Summer at Nashotah House: The Definitive Seminarian To-Do List

Months out, it always seems like an easy task to “study biblical Greek over the summer.” You know, just pack your flashcards every time you go out, grab some declensions to bring to the BBQ, and perhaps hit the hay with some light translation—all in the name of academic discipline. But, as anyone who’s actually attempted to study Greek over the summer can attest, it’s not always that simple.

But preaching, serving at the local food shelter, putting in hours at the office, mowing the lawn, and trying to lose that “freshman fifteen”—plus making travel arrangements and coordinating moving logistics—make studying Greek in the heat of a 2012 summer more than daunting. For a lot of us, it makes Greek look like…well, Greek.

If your head’s already spinning, and if like me you haven’t had a chance to study a wink of Greek this summer, I bring you a fresh rundown of the best and most reputable summer activities this great campus has to offer. Choose wisely—and here’s hoping your experience is closer to a day at the beach than to that one library debacle last semester. What did you call it again? An essay?

1. Hit the Beach. It’s a no-brainer. When the mercury rises, it’s time to throw ice in the cooler and grab a couple of beach towels and high-tail it to Nashotah’s beautiful private beach. There’s even a fire pit, to boot.

2. Visit the Library’s freebee shelves. For a seminarian, nothing beats a theological library with a “Grab n’ Go” section. Take any paperback home for just a dime. Hard covers are only a quarter. And as you pay, you can small talk with the ladies at the Library office.

3) Morning Mass. Yes, it’s still at eight o’ clock—AM, that is. But it’s always worth it.

4) It’s time to picnic! Pack a basket, and throw your BCP in with the Peanut Butter and Jellies. There are so many wooded nooks and open pastures on Nashotah’s campus to spread out your old checkered picnic blanket and throw a Frisbee around.

5) Get the oil changed. It’s not brain surgery, but you wouldn’t do that yourself either. You are, after all, only a seminarian.

6) Support local farmers at the Farmers Market every Saturday morning in Delafield. Local, organic vegetables, beautiful jars of honey, and free-range, grass-fed beef make it worth it on several fronts. Besides, you don’t want to support the Big Box anyway.

7) Evensong. 4:30 PM. In the little Red Chapel. And don’t worry if you’re tone deaf: they don’t sing it in the off season.

8) Visit the Pub! Bring a few of your seminarian friends with you and get to the bottom of it, whatever it is—the immaculate conception, the perpetual virginity of Mary, or filioque clause.

9) Meet your new neighbors. The best part of living in the Cloister, or at the Flats or in the Peaks is the people. Community is close to the heart of the Benedictine Rule (even when we’re a little lax of the Rule part).

10) Only after you’ve exhausted all that Nashotah House has to offer in the summer, and this list is by no means exhaustive, maybe it’s a good idea to pull out those Greek flashcards. There’s more to being a seminarian than Summer Session, after all.


About tblanski

Tyler Blanski ( is a housepainter, author and musician who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is 29 years old, and dedicated to discovering Christ’s activity in our lives—whether it’s our relationships, our imaginations, or our jobs. He wants to help build God’s Kingdom, brick by brick. He is the author of "Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred" (Upper Room Books, 2010). Zondervan just published his new book "When Donkeys Talk," a holy pilgrimage into an Anglican understanding of the sacraments. He blogs at: