Friday, November 19, 2010

Danger Will Robinson

Today is one of those days where people should avoid me at all costs. There is a large chance that if the wrong person says the wrong thing I will snap. Now mind you, I am not a violent person, but I can be a huge B*tch when provoked. And today is one of those days.

The worst part is, I'm not even sure why I am like this. No, wait, that
might be a lie. There is a lot of crap going on in my life currently and it's
all bottling up. Normally this mood is like a hangover, and I can just sleep it
off. Apparently not today. I had a dream this morning that just made things
worse. So I have been staying with my boyfriend's family when I am not at
school. It was initially only supposed to be for a few weeks. Last night his mom
told me that she wants me to move out the week after graduation. so I have to
find somewhere to live at that point. That is what sort of allowed all of my
negative emotions to rise to the service. While texting with my boyfriend last
night he asked me what was wrong and this was my response

"The fact that my friends hate each other and I am stuck in the middle
being a horrible friend to at least some one at all times. The fact that one of
those friends has decided that if he doesn't take time off next semester and
leave the country he will kill himself (and that i am the only one that knows).
The fact that I don't know what the hell I'm doing come graduation. The fact
that I have to take 28 credits next semester in order to graduate. The fact that
my mother is suddenly appearing and trying to be every type of mother she never was I have no (expletive) clue how to approach that or respond. The fact that the head of my department has decided to start trying to convert me and is giving me a hard time for everything AND informed me, in class, yesterday that he will give me a hard time until I graduate. And I can't talk to friends because either they don't care or are in part the cause of my distress."

Like I said normally I can just sleep and the emotions go away. That's how it normally works. That is my normal coping technique. I avoid them and they go away. Yeah it's probably not healthy, but it works for me. I should probably add that I avoid confrontation AT ALL COSTS!!!!!! There was too much of it when I was a kid and so I try to have none in my adult life. I blast some music and drift off to sleep and I wake up and it's all better. That did NOT work this time. I put on some evanescence and went to sleep. I woke up this morning from a dream and the dream I had had only made the emotions, the thoughts, the everything worse. Which is why I reason it would be a good idea to stay away today. I feel bad because at least one of my friends is trying to talk to me. Problem is she's one of the Friends mentioned in the text to David (boyfriend).

So I can't tell her the extent of what is bothering me. So I only told her about
the dream. This is what I explained The dream: I had a dream where my father and I were with my grandfather. I couldn't see his face the entire time because I don't remember what he looks like. So it was a blur instead of his face. We were in his condo or something and getting along really well. At first it was awkward but in the end I was sitting next to him on the couch and like rested my head on his shoulder. But that dream could never take place. Mainly because my dead is dead! And also because he would have never been in the same place as his father.

You have to understand about my family. I don't really remember my grandfather. I found his address on google a few months ago and I've been wanting to write, but to be honest I am afraid too. I don't really know the extent of what happened. Mainly because everyone treats me like a little kid and tell me absolutely nothing. I'll be 22 in 6 days, time to treat me like an adult, but that's a tale for another time I suppose. I'm not sure what happened between my dad and my grandfather but it was huge. I've heard rumors but no one has ever said directly "this is what happened". I do know I haven't seen my grandfather in a long long time. He didn't even come to Dad's funeral. I have one memory and that is of my cousin Timmy and I, we must have been 2-3 years old and we are sitting next to my grandfather on Christmas eve. That's it. I saw a picture of him in the slide show from my grandmother's wake in March which sort of inspired me to get in touch, but as I said I am afraid.

