Day 1 done

The Chapel

Day 1 of orientation is done! Over! Finito! It was pretty basic and now I find myself, in my dorm room, feeling kind of bored. I know that my grad student career has officially started and that I should ease into it but I feel like I’m a rocket, geared up and ready to go. I bet my enthusiasm will fade over the next few days.

Today started with an orientation on housing and security. The overall theme is that we’re all adults, we should act like it, and we should not leave wallets in our car. ¬†I think I’ll be okay one that one. ¬†Dinner was a small potluck lovingly thrown together by members of the two local Lutheran congregations. ¬†I met several students – a few from the north east, a few young married couples, a few folks I’ve met before in NYC, and a young man who was originally training to be a RCC priest in Liberia but is now exploring his options (and really likes Martin Luther). ¬†There’s a good mix of age groups here and about 50/50 male and female.

After dinner, we had our first worship service as a community. ¬†It contained the Rite of Welcome ¬†where we all responded, three times, “Teach me, O Lord, your ways.” ¬†After that, we jumped into the hymn Praise to the Lord, Almighty. During the second verse, it hit me that I really was here and that I’m really doing this. ¬†Even with the candidacy process, the acceptance letters, the scholarships – all of that was a prelude to this moment. ¬†Even though I was on this path, it was still not 100% tangible. ¬†But now it is. ¬†This really is happening.

After communion, I noticed that there were crumbs on the floor and for most of the sending song, I just stared at them. ¬†I’m still trying to get use to how I handle crumbs. ¬†Some folks care, some don’t. ¬†I remember visiting a class at another seminary where, when the professor mentioned crumbs being thrown willy nilly, everyone in the class groaned and had a heart attack. ¬†I know I’m not at that point but I do know that I’m very aware of what happens to the bits of the consecrated host after communion. ¬†I figure that this will be one of the many questions I might just spend too much thinking on while I’m here.

Worship ended and we were sent to another introduction class in a room with no AC.  From one sweltring chapel to a humid as all hell room was not really I had planned. The President of LTSP and the Dean both made a little speech. We met some faculty members and our Introduction to Public Theology: Prologue course gave a short introduction.   And, with that, day one was done.

Oh. If anyone reading this knows where there is a dollar store in Mt Airy, I would appreciate if you could fill me in. ¬†And if it’s within walking distance from LTSP, that would be even better. ¬†Someone recommended me one that was 3 miles away. ¬†Even though I’m in the “city”, this is still car country it seems.

5 thoughts on “Day 1 done”

  1. Hi Marc, Welcome to LTSP, saw you had posted on Pretty Good Lutherans site. The closest dollar store is Family Dollar, 6555 Greene St, almost to Lincoln Drive, about a mile and a half from campus. They have another south on Germantown Avenue (5200 Germantown), about a mile further but you can take the 23 bus if you’re not up to a hike. Chestnut Hill considers itself too high class for something like a dollar store, the locations close to campus aren’t big enough (or have more expensive places already).

    Moving past the info, I’m the communications director at LTSP so I’ll run into you in the next day or two (also doing the class recordings so you’ll see me in and out of the room). I got to skim through your blog, hope you keep on writing about your experience. Let’s chat, interested in hearing more of your story. And yes, parts of the technology we have are quite behind the times. I came from UPenn via WHYY (public broadcaster) 9 years ago, and was shocked to see DOS programs in a number of places. More the inertia of users rather than the tech team, though there’s the challenge of having the technology in the background that’s equivalent to the outstanding academics of the school while not having an ivy league budget (or tuition). And I can say that having been in the medical center at Penn where things were state of the art – I still am amazed at the quality of the seminary’s faculty. And I say this not because it’s my job!

    Anyway, welcome to LTSP, I hope to get to know you as you continue your journey.

    – John

  2. John –

    Thanks for the info about the dollar stores! I’m just too use to being able to walk half a mile and run into one – NYC spoiled me in that way.

    I understand what you’re saying about the technology here. I am also use to an Ivy League budget – I got my undergrad at Cornell 6 years ago. I also have worked as a web designer for the last seven years or so. So whenever I notice web design issues, usability, or anything that is online related, I tend to write about it. It’s been my bread and butter for awhile so I tend to notice those things more than others.

    Though even with some of the “backward” elements of the technology here, the technology in the classrooms is fantastic. I am use to overhead projectors, chalkboards, and having to squint to try to see a formula a professor wrote on a chalk dust covered board. LTSP’s classroom facilities are a completely different animal and I’m actually going to be able to take courses in a facility that is up-to-date and modern. Earlier today, I was trying to figure out what everything in the Distance Learning Room actually did. LTSP has many lovely toys that I’m curious to see in the flesh.

  3. The “crumbs” thing isn’t as small as all that. Like almost any question regarding the sacraments, and especially Holy Communion, it quickly reaches out to touch on other matters. In this case, at a minimum, there are matters of Christology, ecclesiology,and ecumenism — who do we think Christ is; what is his relation to our current assembly; how do we honor the faiths of those who may believe differently.

    As you probably realize, I make an effort to avoid crumbs, and to consume (personally, publicly, and quickly) the very few that I drop. Once, years ago, this led to a funny incident, in which I inadvertently reached over to pick up and put in my mouth a “crumb” that proved to be a piece of foam rubber mixed with dirt that had fallen off somebody’s winter boot. I still ate it, lest anybody misunderstand the symbolism.

  4. Pastor Church –

    You’re right – it does touch on a lot of other matters. I tend to notice, however, that I can be distracted by them. And, in this case, would it make sense for me to publicly bend down and eat the crumbs, after the communion assistants have left? Would that be too big of a show? Would I then be a distraction to other people and their experience of worship and communion? And how would I consume crumbs in a situation that wouldn’t be quick (i.e. there are a lot of crumbs)?

  5. Yes, crumbs have contributed a lot to theology. But eating crumbs from the floor, even if they’re crumbs of Christ, in full view of the people–is that really necessary? Yuck! Couldn’t they be swept up and disposed of reverently?

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