On the road again


I’m on the bus heading back to New York! Not only was my Megabus 45 minutes late, it also waited a few moments to allow a man to run off the bus and buy a soda to go with the lunch he brought on board. I’m really not feeling Megabus anymore.

I should share a few interesting stories over the last few days. On Wednesday night, our chapel service was a Holden Vespers service. I’ve never participated in that type of service before and I found it very beautiful and moving. The amount of incense used during the service was a tad excessive but, eh, it seems to be us high church Lutherans do. Also, the sermon was preached from an iPad which is new trend in preaching that I have noticed recently. Tip for all pastors out there. If you want an iPad, convince your congregation to buy one for you as a “tool for ministry”. I have seen that done.

Tuesday night class dragggged. In an attempt to help find our voice, the professor asked everyone to name their favorite tree or mountain (the content of the lecture that night was to be the professor’s ideas behind the metaphors of God as Vine and God as Rock). Everyone in the class told their favorite story. My story lasted 12 seconds. The average story lasted around 3 minutes. Some folks felt the need to tell about every flower in their garden. I don’t think the professor expected that this would happen (the story-telling time lasted 90 minutes) but it just dragged on and on. Luckily I brought my laptop into class with me so I kept myself entertained. I think there is a problem with equating story telling and voice finding. How one tells stories is important in the voice finding process but finding one’s voice does not mean that every experience of yours should be told. To open the sea gates and not manage how stories are told leads to excessive sharing and a mistaken practice of equating life-story-telling with what a person’s voice is. To find a voice is to learn a personal style of conversation and writing. In honor of upcoming NYC fashion week, you learn what designs work on you, which don’t, and you learn how to personalize your presence so that you look good but you are always you. But no one enjoys a style of excess, over sharing, and being a mess. Skinny jeans are in, relaxed are out. Fit is key, especially in class discussions. Fashion metaphors might become my thing now.

Wednesday night was the last class discussion day and the highlight was the short insights our guest theologian, Dr. Katie Day, gave in our discussions about Cities of God. Her work in South Africa and her work studying the evolution of congregations along Germantown Avenue was fascinating to listen to. She’s an amazing asset to LTSP and I wish I had learned about her before I arrived on campus.

Thursday afternoon and night was devoted to part one of our professional ethics workshop and evaluation forms for the Prologue course. I also participated as a worship assistant for the first time in the Chapel at LTSP. And I now seem to be the new photographer for the Seminarian, the student body publication on campus. I’m not sure how that will work with my limited schedule on campus but we’ll see. That is what I get for telling folks I’m an amateur photographer. And don’t get me started on what happens when I start telling folks about my web design experience. It seems that I have many gifts that the church would like to use.

2 thoughts on “On the road again”

  1. “My story lasted 12 seconds. The average story lasted 3 minutes.” Ha — welcome to seminary. That stuff never ends, and I say “stuff” in lieu of something more colorful.

  2. Hey Marc, good to meet you live and in person yesterday. I saw your comment on Katie Day (among other things!) – she is a treasure. She did an interview early this summer on the Avenue project, it’s here: http://faithandleadership.com/multimedia/faith-the-avenue – you may find it interesting. If you’re looking for food other than the Refectory some time let me know and we can get lunch somewhere. Drop me a note – jkahler@ltsp.edu. – John

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