Archive for the ‘School’ Category

This week has been my first week of the fall semester. While I didn’t have too much of a break for the summer, with summer school and my job, there’s just something about June, July, and August that makes life feel slow and carefree. To my surprise, I was ready to get into the swing of things and to tackle everything with full force. My life for the next few months will consist of a whole lot of this:

That’s a head set if you can’t tell. Or a Brittany Spears mic, as I like to call it.

Since becoming an adult, I have learned quite a few things about myself. One of those things is that the more things I have to fit into a day, the more I actually get done. I know that sounds strange, but what it really comes down to is structure. I didn’t always know this about myself, but apparently I need quite a bit of structure. I don’t do very well with a work from home job and online classes (this has been my life for the last year or so). I tend to find things to do around the house instead of working on a project on my laptop. I find myself spending way too much time wandering the internet or playing with miniature beagles when I should be reading for class.

Now some people (my husband, for example) would do anything to have a day where all they do is sit in a chair and read. They are disciplined, hard working, and they thrive in long periods of quiet. The less they have to do in a day, the happier they are. The more they have to read, the happier they are. OK, so maybe I am just describing Dave.

All that to say, while one might think I’m crazy to take on two jobs, school, and an internship, this semester is looking much more attractive because I finally have more structure to my life! I’m still working as a project assistant for the relationship education job, but I’m also nannying for a sweet baby girl named Madeline. Aside from the fact that I love getting to spend a few days a week with such a lovely little girl, it gets me out of the house early in the morning (they live in Raleigh) and allows me to structure my day around her schedule. See – perfect! I then get to work on school work while she sleeps – everyone is happy!

I’m also very excited about the class I’m taking this semester (my last class before I graduate). The class is about complex family issues: families in crisis. We will be talking about divorce and step-parenting, abuse and neglect, addictions, adoption, teen parenthood, and death and illness in the family. I’m excited because these are the types of issues that I will most likely come into contact with in my future work. I’m all about applicability!

Despite all of this praise of strucure and obligation, let me just say that I’m incredably thankful for the flexibility that Dave and I have to be able to hop in the car and drive to the coast for the day so Dave can surf the best waves of his life (thank you Irene). While everyone else was evacuating the town in preparation for Irene’s impending visit, Dave and I were barreling down the high way toward the ocean as fast as our Taurus would go. Dave was like a kid in a candy store once he saw those huge waves. It was a fun day indeed… until his board snapped off into someone’s ankle… but alas, that is a story for him to tell you. For now, enjoy these pics : )


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Here is a sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 I wrote for my New Testament course this semester:

[Hope by Czeslaw Milosz]

Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you’re sure it’s there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves.

In his book The Witness of Poetry, the great Nobel poet Czeslaw Milosz writes, “I have defined poetry as a ‘passionate pursuit of the real.’” The poem by Milosz we have just heard seems to capture this sentiment perfectly: Hope is believing that we actually exist—that our bodies do in fact allow us to perceive reality and, if we are willing, discover the hidden beauty behind our feeble first glances. Indeed the last stanza of the poem, beginning with Some people say we should not trust our eyes/That there is nothing, just a seeming, suggests something deeply troubling about those who would deny the world around them as an illusion, as simply a fantastic trick that “ceases to exist” when we turn our backs.

Our reading today from the first Epistle to the Corinthians addresses the resurrection of the dead. In a way similar to Milosz’s poem, Paul is, so to speak, telling the Corinthians what is real. He is telling them that their bodies are real in the eternal sense of the word, and by doing so, he is attempting to radically reconfigure their hope.

Before we can dive in to what Paul is getting at here, a little context is needed. Beginning with verse one of Chapter 15, Paul teaches that without the resurrection of the dead—that is, without both Jesus’ resurrection and our own resurrection at the end of the age—the gospel is no gospel at all. Where we pick up today is with Paul’s insistence that the resurrection at the end of the age will, in fact, be a bodily resurrection which is—and this is the key point—in continuity with the very bodies that you and I currently occupy. The question I would like to ask you today, as we discuss Paul’s talk of a bodily resurrection is, “Do we live our lives as if we really believed in a bodily resurrection?” We do not need to answer this question right now, but as we reflect on the text, I want you to keep this question in mind. Now, lets see what the Apostle is doing here.

