Wednesday, July 23, 2014

... From Ironies to Takeaways ...

So, I'm attending a Rethinking Faith Formation seminar in St. Paul Minnesota at Luther Seminary (hence last night's post of random ironies). The first half-day of presentations has certainly raised some questions, affirmed some things I already knew, and challenged me both personally and professionally. And so, I offer, my takeaways from Day 1.

~~ Flip flops are not good footwear for campus walking. I knew this, and yet that is all I brought other than my running shoes. Ouch.

~~ Checking-in a half hour before opening worship was still too early for my introverted soul to sit in the narthex full of people I do not know and awkwardly read things on my phone.

~~ The Chapel of the Incarnation in Luther Seminary's Olson Center is not a comfortable place to spend all day sitting, especially if one is trying to take notes on a laptop and maybe sip a cup of coffee on and off.

~~ ELCA pastors and lay ministers are a diverse, interesting, thoughtful, intelligent, sometimes awkward group of people to gather into one place.

~~ Worshiping with a group ELCA pastors and lay ministers (and many from other denominations) is a truly wonderful experience ... no bumbling through songs and plenty of strong voices to carry and sometimes harmonize the tune.

~~ I can have intelligent, thoughtful conversations with pastors and lay ministers and have things to contribute to the conversation.

~~ There are some very discouraged, jaded pastors out there. How do pastors continue to hope in the power of our God of Great Love and Big Things when the world around is changing and they were not equipped to adapt?

~~ I am even more confused exactly where God is calling me. Good thing, like the manna in the desert, I only need trust that he has provided enough for today. I cannot store it up, lest it spoil, and if I could see into the future I would only be fearful and confused. Trying to guess God's plan for the future is hubris. Trusting in God is the source of all wisdom.

And if you're interested in my actual seminar takeaways ... enjoy!

David Lose Presentation

~~ Said that upon watching his children perform the "Double Bach" he considered what it would have looked like if they had come every week and watched their teacher play the violin. They would have learned appreciation for the skill/art. They would learned some awareness of good method, etc. But would they have learned to play for themselves?

~~ What would it mean to make church less a "performance of faith" by the "professionals" and more of an act of formation, such that the people might develop faith practices by practicing them, instead of watching them practiced?

~~ The earliest Christians were not called "Christians" but "People of the Way". Are we showing people "the way?"

~~How can we begin to hand worship back to the congregation so worship is not just performance, but formative? 

Roger Y, Nishioka Presentation

~~ From a Muslim Imam "You are Christian, are you not? So speak as a Christian? It is very difficult to have a conversation with someone who is not speaking." How do we speak like Christians? 

~~ Military Colonel explaining the repetition of drills "In times of crisis you will not rise to the occasion, but fall back on a pattern. We are trying to set a new pattern." The training has to be what they know best. Isn't that also true of our faith? In times of crisis what pattern do we return to?

Laura Traux Presentataion

~~ What I learned walking through a divisive, difficult congregational conversation:

  • God is always on the side of the oppressed
  • I don’t get to choose which is oppressed
  • Importance of humility: God is beyond us
  • No change is sustained by anger – only love produces long-lasting transformation
  • Just like Jacob, we’ve learned to walk with a limp
~~ “Good communities are spaces where people love one another enough that they’re not afraid of disagreement.” Stanley Hauerwas

~~ Jesus Communities were

  • Forgiving
  • Confused
  • Devoted
  • Argumentative
  • Honest
  • Diverse
  • Honest
  • Forgiving
  • Unexpected
  • Angry
  • Holy
  • Questioning