Friday, September 16, 2011

What Do Julie Andrews and Hiking Have in Common?

"Do, a deer, a female deer"
While hiking at Red Top Mountain last weekend, we saw a doe!  Our new camera allows us to take a much better picture of far-away things, but she wasn't *that* far away.  And we didn't even faze her a bit!

"Re, a drop of golden sun"
The trail took us to the banks of the Etowah river, and the sun glistening off the water made a very pretty picture.

"Mi, a name I call myself"
Well, obviously it wasn't just me that went hiking - the philosopher went too.  It was our first Georgia hike, and we had a great time.

"Fa, a long, long way to run"
Five-and-a-half miles, at least.  So not a *long* hike. And really, it was a much easier hike than the Pinhoti.  When I get my "hiking legs" stretched out, we'd like to try a longer run on the Benton-Mackaye Trail up near Ellijay.

"So, a needle pulling thread"
How about, erm, threading a needle?  (Is there some way I can really stretch the metaphor here?)  While on our hike the philosopher's cell phone rang.  That was a surprise in itself - we usually don't have cell phone service when we hiked in Alabama!  He's been trying to thread that "job needle" for a while, looking for a teaching position.  So the phone call?  An offer of two philosophy classes in the spring.  Score!

"La, a note that follows so"
Hm. I don't actually sing when I hike (disturbing the wildlife is a no-no in state parks, you know)!  But we do TALK when we hike.  Most recently it's been about his book project, with subjects like transformation, classical philosophy, contemplation, liberal arts, and Werner Jaeger's Paideia.  Erm... I do a lot of nodding.  And sometimes I get distracted and say things like "Oooh - look at that tiny frog!"  or "MmMMmm - do you smell that?  It must be a sassafras tree!" or "Did you hear that - that was a bird, right?"  But my completely random, distracted interjections keeps the philosopher on his toes, and that's just fine.  ::heh::

"Ti, a drink with jam and bread"
And to top off the afternoon, we had a cold glass of good, old fashioned, southern iced tea when we got home!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The G.S.E., a happy ending

For those two or so of you who read this blog, you'll know that we've been looking for a church now for a couple of months.  (And that was after the two-year search in Alabama, where we moved 6 months after we finally got settled at a church there!)

I tried hard not to be pessimistic about our first two visits, but even though we're *close* to Atlanta, it still takes an hour to get to the city, and that's where most of the churches we'd be interested in are located.  So we Googled, and perused various denominational websites, and scoured the phone book (anyone else notice how dated a paper phone book seems these days??!?) and came up with a church about 30 minutes away, in Douglasville.  Way closer than our last church, so we gave it a try.

It's a storefront church, tucked away in a strip mall.  I had visions of folding chairs and a folding table as the altar, and no communion rail...  much like our church in Anniston was.  We walked in the front door and folks greeted us joyfully, introduced themselves and introduced us to others.  Straight back were what looked like offices and classrooms, and to the left were the doors to the sanctuary.  (Yes!  A sanctuary!  In a church in a strip mall!)  We walked in, and - wow - they had taken great care to do everything they could to make the space *feel* like a church.  Beautiful shades covered the windows and other exterior doors - it looks like they have several small storefronts that they've merged into one big space.  Unless you look carefully, you don't notice that at all.  They even painted stained glass motifs on the high windows above the shades!  They created a raised area for the altar, and yes, there's also a communion rail.  (Here's a picture from when Bishop Beach visited recently, so you can see what I mean.)

Now, I know, this is all surface stuff.  What's Really Important is the mission and the message.  But having a space *feel* like a sacred space does so much to ease the heart and, well, I don't know about anyone else, but I feel more at peace, more able to hear that still small voice.  So I can't say it's not important at all, at least to me.  And they keep the service liturgical - they use the '79 prayer book (but not the "star trek" Eucharistic Prayer D!)  It's funny, I've been in a '28 church for almost 6 years now, but the '79 language comes back in a hurry.  I miss the comfortable words and the prayer of humble access, but I do enjoy the '79 version of the Gloria.  I think we're using a Michael Card setting for it - I'll have to remember to ask.

The good news is, they scored high on the Really Important stuff too!  The rector is awesome.  Great sermons, and truly a pastor's heart for his flock.  He and the philosopher had coffee the week after our first visit, and by our second visit we were pretty sure we'd found our new church home.  Sunday School has been awesome, and I'm hoping the philosopher can connect with a men's group too.  Yes, you heard right.  We actually found a church that's large enough to have two services, a Sunday School, Bible Studies, and small groups.  Shocking!!  8-)

I even volunteered for the music ministry, which they're trying to grow.  It's mostly praise music, with an AMAZINGLY talented worship leader, but there's also a pianist so we do get to sing some hymns too.  The worship leader seems eager to start a more involved ministry, which is great.  I did warn him, however, that I bring enthusiasm, not talent, to the mix.  Heh.  Hopefully when the Paulding campus library is ready, I will be able to participate fully, even in weeknight practices.  And I haven't been able to do that since 2002.  Wow.   Time to pull out the guitar and see if I remember how to play, right?  (Or worse, see if I actually remember how to sing!)

Anyway, thanks be to God for Trinity Anglican Church.  It's always in His time that He brings us where we need to be.