Paul, as we can see, certainly has strong convictions about the resurrection. “How foolish!” he declares vociferously at the thought that the Corinthians might question whether the resurrection will involve actual bodies. Apparently, anybody who thinks that the resurrection will be something other than bodily—say, spiritual or incorporeal, or, as in the case of the Corinthians, some sort integration into the cosmos—has demonstrated their utter stupidity. Right? Well, maybe not. On closer inspection, Paul is actually responding to a very reasonable objection to the thought of a bodily resurrection that is in continuity with our earthly bodies.

You see, the converted Corinthians to which Paul is writing would have been highly influenced by the typical Greco-Roman conceptions of the human body and the afterlife that dominated the culture of that time. Coming out of that culture, they would have been utterly appalled at the idea of their deceased corpses being raised out of the ground. If this were the case, so the Corinthians thought, the resurrection would simply consist of a bunch of zombies roaming around the earth. A terrifying image indeed! Instead of heaven being a pleasant and ethereal environment where people have turned into friendly ghosts floating leisurely around puffy white clouds—or something like that—heaven, the way the Corinthians seem to hear Paul describing it, is Night of the Living Dead come true.

Understandably, the Corinthians would not have found much hope in Paul’s insistence that the resurrection will be in continuation with our current bodies. And at first thought, neither do we. Think about it for a moment: dead bodies being raised out of the ground? This seems an absurd thing to believe. To be sure, we tend to think that once our bodies are dead, that’s it. Indeed, bodies do go away eventually: buried corpses rot until there is nothing left but bones, and with the popular practice of cremation that so many modern people opt for these days, the natural process of degradation is sped up, instantly turning the body into a pile of ashes. What can this possibly mean for a bodily resurrection?

Furthermore, for those of us lucky enough to still retain some semblance of a human body when the resurrection does occur, what does a bodily resurrection say about heaven? If heaven means that the bodies we currently occupy will simply be lifted out of the ground to continue where death left off, this is not good news. Bodies get sick. They break down. They are the vehicle of suffering and pain. When we talk about doing violence to someone, we are talking about doing violence to their bodies.

And, worse still, what about those people who have bodies that are irreparably damaged, faulty or corrupted? Will the crippled be resurrected and still be crippled? Will the mentally handicapped still be handicapped? In short, if it is this body that I will have in heaven, does this not mean that there will still be suffering? Is not heaven meant to be an escape from all of this? Do we not wish to escape our bodies and inhabit a better and wholly other existence where pain and suffering cannot touch us, where we can “eat our pie in the sky” and not have to anymore worry about dealing with a physical body? If it’s not this, what are we hoping for?

Though these are certainly reasonable questions and fears, Paul has for us something different—something far better—to hope for. What is missing from these questions and fears is the hope that our bodies will be transformed in the resurrection. What is missing is the sense that God is mighty enough to take our bodies out of death and reshape them so that they are fit to inhabit heaven, that is, the Kingdom of God waiting for its consummation in the resurrection of the dead.

This is why Paul uses the analogy of the seed mentioned in verses 37-38. A “dead” flower seed that is planted into the ground is not raised to look like a seed. We don’t marvel at little round dots that have been pulled out of the ground. No! We marvel at the flower that has somehow arisen out of the seed. The seed is transformed—rather mysteriously, I might add—into that which it was created to be: a beautiful Lilac, Lablab, or Larkspur. The seed, so to speak, dies and is transformed—it is resurrected—into a glorious manifestation of beauty. Just so, as Paul is trying to convince his Corinthian audience, our bodies will die and be resurrected into glory through an organic process of transformation just like that of seed into flower—a process that can only be attributed to the power of God. In short, Paul is attempting to radically reconfigure the Corinthians hope so that it included their own bodies.

