Saturday, August 30, 2008

Same New World

My husband and I are back to Durham, NC after a summer in our hometown in northern Michigan. It seemed strange to unpack the car Sunday evening after three days on the road and then bike to seminary the next morning without the usual back-to-school preliminaries. No shopping for folders or pencils or sharp new crayons. No new haircuts or pictures taken. I wondered if I was supposed to get an updated student ID or what. (Apparently not.) It was as if I hadn't left, hadn't stopped making hourly trips to the library, snarfing lunch between classes and meetings, battling crowds at the e-print stations. Gone for three months, yet nothing has changed.

And meanwhile I'm back to attending morning prayer at the chapel in the divinity school. It's amusing and poignant to see all the first year students there, so hopeful about their spiritual journey in seminary and eager to attend everything, but who will slowly drift away from daily prayer before the end of the semester. Our robust group of 50-60 will shrink to 10 or less. But that doesn't change the liturgy, or the lectionary, which I suppose illuminates the wisdom of a structure that doesn't rely on the emotional energy of a critical mass. I remember one morning during exam week last year, when my husband and I were the only two people in the chapel, and then shuffling up the aisle came Stanley Hauerwas, world-renowned theologian. And it didn't matter what sort of personalities were or were not in the room. The litury--the prayed Word of God--remained the same.

And I suppose that if the three of us hadn't shown up, the flagstones of the floor would have--if not cried out--at least whispered the praises of the Lord.

And then when the flagstones are gone--indeed, when heaven and earth have passed away--God's word will still remain.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sunny Days

So much for my Summer Blog Challenge! I'm already nearly a month behind in posting something weekly--in part because we've had absolutely gorgeous weather for two weeks straight, and in part because I've dedicated my summer to writing other things. The main thing I've been working on is a book for parents on creating rites-of-passage for their adolescent daughters. My friend Teresa Crouse (who has a teenage daughter) and I have been piloting the material with a group of moms from her church--the dads have been involved, too. So I've been interviewing those moms over the course of the summer, and spending some time with the girls, which has been a delightful and enriching experience. We are super excited about this material, and can't wait to make it available to more people! I'll try to post more about it soon.

I've also been writing weekend features for a youth devotional journal called devo'zine. It's written by youth and by adults who care for youth, and comes out every other month. If you've never heard of it, check it out! I'm honored to write for this award-winning publication.

But of course, in two weeks my writing will revert to grad school fare (gripping, I assure you). Pray for me!