Archive for Motorcycle

2015 Lent 30

Posted in Lent 2015, Motorcycle with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2015 by timtrue


Jeremiah 25:8-17

Okay, I’m out.  I’m packing my motorcycle and heading to the mountains of Mexico for a camping trip of indefinite length.

That’s what I’d do if I were in Jeremiah’s shoes anyway.  Enough already!  He’s been proclaiming judgment, judgment, judgment for so long it hardly seems true anymore, or at least ineffective.  The people hate him.  They’ve conspired to kill him.  And still God presses him on.

Me?  I’d be whining to God from 9 to 5; and in the evenings I’d be outfitting my Moto Guzzi.

Yeah, my Moto Guzzi v7 Special, a simple, lightweight, bullet-proof machine with Italian sexiness.  I found a deal on it recently, like $2000 off for a new one, only it’s a 2013 model and thus the discount.  It’s a fairly common bike, so aftermarket parts are readily available.  The real clincher for me was the ease of outfitting this bike into a scrambler, you know, a bike that can handle rough fire roads–post-apocalyptic roads–as easily as it can handle the interstate.  The 5.8 gallon gas tank helps too: who knows how easy it is to find gas stations in the Sierra Madre–or how readily gas will be available after the apocalypse?

So, in my evenings, after another day of wearying and unproductive work, I’d eat a quick dinner usually involving a fried egg, over easy, and some vegetables–meat too whenever one of my roosters would get too feisty–and head out into my garage to tinker.  My excuse at first was creativity.  “I just need a creative outlet, honey,” I’d tell my wife.  And I’d tell myself that too.  But I think it really was always a plan to escape south of the border into early retirement, albeit a tacit one–plan, that is, not retirement (although, come to think of it, a tacit retirement does sound nice).

Anyway, now it’s fully outfitted for the wilderness.  And–Lord help me!–if I have to spend one more day proclaiming judgment to these stiff-necked people; if I have to tell them one more time that God’s dark servant Nebuchadnezzar will soon bring an army and wreak havoc and desolation; and–unlucky for Babylon!–that God nevertheless still loves his stiff-necked people and therefore Babylon, his dark servants, will in fact become a barren land not even fit for jackals–so help me I will just ride off to the south!

The Guzzi’s ready after all, loaded up in the garage with a full tank of gas.

But it’s late.  So I’ll just sleep on it.  Just one last time.

2015 Lent 17

Posted in Lent 2015 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2015 by timtrue

Sierra Madre

Jeremiah 7:1-15

Jeremiah’s calling was difficult.  He stood alone against the world.

The Temple in Jerusalem was run by the priests and scribes, leaders who proclaimed a message believed by everyone except Jeremiah.  “This is the Temple of the Lord,” they said.  And everyone answered, “Yea, and amen.”  Everyone, that is, except Jeremiah.

The people took a lot of pride in their Temple.  Rightly so, too, for it was a wonder.

But what if God himself had left the Temple some time ago?  What if God had become tired of the people who worshiped there, for their worship had turned away from God and onto each other?  What if managing the Temple had become such a business to the leaders that the almighty dollar trumped the actual Almighty in importance?  What if God looked around one day, saw that he was no longer needed, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I’m outa here”?  And what if no one noticed?

Well, someone noticed.  His name was Jeremiah.

But no one else did.

Jeremiah stood alone.

Nevertheless, Jeremiah did not split.  He did not say, “Fine!  God’s outa here; so I’m outa here too!”  As discussed in an earlier post, Jeremiah did not pack up his motorcycle and head off into the mountains of Mexico.

But that is just what so many people are doing today in the Episcopal Church.  They see something flawed.  Maybe the leaders are calloused to their real calling: spiritual leadership.  Maybe the almighty dollar has trumped the church’s purpose.  Maybe worship has become more a social event than a time to commune with Christ.

I don’t know: every naysayer has a reason.

