Subway Prophet

…and the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls…

Welcome to England!

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So nine days ago I boarded a plane in Jacksonville and then 12 hours later I found myself in London. I remember getting off the plane and into the left passenger side of the car which was picking me up from the airport and being in shock. None of it felt real. Was this really another country? Was this really happening? To be honest, I don’t think that any of it has fully sunk in yet.

I arrived in Durham, UK on Wednesday September 25 (25 Sept, for all my British friends) and since then I have been trying to get settled into my room and my new college. While I was in London I took over 1,000 pictures of various sights and views around the city from the outlying countryside to the busy streets, the beautiful architecture and the fascinating museums. There was so much to see I only barely scratched the surface.

On the train ride up to Durham, I finally got a chance to begin editing some of the pictures. I only got about half way through. This upcoming week is Induction (Orientation, for my American friends), and classes do not start until the 8th of October, therefore I should have some time to finish editing pictures and writing down some of the really cool experiences I had around London. Because I did not want to leave anyone empty handed, I went through the whole week and picked out a few selected favorites to tease what is to come. Click on one of them to open up the gallery. Thank you all for your prayers and support so far. I definitely think that the best is yet to come!

Cheers!

 

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The Adventures Begin in Durham (NC)

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Before heading out on the trip, I needed to head up to Durham (NC) for one final visit to say goodbye to my friends and get my Duke fix for a while. The semester has just gotten underway and so I have had to negotiate visits around people’s studying. Seeing as our classes do not begin for another month, I have tried not to rub my freedom in their faces. Come May, June and July while I am still in school and they are resting easy, I hope they return the favor :).

Being away from this place and the community of the Divinity school is most definitely going to be the hardest part of this whole experience. For the past two years this has been my home. As a class we have laughed together, cried together, argued and debated one another, and through it all grown closer to each other and to the God who has called us to this place. When I get back many of those who I am closest with will have graduated and begun their ministry, but fortunately many others will still be here and I am looking forward to getting to know them even better. For now, however, I am grateful to be able to see everyone here and enjoy these precious last days with them.

While I was with friends, Little Wesley began his trip by seeing the sights around the Divinity school. With some of the best Methodism scholars in the world, there were a lot of people to see. He went to a Div School pot-luck and had his picture taken by a few fans, but in the midst of it all he made time for some Bible study as well. Little Wesley has his priorities straight after all :).

Let the travels begin!

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Meet Little Wesley

This summer during my Field Education church placement, I had the pleasure to attend an Asbury Theological School sponsored lecture with my supervising pastor, Bobby. During that lecture, one of the door prizes was a doll of John Wesley (which serves as their seminary mascot). Unfortunately, I was not the winner, however, as I was leaving, Bobby gave me one of my very own as a going away present. I am not sure if he was making fun of my Methodist nerdiness, or thought that I might need a travelling companion, however, I was really excited about it.

One of my main goals for this year is to explore deeper my Wesleyan tradition. I am hoping to visit some of the historical Methodist landmarks and learn our history in Britain after the American Revolutionary War and so I think it will be neat to use Little Wesley to document my exploration and bring some fun to the task as well. I am not sure what form all of this will take; I am also not sure what form this blog is going to take over the course of this next year, however, I hope that Little Wesley will provide some variety to the theological musings and some entertainment to the Wesley Study Centre. To make things easier, I put a link below the header where you can click and see only the posts about Little Wesley’s journeys. I hope this is helpful.

Little Wesley in his own carrying case

I would like to thank Rev. Bobby Hallyburton and Asbury for this present, and his friendship this summer. Also thank you to all those who have been and will have to put up with him along this journey.

With all that said, in the words of the much larger John Wesley, “the world is my parish!” Let’s start the adventure!

The adventure takes a dramatic turn here.


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In Memory of Susan Keefe.

This is not the first blog post that I had expected to write after an unexpected five month hiatus, but as I sat in Goodson Chapel yesterday listening to people tell their own stories, I felt that I needed to write my own. I did not know Susan Keefe. I had seen her in the hallways with her measured pace and the frail features of the ascetic she was. However, like many of my fellow students, I was in awe of this mysterious professor. She was respected and loved my the whole school, not because she was a brilliant lecturer (which I am sure she was), or for her gregarious personality (which she certainly was not), but because she exuded such an unworldly holiness that one knew the Divinity School was all the more so because of her place in it.

Like many, I participated in rumors of her ascetic practices, but looking back I see even those as being marks of the sense of awe in which she was seen. When selecting classes for this semester, hers was the one I was most excited about, even though because of my year in England, I knew that I was not going to take it. Just having her class on my fake schedule was an honor. And so, when we received the news that she had died, there was a collective sense of loss.

I wanted to write this post because her service reminded me of what funerals and memorial services in the Church need to be. Absent were trite words of comfort and vague phrases of an afterlife. Instead there was a clear confession of the resurrection and a celebration of the grace filled life she had led. Her specialty was Medieval commentaries by obscure theologians, preparing them for other scholars later to come and analyze to use in their own research. Dean Hays called it a “thankless task,” and I am sure it was not one which sold millions of copies because a simple Google image search fails to bring up any pictures of her.

While I will never be able to take her class, her memorial service will be the only lecture I will be able to have, which seems in a way fitting. It reminded me that a life lived in constant love of Christ and seeking to follow His way is one which does separate us from this world, but still keeps us intimately connected to it through our ministry and our relationships. That is the true mark of an ascetic. Not how much they are separated from the world, but how much they bring the world closer to the Kingdom through their place in it. Dr. Keefe did that.

The final lesson I have from her is one which Dean Hays and her family found propped on her desk when they were cleaning it out. Handwritten on a simple sheet of notebook paper it said:  “What if you were to say to your congregation: Your baptism was the beginning of your preparation for death.”  At our baptism we die to Sin and are reborn to new life through Jesus Christ. It marks us and makes us children of God and when lived out fully prepares us both for our eventual death, but also for the everlasting life which comes afterwards. I do not know the answer to Dr. Keefe’s question, but I intend to find out by sharing those words and with each congregation I have.

Thank you Dr. Keefe, for a life well lived. Amen.