December 2002 Archives

Christmas came and went, all right. Then came... strep(sp?) throat... a bad case of it. I didn't realize one could be so sick with strep-throat. I've been out of commission for the past two days. On Sunday, my temperature was 103 and it wouldn't go down and I was really out of it, so my parents took me to the "Express" emergency room at one of the local hospitals (it is for non-life threatening emergencies, I think). I had no idea what was up - my throat was hardly sore They ruled out Meningitis, which I'm thankful for. My throat has never been all that soar, which surprises me with strep-throat. All this has postponed my return to Cleveland. My Mom got her way - that I would stay a while longer. I have to kid her about that!

I'm just glad I am feeling better.

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Christmas has come and gone. I've been thinking about the conversation between Roy and I last week - where Roy ended the debate/conversation because he felt I was becoming too emotional and angry (or something like that). I have to admit, I do become excitable and animated when I talk about a number of things. I have to admit that I was probably too much so. I understand that people can often misunderstand my reactions and emotional disposition, and I have to work on that. I just get excited. I suspect I have to be less so, or at least less so for those who don't know me well, or who are going to misunderstand. Obviously, our conversation did nothing to help further understanding or our friendship.

Yet, as I think about this and the coming conversation with Roy, which I need to have with him concerning all this, I know that his reactions were not quite virtuous either. His comment about me being so extremely conservative, which I am not, is off base. I countered him on that statement, but he said, "to me, from my perspective, you are." He needs to re-evaluate what an "extreme conservative" is, else he is not going to recognize them when he truly confronts an extreme conservative. Unless, of course, he comes from the position that there is no such thing as a legitimate conservative position on issues, only the liberal solution! Even worse, equating liberal political and social ideas with the Gospel, which is exactly what many religious conservatives do. What made me so extreme? I don't advocate for socialized medicine. I don't believe that our government is the solution to most of our problems. I think that despite the virtuous intent of the Social Security System and the Great Society programs, they have not helped, over the long run, the poorest of our society, but only made them depended on the government and the entrenched bureaucracies involved. I don't believe government involvement in much of anything is ever the best solution, because government breeds bureaucracies who are more concerned, after a while, about their own survival and power base than their initial purpose. There are obvious exceptions and many people in government are good people, yet I don't look first to government to solve all our social problems. It cannot!

In the midst of trying to explain my position, he would also interject extreme conclusions he thought would be the outcome of my argument, like, "so, you would just let them all die," when we were talking about infant mortality in this country and my contention that socialized medicine was not be the best solution. He did that a number of times, at which point I had to look at him and simply say, "Roy, be realistic!" My reaction to tactics like that was to talk faster trying to get my explanation out there before he attempted another extreme comment. That is how I reacted - to become more animated, more excited, more forceful, and finally just more frustrated. I should have simply kept calling him on that type of response. I should have simply said, "if you want to know how I think or what I think, then let me explain without your assumed final outcomes or extreme statements!"

So, I'm going to talk to him about that. I also have to admit that my response and reaction was not as it should have been. I need to work on that!

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Roy and I had lunch

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Roy and I had lunch a while ago. Vietnamese Noodle soup for me, not sure what Roy had. We got into a discussion about health care and I became quite animated, as I do with most things. I am not angry, truly, even though I know it comes across that way to many people. Roy ended the conversation because he sensed himself become agree after I said, "shut up and let me finish." I don't remember saying the "shut up" part, but I could well have. If so, I don't blame him for ending the conversation.

To me, it was just a conversation/debate, and nothing more. I think it is fun (I know, I'm strange) to get into passion conversations about things. Those kinds of conversations help me to work through things and clarify what I truly think. If I did tell Roy to, "shut up," then I went too far, yet to me they aren't real arguments in the sense that one walks away angry and frustrated.

I know I need to watch myself more because many people do think I am getting angry and confrontation, when that is not my intent. I especially have to watch myself when I am in a public place - me getting animated and passionate about something is going to cause others to think I am yelling at Roy (or whomever) and misunderstand. I just need to control my enthusiasm/passion/lets debate for the sake of debate tendencies.

I知 going to be heading off to N.J. and Ashton痴 soon. Christmas is around the corner and my plane leaves at 6:40 am tomorrow. I知 glad Ashton lives only 15 minutes or so from Newark! I知 glad to spend the time with him.

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It is finished! By the

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It is finished! By the grace of God and to His glory.

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Okay, I'm off to my

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Okay, I'm off to my oral final for Church Music. I have to sing a service, a gospel lesson, and a couple collects. This should be interesting, although I'm not doing half bad when practicing.

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I am practically giddy with relief! The final final exam is now over! It was simple. It was good. All I have to do now is sing for Church Music this afternoon and finish the take-home essay, then two small papers for O.T.

Nothing much more to do, really, unless of course I freeze up. By tomorrow evening, the first term of my three-year seminary career will be finished. Amazing!

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The problem is, I really don't want to study any longer!

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Today, the day before my last finals for this term, is going to be an interesting one. Not that I have so terribly much to do, although the day will be full with studying, but more so, I think, I feel that I'm glad tomorrow it will all be over, except three papers I have yet to write. Papers can be frustrating, but so much different than having to memorize facts and figures and concepts for an in-class exam. I cannot believe this first semester is all but over. No MTA transit strike!

