I took this picture this afternoon… I assume you heard about the plane crash on the beach in Vancouver? Just kidding. This is actually the set of a movie being filmed here – they were filming on a street three blocks from my house all last week, and then they moved to this elaborate plane wreck set. It’s a movie called “Passengers,” starring Anne Hathaway as a grief counselor for the survivors of this crash. Somehow, I can’t really picture Anne Hathaway as a grief counselor, but maybe it’s just me and my memories of “Ella Enchanted” and “Princess Diaries.” Granted, I didn’t see her more serious role in “Brokeback.” Go see the movie in 2008 to see if she pulls it off.

So next week Danice and I are both going to get our brains checked out. Someone found out that we were serious mental cases and ordered MRIs for both of us. Aha, kidding again. We volunteered for MRIs. One of the perks of this UBC careers website is that all of the UBC researchers use it to find research subjects. So Danice and I will be participating in a study that traces neural pathways in decision-making. I think having an MRI sounds fascinating. (Maybe I could convince them to take a look at my stomach after finishing with my brain, and they could tell me what the heck is wrong down there.) Anyway, we’ll get a whopping $20 each. We’re also signed up for a behavioral psychology study ambiguously entitled “Negotiations” with no further description. I hope it’s not like those crazy behavioral studies I learned about in school, where every time you made a mistake in the game they set up, they pretended to give someone else an electric shock. I’d like to think that’s illegal by now. Although it would be very Alias-ish if that did happen. All things considered, what a great way to make a very small amount of money! I will have to let you know how our experiences as lab rats turn out.

This has been a weekend to remember. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Valentasia at Danice’s old church. This is a tradition for them, and I believe every other church should follow suit: all of the men in the church get together and prepare a fabulous breakfast for all the women in the church, and they dress up and serve them and play live romantic music… yep, it’s the best thing ever. And then I went to Regent for the annual “Taste of the World” event (or, as Danice calls it, “Eat the World”). It’s a huge potluck where all the students bring food from their home countries. You can skip the Canadian and American tables… it’s the Indian, European, Asian, Australian, African and South American tables you really want to hit up. Mmmmmm. Imagine a plate full of samosas, curry, sugar cane, trifle, tilapia, perogies, vegemite and haggis… But what do you bring to represent Canada? It’s hard. As one Canadian student wryly implied in his contribution of take-out Chinese to the Canadian table, we do tend to eat other countries’ food. Really, all I could think of bringing was maple syrup, nanaimo bars, Timbits, bannock, or French Canadian food. So Danice and I decided to get creative and bring Moose Droppings. Don’t ask. (But we have leftovers, if you’d like some.)

I’ve had kind of a surreal weekend in other ways… yesterday, Danice and I repeated a well-worn conversation where she asks why I’m not in the MDiv program and I rattle off my list of reasons. Except this time, I didn’t convince myself. In fact, for the first time, I started imagining myself involved in ministry as a career in ways I’d never seriously considered before, and it was both scary and exciting. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It wouldn’t necessarily mean becoming a pastor, but it would mean focusing on careers that are based around a church or para-church setting (eg. missions, camp ministry, outdoor stuff…), since not a lot of “secular” companies care if you have a Master of Divinity. This would be a major shift from where I’ve been thinking of heading with my MCS degree, which was a career in the marketplace, most likely biology, after possibly doing a Masters in Biology. Really, in both scenarios I’d be working for God, I’d be “ministering,” but in very different settings and with a different modus operandi.

It would be hard to go into all the reasons I’m considering this switch, because the dust has far from settled in the chaos that is my mind. Mostly I realized that I’ve been hiding from myself. I’m quite crafty that way. Because I haven’t wanted to do what was expected for a pastor’s kid, because I wanted to be cool and “minister in the secular world” for the principle of the thing, I’ve been stopping my ears to what people have tried to suggest, and closing my eyes to some things that are staring me in the face. I’ve learned a lot about myself since arriving here, and I’ve also seen new applications for skills and passions that I thought were only useful or relevant to biology field work. In fact, while I’m sure I could find a fulfilling career in biology, I’m having more trouble thinking of career paths that excite me in that field than in the ministry field. The decision is really about the degree… I know that I could minister with an MCS degree, but the classes I’d get to take in the MDiv program would give me a more well-rounded preparation for this kind of work, and the program is excellent at Regent, and all of the classes I’ve taken so far would transfer over… I’d just have to stay an extra year.

Anyway, the fact that I can even picture myself as a pastor, of all things, an idea which I had previously shunned from my mind, is evidence that there are changes happening in me… I would appreciate your prayers and any input you may have (encouragement, discouragement…), whether by comments or by an e-mail, especially if you’re someone who knows me well or who has been suggesting this course of action all along! I’m starting to understand what a communal thing this process of vocational discernment is, and I would value anything you offer me.

(Do I look like I need discernment?)

(By the way, this is my 100th blog post. Yay bethblogever!)