Hear the words of the Apostle: The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

This is our hope, our assurance. This is what is real. This is what we desperately need to hear today as so many around us are suffering—indeed, as many of us here today are suffering. We will be healed. Our bodies will be transformed so that there is no longer sickness. No longer will our bodies be subject to pain, suffering, or the “sting of death,” as Paul puts it. Sickness, suffering, violence, death: these things are passing away, not the gifts of our bodies which are given by God. Our bodies are real. They are part of our destiny, which through our baptism—our being buried with Christ and raised into new life—is a transformation into glory. This is our hope.

If the bodily resurrection is true, what are the implications for our lives, now? First, it means that our bodies are good—they are a gift. They are not something simply to discard as a transitional cage in which we are currently trapped. They are not a thing to abandon, escape, or loath. Rather, our bodies are part of the redemptive and transformative story that God is telling through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who transforms us into a newness that is fit for the Kingdom of God. Our bodies are a gift which, though they are waiting for their healing and perfection, provide the very vehicle by which we hope for and discover the newness and redemption that God has promised.

Second, that the resurrection of the dead is in continuity with our earthly bodies means that God’s redemption is real for us now. It means that through the event of Christ’s death and resurrection, what we are hoping for has already infiltrated our world and put us on a trajectory that allows us to experience now the Kingdom of heaven. And it is this point that matters most for who we are as a church that is in the world and for the world.

As a community that believes the story of Christ’s cross and resurrection to be the truth of the universe, our hope takes real shape and can be realized here and now as we encounter our neighbors, enemies, and each other. It is realized when we embrace each other’s bodies under the “peace of Christ.” It is realized when go out from these walls and feed the bodies of the hungry. It is realized whenever we heal—or simply come alongside—the bodies of the sick. It is realized as we learn to treat each other’s bodies as a gift from God, as God’s good creation that is not to be attacked, manipulated, or harmed.

To return to the question I asked earlier: Do we live our lives as if we really believed in a bodily resurrection? Do we really believe in a bodily resurrection as we are more and more subsumed into on-line communities or virtual realities bereft of actual bodies? Do we really believe in a bodily resurrection when we satisfy our consciences by buying coffee from Starbucks so that a dollar will go to a faceless, bodiless child in Africa instead of actually helping the needy child down the street? Do we really believe in the bodily resurrection when we live out our lives as autonomous individuals who refuse to let the space called our homes be interrupted by the bodies of strangers, the needy, and the homeless?

Paul’s words today challenge us to reevaluate our lives in light of what is eternally real. Today I challenge you with a final word: Live the bodily resurrection now. Live lives of a poetic pursuance of the real. Pursue the bodies of others in real community, in real charity that requires our actual presence and time, in real worship that teaches us to live thankfully in our bodies that are being transformed. For in this we know hope. Let us worship the Lord and be thankful for our bodies and the bodies of others. Amen.

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It has been a long while since I last updated you on the life and times of the Klines. For that I apologize. But do not fear, for I am about to make up for it by bombarding you with weeks worth of happenings and news. For that you are welcome.

Last weekend Jess and Stephanie came from Austin to stay with us for a long weekend. We toured them around Duke campus on Saturday where they got to experience the Cameron Crazies firsthand during the biggest basketball weekend of the entire year (Duke vs. UNC). Hundreds of slightly/moderately/severely intoxicated fans covered in blue body paint carting huge 80’s style boom boxes around is always a fun time, in my opinion.

We spent some time outside enjoying the early spring weather, took them to Mad Hatters, watched a lot of modern family, and of course, went out for drinks with some friends to celebrate Jess’ recent coming of age! Fun fun fun.

It was Dave’s spring break (reading week) last week so we decided to celebrate our anniversary early by taking a quick trip to Asheville, NC. We booked a night in a lovely little bed and breakfast one mile from downtown and less than half a mile from the Biltmore Estate.

Our plans of hiking on the mountain trails were foiled by the rain but we got to spend a lovely morning exploring the Biltmore thanks to a kind couple who gave us some free tickets! They even gave us tickets for an audio tour so we got to learn about all the history and people who lived there.

