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The Body of Christ, Eucharist April 9, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in εκκλησία, living as a seminary student.
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Mutt. Mix. Melting. Those are the words that describe my spiritual and ecclesiological background. The Baptist piety of my soul yearned for the mystical connection of the Catholic Eucharist. Milligan College, in it’s well-intentioned attempt to show me the path of good congregationalism and “being like the early Church,” convinced me of the need for liturgy and high church. Something beautiful and redeeming happened when I chose to kneel in my pew. When I graduated from Milligan College, I left assuming I would never return to this community. I finally joined an Episcopal church and was confirmed into the Anglican Communion. I was going to live life as an Episcopalian. I was going to marry an Episcopalian. I would have small Episcopalians running around in topsiders and seersucker. Maybe they would play lacrosse.

God’s cosmic plan is never my plan. Less than a year and a half later, I returned to the Milligan and Emmanuel community. Now, a problem has arisen. I have labeled myself as Anglican. I hold Anglican beliefs, but I am not the 39 Articles personified. I am not attending the Episcopal Church in Johnson City. I’m not even fellowshipping at any time with the church. Instead, I am back at the church that I know and love, Grandview.

Is this wrong? I have spent many, many conversation on this topic. I surprise attack people. We might be discussing composting and suddenly I ask, “Is it okay for me to have communion presided over by someone who isn’t a priest?” For some reason, I can accept that Eucharist presided over by an Orthodox, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican priest is legitimate. Have the smells and bells indoctrinated me, or have they taught me a truth?

In my heart, in my gut, I cannot believe that it is a truth. Baptist piety is a fire that refines every thought that enters me. I am too troubled by the idea of denying the priesthood of all believers. I know many can tell me how that is different than the ordained minister I see at the alter. I cannot accept that. There is something wrong with the idea that I, as a layperson, cannot walk up the bread and wine and then ask the Holy Ghost to change the elements into the Body and Blood of Christ. This makes my prayers less effective. That belief means I am less than a person ordained. “No,” I am told, “it makes you different.” No, it makes me less.

But still, I struggle. In a few months, I will have a wedding. There will be communion, and I am terrified. What if I am not supposed to have communion? What if my beliefs about Eucharist, the Church, and the Body of Christ are wrong? The problem with Baptist piety, that runs so deep, is that your fear of punishment never quite goes away. I am a sinner, dangling like a spider on a thread, hanging over the fire.

In the end, my heart says that I will champion the layperson. I have been called clueless. I have been called ignorant. I’m pretty sure I took a grade cut because of my position. The fact is astounding that the Body of Christ can be so divided over the Body of Christ.

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Summer March 31, 2009

Posted by amberpeace in living as a 20-something, living as a seminary student, living as a student.
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Last week was Spring Break (which really is not suppose to be a break for grad students), and next Friday is Good Friday. We have five weeks of classes left, research week, and finals. That may seem far off for other people, but I am itching to be done! This semester has been stupidly hard, which means that I’ll have to cut back on school hours next semester to 9. The hope is that when Matt graduates, he will have a chaplaincy position somewhere.

You know, a real job with 40 hours and benefits. Benefits = the only reason I’m working 40 hours and not 30.

So I’m excited about summer where I’ll *only* be working full time. I won’t know what to do with myself on my three days off.

What would you suggest I do with my free time?

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Breathing December 28, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in Emmanuel, friends, Living, living as a 20-something, living as a seminary student, living as a student, relationships, school.
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That’s *almost* what I’m doing now, breathing. My classes and finals are finished. I’m no longer learning to balance a full time job and a full time student load. I hope that by February, when classes restart, I’ll have the balancing more under control. The two biggest chunks that had to be cut from my life were attending church on Sundays and having sporadic hanging out time with friends. 

Not getting to attend on Sundays is a bit of a downer, because there are people I want to see at Grandview, but I have the opportunity to go to Evensong on Saturday nights and Adoration on Tuesday nights – both offer Eucharist, which is vitally important. The other, the hanging out, is more difficult and I believe has caused some people to assume I’m blowing them off. Frustrating is a bit of an understandment on that one. Sure, some people understand. The ones who have children, and spouses seem to get it. The other friends I have though, the ones who go to school and work part time, I get questions. “Where have you been?” “Why aren’t you hanging out anymore?” I’ve had a few cold shoulders in the recent days because, I think, a few people assume that I just don’t care about them.
Let’s see. A week  has 168 hours. 40 of those are spent at work. It takes me about 35 minutes to get to work. That’s an hour tacked on to the four days I work. 2 hours. I sleep 7 hours a night. That’s 49. I had 8 hours of in class work this semester. That’s in class. That’s not the studying and group work I need to do. So that leaves me 69 hours left to cook, clean, study, meet with groups, and generally get done what needs to get done. That seems like a lot, but when it’s broke up into All day Wednesday and Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings – It really isn’t. 

