Sunday, January 30, 2011
Learning goals are given much more emphasis. We went over every one's together as a group. Then we have to submit and sign with our supervisor a final version of them. They were always so minor at Spartanburg. IPR is called "PPR"(something like Peer-Professional-Relationships). I just don't like saying "PP." Their didactics here are stand alone. An hour-long didactic may be about assessment, another about Suicide patients. The topics change each session, unlike at Spartanburg where they were more like classes that lasted several months on one topic.
We've had two verbatims already (I was one of them), and nobody cried! Here, they are on the "feelings train," but not to the degree that Robin was. No body has been grilled and pressured to dive into the "hole" yet. So, in a way, I kind of look like an expert on lots of the feelings stuff. I guess Robin trained us well. The torture was worth something.
In addition to having 7 residents, there are also 6 staff chaplains in the department. So, the hospital has 13 chaplains covering fewer beds than S-burg which had a total of 5 chaplains. My schedule is Sun.-Thurs. Some people have a Tues.-Sat. schedule. Some shifts are 8-4:30 and some are 12:30-9p. This gives a much fuller coverage of chaplains over the hospital all seven days a week. It also means that the only days when everyone is in the office are Tues.-Thurs.
The ED is not classified a Trauma I Center, or Trauma II for that matter. It has no classification, and neither do the other two hospitals in town. It's not classified here as a Trauma I Center, because it just doesn't meet all the criteria necessary. However, it still gets all the same traumas as anywhere else because, heck, where else are they going to go? Therefore, chaplains get paged to Status 1 traumas and Status 2 (less severe) traumas. So far, the two Status 2s I've been to wouldn't have been worthy of paging a chaplain were I still in S-burg. But, oh well.
As far as patients go, the grief is the same. Their pain is universal. That part is no different. The culture here, however, is. There's a strong Catholic presence. As well, the diversity is significant. For example, in the Anchorage public school system there are 90 different languages spoken by students. This illustrates the hodge-podge of cultural diversity in the city. Good thing Robin had us do a diversity didactic.
More differences later, as the pop up. All right, yaars, that's what I'm into now. Being here makes me miss you. I think about you everyday and how truly fun it was back at ol' SRHS. Adios.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Recently, Heather and I went downtown to see the newly made ice sculptures in the 2011 Crystal Gallery of Ice.
Sculptors had three days to design and and carve their creations. We looked around on Sunday just a few hours before their deadline, so the carvings were pretty much complete.
Enjoy the pics.
many of the sculptures were totally cool...
The detail was amazing.
Speaking of huge
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
In December I wrote a blog post entitled, "Moving: The Saga," in which I told of my experience making a cross-country move with the help of a reputable moving company. You can read the original post by clicking here.
As we had experienced a certain amount of frustration during the moving process, I admit that my post is, to some degree, a rant. If you're reading this, you likely read the original post, and you probably noticed me complaining about dealing with the moving company, complaining about the bills we were receiving, and complaining about when our stuff arrived.
The average person reading that post would probably say, "Ugh, that would've been frustrating." However, if you are the moving company you would've been offended to read my words, which were at times aggressive.
It just so happens that someone from the moving company stumbled across my blog and read my post about them. She responded rather energetically in kind by setting up her own blog in response to my mine. And her comments have certainly given me much on which to ponder. Soon, you will be able to read her response by clicking here. (I will activate this link as soon as the author grants me a request, seen below, regarding confidentiality.)
In the response she is clarifying, from her perspective, some of the events I griped about. Isn't that just it, perspective? I wrote about my experience from my perspective, and she wrote from her own. My words were fueled by frustration, and even though I was harsh, I still hold that I was writing from my experience with this moving company. That should give them something to think about.
(*Note: My above use of italics is not to make those italicized words louder but rather to emphasize the point I am trying to make, which is this: my blog post was the result of my experience with this company. All good businesses will welcome input from their customers as a means to better serve customers in the future and prosper as a company. No doubt this moving company is a good business and will use well this input. Hence, they have something to think about.)
In all frankness, I slung mud at them. Yes, me. (Shocked? Me too, because I'm the least confrontational person out there.) In return, mud was lobbed back my way (some directed at my integrity as a minister, which hurt a little). But also, reading her response, it's evident there's lots of emotion and feelings of being wronged. And as I did not want to "wrong" anyone, that certainly gives me something to think about.