But the naysayers are leaving, and have been in droves for the last four decades.  Surely, now the mountains of Mexico feel more like an organized township than a wilderness camp.

Especially, of late, there is this group that has taken the name Anglican for itself.  Subgroups you may have heard of are the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), and the Anglican Province in America (APA).  The ironic thing here is that the people who are a part of this so-called Anglican group–many of whom have left the Episcopal Church in droves–are not recognized today by the global Anglican Communion, the organization spearheaded by the actual Anglican Church (the Church of England).  But the Episcopal Church is.  (Who are the real Anglicans here?)

Sheesh!  They ought to call themselves–a spade!–what they really are: Disaffected Evangelicals Formerly on the Episcopal Church’s Team (DEFECT).

But I suppose that doesn’t have quite the attractive ring to it.  And they need to be attractive to people, after all.  For they need to draw in as many seekers as they can in order to get as much money as they can to start and maintain the best programs they can and run the business side of their churches the best they can, after all.

Which, by the way, brings us full circle.

Which, in turn, has led to yet more splits.

(Which leads me to wonder, should the split-offs of the split-offs call themselves Anglicaners, since according to their definition they’re even more Anglican than the group from which they split?)

But, I remind all you naysayers and splitters and splitters from splitters out there, Jeremiah never went to Mexico on his motorcycle.

Motorcycles, Music, and the Mediterranean

Posted in Background, Education, Family, Motorcycle, Rationale, Reflection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by timtrue


Just imagine for a moment cruising around the Mediterranean Riviera on a motorcycle, by yourself or with friends, whatever your pleasure, with an itinerary based upon concerts.  Would you start in Rome and work your way north and then west through France and Spain?  Or are you more attracted to the east side of the Middle-earth Sea, to the Greek Isles maybe, or to Istanbul, or the so-called Promised Land?  Or, perhaps you have a thirst for the peoples of North Africa–for Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco?  Or maybe you’d do it all.  Anyway, sounds like a great vacation to me.  Now if only I could find a way to finance it!

But contrary to whatever ideas the title of this post may suggest about travel, what I really want to discuss here is another “m” word: manumission.  For each of these things–motorcycles, music, and the Mediterranean–represent a liberation for me from a burden that had become a sort of personal bondage.  Perhaps this manumission has something to do with why I continue to be so drawn to each today.  (Perhaps, too, that imagined vacation suggested above will become a personal reality someday.)

So: motorcycles.  How do these represent liberation for me?  To answer I must go back to my boyhood, to when I was twelve years old or so and I got my first motorcycle.  It was a Yamaha MX80, not sure of the year, maybe 1972.  An unreliable two-stroke motor powered the beast.  I remember that it fouled sparkplugs regularly, so I soon learned to carry a spare in my increasingly bulging portable tool kit.  It possessed all of 6 or 7 horsepower, and could reach a top speed of thirty-five, maybe–if I rode it down a really steep hill wide open and engaged the clutch!

But it provided me with a certain freedom I’d not known previously.  For my older brother, who had a much more reliable 1976 Honda XR75, and I now had the ability to explore far beyond where any of our previous pedestrian adventures had allowed us to go.  Many a time did we ride from our house to the bed of Callegas Creek, taking whatever footpaths and backroads we could to get there and to avoid the fuzz.  We fashioned ourselves as little rebels without a cause.  At least we did until another fouled plug threw a temporary glitch into the day.  But then we fashioned ourselves as expert mechanics.

On this note, I remember a day when we couldn’t for the life of us figure out how to get my steed back in working order.  We were three or four miles from home, stuck in a fairly boggy part of the creek bed, scratching our heads in adolescent befuddlement.  Long story short, one of us found a bedraggled piece of discarded rope; and, knowing how to tie numerous knots from Scouts, Older Brother towed me the distance.  To heck with non-street-legal status, we said; this was an emergency!  Fifteen minutes later we’d made it home in one piece, and we’d avoided the fuzz’s notice.

