Notable quotes from today
-“It is telling that the tall and towering chapel at YDS is built atop our large library.” As said by Maggi Dawn, the new Associate Dean of Marquand Chapel, this quote was really inspiring to me to hear, and particularly evoked YDS’s motto of “Faith and Intellect” in a surprisingly effective way; in many ways, I am going to seek to have my time spent here follow the model she pointed out in the real life arrangement of our library and chapel on campus
-“There is a very real tension at work here in this community: between the intellectual work and large reading list… and having a life.” As said by Bill Goettler, the Assistant Dean of Assessment and Ministerial Studies, this really captured the mood of the new students in the room, as many of them (myself included) are of the Type-A Personality disposition, and as such are hyper-motivated and would rather work ourselves to death than risk missing an assignment/requirement due to taking a breath from time to time. It was also delivered in a highly entertaining way, and thus merited inclusion here.
As a general point, today was another really great day, albeit with a bit too much sun for my unprepared German skin (the Cancer Star won this round). That said, some specific instances of my experiences are worth recounting here. First of all, an event early in the day was specifically about pastoral perspectives on self-care and the necessity to so practice while at YDS, but particularly during our first semester here. As someone who often allows that to fall by the wayside in favor of helping other people (just like many of my ministerial-minded peers here at YDS), this was an excellent strong message to have so early in the orientation and the day; as a matter of fact, it was effective enough to have provided both of the above quotes, the only ones that stuck with me throughout the entire day.
Lunch today was very well-thought-out, as the various denominations represented by at least 3 students each sent local clergy to come and dine with the students in their denomination; in my case, I ate with the Registrar (a Lutheran and alumna of YDS for an MDiv), and then 2 pastors of local Lutheran churches or other ministries. It was also good to visit with the other Lutheran students I did know, and then meet some of those I did not know; most interesting, though, was finding out that nearly half of the Lutherans present had been born/baptized/raised Missouri Synod Lutheran (myself included), but only 2 of them were they to study as a Missouri Synod Lutheran, as opposed to the more common Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). This is really great, as it will feed into the ecumenical nature of YDS even more for me as I focus on Lutheran studies; as a related concern, I am strongly leaning towards trying to complete the Lutheran Studies Certificate that YDS offers, as it is in partnership with the Eastern Cluster of ELCA Seminaries. More on that as I learn it.
The evening was focused on a couple of administrative issues, including financial aid (I am happy to report that I was awarded a scholarship by the Scottish Rite, and they sent it directly to school, so it is already processed!) and Yale IT services (the wireless network, people are starting to realize, is somewhat shaky), all of which was followed by dinner at Berkeley Divinity School. In short, BDS became affiliated with YDS in the past, and is the Episcopalian arm of Yale, while still being a part of the ecumenical community as a whole. They run a “house” (which actually translates into absolutely gorgeous mansion) just down the hill from the Div quad, and they were nice enough to host us all for dinner tonight on their lawn. As per yesterday (and, as I am starting to realize, as will happen for much of the remainder of my time here), everyone was extremely open and talkative with each other, discussing all manner of interests and background, leading to another delightful evening.
To give an overall sense of how I am feeling about my time here, I can only really say the following: I don’t think I have ever felt such a strong sense of belonging AND contentment anywhere in my life, and this is paired with constantly meeting people who share so many passions with me that I don’t even believe them (I am almost forced to pretend that they MUST be kidding around with me). While I would have never acquiesced to using the phrase “best years of my life” before (as I am a make-things-better-as-I-go kind of guy), I am honestly beginning to realize that in a lot of ways, it is entirely likely that the best time of my life will be had here, in this community. To those of you who are sick of me babbling on and on about how much I love it here, please forgive me; it is almost a given that some of this joy will wear off when I receive a reading list complicated enough that one must speak Biblical Greek and a smidgen of Latin in order to comprehend. Still though, even after the homework assignments begin their interminable assault on my sanity, I am inclined to claim that I will love every moment of it, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time.
Photos from the day
So, as promised yesterday, tonight is the big debut of a panoramic photo; in this case, specifically the Divinity School library’s most Yale-looking room (you’ll see what I mean in a moment, just be sure to open this in a new window or tab in order to be able to zoom in and see all of the detail of the shot):
And finally, a short photo gallery of various shots I took during the day, all with my phone: