Showing posts from 2016

Reflections on Priestly Formation: Listen Up!

The Catholic Altar Boy, 1922, Appleton, Wisconsin Bishop - Will you persevere in prayer, both in public and in private, asking God's grace, both for yourself and for others, offering all your labors to God, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, and in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit? Ordinand - I will. ~ Book of Common Prayer: Ordination of a Priest - The Examination (pg. 532) _________________________________________________________________________________        Are You Listening?      "Walk into that room with a spirit of curiosity. Listen openly, and God will show up in ways that you might not expect." This was a piece of advice that I received from a seasoned Roman Catholic priest/chaplain just before being sent off to a hospital room during my Clinical Pastoral Education this past summer. As I walked down the hallway, I could see the door of the room was shut and the window blinds were pulled so as to obscure any opportunity for me to

Doin' Seminary: Tips for Clinical Pastoral Education

The sisters [Martha and Mary] sent word to Jesus, saying, "Lord, the one you love is sick." - John 11:3 _________________________________________________________________________________ THIS SUMMER,  I participated in a program called Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE. This program puts clergy and clergy-in-training into a hospital setting as a sort of "trial by fire." We were asked to care for the spiritual and emotional needs of hundreds of patients that came through our doors while also learning about ourselves and about what makes us "tick." There were many important things that I learned through this wonderful program, but I would like to share just a few insights that may capture a picture of what this training was like for me. All of these are things that I find personally helpful, and I hope that it may be helpful to the reader as well! 1. CPE was about MY learning in the hospital setting.  During CPE, I was a part of a CPE

Doin' Seminary: Tips for Surviving Year 1

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.      He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;      he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths     for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley,     I fear no evil; for you are with me;     your rod and your staff—     they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me     in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil;     my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me     all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord     my whole life long. - Psalm 23, NRSV                         There is no easy way of describing the first year of seminary.       It was both fun and challenging.       It was both a spiritually formative experience and a scholarly meat grinder.       It was a mix of great and not-so-great.  As with most new experiences, there will always be things that you l

A Mortal Mystery: Is Death Our End?

All we like sheep have gone astray;     we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him     the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,     yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,     and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,     so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away.     Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living,     stricken for the transgression of my people. ~ Isaiah 53:6-8 NRSV When is the last time you had a rousing discussion about death? Death is a subject that is often not something one brings up in pleasant company. Its not exactly the "go-to" subject to start an everyday conversation. In fact, it is a subject that we like to encase in large concrete walls so that we do not have to look at it.  To confront death is to recognize one's own mortality, and doing so also causing us to confes

Following God: Why I joined the Episcopal Church

When you first went to school (high school, college, or other), what was the first conversation you had?  What were the first questions that were asked of you? If you are like me, it is the same questions ANY student is inevitably asked. "Where are you from?" "What major are you?"  Perhaps the teacher's favorite ice breaker: "What is your favorite  ________?" Then you begin to stress out over whether your favorite _______ is as cool as everyone else's favorite _______ and then you wish you were somewhere else ( personal experience speaking right here ). In all these cases, questions are a good way to get the ball rolling and the ice broken in the conversation. However, when your major concentration is based within Christian studies and theology, like mine was, AND when you are attending a broadly Protestant university, there was also a third standard question: "What (Christian) denomination are you?" When I would happily