Friday, June 30, 2006

super-professor or just me?

So I'm sitting in the bath tub tonight, reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell and I'm just loving it. I've been reading a lot of these sorts of books lately. You know, the types of books that someone tells you about their journey of faith. Anyway, Rob Bell talks in part of this book about owning other peoples stories as much as are own. Its a neat concept, and I don't always get it, being raised in an indivualistic society and being raise a bit of a selfish brat (its my story and thats their story and there is nothing in common). But today, I really felt like Rob's story is my own. He is talking about his breakdown between 2 worship services at his church Mars Hill (which is so big it owns a shopping mall and needs all the associated parking!) He realizes that he can't be "superpastor" anymore. For a moment I saw one of these break downs in my future... I'm constantly struggling with not being "super-grad student" partly because I was "super undergrad" (It almost killed me). But reading about Rob's breakdown I realized that that was going to be some day as I neglected my family (or the family i hope to have) to be one of the best young female professor Computer Science had ever seen. I sometimes feel like I have to do this or I'll have let everyone down (like my advisor, the admissions committee, my famliy, my department who so desperately wants "star" grad students). Othertimes I really feel like thats not what God is calling me to do... I don't think he is calling me to be famous, but he is calling me to a place where I can have an impact. A real impact on peoples lives and maybe even a surprising impact on my field.

I recently told someone I had no desire (or call) to be a clergy. They immediately said, at least not yet. I sort of feel bad typing this because God works in mysterious ways, but I really doubt that I will ever be called into full-time clergy-type ministry.* I think a big part of this conviction is because I have been give great skills at what I do, and a true passion for my field.

Anyway, enough rambling.

Tonight I realized that I don't have to be "Super" anything but super-me and its ok if super me isn't a super professor. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders

I say this with all those modifiers because I thing God calls all of us into ministry, its just not always in the form of a call the clergy

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Well, so I didn't update 5 days a week for the month of June, and I'm not crazy enough to promise it for the month of July either. I've really never been good at blogging, but alas.

Many of my previous posts have been about religion, which seems to be on my mind a lot more lately then ever before. I think its because I have a community of faith that nurtures my struggles more then ever (Thanks guys, you rock!). But this isn't going to be one of those posts.

Lately, work has been tough. The summer time is very different now that I'm a grad student versus being an undergrad. When I was an undergrad I spent my summers working real full time jobs. I had 4 summer internships, 1 at a museum and then other 3 at a major tech company. I loved my jobs. Sometimes looking back on them, I wonder what I'm doing here in grad school. The one thing that makes me do that more then ever is the ridiculously flexible schedule that I've established for myself. Most people would love to have the flexibility I have with when I work and where, but I'm finding that I spend to much time not taking my job seriously. My advisor wants me to prelim sometime in the fall semester, so I really need to get stuff done this summer. As a result my lack of motivation is a little nerve wrecking.

Today, I think I found the problem. I've been lacking direction. My research is a mishmash. I mean there are a few very real projects, but each is in a funny stage of not quite knowing what to do next, or how to do it. But this week has been one of breakthroughs and I finally of real stuff I need to do. I'm excited about what the rest of the week holds in a way I haven't been all summer. Hopefully I can keep up with the deluge of work this week is bringing!

Oh, and you should all check out the side bar. A cool feature of Google Reader is that I can add a little thing with my starred posts in it. Now you can figure out what exciting stuff I'm reading :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Anonymous Blogging

One of my close friends has been bugging me about blogging pseudo-anonymously. This has really made me think about my descision to do this. On my previous blog, I certainly blogged anonymously, and several of my favorite blogs are anonymous. In fact, many academics choose to blog anonymously. Why is this? I'm not totally sure, but I think its strongly related to being able to speak your mind and not affect the sometimes very biased process of earning Tenure. Jane is able to fret about her mid-tenure review and FemaleCSGradStudent is able to complain about grad school with worrying about getting into trouble. It allows these bloggers to be more open and honest about what is going on in their lives. I think I can agree with that thinking. I want to be able to be honest without effecting my future. In the internet age, its more common for things like this to stick around. I just finished reading The Unwanted Gaze which talks about how privacy is changing in the digital age and touches on how the traces we leave in cyberspce paint an inaccurate picture of who we really are. For example if someone were to read my blog today, they might think that all I ever think about is religion which isn't really true.

