Saturday, March 17, 2012

Johannes factotum - Reflecting & Embodying the Life of God's Kingdom


For quite a few years I've used the label for myself of "Johannes factotum" - an intentionally erudite way to suggest I'm more than a simple "jack-of-all-trades" - but not so uppity or arrogant to make the claim that I'm a "Renaissance Man."  (One of my colleagues a few years ago said I was a Renaissance Man . . . I laughed! ha!)

I do, though, try to work at developing new skills, always reading, always thinking, always trying to do something I've not done.

I was thinking about my past week in this way.  Among the daily pursuits of my week from the past seven days I have done all of the following:
  • Proctored Oral exams over the Deuteronomistic History - including learner engagement with my book discerning issues about Kingship in Ancient Israel.
  • Helped a former student and now life-long friend fix the leak under her sink, using my PEX line plumbing tools (and experience) that her dad didn't have to finish the job. 
  • Proctored oral exams for competence in sight reading passages from the Hebrew Bible - including Jonah in Hebrew, specifically.
  • Stitched and repaired holes in a denim chair we own (minor upholstery work) - and, sewed on my new sewing machine, from scratch (a single yard of fabric) a skirt for my lovely bride.  (Cost:  40 cents of fabric bought at Goodwill and $1.29 worth of elastic from Hobby Lobby.)
  • Read Kenneth Paul Kramer's excellent text:  Martin Buber's Spirituality.  (Review forthcoming.)
  • Facilitated team meetings with two separate proteges who want to engage more in shared collaborative work that puts solidarity in action - Josiah and Joseph - through the Eupan Global Initiative.
  • Helped my neighbor, with my tools, to disassemble the blade from his lawnmower and attach the replacement blade.
  • Participated in and engaged the Ladd Lectures (and lecturer) on "Why is it so hard to behave ethically?"
  • Helped our son learn how to complete a Lube-Oil-Filter on a vehicle, including completing the job on my 1993 GMC pick-up.
  • Engaged an Emerging Leaders meeting with Faculty Colleagues at SNU.
  • Announced via my employer, great collaborative work in partnered engagement with pastors engaging life-long learning and pastoral excellence.
  • Planted my Tomato plants (Small garden this year, again -  for numerous reasons - trying a new gardening method - Straw Bale Gardening.)
  • Engaged with Faculty in an Academic Council meeting at SNU, determining numerous issues of course curriculum with faculty colleagues across departments.
  • Taught online in the field of Psychology and Counseling for Indiana Wesleyan University, through their Parish Nursing Certificate.
  • Peeled potatoes while working with my lovely bride in our kitchen as she prepared home-made Potato Soup - and used the peels to fertilize the garden.
  • Met with a young, developing Graduate student to engage his ability, at his request, to think about being more productive in life.  I shared what I know (and try to practice) from David Allen's - Getting Things Done - including numerous links from Lifehack.   And, a great podcast I had engaged on GTD and Tribal Leadership - connected to other work I'm doing with Cultural Architecture
  • Took each of our girls (and a school friend) out for an individual lunch-date with Dad.
  • Taught each of my scheduled courses and engaged learners - Old Testament Literature & Life, Biblical Hebrew, The Former Prophets, and Methods in Biblical Study.
  • We made an offer to purchase some additional rental properties, to add to the ones we already own and manage in the Oklahoma City area.
  • Blogged about events shaping our world through efforts connected with the Eupan Global Initiative
  • Met individually in counsel with a young Theology and Ministry major who is trying to discern his life's pastoral direction, as he engages his own experiences of lament.
  • Read several entries from great scholars and friends in the Nazarene world - through Didache:  Faithful Teaching.  Thanks especially to great articles by David Ackerman, Laura Felleman, and Gift Mtukwa.
  • Helped a close friend walk through a house she wants to buy - pointing out issues to be mindful of with what I do know about plumbing, electrical, tile work, painting, drywall.
  • Engaged (and will blog later about) a fantastic program on Faith and String Theory - from the On Being Public Radio Podcast - entitled Uncovering the Codes of Reality with Physicist James Gates.
  • I walked on my office-self-created-Treadmill desk nearly everyday while replying to emails or blogging or working, getting my exercise as I work.
  • Rode my bike to school each day - and took my Dad's 1966 Mustang Convertible for an evening ride!
It's Saturday as I write.  Robyn and I have dinner plans with a faculty colleague at a great Mexican restaurant tonight.  I have quite a bit of sorting, organizing to do.
  • This next week I'm editing the book I'm writing on Deuteronomy 6 - over the importance of the Shema for discerning life.  
With all these things, I realize how busy my days are - and how full they are in so many ways. 

In some ways, though - I wish I had less varied things going on - and a few other "bigger" projects and bigger goals that I could commit my life's work to!  I continue to develop multiple skills and read, write, and think intentionally.  And, I continue to hope and pray that all this work will come together and synthesize for the Church - the focus of my life's call.

With each book I read, every exam I proctor, each pipe I fix, every moment with family, each conversation I engage, and every seed I plant, my daily prayer has been for many years - and continues to be . . .

"Lord, help me to be a person who is faithful and honest, kind and true, gracious and generous - a person who reflects and embodies the life of God's Kingdom."

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