Sunday, October 28, 2007

Already Almost November

WOW time is flying. It has already been two weeks since My friend Bri came down to see us. We had a wonderful time with her and I enjoyed catching up face to face. Thanks for coming Bri!!! Not to mention, it was fun to have someone else be so excited about the beautiful place that we are living in.

Josh just had his second seminar weekend of the semester. He presented the paper he was working on for the past four weeks. The paper was on a Christian biblical interpreter in the Middle Ages named Nicholas of Lyra. He is known for, among other things, having written a massive commentary on the whole Bible. Josh looked into how he interpreted the Old Testament in particular and tried to understand better the way he affected the way we read the OT today. The research and the interaction in the seminar were both good learning experiences.

A page from Nicholas of Lyra's Postilla litteralis on the Psalms, with the biblical text surrounded by Nicholas's commentary.

I (Josh--we're tag-teaming this blog) have my last game of flag football at San Quentin this coming Saturday. I and about 8-10 other seminary guys go and play against the prison team. They have at least three times as many guys and it seems they are all about three times as big as any of us. They also practice often, play every week against other teams, and are undefeated. (They have a baseball team too, which was featured in Sports Illustrated--the San Quentin Giants.) Needless to say it can be quite intimidating for 10 average-sized, white seminarians who spend most of their days sitting and reading and who haven't practiced and don't have any plays, to walk onto the yard of this massive, historic prison (known as "the Q") where 30-40 big guys who seem to spend most of their days working out, are either running their plays or watching us with big grins as we walk onto the field.

We get beat but it is very fun and good to get out there and run around. And it is the most physical flag football I've ever played, which I love. Some of the other guys I think are a little less used to or excited about the contact part of it. Each time I've been pretty bruised and sore for a few days afterward. It's fun but also a really good experience. One of our guys shares at half-time and they always listen very attentively and respectfully. Some of these guys are the nicest guys you'd ever meet. It's eye-opening, sad, thought-provoking, and challenging all at the same time. I think this Saturday might be the day the San Quentin Blues Brothers suffer their first loss ever:)

Stacy is starting to work more and more on the Christmas program for the preschool. She has to assign speaking roles for the four-year-olds (the tigers), teach the songs and motions to all the kids, make sets, and much more, all while still helping most days in the threes class (cheetahs) and taking her classes at the seminary too. And that is also not to mention her keeping the laundry done, the house clean, and her husband well-fed and well-loved. The busyness of the semester has definitely not let up for either of us.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Abiding Way

Well, we think we've decided to quit church hopping now. On Sunday we went back to the church we attended our first Sunday here and we plan to stay there. It has been a good process in a number of ways. It's been good to get an idea of the area and the churches' impact here in general. It's been good to have lots of conversations about what is important in church, what our involvement should be, what our attitudes about the whole thing should be, and things like that. We're ready now, though, to settle down and get involved.

The church is called Abiding Way and, yes, it is a Baptist Church--technically Southern Baptist, but it doesn't feel like what either of us thought a Southern Baptist church would feel like. That's probably partly because our assumptions were not totally accurate, and partly because this is not only California, but Marin County, California. One of my profs, Dr. Melick, is the pastor. It is a pretty small church compared to what we are used to, but then again, all the churches around here are.

There are about 100-150 people on Sundays. But it is a very alive and growing church. We love Good Shepherd and think of it as home, but there are some fun aspects of knowing that everyone pretty much knows everyone. The music and singing are good, kind of contemporary in style and very God-focused. It seems like there will be ample opportunity to get involved. Dr. Melick has talked with me a little about teaching some Bible Studies and Stacy has some great ideas for organizing and decorating. They do a lot of activities together as a church too, which is fun and makes for a healthy family feel. (All that said, we probably aren't in a position quite yet to take on too many more things to be doing. We both feel, and are, very busy.) So thanks for praying for that process. It's been good.

A couple other brief highlights in our life:

We got to see Mom Mathews briefly yesterday. She's down here for a few days and we picked her up at the airport then went to Uncle Bob and Aunt Joanie's for dinner. Great to see all of them and especially Mom.

Last weekend was my first seminar weekend, really just two (very) full days. They went well. I'm learning a ton and, as I'm finding is usually the case with learning, I'm learning how much more there is I want and need to learn. And the Bible is still becoming more and more alive and amazing to me, because of who its Author is.

Stacy is doing wonderfully at her job. Yesterday when we were walking to the school, one of the little "cheetahs" (3 year-olds) came running out and grabbed her by the leg saying, "hi miss Stacy." She is also so consistently loving and supportive of me.

I'm playing flag football at San Quentin prison every few Saturdays. I think I'll do a post on that sometime. It's quite the experience.

It was 80 degrees today without a cloud in the sky. We love Oregon but we love the sun too.

Baseball playoffs start tomorrow. Cubs won the NL Central and are going to the post season for just the fifth time in like 60 years. Maybe they'll win it all this year and avoid the claim to infamy of going 100 years between championships.