We didn’t always succeed, however, at avoiding the fuzz’s notice.  I can remember more than once riding my manumission-enabling motorcycle right past a cop driving in the other direction.  I can even remember seeing the cop’s frowning face and pointing finger, indicating his desire for me to pull over.

But I had some things going for me, and I knew it.  First off, the roads were narrow and windy.  It would be at least thirty seconds before the cop could turn around successfully.  By then I’d be a quarter-mile away.  Second, I knew these quasi-rural narrow windy streets as well if not better than he did.  There lay before me any combination of lefts, rights, and straight-aheads so that by the time said cop managed to turn his bulky Ford-Crown-Victoria self around he’d be left to guess his way forward like so many youths in the Minotaur’s labyrinth.  Ha!  And, third and finally, I could go off-road if necessary, as a last resort (which I actually did once).  What could the copper do then?  Pull his pistol on me?  Really?  Yeah, like that’d go over well in the Camarillo Daily News!  Cop Shoots Kid on 6-Horsepower Sparkplug-fouling Motorbike.

Anyway, I never did get pulled over, arrested, thrown in juvey, whatever.  Instead I always managed to defy the law (and my plug-fouling steed) successfully, high-tailing it home lickety-split, parking the bike in the garage, shutting it down, closing the garage door, and heading into the house to take a nonchalant seat on the couch as if I’d only been playing Space Invaders on the ATARI all morning long.

Manumission I tell you!


A second liberating experience happened in college, after deciding to change my major from mathematics to music.  It happened this way.

I entered college in 1986, three months after graduating high school.  But I had no idea what to do with my life, what to declare as a major, and so on.  Long about second semester of my senior year in high school, in fact, I’d looked around and thought, “Yeah, I guess I ought to go to college.  Don’t want to end up delivering flowers the rest of my life.”  So I applied to enroll like so many of my friends at a local community college.

But that blasted application asked me to choose a major!

So I wondered and reflected and contemplated and pondered and thought and over-analyzed, as I am wont to do.  What am I good at?  What do I like to do?

In the end I checked the box that said forestry.  How cool would that be, I reasoned, to backpack around Yosemite or Kings Canyon and check the lakes to see if they’re stocked with enough fish!

But in my first year of college I almost gave up.  Flower delivery, after all, was paying me pretty well.

It was the math, really.  I’d let calculus get the better of me.

The fall of 1987 came around and I determined to get back up on that horse–or, to use another metaphor, to fix that fouled plug and ride the motorbike home.  I poured every bit of mental effort I had into my second attempt at calculus.  And I found I actually understood it, even liked it!

At the same time I was taking music appreciation and music theory courses.  These I enjoyed too.  But they were almost effortless for me.  I wrote the first coherent paper of my life, comparing Beethoven to the Beatles–and earned an A.  I devoured every musical rule I learned; compositions flowed.  So, I reasoned, because of the effortlessness these courses must not be as academic as math, somehow.

Yet I enjoyed them so much so that I shared with my engineer-dad my struggle.  “Dad,” I said, “um, well, I’m still technically a forestry major.  But I’m thinking of changing my major to either music or math.  And, uh, since you’re paying the bills and all, well, what do you think?”

“What kind of job could you get with a music degree?” he asked.

So I officially changed my major to mathematics.

Three years later I was in Davis, California, the fall of 1990, beginning what I hoped would be my final year of college.  Math was a struggle, but the end was in sight–if only I could pass analysis and combinatorics.  Everything else came easily enough for me.  But these two courses were a struggle.

Then there was music.  I was still taking music courses on the side, for fun.  But it felt somehow wrong, like dating two girls at the same time.

“And besides,” I asked myself, “what would I do with a math degree?  Teach?

“I could always teach music. . . .

“And that whole silly dream of being a fighter pilot in the Air Force, well, really, Tim, that was kind of a passing fancy, wasn’t it?

“Aren’t you really feeling more of a tug to pursue ministry?”

And so I was.

