Gordon-Conwell Blog

Fragile | Seminary Student Blogger

March 27, 2014

Melissa Zaldivar

In his short-but-mighty book, Weakness is the Way, J. I. Packer writes, “…if people who at present have no sense of weakness were more careful and restrained in the way they talk of others and to others, the world might be a less painful place.”

I underlined those words when I got a copy of that little book a number of months ago and I had no idea that my then-present state of “no sense of weakness” was about to come crashing down.

As I write this, I am in bed, recovering from an over-the-weekend bout with a virus that completely destroyed me. Up all night and struggling with fevers all day, I felt, in a word, weak. My friend Anne came to sit with me yesterday and as I struggled to be comfortable with an aching body, I winced and said into my pillow, “I just want to be done.”

I have been feeling that way a lot lately. I’m ready to be okay again. I’m ready to be healed. I’m ready to get back into normal life—whatever that means—as soon as possible.

You see, this weekend was a 48-hour manifestation of how my spirit has stumbled its way through the past six weeks. I’ll write now what I’ve been avoiding talking about for a month and a half because I’m learning that it’s necessary to be honest about weakness. 47 days ago, I had a panic attack. The kind where you lose your hope and your vision of the future and everything feels like too much. The kind where you wonder if perhaps you’ve gone mad, because nothing feels right.

It took me days to recover from the adrenaline surge that left my muscles weak and my heart exhausted. It launched me into twice-a-week counseling. But it also sent me into a place where all my worst fears would have to be faced.

I’m a controller by nature. I like to have a say in my day-to-day activities as much as possible. For a living, I edit things—words, photographs, films—because I love to have a creative vision and see it realized. And while it make my clients very happy and it gives me a sense of purpose, it also tricks me into thinking that I can edit my own life. Sure, we have the ability to make choices that are key in our development, but we truly control very little about our lives. I guess this is one of the things that we forget—and that makes us forget how great the grace of God is (and how strong the gospel really is.)

I’ll be honest: sometimes I sit in front of my counselor and I tell her, “I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to be fine. I’m ready to be finished with this process.” She smiles and nods. She knows that we’re headed somewhere better, even when I’m frustrated with my own weakness.

I told my friend Anna a few weeks ago that I understood why I was in pain. I said, “I know that I’m a sinner and I live in a sinful world and that’s why I have to figure out all of this. So that I can get better.”

She looked at me with an honest shaking of her head and said to me, “Melissa, you keep telling me about how you’re broken, but what you are forgetting is that Christ died to heal you. And you are not, first and foremost, a broken, lost sinner. You are redeemed. And it may be that you never overcome anxiety and you lose all hope, but that does not mean you are outside of the reach of the gospel. You cannot break the gospel.”

One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is how much of my life I’ve ignored anxiety. I’ve ignored fears and insecurities and damage that I’ve encountered in the last 24 years to the point of, well, panic. I’ve fooled myself into thinking that I can control enough of my life to not actually have to deal with the true heart of my weakness: trust. The reason that I don’t trust God to come through is because I tend to think that I control the gospel. If I can be put together, the gospel will hold together. If I fall apart, the gospel must have broken.

This is a flawed way of thinking, but I think it’s something we fall into quite often. There is no glamour in weakness. There is no glory in saying, “I can’t.” And, as a dear friend said to me recently about her own struggles with anxiety and ministry, “It feels like failure.”

Perhaps that’s what I’m getting at. Perhaps that is what this hard, hard season of processing through my own fears and anxiety is about: failing. But knowing that by the grace of God, I am not first-and-foremost a failure. No—I am redeemed. I am not broken. I am not losing it. I am not a mess. I am in the “now” of the “now but not yet” and it’s terribly messy, but the gospel is not ruined by it.

People tell me to just stop being anxious. To just let go and be fine again. To steer clear of medication. To just not think about panic. But what has spoken to me the most has been the truth. It has been the friends that sit with me in my pain, not unlike Job’s friends. It has been the words of support and the sensitivity of others. J. I. Packer is right: we must be more careful.

For we are, in Christ, fragile, but we are not broken. 

Melissa Zaldivar is an MATH student from California. She loves golf, theology, Jewish holidays, people falling in love, Jonathan Edwards, chocolate chip cookies, her adorable niece and telling stories. When she's not filming and photographing weddings, you can find her reading news articles, watching Parks and Recreation or playing Super Smash Bros.
 

