Pete Rollins Has Landed

In fact, he landed nine or ten hours ago. It's possible that he'll read this post, so I guess I should make some glowing remarks. ;) Or, I suppose I could simply say that his stay seems to be going well so far, from my perspective.

This evening, we had our dinner followed by conversation at Charlie Brown's. He successfully put up with us seminary students griping about classes and tossing about inside jokes during dinner. If I were Pete I probably would have been relieved when some non-seminary folk showed up to join the conversation, but he seemed to take it all in stride.

Our conversation touched on many different points. We explored the idea that all revolution eventually becomes institutionalized. Pete discussed how his community, Ikon tries to fight that by continually seeking new ways to rupture people's presuppositions and expectations. He even joked that he's been worried about the folks at Ikon losing their angst. We also had some discussion around the idea of boundaries. Is anything out of bounds in a community that is constantly seeking discomfort? How does one have passion for what sometimes seems like non-belief?

Pete didn't give us any pat answers. I doubt anyone expected him to. But, he did give us thoughtful, coherent answers. I know that I've been challenged to think. I'm looking forward to his lecture tomorrow evening and the questions that will follow That event takes place Thursday, November 30, 7 p.m., in Stuart Hall, Room 6, Princeton Theological Seminary. If you're interested in attending but would like more information, please feel free to send me an email at katherinejelliott at gmail dot com.

Do You Need To Confess?

Some of you may have heard of the website PostSecret. Every week I wait for the new batch of postcards, "revealing" people's secrets. Obviously, these secrets are anonymous but, for many people who design their secret postcard, such a step is just the first move in a direction of healing.

Today, in my class on confession and forgiveness, Dr. Dykstra distributed an article that was published on on September 1, 2006, entitled Intimate Confessions Pour Out on Church's Website. (I would link to it, but it wouldn't help anyone unless they have a subscription.) The article discussed My Secrets, a website created by LifeChurch, an evangelical network with nine locations (including an internet campus) and based in Edmond, Oklahoma, which was founded by Craig Groeschel.

My Secrets is similar to PostSecret in that it is a safe, yet public, space in which to make confession, tell secrets, etc. It is unlike PostSecret in that it is sponsored by a Christian church and is specifically designed for people to be able to confess their sins. There is an archive, there are categories, there is a warning that one must be over 18 to view the content because some of it relates to "adult" issues.

I appreciate the need for confession. There is something inside me that responds when I read these words from Groeschel: "We confess to God for forgiveness but to each other for healing. Secrets isolate you, and keep you away from God, from those people closest to you." But, I wonder if anonymous confession heals relationships the way face to face confession does. It can certainly feel wonderful to tell someone, anyone, what one is struggling with. However, anonymous confession offers no accountability and very little hope of real change.

Perhaps these anonymous, online confessions have been the first step for some of the writers. It is possible that some have found the courage to confess in person after writing out their confessions online. If nothing else, maybe reading such confessions may help people to realize that they are not alone in whatever issue they happen to be facing.

What do you think: What is the benefit of detailed, anonymous confession on the internet? Should we read confessions by those whom we do not know and cannot help? Is it voyeurism to do so?

Peter Rollins @ PTS

Peter Rollins is coming to Princeton. We have him here for three days. It should be a good time. I know that it's short notive, but I hope that anyone in or around the Princeton area will come out for one or more of the following events we have planned.

Wednesday, November 29, 8 p.m. - Pub conversation at Charlie Brown's on Route 1. Click here for directions. Come enjoy some appetizers or a beer and good conversation.

Thursday, November 30, 12 noon - Lunch with Pete in the Mackay Campus Center dining hall at PTS. We'll be seated in the balcony furthest from the kitchen.

Thursday, November 30, 7 p.m. - Lecture and Q&A in Stuart Hall, Room 6. As of now, I believe that we will have Pete's book available for purchase at this particular meeting.

Adam Walker Cleaveland recently heard Pete speak at the AAR/SBL conference in Washington, DC, and gave him rave reviews. Come take advantage of a great opportunity to explore the emergent conversation.

If you have any questions about any of these events, feel free to email me at katherinejelliott at gmail dot com and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Image courtesy of Adam Walker Cleaveland @ pomomusings.