Ashton is sleeping – quietly and peacefully in the midst of chaos and too much noise breaking in from 10th Ave. I wonder so much about it all.

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This morning, we all received an e-mail giving notice that Brad Reetz had been in an accident yesterday. He was on his motorcycle. His helmet was shattered. Brad was the head of maintenance for the seminary. The e-mail said his injuries were severe and that he was on life-support. During Evensong tonight, we were told that he had died.

I spoke to Brad late last week. He was a man's-man kind of guy. Tall and strapping with grey hair combed back. He was they typical Italian looking guy from Brooklyn. When we first met, I had on a Kent State t-shirt and he asked about it. Turns out, he went to Hiram College! Of all places, in the middle of know where, why would a life-long New Yorker pick a little liberal arts school in the middle of no were in N.E. Ohio? He said he wanted to go to school away from the city and most of all, Hiram offered him a baseball scholarship. I wouldn't have even thought Hiram had an intercollegiate baseball team!

I have this strange and overwhelming sense of the fleeting nature of life. I was told he liked to go fast on his motorcycle, and his death may have been because of his own negligence, but he was not old enough to simply die. I saw a person late last week and on Monday, he dies. I'm not sure why I feel this way - so strongly - by someone I hardly know; yet, I do. There is a strong sense of community on the Close. This seminary is small and you can easily know everyone. Maybe the living day-in-and-day-out in a small, enclosed campus, in a peaceful and serene place in the middle of loud Manhattan has something to do with it. I'm not sure.

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Hi John!

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It is snowing this morning! The weather guy on WNYC is saying we can expect 6-8 inches - I can't wait. I've seen snow in the city before, and it can be very pretty - for a while, that is. There won't be any snowman making around here, however. Trying to push a giant snowball around the sidewalks of Chelsea just won't cut it.

Just like getting back into the academic paper writing mode, I've got to get back into writing down my thoughts. I've done a little more writing in my paper journal, but for the most part pulling things out of my brain and onto paper or here is proving difficult. I'm not sure why, other then that I've been so focused on trying to get all these papers finished and all the books read that actually taking time to think through something that resonates with me just isn't happening.

There was a report from the Episcopal News Service yesterday concerning the proposed move of the headquarters to General, which would mean major reconstruction of several buildings. The report said that those committees at the headquarters have recommended the move not happen. The plan would be a financial boon for the seminary, but would certainly change the character of this place. I wonder what will happen now. It wouldn't surprise me if the Dean resigned in the near future. He has put so many of his eggs in that basket that I don't know whether he will be able to reorient himself and envision a new course for the seminary. He has plans for the future, but without the financial bailout, I don't know whether finances will permit the new plans - both academic and bricks-n-mortar. I just hope things are maintained for the next three years - well really 5 years. That would give me a couple years after school to secure a job, etc., before the reputation begins to fail. Frankly, I don't know how an institution of higher education of this size survives, especially in such an expensive location like New York City, but I'm glad it has (and will!).

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Sitting here, finishing my music paper and watching out the window every now and then, I am amazed that there are not a whole lot more accidents around here! These people are crazy - not like the aggessive drives of Europe, but these people are just stupid!

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Everything is coming down to the wire. Four more days of classes and my first term is finished! What is left? Intro. to Spiritual Direction - 10-15 page paper covering group spiritual direction, with copious citations, including outside readings. The outside readings are not going to happen - there just isn't enough time, plus this class isn't worth the effort, frankly. It has been a big disappointment. Old Testament - two more review papers, which means I have to read additional outside books and review them; final exam. I could also exegete a passage. Not too much for of O.T. New Testament - if my stage three exegesis is sufficient, I'm finished with N.T.! Tutorial Seminar - I think I am finished with this class, also. I just have to check and make sure nothing more is required. This class has really been nothing more then a glorified new student orientation course, although good things have come from it. Music - term project write-up; written and oral final exams. Can't really say much about this class. At times, it has seemed like a waste of time, but learning to sing the services has been very helpful, and his stories are often amusing. He is an interesting guy.

Okay, so it is cold and sunny today in New York City. It doesn't help that my windows are incredibly drafty! Great windows, though, and a great view!

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Bishop Williams (retiring Bishop Suffragan) was here yesterday and took Deon, Lisa, and I out for dinner. It was, of course, his last episcopal visit of checking up on seminarians. Great meal - can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it is French located on 8th between 20th and 19th. Good food - way too much food! I'm sad to see him go. He has been my oversight for this whole process and I have grown to greatly respect him. The man has been through a whole lot of things - he was denied permission by his Bishop in a New England state when he first approached him for approval to seek ordination because the Bishop didn't think a black man could be employed. Even with the Episcopal Church's long-standing policy and practice for ordaining black people in this country, even in New England, the Bishop wouldn't approve him. Yet, despite the bigotry and probably because of it, he is highly effective and sensitive to issues of justice and has an understanding of doubt that is wonderful.

Ashton is off to St. Martin with his mother and John. A yearly trek for him, but this time with John. They've been trying to do this for 15 years now, since they became friends in high school. He is so thrilled! I'm thrilled for him! I can't wait until he gets back! :-)

Only one more week of classes. Reading week. Finals week, and then I'm through until the end of January. This semester has flown by, and I can hardly believe I've been here this long. And, what changes!

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2002 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2002 is the previous archive.

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