Now, I suppose we could go back and forth slinging mud and arguing details till we're blue in the keyboard. She read my blog and perceived errors which she wanted to correct. There are also errors in her response, which I'm tempted to re-correct. However, this cycle would likely never end. And, where would it get us? Only more disconnected, more angry, more feelings of betrayal, hatred, judgement and of being judged. That is not a road I want to travel. We've all been there at some point or another, we know its a place of pain. I would just as soon not start down it. So, for now I will temper my urge to re-correct certain details addressed in her response.
In the response, she wrote that she tries her best to conduct business and live by the Golden Rule. And I can tell you, as I dealt with her during our move I can affirm that statement. N was the bright spot in my experience, the "ray of warm sunshine," as I originally wrote.
So, readers, where do we go from here? How do we best resolve conflict? I will tarry on the mud-slinging option in hopes that the other side will do the same. I would like to search for a place of reconciliation, a place to make amends, in hopes that the other side will do the same. However, I'll confess, it's not always easy to know how to do that. I suppose I could fold, admit outright that I was off my rocker, take back everything, delete the blog post, apologize profusely and request forgiveness for my words, all the while completely denying and discrediting my own feelings which produced the original comments. That approach would be inauthentic.
I could demand that they see things my way, make a list of all the facts as I see them, insist my list is inerrant, and wait firm fisted until they either ignore me or give in. But, I don't see that working either. Both of these approaches creates a winner and a loser, which I perceive to be a loss for both parties.
A month or more removed from "The Saga," I can think a bit more objectively about the situation. I called this moving company a "scammer" company. Here in January, I am willing to take that strong accusation back; however, I cannot take back the fact that we felt as if we were being scammed.
The truth is, I believe if I had been told some of the things that N has revealed about my move in her response, it may have considerably changed and positively inclined my feelings toward the whole thing. Yet, often times I felt left in the dark by the company, and this generated feelings of angst which grew into hostility. So, communication between us needed to be clearer.
Let me ask you this: What have you done in the past to respond and resolve conflict? What is your advice to me now? What is your advice to the other party?
While I still do not see clearly the road to take for how best to make amends, here is a start:
During my move I had a considerable amount of frustration and negative emotion toward your company. Please accept my apology for posting these feelings on the internet instead of coming to you directly. The result could also be named as slander, and for that I apologize.
I yearn for reconciliation as I believe it to be the most life giving resolution to conflict.
What's done is done, and I cannot take back what people have already read on my original post. However, as a step toward making amends I have removed all names of people and companies from my original post. Please accept this as a step toward reconciliation. I would ask in return that you remove specific invoice amounts from your response blog as they are closely related to my own personal finances and something I prefer to be kept private. I trust you will graciously and promptly honor this request for confidentiality.
I realize that reading my blog has put you on the defensive. For me, reading your response has done the same. My wish is to lower my own defensiveness making myself vulnerable in hopes that you may be able to do the same, so that we might talk to one another openly and genuinely to find resolution.
Readers, I invite your input. Is this a step in the right direction?
Friday, January 7, 2011
This past week Heather and I have twice ventured south yonder to Alyeska Ski Mountain, which is in Girdwood, about an hour drive from our apartment.
Heather took up skiing after we met as I have grown up in the sport. Already, it has become something we love going and doing together. Upon invitation by one of the pharmacists she works with, Heather joined a ski class that meets each Wednesday during the month of January. For a quite reasonable price, they offer class members three hours with an instructor, rentals, a lift ticket and lunch. Heather's spaghetti was far better than my smooshed ham sandwich.
We went this past Saturday, just to ski for they day, check out the mountain, and get our skiing feet back before she began the class. It was a poor choice. The half-day pass (which we got) was only $5 less than a full-day, the very top of the mountain was closed, and it was raining (high on the mountain it was snow). Rain makes the snow very slushy and hard to turn in. It also makes your clothes wet. Because of the heavy snow, Heather fell three times, one of which was a glorious yard sale (losing poles and skies) worthy of being applauded from those on the nearby chair lift. By the end we were soaked through every layer. We were ready to leave before quitting time having learned the lesson that skiing in the rain is not for us.
Luckily, Wednesday was a beautiful day. Skiing conditions were perfect as the night before clouds had dropped 14 inches of fresh powder on the mountain. In the middle of the week, there were few people there so no lift lines or crowded slopes. The temp was in the twenties and the air crisp. A perfect skiing day.