Couple this with things taking a turn for the worse in my first significant relationship with a girl–another story for another day.

So then, it all exploded over Christmas break.  My girlfriend broke up with me (on Christmas Day no less!) and faithful Music and jealous Math found out what was going on.  The gig was up.

So I again sought sage Engineer-dad’s counsel.

“Do what you want, Tim,” he said.  “But keep in mind that the money will be used up by the end of this year.  So if you end up staying on, you’ll have to pay for it.”

So I did.  I changed my major to music and stayed on–another two years.  And I paid for it out of my own pocket.  Happily!  For I’d been manumitted.

On to the Mediterranean then!


Some years after graduating college I was indeed teaching.  Ironically it included math.  By now I was married with two daughters, ages 3 and 1.  And I was frankly disappointed in the educational prospects for my kids.  So I began to consider and contemplate and think about and ponder and over-analyze the idea of home-schooling my children if necessary, to offer them something better than the other options we were faced with–if necessary.  My question to myself, then, was where I lacked.

I began reading lots of books about education, turning first to the history of education and then to the seven liberal arts of the Middle Ages themselves.  Curiously, my education had included lots of stuff.  Serendipitously, I was already quite well-versed in the quadrivium–arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and music.  But, aha!, the trivium revealed a gap.  Sure, I knew some things about grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric.  But these were not taught once upon a time as we teach subjects today.  They were seen more as stages, as Dorothy Sayers points out in a rather famous essay.  Anyway, to learn the languages of Greek and Latin would reasonably fill in my personal academic gaps, I concluded.

So at 32 years of age I dived into the ancient Mediterranean pool of classical languages.  And again I experienced a sort of manumission.  For I wasn’t the only person seeing educational deficiencies in our modern culture, I soon discovered.  Lots of schools in fact were restructuring their curricula to incorporate these same ancient models, or starting up as altogether new.  And I soon found a place teaching Latin, not to mention ancient Mediterranean cultures, to students.  I found schools to which I could send my kids with a clear conscience too.  Manumission!

So there it is, really: my manumission theme and three variations.  But, before I conclude, I’d like to add a coda.

That 3 year-old is now a sophomore in college.  She is studying this semester in Florence, Italy, smack-dab in the middle of all things Mediterranean.  And she is having the time of her life.

She’s been there only a few weeks.  But already she has traveled to Rome and Pompeii, and to Ravenna.  She will be taking a field trip to, among other places, Venice.  While in Florence, in addition to studying, she will enjoy an internship restoring Etruscan artifacts.  She recently wrote me to say,

“While doing my homework this evening, I glanced at a picture of Zeus that I’ve seen in several textbooks over the years.  I then realized that this sculpture resides exactly where I do.  I think it’s finally hit me that I live in the midst of, essentially with, all the history and art that I have studied in the past several years.  I’m currently in awe.”

There’s something very liberating in all of this.


Glad not to Be a Construction Worker in South Texas

Posted in Reflection with tags , , , , on August 23, 2013 by timtrue
English: Texas Hill Country, Route 187 heading...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Texas Hill Country is somewhat legendary among motorcyclists.  That is why I welcomed the opportunity to ride my moto for a little over an hour today to meet a friend for lunch.  I planned a route from San Antonio north and east to San Marcos, gracing Canyon Lake with my V-twin presence, up and over a delightful ridge called Devil’s Backbone by locals (on Purgatory Road no less), then east on an almost traffic-free Hugo Road—smack dab, in other words, through the heart of the Hill Country.  All went very well during this the first leg of my journey.  The outside temperature was a delightful eighty degrees, just perfect for traveling on two wheels at sixty mph with a mesh jacket so the air flows right through.

The trouble began when I met my friend.  He had suggested throwing eighteen holes of disc golf before eating lunch, an activity I was entirely amenable to—in theory at least.  So I found the course, I found my friend, and I parked my moto, shedding my outer protective layer (helmet, gloves, mesh, and boots).  By now the temperature had climbed to something like eighty-five.  I was sweating noticeably.

