May 31, 2010

It’s time to switch to my other blog for good.  Xanga, you have been good to me, but your just not cutting it anymore.  You don’t work well with apples, and frankly it seems you don’t work well with computers in general.  Yet, I will never forget the times we had.  For those of you wishing to continue to follow me, my new site is .  There I will continue blogging about life on a format that is a bit better for it.

Remember, xanga, we’ll always have Paris.

April 28, 2010

I have often thought and been reminded of how Seminary occasionally resembles Hogwarts. For instance, the students are 1st years, 2nd years, 3rd years, and 4th years, and you have that certain comradery with students that come from living in the same space. Also, there is often talk of this larger narrative of “call” and “purpose” that is present in the novels. This comparison is most tangible for me during commencement or any event where the faculty, uniquely gifted and quirky much like Hogwarts, wears their robes. Some part of me would not be surprised if one of the professors pulled out a wand to fix a ripped hem or something. Yesterday during Person and Sacrament, I was thinking how great it would be if the whiteboard pulled out like a door on a hinge and one of the House Common rooms was behind it. I imagined the overstuffed upholstered couches and chairs set around a large fireplace with students milling around studying or looking for distraction to keep them from studying. Do I realize how nerdy this is? Yes. Do I care? No.

Sometimes I think I should take a week-long vow of silence. I might do it too, if it wouldn’t be so annoying to have to explain through handwritten notes what you were doing. I talk too much and listen too little…one of the common themes of my life.

I need to convince myself that the only thing I absolutely NEED to do today is go for a run. I can manage not finishing everything I need to do for school or work, but I need to get some exercise.

Well, change of plans. This summer I will be doing Clinical Pastoral Experience (hospital chaplaincy) in Evanston (one of the requirements for graduation here at Seminary). This means I will not be doing the garden center and also means I am going to be tightening the budget belt a little to make it through. So, last night my friend Elise helped me set up a budget, and its very doable. The main thing I will have to do is not spend so much money on eating out…a big challenge for me. So far, there was a free meal at the Seminary and meat thawing on my counter for chili tonight.

Doing CPE may also mean is a ten day trip up to Hermantown to maybe do some substitute teaching before and after Luke and Chelsey’s wedding. I am looking forward to extended time on the shores of Lake Superior.

Okay, Hebrew is starting.

April 27, 2010

My summer plans are shifting slightly it appears. Last week our Field Education Director, Tim Johnson, told me there was one slot left open for Clinical Pastoral Experience (CPE- a hospital chaplaincy program that we are required to do before we graduate). At first I said I couldn’t do it this summer because of the multiple weddings I was involved in, but then I realized it doesn’t start until June 1st, a week and a half after one of the weddings. So, I quick turned in an application and am slotted to do it in either Evanston or at Swedish Covenant down the road.

Modern Family is slowly changing my life. I went over the Andrew Freeman’s last night and started catching up on all the episodes I missed before I saw the light and began watching it (Sarah, I have yet to get to Fizbo, but I am working on it). I’m hooked.

This new Arizona immigration law is crazy. There is no way you enforce this bill without racial profiling, not to mention the larger moral issue of illegal immigration as a whole. It seems that as a Christian my biblical mandate is to love the stranger and the foreigner in my midst, and it seems that this should preclude working to get them expelled from a country of immigrants who happened to get here 100-200 years earlier. Just saying. I’m gonna start a new segment on my blog called “Just saying,” where I say something political followed by the tag line “Just saying.” I think it could be my big break into the mainstream media.

Just think, two weeks from today and I will be done with my second year of seminary! WOOO! I will be done with languages, all my Bible classes but one, and only have one more academic year left! They all say that seminary goes fast, but now I can actually affirm that it does. I feel like I just started, and I will already be entering the call process next fall. This is both exciting and crazy.

Someone should teach Chicago drivers the difference between blinking yellow lights and blinking red lights on stoplights. Stopping at yellow lights REALLY slows down traffic on Irving Park for no good reason.

I just bought MLB.TV for the month. We’re gonna win Twins, we’re gonna score!”

Chicago summers excited me. I’m looking forward to Ravinia, May Fest, other random concerts, running outside, baseball games, etc. Yet, I am very excited to get home to Duluth. Today I was trying to think of the last time I had been there, and I couldn’t. Okay, I’m out.