The ski mountain sits in a bowl a few miles wide. The chair lift takes you above the tree line where there's nothing but open skiable area. There's few sectioned off trails up there, but mostly just hillside ripe for the adventurous. Anywhere you can get to, you can ski down.
So, from 10:30 to 1:30pm, Heather skied with her class, and I moseyed off to explore what over of foot of fresh powder is like. And it's great! However, it does require a little getting used to as usually your feet and skies are totally covered up. At one point, while going down a double-black diamond, the powder was so thick I was buried literally up to my knees, and my poles were no use because they just sink when you try to plant them into sturdy ground. After that run (like the previous rainy day) my inner-most layer was soaked, but not because wet snow or water had gotten in but because I was sweating so hard.
After lunch we met up, and Heather told me all about how great her class was. She has a very solid instructor who gave her tips I never could. She learned to ski from me and my family, but there's some things that it takes a professional to teach. Immediately, on our first run down, I could tell she'd improved. Her form was solid and she had more confidence. Heather didn't fall all day, and she even reminded me about a few points on how to ski better.
I hope the pictures do most of the talking in this post. The views, obviously, were gorgeous, and the pics don't even show it all. Heather's got three more Wednesdays to ski and learn. I'll be working those days, but hopefully, the next time we get to go together she'll be hopping like a pro past me while I get back up, fetch my poles and put my skies back on. (Yeah right, like I would ever fall!)
Monday, January 3, 2011
I've been thinking lately about something. I've read in a number of books, heard in sermons, and one can even tell by carefully reading the New Testament, that Jesus did not intent to start a new religion.
This is a nice point to make in a sermon and quickly pass by knowing you've left a quaint smile on the faces of those listening but not processing. However, the more I think about this seemingly small notion, the less small it becomes.
In a lengthy theological correspondence, my sister and I have tossed this question back and forth a time or two, but never really landed anywhere solid.
Technically, of course Jesus was not a Christian, for the word itself means, "little Christ," and one of the chief marks of Christian belief is holding that Jesus was in fact a big Christ. The word "Christ" comes from the Greek for "anointed one" meaning traditionally the one who is set for the task of rescuing Israel. The Hebrew word for Christ is "Messiah."
Jesus was a Jew, a good Jew, who followed all, really most, of the rules. He never renounced his Jewishness, and he never told non-Jews that they needed to become Jewish. He never told Jews that they needed to become something else. In fact, as you follow Jesus around Palestine in the canonical gospels you start to notice that he didn't seem to be recruiting converts at all. If anything, you might say he was inspiring righteousness. He did recruit 12 followers, or disciples, and he had lots of other folks following him around. But, isn't it strange that we never find Jesus promoting the new fad and lining people up to take their name and count them part of his new movement?
The first public announcement Jesus makes is this: "The time has come....The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15 NIV). This does not sound like a call for folks to get in the Christianity line.
In his hometown synagogue, Jesus read these lines from Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 8:18-19). And in John 10:10 Jesus says about people in general, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (ESV). These are not calls for recruitment. They are statements of purpose.
In fact, nowhere in the New Testament can I find Jesus saying, "Line up behind me, everyone!" In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus did lots of teaching on how to live a moral life; however, none of that teaching seems to be the rules and guidelines for a new religion.
Even when Paul was trying to help sort out how Jews and non-Jews could live, worship and commune together, he never told one group that they had to assimilate and become another group. He advocated that Jews remain Jews and follow Jewish custom as long as they don't force it on non-Jews. And vice-versa.
I wonder, if followers of Islam had been around at that time what would Paul have written to them. Strangely, I'm suspicious that he would've said the same kind of thing as he said to the Jews.
This is a quandary for me. Jesus was not out to start a new club; however, after his death, the 12 disciples did just that. Is that what Jesus wanted? Is this what he'd planned all along, but not said anything about? What do we do with the fact that the new group started in Acts 2 was religiously pluralistic? It had people of many different faiths, a radically inclusive group. Yet today, 99% of the Christians out there are highly exclusive when it comes to different religions/faiths.
Now, I already know how most conservative Christians will respond to these questions. However, if these comments have pricked anything in your mind, please comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts or discussion points.
What do you think? Was Jesus a Christian? Would he be one if he was alive today?