 

 

 

Tags: Author: Melissa Zaldivar , current students , equipping leaders for the church and society , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

Melissa, I don't even know you but just wanted you to know how encouraged I am because of this! I'm a photographer too, and was just talking with my best friend yesterday about control being an idol of mine. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for your honesty in weakness and for the reminder that Jesus is my only real savior...
Audra 8:30AM 03/28/14

On School Bullies and Grace | Seminary Student Blogger

February 11, 2014

Tim Norton

Hot tears streamed down her face as Amy sat with her friend Megan. “I just don’t understand how anyone could be so mean!” Amy said. Megan’s face melted from concern to rage as she listened to the story. Her friend did not deserve such treatment. Life had handed her enough obstacles; she didn’t need another. Amy was partially blind but fiercely independent—a combination that resulted in more than a few “accidents” around the school. Her bruised arms, peaking from beneath her tattered second-hand clothes, betrayed her latest miscalculation. Amy was late to class—she wasn’t used to her mom’s new schedule with a third job—and decided, against her better judgment, to run. She barely noticed the water fountain before tumbling over it.

These accidents were normal for Amy. She tried to embrace them without succumbing to the suffocating shame that seemed to accompany her disability. However, Aaron, the school bully, did not allow her that opportunity. He cackled with laughter as he and his minions catcalled Amy after this latest incident. Aaron wasn’t a good student, but he made up for it with his ability to break the spirits his peers. Amy was his go-to punch line.

Megan had heard enough. She watched Aaron humiliate too many people, caught too many of Amy’s tears on her shoulder. She fantasized about ways to get even as she walked home from Amy’s house. Her dreams were shuddered as she entered her kitchen and saw Aaron, the Aaron, sitting at her kitchen table. Her eyes, filled with fury, darted to her mother for an explanation.

“Honey,” Mom said, “I have terrific news. Aaron has asked for help in his studies and I’ve decided you are to tutor him. It is no small accomplishment to admit one’s need for help. And you get to be a little gift of joy in his life!”

Put yourself in Megan’s shoes. Would you tutor this boy? I wouldn’t. I would storm across the kitchen and give him a taste of the shame and ridicule he so richly deserved. The audacity and hypocrisy of the request would overwhelm me.

I imagine this is what Jonah felt like when God told him to preach to the Ninevites (Jonah 1-3). They were violent, pagan, and cruel—nailing political enemies to the ground and flaying their skin for display. Such cruelty deserved judgment, but God offered grace to this city (Jonah 3). Jonah, much like our friend Megan, was furious at this miscarriage of justice (Jonah 4). How could God give this city a free pass? How could he tolerate their wickedness? How could he treat them with such grace?

As I read Jonah 4, I am struck by God’s patient grace not only to the Ninevites but also to Jonah. He is a man who understands and accepts God’s free, unearned grace for himself (hence the living sermon illustration of the plant) but is unwilling to accept this same unearned grace going to the Ninevites (hence his suicidal rage). Jonah’s situation is understandable. There is something in human nature that hates for good things to happen to bad people. We hate to see the murderer get away with it. We hate to see cheaters rewarded. We hate to see the school bully receive help.
As I sat with this text, I’ve noticed that Jonah and I are very similar. Deep down I feel like I deserve God’s grace more than other people. I wouldn’t speak that out loud, but that is my underlying assumption. I imagine Jonah thinking, “I’ve been a loyal prophet. I’ve lived a life of commitment to Yahweh. I’ve repented, served, and sacrificed. God can’t give me shade for more than a day? (Jonah 4:6-9) Surely I deserve to get better treatment than the Ninevites! They are getting away with murder!”

God comes to Jonah (Jonah 4:10-11) to remind him that grace is never earned. It is never deserved. He appeals to Jonah’s compassion, showing how his misunderstanding of grace has killed his godly compassion for this city. The same is true for me. The same is true for Megan. Aaron doesn’t deserve to be tutored. He doesn’t deserve grace. But, neither does Megan. Maybe, just maybe, her tutoring a school bully might just be an opportunity to earn an opportunity to invite him to change. None of that is possible without a godly compassion fueled by grace.

God’s grace fuels our compassion. He then uses compassionate people to show his grace to others. It was compassionate Christians who nursed victims of the plague and encouraged potential martyrs during the first century—acts which profoundly impacted the influence of the gospel. More than that, it was a compassionate Jesus Christ who looked at helplessly sinful humanity and brought social justice, godly teaching, and an atoning, reconciling death on the cross. Humanity deserved none of that.