On the other hand, I'm sort of excited to get involved in the Methodist Blogosphere and the Emergent Blogsphere where pseudonymity is frowned upon. This is because it often looks like people are hiding behind a pseudonym (which they are) and therefore don't have much credibility. Then again, who am I to say that gavin really is who he says he is... because on the internet, no one knows you're a dog*

If Dad were to read this post, he might say, "well, don't post about things that might get you in trouble." I certainly don't intend to do this, but you never really know what might come back and haunt you.

Anyway, for now I think I'm going to stick to a pseudonym, but I'm probably going to constantly re-evaluate that choose. Until then, I'm just going to have to work on building credibility for myself in cyberspace.

*I actually do believe that people are who they say they are, but I also don't think using a psuedonym makes you necessarily less credible. Then again I usually give people the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Same-Sex Marriage

While reading my bloglines this morning, saw that John the Methodist had posted this weeks Methodist Blog Weekly Roundup. One of the "Best of Methodist blogosphere" was a post about how same-sex marriage might affect straight people. The post was eloquent and very well written and everyone should read it. This is my favorite quote from the whole post:

I would argue that yes, the rights of GLBT people should trump religious liberty. My religious liberty should extend only so far as I don't infringe on the rights of others, and denying GLBT people and same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities straight couples enjoy does infringe on their rights. It does hurt their families in very real ways that are much more significant and tangible then "the state is stopping me from practicing my religion." Kids being ripped from homes, families being torn apart, loved ones being denied access to each other in times of crises; surely these are all far greater ills then "my church can't get a license to be an adoption agency because we thing same-sex relationships are wrong."

I would also add that current laws against same-sex marriage also deny some individuals religious liberty. A same-sex couple whose faith allows for same-sex relationships but only allows for sexual conduct within the confines of marriage is being denied their religious liberty if they aren't allowed to get married. So whose religious liberty wins out? Mine or yours?

I wish I had more to say about it then "Amen" but unfortunatly thats all I've got at this hour.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Poke The Bishop

Sorry that I have already fallen short of my goal. I hope this week I can keep up with it.

I was at annual conference this weekend for my church. It was... interesting and there will probably be several subsequent posts about it, because I really left an impression on me (though not an entirely good one). Anyway, in order to keep ourselves entertained some friends and I created a new game, called "Poke the Bishop." Essentially, its a game in which you get points for poking the bishop, either physically or verbally. Scoring is as follows:

  • 1 point for verbally poking the bishop
  • 5 points for actually poking the bishop
  • +2 points if you say poke while poking the bishop
  • +1 points if you get a picture while poking the bishop

This point system can, naturally, be adjusted to suit your needs. Oh, and you lose points if you poke the bishop during a worship service :-)

Anyway, hopefully you can also use this game to entertain yourself during conference. Pay attention to what is said on the conference score because people can play without even knowing it ;-)

The winner of our game won with 4 points :-)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A pseudopost

I know that I didn't post yesterday, and I'm not really going to post today. I'm gone for the weekend, and I hope to be able to post the rest of the time I'm gone.

Something to expect: Why I choose to blog anoymously, but I really need to sit down and concentrate on that post since its something I struggle with a little bit.

Andrew Jones as some a post that almost made me totally rethink my blogging every weekday in June.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Just under the wire

I'm really not entirely sure what to post about today. I've had a lot on my mind, but I'm not really ready to turn it into a blog post.

