Monday, August 30, 2004
Slept in till about 10, so skipped "church shopping" this week. Sinner. Spent some time with the prayer book and assesed the unpacking situation. I have no idea when Roommate will arrive--my deadline to make the room look like just one person moved in and not four. I learn from RA that Roommate's a commuter, which means he'll only be staying here a couple nights a week. This only adds to the mystery. Is he an old seasoned minister? Is he a young guy, getting on with his life already?

RA is a small guy, dark complexion, hair close-cropped and greased down. I find out later his family are first-generation immigrants from Sicily, and he's an ex-Marine. Now, I haven't discussed this with him, so maybe it's all a front for the RA image. If that's so, it's a good front. Maybe I should start some rumors about that jail time I served. Anyway, his eyes are large and round in proportion to the rest of his head, so they look like they could pop out of their sockets if you clocked him on the back of the head hard enough. You didn't hear that from me, though. Just in case he is a Marine.

Furniture had to be rearranged to accomodate the electrical sockets. I discovered two more, and I think I've found an arrangment I'm satisfied with. Made a run to Wal-Mart in Nicholasville for some storage supplies and a new modulater for the DVD player, as appararently rodents chewed through the wiring of the old one. Nicholasville is a shade bigger than Wilmore and closer in proximity than Lexington. It has a Wal-Mart and Sonic, and quite frankly, who could ask for more?

There's so much of Nouwen's Wounded Healer that just reaches out and grabs me. Was reading the second and third parts last night: "Ministry for a Rootless Generation" and "Ministry to a Hopeless Man"--things I could read over and over, turn over again and again a hundred times and never absorb it all. One thing he discusses as necessary for the modern (i.e., 1970) Christian leader is articulation:

"The man who can articulate the movements of his inner life, who can give names to his varied experiences, need no longer be a victim of himself, but is able slowly and consistently to remove the obstables that prevent the spirit from entering."

This speaks so much to my need to journal and articulate this seminary experience, to give words and names to all these impressions and feelings about why I'm here, where I've been and where I'm going. I know without a doubt that I'm here less for a degree and much more about something God wants to shape and fashion inside of me.

I'm loving the final verse of Psalm 138. There's the unshakable proclamation of faith: "YHWH will fulfill his purpose for me." It is God, not me, who fulfills my purpose. Then, the statement of praise: "Your love, YHWH, endures forever." And, then it's capped by this pitiful plea, a beggar's humble cry, tinged all over with doubt: "Don't abandon the works of your hands."

In other words, "Hey, wait a minute! You're not finished with me. I'm not complete. There must be something more. Don't forget me! Please! Please!"

I want to read the desparation in the psalmist, but is it true? I want to see the juxtaposition, the tension, of faith and doubt. The Father will fulfill his purpose.

[Aside:] You will, won't you, Father?

I believe. Help me with my unbelief.

posted by Peter at 2:05 PM
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Sunday, August 29, 2004
Day One
Rolled into campus at straight up 5. The trip was 10 hours on the nose. The car was packed so tight with stuff, I'm convinced that had I wrecked the car, I swear, it would have popped like a pinata. I'm sitting here amongst it all now wondering how I'll fit a roommate in here. And here I was wanting to simplify my life. I may be getting a nudge as there's but two electrical outlets for my plethora of electrical equipment.

The floor was empty when I arrived, and I called John. Enlisted him to haul my stuff from the car, into the building, 'round the spiral staircase, first door on the right. Kentucky is every bit as humid as Virginia, and it proved so with an exclamation point when the heavens opened just as we'd finished--a thunder and lightening storm of fantastic proportions. I had the pleasure of witnessing it first hand in a memorable way.

After returning from a bite to eat, I had just begun to assess the unpacking/settling in task at hand (an overwhelming one if ever there was), when the fire alarm pierced the entire building. Thusly, I met a handful of floormates, none of whom's names and faces I can now connect. "Hi, my name is Steve" simply fails to register for me after the duress of a ten-hour drive and unpacking experience interrupted by a half-hour break standing in a torrential downpour. But then, I can be a real grouch sometimes. Great way to make the seminary first impressions.

The perpetrator turned out to be a young North Carolinian--drawl and all. He strikes me as the kind of person who laughs at his own jokes and repeats them again and again... and again... just in case you missed it the first time. Or the second time. He was getting quite a kick out of the fact that he had set his microwavable rice bowl aflame in the community microwave. Even borrowed some guy's cell phone to call Momma and relay "the hysterics." Real hysterical. Dude has some serious character potential.

