Ok, so it's not the end of all things, but every time I come to the end of this two week experience, it feels like a major accomplishment! It's a bit odd to feel "filled up" spiritually and mentally, and yet be drained physically and emotionally. I hope that you have enjoyed walking this journey with me and I hope that in some way, even if it is small, you have been challenged in your thinking by something you've read. I'll keep posting after this- so keep checking back in! It probably won't continue to be daily, but I'll shoot for a couple times a week.
So, what will I take from this experience? One thing I always take from this is the grandness of God and my relative smallness. Growing up in a safe, evangelical context, I have learned to see and speak about God in ways that make sense to me. When I come here and am challenged by different theologies and different ways of seeing God, I feel like God grows in size. Now, we know that it is impossible for God to grow; but in my perception of Him He has grown larger. He is more than I know and more than I can understand. This continues to lead me to a place of humility and dependence. Life can be so "me-centered", so the larger God becomes in our mind, the more foolish this way of living appears. He is all, and so our best decision is always to give Him our all.
I am also impressed again with the value of others. As the greatness of God helps move us beyond "me-centeredness", so does a recognition of the need we have to interact with others. I am blessed here, and back home, to be part of a great community. In this intensive time out here, we have no choice but to lean into relationships and learn from one another. Honestly, when I return home, I realize that I have gained as much or more from interacting with my peers as I have from the classes themselves. I would say that the classes give us a context from which to build community. In some ways, I think this is a little how church services work. The church service is not the end all and be all of our faith. Those that treat it as such usually end up with weak and poorly developed spiritual lives. The gathering of believers, however, gives us a context out of which we build community and meaningful relationships, both with God and one another. I don't know how connected you are to others in your world, but I hope you are becoming more and more convinced of our need for others; our need to have people who pour life into us, challenge us, and in turn are challenged by us. It is this "healthy friction" that causes us to grow and become less like fallen beings damaged by sin and more like men and women created in His image to honor Him with our life.
May you know the love of God and the partnership of others as you journey in this life,