Sunday, July 26, 2009

Clergy Wife Funeral

I've never been to a funeral for a clergy wife - partly because of the moves and partly because the majority of clergy wives die long after their husband's retirement. The difficulty is the coat rack syndrome. "Clergy Spouse Bonnie Studdiford vividly recalls one clergy meeting at her home in Maine. A clergy member entered, hugged the person behind Studdiford, then removed a neck brace and raincoat and handed them to Studdiford without a word. 'We call that the `coat-rack syndrome,' Studdiford said." It's described as being visible enough to be of service but preferably as voiceless and inobtrusive as a well-trained butler.

So I've never been able to imagine what the Bishop would say at the funeral. Well actually I could and that's the problem. In my imagination it goes something like this, "We're gathered here today to support Rev. John Doe and his adult children with our presence and our prayers. John Doe has had a long and faithful service in the following communities and Dioceses. He'll be going through a difficult time for a few months but with a little extra effort on everyone's part, I'm confident that the parish will pull together and give John some space to mourn his loss."

While I'm not a big fan of eulogies, in the case of clergy wives I secretly hope that one of the kids stands up and is true to the life of their mother like Gweneth Paltrow did for her schizophrenic father in the movie "Proof". I want my kids to share the things they reminesce about at 2 a.m. in the morning when the wine loosens their tongues and they try to outdo each other on how crazy things were having parents who were in the world but not of the world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reasons to take CCK09

I've initiated a google alert for CCK09 because it's easier to read a trickle of new blogs as opposed to the avalanche of new blogs on the first week of classes. Mike Bogle created a list of his aims and objections which seemed like a pretty good idea to me. I'm following suit because it's an efficient way of recommending the course.

List of Aims and Objectives

1. Intellectual Honesty. Self-learning is deceptive. It becomes crystal clear quickly that dilettantes like myself are a totally different animal than full-time, committed academics. In CCK08, I picked Lisa Lane as the person to measure myself against and it was definitely humbling. As far as Computer Geek skills - well I was definitely the weakest link in that chain.

2. Personal Learning Network. I have an amazing group of facebook friends in a wide variety of fields. Not only do I receive a continual flow of interesting urls to explore but sometimes there's a question that you can't find the answer to on the web. I've found that I am now 2 degrees of separation at most from an expert in anything imaginable.

3, A Calculation of Mental Age. It's easy to know one's grown physically flabby and not so easy to turn things around. Mental flabbiness also creeps up but it's not so obvious. At the beginning CCK08 was exhausting. I still have no idea how people took the course, carried a full workload, traveled, did research/publishing, attended conferences and raised kids. I certainly stopped wondering what I was going to do when I grew up and started seeing myself more as a retiree who skipped the whole career thing.

4. Remaining Current. The course has given me a multiplicity of connections across various generational divides. At a stage where people begin to lose their social confidence, I'm broadening my interests and tastes because it's so easy to further explore whatever people are discussing.

5. In CCK08, I had a lot of firsts but there were also a lot of things I didn't get around to trying. The second time around will be an opportunity to build on what I have already learned and explore new ways of putting information out on the web.