Thanksgiving With the Jews

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but Jordan is Jewish. His mother is Jewish, therefore...well, you get the picture. What is he doing at seminary, you may ask. Well, both Jordan and his mother are now Christians, so it's not as strange as it may sound. Anyway, since I hang out with Jordan quite a lot, I get to hang out with his Jewish family.

We spent Thanksgiving Day in Kensington, Maryland, at Jordan's uncle's house. Most of his mother's side of the family was there. Two of her sisters were missing, one in Jamaica, the other in Israel, but there were plenty of people to fill the house. It was crowded and noisy and wonderful, possibly one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever had. Mostly we just had all the traditional Thanksgiving fixin's, but the three youngest cousins keep kosher, so there were some extra dishes for them.

Jordan's grandmother loved me, though I think she based her affection almost entirely on my ability to clean my dinner plate. Go me! We got into some interesting theological conversations with Mike, Jordan's uncle about the formation of both Scripture and the ancient nation of Israel. Made me thankful for my training in the Old Testament. And, of course, I took tons of pictures. If you want to take a look at the slideshow, just click the picture above. I hope your Thanksgiving was as lovely as mine.

The Pig and the Chicken: On Breakfast

On the November 2 episode of Grey's Anatomy, one of the patients at Seattle Grace used a interesting analogy to describe his commitment to his pregnant fiancee. He says he's the pig. He goes on to explain that a breakfast of ham and eggs means a contribution from the chicken and a commitment from the pig. In his relationship, he's a pig, completely committed.

On the eleventh, at St. George's Episcopal, the Navy chaplain who preached used this pig and chicken anology for our relationship with Christ. Then, on the eighteenth, the pastor at a Princeton Presbyterian Church used exactly the same metaphor.

My questions: Is there some sort of online database entitled "Cheesy Sermon Illustrations Stolen from Questionable* Television Shows"? Seriously!

Btw, I heart Grey's Anatomy; I'm not judging.

I Couldn't Resist a Few More Pics

Autumn Blossoms

The whether has been so up and down of late that the trees are becoming confused. There's more than one tree that's putting out buds and blossoms here at PTS. I've been assured that the trees will get it together, drop these fakes buds, and bud again in the spring, but it makes me wonder if the blossoms and buds in the spring will only be half as good as a result. So much energy expended only to have to repeat the project in the spring. Calm down, lovelies, there's a cold winter ahead.

Laura's Visit

Laura was her for a visit this weekend. She arrived Friday afternoon and stayed until about nine last night. We had a wonderful time with her here and I took a TON! of pictures. And when I say a ton, what I mean is almost 150. Of course, there were some duds and some repeats, so it's been narrowed down to 84. To view the flickr slideshow, click on the picture of Laura and Jordan. --->

It's always good to have Laura around. She understands me. Of course, having her here made me miss Rebecca that much more, but that didn't keep us from having a good time.

On Friday, I gave Laura a quick tour of PTS and Princeton U. It was a quick one. Then we had dinner in the caferteria followed by an evening at Lydia's apartment playing Taboo. I thought Laura and I would totally kick ass at that game, but she was tired and Joshy was the Taboo master, so we made a somewhat lackluster showing. Despite that, we thoroughly enjoyed our time hanging out eating German pastries.

Saturday was off to a lazy start. We weren't ready to do anything until almost noon. I wanted to show Laura a good time by taking her to Tortuga, a wonderful little Mexican restaurant, but unfortunately, they don't serve lunch on Saturday. So, we went to Wegman's for Chinese food instead. Believe me, I wasn't sad about that.

After lunch, we headed over to Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve and rambled about for nearly 2 hours. It was a good time. My feet got incredibly filthy because I was wearing flip-flops and walking through mud. Seeing a blue heron, several cardinals, and a kingfisher made up for the swampiness. Jordan and I are definitely going to return when it's in bloom. I'm sure it's beautiful.

After another nice dinner in the cafeteria, we played a quick game of Phase 10, which I lost miserably, and Laura left since she had to be at church early this morning. As I said before, it was perfectly lovely to see her and I hope that some day I will be able to get both of my roommates together in the same room again...we really missed Rebecca's alto on You Are My Sunshine.

I love my little Hess!

Photos to Tide You Over

The gingko dropped all its leaves this week. Click the picture to see a slideshow of the rest of my shots of the gingko leaves.

