A Quick Word

"In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

11 January 2012

Oh dear...

... it really has been quite some time since I wrote anything in here. Why do I even keep blogs, anyway? Clearly I'm never too keen on updating them.

I finished out the semester by the seat of my pants, and am impressed my grades turned out as well as they did. My break was good (in fact, I'm still on it) but went by so fast. I had run myself into such a fever pitch during exam week in order to get everything done on time, that it has taken nearly all of break to wind back down. Oh well.

Big news on the ordination front to come Saturday after I attend a diocesan meeting in Springfield. Here's to hoping it goes smoothly.

Though I know it doesn't seem like it from my current writing output, I've actually got quite a few posts just waiting to be written, sitting in the queue. Hoping I can get them out, as I need to work more on my writing. For though I write often, not much time goes to actually honing the craft anymore, and my mind has seemingly run dry as far as creativity goes. I certainly need to fix that.

Plus, if we're to be honest with ourselves, these kinds of posts aren't interesting or worth your time to read, which I find unacceptable. If I'm going to put something on the internet, it needs to be worthy of some kind of public consumption and comment. I'll work on that...

07 November 2011

This crazy life.

Where to begin? I'm now right in the middle of that time of year where no amount of caffeine can accomplish all the things littering my to-do list, and so I decided to write a blog instead of making headway on my homework. In keeping with last entry's stream-of-consciousness format:

Just this past weekend I had an amazing thing happen-- I met NT Wright! For those of you who don't know, NT Wright has had perhaps the most influence of any modern church figure on my recent faith journey-- and the faith journeys of millions more. He manages to bridge the gaps between high and low church, between Evangelical and... well, not Evangelical, between intellectual rigor and honest orthodox faith. And for many of my peers, he represents a breath of fresh scholarly air in the midst of a turbulent and often frustrating American church culture that seems more concerned with politics and the Liberal/Conservative divide than with living the Christian life "...on Earth, as it is in Heaven".

For me, meeting NT Wright was the equivalent of meeting CS Lewis (well... almost).

And you know what? I kind of made a fool of myself.

Of all the things I could have said, the burning questions I could have asked, I instead blurted out my name in a rush of enthusiasm ("Cameron. C-A-M-E-R-O-N.") and the fact that I am an aspirant for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church, and then something about how I studied in York earlier this year and spent 6 months in England. Overall, not the best I could have hoped for, but it will do to have shook his hand and have him sign a copy of one of his newest books, Simply Jesus.

As far as Ordination is concerned, I'm still awaiting my meeting with a few (a couple?) Diocesan committees. I hope now that my hand has touched NT Wright, they will have no choice but to unanimously throw their support behind me. Or something like that.

Unlike last year, we've yet to see even the slightest hint of snowfall here in Champaign-Urbana. In fact, the weather has remained rather warm all Autumn, and I must admit that though it makes for an easier trek to class, I have reached a point where I miss the frosty chill in the mornings and the always suspended expectation of a fresh blanket of snow.

I'm starting to feel creative again. Hopefully, this will allow for a quick writing of all my current research projects so that I can move on to completing my Bel and the Dragon novella. I've forgotten what it feels like to complete something one cares about.

24 October 2011

Get the wheels turning.

In the spirit of a more stream-of-consciousness blogging style, I give you this:

Life weaves in and out.

My journey toward ordination in the Episcopal Church moves steadily (and encouragingly) onward. The incredible outpouring of support from my home parish has rendered me awestruck; never before have I experienced what it looks like to be a "church family"-- to have people who love you, challenge you, and encourage you while remaining honest about their own struggles and shortcomings-- as I have seen these past months. If I had to choose one word to describe this experience so far, it would be this: affirmation.

I hope this next thought doesn't qualify as a conflict of interest to any Commission on Ministry members, but I have come to a place of openly admitting to myself that I miss Britain rather terribly. For a time, I tried to pretend as though I was getting along with little or no reverse culture shock; but alas, it is not so, and I must now be honest in saying that, months after being back in the US, I would hop back over there in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. It might be hard to keep me away for my PhD.

I've realized the need for a shift in the way I spend my days to avoid feeling like a complete failure of productivity every time I turn my light out to go to sleep. Step one: writing in the reading room of the Main Library. We'll see if this helps.