Do you have Aarons in your life, people you have trouble showing anything but rage/frustration for? I know I do. Perhaps you can join me in praying that God’s grace would transform your heart for those people—that it would fuel your compassion. After all, compassion is the forerunner to gracious ministry and that is exactly what we are at Gordon-Conwell to learn. 

Tim Norton is a born-and-raised, small-town Southerner with the sweet tea addiction to prove it. He comes to Gordon-Conwell as a Kern Pastor-Scholar and plans to pursue pastoral ministry in the U.S. after graduation. Tim is a big personality with a strange affinity for the color orange. Currently, he attends GENESIS Church, an Acts 29 church plant in Woburn, MA.
 

 

 

 

Tags: Author: Tim Norton , equipping leaders for the church and society , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

Redefining “Success:” Getting Better [Read: More Godly] Metrics | Seminary Student Blogger

January 30, 2014

Joelinda Coichy

I am the youth ministry director at a campus plant. We are about 13 weeks into our life together as a church. Pretty exciting, but it pales in comparison to the 3,016 weeks that our first campus, affectionately called the “mothership,” has been in action.

Every week—sometimes in the middle of a game involving moving an Oreo from my forehead to my mouth without my hands—I do the perfectly normal thing for a ministry leader to do: I take a quick head count.

These have been some my numbers the past couple weeks:

3 students
7 students
3 students
4 students

In my previous life I was a social media analyst, so the week we had 7 students, I took pride in saying we had experienced 133% growth!

But the numbers were down the following week. And the week after that. I hung my head and secretly considered scrapping our Wednesday night youth program. But that was until Steven piped up.

Steven and his wife are on the youth ministry leadership team at our campus. They are relatively new to the area and have gotten involved in the life of the church through our campus plant. One evening, I was having a conversation I had had before about “our strategy for growth,” and Steve said, “I wish we would stop talking about the numbers…It’s worth being here even for one student.”

Duh! And the Lord spoke. And I kicked myself.

In my days as a social media analyst, I had created reports that helped brands understand their success on Facebook. I had walked marketers through all the different metrics that I would report on: Likes, Comments, Clicks, Shares, Friends of Fans, People Talking About, Reach, Impressions, Fans by Country, Fans by Age Group…just to name a few.

Most brands, by default, tracked the Likes metric. This was a perfectly normal thing for a marketer to measure.

But, I had noticed that the smart marketers zeroed in on metrics better suited to their business. For instance, one brand measured clicks because as far as their business was concerned, people liking their Facebook page didn’t matter as much as people clicking into their online store and actually making a purchase.

Duh!

In my ministry, I, by default, had been tracking Likes. And though perfectly normal, my head count was the wrong way to measure youth ministry growth.

So now, I keep attendance. The difference is slight, but the implications immense.

Instead of measuring the high level mass of warm bodies that have given youth group/church/God a tacit Like by being in the room, I am measuring for depth of engagement with God.

And you know what finding a better, more godly metric has done?

It has taken my focus away from seeing my kingdom grow, and has helped me see the incredible work that God has been up to in developing His Kingdom.

So, these have been my real numbers the past couple weeks:

7+ deep, authentic conversations about faith and spiritual matters
3 new students drawn into a warm community of faith
5 students serving in the larger church body
10 sessions discussing the redemptive, providential work of God unfolding in history

And suddenly, I don’t care as much if we have 3 students or 30. 

Joelinda is a second year M.Div. candidate. She currently serves as the Student Ministries Director at Grace Chapel’s Watertown campus. She is a lover of all things beautiful including theater, fall days in New England, chick flicks and the mountains. She counts bargain-hunting her sport and enjoys singing loudly while driving. Above all, Joelinda’s passion is to build relationships that help others understand the transformative power of the gospel.

 

Tags: Author: Joelinda Coichy , current students , equipping leaders for the church and society , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

Being Small | D.Min. Guest Blogger

December 19, 2013

Cory Hartman

Cory Hartman is a Doctor of Ministry student in the Revival and Reform track. Read his previous guest post on renewal and revival here.

Two astounding, must-read books from my D.Min. program have newly illuminated how small I am.

The first is James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. Hunter adroitly demonstrates how quantity and even quality of cultural output does not shape a culture, nor does the size of the consumer base. Rather, the culture is shaped by the few institutions, locations, and social circles that all, including those who resent them, tacitly agree are more prestigious than the rest.

