Tuesday, January 13, 2009
What I've Gotten Myself Into . . .
Well, here I am at the end of Day 2 of my class and despite all my whining last week, I am glad to be here. This particular class has about 24 folks in it which I understand is large for a D.Min course here. Surprisingly, there is only one other woman and she not a D.Min student. Judging by a brief conversation with one of the other students, not many women are pursuing a concentration in Gospel and Culture. While the majority are Presbyterian, Methodists pull up a distant second, with Church of Christ, Baptist, and Lutheran also represented. We also have a student from South Africa, a Korean, and a few from strange places like Arkansas and Nebraska. And they are sharp. And I feel pretty dumb in the midst of this group. But the conversations are stimulating and the professor is funny.
One of the things I really like about CTS so far is that(at least this professor) starts every class with prayer--a good well thought out prayer! And they have daily chapel which is well attended. The campus is small but beautiful. I haven't checked out the library yet, but everything else seems really nice. I'm staying in Harrington Center which is a continuing education facility with rooms to stay in. I opted for a private room which costs more, but I confess I'm enjoying the quiet time.
And now I remember how I was able to get so much done while at Vandy! This has been my routine thus far. After class ends at 12:30, I have gone back to my room to journal (part of the course requirement) then into Decatur for a large lunch. Today, I went to Java Monkey for some GREAT organic, free trade coffee for a couple of hours. I go to lunch by myself with the book I'm reading for class and read. Then back to Harrington Center for some New Life work, then back to course work. Since I've had a large lunch, I have a snack for dinner. And then to top the day off, I read for fun.
I understand not all classes are this laid back--but hey I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
Since this is a class which is tackling the public discourse of a pastor, next week provides some great opportunities for us. On Tuesday, we are gong to watch the Inauguration together and then on Wednesday we will discuss what Rick Warren, James Lowry, and Barack Obama have to say for and about God. And since MLK Jr is a great example of a pastor who took civic speech seriously (and did so while keeping it wonderfully grounded in Scripture), on Thursday we are going to the MLK Historic Site. I guess you are never too old for a field trip!
And I guess best of all is that the discussions have me thinking. Today's discussion on what civic events we would agree to pray at has really challenged me to articulate for myself:
what I think prayer does and does not do
who are we talking to when we pray aloud--God of course but what about those folks listening in?
What is a pastors role in praying aloud whether in worship or at a public event? If asked to pray for the Civitans or at a Town Hall meeting or at a football game, who am I representing? The people to God? God to the people? My congregation? The incarnate Christ?
I have ideas on all of this, but things are still coming together in my mind. So for now, I'm just thinking on these things.
Well, for now, I'm going to get a bit more reading in.
But before I do, and speaking of Christian public discourse, check out the SUV I found myself behind yesterday.
I find this disturbing on several levels!