I’m of Scandinavian descent.  I’ve never been to the fatherland—I hope to visit someday—but that’s beside the point.  Rather, I’d like to think that this, my genetics, is why I don’t do well with heat.  Never have.  Never will.  Just a fact of life, I suppose.  This not-doing-well-with-heat usually manifests itself in the form of migraines.  And that’s what began to happen now, on hole five.  Headache.  Strong one.

Fortunately I came prepared.  My twenty-four ounce aluminum water bottle was still mostly full and I had a small bottle of Advil in my possession.  Two pills went into my mouth, followed by a generous mouthful of water and a swallow.  I was good for another thirteen holes, surely.  Sweat be damned.

By the time we finished—with a score of twelve over par for me, not too bad for a first attempt—the outside temperature was ninety-two.  The headache seemed to be more or less under control.  But by now I was soundly drenched.  I may as well have jumped into a swimming pool.  I’d emptied my twenty-four ounce aluminum water bottle too, by the way, back at hole fifteen.

“The Tap Room for lunch?” my friend asked.

“Sure,” I answered, wiping my brow with my sleeve.  “Meet you there in a few.”

Ninety-two isn’t that bad in Arizona or southern California.  And sometimes it’s downright pleasant in south Texas, especially when water is involved—swimming pool, ocean, river, whatever.  But today’s
particular ninety-two was accompanied by a high percentage of humidity, making for a heat index of something like ten degrees warmer still, meaning it actually felt like 102 by now.  The short ride then from the disc golf course to the restaurant was not enjoyable, mesh jacket or no.  Not to mention the Advil wasn’t really doing too good of a job: now the headache was on the less side of being under control.

English: Hays County Courthouse at San Marcos,...

Hays County Courthouse at San Marcos, Texas.  You can barely see the Tap Room in the background on the far right.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia.)

So after tooling around downtown for a while looking for the place—traffic lights stay red a very long time in downtown San Marcos, incidentally, especially when you’re sweating profusely and your head is throbbing—my moto’s cooling fan running nonstop, feeling quite overheated myself, I found my destination and a place to park.  Then I entered the blissful sanctuary of a restaurant with the air conditioning set at about sixty-six.  But not before I’d caught sight of a wretch of a man, miserable, sweaty, dirty, apparently dizzy, and fair-skinned, a construction worker moving slowly behind a fence with a sign on it reading “hard hat area.”

“I bet I look something like that guy right now,” I muttered.  Then,

“Ahhhh,” I groaned audibly as I threw down my outer layer and sat at a table across from my friend.  I carelessly interlocked my fingers and rested my hands at the back of my head, necessarily raising my arms in the process.  And there I sat, taking it all in, perhaps offending the people in the next booth over but nevertheless content to sit that way for ages if need be, as long as it took to diminish the flow of sweat and ache of head.

“Hi y’all,” a table server said to my left with a friendly smile.  “Are you aware of today’s free pint special?  Just order a burger and a side and the pint’s on us.”

An hour or so later that heavenly lunch came to an end.  I was still sweating slightly, but it was mostly under control.  And the headache was mostly gone.  So I put on my outer layer and high-tailed it home.

It was ninety-seven when I pulled into my driveway.  I wish I could say the effects of lunch were still upon me.  But nothing doing.  The steady stream of sweat was back as drenchingly as ever.  My headache was worse than ever too.  And I’m sure the pint hadn’t helped.  Three more Advil went into my mouth, followed by a large glass of ice water.  I then resolved, legendary or not, not to ride my moto through the Hill Country again until the weather cooled, or at least until the heat index wasn’t so high.

Later today, at the dinner table, some four hours after taking the three more Advil, I asked the kids how their days were.  The conversation was full of the wonderful daily adventures that kids always seem to have at the start of another school year.  Then it was my turn.  “How was your day, Dad?”

