Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The assassin's game is played using little squirt guns. Each person is assigned a target (from the pool of players) and their objective is to "kill" that person by squirting them with their squirt gun. These "kills" cannot take place inside a building, while someone is working or during a time window on Sunday morning. If attacked, the target's only option is to run to a "safe place" (i.e. inside).
If a person successfully "kills" their target, they are assigned another. If a person is "killed", they are done with the game and their current "target" will be reassigned. "In the end, there can be only one." (Fans of the Highlander series will appreciate the quote.)
Sounds kind of juvenile, doesn't it? Well, it turns out it serves a terrific purpose (which is why it is being played): most of the participants don't know one another. A whole new batch of people has just arrived at the seminary, and the current students and faculty don't know them. In order to "kill" someone, you have to learn who they are. Generally, since buildings to "escape to" are plentiful on campus, you also have to learn something about them so you can come up with a way to surprise them.
Members of the faculty and the employee staff have gotten in on the game, too. (I understand that Dr. Voelz, the Dean of the Faculty, is still "alive", and I know who is trying to "hit" him.) Some people are way over the top with the game; however, it has provided everyone with plenty of entertainment.
As an aside: although I did not elect to play, I have been an "accessory" to a couple of "hits". Just doin' my part to help people get to know one another...
Sunday, June 15, 2008
This is the other great thing about Wartburg Commons: good conversation. The three seminary students pictured here are (from left) Sarah, Bill and Matt. These are all first year seminarians; Sarah is in the deaconess program and the other two are in the M.Div program. This picture was taken near the close of a two hour conversation that started over lunch on Saturday.
It occurred to me as I listened that I have, on many occasions in life, been afraid to engage unbelief for fear that I would not be "successful". I have feared that I might fail to put together a complete and irrefutable argument for Christ. But I realize that a deeper fear was this: What did it say of my own faith that I could not answer every question or refute every counter argument? (As though by not entering into discussion and thereby discovering that I did not already know everything, I might somehow avoid not knowing everying... how foolish!)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Rev. Dr. Tom Ricks presented the sermon, which emphasized the cost of discipleship. This sermon continued the congregation’s one-and-a-half year series on Luke; today’s sermon was based on Luke 9:18-25.
During our time together, Rev. Ricks also highlighted the upcoming “20:28” event. Greentree has, for the past several years, conducted a large service ministry event. Members of the congregation have gathered together and then dispersed across the greater St. Louis metropolitan area to “celebrate the grace of God through service”. At the time of Sunday’s service, the Spirit had led 367 members of the congregation to sign up to participate!
Reverend Sippy led the congregation in worship, including the Lord’s Supper, and presented the sermon. (Reverend Maas, the congregation’s associate pastor, was out of town participating in the ordination service of the congregation’s newest called pastor, Rev. Adam Parvey.) Pastor Sippy’s message exhorted the priesthood of all believers to proclaim Christ in both word and deed.
Unfortunately, our camera battery was low, so I was only able to take the two pictures below. The first picture is a view of the old sanctuary. This sanctuary was actually the second one built; we were told that the original sanctuary was destroyed shortly after the original structure was destroyed shortly after its being constructed in the sixties. (The roof of the new sanctuary can actually be seen in this first picture on the far side of the building.) This area is now used as a chapel and for large group Bible studies.
This second picture is taken from the opposite side of the building; however, once again, it is focused on the structure of the old sanctuary. (The new sanctuary is actually to the left, after you enter the doors visible in the picture.) You can see the architecture of the previous sanctuary is the one popular in the 50s and 60s.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Yesterday (Friday) was check-in day at the seminary. Although I will be staying with my family at Jeff and Julie Miller’s house through Saturday night, I suspect the check-in needs to be on a day when the administrative offices are open. My room is at Metzger Hall; it will be home for me until our family’s apartment in the Woods opens up.
The past week in Missouri (with my parents before and now with the Miller’s) has been an “interesting” weather experience. We have hunkered down through two tornado-producing storm systems; the first was in Rogersville, the second during check-in at the seminary!
After checking-into the room and running an errand to the campus switchboard, I dropped by the Admissions Office. (On my way to the switchboard, I had seen the admissions staff gathered around a computer. The last time I had seen that was a week before, when the staff was tracking a tornado that had been passing to the north and east of St. Louis.) They told me that a tornado warning was in effect and the system was about to hit Clayton; they urged us not to get back on the road to return to the Millers' house.
So we hung out in the commons of Metzger Hall with Jason, the generous soul who volunteered to be my “welcome to the seminary” partner. He is a fourth year seminarian who lives at the other end of the hall. He sat with us through the whole storm and invited us to join him for dinner at the cafeteria afterwards. (For those who take a dim view of cafeteria food, you should know that the CSL cafeteria is actually quite good!) Mike, a second year seminarian who also lives at Metzger, joined us for dinner, too!