I always pivot between feeling comfortable sharing my opinions in a public space (like a blog), and feeling like I should just keep things to myself. Surely there must be a balance.

There is perhaps an entire post that should be written on my Confirmation that took place Sept. 25, but now is not the time.

19 September 2011

The Wordpress Cometh.

I really am quite close to making a switch to Wordpress, but only two things hold me back: the fact that I like the layout I've created over here, and that I have no time to make the switch (despite already having had a Wordpress account for nearly 4 years). I've just deleted all the moody, hormonally-driven diatribes over at the Wordpress account (that is to say, all of them), and so you are welcome to check it out at bythepen.wordpress.com. Bland, huh? Exactly. And I'm not sure if I like the whole "By The Pen.: A Life Lived Out In Words" thing. I've changed so much since I started that blog, and this one has evolved with me rather than remain fixed in the strata of internet time. I'll see what I can do with it. If I like the space-- if I can make it homey and inviting-- then this one will drop into oblivion. If not, then this is what you've got, and I'll try to make a point to update more often.

My Confirmation is little over a week away, and I must admit I have not managed to keep up my daily devotion and readings as I had hoped. School has gotten in the way, and I have gotten behind... in everything. On a better note, however, my dad randomly drove down and spent Thursday evening with me, which was certainly welcome. We went to dinner and then went back to his hotel to watch football and talk theology. The following morning, we went to breakfast for a few hours before I had class. Such quality time spent together made up for all the time I have lost in prayer and devotional reading over the past few weeks.

I meet with Bishop Martins on Friday. I can't express how excited I am to get this under way. My Discernment Committee meetings are just about to get started, which means I am finally feeling a sense of progress toward this day that I feel has been so long in the coming-- a day whose genesis I can trace all the way back to 2007. It is sobering when disparate elements of life's narrative come together to provide the perspective necessary to observe the beautiful tapestry it has woven in those times of worry, strife, difficulty, happiness, and perseverance.

Now, back to reading!

Need to motivate? Just caffeinate.

I think I've located the problem with my rampant apathy-- I haven't used my coffeemaker at all this semester. Yet this weekend my family brought with them to Champaign a bag of pumpkin spice coffee from World Market, perhaps marking an end to my coffee maker abstinence...

07 September 2011


Putting it mildly, I'd say I've been rather busy. Putting it honestly, I'd say I haven't had enough hours in the day.

I update here only because I feel the need to let my fingers type, and because it's late and my brain won't really do anything else.

 I'm not sure what's happening to me, but I find that my mind has seemingly turned to cotton inside my head, never bothering to complete thoughts of any substantive length and refusing to make connections between concepts in my seminars and discussion sections. This is either the fault of Twitter, or my allergies have me in a bad, bad fog. I pray it's the latter.

My formal discernment process for ordination has moved rather slowly, though I hope to change this in the coming weeks. As my Confirmation approaches, I have tried to spend a bit more time in prayer and reflection, but I haven't always managed to achieve this goal, as mostly I've been working on interfaith events.

Look for me to switch back to Wordpress pretty soon-- I'm not a fan of Google's new changes to the Blogger interface, and I don't know how I feel about my blog being sucked into the grand streamlined Google machine that comes in the wake of Google+, especially when one considers that I don't have Google+ in the first place. 

Until then I'll spew my thoughts in here when I get a spare minute.

01 August 2011

Down South.

Since being back in the States I've not had but a few minutes rest, and this blog doesn't stand so high on my list of priorities. Yet I felt rather guilty for not at least saying something in this space, even as I contemplate switching back to a Wordpress account in light of all this Google+ excitement. So I thought I might just word vomit for a second. Here you are:

Despite my lack of writing, I've actually had quite a bit spinning around inside my head begging to get out somehow. Whether it be the stresses of recent debacles in American politics or news on the progress toward ordination, something has been weighing heavy on my mind ever since I touched down at O Hare.

And even now, sitting at my relatives' house in southern MS, I think I'm caught somewhere in between lives. One life will open. The other will close. Either way, I will grow more into myself.

I feel like I have a secret to tell, but I'm not sure what it is.

I need to work on streamlining my online presence. Things are too disparate.

I like not shaving. I think I look awesome with a bit of scruff.

Wedding planning offers no dearth of difficult choices. SO MANY BOUQUETS ON MY BROWSER.

More of this exciting life to come soon...