Monday, August 31, 2009

A Little Humor

If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere

My first week in the City

On the drive up to the city I got a text from a good friend that inspired the title of this entry (yes, I know it's a lyric). I didn't really do a lot of New York-y things last week, and I'm okay with that. I'm on a really tight budget, so I'm not doing a lot of stuff, but I'm getting settled. I'm being super cheap in some other ways, too, but that's actually another entry. Mostly last week I did some walking around in Chelsea to figure things out. I went to St. Luke in the Fields and enjoyed it. I've eaten a lot of diner food and am getting tired of omelets, regardless of what vegetarian options are in them. I've eaten at Ray's Pizza three times. I've haven't been to Frank's Deli yet. I'm doing a lot more walking than I'm used to, but I'm okay with it.

My most "city" day was one day last week, but my best friend Cary's friend Todd was in town and wanted to hang out. So we figured out our schedules and met in Central Park, which was really a scavenger hunt, trying to find one another, but we did. And then we went to the Met and did the American wing...neither of us was really impressed, though, but I had a really good time. I was expecting shy and demure, but we talked right off the bat. We talked and walked through the museum and enjoyed ourselves and our conversation. We did some of the Modern Art exhibit, but we were kinda museumed out. It just happens, you know? And boat shoes are great for a lot of things, but standing on hardwood museum floors is not one of them. So we left the museum and went to the Shake Shack near the Natural History Museum. We enjoyed our lunches and think we'd both heartily recommend it. Apparently there's a real shack shack one of it in Madison Square. The Shroom Burger is great.

Other than that I've been just settling in. Unpacking. Getting things sorted. Figuring out stuff that I need my mom to send me. The weather has cooled down significantly, so that's a plus. I've got LOTS of entries planned, so the next few days might be a little heavy on the numbers, but maybe not the length of each entry...which might be desirable for people who sit in front of computer screens all day and have a hard time focusing very long.

Seersucker Seminarian?

Those of you who visit my blog probably noticed a change in the layout and title. I've abandoned "An Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle" because I don't think that fits me anymore. My dear friend Ricky Lee used to call me that, and I was to him. I was because in large part I was to myself as well. I didn't know who I am or whose I am, really. But as I've come to terms and acceptance and embracing those things and getting comfortable in my own skin, as Bishop Duncan observes, I've stopped being so puzzling. And as such, I've changed the name of my blog from that to "Seersucker Seminarian" complete with seersucker background. No, it's not "a bed."

I've considered changing some other stuff, and I may in not too long. But right now I want to keep most of the other stuff the same. I think my little bio to the left of the entries needs to be updated, and maybe I need a picture of me in seersucker. But I'm going to try to be more thoughtful about worshipping a vulnerable child, a nonviolent teacher, a crucified troublemaker from an occupied land. As I was telling a friend of mine the other night, it's very real now. I'm a seminarian. For now, though, stuff on my blog will be as it appears in this entry. I've started trying to write titles of entries down and just save those as drafts so that I can remember to come back to them. This is one of those entries. Some other include one about my first week in the City, my first Freecycle adventure, and women and gays in vestments (oh my!)

I plan on being up every morning and trying to blog something then. Maybe not two entries, maybe some narrative, maybe some thoughtful things. Probably nothing really profound. And in the interim I'm going to always try to be going to chapel, saying my prayers, and doing my homework.

The Posting Rundown

I said that I'd post stuff over here that I was posting on Facebook, so here I go. This will be links to articles and videos just embedded. There is ONE video that I'm not going to post here as that it feature prominently in an upcoming entry. I haven't posted toooo much over there, but there are a few links that I'm going to put over here, and maybe do nominal commentary. I'm going to try to start making short posts rather than doing this kind of rundown thing.

  • Salvation's goal: returning all to right relationship - The Presiding Bishop does some follow up on her address the day before General Convention started. I liked what she said that the beginning. I like what she says now in her expounding on what she meant as that so many people only got snippets and commentary without looking at the fullness of the sermon. I have a lot of experience in what she's talking about, so hearing her say what she says rings True to me. Check it out.

  • Christians Against Healthcare for All? - Fr. Jake is great. He raises points and asks questions. And when he gets mad, he is willing to use emotion in his blogging, which is what I really like. I, of course, like his slant, but I really like his emotion. In this post he questions people, and he lambasts others for not caring for the poor and repeating lies about healthcare bills that have some support.

  • Myths and falsehoods about health care reform - Media Matters for America identifies and debunks 14 myths and falsehoods surrounding the health care reform debate. Enough said. Read and disseminate.

