Monday, May 29, 2006

Nice Work If You Can Get It

I honestly really really love my new job. LOVE it. I work for a church in a sort of “rough” end of town, one would say – but it’s a church that genuinely loves the community it is in, and is passionate about reaching people with the Gospel. My immediate boss, the pastor, is equally passionate about evangelism and just loving people. It’s such a drastic change from my last youthwork job, which was such a burden that I could never carry. I now find myself in a position that I finally feel well-equipped for, with people who are willing to help carry out what needs to be done. My hours are flex (mostly), and I’ll soon have a nice little office in a brand-new church building that was built specifically to be usable for a the surrounding community (the “sanctuary” doubles as a gym/hall, plus we have a café, great kitchen, and several meeting rooms. I was so worried that the job would be like the last one – yet it’s proving to be exactly what I’d hoped for.

Additionally, I have the added bonus of working under/for one of the biggest (if not *the* biggest) Baptist church in Scotland (my church is a daughter church of this one), Charlotte Chapel. And that carries a lot of weight, not to mention adding manpower and resources. At the first of the weekly pastoral meetings I attended (which includes me and the pastor at my church, along with the whole pastoral staff the Chapel), I sat there and realized I was finally in a position where I wasn’t being looked down upon, where I wasn’t constantly being criticized, where I was respected as an equal partner in the work that we’re doing. “Exciting” probably doesn’t do the feeling justice.

If you’ve ever struggled with getting “plugged in” to a church (which is even harder in Edinburgh, I believe, than a lot of places) – the trick is to get a job there. Honestly, it’s like instant community. This morning I went to the service (my second since being on staff), and really enjoyed getting to know people. Afterwards, a group of us “younger folk” went for lunch at one of the elders’ houses, and ended up just staying and chatting til about 5pm. It was such a great time.

From there, I went with one of the girls to the evening service at the Chapel. While I don’t HAVE to go to the evening services, part of the job description sort of suggests that I should make it out there on a fairly regular basis, so that people can get to know me and the work we’re doing out in Niddrie. To be honest, at this point I was pretty shattered and considered going home instead – but decided I should go ahead and make it out there, especially since I had a ride.

I was sitting with some folk up in the balcony, and looked down at one point and thought: “Holy crap, is that Tim?!”

I probably haven’t seen Tim for about two years. He’s one of those friends that I just knew from kinda…everywhere. We texted here and there, but lost contact at some point. After the service, we see each other: “Michaela!” He goes on to say they announced that I’d started at Niddrie during the morning service, and he had nudged his friend to say: “Hey! I totally know her!” He’s being living and working in London for a while, and we caught up, til he says: “Hey, some folks are coming over to my place, want to come along?” I’ve never been one to turn down a social gathering. Besides, Tim is headed back to London tomorrow night and it’ll be ages before I see him again. And he offered me a ride back home afterwards, because there’s really no good bus to get me back to my place from his.

Must have been about 15-20 of us there, just eating pizza and goofing off for hours (In typical church kid fashion, we busted out the piano and guitar…in non-typical church kid fashion, we ended up singing Take That and S-Club-7 songs, and had a free-verse jazz “sing off” in which we debated the pros and cons of fox hunting, and penguins.)

By 11 or so, it was only me, Tim, Shauna and Stuart left, with cups of tea, cold pizza, and just good chat (and some more songs). At 2am, we went home, with plans to meet up in town for more good times tomorrow (Mondays are my day off).

It almost seems unfair, how easy it is to meet folks and get to know them when “Oh, YOU’RE the new youthworker in Niddrie! Awesome!”.

But I missed this, you know? After years of struggling, to find legitimate church community here in Scotland (for various reasons), I now feel like it’s come as an added perk of the new job. It’s almost as if I’m back at YouthFront/Student Life group (except we’re all a bit older) when everything came so easily. I’d missed the community feeling that came with being on the Doulos, or back at college. I’d gone pretty much almost a year without it (save our smaller “American” contingent of the Hayes, Hales, McFarlanes, Urminskys, et al), and even though you don’t sit around thinking “Gosh, I really miss community”, I now realize how much I did, and why God is pretty big on community.

After 15 hours of “community overload”, I’m a bit shattered….but happily shattered.