Although the tornado systems passed to the south of the seminary, the rain definitely did not. The first picture below is of Heather and the kids in front of the Luther statue after dinner; the second is the price I paid for rejecting Jason’s generous offer of his umbrella after dinner.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Before the services, Dale Skovgaard presented me a copy of the Hebrew Old Testament scriptures – specifically, the Biblia Hebraica (Stuttgartensia). On the recommendation of Dale’s son, Rev. Eric Skovgaard of Elm Grove Lutheran Church, the Men’s Fellowship secured a copy of the large print edition of the text for me. I certainly would not want to miss a jot or a tittle! Many, many thanks!
In addition, the congregation provided a generous financial gift to assist my family in addressing the expenses we are about to experience following this path. We are very humbled to be so provided for by our family in Christ!
It is difficult to comprehend the good gifts we have experienced in such abundance these past days and weeks. It seems we must confess as Peter after the abundant catch of fish: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” May Jesus’ reply be our comfort and the disciples response our own: “Jesus said, ‘Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:8-11)
Brian Herzog (hopefully I can add a picture later) was a co-worker of mine on my last program while working with TASC. We worked together for about two and half years out of the TASC Lincoln Center in McLean. (Yes, you heard me right; Brian commuted from Bristow to McLean for more than two and a half years.) Brian tolerated me as both a co-worker on our program and as a section manager for the period of time we worked together in McLean. So he knew what he was getting into and STILL agreed to let me stay with him.
As you can see Brian is selfless, long-suffering and crazy. I enjoyed staying with him, but I am afraid I brought him much misery. During the move, David struggled with an unsettled stomach, which he passed on to Heather and me as I left them in Noblesville. Well, although the unsettled stomach did not seem serious to me, it apparently was quite a stomach bug. A week after I arrived, during which I was busy and very poor company, Brian came down with a far more serious version of the symptoms my family had experienced.
What a terrific host; what a lousy house guest!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
At the time, Heather and I were without children, we had been fortunate in the sale of our home, and my management at TASC was encouraging me to take all the time I needed before showing up for my first day. But I was eager to “get started” and “make my mark”; I only took off enough time to drive across country. In retrospect, I wish I would have considered my managers’ advice more seriously.
Since we were not able to delay the closing of our house nor could we rent back afterwards, there is a month between the day we settled on our house and the start of summer Hebrew next Monday. It would have been tempting to turn that month into a long vacation, but Confirmation Sunday was scheduled for almost two weeks after the settlement. I wanted to complete the year with my confirmands and needed to make arrangements to stay in the area for another couple of weeks anyway; so I figured I might as well be gainfully employed during that time, too.
(As an aside for those of you reading this because you are considering the ministry and seminary: I also needed my family to remain covered under insurance during the period between the settlement of our house and the start of summer Hebrew. Resigning early to take a month-long vacation would have created some “coverage problems” that would have been expensive to rectify!)
As I already noted in an earlier post, Heather, David John and Emily were staying with Heather’s parents, Tom and Sarah, in Noblesville from the time we moved out of our Virginia home. At the end of my last work day with TASC, I packed up my car and returned to Indiana to reunite with my family. We stayed there with Mom and Dad Clark for a few days, enjoying David’s second birthday celebration, joining West Noblesville Community Church for worship and a Memorial Day sail! (Unfortunately, I do not have many pictures from our stay in Noblesville available at the time of this posting. I will try to update this posting later.)
We left the following Tuesday for Rogersville, MO, where my parents now live. Just as the stay in Noblesville was pleasant, this visit has been nice as well. Most of the pictures below are from our activities while here. We have visited the zoo in Springfield, played lots of backyard baseball, ran through sprinklers to beat the heat, joined in worship with the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Springfield, enjoyed a perfect night of minor league baseball as the Springfield Cardinals defeated the Corpus Christi Hooks, and taken tractor rides with “pa-paw”.
On Thursday, we are going to return to the St. Louis area, where we will again impose on the hospitality of “Hotel Miller” for a few more nights. (Thanks again, Jeff, Julie and Jaime!) We had originally planned for Heather and the kids to simply drop me off at the seminary and continue back to Noblesville, since our apartment will probably not be available until early- to mid- July. However, the admissions staff at the seminary has organized a “welcome summer language students and their families” party on Sunday night, and we are eager for the whole family to participate. Class will start Monday morning, which is when Heather and the kids will actually return to Noblesville.
Our Lord blesses His creation with all things “for the support and needs of the body”. We have so much to be thankful for! Like Luther in the Small Catechism, we also include “good friends, good neighbors and the like” when we thank God for providing “daily bread”. Our Christian brothers and sisters are providing us with food, shelter, and fellowship during our period of transition. To each of them: thank you very much!