Sunday, March 29, 2009


Going for it, therefore ...

Preacher gave me his personal blessing. Indicated that he wasn't surprised. Said he can see me doing it.

Therefore, I am going to apply to the seminary, aiming, initially, for an 18-hour Certificate in Graduate Theological Studies. Starting this fall. I am going to fill out the FAFSA. I will take a loan. After that, we'll see.

And I have begun the process of exploring licensure as a minister, which is not ordination but is a credential for supply preaching.

There you have it. That's the plan. I reserve the right to revise and extend, or to change my plan.


God help me. :-)


Funny, but it sounds about where I thought you'd land.

If you were a UM, you would be going for what we call a lay speaker's position; sometimes they even get appointed, but mostly they do pulpit supply, that kind of thing.

Enjoy the course-work, and obviously, keep us updated. Especially on your reading list.
:-) Of course!
And God help the preach-ees.

Now I'm guessing it'll be a while, but you will tell us when you end up guest preaching, yes? Those of us nearby want to come heckle. ;-)
Good deal! Best wishes.
What is Holy Spirit?

The holy spirit is... happening.

(Not that the purpose is clear, yet.)
You've probably already done this checking, but some denominations have specific grants and support for seminary work for things like Commissioned Lay Pastors (what we Presbyterians call what you're doing), for folks going to seminary as a second career, etc. Maybe there's UCC money out there too?
The longest journey begins with one step.
There could be a fair amount of assistance available after the first year from my local church.

In the meantime, Dr. ER, who is much smarter about these kinds of things, points out that I should borrow the max, and use any excess to pay down higher-interest unsecured debt. She is a smart one, she is.

(Yesterday was a steep slope down all day. From the high point of the morning with the preacherdude all the way down to a yelling fight with my beloved. Gah. Sometime I do still believe in that son-of-a-bitch devil and his imps. Or, oh, the humanity of me.)
On the subject at hand: This is what I get for cutting out the adult beverages for Lent. Dang. These turns of events, for all my whining over wanting to do this for so long, are sort of taking me my surprise.
The path you see today reflects your personal past and present. I suspect that there are directions in front of you, unimaginable to you at this time. Remind Dr. ER that when my wife hooked up with me she thought she was headed to the SBC's mission field. She didn't have to go. The path was actually much harder than that and far far different.

You have at least another 40 years to travel this road. Have fun, expect anything.
The year-plus I thought I was moving to Boulder but didn't know how or why was an inoculation of sorts for uncertainty. And, Dr. ER and I both thought we'd be in D.C. by now -- and not wishful thinking, but by deliberate effort -- so there's a recent inoculation for disappointment. Sigh.

And the yelling fight had to do with ... nothing. Selfishness on my part. Impatience. My accidentally hurting her feelings; her natural reaction; my hot head. Typical stuff.
BTW, regarding finances, as someone who has enough unpaid student loans so that I'm worth far more dead than alive (unlike lots of forms of debt, student loans magically disappear when one shuffles off this mortal coil), I can say that interest rates right now are pretty good, so Dr. ER's suggestion is a definitely good one. And, unlike most higher interest unsecured debt, the student loan (or the interest on it, I don't remember which because I don't do our taxes) is tax deductible.

And don't forget all the nice tax credits for tuition, books, etc. when it comes tax time.
How are there tax credits for tuition and books?
Ha. Never mind. Dr. ER just splained it to me. I don't do our taxes either.
And unless housing is supplied (and even then), pastors can designate all housing expenses (mortgage, utilities, everything needed to outfit a house - toilet paper to sofa) as tax free.

Pastors can instruct their parishes to give them two checks every pay period: one for a close estimation of housing costs (the tax free amount), and one for all above that amount (taxable).

If you choose to bite the dust and take on "the cloth," find an accountant who is well-versed in military/clergy tax law.
"Ha. Never mind. Dr. ER just splained it to me. I don't do our taxes either."

Yeah, our taxes are way, way, waaaayyy too complicated (yet another one of the the joys of living in sin), but what little I know about it is that there are all sorts of credits/deductions for us students that normal grown ups don't get. :)
Feodor, that is the misty improbable future! :-)

Alan: The coolest part of studentin' is the daily excuses for denying one's true, ah, maturity! :-)
Hey, in a bad economy, any port in a storm...

(just kidding)

... but it wasn't like Augustine was a prime choice who went willingly.

'Ave you got any mistresses and bastard children you're going to have to give up?

Nope. But they'll take my whisky when they pry my Dickel from my cold, dead fingers!
Yikes. BAD typo in this the first time:

Hey, I told Dr. ER what my first sermon might could be at the First Redneck UCC Church:

"If Heaven Ain't a Lot Like Dixie, I don't Wanna Go."

Preached from the First Book of Bocephus.

Oh, she didn't get it. Being a citified sophisticate. For all her legit redneck ways, the girl don't know the Hank Williams Jr. discography as well as I do.
You know, it's easy to cut up on line. But I've kind of slipped into a real somber mood about this, which is surprising and a tad discombobulatin'. Damn moods anyway.
Is the solemnity the burden of choice, or the burden of being chosen?

The possibly impending signal flash of fate, destiny?

The knowledge that it will be less than ideal, that afterward you know more but still have to live in the real world?

Having to read more Frei?

Maybe some somberness is appropriate.
Could be just the natural wheeze that comes from having finally taken a few solid steps toward something I've been talking about for years.
"The coolest part of studentin' is the daily excuses for denying one's true, ah, maturity! :-)"


Plus you get the student discount at movies.
Many prayers as you begin a wonderful exploration of your faith, ministry and God.

Blessings & Peace,
Such excellent news, ER! I'm delighted you're going to be around this place, well metaphorically speaking anyway, since you're planning to do the distance stuff. You are going to be a fabulous asset to the seminary!
Linda found me! Hoo hoo!

Hey, I'm planning on being there. I'm almost positive my job is flexible enough for me to come all day Tuesdays.
For some reason, your effort to make this decision reminded me of a story that's found in the apocrypha, a version of the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den that was ultimately rejected by the protestants. There is another familiar character in the text, Habbakuk the prophet. You can find the text of the story here: Pay particular attention to what happens to Habbakuk.
And I'm glad to hear that will actually be here! That too is excellent news!
Linda, very cool. Habbakuk: What a "call"! :-)
Thanks, Hugo!
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