Some random thoughts on this morning's readings:
Psalm 138: YHWH will fulfill his purpose for me. My daily mantra. The of the hour is "Why am I here?" Wilmore, that is. I live in faith that He will reveal it just as soon as I stop pestering about it.

A voice retorts, "Why does that matter? You are here. Now, live."

Yes, sir. I'll get right on that.

posted by Peter at 1:40 PM
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Friday, August 20, 2004
Support my candidacy
Vote for Pedro T-shirts now available.

posted by Peter at 8:52 AM
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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Nothing new under the sun
I received a note today tipping me off to a blog entitled The Portal where I found the following quote out of Glenn Tinder's 1974 political science treatise Political Thinking. For me, it's one of those quotes that ricochets around my brain and I just can't quite put my finger on why I sense it should be so important, but it feels so.
"Do not try to arrive at ideas that no one has ever thought of before. Not many of even the greatest thinkers have done that. The aim of thinking is to discover ideas that pull together one's world, and thus one's being, not to give birth to unprecedented conceptions. An idea is your own if it has grown by your own efforts and is rooted in your own emotions and experience, even though you may have received the seeds from someone else and even though the idea may be very much like ideas held by many others."

Maybe it has something to do with my intentions here with this weblog. Maybe it has something to do with the pressures that come with being a writer and having to constantly present a unique voice, bringing a fresh perspective and an original idea. But there are no original ideas.

But I'm still chewing on this.

In other news, due to extenuating circumstances, I visit the dentist tomorrow for the first time in nearly five years. Have to take advantage of those full-time employee benefits before they expire in days. Remember that scene in The Italian Job where Left Ear goes on about having had a bad experience with dogs? Well, I've had a bad experience with dentists.

The appointment is for 10:15, but I've been told to be there no later than 9:45 to fill out paperwork. That's a freakin' lot of paperwork, if you ask me, but I feel like I'm up to the challenge. And no telling how long it'll take. I've an inherent distrust of "the dentist." I blame the flouride.

And lastly, the Batman Begins trailer is now available online. Spiderman, schmiderman. Give me Batman any day of the week.

10 days until moving day.

posted by Peter at 12:37 AM
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Monday, August 16, 2004
In your eyes
I was reading Nouwen's Wounded Healer as I rode the Metro yesterday on my way to Brookland to take pictures of this.

He begins his second essay entitled "Ministry to a Rootless Generation" with the following story.

One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful. The soldiers threathned to burn the village and kill every man in it unless the young man were handed over to them before dawn. The people went to the minister and asked him what to do. The minister, torn between handing over the boy to the enemy or having his people killed, withdrew to this room and read his Bible, hoping to find an answer before dawn. After many hours, in the early morning his eyes fell on these words: "It is better that one man dies than that the whole peole be lost."

Then the minister closed the Bible, called the soldiers and told them where the boy was hidden. And after the soldiers led the fugitive away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the minister had saved the lives of the people. But the minister did not celebrate. Overcome with a deep sadness, he remained in his room. That night an angel came to him, and asked, "What have you done?"

"I handed over the fugitive to the enemy."

"But don't you know that you have handed over the Messiah?"

"How could I know?" the minister replied anxiously.

"AIf, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known."

Now don't get me wrong: I know as well as you that a church without a Bible is a train without a track. But, a church that cannot look into the eyes of those around it is killing its Messiah.

posted by Peter at 7:59 PM
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Wednesday, August 11, 2004
I was listening in my car the other day:

The atlantic was born today and i'll tell you how...
The clouds above opened up and let it out.
I was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere
When the water filled every hole.
And thousands upon thousands made an ocean,
Making islands where no island should go.
Oh no.

Those people were overjoyed;
they took to their boats.
I thought it less like a lake and more like a moat.
The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flood lands
To your door have been silenced forever more.
The distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
It seems farther than ever before
Oh no.

I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer

I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer

So come on, come on
So come on, come on
So come on, come on
So come on, come on"

--"Transatlanticism" by Death Cab for Cutie

My god, what a gorgeous song. Moves me much more than a rousing chorus of "Let the River Flow" or "Better Is One Day."

"The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed" (Psalm 94:16, NRSV).

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8, NRSV).

It is God who dares me to take one step closer.

posted by Peter at 1:14 AM
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