Thursday, March 10, 2005

Diary of a Bored White Woman

Okay, tonight you're going to get some real-time classroom action. I'm in the killer giant lecture class that meets three times a quarter (oh the horror) and we are subjected to some person telling us some large amount of information that we usually do not care about. In the 6 times I've had this three hour class, I would say maybe 2 hours of it has actually been interesting. Maybe 3.
It's sad because I so thoroughly enjoy my other classes. This one is so beneath my degree and my school.
Today was my last day of Exegesis and Theology and Art. I gave, with a brilliant partner, a great presentation on the religious imagination of Andy Warhol. We could have gone on for hours - and the class was really into it too. I was especially touched by someone who I'd never spoken with coming up to tell me what a great speaker I am. Bodes well for preaching!
And the last day of Exegesis...I nearly cried. That class has been everything I hoped graduate school would be. And it wasn't really the content, although I definitely grasped the subject better than in most classes. It was the privilege of sitting every day in the presence of this giant in the field, who would spend the majority of the class time telling us stories. It was so incredible. I was honored to be there every day.
Anyway after this super-high day of wonderful class I am listening to someone give me the Bowen model of...something psychological. Man. I don’t' know if I can deal with the counseling part of being a pastor. It's one of the things that keeps me from wanting to just be a parish priest. I find this so completely boring. Can't I outsource the counseling and just preach?
I'm going to see about working on my final paper for this class now. Around me, there is one person reading a magazine (amusingly, behind a notebook like it's porn or something), several people reading other books, several playing computer games (God bless the laptop), and actually quite a few more than usual who seem to be paying attention. Even taking notes. Yikes.
Oh, wait, no, that guy is doing his Greek workbook, not taking notes.
OK, on to the paper now.
I'm back. The paper is exhausting. It's a "family autobiography". Geezu, I've been through all this in therapy HOW many times? I know, it should be easy. But it's tiring. This is why changing therapists sucks. You just want someone to know you. Maybe I can just hand over this blog to my next therapist.
It's been all of 18 minutes since I started this little tome. And went off to write a few paragraphs and came back. Ay yi yi!
Isn't this kind of an interesting social experiment? Those of you who are teachers, be warned - it can be soooo painful if you are not interesting. I know, it's really me, not the teacher with the problem here. And yet. Sometimes you are listening to someone and you really would rather pull out your hair (I pull out my neck hairs, usually).
Tomorrow is my last new testament class. And that's it. Classes over for my second quarter. They were so good (except this one). I loved New Testament - the teacher, my first lady teacher, was very knowledgeable - you could throw anything at her and she could speak to it. And she'd give us an hour of her time every Tuesday to talk about whatever.
Oh, wow, not only are my classes nearly over, but I am almost done with all my work. I got another paper back today (I should post it - it's about Song of Songs), with a nice A. At this point, after turning in the Warhol thing today, I am down to 1 final (multiple choice), 1 paper (7-10 pages exegesis of 1 John 3:1-10 - I know, it's a killer passage, I might reconsider), and then this dumb class - the family autobiography and reactions to my small group sessions (which we did in two Saturdays instead of overall 10 weeks).
Plus they turned off my DSL. We called to tell them that on March 21 we want to switch to our new phone service at the new apartment. So they turned off our DSL on March 1. Nice. Which means that it's very hard for me to get online and post things like this and my papers. Because I am dealing with...get this...DIALUP. Holy shit. How did I ever deal with this? I can't remember life before DSL and I frankly don't want to. It was a dark, dark time.
Don't you just love the people who blatantly sleep in class? I am completely unable to do that. The natives are getting restless in here. There is rustling of papers. There is some talking. There are many blank stares. I think I will spend the last hour of class (yes, this class goes until 10, and I've been in class since 1) playing Solitaire. I kind of wish I had another game. I used to have a casino game but I got rid of it. That would be ironic, playing the slots during seminary class.
Just kill me now.
