Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Other Seminary, Cold Wet Days, Burrowing

It is a cold wet day outside in Burbania.  Thanks to the peculiarly permeable walls of the old parsonage, it is a cold wet day inside, too.  Norm is doing math.  He is learning how to convert pints to quarts and do other similar feats.  Needless to say, he is thrilled.

We had quite a bit of excitement this morning.  All the folks in the neighborhood got up, turned on their computers and TV's, then realized that the cable was out.  This was particularly exciting at the parsonage.  For some reason the infrastructure powers-that-be put the master-electronic-thing right outside our window, so the boys and I watched as it was put back to normal.  For us it was free entertainment before starting our day. It was a problem for the SUV's trying to use our little road, though.

Days like this make me think of alternative building techniques.  I'm not kidding.  Early in our marriage, my wife and I lived in a ground house in North Central Maine.  It was built by a couple lawyers from New York City who wanted to start a "free school" for hippies back in the 1970's.  They didn't last long.  By the time we lived there the building was in a state of general disrepair.  We rented the upstairs from the large family who lived downstairs.  They were (and I assume still are) part of the "homestead" movement.  They were also Evangelicals of a conservative bent. They were good folks, even though they were sure we were going to Hell.

Anyway, the house burrowed into the side of a small mountain and had large south-facing windows taken from an old barn.  We could heat that place with a candle.  It was true even on a day like this one.  It is a good day for burrowing.

All I have today are a couple links.  The first is about my "other" seminary, Chicago Theological.  I have been talking a lot here and elsewhere about Meadville/Lombard.  Therefore, it seemed to make sense to point out the other action going on Hyde Park.  CTS has moved and is constructing a new building across the Midway, near the place where the old Ryder Divinity School (also of Lombard College) used to be.  It doesn't burrow into the ground, sadly.  However, it is LEED certified and has (or will have) a super-cool roof garden.  It is nice to see that they are doing well.  I am pleased that they are trying to be eco-friendly. I look forward to checking out the building on some cold, wet, day.

The other link is to a somewhat more rural pursuit (I don't think the church would want me to build one here).  Perhaps on my next sabbatical I will go a learn how to build a cordwood house.  They look awesome and they just have to be warm.  Perhaps when the day comes that I no longer need to have my cable connection contantly running, I will retire to a place like this and live out the rest of my days a bit closer to nature...

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