Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One down. Two more on the calendar.

One interview down. Two more next week. This week, I'm actually working... ;-)

I thought the interview went well. After my last post, I wandered around, talked to a few students, walked the halls, and visited the athletic complex. Everyone I met was friendly; the students all claimed they liked being at the school. The most negative I heard was the weather.

I went down to check in to the hotel and change for the evening: chapel attire, you know. The room was great: spacious & plush & well-appointed. I changed into my suit and then headed back to the school for dinner and chapel.

The food at dinner was good: roast chicken, beef stir fry... I was in 7th heaven: carb free. I sat for a while with two hockey players; they seemed bright, funny, articulate. Good kids. When they left, I moved over and sat with a couple of teachers. Friendly; committed; diligent; humorous.

After dinner, I headed over to chapel. Now, I generally like church services: the liturgy, the sense of peace, the music, the calm, the sense of reverence. Not so here. It was as if we were on a race to finish. All the boarding students attended; only six faculty members were in the congregation, and they were taking attendance. There wasn't a non-on-duty faculty member in the room.

When I spoke to my bride that evening, I mentioned I thought this was odd. If the object is to torture students and faculty members, success. If the object is to have a community gather for a spiritual hour, a time when people of every faith can gather in a quiet time, well, no success there. I'm not sure the setup is intentional in nature. What do I mean by intentional? What I mean is that we do things consciously, intentionally. We create community, we don't just let it happen haphazardly. Why do we do what we do? What do we want to get out of if? If Sunday services are a time for a community to gather, then create such a thing. Sure, it's the Eucharist straight out of the Book of Common Prayer, but 42 minutes (with music)? A read sermon delivered from the nave? The breaking of bread as a time trial?

I know it's difficult. But, hey, let's talk about it.

Jennifer said I'd better not talk about it, better not get on my high horse, better not get passionate, better not tell them how to run their school. After all, I don't want to start out on the wrong foot.

True enough, but an observation is an observation; a paradigm is a paradigm. And, I am who I am.

As it turns out, several people asked me what I thought about the service when they learned I'd attended; and, I told them; and, they didn't appear to disagree.

After all, I'm just making observations and asking questions. And, if that's not okay, I'm likely not going to fit in anyway.

Monday dawned late; I arrived on campus a couple minutes after seven for a 0700 interview over breakfast with one of the associate heads. I fixed a plate, sat down with a couple of faculty members, started eating & chatting, and waited for the associate head. At 25 after, I mentioned to those I was sitting with that it was odd that she wasn't there.

"You know," said one helpful possible-future colleague, "there's a dining hall at the other campus."

Oops. I'm not off to a good start.

As it turns out, the rest of the day went well, aside from the fact I ran late the entire time, bouncing from person to person to person.

We'll see what happens; they actually aren't sure what position they have. I know; sounds odd. But, it's not. It's a new position. & they want to carve out the position based not only on their needs, but the strengths of whomever gets the job. The person, the fit, is most important.

Well, I can relate to that: for me, the place, the organization, the community is most important.

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