“Biltmore house is a French Renaissance-style mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It is the largest privately-owned home in the United States, at 175,000 square feet (16,300 m2) and featuring 250 rooms. Still owned by one of Vanderbilt’s descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age.”

We had a lovely dinner and a great two days relaxing and spending time together. We reflected on our last two years together and the many experiences that have molded and shaped us. It’s interesting to think back on what our marriage has looked like in both the exciting and fulfilling times, as well as the challenging and mundane times.  Because after all, our story is comprised of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the highs and the lows. We are so thankful to God for how he has blessed us with each other, with our families, and with our friends.

On Saturday night we carpooled with a group of friends to Carrboro to go and see Over the Rhine in concert.  We’ve seen them several times now (Dave more than I) and we are still amazed at how good they are live.

To top it all off Dave came home on Monday (our actual anniverary) with one of the most beautiful bouquets of roses I have ever seen. We gave each other cards, and then went out to dinner at Piedmont downtown where I had butternut squash & ricotta ravioli with sage brown butter & parmesan and Dave had roast breast of poulet rouge with créme fraîche mashed potatoes, brussles sprouts & tarragon jus. It was delicious! After dinner we came home and watched the footage of our ceremony. I cried when we said our vows, as I always do when I watch the video, and I was overcome emotion as I remembered how special the day was, and how wonderful it was to have all the people that we love so much around us.

Monday went from great to greater when I received word from NC State that I got into the graduate program I had applied for! I will be pursuing a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Parent Education. I am so excited to have been accepted, and am glad that all the work on the GRE/application paid off! When I called my parents to tell them my Dad immediately posted it as his Facebook status and my Mum cried and called me a brainy box (which I last recall being used circa 1993 in England). It was so sweet.

To make the week even better, our friends Tim and Pam stopped in yesterday for a night on their way to see a friend in Albany, NY. It was so lovely to see them even if it was only a brief visit! We feasted on fajitas and cupcakes last night, and then Pam and I dropped Dave and Tim on campus at 8 this morning so that Tim could go to Dave’s New Testament class. Pam and I soothed our tired bodies with coffee and girly chatting which is always enjoyable.  They even brought us some cuvee coffee, some tea from the Tea Embassy, and some home-grown veggies from their garden! What good friends : )

That’s all for now folks!

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This world and that

Our bodies are not something to be simply discarded as a transitional cage in which we are currently trapped. Rather, our bodies are part of the redemptive and transformative story that God is telling through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who makes all things new and fit for the Kingdom of God. We will have body in heaven that is continuous–yet transformed–with our body on earth.

I used part of this passage from Barth in a paper on 1 Corinthians 15:35-41 last week:

To the outlook of man in the Old and New Testament there belongs the consciousness of existing as an earthly creature in the presence and with the participation of this other sphere. Even apart from his relationship to God this man is not alone. With his cosmos which he can see and in which he is at home he is not alone even apart from God. Another cosmic sphere has also been created by God and is also present in addition to his own. There are celestial as well as terrestrial bodies, even though the glory of the celestial is one and that of the terrestrial another ( 1 Cor. 15:40). There are knees which can bow in heaven as well as on earth ( Phil. 2:10). There is a binding and loosing in heaven corresponding to what takes place on earth ( Mt. 1619 and 1818). There is a connexion, a relationship, a common tie. The prodigal son does not sin only before his father but also against heaven, and he sins against heaven first and only then before his father ( Lk. 15:18). Similarly in 2 Chron. 28:9 we read of a transgression which cries aloud to heaven. As the earth can mourn, heaven too can wrap itself in darkness ( Jer. 428). And heaven no less than earth can rejoice and be glad ( Ps. 9611, Is. 4913, Rev. 1212 and passim). Together heaven and earth grow old and are renewed. And if in Eph. 1:10 the end of the ways of God is described as the process in which heavenly and earthly reality come to have their Head in Christ, this is to be understood as a confirmation of their mutual relationship and confrontation as grounded in their creation ( Col. 116). –CD III,3 (§§ 48-51), 424.

