Enjoying each other’s company or ignoring each other?

What is the difference between these two pictures?

I suggest: Nothing

Marc (@ABitScattered) and I love our gadgets. At this very moment we are watching Invictus with our laptops on our laps, I’m blogging, he is reading the news. Often we share what we are reading back and forth. We are very much enjoying each other’s company.

A few weeks ago, I had completed a very long weekend, culminating in the confirmation of 15 of our youth. It was glorious and I was completely wired. Within a minute I would swing between hardly keeping my eyes open and then to babbling non-stop. We decided dinner at a pub and early to bed was the answer.

After I had babbled Marc’s ear off and had finally settled into tired, silent eating, Marc pulled out his phone, and I pulled out my phone as we ate. We exchanged a few words about what we were reading, but were, finally, quiet.

We were still reading our phones when the waitress came with the bill. As she was punching in the amount into her own device, she let out a giggle. “I’m sorry I laughed,” she says, “but watching you two with your phones reminds me how crazy things have gotten.” Then she started to tell us about her kids texting each other at the kitchen table, and how families and couples can not even enjoy a meal without unplugging.

I didn’t appreciate her judgement of our dinner. She assumed a distance in our meal that simply was not there. If we had been reading newspapers and not our phones, or watching the game on the pub television, I wonder if she would have had the same reaction.

Look at the pictures above. The one on the left is a very typical weekend brunch picture, people sitting together reading different sections of a newspaper. Each are engaged in their own section, some laughing, some serious. When we go to Sunset Grill on a weekend, we see this scene played out at tables all around us. In fact, that’s us. We are often reading paper together.

Now, look at the picture on the right. Are they ignoring each other, or being comfortable in each other’s company? In all my three years of married wisdom (ha!), I have learned that we do not need to speak to each other every moment we are in the same space. In fact, there is something wonderful about not having to speak at all. Perhaps in the moment after this picture was taken, he would turn to his wife and share what was so funny. Or she might share her concern about the email she is reading. That snapshot is a typical image of our table, and that’s what we would do.


Skimming and reading and transforming

As I’m settling into this new way of life, I feel myself transforming every day. I have to say the biggest change is having a team here, in the same building, who call me for lunch and are just a staircase away from me saying, “I was just thinking…” It also means being a lot more co-ordinated. I am absorbing Outlook, trying not to turn into my task list, but working hard to recognize that my schedule and plans are dependent on others in a much more urgent way than before. And as far as technology goes, it is fun to be in a place that a) has a co-ordinated calendar and b) does not get intimidated when you pull out your iPhone to check your schedule.

Sunday was my first Sunday and I finally felt like I was here. My first week I met all of two people under 20. The kids are great and seem to love church school, which is good place to start!

The big thing I am trying to do, though, is get a grasp on some reading. Lots of amazing stuff has come out on youth ministry in the past 10 years, much of which I have skimmed and kept an eye on, none of which I have actually sat down and read. With the aid of a $400+ book token from my beloved former parish and some suggestions from some colleagues, I am building my library with Andrew Root, Kendra Creasy Dean, Mark DeVries, Mark Yaconelli and Dorothy Bass along with others.

I am loving loving LOVING the renewed emphasis on relationship for relationship’s sake, not just to get kids students(they are all called students now. When did that happen?) into a sense of responsibility for the church. I just read a beautiful piece in The Godbearing Life about seeing youth ministry as a mission field–some great stuff for a celebration of new ministry.

One of my the exciting discoveries on which I am embarking is to encounter myself in youth ministry as an introvert. The last time I was in focussed youth ministry, I was much more extroverted, different energy, different ideas, and I was in a very different theological space. And, I learned and grew so very much. I feel a new and different passion for ministry than what I have been experiencing the past 8 years. I feel like God is unveiling me to this place, bit by bit and, in the process, unveiling me to myself.

#GS2010 Social Media at General Synod

Another “group” I have been engaging with at General Synod are the people here and around the world following us online through the livestream, facebook and twitter. As one United Church friend wrote to me on facebook, “I’ve learned more about the ACC with your updates here and on Twitter than I have studying at (theological school)! Thank you!”

For more on how social media is adding a new discourse to our proceedings, check out Synod on Demand from Monday. The whole segment is good, but tune in about halfway through until the end if you are short on time.

#GS2010 Day 2 (and then some): Dawn on film

This has been a very intense, valuable, fun, rewarding, gracefilled experience, joining with my national church. So intense, in fact, that blogging has been low on the priority list. So has sleep, I’m afraid. I am working on some blog posts which will go up over the next little while so I can get caught up.

In the meantime, you can hear from me in other ways. Simon Chambers, the Communications Officer of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and blogger of the PWRDF blog has been interviewing General Synod delegates about why they support PWRDF. Here is my piece. It’s 30 seconds so take a few to watch. Then check out some others.

I was also a contributor to Synod on Demand, Anglican Video’s daily webcast from General Synod. You can hear my comments twice on the Synod on Demand from June 4:

I am sitting in the gallery above the plenary floor charging up my laptop. Going paperless means needing juice. Tonight we are debating more resolutions and enjoying more wonderful evening liturgies.

A return to a new blog

Lately I have had a longing to return to writing. That may be a strange thing to say from someone who writes a 700-900 word essay for each Sunday. I used to do a lot of journalistic writing and, occasionally, even some poetry.

I have never taken to writing in a journal. Once in high school, when I journalled voraciously, my journal got lifted from the teacher’s desk and shared around school. I never really got over it. My deepest darkest thoughts are processed now through meditation or dialogue with one of a few, trusted anam cara (you know who you are), but I love to work out ideas through writing.

A hugely public blog is a little scary, so while this is not password protected, I am sharing this blog with trusted friends and family who are welcome to add me to  your RSS feeds etc. I would appreciate it if you asked my permission before sending anything I write on to any email lists etc. I have not fed this address to search engines, for example. I realize this is public and I am open to this gradually finding a few followers. The idea of this getting too much attention too fast is a little scary for me.

I am not going to guarantee regular updates and I will check as often as I can for comments and so on. I would love your feedback on anything I write, critical or praiseworthy.

This is also a new program for me and I am just learning my way around. There are lots of fun things I can do with it but figuring it out will take some time.

Lost in the land outside of cyberspace

Hi everyone,

I am safely and soundly moved into Antigonish. I do love it here. All has gone well so far.

Unfortunately, I do not have internet at the house yet, so my access is rather sporadic. I hope to have all that rectified next week. Once I am connected, you can look forward to pictures of the ordination, graduation, my churches and my new house, along with copies of my sermons.


Happy Anniversary Gertrude

These are the adorations on the wonder that is the pocket PC or, in my life, the Palm. I met my Palm (who I have now named Gertrude) on New Year’s Eve 2004. Today is our one year anniversary and so, to my Gertrude, I echo the words of my fellow blogger Kinnor (who’s ex-roommate is now my present roommate).

Beyond the brink: Ode to my Pocket PC