Field ed: the best and worst part of the seminary experience. I completed three field education placements while I was in divinity school — Clinical Pastoral Education at a big hospital, a very traditional seminarian internship at a church, and a not-so-traditional case management internship at a teen health clinic. Here’s what I learned, or in some cases watched my classmates learn, in the process. Continue reading
Money: If you are answering God’s call to a vocation in ministry, you are probably not going to have a lot of it. Still, even in graduate school, there is no reason to be more broke than necessary.
If you’re looking for a holistic framework for thinking about money from a Christian perspective, Boston University is offering a cool-sounding free online course in Faith and Finance that starts next week. Here, all you’ll find is a handful of lessons I learned courtesy of experience, my least favorite teacher. Continue reading
Hello, everybody! I hope you’ve been having a fabulous summer. I’ve been offline for most of it, first for an incredible two-week seminar at Canterbury Cathedral and then preaching on this island you can reach only by boat and then serving as a summer camp chaplain at this awesome place. But now I’m home again, snuggled in with my wife and the cats. It feels pretty darn good.
And somehow it’s August, and the start of school is around the corner, and I’m remembering the all the excitement and dread I felt in the last weeks before I began seminary. Overall, I had a positive experience there. But there are a handful of things — mostly nuts-and-bolts kinds of things — I wish somebody had told me beforehand. The next few posts here on Rock That Collar will be a messy roundup of just those things. If you’ve gone to seminary yourself, do comment and let me know what to add.
And if you’re just about to start seminary? Hooray! This post is for you. Continue reading
Like so many others, I feel a thrill whenever I wander through a store aisle full of back-to-school supplies. Even if I am just on a quick dash to CVS to buy ant traps, that intoxicating odor of fresh pencils and tempera paint gets me every single time.
I remember squeezing my father’s hand as we gazed together at shelves and shelves of spiral-bound notebooks. I remember carefully attaching those sticky multicolor tabs to the dividers in my three-ring binder. And, not least, I remember the enormous care I put into selecting the perfect day planner.
Every single year — even once the math facts and spelling quizzes had given way to college essays and problem sets, even once I was old enough to know better — I managed to convince myself that, if I only bought the right planner, everything else would fall into place. Continue reading
When I was getting ready to be ordained, my dad called me up and said, “So, should we buy you a chalice?”
I thought about it for a minute, trying to imagine what on earth I would do with my own personal silver chalice.
I said, “Is that a thing?”Continue reading
Oooooh it is your last semester of seminary! The graduation gown has been rented! The denominational exams have been passed! And the long-awaited job interview is finally on the calendar. Nice work, proto-Reverend.
But wait. The job you want is a clergy job … so normally you would wear a clergy collar to the interview? Except you don’t have a clergy collar because you won’t get ordained until June.
Fear not. I am here to help. Continue reading
I serve a liturgical church, so we walk the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week. But it is also a Protestant church, so I have a lot of flexibility in the design of the liturgy, which is good because our sanctuary has very skinny side aisles and accommodating the traditional fourteen stations would be rough.
It’s also good because I sometimes want to highlight other parts of the Passion narratives. Like, what about all the women whose stories we never hear? How come Joseph of Arimathea gets the spotlight while we ignore Mary and Mary Magdalene, who kept watch at Jesus’ tomb?
I searched far and wide for a resource offering devotions based on the women of the Passion, and I found lots of reader’s-theater monologues and ’90s feminist lectionaries and other stuff that looked kind of cool but was so not my church’s jam. What I wanted was a service following a traditional format, with updated stories. So I put one together myself. Continue reading
Hello, Reverend. I’ve been offline for a couple of weeks. Why? Because we are in the thick of Youth Retreat Season and I’ve been busy.
If you have anything to do with youth ministry, and especially if you serve a big church, you know all about Youth Retreat Season. Here’s my six-weekend consecutive lineup:
- Sixth- and seventh-grade lock-in
- Eighth-grade pre-Confirmation retreat in the woods
- High school youth group lock-in
- Church school baking party (Saturday) and bake sale (Sunday), plus Scout Sunday, but I did get to sleep in my own bed so that was pretty great
- ANOTHER eighth-grade pre-Confirmation retreat in the woods (we have a giant class this year and half the class goes on each)
- Wait, why don’t I have to go on a retreat this weekend?! … Oh, it’s the Triduum.
I got off the hook for the (grown-up) parish women’s retreat this year, which is probably for the best. I am all retreated out. Continue reading
Good morning, Reverend. Perhaps you read my previous post on clergy capsule wardrobes and thought, “Sure, a pencil skirt would look adorable. On my cold dead body.”
Not everyone shares my love of teetering around in pencil skirts and heels. If you prefer a more masculine aesthetic in your style of dress, or have always quietly thought that your butt looks better in men’s pants, this post is for you. Continue reading
Clergy serve in one of the only licensed professions with no requirements for continuing education at all. Does that mean that your professional development should end with your M.Div? No! Going to conferences is an important way to network, skill-build, and keep your passion for ministry fresh.
Are you negotiating for a new job? Try and get your church to give you a line item for continuing ed. Five days and a thousand dollars a year is not an unreasonable ask, and if you arrange your trip so that you’re back in time for Sunday morning, your congregation will hardly know you’re gone.
But how should you spend those treasured professional development dollars? Here are a few ideas, in loose calendar order. Continue reading