Sunday, September 02, 2007

Intersections 5

My first week of my new life and the reviews are mixed:

First official drive to seminary: a peaceful beginning to a day as it moved from pitch dark to sunrise over rolling hills and Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony filled the car.

Spiritual direction class earlier in the week: average age maybe mid-50s. Almost everyone has adult children. Seminary class: average age about 24. Almost everyone is one of the adult children.

Lovely and engaging and truly kind and generous people in both places.

I have had enough orientation processes in the past week to last me both this lifetime and the next. I might never do anything new ever again.

Advance class registration by computer would be a GOOD thing.

(Skip this one if you like the song in question. Or just remember that I, too, have had people wrinkle their noses at my preferences.) That song posted on RGBP a couple of weeks ago? I was a bit mystified by the report that it is one of the top ten songs sung in American churches. I happened to hear it live for the first time this past week. I think I was probably the only one in the seminary chapel who was hearing it for the first time, given that everyone else seemed to know all the lyrics. I remain mystified by its quite evident popularity. (I did really like the band. But we could put that song to rest. In my extremely humble opinion.)

Funny addendum: in church at home this morning we sang Earth and All Stars, presumably in honor of Labor Day. As we reached the line about "loud boiling test tubes" I started to chuckle, remembering a rather passionate conversation earlier this summer when it became clear that about half of our members love that song and about half of us despise it. I'm actually neutral on that one.

I am now in possession of a Greek dictionary. Not something I had ever thought of owning until a few months ago!

So what about Gray's? My Jewish teaching colleagues and I discussed it obsessively every Friday morning last year; my women friends and I reviewed it every Saturday morning at breakfast. My daughter has had Gray's groups at both of her colleges. And there I was, watching it all by my lonesome in the dorm Thursday night.

I heard a great many stories over the two-day seminary ordination that began with the words, "I have known I was called to ministry since I was thirteen or fourteen years old." Hmmm. I'm thinking that perhaps I won't be relating what I was called to at thirteen and fourteen.

Kind of interesting: I knew more about what was going on in the world during my eight day silent retreat at the beginning of August, thanks to the prayers offered at mass every morning, than I did in for the two days of seminary orientation at the end of August which, despite myriad presentations and endless conversation (and numerous prayers), felt a bit cocoon-like. The President could have resigned and I'm not sure we would have known about it.

This past week I heard one of the most astounding pulpit voices I have ever encountered. That woman will be an astounding gift to a congregation next year.

I participated in nine masses and four Presby worship services in the the month of August. I discovered a new love for Roman Catholic liturgy and the primacy of the Eucharist therein. (Not so much the music though.)(It does seem that I have some music issues.) Of course, I am distressed every time I go to mass by the absence of women priests. I heard a couple of fabulous Protestant sermons and some lovely Catholic homilies (some of them by women -- but not, of course, by women priests).

I found Protestant spirituality in a Jesuit retreat center, and Ignatian spirituality in a Presbyterian seminary.

Welcome to my world. The one with the endless litany of contradictions that WILL NOT GO AWAY.


Serena said...

Ahhhh, sounds like a good full week.

more cows than people said...

sounds about right for a first week. overwhelming, paradoxical, mixed, worshipful, and mind-numbing (you didn't say that- but orientations- that's the effect they have on me.)

i can't believe your seminary class is so young. i mean, i was that young, but not many of us were.


Jan said...

I envy you---what a week! You are alive and aware! Good for you. Seeing the paradoxes in your life is theology. I hope you'll always find the time to post about your busy, and maybe even harried, reflections.

Presbyterian Gal said...

What an experience. Thanks for sharing.

LawAndGospel said...

Having just been down this road a couple of weeks ago, although running out of time to blog about it, this sounds oh so familiar. The emotions, the contrasts, the paradoxes, the tensions, the thrills. The irony of the first two weeks ( besides the realization that most of my classmates could be my children) was that the person who was most critical of a contemporary service which was held one day was a 22 year old. From where I sit, not every style of music or liturgy may be my cup of tea, but unless it incorporates incorrect theology, I willing to worship at the Church of the Open Mind. BTW, I am not a fan of "loud boiling test tubes." One of the entertaining conversations at summer Greek was a young UCC pastor asking us if we had trouble getting people to save the Christmas hymns until after Advent. Fun times talking about the dynamics of congregations. Our seminary class is predominantly pipeliners which I understand is a change from recent years. But I find it energizing. And you will love being able to immerse yourself in the original language of the NT, but it will not feel that way when you are learning the mechanics of Greek. Hang in there- it's around the corner.

Cynthia said...

Sounds like a marvelous week. I'm sure you'll find some Grey's friends.

Quotidian Grace said...

What an exciting week. I hear you on not wanting to start anything new again!

And--here's my vote for giving that song a rest.

Carol said...

GG, I think that the paradoxes in your life are what make you not only such an interesting person but also what will make you a fabulous minister and counselor.