Gratefully stoked!  That’s how I feel about the final paper project for my class!  Who knew that a discussion about final papers could be so invigorating.  Today we discussed the assignments for the quarter in greater detail and then broke into related discussion groups.  

Bolger gave us a framework/grid by which to evaluate the various church traditions we will be covering.  I have two thoughts on grids.  One: Limiting!  Two: Way helpful starting point.  Ever since a great tip from  one of my coffee shop regulars about solving Sudokus, I’ve been thinking more excitedly about creating systems as solutions.  Thus, when Bolger presented a grid for evaluating different aspects of church traditions I was pumped.  I’m also pumped to think and write about what perhaps should be added to that grid.  And I’ll be  more pumped if I keep in mind that the grid should only be a launching point for study, not an all encompassing way to understand the various church traditions and expressions.

Now that I’ve outed my nerdiness by  getting excited about grids, on to the more existential aspect of paper stoke.  The paper requires us to compare our own church tradition and experience with the others that we will study.  What I find so absolutely lovely about this is that I have been thinking a fair bit about this since I (of the Charismatic tradition) have be going to mi novio’s Presbyterian church.  Viva la ecumenicism in practice!  This paper is a gift of God for giving me a way of processing what it is that I am appreciating and missing in the new ecclesiastical context.  

And no, these church cultures are not that different on many levels.  Perhaps however, like traveling in Australia (versus traveling in Nepal), the impact of the differences are more subtle yet jarring because of the similarities.  I’m figuring it out by immersion.  As far as this Presbyterian church goes, there is much I am really appreciating (besides the cute fella playing mandolin during the singing).  

For the time being I’m reacquainting myself with following hymns and trying to put myself into the worshipfulness of responsive reading.   I think part of the process is just being willing to recognize biases and try new things.  I’m also seeing room in the Church (as a whole) for discussion surrounding worship as an expression of our heart songs and how  we connect with God.  I’ll try to keep the blog updated as to any revelations in this process.

P.S.  I’m amazed again at how fitting my classes are to what I am walking through in life.  Thanks God!!!