“Well,” I said reflectively, still sweating slightly from the day’s overheating, and with just the slightest twinge of a lingering headache, “let’s just say I’m glad I’m not a construction worker in south Texas.  We’d probably need move to Seattle or something.  By the way, I hear there’s great motorcycling in the northern Cascades.”

Still an Enthusiast

Posted in Motorcycle with tags , , on June 21, 2013 by timtrue

I crashed my motorcycle for the first time today.  Check out this road rash.  DSCF2780  Pretty, eh?  There are other damaged areas on the bike–the left hand guard, the kickstand, and the left passenger footpeg–but this, the tank guard, is the worst.  Fortunately, it’s nothing a few bucks and wrenches can’t replace.  Smart bike makers, those KTM engineers.

Now check out the road.  DSCF2788  See those gouges across the pavement?  They’re from the passenger peg and kickstand, a memorial of sorts, to remind me every time I leave the church parking lot of that time I wrecked.

So what about me?  I’ll spare you the pictures, but . . .

I was leaving the church parking lot, heading home to let the piano movers in.  They had arrived.  I was excited.  Maybe a little too excited.  Hey, I hadn’t tickled the ivories in almost two months.  So on the second turn out of the lot I leaned into a leftward turn.  Routine, for the most part, but no one was around, so I may have leaned too far, and maybe I was going a little faster than prudent.  It was like I hit a patch of black ice.  Only it was ninety degrees, so whahuh?

A thousand questions passed through my head in a split second: Why does it feel like my front tire is not grabbing the pavement?  Crap, I must be going down.  Why here, in front of the church?  Why now, during my first week on the job?  I wonder how much this will hurt.  I wonder if the VBS kids are watching.  What’s my new boss going to think?  Should I call in sick this afternoon?  What am I going to tell my wife?  Et cetera.

The impact wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated.  In fact, I hardly felt anything.  I just remember stopping short while the bike kept going, sliding, nearly horizontal, across the pavement.  I wonder how much that’ll decrease its value, I thought.  Thus it slid, very slowly it seemed, into a curb when the tire, still spinning as the engine idled, gripped the pavement and the engine stalled.  At least I didn’t need to flip the kill switch.

So I got to my feet.  Still no noticeable pain.  Really?  Next, I didn’t go to the bike.  Whatever damage had been done was there now and wouldn’t go away.  And no more would be done for the time being.  Instead, then, I walked to the point in the road where I figured the tire slid.  I don’t really know why I did this, unless it was my disbelief.  I crashed.  I actually crashed.  Anyway, no sand, no gravel, nothing discernible.  Huh.  Like it or not, I concluded humbly, this crash was due to my own stupidity.

The next task was to pick the bike up.  It weighs about 500 pounds, a fact I’d known in my mind since purchasing it, but not in my flesh.  In a word, it’s heavy.  After some trial and error–stress error–turning my back to the bike and grabbing strategically then using my legs for leverage, and grateful I don’t own an 800-pound Harley, I managed somehow to succeed.

That’s when I first noticed my elbow.  It cried foul, stinging as if I hadn’t been wearing my armor-embedded mesh coat over my short-sleeved clericals.  Good thing I had been.

By the time I arrived home, ahead of the piano movers incidentally, both knees were hurting too.  Was that a bloodstain on my right pant leg?  Yes.  Yes, it was.

By the time the piano movers did arrive, some minutes later, I had been able to tend to my elbow and knees.  Not much damage, really: a few strawberries, one stanched by a bandaid, the right knee.  But by now some more pain had surfaced.  A Charlie horse.  A sore left shoulder.  And, worst of all, a sore ribcage, the left side, hurting every time I take a deep breath (still).  But I don’t think anything’s broken.

Now, with the piano movers here, the bride and kids get home from VBS.  Time to face the music, I think, still jittery from an overdose of adrenaline.  Long story short, the kids see my strawberries and guess what happened; the bride, whom I thought was preoccupied fixing lunch in the kitchen, exclaims, “What!”; and the piano movers tacitly snigger.  The bride then asks, “Are you done now with your midlife crisis?  Aren’t you ready to sell your motorcycle?”

