For the past three years, I haven't really had a formal "field project", i.e. one that I'm actually out collecting the data from a study that I've designed etc. In fact our "lab" here hasn't had one for about the same length of time; we've been coordinating two much larger studies and have assisted a bit with field work, but largely it's been a lot of coordinating schedules of stocking and population surveys all around the state, analyzing data, and writing up reports and articles. Wednesday was the first field day in three years.... and its showed! Got up to one of the lakes I'm working on only to find that the batteries on the boat that two days before had worked fine were now dead. Back to the office. Yesterday, our new motor wouldn't start and after a couple of hours of trouble shooting discovered that the priming bulb on the gasline was bad. We got that replaced and did manage to get out and catch some fish. We're using electrofishing for our methods - actually use a boat that is rigged up to pulse electrical current into the water that momentarilty stuns the fish (some species actually swim right to the boat - it's an awesome fishing machine). The water is still very cold - about 45 degrees, so we didn't expect to catch much and we only did get about 5. We stopped to implant some small micro tags in them only to find out that the tag reader battery had also decided to discharge itself overnight and was now dead. Awesome. Today went much better, we caught and tagged about 60 largemouth bass and most of the equipment worked splendidly. I'll post some fishy pictures next week, if I don't forget the camera again. Things are looking up for this project though.
I finished up all my course requirements on Tuesday. I'm going to continue my work on creation within the Pauline corpus and compare some eco and feminist theology with that of some of the modern bigwigs in theology, e.g. Bultmann, Bart, etc. It makes for some interesting reading ... really it does. So, that's what I'm going to try to get accomplished over the summer ... a longer grad paper (mini-thesis) on creation in Romans and how various theologians interpret Paul regarding that subject. Right now I'm wishing I had time to take classes this summer. I can really see how one could become a full-time student! (Although, regardless if you're in an academic setting or not, you should always be a student of something!)
So, I've got a little free time now. Last night a small group of Alex UMCer's headed down to Westminster Presbyterian Church for their spring Taize service. We had a great drive down and I think all of us were impressed with the service. We were scoping the whole Taize "thing" out and are very seriously considering a monthly Taize service at Alex UMC. We've been wanting to add a third alternative worship experience and that's always fallen in the "contemporary" worship category (i.e. with praise music, etc.). But a quick survey of the churches in Alexandria found that on any given weekend there are at least 7 such services. We're looking at this to fill a niche that no one has attempted here. I think it has a strong possibility of bringing people in that we'd never see in any other setting. It should be interesting.