Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sympo '08: what I will remember

While I expected to post a few intellectual chewing points, I must admit that the things I’ve been pondering from this year’s symposium have been more visceral. While I certainly have had some interesting and useful intellectual moments, I am sitting in the airport now thinking about what it means to come back to a place that was home, and the ways intense experiences make you feel close to people.

After emailing for months, trying to plan an alternative, interactive, multisensory worship service with others in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Glasgow, we finally met together for a stirring music rehearsal, and hours of final decisions and details to transform a lecture hall into a place of worship. It was odd and wonderful to find myself joking around while tying yarn on dowels with these new friends. At one point, everyone busted out their favorite Stanley Hauerwas story. Only at a worship conference. After our service on Friday, we had a panel discussion on Saturday afternoon in the same space, and Doug mentioned that you don’t think of a room in the same way after you’ve made it into a place for worship. I don’t know when I will visit the commons lecture hall again, but I think I will remember standing in a dim corner, watching images light up a sheet hung from the ceiling, leading singing.

I also spent most of the first day in Grand Rapids in a strange time warp, visiting places and seeing people who had been my everyday life, but aren't anymore, and have changed, just as I have. It was beautiful to realize that I was welcomed and loved, and to also see how we all grow and change. I was proud to be able to bring back some of the things I’ve learned in grad school, and to offer something back to the community that helped me grow so much when I was in college.

I hope to also comment on some of my intellectual thoughts, but I must admit that I’m a bit behind preparing for class. It was worth it, but I need to get back to real life eventually.

1 comment:

Julie said...

I'm glad you had a good time in GR and at the Sympo. People from our church went...I just wanted to go to get a ride to West MI to see family. :) Miss you!