He's one of these who has a powerpoint, which he passes out, then he proceeds to read the slides. People, don't read the slides. I can read the damn slides for myself. I had a nice glass of wine before I came to class: a 2002 Sterling Vintner's Selection Central Coast Cab. It was a very cabby cab. Do you know what that means? Maybe a little too cabby. But if you like cab, a decent choice. I paid $8.50 for a glass. I'll bet the bottle doesn't cost much more at Beverages & More. But I only paid $1.95 for a burger, so dinner was still under $15 with tip.
Anyway I discovered early on that a glass of wine helps this class tremendously. Takes the edge off, as my neighbor says. He's playing games on his phone. The guy next to him stopped taking notes and is sleeping, and oh, shit, we have to talk to the people at our tables! I better pay attention to the topic.
Ha ha! He's not sleeping, he's playing games too! He's an old man and even HE'S bored!!
Well I got to sit with my own group and talk. Luckily we didn't talk much about the assigned topic. None of us, except the person who's had the speaker's class on the same topic, is enjoying this at all. Mr. Old Sleepy Game-Player Man is gone. My friend Pete seems to be able to write his paper now (he and I discussed at the break our inability to write papers while this speaker is yammering in our ears). That's my shout-out to Pete since he's a reader. : )
I'm hitting critical exhaustion. The headache begins. Oh, this is one of those classes in which attendance counts. And you have to sign something saying how much of each class you attended. Just in case you were wondering why so many people (100+) would sit through this excruciating experience. That and it is a required class (a 3-quarter long requirement!) for MDivs, and it's an easy A if you can take the lectures, so we all kind of band together and in solidarity we face the pain. Perhaps this is some kind of test from God. I have a friend here who thinks everything is a test from God. Can't say I can deal with living life that way - I guess tests are too negative. And give the impression you could fail. I don't think you can. That's why I'm studying I John 3:1-10! Ha ha!
Seriously, seriously, this is the most horrid thing ever. This is NOT what I came to grad school for.
Well he said something useful: if a pastor is asked to leave a church, it is almost never because of preaching or theology, it is because of emotional issues. Churches are like little family systems. With the attendant neuroses. I can tell that there is something good going on, my brain is just simply mush at the moment, and there's too much jargon for me. It's much too much for 9:24 p.m.
And who knows when this will get posted - I have to go home and collapse tonight and be back here at 8 am and then I'm even taking the day off to work on the exegesis paper so there won't be much time for DIALING UP and loading this into blogger.
Hey if anyone knows any outstanding commentary on I John I am all ears.
I have won solitaire three times in a row. I have been playing for several weeks (sometimes my attention needs the help) and never won once, now I've won 3 times. I should go to Vegas after this. I should go right now.
So basically I'm learning that theology is pretty much never the reason that churches split. It's because there is an emotional dynamic that needs to be satisfied - people can't deal with conflict directly and therefore need to split.
OK, I think he's going to go until 9:50. We usually get some grace and get out early (the class starts at 6:30 after all). But this dude ain't slowing down. It's 9:29. I am not sensing relief in my immediate future.
This reminds me of an illustration that my husband uses to help me deal with my insane fear of eternity (remind me to go off on that sometime): time moves so painfully slowly in classes like this and so unnervingly quickly in classes like my others. The fear is that the time in eternity will be more like the former. I try to think of it like the latter. Like when you go to Disneyland and you don't wear a watch (because that's part of the rules at Disneyland) and before you know it your 14 hours are up and the park is closing. Time really can fly - or actually, it's more like time just stops. It's inconsequential. It's happened during great movies, great conversations. But it's never long enough. And I suppose when it's eternity, it may finally be long enough. Is it possible for you to want something to go on really forever? I don't have anything on earth that I can think of (though I can think of things that I'd like to go for a really long time) but I'll bet God has something up His sleeve.
Now we're talking about the problems churches put upon pastor's families. This have I lived. It's part of why I fear being a pastor and also why I know it's doable. Without kids. And in a healthy church.
I think this has gotten long. And as an experiment in student thought and experience it's probably lost its luster. I wonder what our psychologist speaker would make of it. Maybe I'll email it to him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you are fantastic! i love reading your essays and this was especially enjoyable because i too have a class that drones on and on for three hours at a time twice a week during prime naptime--right after lunch (very difficult to stay awake). thanks for all your posts!