept spraying it with lighter fluid. Doesn't mean I didn't spray it around at first, cursing the flames.

So today I'm taking a break. I read a book that I picked up last week, The Unlikely Disciple. The author came to YDS and gave a talk/signed books, and it was really interesting. The author did a semester at Liberty University (Jerry Falwell's college) and wrote about his time there, presenting the students in very nuanced and interesting ways. For someone who studies religion and thinks that Christians are often viewed unfairly in simplistic or negative ways, I liked that he didn't take the easy way out and call everyone crazy or sheep-like. I'm now at 13 books for the year, which is technically behind schedule. I imagine the pace picking up once I'm done with schoolwork. Also, out of the last four books I finished (since mid April), 3 of them were for school and the last one is about a Christian college. I do this to myself, really.

Other than that, I might watch a movie? On my self-appointed days off, I almost don't know what to do with myself. This happened at the beginning of spring break, too. I feel like I should be doing work and I don't know how to not do work. I have one paper left to do, and I'm writing it on Jesus movies. It's 8-10 pages and I'm guessing I'll have it done quickly. I've written about Jesus movies so much that it's almost like second nature. It's on an aspect I haven't written about before, so it's still fair game academically. I remember when I was writing my honors project and one day I sat down and just wrote and wrote and wrote. I think I wrote the 40 page section on The Passion of the Christ in 2 1/2 weeks or something... One night I wrote 10 pages on the history of the Christ film like it was nothing. A little scary, but I like to think it means I'm knowledgable.

Kari moved into our apartment this weekend and Mom's in town helping, so I've been getting pictures. I wish I was there and not here driving myself insane. Soon, soon, soon.

Well, I'm going to go eat some pie and watch a movie. What a crazy idea, huh?