But like I said, the classes are over. I worked two 8 hour shifts and two 12 hour shifts early this week so I had Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday night off. My sisters are visiting. It’s been nice. This coming week I’ll do a bit of overtime, but that means I get Saturday night off again, so I can go to a wedding. I’ve been able to actually cook mine and matt’s meals, so we don’t have to eat out because I’m too worn out to make anything. Things are getting clean, laundry is getting done and, God willing, when February comes I will have Matt on a routine of how to do things so we can both work, study, and not go insane. 

It’s Christmastide now. While most people are taking down their decorations, the Traditionals have just put theirs up and will leave them up until Epiphany. Next year I hope to have a rosymary topiary in place of a faux christmas tree and see if I can find somewhere to give me enough holly to decorate the entire downstairs so I can have more Church traditional decorations.

Whatever you’re doing to end or begin your Christmas celebration, celebrate Christ.

What are you doing with your free time? September 15, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in Emmanuel, friends, εκκλησία, living as a 20-something, living as a seminary student, living as a student, relationships, school.
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A seminarian can't always be in the books

A seminarian can't always be in the books

I’ll leave it to the eloquent August 30, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in living as a seminary student, politics.
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I am dry and sarcastic. I strive for peace, but have a quick and firey temper. So, I believe, I should speak more about my experiences as a student growing up into adulthood, and less on politics. Shocking for anyone reading this who knows me personally. There are so many other people who can do it better, though. For example, this kid lives two doors down from me – literally. I met him earlier this past week as we got “orientated” to Emmanuel. 

So, expect more posts on struggling with OTI, words of wisdom from Dr Marwede, and learning how to buy my own groceries and pay my own electricity bill. I’ll keep the political rants to the temporal world of my house and my roommate.

Ipranced around in my giant fur coat and pretended to be Sarah Palin, yesterday. I may have to post that picture.

August 27, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in living as a student, school.
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This is not suprising June 2, 2008

Posted by amberpeace in living as a student.
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     Driving to work Friday, I came to the first main intersection of the day. Lalalala. Light go green! I press the gas and…it sluggishly pulls away. Oh, good. This is exactly what I need, a car that doesn’t work. I mean, it’s not like I live 30 miles from my work location and there is no one to carpool with.

     I continue to work and at ever stop and stoplight, the same story. The green “S” light has also came on. I pull into a spot at work and fret for the next little bit on what to do. If I take my car to my mechanic, how am I going to get back to work? After a few calls, my friend Tiffany agrees to pick me up from the mechanic. It is walkable distance, but like, an hour walkable distance and walking alone through homeless distract walkable distance.

     I spend the day fretting some more, afraid to hear the dreaded “T” word. You know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t figured out anyting from this blog you should have figured out that I am BROKE. All computer use is by the grace of God and a desk job. The mechanic closes at 5pm and I get a call at 4:45. My car is ready. After a few more calls, Tiffany picks me up and I arrive at the mechanic. He tells me that the transmission fluid is fine, my brake fluid was low, but my spark plugs had to be changed. This is odd, because I had just had my major tune up in November. Spark plugs should not have to be changed that often. $78 for the check up. That’s pretty splendid, if I do say so myself. I pull away. Lalala.

     When hitting Alcoa Hwy, my “check engine” light comes on. I panic momentarily, but remind myself the “check engine” light is the most useless light on a car. They probably jiggled a wire the wrong way. Lalala. My car is fine all weekend – up until Sunday evening. I go to pick up my sisters from work at the Zoo and when I come to the fairground’s stop sign, it does the sluggish thing again and the “S” light comes on. Oh dear. I turn the car off. I wait a moment. I start the car. I go to pull out of park AND I CAN’T. Panic. I turn the car off. I think for a moment. I put my key into the shift lock release and move my car to neutral (I bet no one though I knew that!) and then start my car. I can move to drive! I get the girls and explain to them my car situation. We take Magnolia and do plenty of staring at stoplights, daring them to turn red. Luckily almost all stops on the way home are able to be rolling.

     Monday morning, today, I took my car back to the mechanic. I had left a voicemail for them last night explaining the situation and that I would be there first thing in the morning. The mechanic that is going to be working on my car test drove it with me in it. I learned that my car currently hates D4 and D1 but is perfectly content in D3 and D2. He then told me that my transmission is in “limp-in” mode. They are going to run some tests on it today and decided on what’s wrong. It could be a minor problem. It could need a new transmission.

     And that’s the problem right there. If it needs a new transmission, that’s the end of the car. I’ll have to sell the car at, oh, CarMax, and take the cash. I can’t buy anything on lot because I can’t have a monthly car payment. At all. Unless someone knows of a place where I can get a $10 a month car payment. Right. Anyone have a car to sell for $1000 (and can stand a commute from Walland)?

*update* Transmission. Need new car definitely now.