We hard our first installment of the Revelation study today. We mostly talked about apocalyptic literature, and by we, I mean I... I sort of slipped into professor mode, but I really wanted to cover a lot today. It went alright, but I'm looking forward to jumping into Revelation and seeing how each of our different attitudes and life experiences translate into trying to understand what Revelation is really all about. One of the guys in my study tonight told me he wasn't sure about coming this summer because he wasn't sure how Revelation applied today, since, we aren't really oppressed. So another guy recommended that we all try to talk to people who are oppressed to understand what its like. We are also all going to try to bring in stories of oppressed Christians so we get a better idea of the audience for whom Revelation is intended. Anyway, it should be a good study.

In other news, The Slate has a weekly poem. I usually skip it, but this one caught my attention.

I Realized I Was Happy and It Scared Me by Rich Ives

Something had to have been here before me
for here to be here, so sometimes
I say I'd like a little silence,

to see if I can discover what it was,
but what I really want is quiet, in which
you hear just a few things

better, which is not silence,
in which you hear one thing
Again and again and again

and it's not even there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's still Monday somewhere

Well, going to see The DaVinci Code got in the way of my actual blogging on Monday, but I haven't yet gone to sleep so I say this post still counts as my Monday post.

whilst reading the news/ blogs today, I didn't run across anything that I really felt like blogging about, so I'm going to pull out a topic that I've wanted to talk about for as long as I've had this particular blog(so not very long...)

A while ago, I attended a talk in our department about Women in Computer Science. We occasionally have speakers come in and give talks about this sort of thing and they all say the same thing, that women are different then men and then they go into some pipe dream of how to solve the problem. This particular speaker mentioned something known as the imposter syndrome. I hadn't ever heard of it before this talk. Essentially, its a common personality trait in which people think the things they accomplish happen by shear luck. They feel like they are an imposter in their success, only waiting to be figured out.

Today, while having dinner with the boyfriend, we were talking about Christian t-shirts and he mentioned that he wanted one with Micah 6:8 on it.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Of these things, I find walking humbly with God to be the hardest... As one who possesses the imposter syndrome personality trait, it's easy to say that I'm not good enough, and I am un-worthy of my success thus far in life (my parents keep telling me I'm successful...). This sort of attitude is easily confused with humility. But in some ways, it just as conceited as being conceited. It forgets one of the most important parts of humility which is recognizing that what you have is from God, all your good traits and you bad. If you focus to much on not being good enough, you are not remembering that God has given you talents and skills, and that is the reason for your success, and you are worthy of it, because God says you are!

Next time I worry about my advisor "finding me out" perhaps I will look to Micah for inspiration.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I woke up early-ish this morning to meet the boyfriend at church, but on further inspection decided it was silly to go as he was going to be running around like a crazy person and able to sit with me, and seeing as I'm not to keen on his church anyway I decided to stay home. (Don't fret, I'm off to my church later) Anyway, this being up early and not having anywhere to go for a few hours left me sometime to poke around and read some blogs.

Recently, I ran across the Emerging Women blog. This blog was born following a gathering in Indianapolis called Emergent Women's Re-Gathering. I was sort of surprised that such a blog and event existed or even needed to exist. I never imagined Emergent would have the same problems we face in Computer Science. But, reading this post caused a strange deja vu experience for me.

At the Emergent Women'’s Re-Gathering, I listened to story after story of rejection, exclusion, abuse, dismissal, and pinch-her-cheeks-"isn't-it-cute-when-girls-try-to-think?" experiences.

That sounds exactly like something I would hear at Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing.