I decide not to call in sick after all.

Besides, I’ve had worse bicycle accidents.

For the record, then, I remain a resolute motorcycle enthusiast.

In any event, there are many parallels here, yeah?  I’m on a journey.  We all are.  Most of the time it’s an enjoyable ride, things are more or less predictable, even when the road ahead is unfamiliar.  But occasionally something unpredictable happens.  Maybe we’re victimized; maybe it’s due to our own stupidity.  Maybe we come away feeling fortunate or even lucky, with only a few scrapes and bruises.  Maybe it’s actually worse than we realize initially, with aches and pains and other trials fully realized only in time.  Whatever the case, it’s time to work through what has come to pass.

The purpose of my blog is to chronicle my priestly pilgrimage ahead–something like a twenty-five year project (I’ll be seventy in twenty-five years).  No doubt I will encounter many such scrapes and bruises along the way.  Or worse.  I hope I can handle them with similar aplomb as this motorcycle crash.

Whatever the case, I intend to remain an enthusiast of the priesthood.

The Blog Begins

Posted in Rationale with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by timtrue


For years I’ve lurked in the shadows of cyberspace.  I’ve watched as a friend decides to follow a recent fad, becomes quite passionate about it, persuades me to jump on the band wagon too because, don’t you know, everyone is doing it, it’s the new printing press and you don’t want to be left behind after all, do you?  Only then, too often, and often quite soon, the zeal fades, the fad fizzles, and the friend is left with another username and password for the archives of the mind.  And cyberspace is that much more cluttered.

So has gone my rationale for putting off a blog.  “It won’t last,” I’d tell myself, “your interest in it will go out like a neglected birthday candle.  No one’s gonna be reading blogs in a couple of years.  Just watch.  You’ll see.”  Or I’d discourage myself with thoughts of maintenance.  Who wants to take the time to keep up with a blog, checking it every day, corresponding with followers, and so on?  So I pushed the thought of starting one aside.  Again.  And again.

Then I went off to seminary, to become a master of divinity.  Now the academic load was rigorous, certainly too busy and full for someone to start and maintain a blog, especially when that someone has five kids to keep fed, clothed, driven to and from soccer practice, and otherwise happy.

Yet all through these years the fad didn’t fizzle.  Blogs continued to flourish, all over cyberspace.

So now it is my turn.  I’m beginning a blog.

But it’s not because I’m finally getting with the program or jumping on the band wagon or participating in any other cliché of preference.  Instead, for one thing, I like to write.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have written for regular publications–informal newsletters and the like–for years.  Some know too that I have written a book and three-quarters with another mapped out in my head, a ghost story in fact.

For another, the time is right.  Having just graduated from seminary as a master of divinity (whatever that means), and having more recently begun a job as a curate with an Episcopal parish in San Antonio, I am at a real turning point in life.  I will be ordained as an Episcopal priest on July 7.

This blog will serve a real purpose then: a journal to map out my pilgrimage as a priest.

To round out this inaugural post, then, I offer a few comments on blog choices.  First, my title, vivens in sacerdotium, is Latin for “living into the priesthood.”  I chose this title because it suggests that the priesthood is a calling, a true vocation, not what I do but who I am.  The “living” part of the title is a present active participle, suggesting that my calling is an ongoing thing, that I can and should be ever increasing and growing in my calling as a priest.

The Latin hopefully conveys that there’s a lot more to me than whatever your stereotypical understanding of a collared man of the cloth is.  I taught Latin for a number of years prior to becoming a priest–and may even continue teaching it if an opportunity presents itself.  That, and my many other deep interests–in music, philosophy, family, education, and motorcycles, to name but a few–all shape who I am as I live into my vocation.

Finally, the blog’s color scheme is the same as my motorcycle’s: I couldn’t pass this format up.