So there’s your update. After almost a year, things finally feel like they’re back to normal. And I feel really genuinely grateful for the gift of this job and these people.


Michaela @2:25 AM :: Comment

Friday, May 26, 2006

"...(T)he emergent church is the latest version of liberalism. The only difference is that old liberalism accomodated modernity and the new liberalism accomodates postmodernity."

-Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church

Michaela @1:11 PM :: Comment

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mmmm. Coffee.

Michaela @8:39 AM :: Comment

Monday, May 22, 2006


Sorry you haven't been hearing from me this last week. I moved flats last weekend, started the new job on Monday (and it's AWESOME, by the way), and have been superbusy because of it all. This last weekend Lori came through, which involved shopping, Jonathan and Sarah's going-away party, and a trip to the hospital (see below). That girl is DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA! Tonight I'm off for some J&S time again before they leave, and tomorrow is chock full of meetings for work.

But I'll catch you up soon.

:) Mic

Michaela @2:20 PM :: Comment

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I Feel Smarter Already!

So, today is May 13th. It is a day many of us like to think of as Christmas in May....the start of the Christian Aid Booksale!

The Christian Aid Booksale is massive, and stocked with a gajillion books that are all going for about 50p or 1 pound. (Though there are some rare items for 5 and over, and REALLY rare items up for the highest bidder.) I didn't go last year because I thought I was moving home and didn't want to ship them home. This year, I'm not only staying, but I have some extra cash due to my new job. I still have a week of visiting to go...but today I came home with some nice booty for about 25 pounds. And I got a lot of good "standards" that I need to own.

- 1865 copy of the New Testament - a big one with AMAZINGLY beautiful borders and plates inside, along with a really intricate and nice cover. (My biggest purchase, setting me back....5 pounds!)

-Reformation Writings - Martin Luther

-Westminster Confession of Faith (Shorter, Longer, Directory of Worship and Presbyterial Church Government)

-Documents of the Christian Church

-Imitation of Christ - Thomas A Kempis

-What Saint Paul Really Said - NT Wright

-The Gnostic Gospels - Pagels

-The Apocrypha (a little copy, meaning I don't have to buy a whole Catholic Bible)

-The Open Secret - Newbigin

-Adventures in Missing the Point - McLaren and Campolo

-Funamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Ethics - Kant (No, I'll never read it, but I feel smarter having it)

-Scottish Episcopal Church Review 8/2 (on Ethics and Morality)

- CS Lewis Biography - Wilson

-The Great Divorce - CS Lewis

-Local Church Evangelism - Ed. Wright and Grey

-The Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Godsey

-The Works of Josephus (old and hardback for 50p!)

So...freaking awesome. And I've spent less than a third of what I've budgted for this booksale. AND they are bringing out MORE of the Theology and Religion books on Monday that aren't even out yet. AND I haven't even made it to the other sections yet. I now understand why Jonathan has a hard time sleeping the night before the sale each year.

(Also, let the record show that J found some Moltmann - including Theology of Hope - before I did, dangit. that's what I get for sleeping in.)

In other such theological news, I haven't yet mentioned that I was asked to be a regular writer at MereMission is a blog made up of a group of us from various theological backgrounds, in discussion about "practical missional theology". Those of you who are into that kinda thing may want to drop by and say hello. In any case, you can all go there and leave comments about how amazing and profound my recent post is on neocalvinim/Reformational philosophy. Even if you have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm all about the validation.

In non-theological news, I move tonight into my "interim" (yet again) place, where I'll be living til I can start my lease at my new PERMANENT flat in Newington on June 16th. I will be extremely happy once I can get totally settled in my new place in Newington. I've been effectively living out of a suitcase for something like nine months now. And it gets pretty old. I can't wait to have a place where I can stretch my legs and put in my comfy reading chair under my big window looking out to Arthur's Seat.

I'll miss The Hays though. Just don't tell them I said so.


Michaela @5:13 PM :: Comment

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's Been Recently....

...pointed out to me that I am nearly an exact combination of J.D. and Eliot.

I have J.D.'s awkwardness and internal monologue and Eliot's girly neuroses.

Those of you who watch Scrubs know eactly what I'm talking about. Those of you who do not....well, you should.

Anyway, it presents the question....I'm a special kind of girl.

