Monday, January 05, 2009

Hello? Anyone still here?

Now that most of us - all of us - are on Facebook, I am wondering if there is still an interest in keeping this blog up and going or if it is time to let it go? please let me know. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ralph Waldo Emerson's Address

This is an address delivered by Emerson before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge, Sunday Evening, July 15, 1838 and I believe is relevant to each of us today. I challenge all of us to read this. A friend referred it to me. Amazing and humbling!

It's long, but really good! Take the time :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On reading the ORDs

When you take your ORD exam it is sent to Louisville and then out to 4 different locations (in the fall only). At those 4 locations your exam is graded by 2 people from each Presbytery in the area.

Readers convene the day of reading and are prepped as to what is expected of them. Like how to write comments and such. We are given a study session of about 1.5 hours on the exam we are about to grade and then we all grade papers all day. You read the test and look to see if it answers the question properly. As an ordained person this is easier since I know the material. There were several elders there but not a whole lot - I imagine this was a lot harder for them. There are experts on the exams (those who wrote the questions) there to answer questions graders have. All papers are read twice. If there is a question of pass/fail it is read a third time and the writer never sees the grade that doesn't agree. All comment sheets are read twice. If your comments are inappropriate you rewrite them. When all exams in one category are graded all readers move on to the next exam. In my reading group we read Polity, NT Exegesis, and Theology.

You get up at 7 and eat breakfast. Then you grade until 12. Lunch break and you grade until 6. Dinner break and you grade until 10 or you fall asleep. We do this for 3 days straight. The experience is a lot like studying for exams. Everyone is focused on one activity and tired. There is endless snacking and coffee consumption. There is a real spirit of camaraderie.

I loved this experience. Graders are really cool people and this experience takes a lot of dedication. Graders transportation, room, and board are payed but there is not compensation given for time and we are putting in 10+ hour days.

I really enjoyed this work of the church. For one, I met a lot of cool people that are in my general area. Also, I updated by brain on theology and exegesis. It was like a thinking retreat. Finally, it was so neat to realize readers are just people. As someone who failed an exam due to what I believe to be reader error, this was a good experience for me. It really is true that most readers want you to pass (although there are a few grumps).

Each time I picked up a test I thought of the person who spent hours writing it, I thought that this may be someone's last hurdle to ordination, or this may be someone's third time on this test. I tried to pray for each one. My first failure was hard to give but necessary. After that I am afraid it got easier. Overall I consider myself a lenient grader, only because I know what it feels like to be on the edge and fail. There were some exams that were crazy awful, and some that barely passed. I wanted to be able to write in the comments how lucky they were to pass but that is not allowed.

Overall, reading ORDs is a lot like taking ORDs. All the people together in one space, focused on one task, sharing snacks and coffee, and doing one big project for the church. It was awesome, and unlike taking the ORDs I would love to do it again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where is everybody?

This summer, Jim and I got to go to my favorite place in the world. One night, we managed to avoid any family stuff and stayed in a nice hotel right on the beach. This gave me an opportunity to stay out on the beach for as long as I wanted. I love late afternoon/early evening on the beach. . . it's still warm enough to be out there -- the breeze is wonderfully warm on sun-kissed skin; the water temp was about 82 degrees so I could've even gone swimming. But I didn't...obviously, the hunky lifeguard had gone home by this time!

We went to the beach almost every day, visited family almost every minute, saw some friends and found out how long it takes to drive from Holland MI to Wilmington NC.

How long, you might (or might not) be asking?
A long time...but waaaaay
better than flying!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm not much of a picture taker

I'm lame and late . . . but here are some pictures anyway . . .

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Random Pop Quiz

The elder stepson invited his girlfriend over for dinner last weekend. While he is a committed Atheist, she attends a local, conservative leaning Presbyterian congregation.  By leaning, I mean - okay, I mean conservative.  I had heard she was uncomfortable with the pat answers being fed to her in youth group.

Well, one thing led to another and then BAM, there it is - the pop quiz that Greg Love always warned us was coming at us. Please highlight the shortfalls of  substitutional atonement theology, offer up  alternative theologies regarding the death and resurrection of Christ, and while you are at it, please explain the ongoing presence of evil and suffering in this world in the face of an Omnipotent God. In terms that will make sense to an intelligent and compassionate adolescent with a well developed BS sniff detector.  You have about two verbal paragraphs to work within before you will be interrupted. Start... now.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Prayer Concern from SFTS

My sister sent me this e-mail and I thought we would all want to join in prayer for Charles.

Love, Jenn :)

Dear SFTS Community,

I am writing to ask for your prayers and active support for Charles and Amal Marks and their children at the death and resurrection in Christ of Charles’ mother in Savannah, Georgia. Charles will in going to Savannah this week to makes plans related to the funeral.

As I learn more about how we can be supportive and when the service will be held, I will do my best to keep you posted. In the meantime, please remember Charles and his family with your love, cards, and prayers.

Grace and Peace,

Phil Butin