So I have had a craptastic week. Everything is compounding. Between school,
friends, drama, advisers, my mother, post-graduation, my messed up dreams, and the desire yet fear to know my grandfather my everything feels like it will
crumble if the wind blows. I advise keeping your distance today. Hopefully
tomorrow my coping mechanisms will get their act together and work.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Princeton wrap-up

I am really glad I decided to take the trip down to Princeton. I have known so many people that have gone through Princeton that I had an image of it in my headed, but I really needed to go there and see if the image in my head actually matched up with the school. Overall, I would say that it did. Here is my breakdown of Princeton:
What I liked:
  • The campus is beautiful
  • Almost everyone lives on campus, which is great because it puts a real emphasis on community
  • Faculty all live very close to campus
  • There are three dorms on campus and everyone is intermingled (it isn't like Juniors live in one, middlers in another, and seniors in a third). I went into a dorm room and it was gigantic compared to dorms at other schools. And everybody gets a single!
  • the faculty I met seemed very approachable and students say that the faculty is amazing
  • There seems to be a great dining area (yes they always put out better food when prospectives come but the regular food was great too), they know how to cook proper vegetarian food (not the AUC fake stuff), and they will cater for dietary needs!
  • Worship isn't mandatory but it is offered every day. And every service is different.
  • There is a multicultural aspect.
  • Everyone on campus genuinely seems nice. Students, faculty, staff, etc stopped and talked to me because I was looking at the school.
  • It's PCUSA, so basically I could be living polity everyday, which will really help with the ordination process
  • 100% of tuition is covered
  • Not everyone is going into Pastoral Ministry. I have no clue what I want to do. I feel called to serve in ordained ministry but I'm not sure in which capacity. I have interests in Social Justice, The Global South,and Ecumenical relations but what can I do with that?
  • The classes are amazing. And just because 2 people are getting the same degree doesn't mean they will take the same classes. My friend and her husband have both done the M.Div program at PTS and only took 3 of the same classes.

What I don't like:

  • It's 5 hours from home...I'm sick of driving after the first 2 hours
  • I got lost in the middle of nowhere New Jersey on my way home!
  • It's more rural than I was hoping for (but apparently its 1 hour to NYC, 1 hour to Philly, not too far from the Poconos, not two far to the beach, etc so you make it work)

Obviously the list of things I like greatly outweigh the list of things I don't like. So if I get in, it's pretty easy to see that PTS would be my choice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Princeton: Day 2

Today was a marathon day. I am just now getting an extended break. Overview of today: breakfast, multicultural relations presentation, interview, intro to worship and spiritual life, worship service, luncheon with faculty, class, housing presentation, field ed presentation, campus life/student organisation presentation, dinner with student body and then freedom.
My interview went REALLY well. The person interviewing me was Rev. Deborah Davis. She's a PCUSA pastor and the director of field education. I talked about a lot of things I hadn't intended to talk about… like my family. She's familiar with fourth so she sort of understood my background. She said she cab totally see me at Princeton and that she is on the admissions committee and will be campaigning for me. So yay!
Lunch with the faculty was great too. There were two faculty at my table. They were Rev. Deborah Davis and Dr. Rob Dykstra. He is a huge fan of my friend Tim Hughes which works in my favour. Seemed like a great professor and was totally honest about the school.
Auditing a class was great! I went to Syriac Christianity and the rise of Islam. As I was walking there, I ran into my friend Henry. He told me it was a boring class, but i decided to go anyway. It was mainly about biblical translations and illuminated translations which seemed rather interesting. I took notes and plan to look some things up.
The housing presentation wasn't too informative. However, Austin (one of the student hosts) brought us over to Alexander Hall to see his dorm room. I love PTS dorms! All of the rooms are singles and each floor is a different gender. Hodge is the fun dorm and is the most closely connected community. Brown has the biggest rooms but is quiet. Alexander is meh but that's the one I saw and it seems amazing. Plus the dorms are two seconds from the classes which prevails to my lazy side.
I think maybe the most helpful part of the day was the field ed presentation. The director presented and then current Students shared their experiences. Two of them did a summer placement abroad ( one in south Africa the other in India). They all genuinely loved their placements. Also it seems there is a field ed opportunity for almost anything you can think of. I like this because I'm not sure where I'm headed. I know I feel called. I don't feel a call to pastoral ministry though. My interests are social justice, the global south, and ecumenical relations. I'm not sure what I want to do but I want t to involve those things. The field ed presentation made me feel that it doesn't matter that I'm unsure of what I want to do and that it's okay that my interest isn't in pastoral ministry. I have to do 1 church placement but the other can pretty much be ANYTHING! I think that is when I really started feeling that Princeton could be the place for me.
Instead of exploring the local bar, I went to a worship service. I'm a dork…I know. It was Christian/Sikh/Hindu and it was amazing. If I come to Princeton I'm so getting involved with INU.
I've run into multiple griefs today. As I already said, I ran Ito Henry today. Found Tyson in the dining hall. Been with Hailey since yesterday. Saw Megan but didn't get to actually approach her. And some one I did nt expect to see: Andy Kort!!!! Tonight was the field ed fair and Andy was there to be a field ed site. I was so happy to see him!

