Sunday, October 29, 2006

Time to write a chapter of this new book

I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING and reading for more than a year to write something on the Creed (mostly Apostle’s though including Nicene). I wrote a proposal to my publisher and they are interested and want a sample chapter before they issue a contract. That makes sense because I live in a non-Creedal denomination—why would they want a book on the creed? My goal is to write in a different style, less “instructional” and more devotional and praise-inspiring. We’ll see if I am up to that.

ANYWAY yesterday I finally knocked out a first draft of chapter two: “Creator of heaven and earth.” I usually don’t start with a front chapter in a book and didn’t here (e.g. I believe, or Father or Almighty).

IS IT ANY GOOD? Who knows? I can’t tell. A writer does their best and lets it to editors and reviewers to decide if it ever meets the light of day, then of course my readers will decide if they agree with the publishers.

IF IT NEVER GETS PUBLISHED I’ll probably write it anyway. I am in the stage of life where the core beliefs of the Christians are more important—an old fellow is not required to believe anything at all to keep his job or advance politically. As my fellow boomers approach their 60’s and later they too will have to determine all over again what they really hold personally and not just what they held due to their association with friends and family. So we will be just like the 20something folk—examining their core beliefs and either affirming them or walking away in unbelief. Those who already went through a meltdown in their younger years often hold firm through this echo effect, those who never faced the big issues sometimes lose their faith in their heart and never tell their spouses or people at church—they die secret agnostics and secretly in spiritual despair.

I ALREADY KNOW WHERE I’LL COME OUT, because I’ve already come out on this—I hold firmly by choice to the “Common Ground” that Christians everywhere at all times have always believed…. (my working title for this book). So I’ll be writing an uplifting book reminding us all what we Christians all hold in common—and always have. The last year or two’s research reading for this book has been filled with the likes of Alister McGrath, Luke Timothy Johnson, Ray Prichard, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Hans Urs von Balthasar, William Barclay, Martin Luther, Emil Brunner, Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas, & Augustine. I can’t go wrong reading these people—even if I never wrote a book at all!.

(AS FOR SCHOOL and classes there is no special news…we’re in the doldrums after mid term… this week we start registration/advising for second semester and there is an FNL… nothing else of significance… it is the quiet before the final push of the semester….)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Afternoon with Yoder

Monday is my “reading afternoon” and has been ever since, well, ever since last week. ;-)

Today I read John Howard Yoder’s “Body Politics” which my son John assigned to me. Great read!

In this book Yoder covers five practices of the church which are “sacraments yet not sacramentalism” with a mind-bending Anabaptist approach to each that if the church took seriously would be a “witness to a watching world.” They are:
1. Binding and loosing
2. Baptism
3. Eucharist
4. Multiplicity of gifts.
5. Open meeting

But don’t get the idea that these titles cover the content of the book—the way he bends these five practices to describe what the body of Christ should look like is wonderful. What a wonderful afternoon. The book is a little book and fairly inexpensive… I hope you read it (if you are reading this and a recent graduate and want to see the church be something more than it is, or you are disillusioned’ll want it).

It is less than ten bucks newfrom Amazon—less used.
Neat read!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall Break on the Knobber

Just returned from Fall "break" on the Knobstone Trail. Sharon and I hiked with Ross & Karen Hoffman. This is Sharon's first hike since her knee operation and she did fine. We got on the trail in mile 11 at route 160 (where the other three had hiked to several years ago) and walked to mile 21--then headed cross-country bushwhacking through the woods "to a road we think is over there somewhere." We came out of the woods right at the end of the road, walked out and hitched back to our car. We plan to do a leg each fall break from now on, knees willing.

It was a brisk day (frost in the morning, warming all day to 70 degrees for a moment) and we had a great time. (We knocked down several dead trees for you Mark & Jess)
I'll post a few pix.

Sharon's Damascus Road experience?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mid term is here!

Half way. 13.1 miles of the marathon is done!

