Friday, May 18, 2007

Boring, perhaps.

This may well be the longest it's taken me to post a blog (2 and a half weeks!) and the most boring blog I've written. But I thought I would write. In case you started thinking I died.

Since "boring" is the theme, why don't I start with the weather? Today I called up to camp, 2 hours north of here, and it was snowing. It wasn't much warmer here in Saskamatoon. I am sleeping in a tent all weekend, and here's hoping the weather improves. But at least I will be in Alberta. Maybe they're stashing all the warm weather somewhere over there. My family is driving out for our annual Homowebmape gathering (see blog from May last year). It will be different this time, though, because one of us is
getting married - Ashlyn Webber. That doesn't usually happen, so it will be fun to participate.

How have I been so busy that I haven't blogged, you ask? Well, I work 9 to 5 now. Which is easier than the life of a student in many ways, especially because at 5, you're done. No homework. You can do what you want with the evening. I have mostly read books, watched "Lost" (a very good substitute for "Alias") and gone for coffee. Actually, coffee is a theme for me right now, because that's what I do for a living. I take potential camp staff out for coffee in informal job interviews. Except that I don't like coffee, so I usually purchase a hot non-coffee beverage. I'm not going to lie, it's a pretty sweet job. I do other things too, things that involve sitting at a desk and not doing any exercise to work off all the hot non-coffee beverages. And in the evenings, I sit some more. Good thing I'm going up to camp in a few weeks, where the potential for my bo
dy moving around is slightly higher.

Otherwise, I'm just enjoying life with the family for a while. I love when we're all
around the table for a meal. And I'm looking forward to the road trip this weekend. Next week it will be just us kids, because my parents are going to San Francisco for my dad's Doctor of Ministry convocation. Rachel will take over the role of "mom", because she's feeling domestic lately. I will be the eldest daughter, and I will help out when required, such as in the cooking of butter chicken. Daniel will mostly sing falsetto for us, because he will soon be auditioning for the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at his school, and the song is very high.

Also... I am learning Greek. I have a goal to test out of the first semester of Greek and take semester 2, so I'm trying to do a little bit every day. Danice gave me a textbook and I bought a workbook on Amazon. We'll see if I can keep it up when I'm at camp.

Emotionally, I've settled down a bit. Sometimes the pangs of Vancouver memories hit me and I wish I were there, but I think most of my conscious mind has re-rooted itself. Jodi wrote something
interesting about feelings of "uprootedness" in an e-mail to me:
"I think this restlessness is probably a good thing, it reminds us that our true home
is with God and that our hearts are and will be restless until we find our
home in him. How then, to keep the heart soft for that final homecoming when there
are so many home-like-comings and home-like-leavings in the meantime? And
how do we become more and more integrated rather than more and more
dis-integrated in the process? It is easy to have different personas in

different places. But perhaps the preparation for our final homecoming is
to bring those different personas together into the image-bearers we were
created to be."

I think this is very true in my life. I don't feel like I'm two-faced, but I do feel like different people bring out different sides in me. So besides missing people in Vancouver, I miss the parts of me that aren't as fully expressed when I'm not around them. I miss myself. For example, Danice has a way of bringing out the goofiest side of me, and the part of me that just wants to talk and talk about everything and anything that happened in my day. I don't feel as free to be goofy or to talk like that here, and it's not that I'm uncomfortable doing those things around people here, it's just that it's not as natural. But I love the proud and admiring big sister side that only comes out when I'm here. So maybe it's about figuring out how to express all of these things no matter where I'm at. Or maybe it's about accepting that these are all great parts of me that can take turns. I don't know...

Well, I'm really running out of things to say... I'm sure I'll have more after my tent and wedding escapades this weekend. I promise to write again soon. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures from a family walk we had by the river. The policemen were herding the geese from the road
back to the river. I guess this is what keeps the police busy in Saskatoon - it took four of them, it seems.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hanging out with the Baptists

Well, as of today I am a working woman. You can find me at Emmanuel Baptist Church, working for the Quest camp, for the next 5 weeks. I am still feeling quite uprooted and confused, but at least now I'm a productive uprooted-and-confused person. Today's goal was to figure out how to copy information from last year in the computer program we use for our registrations, called "EZ Camp". Turns out it's not so "easy" to use. Actually, it's hands down the most unintelligible and illogical program I've ever tried to make sense of. But today, I conquered it, I made it do what I wanted, and that is a job well done. I also got to know my coworker Jeff a lot better, and I'm getting more and more excited about the way the summer is shaping up.

I must tell you about last weekend. Last weekend I went to Banff to participate in the Baptist Union of Western Canada General Assembly. I thought I was going just to play piano in a worship team a few times, and otherwise goof off with Chris in Banff, maybe hang out with Jodi a bit... but God had much larger plans. He was really sneaky and underhanded this time. He lured me there and got me hooked on my own denomination. You see, I've never been very attached to the idea of being a Canadian Baptist, or even a Baptist. Apparently, this is true of many Baptists. Attending a multi-denominational (trans-denominational?) Bible school certainly hasn't helped. If anything, I've become wary of denominationalism and eager to focus on what we all share as Christians. And I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing.

But this weekend I discovered that it's also not a bad thing to feel a sense of belonging to a larger family of churches. I realized that the Canadian Baptist family of churches that I was "born into" - that I did not choose - is also a family that I would gladly choose if given the choice today. T
his assembly presented me with a seemingly uncool and innocuous group mostly consisting of middle-aged men and women, who were in fact undercover rebels and renegades steering the denomination in a radical direction. I was actually so excited by the kinds of decisions they were making that I sat through a whole morning of business meetings. I saw them pass an ambitious budget, change the denomination's name to bring it into greater solidarity with our sister denominations in Canada, and restructure the board so that more time would be spent "doing" and less time sitting in meetings.

I heard so many stories about churches and ministries moving outs
ide the walls of the church and meeting needs... farmers from rural Alberta sending grain to Kenya during a famine, professors from Carey educating pastors and lay leaders in Africa and Latin America, churches in Vancouver entering into the suffering of Pickton's victims, and found out that my denomination supports ministries I've come to value while at Regent, like A Rocha and REED - showing concern for justice, crying out on behalf of exploited women and the exploited earth. I saw the leadership of the denomination pass to a woman president, and witnessed many male leaders reaffirming the Canadian Baptist belief and practice of ordaining women and expressing their gratitude for the perspective and leadership of their female colleagues. I heard words like "kingdom" and "shalom" repeatedly, and realized that these people are passionate about the same things I've become passionate about at Regent and at Jacob's Well. I saw it written on the faces and in the tears of the leaders as they described the good work that is being done and that is yet to be done. Suddenly people I hadn't even met were affirming my choice to do the M Div, offering to support my education financially and praying for me. I felt a true sense of belonging, something resonated deep inside me, and I could see myself standing on the shoulders of all these new heroes of mine, following in their footsteps.

People who grow up in Christ-following families often speak of a time when they "made the faith their own". I guess you could say this weekend I made the denomination my own. It's obviously not as big a deal, but it's a pretty big deal for me as I look ahead to a career in ministry. I'm still open to God leading me in a different direction, but at this point, whether in pastoring, camping, or missions work, I would be thrilled and proud to work with the Canadian Baptists.

I leave you with some pictures I took on the drive to Banff... which was, to me, a wonderful rediscovery of the beauty of the prairies, an experience that felt like being unfurled and opened up under the big, big sky.