I once posted a picture of the quintessential Emily, but I think this one of her Blackberrying in the dark might be worth even more words than that one.


Many of my friends have the uncanny ability to sleep for a dozen hours at a time. They run themselves ragged on four to six hours of sleep a night for a week at a time, but on the weekends, they drop into bed at midnight and are out until noon or even 1 o'clock.

I, on the other hand, am pretty much worthless without about seven hours of sleep. It's possible for a few nights. Sometimes I might even appear pretty chipper, but I'm really just punchy. Feeling the drug-like effects of not getting the rest I need. Laughing too long and too hard at stupid jokes, making nonsensical comments, with a wide grin plastered across my dazed-looking face: these are all signs that I've been missing my bed.

There are times when I have been jealous of my friends who are able to sleep for as long as they wish. But, mostly, I just feel like they are living life backward. Ragged during the week, sleeping their weekends away. I'd rather be chipper and alert all the time. Unfortunately, a student's schedule doesn't always make that possible.

Right now, I am waiting for my dear little Hess to rouse herself from sleep so that we can get a start on our fun day! Plans include a possible trip to the Princeton Record Exchange, lunch at Tortuga's (a fantastic little Mexican restaurant) or some Wegman's Chinese food (mmmmm...), a jaunt up to the University campus to view an exhibit on martyr's, and maybe some frisbee. Who knows how much we'll actually do. The point is, Hess is here and it will be fun!


I've always been a good test-taker. Throughout my school years, I was one of those kids who was able to retain information and calmly, coherently and quickly reproduce it on exams. Spelling tests were right up my alley. I could look at a word once and have it memorized. This is a fortunate skill to have when you're too distracted by other stuff to actually put the necessary time into studying.

I had my first in class exam of the semester this morning: Orientation to Old Testament Studies, or OT as everyone here refers to it. Despite the fact that I only spent about 10 hours going through the review sheets, I feel like I did a passable job...maybe even a B. A few years ago I would have found the thought of getting a B almost unbearable, but I've gained some perspective with age and being away from school for a time.

Many of my colleagues got little to no sleep for the past few nights. While they were spending hours trying to remember the biblical references that could be used to explain the importance of the Davidic monarchy and the temple in Israel's royal theology, I was in dreamland, cognizant of my personal need for sleep in order to do well on a test.

One part of the exam consisted of ten blank lines with the instruction to list a shortened version of the Decalogue, in the correct order. Having not studied that particular item, I was sure I wouldn't get most of it right, but then it all came back to me from Sunday school and Bible and theology classes at Houghton. Thank you, Drs. Tyson and Schultz, I know the Decalogue. It's fascinating, the parts that stick with us.

Now, on to more studying. A student's work is never done.

Emily's Visit - A Pictorial Review

Emily took this photo. Click on it to see the slideshow of our weekend together.

For those of you who choose not to check out the slideshow, here's one of me and Emily. Yay for taking self-portraits.

Okay, enough procrastinating, I need to get a decent grade on my OT midterm tomorrow.

My First Visitor

While it's certainly true that Jule Ann has been here before helping my move in, she can't really be counted as my first visitor because: 1) this wasn't my home yet, 2) I didn't know where anything was, 3) I wasn't unpacked, 4) we didn't do any fun visiting things. So, Emily has the privilege of being dubbed my First Official Visitor.

She arrived on Friday afternoon. We took a quick tour of the campus and then moseyed over to Jordan's room. We hung out there until Lydia, Jeb, and Evan joined us for dinner. We had a nice meal at Winberie's, followed by a movie at Lydia's apartment. I may have been the only one there who hadn't seen The Emperor's New Groove.

Saturday, we mostly did nothing in the morning. After a quick lunch in the cafeteria, Emily and I went to WalMart. I got some photos developed that were taken over a year ago. Most of them turned out like crap. I guess that's what you get for using disposable cameras. It's a good time Laura took a lot of photos during our camping trip last year.

During the afternoon, Jordan joined us for a jaunt around the Princeton campus. It's always fun to share the useless facts I know about the University. We took a ton of pictures, sharing Jordan's camera between us. I'll post a slide show shortly.