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“I am interested in exploring theology’s role in confronting the strangeness of the everyday. Such an approach attends as much to the silence that defines us, to our discursive gaps, as to our explicit words and reasoned justifications. The Christian is one whose ear has been trained to hear the strained inflections of the the so-called minority voice. She is one who has learned to become attentive to the little lies we tell ourselves every day, our subtle strategies of self-legitimation. And so she is skilled at identifying the many ways in which our key theological claims work against themselves. At one time, before Christians became uncomfortable with the idea of sin, before being Christian became confused with being happy, this sort of task was understood to be included as part of Christian grammar of sin. But such grammar has become as strange and foreign as the figure of the theologian itself, not least in those places in which the theologian is said to be at home” -Chris Huebner, from A Precarious Peace: Yoderian Explorations on Theology, Knowledge, and Identity

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Someone in this household got a very important letter in the mail yesterday. This someone was Dave, and the letter read:

Dear David,

I write to advise you that you are now eligible to graduate from the University of St Andrews with the award of Master of Letters Bible and Contemporary World with Distinction in the Dissertation.

Needless to say David is very very happy, and I am very proud of him. We are excited that we will be able to celebrate in style in January when we travel to Boston to hear the US premiere of Macmillan’s St. John Passion, which is the piece that Dave wrote his dissertation on.

On friday night we went to the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s performance of Samuel Beckett’s play Wating for Godot. Another perk of being part of the University community is cheap (usually $5) tickets for performances such as this, when tickets for the general public sell for $25 to $30. I had read the play for a class a few years back so was familiar with it, but this Harlem-based company’s “bracing and immediate” adaptation included such delights as a random cover of Billy Jean, dance moves included. The play itself is kind of depressing with it’s ecclesiastic themes, but poignant all the same, and laden with allegory.

Yesterday we had a very autumnal outing planned with a group of friends for someone’s 30th birthday. We were supposed to go pumpkin picking at a local farm complete with hay rides and maybe even cotton picking. I was pumped to say the least. Then the rain started. And didn’t stop. All day. So we opted for games and food at someone’s house instead. Cranium, which I LOVE, was one of the games we played. Despite my best efforts to enshroud my slight competitiveness in order to not demolish these newly-hatched friendships, I failed, and was found out. But it made for a fun and interesting game, which, might I add, my team won. And to top it all off I was introduced to someone at church the next day by one of these new friends as follows..

“Rachel, this is Hannah. She moved here a few months ago. She’s really competitive. And the best humdinger ever!”

Looks like this might be the start of a reputation in these parts. Oh goodness.

The trees are turning all kinds of awesome colors, it’s so beautiful! And here are some cookies that I made this past week: Pumpkin white chocolate.



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The Family

     For as long as I can remember I have been interested in family dynamics and human development within the family structure. I could talk for hours on end about relationships throughout the life cycle, the societal development of the family, or birth order. I actually wrote a 15 page paper back in college on that very topic. I took many interesting classes (in the psychology, sociology, and human development departments) on family life and parenting. I often regret majoring in psychology as I gained more of a scientific analysis of brain development and human behavior, as opposed to behavior within the family system which I was more interested in. I did however, take some interesting and thought provoking classes that tended to lean more toward a study of the individual within the system of the family and society as a whole.  

     One of these classes was The Sociology of the Family. What sparked this post was a visit to my old blog (now my baking blog) where I wrote a post about this class. I was in a very different place back then and was somewhat more naive, but I still enjoyed reading how passionate I was about the topic. I still am. In a society where family is taking the backseat to technology and busy schedules, I want so much to help people realize what an intregal part the core family and the surrounding community of people plays in a child’s life.

  Although the Nature/Nurture debate is practically over, we’re pretty sure it’s both : ), both aspects are much more convoluted than we like to think. Think about it; in the nurture camp alone we have influences such as parental attachment, parental style, birth order, sibling spacing, family dynamics as a whole, peer relationships, schooling/education, and the child’s exposure to events and experiences both within and outside of the home. It’s so overwhelming it can almost make you wonder if you’re capable of raising a child into an adult. Almost. All that to say, I love this stuff. And I’m thinking about quenching my thirst by seeking some more education. Maybe. Just maybe.

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