It's strange to think that a group of accepting, forward thinking Christians would have this sort of problem. In Computer Science, we are quick to chalk it up to problems with "the kind of guy that likes CS unfortunatelytly, we all know this is unfair, but its an easy scape goat. In reality, CS is an "old boys club" for mostly historical reason that cause girls not to even consider it as a career path. Is pastoring an "old boys club"? I don't really know. But what is causing the emergent community (those involved in conversation) to go down this same route? I speculate that the problem is in the conversation style. I hear many women complain about their voice not being heard in meeting with advisors and colleagues, or that they are always interrupted, or that they aren't given credit for ideas because someone else hears them and repeats it, etc. Is this happening at emergent gatherings, or is it just as Sarah Notton's post suggests, women are being shut out because they are care takers are simply can't be attend events? I'm always a little wary of "the mommy track" because it singles out a specific group of people as being worthy of "special consideration." Sometimes its needed to get the ball rolling, but its definitely not the solution to all the problems of women in communities dominiated by men (and excitable men at that ;-) )

Well, that was a little train of thought, but I think I said everything I needed to.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Blog goal

So, I have decided this month I am going to update my blog every week day all month. I'm pretty bad about blogging/ journaling and I'm hoping this goal will force me to think about my blog as a place that I can talk about stuff (even though my readership is tiny...)

Now, I suppose it doesn't count for this to be all I blog today. So, here is a little about what I'm reading.

I've been feeling a little lonely lately, since summer started and too many people have disappeared (or are going to disappear). One thing that I used to do to deal with sitting home and doing nothing is read. My first summer away at an internship I read like 20 books in 13 weeks. That's when I started my library ;-) I used to love coming home from work, making dinner (it was low carb back then) and then having tea or hot cocoa and reading while listening to some John Williams on my stereo. As my social schedule grew more hectic, my reading fell to the wayside, so the following summer not much reading got done. And then I went to grad school and, like high school, I had to do so much reading during the day it didn't feel relaxing at night... Anyway... Last night I decided I was going to start reading again. I picked up a book I've had for a little while called Sammy's Hill, a funny little book by none other then Al Gore's Daughter Kristen Gore who as written episodes of both Futurama and The Simpsons. Its pretty much chick lit (at least according to SAF... She was surprised when I bought it a while back>, but its a fun read. Then, in the mail today, came a new book that I'm going to have to give some time to called How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth which will hopefully be fun and informational for the novice that I am so you can expect to hear more about that.

Well, now to fulfill my other summer goal: DDR everyday, unless I mow the lawn!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Emergent Theme Song

"Secret of an Easy Yoke" -- Perdo the Lion
i could hear the church bells ringing
they pealed aloud your praise
the member's faces were smiling
with their hands outstretched to shake
it's true they did not move me
my heart was hard and tired
their perfect fire annoyed me
i could not find you anywhere
could someone please tell me the story
of sinners ransomed from the fall
i still have never seen you, and somedays
i don't love you at all

the devoted were wearing bracelets
to remind them why they came
some concrete motivation
when the abstract could not do the same
but if all that's left is duty, i'm falling on my sword
at least then, i would not serve an unseen distant lord

could someone please tell me the story
of sinners ransomed from the fall
i still have never seen you, and somedays
i don't love you at all
if this only a test
i hope that i'm passing, cuz i'm losing steam
but i still want to trust you

peace be still (x3)

Pedro the Lion is one of my new favorite bands. They are one of these bands that has lyrics that just grab you and really touch you. "Secret of an Easy Yoke" is an example of such a song for me. It is in some ways a very harsh song, but the point it makes is really important. Are we, as Christians, just play acting that part? Do we go to our worship service and are never moved? Many days I can't help but to ask if the spirit is moving in me, instead of the better question: How will the spirit move in me today?

This also reminds me of a discussion we had at a recent worship service. We were talking about grace. Discussions of grace always remind me that God doesn't love us because of how we act and the rules we follow or how we worship or the liturgy we use. He loves us because he loves us, like a parent loves a child. And the way we act as Christians is not about earning his love, but about shining his love into the world. Our lives should be like tiny candles shining into the darkness reminding others that God loves them too! And we can do this because His grace transforms us, whether it is slowly over time or quickly.