Okaay...time for sleep. Tomorrow will finish up my visit at Princeton, and The long drive home =(

Princeton: Day 1

So it took me about 5 hours to drive from South Lancaster to Princeton. I got to campus a little after two and got lost on campus. I made it to the place where I was meant to check-in and received my schedule, name tag, bottle etc. I had over an hour to kill before I could check into my room. I sat on some random bench in the quad and went through the folder they gave us.
The name tags clearly give away that we are perspectives because a couple people came up to me at different times to talk to me. People here are friendly to say the least.
Our group if perspective students varies greatly. There are those of us still in school, some that graduated recently, some that took TIME off and one guy is at least in his forties. Its an interesting group.
I think I sort of expected to arrive at Princeton an have this overwhelming feeling that this is the place for me. Something calling me here, a little voice in the back of my head…something. I'm not having that feeling yet. It's not at all like Columbia where I had the "this I'd not the place for me feeling" but I'm not having the "I have to go to Princeton" feeling either. I'm not sure if it's that I've been hearing about Princeton for so long that I've built up amazing expectations or what. I've got a whole day and a half left at Princeton and we will see what it brings for me...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Boston --> Princeton Junction

What is the least expensive way to get from Atlantic Union College, South Lancaster, MA to Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ? That is the question that I spent hours tonight trying to answer. Yes, I have literally spent hours on this matter and yet I still lack an adequate answer.

I suppose I really have two main options. Option #1 I drive. Option #2 I take Public Transportation.

Let's break it down- option 1: I can drive down which will be about 5 hours of nonstop driving. I'm not a huge fan of driving. I will spend approximately $13,920 for gas. Plus the cost of tolls. Or take about 15 more minutes and avoid toll roles. Based on my status as a poor college student I would naturally avoid toll roads, but that still leaves spending money on gas!

option 2: This could break down a couple ways:
  • The totally independent way: I pay for parking at the Leominster station, take the commuter rail to Boston, get on the T, grab the cheap Chinese bus to NYC, hop on the NJ transit to Princeton Junction, take the shuttle to Dinky Station. I'm unsure of the cost of the shuttle. Without the potential price of the shuttle that would be around $49.
  • Ask someone to drive me to the commuter rail at the butt crack of dawn. That would save me $9 so its around $40.
  • Ask Scott if I can go with him into work. He works right next to the riverside station on the green line. I would hop on the green line, switch to the red line, grab the bus to NYC, then the train then the shuttle. That brings it to about $32.

I suppose the benefits of driving is that I am pretty much on my own schedule.

The benefits of taking public transport would be I don't have to drive for 5 hours straight. It's better for the environment. I don't have to freak out about the prospect of driving anywhere near New York City.