  • Mad Priest's Thought for Wednesday, August 26, 2009 - End of Argument - From the entry, "You cannot have a doctrine of Christian marriage that is based on scriptural precedent and instruction. All the marriages mentioned in the Bible were Jewish, Roman, Greek or from some other pre-Christian Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean culture. They would have been different from each other but all were recognised as real marriage by the writers of scripture." Check it out

  • Come, Beloved of God - Someone I read referenced this blog entry and all I can say is wow. I'm working on a post about salvation inspired by Derek Webb's "Take to the World" and some of the Rev. Scott A. Gunn's postings on salvation. I think this might come up in that entry.

  • There is one more thing that I didn't post in this rundown, but that's because I've decided to make a separate entry about it...and it's probably going to be a good, long one.

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    If That's Movin' Up, then I'm Movin' Out

    Or, Moving in to Dehon 3A-N
    The Close, particularly the 21st St. side is not the easiest place to move in to. you have to go through two gates which require a pass-card, and there are stairs and so on. The movers parked the truck and had only half an hour left of official work because of our mishaps getting to the seminary. We decided it's be best and easiest to move all the stuff to Michael and Katie's apartment first. So we unload the stuff and start taking it up the stairs. They're on the third floor of White, which is on the other side of the Seminary from my room in Dehon. We work, but we're tired. We'd been driving for twelve or so hours at that point. And as Michael and I started to go through the Tunnel, it started to rain lightly again. So we were tired and were trying unpack.
    There came a point where we tried to do some staging areas, but that didn't work so well. I didn't realize how full the truck was because it was packed really well. Then 8:30 came. The movers were allowed to leave because we'd been late. But they were nice movers and gave us a free 30 minutes and helped us with the heavy stuff...but then we were on our own. :( And we moved stuff. And a student helped. And I started to feel desperation. I'd gotten my room stuff but hadn't been to my room yet. I didn't know anyone, and we weren't getting much help. And it was hot and humid (worse than Alabama). And I had a depressed Facebook status update from my phone concerning ZIP codes.
    And then we got was we needed: permission to bend the rules some...and then a lot of help all at once. The Fabulous Anna Noon said, "We're going to operate in staging areas just to get the truck empty. We're going to break the rules and prop things, but we'll still be watching." And that's what we did. We got stuff in to the inner gate, and then the outer gate, and then to the bottom of White.
    And then a crew arrived! A bunch of guys from my class and the middler class came and helped us get the rest of the stuff up the stairs, and then they helped get my stuff down stairs, across the Close, and up to my room. James Joiner gave me some frozen yogurt and I took a short break to eat it. Best frozen yogurt I've ever eaten because I was so hot. The last time a t-shirt I was wearing was as soaked as it was that night was when I'd worn it as an undershirt for a soccer game in the middle of July. It was awful. We finally got all the stuff up to my room and I used the lamp that my awesome suitemate gave me to get stuff together and to start sorting things.
    After I pealed the shirt from my body and showered I joined Chad and the people who'd helped us move in his room. It was very nice to just sit and cool down. Oh, yeah. While my room came with an A/C unit, it doesn't work, and its individuals' responsibility to get their A/Cs. I put in a work order Saturday morning for that (fast forward to Monday: they came, and they think it's shot, so I can either buy a new unit, or just let it sit. I've been keeping my window open round the clock). So we all sit in Chad's room and just calm down. Chad offers to let me sleep on his floor since his A/C works and I take him up on it. I started setting up my room as best I could, but didn't do a lot: I got some clothes out, and that was about it.
    And Saturday I woke up and was basically too damn hot. I found a wireless network (the password I was using wasn't working on the network I thought I was going to be using; we've fixed that now) and I wrote thank you notes. Because the air wasn't working and it was so muggy, I moved as little as I could. I sat at my desk, nominally chatting, and wrote thank you notes to people who'd helped me move and helped me get to General. That kept me relatively cool, and in the interim, I've mostly unpacked (but still am a long way from having a pristine room).
    So here I am, moved in. I've done some things in the City that I'll blog about as this week continues, hopefully getting caught up. I'm working on another entry (or two, but I just lost it's title) that aren't necessarily narrative, but more about some things I'm thinking about or conversations I've had or am having. I'm trying to ween myself from staring at my computer screen, so back to back entries isn't likely. Leave me some comments or quote me or something.

    I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.

