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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.