November 15, 2005

Chicago and Back

Category: Family :: Permalink

Last week was exceptionally busy. On Monday morning, I flew from Grande Prairie, arriving in Chicago late in the afternoon. I’m the chairman of the URCNA‘s Theological Education Committee, and that evening that committee met with the corresponding committee of the Canadian Reformed Churches. For some time, our committees have been discussing what to do about the training of ministers should the two federations unite.

The meeting went fairly well. There was a good brotherly camaraderie throughout the meeting, even though in the end the two committees did not agree on a proposal. Both committees will need to report to the two federations’ upcoming synods.

The committees met at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, my alma mater. I joked that the last time I’d been in the board room, I was being examined. I’ve been to the seminary a couple of times since graduating, but in some ways it feels as if I’ve barely left. It’s hard to believe I graduated eight years ago!

One of the highlights of the trip was the chance to visit with Pete and Diane Smith and their family, and in particular with their son Nick. When I was in seminary, I used to spend a lot of time at the Smith’s home and briefly tutored Nick in Latin. Now Nick is in his final year at Mid-America!

Another highlight was the opportunity I had to sit in on one of Nelson Kloosterman‘s New Testament History classes. Dr. Kloosterman was introducing the book of Acts, and it was hard for me not to raise my hand and answer questions as if I was back in school again. Unfortunately, I could attend only the 8:00 lecture because my meeting started at 9:00.

All of my flights went well, as did the hour-and-a-half bus rides to and from O’Hare. I managed to read about 70 pages of John Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory as well as a good bit of Mark Driscoll‘s enjoyable The Radical Reformission, about which I’ll say more later, and Andrew Greeley‘s first novel, The Magic Cup, a version of an old Irish tale, related to the Arthurian Grail legends.

I arrived back home on Wednesday evening, caught the shuttle bus from the airport to a nearby hotel, and walked the rest of the way home. The weather was considerably colder than it had been in Chicago, but not bad. It was a great joy to be back home with my wife and daughter. This trip was the first time Moriah and I had been apart since our wedding.

The rest of the week was a bit of a scramble as I prepared two sermons and did some other work. On Friday night, we noticed that the temperature in the house kept dropping. Sometime after 1:00 AM, I turned up the thermostat — and nothing happened. I turned it as far as it could go, and still the furnace didn’t come on.

Finally, I called the heating company and a mechanic came over. It didn’t take him long to figure out what had happened. The furnace switch was off. It’s up on the wall behind a door in an area used for storage. That afternoon I had moved a bunch of boxes around and must have bumped the switch. So I paid $96 for him to flip the switch and turn the furnace on again.

On the other hand, he also showed me that the switch was badly mounted and a hazard and he pointed out that because the furnace was used to keep the house warm during construction the blower was full of dry wall dust, to say nothing of a rock an inch in diameter and a plastic bag which made the furnace sound noisy. I’ll have to spend more to get the furnace cleaned, but at least I know about the problem now.

In other news, I tried contacts recently but after a day of being irritated by them and after weighing the cost, I decided to stick to glasses. My old glasses broke while I was washing them and so I got a new pair. It had been seven years since my last eye exam, but my prescription hasn’t changed. That’s good news!

And now I must head off to bed, where I’ll read a bit of Jonathan Kellerman’s Blood Test or Brian McLaren’s The Last Word and the Word After That, the last in his trilogy. Good night!

Posted by John Barach @ 12:56 am | Discuss (0)

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