April 21, 2010

Well, I will be starting my job at the garden center a little earlier than anticipated. I called and asked if I could start after school, but they need someone at least part time before then. Thus, I will be starting my new job this Friday at 9 a.m. This could make for a crazy couple weeks before the semester ends, but it was either start working now or look for a new job. This is good, but I will be honest, very few things in life make me more nervous than starting a new job. I guess it’s that fear of the unknown.

I just finished reading Mary Doria Russell’s two books The Sparrow and Children of God. It is a story about new life being found on a distant planet and Jesuit missionaries going out to seek this life and attempt to learn more about each other and God. It follows the story of Emilio Sandez, a Puerto Rican Jesuit linguist, as he and several other Jesuit priests and lay people (scientists, linguists, etc) go on a mission to the planet where things take a major turn for the worst. It is an intense read, but it is a great exploration of missiology, theodicy (why does evil continue in the world if there is a God), faith, faith in the face of personal doubt, God’s immanence vs. transcendence, interfaith dialogue, and many other issues as well. If you can stand reading an occasional horrible scene of violence, these books are very thought-provoking. It is one of those books that you finish reading and continue to think about for days after. I think that’s how I describe a great book.

So far it’s a good year to be a Twins fan. I think I’m going to invest in a month’s worth of MLB.TV and see if I use it enough to be worth the investment. I also need to get another Twins hat. Believe it or not, I lost the one I used to have.

Yesterday we had a 20 minute conference call with Miroslav Volf in our ethics class. If you don’t know, he is one of the premiere theologians today (professor at Yale). He talked about the need for remembering truthfully, forgiveness, and reconciliation. I liked what he said about the possibility of all being reconciled to God in the end (rough paraphrase): “If you stand against the mission for which God sent his Son to the world (that of reconciliation), there is something significantly wrong.” It gets back to that idea that while we should not act on the basis of universal salvation, we should hope for it. So, that was one of those experiences where I really enjoy being in seminary.

I’m very close to being done with my work for the semester, but it is so difficult when I am close for me to finish it off. I have probably five hours of serious work left (besides studying for finals), and I just can’t get myself to do it. I have lost all motivation. What’s my motivation! That’s all.

April 18, 2010

I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles for my next long overdue post…so here it is, Dave Bjorlin’s glorious return to blogging.

What has happened since I last posted? I am nearing the end of a semester that has been somewhat crazy. The Powers that Be at the University decided that the seminary should end at the same time as the undergrads. Thus, are semester, which starts three weeks after the undergrads, was shortened two weeks. This means all of our classes are fifteen minutes longer (2 extra hours a week), and we have the same amount of work with two less weeks to do it all in. So, it has caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth on the part of both seminary students and faculty. I think we have found it to be a failed experiment.

I was also in Ecuador. It was a wonderful trip, and if you really want to know more about it, ask me.

I have some major life decisions to make in the next few months, so maybe you can help me. Right now I am deciding whether or not to be a pastor or go back to more school. If I go the more school route, I would want to study theology with an emphasis on liturgical studies, which would put me at either Notre Dame, Boston College, Catholic University, or Garrett (Northwestern’s seminary). So, what do you think?

I have really been nostalgic for Northern Minnesota the last month or so. Especially when the weather begins getting warm, my whole being tends to “lean North” (to borrow a phrase from a professor). I just want to be sitting on the shores of a lake with my family and/or friends listening to loons at a bonfire fed with old, crusty paper birch logs. I think when things gets busy, Duluth also serves as that larger metaphor of “simpler times,” whether that truly ever existed or not is up for debate. Luckily, I will for sure be getting up there the weekend of the 22nd for Luke and Chelsey’s wedding…a wedding which will be my first that I officiate!

So, this summer looks like it’s shaping up to be both fun and productive. I will be working as a delivery man (in my case) at Gethsemane Garden Center part-time as well as continuing at the church. On top of that, I hope to be taking a reading course with one of my professor’s to brush up on the theology of worship. I also hope to enjoy Chicago in the summer with all the games, concerts, and festivals that entails.

I’m thinking of making a video game called “Modern Diplomacy.” In it, you would work for a State Department and instead of fighting with other countries you would have to talk and debate your way to peace. This would require you to know the culture of the country you are working with, deciding what to hold firm on and what to give a bit on, and maybe even using a few carrots and sticks to get what you need. What should your woman diplomat wear as she goes into a meeting with conservative Muslim leaders? Should you pursue sanctions to make that other country fall in line or try for incentives? Are these tariffs that benefit your country worth losing exports from a certain country? These are the difficult questions you would have to answer as you played. Yeah, it might not sell as well as war games, but it’s the principle of the thing.

