The Past Month-and-a-Half or so: Lansing Edition

Since my last update at the end of November, I have finished my time in Seattle gathering data for my dissertation and have spent a month (mostly) in Lansing. In my final 19 days in Seattle, I attended the Mars Hill campuses in Ballard and Rainier Valley for the first time, as well as visited again the campuses in Ballard, Downtown, University District, and Bellevue. During that time, I enjoyed going out for drinks and, a couple weeks later, a nice sushi lunch with one of Mars Hill's worship bands, King's Kaleidoscope. During those last couple weeks, I also attended a preacher training event, at which some of Mars Hill's newest and future campus pastors gave sermons, and Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Justin Holcomb offered constructive criticism to improve their preaching. I also had the privilege of getting two behind-the-scenes tours of the Central Operations building of Mars Hill Church (known as B50), where they do graphic design, video production, music recording, web content, and much more. When all was said and done in Seattle -- at least as it relates to my actually being there -- I ended up doing 35 church events in 70 days, and wrote more than 50 single-spaced typed pages of notes. On December 6th, while still in Seattle, I delivered the fourth annual Vermurlen Lecture (via Skype) at the University of Michigan. This year, my talk was entitled "Current Issues and Future Directions in the Sociology of Religion." It was a lot of fun. On December 19th, I flew from Seattle, through Chicago, back to Lansing. Since then, I have been in Lansing working and visiting with family and friends, along with two weekend trips to Ann Arbor to visit Ali. (I am writing this in her living room right now, while she works "a real job.") She also drove up to Lansing for two weekends. One weekend that Ali was in Lansing, we saw Les Misérables, which is an outstanding film that explores the Christian themes of Law and Grace, among other things. And just yesterday, Ali and I, along with her parents, drove down to Detroit to see the comedian Brian Regan at the Fox Theatre. I enjoyed Christmas Day at my mother's house with her side of the family, and a great New Years Eve party with Ali and other Riv-people at the Kranzos' house. On that note, it was also nice reconnecting at Riverview Church for a few weeks. In terms of work, as usual much of my time over the past month-and-a-half or so has simply been invested in reading, writing, and wedding planning. Aside from that, though, I have been putting in a lot of time scheduling and conducting interviews (via phone and Skype) with pastors and other key leaders at Mars Hill Church, even now after I have left Seattle. I am also currently in the process of applying for two fellowships for the 2013-14 academic year from the De Karman Trust and from The Louisville Institute. And finally, I have also been working on the logistics and planning for the next major step in my dissertation research. This coming Thursday, I am flying out of Lansing to New York City to gather data on Redeemer Presbyterian Church, where Tim Keller serves as the primary teaching pastor. For the next two months, I will be renting an apartment with an Acts 29 church planter in Lower Manhattan. But more details about that will be coming at the end of February.

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2 comments:

Sean said...

Brian Regan!? Jealouuuuus.

brett maxwell said...

whoa, sweet NYC location!

 
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