I just left campus for “fall Break”

1. It really isn’t much of a “break” for me..I have a boxful of midterms to grade—with midterm grades due Monday at noon. Rats!

2. I’m headed off with Sharon along with Ross and Karen Hoffman tomorrow to hike on the Knobstone Trail.

3. On Monday we begin our second half—which is always shorter then the first half.

4. Students are getting better sleep then they used to—at least those I teach. Are they smarter?

5. I let the seven groups in Church Leadership create their own group-mid-term questions from which I made a tailored midterm. Interesting but too many hours work for me. Never again. ;-)

6. There are no more “Health center excuses” at IWU (unless you have some serious communicable disease) so that hits some students hard now. Had a senior student who is my advisee today withdraw form a course in another division where he missed three classes already… and lost 7% of his grade for each class—a whopping 21% price tag for his flu. Now he will stay another semester and finish in December. Boy that’s rough. (But it was in the syllabus so he has no recourse). Rats!

7. Marion is on Daylight savings time now—which means we go to 7:50s in the dark.

8. I think I might be getting a section of Intro to Pastoral Ministry back next semester. This is way cool—I loved that course. Not a final decision yet.. Boss man (Dave) Smith is deciding.

9. Today was bosses day and I ate two doughnuts and enjoyed them.

10. Sharon and I went “out” to Baldwin for dinner tonight. Seems foolish to current students, but past ones will understand. ;-)

11. I’m missing people this week… people like Paul Kind, Mark Schmerse and Jess, CeCe, Brooke, Kevin Julie, Josh… so many others. But this is the life of a professor… love ‘em & they leave ya. It is supposed to be that way.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Semester 1/3 over (personal update)

We’re at the third point of the semester here. Remember—this is when the clamps start turning down. Next week we have mid terms. A week from Friday we head off on Fall “break” (actually only a single day). I’m preparing for mid terms now.

1. September was a bear for me. I have all but one of the seven(?) writing assignments done now—doing that one this week (I hope).

2. On October 31 I have a sample chapter of a new book I’ve proposed due—on the Apostle’s Creed. If it flies with the publisher then I’ll plunge into actually writing what I have been researching the last 18 months.

3. David, Kathy and the grandkids were here for homecoming—which was great!
Recently spoke to northern Indiana gathering of Salvation Army—sorta like another homecoming since I worked for them 4 years in the 1970’s

4. I’m on day 12 of a lousy cold and hacking cough [I’m giving it 21 days to go away then I’m getting discouraged]

5. Saw lots of precious alums at homecoming—now that they are gone I’m sad.
It is 70 degrees here in Marion—like summer. Blankets on the lawn even.

6. Having gotten cable TV on a special $2.95 per month deal I am making a commitment to waste one hour every day watching TV to see what I’ve been missing these last few years.

7. All other news is not ready for release yet.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Homecomeing & New Field House & Dorm

OK as part of the continuing "So you missed Homecoming" series here are a few other buildings... I'll perhaps post more later--but I'm headed off to the soccer game soon where IWU plans to let SWU win to encourge their hearts (this new sports strategy is based on Steve DeNeff's sermon in yesterday's "Homecoming chapel") As for the homecoming chapel we had a gigantic gathering in the gym which was funny in a way--the change of locations is always hard for the "worship part" of the service. (DeNeff was great-as-always though, though he sweat several quarts of water trying to overcome the Gym atmosphere.) At 1PM yesterday we crowned the new king of IWU--Henry Smith with much fanfare and pomp. OK for this week's campus shots:

Here is the latest dorm-of-the-year
Located right on top of the old tennis courts next to Luckey Gym these residence halls will offer yet another style of living. They "face" PPAC parking area and form part of the North "City wall" of the campus as we already have on the Southside with the Townhouses. They'll be finished in time for next year's crop.