So, three more weeks of school and then we are on to summer!

February 25, 2010

Well, another week of school has come to an end. It’s kind of crazy how fast this semester is going, which is not made any less daunting by the fact that we have two less weeks to do it all in (our semester got shortened). The way I deal with this idea is to avoid thinking about it and hope for the best. I feel like that is the Scandinavian way to deal with problems. Actually, the Scandinavian way might be to expect the worst and then be happily surprised when it isn’t quite as bad as you prognosticated.

Now, remember, birthday party on Saturday, preaching on Sunday. Oh, crazily enough I leave for Ecuador one week from tomorrow! Wowza. Whenever I am about to go somewhere/leave the country, it never sinks in until the day before. This may explain why I end up being slightly underprepared.

I finally finished Anne Sexton’s anthology. It’s not the most uplifting thing you’ll ever read by any stretch of the imagination, but it is interesting nonetheless. If you want to get into the mind of a poet who struggles with mental illness, she definitely offers that.

Sometimes success should be measured by your own standards. For instance, I consider brushing my teeth a successful venture if I can do it without gagging (which rarely happens). We each have our own small victories throughout our days.

I finally broke down and bought the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the one volume edition. I’ve been wanting to reread it (and by reread it, I mean re-re-re-re-reread) for a while but haven’t borrowed it from anyone or acted on the impulse to buy it. Well, I finally gave into the impulse. Now the difficult part will be to not start reading it until after the semester ends.

LOST is the biggest tease.

Who would have thought that the health care summit would lead to dead ends? I just hope we can increase the fear-mongering and mindless talking points as we move forward. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem seeing as health care reform is a socialist plot to take over the country and turn us into a global New World Order.


February 21, 2010

The question I always have come Lent time is whether or not to take Sundays as a feast day or to continue giving up whatever I have given up throughout the time of Lent. I’m wondering whether the mini-resurrection argument is not sometimes made out of a desire to stuff ourselves with whatever we are giving up for the season (i.e. eating a week’s worth of chocolate on Sunday may not be in the spirit of the Lenten season). Maybe there needs to be a limit even on feast days? I guess “limit” and “feast” may not be appropriate words in the same sentence.

If you are looking for something to do next weekend, I have two opportunities for you. First, come to a birthday party for Joe Schupbach, Sarah Bauer, and me at the karaoke bar Sidekicks (on Montrose and just East of 90/94) Saturday night at 8. Second, on Sunday I’m preaching at Resurrection Covenant, so if you are looking for something to do on Saturday evening/Sunday morning, consider me your social activities director (as my position is at the seminary).

I just finished a very satisfying 2 hour nap, but now I cannot convince myself of doing anything even remotely active tonight, and I’m not talking exercise either, I’m talking getting up the energy to leave my house or even read a book. I just tried to read for a bit, and all I wanted to do was close my eyes and sit. I guess there could be worse things to do on the Sabbath.

Biggest baby of the week (no offense babies): Evgeni Plushenko. You didn’t win because you didn’t nail your landings. If you want to blame someone, don’t blame the scoring system, blame yourself. Also, the argument that you need a quad to win is ridiculous. One big jump doesn’t win a competition (unless you are long jumping that is). That’s like saying a football team shouldn’t win 9-7 because they kicked three field goals instead of scoring one touchdown.

Things I have been thinking about the figure skating competition:
1. Plushenko could use a hair stylist…Kassi, maybe you could offer?
2. Evan Lysacek looks like a nice guy off the ice but a Disney villain on the ice.
3. Johnny Weir should have scored higher slash his obsession with Russia is an interesting idiosyncrasy.

That’s all.

February 14, 2010

After watching at least a dozen commercials for it during the Olympics, I haven’t been able to discern even the smallest part of the plot of Parenthood. Maybe this is supposed to draw me in, but it is kind of annoying me. However, I am writing about it, so I guess they win.

Well, I think I may be reaching the peak of my sickness. I’m the most congested and have the most phlegm (I know, you are all jotting this down in your diaries/journals) today than I have had during the entire period of my sickness and am just feeling generally the most tired. My voice during church was something special if you like the slightly raspy, nasally sound (think Dylan without the character/tonal quality). I think I’m going to be sleeping in tomorrow and missing my morning classes to see if I can sleep it off and feel better.