Can I just say how much I hate hate hate hate hate hate being a poor college student. Yes, I hate it that much! How am I supposed to be able to afford to visit seminaries? I'm sorry, did I mention that all of those prices are 1 way!!!!!! ONE WAY!!!!! so double it, and that's how much it would cost me total. I can't find anywhere where I can calculate how much the tolls and gas would be so I am trying to make the right choice. GRRRRRR!!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PresbyMEME: Why I am voting yes on Amendment 10a

Name, City, State: Devin Berry, Boston, MA

Twitter and Facebook profiles: Twitter- presbygeek (I live tweeted throughout our meeting. search #bostonpresbytery for that) facebook- devin.berry

Presbytery and 10a voting date: Presbytery of Boston, 11/1/10

Reason ONE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is... Because it makes sense

Reason TWO that you are voting "yes" on 10a is... Because tolerance is the future of the church

Reason THREE that you are voting "yes" on 10a is... because it isn't just about GLBTQ issues

What are your greatest hopes for the 10a debate that will take place on the floor of your Presbytery? The Boston Presbytery isn't known for having the most civil conversations on this topic. The first Presbytery meeting I ever attended was the questioning of Sara Herwig ( and I left that meeting in tears for Sara. My hope is that as we address this topic we can remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

How would you respond to those that say that if we pass 10a individuals and congregations will leave the PC(USA)? I believe that is individuals leave the church because 10a passes then perhaps we are better off...

What should the Presbyterian Church focus on after Amendment 10a passes? One issue at a time please?

How does your understanding of Scripture frame your position on 10a? 1 Corinthians 12:27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I must admit that the true title of this blogpost should be Why I VOTED yes on Amendment 10a. The Presbytery of Boston voted last night, but seeing as I am slow to blog I was unable to post this prior to our vote. I apologize. Now, on to the real issue at hand:

Okay, so for my non-PCUSA followers and for my PCUSA followers that aren't addicted to the book of order and the happenings of the church, let me explain what is going on. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has The Book of Order (affectionately referred to as the BOO) which serves as the constitution of our church. The BOO has all of the "laws" of our church and essentially the way things are meant to be done. The BOO can be edited and amended, much in the same way that the Constitution of the United States of America. Every two years the General Assembly of the PCUSA meets and looks at the amendments that different Presbyteries have sent in. All of the Presbyteries in the country have to vote on the amendment and if it passes the BOO changes.

This year there were 15 amendments for the Presbyteries to vote on. Amendments 10A-10O. The hot ticket item, however, was (and is) Amendment 10A. Amendment 10A seeks to amend section G-6.0106b (I told you it is a lot like the US Constitution!) Right now that sections says "Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in Fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or in chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament."

Amendment 10A would instead say that "Standards for ordained service reflect the church's desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspect of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240;G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate's calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate's ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and instillation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates."

There are a couple different perspectives that can be taken on this matter.
  1. As long as someone has a calling, as the gifts to serve, is suitable to serve and is prepared to serve, who are we to say they cannot because of who they love?
  2. When so many churches are lacking pastors, when so many of our congregations are yoked due to a lack of staffing, why are we turning capable potential pastors away?
  3. I know many GLBTQ candidates for ministry as well as elders who are more competent and better able to serve than many of those who identify themselves as straight. Let's get those who want to joyfully serve and have the abilities to do so installed!
  4. Cut this whole intolerance's getting old!
  5. It isn't just a GLBTQ issue. With the current wording, if you are heterosexual but not living within either in fidelity of marriage or in chastity in singleness you are unfit to serve in any office... so all of our elders and deacons who are living with a partner but not married to them, why are you serving the church? I actually knew an elder who upon reading this resigned from the session because by him living with his girlfriend he was going against the BOO.

I suppose these are the reasons why I voted for Amendment 10A. The Presbytery of Boston was amazingly civil in our discussions on the night of the vote (11/1/10). The Presbytery had 83 votes cast. 53 voted were in favor of passing Amendment 10A. 30 votes were against amendment 10A.

Presbytery of Boston, I am proud of you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

shhhh sleeping college student

Hello all,
just a quick note. I am very tired. Just got back from an amazing presbytery meeting. Yes, I said AMAZING! I will blog all about that, Amendment 10-A, the progress of my quest to seminary and the morning.