Posted by: thebylog | September 7, 2005

A Picnic

There are clubs and groups representing most any interest imaginable in our country and universities, so it’s no surprise that there is a group dedicated to Christian graduate students at Penn State. A girl in the stats department is somewhat involved with them and she put up a little flier that I saw, noted, and followed through upon. I went to a picnic they put on, and many interesting things ensued:

:: I’m walking up to the shelter where the picnic is and a group of people with a sign walk by me. The sign said: “Basses needed.” Turns out they are the Gracenotes, a Christian, a cappella group on campus, and they were auditioning. Unfortunately, I’m not a bass, and that together with my uncertain schedule has led me to postpone auditioning with them until the spring. Not that I’m going to audition for sure, but I’d like to keep that option open. It would be quite an experience, their style is definitely what I would call contemporary a cappella, quite a bit different than my quartet experience, but a style to which I could adapt I think. Formal choir or informal a cappella group? That might be my conundrum come spring. Or else I won’t have time to even think about singing, perish the thought.

:: Great cheeseburgers.

:: Four fellow stat-departmenters were there.

:: One of those stat-departmenters had the audacity to try to correct ME on how I pronounce my last name. It’s Smucker, rhymes with “cooker” not “pucker.” I’ve never made a big deal about this, in fact I haven’t even really noticed how I say it myself. But a line has been crossed when someone who has known exactly zero Smuckers in her life tries to tell me how to say my name!

:: I met another Mennonite – this one is from Pennsylvania – who went to Rosedale Bible Institute. We talked Mennonite shop for a little bit, framing ourselves in our respective backgrounds. He’s a liberal to his Mennonite friends and conservative to some of his other friends. One of the good things about Mennonites is how that they often produce young people (this in my experience, maybe this isn’t true where you come from) who have thought through a lot of Biblical/theological issues, even if that means that they don’t agree with the traditional viewpoint. This guy is one who’s done that.

:: I talked to one of the staff leaders of the group, had a great conversation. She had a very encouraging perspective on what professors can do in their office with regard to their faith and students. As long as you ask them and they agree, you can pray, share the gospel with them, whatever. You can even include a short testimony at the beginning of the semester. She had a story about a professor that led tons of people to Christ in the course of his interactions with students by giving them a book and then asking if he could share, from the back of the book, the four spiritual laws with them.



  1. I’m in disbelief. Just a clarification, did you really say “Unfortunately, I’m not a bass”???????

  2. Probably Smucker as rhyming with Cooker is more of an authentic way of pronouncing it than Smucker as rhyming with Tucker. I have cousins who call themselves Smucker as rhyming with Cooker. They blame the Smucker as rhyming with Tucker on your grandfather, who for some unknown reason took to pronouncing his name as Smucker rhyming with Tucker. Personally, I think I tend to use a pronunciation about half-way between the two. Miss (Smucker)

  3. The staff/adviser at our college said the smae thing. As long as college students ask the first question, they are then allowed to talk with them as much as the student desires.

    It’s interesting to hear that 4 of the Statics people identified themselves as interested in Christian activities.

    I’m on my own personal hunt in my department to find how many other students are of that motivation.

  4. Ok, itf, so I misspoke. I didn’t tell them “unfortunately, I’m not a bass,” I probably said something like, “I’m actually a tenor, not a bass…” There. Lest anyone – most of all you! – think me unhappy with my vocal range lot in life.

  5. Hi By!

    Finally got onto your site. i just read the Tiger or Turtle entry. This is so amazing to me because it seems like all these Mennonite or Mennonite background people expressing what i’ve seen as the pitfalls of the denomination. i thot these things bothered me because i’m not Mennonite. So if so many Mennonites feel that way, why does the church just stay the same??? i feel like i’m seeing a couple of people at church set the agenda/tone of the church and the rest are just falling in line or quiet or powerless…

    Not much said about the lady. Is it Amy or Aimee or ??? And how is that going? 🙂

    S for Smuckerstuff

  6. Thanks for the reminder about “Smucker” pronunciation. I wonder how many comments I’ll get as I begin to alter my way of saying it…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: