goodbye and all that

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That’s it. I’m leaving.

Well, not really. Or, maybe kind of. At least a little bit, if not totally, and not forever, just for a little while, and maybe not even that long.

I’m going away. Rather, I’m going back.

Some of my friends work for people who send them away for stretches of time in exotic locations. Or if not exotic locations, at least the sort of locations which seem exotic because in order to get there one has to fly over a very, very, very large body of saltwater. I mean London really isn’t considered exotic, especially to Londoners, and likely very few people in this world would consider Eastern Europe to be exotic. Thailand, however, and other places thereabouts has a bit of the exotic about it. Maybe exotic has to do with the weather as much as the culture.

So, I could say my friends go to different places, but that sounds like they have decided to go to Burger King for a croissanwich breakfast instead of to McDonalds for an egg McMuffin. That’s clearly not strong enough of a word, being they have to fly for roughly a dozen hours in order to get to their oftentimes non-exotic, yet entirely different location. I mean, no one in their right mind would wait a dozen hours for a bit of sausage and egg on a soggy croissant, even if it is marginally better than a bisquit. And since, according to my estimation, my various friends are in their right minds, there must be something about going to where they go that while not exactly exotic, has at least an exoticness about it.

All this to say that I’m going away, and while when some of my friends go away the appropriate question is “which continent?”, my going away entails the more mundane question of “which freeways?”. But it’s a going away, or at least a going back, since I’m going to stay for a couple weeks or so where I used to spend virtually all my time for a number of years.

I’m going to Pasadena. And while this may sound intriguing to those who know this city as the place of the Parade and the occasional college football National Championship. I’m going to take a class, I think. I think, because I am… auditing the class. This means if there are paying students, I don’t get to take the class. However, by auditing the class I also can participate, without being required to do those pesky parts of class called assignments. Though, if I can, I think I might have a go at some of the assignments. We’ll see.

It’s a class on the Emerging Church in the 21st Century, which is sort of like Buck Rogers in the 25th century, except for the rocket ships, silver jumpsuits, robots, maniacal dictators and scantily clad space-babes. So, really, there are likely very few things in common. I suspect, though, there will be a nice selection of variously groomed men and women, displaying all manner of exotic, or at least different, approaches to personal public display. That’s something I guess.

According to the course description, “this course meets daily for two weeks. Pre-reading is required. The course utilizes lectures, discussions, interaction, small group work, blogs, wikis, and podcasts.”

Blogs, wikis and podcasts, oh my. Now if this class were in fact a lot more like Buck Rogers than it actually is, these would clearly be the names of three helpful robots. It is not, and these are not. Instead they are ways for people to say stuff online. Their fancy names hide their significantly more mundane reality. A blog is what I think about all sorts of stuff. A wiki is what a group of people think about more official things. A podcast is basically like a blog, but instead of writing about stuff, you say it, record it, and people listen to it online.

Now, all this the case I have a confession to make. I don’t really like computers. I spend a decent amount of time in front of one, for the convenience and for a bit of vocation, but I don’t like them. I have another confession to make. When it comes to church I am a back to basics sort of guy. My thinking is that the problem with church these days isn’t that we don’t know what it is the young people are wanting out of a religious experience, it’s that we spend a lot more time on peripherals, and hardly any time on the essentials. I’m a full believer that a church should be, maybe primarily, a place where people pray. I think knowing Scripture is the key to a Christian view, and I think people go to church in order to meet Christ, not to see how trendy the new wave of Christ followers might be.

Now, as you can tell I’m going away, and I’m going away to be enthusiastic and meet people, and share thoughts, and listen to those who really know what they are talking about. But, there are vestiges of grumpiness in things related to Church for me. I need to be thankful, and delightful, not critical and doubtful. This isn’t a going away for me to prove myself, or establish myself, or reveal myself. It is not “my time has come” or “look what I can do everyone”. Indeed, I have no expectations. I go because it feels right for me to go, and listen and hear.

Part of this class is keeping a blog apparently, which is what this is, so that won’t be something new.

However, if I can’t post here, or don’t post anywhere, or no posts are seen at all, it’s because I’m going down the mountain to Pasadena, and am not bringing my computer with me.

It took me a very long time to get to saying that last sentence.

If I do post it will be from a library, or borrowed computer, and will most likely have to do with churchy things.

For those who keep track of things, this means there will not be a picture of a junco, or a chickadee, or a coyote, or a tree, or a jay, or a sunset, or a chipmunk for a couple of weeks. But, after this class is done Present Manners will resume its normal schedule.

So there you go.

3 Responses to “goodbye and all that”

  1. Zippy The Troll Says:

    whew. glad we got that settled.

  2. Bruce Bishop Says:

    Hope you have a great experience, Patrick. I’ll look forward to reading your reminiscences.
    Bruce

  3. Pop Says:

    Will sorta miss the photos of wildlife creatures . . . but, advance in your knowledge of Christ and His Kingdom . . . and may a city squirrel pass you by.