    Or, How I Got to New York City via Seven States, a Flooded Road, and the Lincoln Tunnel
    I've been here a week, I figure I can write something. I have another entry stewing in my head, a few actually, but for this one just narrative; rather than lumping them all together, I'll post a few different entries.
    I got to New York not by aeroplane, but rather by Uhaul. Michael and Katie Drinkwater picked me up in Phenix City, and that was the beginning of our adventure, which was pleasant for the most part. We went through Georgia first. After driving about four hours we stopped for dinner and Katie and Michael swapped who was my passenger. I was driving the Uhaul since I had the most experience with a) [aggressive] city driving and b)large vehicles (a Wesley Suburban will do that to you). And thus we continued our journey.
    Katie and I had excellent conversation...and then we got really tired of being on the road. We finally said, "We're stopping at the first exit we come to in VA...or 11:30, whichever happens first." Well, the first exit in VA didn't have lodging. Nor did the second. Finally, we stopped at Fancy Gap and stayed at the Days Inn, I think. We were using my iPhone's directions to navigate us, and they were a little different from MapQuest, mostly in good ways.
    We got up the next morning and got back on the road. We didn't take 95 or have to deal with DC traffic. We went through WV which had AWFUL roads that were "under construction" but really just made the Uhaul not like the road. By this point it had started to rain, too. And it kept on raining the entire drive. We called the number in the Uhaul that was on one of the ~5k stickers to get movers scheduled. As we got closer to the city we started to encounter some traffic. We called the movers to let them know we were going to be late. And then things just went off.
    As I said before, we were using the iPhone. Well, let me tell you in case you ever have to do this: the iPhone assumes you are driving a car, and from what I can tell there is no way to tell it you're driving something, shall we say, more commercial. So the iPhone had us taking this GREAT route to avoid tolls and avoid a lot of traffic really. And it took us to the Holland Tunnel. I pulled up and the woman just stared at me and said, "No commercial vehicles allowed." At that point she called a police officer to get traffic stopped so we could be diverted to the Lincoln Tunnel. Michael and I are in the Uhaul and I'm trying to get excited but am really just stressed about getting the truck through traffic and unloaded, all while the clock is eeking closer to when we're supposed to meet the movers.
    So we follow the signs for the Lincoln Tunnel. And in the process of having to go through a traffic light, I lost Katie. We'd been an amazing team of drivers with me leading and her letting me in...but that one intersection just didn't work out. So I became the hated Uhaul in the right lane headed toward the Lincoln Tunnel as I waited for her to catch up. And she was confused. And neither of us had directions to the other tunnel, just signs, some of which were spotty.
    We finally get on this road and I take what I swore was the sign to get to the Lincoln Tunnel. It turns out it was, but for a few minutes I was unsure; the sign had shared a post with a sign for a parking lot, and there was no traffic going either direction on this road which at one point was flooded. Katie had done some wonder driving and caught up with us and then we entered Lincoln Tunnel traffic. We were almost there. Katie let a Greyhound in. Traffic was so slow that Michael was able to get out of the car and go to Katie to get money for the toll, as that neither of us had cash. At the Holland Tunnel we were in Lane 2, so just one lane over to get turned around. We got to the tollbooth, where trucks were "$8 and up" and the toll was $16. And unlike Illinois tolls that take plastic or you can pay online if you don't have the fare, no no cash only. So....
    Another police officer turned us around and we got back on the high way and took the first exit. I did some quick looking with "around me" and found a Wachovia very close to us. I parked illegally and told Michael to move the truck if anyone needed to get in or out of their driveway while I ran to get cash. I got the cash and got us back on the high way. I don't know if it was the fact that we'd already sat through it once or if it really was moving better, but the time we spent waiting to get into the tunnel felt a lot less.
    We went through the Tunnel and missed the correct turn. However, unlike most Southern cities, New York is planned. And yes, children, there are lots of one-way streets, but they alternate and things just make sense. We were able to get our way to the Close (we'd sent Katie on through the tunnel our first try), and the movers parked the Uhaul for us and we started to move...
    To be continued...

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Doctrine of Discovery

    Check out this piece in Indian Country Today that Fr. Jeff posted on Facebook and then I posted as well. I testified in favor of the resolution at General Convention which the article references. Pass it along as well. The Episcopal Church is working to make strides for justice for indigenous peoples, and the government should listen.


