Josh remembers that the seed for Liturgical Nerds was planted on a bus…
June 2002 brought hundreds of aspiring theologians and pastors to tranquil St John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN for FTE’s annual conference on excellence in pastoral ministry. The abbey is about an hour or two away from the nearest large airport, which received flight after flight of enthusiastic seminarians and undergrads, who then boarded buses.
I didn’t know that my choice of seat would be so crucial for the rest of my life. And so, when I overheard the conversation behind me–and the words “United Methodist”–I turned around and met Juan. It turns out he was going to the same seminary I was, and for the next few days, along with Jennie (his conversation partner) and some others, we were inseparable. Though raised in a home church that prized quality music and managed to have a fairly robust (for Methodists) liturgy, and attending the as-Anglican-as-you-can-get St Paul’s UMC while going to college in Houston, I hadn’t yet been exposed to all of the liturgical tradition, especially daily prayer. Juan, on the other hand, had been exposed to this abundance of riches as well as having a background in the Holiness tradition…and I needed help with the multitude of prayerbooks so I could make it through morning prayer with the monks.
And so Juan became my first seminary professor, as well as my best friend and brother. We started writing together for this blog in 2006, but we really have been Liturgical Nerds since that bus ride in rural Minnesota over 7 years ago. We hope that the blessing our friendship has been will resonate with you as well.
Grace and Peace+
Juan remembers that the seed for Liturgical Nerds was planted on a bus . . .
It’s amazing that you can come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and find a soul companion while riding a bus. Josh is right in saying that it was in that bus conversation and in the conversations that followed, in the refectory, in the walks to Abbey Church for prayers, in the many connect points of such an experience, that this wonderful collaboration began.
I was hungry for liturgy and had been on a journey for a few years before Josh and I met. My background in the holiness tradition gave me great zeal for a disciplined spiritual life, but lacked much in theological reflection.
Here is were Josh became my “professor.” He is an amazing theologian and Christian thinker who forces all of us to become better followers of Jesus. He pushed me to be better in the classroom and convinced me that great practice and great theology go together.
I am thankful for the years since then – he has become a great pastor and I have grown as a theologian. These musings are the result of this wonderful coming together in brotherhood.