I am small and far from these high points. I am not close to the center of my denomination’s culture. I am unimportant to the evangelical subculture—you won’t see my mug on conference junk mail anytime soon. I live in an ignored part of the country. Almost no one in any of my subcultures has the regard of elites in Hollywood, Harvard Yard, and Midtown Manhattan.

I am small in another direction too, as revealed by Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. As Christianity drains out of Europe, it is exploding in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, partly because of the fecund demographics of those regions but also through a burgeoning wave of conversions. Christianity in the United States is holding steady because of help from immigration from those continents as the faith resumes its ancient position as one of the great Eastern religions. The awakening and the miraculous seem to be going on almost everywhere but here, and I can’t read Jenkins’ statistics about 10 million of this and a hundred million of that for long before feeling very small again.

I don’t call myself small out of self-pity—well, I hope I don’t—but from a healthy dose of reality for the sake of humility. I need that. But this is not the whole story.

 

No matter whom I am small by comparison to, I am big to someone else. My town, a modestly affluent county seat, gets more undeserved attention than any other in my region. I’m an evangelical nobody, but unlike many I actually know a few somebodies, and they know even better-known somebodies. And wherever I live in the United States, to the Mexican believer peering around our southern wall I’m at the center of it all.

 

More importantly, no matter how small I am in my profession because I see only 50 people on a Sunday, I am huge to those 50 people. My significance is enormous to the sick for whom I pray, the weary to whom I speak the gospel of hope, and the children who call me pastor. And to my own children and to my wife, I’m colossal—to them, whether or not I exist is the whole world.

Finally, and most importantly, I am staggeringly valuable to the infinitely large God. As David observed, his thoughts about me are beyond comprehension—not only their number and their content but his desire to think about me at all.

At the beginning of Matthew 2, men come from a foreign power to find the king of the Jews, whose birth alarms Jerusalem’s elite and triggers a state crisis. At the end of the chapter he is called a Nazarene, a no-name denizen of a backwater town.

The paradox of Jesus’ incarnation is not only metaphysical—the union of complete and unadulterated deity and humanity in one person. It is a cultural paradox too: the one who is the center of all things lives simultaneously at the extreme margin; he really bears the name above every name while he really is a no-name. This both-and image is the one that God is conforming me to—I shrink while I expand, plunging lower, rising higher.

 

Cory Hartman grew up in a suburb of Syracuse, New York, and serves as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hollidaysburg in the Pennsylvania county where his family has lived for generations. (Go Orange. Go Bucs. Go Steelers.) He is an M.Div. alumnus (’03), a current D.Min. student, and the author of On Freedom and Destiny: How God’s Will and Yours Intersect. Cory and his wife, Kelly, notch National Park sites visited with their four children.
 

 

 

 

Tags: D.Min. Guest Post , equipping leaders for the church and society , thoughtfully evangelical

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

On Church and Military Hospitals | Seminary Student Blogger

November 05, 2013

Tim Norton

I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of the Church lately. What is the Church’s role in society today? What is its primary posture towards culture? I think we all know that there are some hot topics floating around that tend to spark debate in this conversation. As I ponder these types of questions, one image keeps running through my brain: The Church should be like a military hospital.

A hospital is known for caring for sick and wounded people. Now, imagine a hospital located near a battlefield. It will service a lot of sick and wounded people. Now, a solider who is wounded in battle does everything in his power to protect his wound from exposure. The battlefield is no place to be wounded. Soldiers have to cover and hide wounds in order to survive, so they wrap, superglue, cover and patch every wound they incur. Only until a solder comes into the hospital is it acceptable to uncover his wounds. It is the job of the doctors and nurses to gain enough of a soldier’s trust to expose his wounds in complete vulnerability. Then, it is the job of the doctors and nurses heal that solider. And so, doctors and nurses expect to see wounds. They aren’t surprised by them. Imagine a solider coming in with a gunshot to the leg and the ER nurse first lectures the kid for allowing himself to get shot. Is that going to happen? No. Step one is heal the wound, not shame the soldier. Then, after he’s healed, step two is tell the kid not to get shot again.

I think the Church, the Body of Christ, is designed to be a hospital for hurts, wounds, sin, habits, etc. We are designed to administer grace. Too often I send a mixed message because I’ve fallen into the false teaching of moving beyond my own need for grace. Theologically I still believe in it, but I switch my focus from my constant need for grace. I want to improve to the point that I don’t need grace and so I hold others to that standard as well. I’m like a doctor who wants to move beyond the need to use medicine. That’s just not right. To be sure, I don’t think the Church should condone sin any more than a hospital endorses battle-wounds; however, we shouldn’t be surprised when faced with sinners. After all, Scripture presents the overabundance of grace through Christ. God’s grace is poured on us like Niagara Falls would fill a paper cup.

