Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Well I got my hit counter for last week and I dropped by half! Geez! I guess that's what I deserve for ignoring the blog. It's not that I have nothing to say, it's just that some things can't be talked about in this forum (most of what's on my mind these days, actually), and I'm so busy trying to get ready for the GRE and get applications put together, plus there's that little matter of the 12 hours of classes I'm taking. So the blog suffers. But I hate to see such a drop in readership so I cave and write when I should study.

Read an excellent book by Jana Childers called Performing the Word. It's an examination of preaching (and eventually worship) as theater, how to use the tools of the actor to improve sermons. It's a lot of stuff I already did without realizing it, thanks to my theater training. A fun read. Plus, she seems to have been trained by the same person I had at Wheaton - Jim Young. Ah, Jimma. Those are some memories.

Anyway, she's up at GTU, which is presently tops on my list of grad schools primarily because I met Louis Weil who is a complete darling. Unfortunately he's retiring soon, so I have to find some other people to like up there. Am planning to visit Nov. 8-9 (maybe stick around for the weekend, we'll see). My preaching prof actually did his PhD there, in (get this): Theology and the Arts with an Emphasis in Worship and Proclamation. Whew. That's a whole lotta degree. They don't do it anymore, either, which is a shame since it would probably be great for me too. But hopefully I can cobble something together that's similar.

My ideas for the PhD are becoming more sacramental and Christian (focused on Eucharistic theology) and less interfaith these days. At least, that's my approach with the GTU and the Catholic schools. There's still this wonderful guy in Canada who does exactly what I want to do, and if I get in with him, then all's good. But J keeps pointing out that the interfaith/food things might not keep my attention and/or be what I want to study for many years. I don't really know. I'm not entirely sure taht what I enter thinking I'll study will be what I wind up studying! Some people say that's OK - I don't have to know yet. I'm listening to those people. GTU seems to want me to know exactly what I'm doing - they even ask for a plan for my doctorate already! But I'm like, let's be open to seeing what I might discover in preliminary research, and go from there. Some places like that (I'm certainly "teachable") but others not so much. Ah, it's all quite confusing.

On the plus side, zeroing in on Eucharistic theology has opened up a few more places - such as the Holy Grail of Notre Dame (tho I really don't expect to get in there!). But it does put me more in the line of eventually teaching at seminary instead of secular university. And maybe that's ok. I just love the work I did at USC so much, and I still want to do religious life stuff that's interfaith, if at all possible. My mentors in that field say that it doesn't much matter what my PhD is in, as long as I have one. So it still might work out.

And anyway I'm not sure I'm that opposed to teaching at seminary. Taking this creative preaching class - and the feedback from my prof - is really convincing me that homiletics is a special area for me. I'm incredibly blessed with gifts in it. Now a big part of it is that theater background, which makes me "perform" differently than almost every preacher at my school. But I am also blessed with the writing ability, and, of all things, that natural curiosity about texts and situations from which good exegesis and application are born.

I have no idea if I could teach preaching - sometimes the best actors make bad directors, and the same may hold true in this field. Rarely is someone very gifted at doing an art form as well as teaching it. But I gotta say, I love it so much. It is really one of the most fun things I get to do - especially when they let me run with it like in this creativity class. My prof of course would be thrilled if I wanted to study proclamation - he'd send me to Childers, or to Bartow at Princeton, or preferably keep me for himself (which is something he's been talking about since my first year at Fuller!) - but I just don't know. I can see a future teaching ritual and religion & culture; I don't know about teaching preaching. I don't know about sitting through all those bad sermons!! Oh, I am naughty.

Anyway, the morning is getting away from me, so I should close. If you are one of those blessed readers who prays for me, I need support on the GRE prep and getting all the rest done (the next month is just insane) for applications, and then there's the wait for the answer! And I'm also really tired and feeling flu-ey, which I'm trying to ignore, but it's difficult. Pray I'll feel 100% again soon. I don't think it will happen overnight, but hopefully I'll pull out of this slump in a few weeks. The church situation continues to be confusing and upsetting - J has now reached the point of being very sad about the whole thing, and I feel bad about that. Looks like we are probably going to pull way back and spend some time at our old church. I'm hoping, if they need it, to maybe help out with some stuff up front - like the MC or verger stuff. I think if this whole ordination thing never works out, I might be really happy serving as a verger. Yeah. So if they have room for me in that, then I'll probably just go back there full time, at least until whatever happens in the next stage of life............

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