Saturday, October 3, 2015

Life Update, Fall 2015

Dear Readers,

It has been something like 100+ days since my last post here at The Rubio Room. This morning I started work on my annual Musical Advent Calendar (watch this space on December 1), but I really did not want that to be the first post immediately following the one from June, so here I am. And I actually do have a lot to share from the last three months, if you will allow me a personal post about some of the highlights.

Work at Wheaton College

The spring/summer saw the departure of two members of the Conservatory staff. Heading into the fall and the new school year, my dean, Dr. Michael Wilder, asked me to assume some of the responsibilities left behind. In addition to continuing my role as Assistant Manager of the Wheaton College Artist Series, with responsibility for concert production, the student staff, and many audience development and marketing tasks, I now spend some of my time involved with Conservatory operations and special projects. One of my recent projects involved coloring.

Seating Chart for the annual Conservatory Children's Concerts

Naomi visited!

Just before the new school year began, Naomi, my girlfriend, visited Chicago for a few days. I took her to her first Cubs game, and we also heard a Grant Park Music Festival concert with Kurt Elling, visited Oak Park's Thursday Night Out and Farmers Market, and spent some much-needed time together.

Naomi and I at Wrigley Field. Cubs had an exciting win that day!
Artist Series

Just last weekend was Opening Night for our 66th season. Camerata Chicago, with special guest Sylvia McNair, presented an all-Gershwin concert. It was a spectacular and satisfying evening.

Soprano Sylvia McNair waves good night at the end of the Opening Night concert

Music Ministry

Calvary Memorial Church recently called a new Pastor of Worship and Music, Josh Caterer. (I would link to his biography on the church website, but he is so new it is not yet there.)

Two weekends ago was the first time the Chamber Orchestra worked with him. It was a great collaborative effort, as we joined with Josh to lead the congregation in two songs, the classic "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" and the modern song "Behold Our God."

The Sanctuary Choir resumed rehearsals two weeks ago. I missed that over the summer, and am glad of the chance to sing in a choral setting again.

New Apartment

In the midst of a very busy September, I somehow found time, with the help of my dad, to move to my new apartment. Don, my roommate, and I really like it. Separate dining room, fireplace (albeit non-functional), bits of stained glass, enclosed back porch, and a lot of improvements made just before we moved in.

View of the dining room (foreground) and living room (background)
And there was so much more beyond those highlights in the last few months. I heard the National Brass Ensemble in concert at Symphony Center, followed the Chicago Cubs as they secured their first postseason berth since 2008, had the privilege of witnessing the wedding of one of my best friends, and began leading my small group.

Life is good, as they say. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lunch with Kent Hughes

In 2015, Calvary Memorial Church marks its centenary. We celebrated this milestone with four days of events stretching from last Wednesday to today. Wednesday was a special worship service, Worship Through The Ages, with a message from our most recent former senior pastor, Dr. Ray Pritchard. Friday evening was a celebration program and reception. Saturday morning we hosted a 5k to raise funds for our outreach ministries. And today after services we had an all-church cookout. It was a very full and very successful time of celebration. Four very different events, but all centered on the theme of celebrating 100 Years of Making Jesus Christ Known in Oak Park & Around the World.

I think the most significant part of the last few days for me was not at one of the events, but at lunch on Friday. For Friday evening's program, our senior pastor, Todd Wilson, invited his mentor and former senior pastor, Dr. R. Kent Hughes (author and senior pastor emeritus of College Church in Wheaton), to give the charge to the church. Todd and five other Calvary pastors and directors and I had lunch with Dr. Hughes earlier in the day.

Dr. Kent Hughes (center) at lunch with Calvary pastors

Led by Todd, we all picked his brain over the meal. I mostly listened, because it was a special treat for me to just hear what he had to say about leadership and ministry. I found what he had to say valuable and wholly applicable to my service in the local church but also to my work in arts management, teaching, and many other pursuits, both current and desired.

There are three pieces of wisdom in particular I would like to highlight here.

1. God made you to be you, so live your passions

2. Hire people superior to you.

I would generalize this to simply surround yourself with people superior to you, for situations where one is in leadership but not necessarily an employer

3. Take your ministry seriously; don't take yourself too seriously

Again, I would generalize that to say take your calling or profession or work seriously; don't take yourself too seriously.

It was a really great conversation with this elder statesman of the evangelical church, and a privilege to have Dr. Hughes for our celebration this weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Articles of the Week: Pentecost

Tomorrow, May 24, is Pentecost Sunday, the fiftieth day since Easter Sunday, and the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. Here are a few articles on that topic from my reading this week...

Tish Harrison Warren, writing for Christianity Today, draws on insights from both ancient and modern theologians as well as her own experiences to explore maternal symbolism as it relates to the Church. "This Pentecost," she writes, "we celebrate the beginning of that great work of sanctification, the birth of our mother, Christ's bride."

Over at the The Economist's Prospero blog, Johnson writes about the significance of translation to the advance of Christianity. On the first Pentecost, as chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles tells us, a large crowd each heard the apostles speaking in his (or her) own language. It was a miracle that day, and the miracle continues, a bit less dramatically but no more importantly, through ongoing missions work in Bible translation.

And finally (though this piece was actually from last week), Russell Moore writes at his blog in response to the recent Pew Center study on the record-low number of self-identifying Christians in America. Moore writes, "The future of Christianity is bright. I don't know that from surveys and polls, but from a word Someone spoke one day back at Caesarea Philippi."

And here are Keith and Kristyn Getty and company singing "O Church Arise."

Monday, May 18, 2015

On Professional Confidence

Over the weekend, I had the chance to talk by phone with one of my Wheaton College roommates. Paul is currently serving in the United States Navy, and at the moment he is at Naval Station Norfolk in the final major portion of his training as a helicopter pilot. He reflected to me that at this stage, he feels more "trusted" by his superiors than in previous stages and as a result he feels more confident in his work.

I realized that, even in my very different lines of work, I feel the same. Like Paul, I am now four years past completing my undergraduate studies, and within the last year I have felt more confident in my work. I credit it to accumulated experience as well as being trusted and empowered to take on greater challenges and responsibilities by my superiors.

I have had a number of people who in the context of being my boss have also served as professional mentors to one degree or another. They have continually encouraged me and challenged me, and I know that I am indebted to them for the professional success I have had to date. Having a tremendous education such as I received from Wheaton College was a huge foundation (apologies for the hyperbole, but anyone who knows me knows it is hard to resist when talking about Wheaton), but I know that my professional mentors were (and are) profoundly significant in my young professional years.

And so, for any more junior young professionals reading this, let me say two things. First, be patient with yourself if you feel that you have yet to "achieve" anything. And second, keep learning, and find professional mentors who can help you keep learning.