The question is, then, how do we become a place known for grace? How do we become a place that doesn’t endorse sin but also isn’t so repulsed by it that we don’t offer grace through Christ. After all, healing and transformation come after and through grace, not before. A military hospital should expect hurt soldiers to walk through their doors. Churches should expect sinners to do the same. How do we change the current perception of the Church? I don’t know. But I know I want to be in a Church that is like a military hospital. It’s the kind of Church I need. It’s the kind of Church the world needs.

Tim Norton is a born-and-raised, small-town Southerner with the sweet tea addiction to prove it. He comes to Gordon-Conwell as a Kern Pastor-Scholar and plans to pursue pastoral ministry in the U.S. after graduation. Tim is a big personality with a strange affinity for the color orange. Currently, he attends GENESIS Church, an Acts 29 church plant in Woburn, MA.
 

 

 

Tags: Author: Tim Norton , biblically-grounded , equipping leaders for the church and society , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

The Folly of Forgetfulness, the Joy of Remembrance: A Prayer, Day 6 | Seminary Student Blogger

November 02, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. You can read her introduction here; day 1 here; day 2 here; day 3 here; day 4 here; day 5 here.

You Have Always Remembered Us

We remember the childhood trek through the store,
when mommy and daddy faded from sight.
We scurried and scrambled and shook just a bit
and they found us again down the next isle.

We remember the more serious journeys of youth,
the ones that led down dark paths.
We scurried and scrambled and shook a bit more,
and the way out was found after a while.

Now we a grown, big, and mature,
and our seasons of loss are the same.
And we do not see the way out.

But the theme of our past
stings brutally with the truth:
Your eyes have not left us, not once.

In each flight of fear,
In each journey of darkness
In each season of pain,
Your eyes have not left us, not once.

Though we have forgotten,
You never have.

And so we ask,
limply,
humbly,
and undeservingly,
that You might make us among the remembering ones,
even as You have always remembered us.

Would you punctuate the dialogue of our lives
with pause and reflection
that we might, in every season,
recall Your goodness that carried us there. 

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

The Folly of Forgetfulness, the Joy of Remembrance: A Prayer, Day 5 | Seminary Student Blogger

November 01, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. You can read her introduction here; day 1 here; day 2 here; day 3 here; day 4 here.

That Wonted Place

The mornings roll together in sleepy familiarity.

The routine is consistent, the rhythm the same.

But this morning I heard a bird trill a familiar tune,

and suddenly I was back in that wonted place dear to my heart.

Swept up in the music, I sat on my old back porch with Your Words in hand.

I climbed up the apple tree just to check the nest.

I hid between the berry bushes and listened to a searching sister's voice.

And here, on this big brown couch, I remember -

Your eyes upon me are the same eyes,

Your voice within me the same voice,

Your goodness toward me to same goodness.

Two worlds apart, and many journeys between,

You are my constant custom.

And I am grateful. 

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

The Folly of Forgetfulness, the Joy of Remembrance: A Prayer, Day 4 | Seminary Student Blogger

October 31, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. You can read her introduction here; day 1 here; day 2 here; day 3 here.

The Fidelity of Dawn

The dark horizon hides itself
in the blackness of the sky.

The world is concealed in night this hour,
and we watch the motionless mass once again.

We have sat awake in many midnights.

Never has this black horizon persistent.
Never has this darkness been eternal.

And in the unintentional expectations of our own minds,
our hearts respond in new awareness:

Never once have You withheld the sun.
Never once have You left us in the dark.

Every morning,
each dawn,
You are faithful.

Every midnight,
every dark hour,
You are faithful.

And in this dark hour of waiting,
we choose again to remember,
and we choose again to believe. 

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

The Folly of Forgetfulness, the Joy of Remembrance: A Prayer, Day 3 | Seminary Student Blogger

October 30, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. You can read her introduction here; day 1 here; day 2 here.

The Grace of Decided Impatience

We have heard the whispered promise
that You are still to come.

And we, too, have been those who
preached those promises,
claimed those confessions,
declared those decrees.

But we also confess
that as soon as the creed slipped from our lips,
we left the pews without expectation, viable hope, or any bit of impatience.

He ascended into heaven, seated at the right hand of God, the almighty Father, from where he will come to judge the living and the dead.