I still love the Olympics. I think I watch more TV in these two weeks than I do the rest of the year combined. I’m watching men’s moguls right now. I can tell I’m tired/sick because all of the montages about the athletes’ personal struggles/difficult journeys to the Olympics are bringing me to the verge of tears. Oh, Canada may have its first gold medal! There is just one person left…a French guy. Let’s go Canada! They have not won a gold medal in the last two Olympics they have hosted, so it’s a pretty big deal. And the scores are coming in…Canada wins! I don’t know if I can watch the medal ceremony. In the state I’m in, I might lose it once they start playing the Canadian National Anthem (side note, I think “O Canada” may be one of the greatest national anthems in the world).

Now, I’m not one for unchecked nationaism/patriotism, but here are some of the best national anthem moments both fiction and non-fiction (in my opinion and in no particular order):
1. After 9/11 when the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace played the Star Spangled Banner instead of the usual God Save the Queen. I think I liked this because it showed us possibly moving beyond the nationalism that is so entrenched and dangerous in our society.
2. In Casablanca when the Germans in the cafe begin singing one of their national songs and Humphrey Bogart comes down and has the band being playing La Marseillaise and all the French people get up and begin singing passionately drowning out the Germans.
2.5. The version of La Marseillaise featured in La Vie en Rose by the young actress playing Edith Piaf.
3. In the Hiding Place when Corrie Ten Boom’s nephew Peter spontaneously begins playing the Dutch national anthem at church defying a Nazi ban on the song. The congregation stands and begins singing and her nephew is detained afterwards for his defiance.
4. Anytime someone wins the Olympics against great odds and gets up on the podium and hears their own national anthem being played.

Those are all the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Okay, I need to go to bed soon so I can sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep. Only two more weeks of February, and then we are on to March and spring!

February 12, 2010

How much do I love you Fridays? Let me count the ways:
1. no class. What a relief!
2. sleeping in. There is nothing as satisfying as waking up whenever you feel like it.
3. church work accomplished. I can come over to the church at my leisure and work on bulletin stuff, pick songs, photocopy, and then play piano when I need a break.
4. Even though you are great in and of yourself, I still have Saturday to look forward to as well, and then Sunday after that!
5. time to read.
6. the Olympics start on this specific Friday! WOO!

One reason why I love the Olympics is it is a time when you can cheer on your country in something besides war or sticky international diplomacy. If you lose, nobody dies, you just get the silver medal. I think this is actually how all wars should be fought. Who doesn’t get a little choked up when you hear the national anthem played for that athlete who has worked so hard to accomplish something? 6:30 tonight the opening ceremonies begin!

Shout out to TK and Sarah and their beautiful baby boy Sawyer Timothy who was born this past Tuesday. I got to meet my newest neighbor yesterday, and I think the renters association will most likely agree to let him stay (that’s my way of saying he’s adorable and will be the rock star of the building (sorry Bryan, your reign is over). His rock star status will be helped by the fact that he was born on Feb. 9, which obviously is the same day that the Beatles first performed on the Ed Sullivan Show).

I often spend days like this thinking more about what I should do and in what order I should do them rather than actually doing any one of them. This is not the best way to get things done in case you were wondering.

Still fighting off this stupid cold. I think in order to do this more effectively, I am going to eat lunch and then take an extended nap. Take that, cold!

February 10, 2010

Let’s all collectively freak out about snow (slightly sarcastic)!!

Well, the second week of school is almost over, and my blood pressure is returning to a normal level. It’s interesting that I have been going to school for almost 20 years now, and I still freak out at the beginning of each year/semester thinking I won’t be able to make it through. At some point you think I would learn from my past experiences…or more importantly allow my past experiences to guide my present emotional reactions. Yet, somehow I figure out how to forget everything from my past that might bring me comfort while remembering everything that will cause anxiety. I mean, I’m being hyperbolic, but you get the idea.

I’m tired. I’ve been tired continuously for the last two weeks and can’t get over it. I think I’m getting sick because I wake up every morning with a sore throat and weird ear pressure/pain which fluctuates throughout the day. Why is that?

Sometimes I feel like putting facebook statuses that are cries for help just to see what would happen. Maybe it would be like, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why God?” or “Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse…”. Obviously none of this is true (I’m doing just fine!), but I always have found this over-share phenomenon kind of interesting and want to experience it firsthand.

By the way, I’m listening to Mr. Big’s “To Be with You.” What a great song. You can’t listen to this song without singing along.

Okay, I’m in a room with 14 other people, so it’s kind of weird to be blogging. Later.