And the new Field House
Remember how the sports teams had to "compete" for inside training space in the Wellness & Rec center? That should pass as soon as the new field house is done. It appears to be about a football field long and is located back at the very end of the sports complex--right off the turnaround there. Beside it are the new tennis courts--though thay were not finished in time for today's game.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Homecoming weekend (Student Center Pix -Part I

This weekend is homecoming and the new president's inaguration. Many of you will be back... if not here's a quick tour of the New Student Center VIA some pixs I took for you this afternoon (Sunday). Jess Schmerse asked for pix of the new student center--so here goes:

Here is a view of the "finished" Student Center from the exit doors of PPAC... it dominates (the former) Nebraska Street. That swooping glass to the left is the ceiling of the Piazza (see interior pic in part 2). Now we have three great buildings facing a "new quadrangle" with a possible fouth on the way:
1) Wellness & Rec;
2) Student center;
3) PPAC and
4?) New chapel (maybe planted somewhere where Center school now is?).
[I think the four-fold plan is based on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Or at least Luke 2:52? ]

IWU now owns Nebraska street and it is closed to auto traffic. You can see the "redevelopment plan" soon to occur on the sign here: "The mall" inside has doubled in length and extends all the way to Nebraska Street/PPAC--which is far out of sight in this picture (taken from MConn) Everything is now "off the mall" even a new Art Galery (black sign to right) including the new entrance to Baldwin and all the alternative eating areas and shops.... the general idea of the new student center seems to be --"have lots more "venues" and less giant open spaces--more places to chat, relax and snuggle. " Even the uptairs section of the enw addition (Dean of Cjapel, Life Calling & records office) has little chat-spoits all over the place which provides an enviroment conducive to mentoring.
In the actual Baldwin Dining room there area whole bunch of classy new serving lines going in (still). The renonovation isn't done yet and the dishwasher isn't even hooked up --so we're still eating on paper plates as of October 1. (Oh yes--what you see in the foreground is true... cool huh?... we're working on the "Freshman fifty" now ;-)
Tucked all over in the old "Baldwin" are tiny venues and snuggle places for people to gather and talk quietly. If you liked the old "Applebees venue" you'll love the new Baldwin. The large open "prison-like eating area" is gone almost.. the open spaces may actually be smaller than it used to be.

Go to part II for the rest of the pix

Homecoming week (New Student Center PART 2

Off the mall is "Marios" --a kind of pizza & junk food place you can swipe at instead of "Baldwin." It has a sort of "Piazza" atmosphere including a working fountain which makes you think you need to go to the bathroom while you are eating.

Blogspot is loading too slow to stick all my pix here, but trust me--there are other venues for eating. For instance the old Wildcat is now a fancy-snooty dining hall where they will have four forks and three spoons at each plate setting and teach us hillbillies which one to use when. The "Wildcat Express" is now off the mall and is a really cool store where swipes and points can be used.

McConn has been expanded too and now includes (to the right below) a wood-floored news-room where students can see if anything of interest is happening outside the IWU bubble on a large flatscreen TV... (this is still being finished and won't be done by homecoming). (There is disagreement on if they will tune the news to Fox, CNN, or CNBC..which would you pick?)

Oh yeah, We now have a gift shop named in hebrew [though not exactly accurately says Elaine B.] It is designed especially for guys to buy gifts for their girlfriends.

The notion of selling gifts for the girls to give to the guys has not yet struck the campus, which is odd since almost 75% of the market on campus are women (as you know ;-). (The proportion of males may [still] be going down at IWU--maybe we need an engineering program or football! Gee, how bad would it be if we had no religion division!

Just before you exit to PAC you can get your hair cut on the way to chapel at the cleverly named "WildcutZ."

At the other end of the student center near the library our new campus store opened this week (where the old "day student lounge" used to be) . Having used up all the naming creativity on WildcutZ we named the new campus story, Campus Store. One gal this week treated the breaking news of its opening with, "Gee, now we don't even have to go across Washington Street to Circle K any more--we can get everything we'll ever need in life right here in the bubble." (Don't be too hard on her--she's a senior--remember?)

I'll see many of you at homecoming... if not at least you can see these pictures ;-)
So what do you want to see next week?