And so we ask, dear God, that You
would grant us the grace of
decided impatience.

Press our eyes to the horizon,
our ears to the ground.

Fix our feet in holy restlessness
and quicken them towards that which is our final Rest. 

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

The Folly of Forgetfulness, the Joy of Remembrance: A Prayer, Day 2 | Seminary Student Blogger

October 29, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. You can read her introduction here; day 1 here.

Grace to Believe

The orations roll off our tongues
with tradition and ease.

We believe, we do.

We believe.

… in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord …

We believe, we do.

But Sundays have a way of hastening to end,
and Monday meets us with terrors irreconcilable.

Doctors call with news that isn’t good,
Kids call with nightmares we cannot ward off,
The bank calls again and more time is not an option.

And we forget
how to believe …

…in the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting …

So would You, God of our profession,
come and foster in us
the faith of remembrance,
and give us the grace
to recite the creed once again.

And to say,
we believe. 

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

The Folly of Forgetfulness, the Joy of Remembrance: A Prayer, Day 1 | Seminary Student Blogger

October 28, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. You can read her introduction here.

Sunday was Long Ago

Sunday morning has come and gone.
We ate our fill,
and were very proud we had cleaned our spiritual plate.

We heaped our plates with
service,
song
and solitude.

And walked out the stained-glass doors
satisfied,
gratified,
and fulfilled.

And Monday we sat down in passive wontedness,
occupied and busy and
quite unconcerned with eating again.

Like a child who picked his plate clean and refused a return visit,
we have been foolish in our spiritual feeding,
negligent with regard to our need.

And Sunday was long ago.

We cared not for the spiritual deficiency
that slowly crept through our bones
nor did we note the way our hearts
grew languidly cold.

But …

our bellies are beginning to growl.

Slowly, certainly, and somewhat begrudgingly
we are noticing our own dissatisfaction.

We have need, and our selves bear witness that
our need is none other than You.

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

Choosing to Remember: An Invitation to Reflection | Seminary Student Blogger

October 27, 2013

Amy Gannett

Amy is contributing a week-long series on reflection and remembrance. The following is her introduction.

Saturday morning was slow. It was lazy. And comfortable. And familiar.

This morning I felt the prodding of the Lord to go back through old journals, and so I compiled them, gathering them from every corner of my room:

the ones on the book shelf just a bit dusty,

the one on the coffee table all too familiar,

the ones under the bed all but forgotten.

I spent three hours in those pages, remembering and recalling and crying and blushing. I can hardly believe I once thought some of those thoughts, believed some of those beliefs, was concerned about some of those unknowns. But in those pages I also heard my own voice. The dreams are the same; the desires, familiar.

And the God who made it all happen sat back with me and savored the view:

He has been so faithful.

Page after page, with ink spilled on both sides, He has proven Himself to be the constant companion of my soul. The only One who could walk all those paths and heed all those thoughts. He alone has been the common thread in every season.

I don’t know about you, but I am quick to forget. I am slow of remembrance. I do not recall naturally, or remember unaffectedly. I have to want it, to choose it, and to make time for it.

So, I want to invite you to do just that. I want to invite you to join me in a week of reflection on the faithfulness of God. I want to invite you to pull out your journal, your photo albums, your old blog entries, and recall the faithfulness of our God. I want to invite you to pray with me concerning the folly of forgetfulness and the joy of remembrance.

So go on, grab that journal on your shelf and the one under the bed.

Because these books hold our story.

And they cry,

"But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God"
Psalm 40:17

Hi, friend. I'm Amy. Mostly, I’m just another twenty-something trying to figure out the stuff of life. I am a nerdy seminary student who loves the smell of old books and early mornings in the library. I am an artist wanabee, a liberal to the conservative and conservative to the liberal, guilty social justice groupie, and a recovering Bible know-it-all with the unreal ability to put my foot in my mouth an astonishing number of times each day. I am a sister to eight of the most hysterical creatures ever created. Good theology, used book stores, and autumn make me giddy. I preach passionately, think deeply, and ask too many questions. I write prayers, poetry and prose. I write about preaching bad and good, gender roles in the Church, the sacraments, stupid things we do on Sunday, politics, and almost everything else that you are not supposed to discuss in polite company. I also blog at oneyellowbird.blogspot.com. Welcome to the journey.

 

Tags: Author: Amy Gilbaugh , equipping leaders for the church and society , spiritually vital , student blogger

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

Gordon-Conwell Voices