For dinner, Emily wanted to go to Dairy Queen. We looked up the closest one, drove half an hour to find it, only to discover that it was one that only served ice cream. Emily got a Blizzard and we all agreed that the Perkins around the corner would be just as good for dinner. Only when we pulled into the eerily empty parking lot, we realized that this particular Perkins was not operating yet. Put up a sign, people! Finally, we ended up at T.G.I.Friday's for some burgers and such.

Emily left early on Sunday. It was lovely to see her and introduce her to some of my friends and show her my space. Everyone else who reads this should feel inspired to visit me. I'll even give up my bed for you!


It's been three days since I last posted. My glut of posting this summer, sometimes as many as six times a day, has run into several roadblocks.

First of all, I'm a full time student. That means I don't spend 8 hours each day getting paid to sit in front of a computer anymore. Studenthood also involves a lot of reading and writing without thinking about catching up on blogs (which I still do daily) or writing anything extra.

Secondly, I have more than one friend now and those friends don't live in the same place I do. I haven't spent so much time with said friends that I feel comfortable ignoring them as I type a blog post, so I have to deliberately set aside time for my ramblings. I do love blog friends, but present friends are always higher on my list of priorities.

Thirdly, I have a boy. This has affected my blog capacity more than I thought it would. I don't want to become one of those girls who's constantly posting about relationship minutiae that matters to no one save herself. I don't want to write things that might reveal more than Jordan would appreciate (though, he doesn't read this...). More positively, though, I now have someone with whom to talk through my days, someone who is always willing to hear my venting or cooing. The solace I used to find in writing is now mostly satisfied by Jordan and other friends.

All this to say, I will certainly continue to blog, but it will be less. In fact, I think I'm going to ask one professor if I can blog my final project. Believe me, you'll all be better for not having to read my silliness every day. Good on ya, blog friends!

I've Gotten Spoiled

For the past nine days, Jordan and I have been hanging out a lot. When I say a lot what I mean is "most of our waking hours." All of the hanging out preempted a lot of the reading / studying / writing we should have been doing. Now reading week is over and we have to get back to the grind. Our OT midterm is in about one week and both of us have several papers to complete.

For tonight, we decided it would be a good idea to spend some time apart doing a little studying. He has an eight page paper due on Friday (I think) and he just got started on it yesterday. And, due to the evil temptress within me, I persuaded Jordan to stay up late last night watching movies and playing games, which caused him to need a nap this afternoon, preventing him from working on his paper once again. So, my just reward is a Jordanless evening. Sad Elliott. (Yes, I am becoming one of those girls who wants to be with a boy every second of the day and I like it!!!)

Anyway, I've finished two of my three papers due this week, so rather than spending my evening in productive study, I'm going to read for about an hour and then watch a movie with some of my friends from fourth Brown. A little Shakespeare in the evening. Maybe I'll even be able to get Mr. Burdge to take a little study break and go for a walk or something. That would be nice.

My first semester in undergrad went pretty well. I hope this semester doesn't end up making up for that one...

Edit: I fell asleep at 7:30 p.m. and slept until nearly 9 p.m. When I groggily wandered up to Katie's room for the movie, who should be there but Jordan. He didn't just take a little study break...he watched the entire movie with us. As he is wont to say, "The work always gets done."

Breakfast Is My Favorite

There are very few foods better than eggs, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, bacon, maybe some fruit or pancakes and maple syrup. When I was a kid, my mother would sometimes make breakfast for dinner. That was my favorite meal. Breakfast food is generally very simple and generally very tasty.

This morning, Jordan and I went to Powderbourne, a hunting club a few minutes away from his house. It's a small town restaurant, open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and mostly catering to hunters and regulars. When we got there, only a few booths were occupied. The waitresses were small, fake blond, and a little bit brusque. Just what one would expect from such a place.

I had biscuits and gravy and two fried eggs for $4. Not as inexpensive as Ace's in Belfast, but still worth the price.

I don't know why I feel compelled to write about something so trivial as what I had for breakfast, other than that it was just a good time. My boy bought me breakfast and it was good.

I love JZ's family. His mom is fun to talk to and seems to like me a lot. She graduated to hugging me by the second day of my visit. Oddly enough, Jordan and his siblings call her by her first name instead of calling her "Mom." Sort of bizarre, but I'm getting used to it. She says she prefers it. I have a hard time believing that, but I guess she has no reason to lie about it. ;)

Okay, I'm going to learn cribbage now.