How the HELL am I going to find a guy who can handle me? know. Pause for thought.

And for you fellow Neurotics out there, I present to you : The Neuroses Organization. It's possibly the creepiest website I've ever seen. Yet still hysterically funny.

Yours Truly,

John Michaela Eliot Dorian

Michaela @1:08 AM :: Comment

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Finally....A Step

Well kids....four months after applying for the position I FINALLY got the youth and community work job for that inner-city church that I wanted. And they are paying me more than I thought they would. And I have a three-year contract.

*breathe out*

MUCHO thanks to those of you who have been praying for me when I've found it so hard to pray for myself.

In other news, I REALLY need a place to live. So while it feels things are starting to fall into place a little...I still feel a bit on-edge, while I'm waiting for things to sort about my living situation. Apartment hunting is rough. So many false hopes and let downs and maybes. It's kinda like dating, except without the kissing.


Michaela @7:46 AM :: Comment

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

First Memory

It never fails. Whenever I ask someone what their first memory was it’s something negative. Sometimes horrible but almost always bad. Maybe this isn’t true for you. Hopefully it isn’t. But that just means I haven’t personally asked you that question yet. Because if I did, I’m sure it would’ve been something bad. Understand?

One guy I know vividly remembers being left at a hotel at the age of two by his biological parents. Days later, the hotel staff caught on and began to care for him. Some time after, in his small town, a local couple who was unable to have children simply took him in and adopted him. As far as he’s concerned, they were his parents. But that did not make up for the fact that he’d been abandoned.

Another guy I know tells me his first memory was at his grandparents’ house. Vomiting.

My first memory isn’t awful, but it’s certainly not a *pleasant* first memory. It is not one of being rocked to sleep, or read to, or of lullabies or ponies or bunnies or pastel colors. My first memory is of a fight.

It happened on my first birthday. My mother was shocked when she found this out. Who remembers their first birthday? (I guess I do.)

I was a feisty one-year-old. Nancy was my cousin, and was two or three years older than me (still is, I guess). This, of course, made her pretty much an adult in my eyes. She was FOUR TIMES MY AGE! For my birthday, she (and by that I mean of course, her parents) had given me one of those blow up cylinders, with a picture of a clown painted on it. At the bottom was a pocket of sand, which meant that every time it was hit, the thing would pop back up, with that evil grin. Eventually, I’d get fed up and just pin him to the ground. I’d be damned if some puny clown ACTUALLY full of air would beat me. And if all else failed, I’d just let the air out of him.

It was by far my favorite toy, for years. I also attribute my complete lack of fear of clowns to this toy. I learned at an early age – it’s dead easy to kick a clown’s ass. Plus, I never did see Stephen King’s It.

Anyway, I’d just received this fine gift, and sat on the brown and tan linoleum floor of the kitchen, completely fixated on punching the stuffing out of this stupid (yet strangely wonderful) clown.

And I was definitely winning.

And then came Nancy. Nancy, my 4-year-old-almost-adult cousin. And she just took it. Like it was HERS! I’d never actually HAD a birthday, but I knew how they worked. People gave you stuff, just for being born. And you sat in your high chair and threw cake around and shoved it around your face, deftly avoiding your actual mouth. Let the record show, even at the age of one, I was not a fan of chocolate cake. I prefer, and preferred then, white cake.

But mostly, it was about getting stuff. Like clown punching bags. And once you GET it, the people can’t take it BACK. It is rightfully YOURS. And no one had seemed to tell Nancy that it was way better to give than to receive, hootch.

A shoving match ensued (I told you I was feisty). I’m not entirely sure, but I think I made her cry.

What a whiner.

But that’ll teach her to take my clown. I’m the only one that gets to kick that clown’s ass.

I later became a blackbelt in Clown Ass Kicking, being the youngest ever to win the National Championship, at the age of 2 years and 7 months. If you are a clown, and we ever meet in a dark alley, I’d just like you to know I have no less than 24 years experience in making you suffer.

If all else fails, I’ll just let the air out of you.

Michaela @9:48 PM :: Comment

"In the city you will find that the poor and the broken are often much, much more open to the idea of Gospel grace and much more dedicated to its practical outworkings than you are." (Tim Keller)

"Always On Your Side" by Sheryl Crow