    Performed by Derek Webb

    like a man comes to an alter i came into this town
    with the world upon my shoulders and promises passed down
    and i went into the water and my father, he was pleased
    i built it and i’ll tear it down so you will be set free

    but i found thieves and salesmen living in my father’s house
    i know how they got in here and i know how to get ‘em out
    i’m turning this place over from floor to balcony
    and then just like these doves and sheep you will be set free

    i’ve always been a lover from before i drew a breath
    some things i loved easy and some i loved to death
    because love’s no politician, it listens carefully
    of those who come i can’t lose one, so you will be set free

    but go on and take my picture, go on and make me up
    i’ll still be your defender, you’ll be my missing son
    and i’ll send out an army just to bring you back to me
    because regardless of your brother’s lies you will be set free

    i am my beloveds and my beloved’s mine
    so you bring all your history and i’ll bring the bread and wine
    and we’ll have us a party where all the drinks are on me
    then as surely as the rising sun you will be set free

    I'm in the City!

    Yes, indeed, I made it. I'll regale you all with the tales of my travels perhaps tomorrow, but wanted to tell you that I'm having a good time and really looking forward to my class. In addition to having spent the summer at church with Cathy, I'm getting to know some classmates pretty well. I also have an amazing suitemate.
    I'm blogging so late because I can't sleep, but I plan on blogging more regularly. I just think about Judy Dye checking my blog and she'll have an upper hand in conversations about the ongoings of my life if I blog them...for her and for other Troy people. I know some of my more recent Facebook friends might be embarrassed by what I write, but hey, if Michael can tweet things I can blog them, right? I also want to keep a record, and I think that blogging is a good place to do that. I'm going to try some new things with my blog, too:
    • blogging things that I post on Facebook - this means links, videos, articles, others' blog entries, whatever. I want the information that I share that way to be made available other ways, too. That might mean a lot more content, but it will be nice for me to share doubly.
    • blogging more regular daily events - so that I can remember what I did and so that others can keep up. We'll see how well I do on this one, as that it's pretty much always my goal to blog more, and it has yet to happen up to this point.
    • blogging reflections - on biblical texts, on services, on hymns, on sermons, on news (church and secular), on things that happen in my life, on books that I'm reading and their affect on me, on things for which I am grateful, on things about which I've prayed, on things for which I need prayer.
    • blogging things on my mind - mostly song lyrics, probably, but other media that I don't necessarily post on Facebook, such as quotations from books I've read or am reading but that stick with me and cause me to meditate, but posting them little or no commentary, just them in their typed or linked form.
    I'm up so late because I prayed Compline with two guys in my class and then we sat and sang hymns a capella for at least an hour and a half, maybe longer. It was like singing Sacred Harp, but just singing what we had available...and it was great. We made up harmonies, we used the harmonies in the hymnals, we sang in unison. I look forward to more of it, and hope that others in our class will be able to join. I hope that the de facto separations between the two sides of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd and the Close and 422 don't stay too intact as we get more people from our class in and moving around.
    We closed with
    Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
    whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm
    be there at our sleeping and give us we pray
    your peace in our hearts Lord at the end of the day.

    Let us bless the Lord.
    Thanks be to God.

    Friday, August 7, 2009

    A Psalm for Cathy

    O come let us sing unto the Lord;
    let us heartily rejoice in the call to ordained vocation
    Let us come before his presence with our sister Cathy;
    and show ourselves glad in her with psalms
    For Cathy is a great scholar;
    and, although her name is not Hermione Granger, Cathy is the smartest witch of her age;
    Cathy has served the Church in many and diverse ways,
    being Senior Warden not the least of her tasks
    Through thick and thin Cathy has been a rock,
    and wielder of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch!
    Yea, verily, we say unto you "We're not dead yet!"
    Very much because of Cathy's love of God and SPOTH.
    However when God (also known as God's agent, Father Mark) called to her:
    "Cathy, resistance is futile!"
    She set aside the plugged-up plumbing. The leaky roof. The bat nests. The filling of the
    candle trees. The waving about of smoke *cough cough*. And cried out, "Not on your life!"
    After much inward dialogue and groaning and gnashing of teeth,
    Cathy fell to her knees on the tasteful Persian carpet gracing the sanctuary and said, "Okay. Maybe."
    Now with airplane ticket in hand, books packed--well, p'rhap at least sorted,
    She is ready to get into Dodge.
    There in New York, she will find Father Chers by the incense boatload,
    Outfitted by Grace Vestments, Almy, and the *bow* venerable Wippel!
    Not to be out-done, SPOTH will grandly vest her, in the sacred and tasteful gold lamé array,
    When she returns home to be priested.
    And so dear Cathy, we send you forth to sign the ancient ledger of membership into The
    General Theological Seminary *sanctus bells*. May your name never be expunged for heresy!
    Take with you our love and prayers;
    And be the priest God intends you to be
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
    and to the Holy Ghost
    As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
    World without end. Amen. Tra-lala-la.