Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Internal vs. External Motivation

What do y'all think about this CarrotMobbing thing? On some level it reminds me of when my daughter was in 2nd grade (and maybe schools still do this) and the kids would get a special treat when teachers noticed them doing something good. I'm not a huge Alfie Kohn fan, but I have to admit that this seems manipulative and sets up individuals and businesses to act in a way that may not be authentic long-term.

I have never really liked the carrot or the stick approach - where do our morals come from? Where is our internal motivation to act in accordance with our beliefs and morals. But we are externally motivated by our socialization and communion with others in a way that's inextricably intertwined. This is the question that some theists ask of humanists - how can one be moral without the dogma - without the threat of eternal punishment.

Anyway, I'd rather shop at a store whose owner chose to act responsibly and ethically without being manipulated into it.

(and yes, fellow preaching students, I'm reflecting on this during our conversation on authenticity!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The last week of class looms - preaching for the week! I just got back to my apartment from my sister's house, where I had an absolute blast. I got to visit with her, her husband, two of her sons. My sister and I went to see a band called Soda last night with her best friend and her crazy next door neighbor. My roommates and I are going to go see them on Thursday.

I have one more major paper to write, and one fun creative project. I am homesick as hell and miss my family with a passion. I love my roommates and could not have survived J-Term without them! I want to take them all home with me. We are planning an annual retreat with each other after we graduate.

Anyway, five more days. Woohoo!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The home stretch

Another class done - Arts & Aesthetics. It was great fun, and an opportunity to bond with students I didn't know very well. I especially enjoyed our trip to the Art Institute, and hearing each of us speak about which piece of art grabbed us, and for what reason. I was busily sending photos of the artwork to my 12 year old the whole time, who is a wonderful artist. I can't wait to take her there one of these days - maybe this summer.

I still have a lot of writing to do, and I took on a paid project while I'm here, but UPS seems to have not shown up to deliver the material, which is both stressful, and also buys me a day to work on school projects.

I'm feeling quite homesick for the kids and my husband. I've talked to or Skyped with them every day, and it's been great to see how organized they're all being with school work and schedules while I'm gone. My husband seems to be enjoying the opportunity to be home and spend lots of time with all four of the kids; me being gone for a bit is an opportunity for everyone to appreciate everyone else I think!

This coming week I take on the Preaching class with Bill Schultz. I'm nervous and excited about it. I've heard wonderful things about the class, and had a class with Bill last year, so know he's a great teacher who will push us to do our best work.

Back to writing and preparing taxes, so I can go and visit with my sister tonight. She's dragging me out to see her favorite band, so I'm looking forward to a lot of fun and laughter, which is a good antidote to the stress I'm feeling about all the things I have to deal with when I get home next week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week One over

I have to say that even though I knew what to expect of intensives this year, it is exactly the same mix of whirling experience. I was part of a large liberal theology class for the last five days,the outcome of which is a paper identifying our five vital questions about putting our theologies into practice in our ministries. Long days of lecture and small group work, interrupted by working lunches/information sessions about UUA and ministry track issues, followed by evenings of shared meals, meetings, and early bedtimes have been exhilarating and exhausting, inspiring and overwhelming.

It's amazing to see how much our class has transformed from 18 months ago when we started this journey though. Most of us have been through Clinical Pastoral Education, a large group of us are in our internships, and we are much further into discerning where this call is taking us. It's a fascinating sociological experiment to observe this year's class, my class, the part-time students, and the students from prior programs. Part of being in ministry is learning the art of being participant/observer of your system, and being totally enveloped by the intensive seminary experience is a great opportunity to practice that skill in a safe environment where you can practice without too much fear of screwing up royally.

When I was so busy during the week, I didn't miss my home life too much, but this weekend, I'll be visiting with my sister, so things will slow down a bit. My roommate brought her daughter to visit our apartment this weekend, so I got to snuggle with her, which filled up my cup a little bit -  I am missing snuggles from my own kids! Last year at January term, I realized how much physical contact I get from my kids and husband - when I'm traveling, it's very isolating physically, so it was a real gift for my friend to share her sweet kidlet with me!

I still have plenty to do this weekend - catching up on work, papers to write, reading to do. Tuesday I start Arts & Aesthetics, which I am very much looking forward to. It'll be a different kind of a class then Liberal Theology. The following week I am taking Preaching with Bill Schultz, which I am very much looking forward to.

So that's the update from the trenches. More to come as I process all of the things I've been learning.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January, January

It seems to have been a long time since I have journaled. Much of my writing energy has been going to homilies, papers, reading journals, etc. I have also not been writing much publicly, because I have some personal things going on that are making me a little paranoid about putting anything about my schedule, my schooling, my path, my parenting, out into the public eye.

In any event, I'm just about to finish up my first intensive class of the year at Meadville Lombard, and have been thoroughly engaged by my Liberal Theology class, taught by Mike Hogue. It has given me a good context historically and theologically, for which to imagine the practicalities of ministry in a parish setting.

I am going to see my sister this weekend, and write some papers. I am thrilled to get to visit with her. I have been Skyping with the kids and my husband almost daily, which is wonderful. A combination of child care, time off work for my husband, and a few hours of childcare by my two oldest has made things run smoothly. Everyone is on a good schedule (better than when I'm there apparently LOL) of school work, chores, and playtime!

I have the best roommates in the world. We're staying in a B&B near the school, and are having fun with our rampant sarcasm, theological musings, and cooking all manner of yummy food.

I miss home  but have been so engaged by school that the time has flown by. Tomorrow another dinner with friends after the last day of my first class.

I am also doing the final pieces of paperwork to turn into the RSCC for my return interview in April. I am very excited and a little bit anxious about it. This has been a year of tremendous ministerial growth for me.

I am also missing my teaching congregation and my home congregation; and thankful for morning prayer with colleagues, and Vespers on Wednesday evenings.

Anyway, I'm fully off to the races here, and it's fabulous!