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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bread for the Journey!

I'm back! Miss me?

Yes, I was gone-- for several days, as a matter of fact. I flew back to Chicago on Tuesday for a combination Continuing Ed. seminar and my seminary's Alumni Days. A short summary of a busy time:

  • Rev. Ref. and I flew out together, which made for a companionable journey. We were able to commiserate over his loss of small toiletries to security regulations which insist that lip balm is only safe if contained in a terrorist-proof ziploc bag.
  • The flights were smooth; but a delay on the first leg of the trip made for a tight connection, and though we made it, our bags did not. They thankfully did arrive on the next flight, so that only meant a half-hour's delay at O'Hare before we could leave.
  • I had myriad, all-too-brief opportunities to connect with a wonderful group of folks that I see far too seldom. This group includes a goodly number of bloggers: Tripp, Susie, Mark, AKMA, Frank, Beth, Laurel and Emily (whom I had met corporeally only once before, but felt as though I know her much better than that, thanks to the wonders of the blogiverse). There were also a group of amiable muggles there, blogless friends and friendly acquaintances to chat with and catch up on one another's lives. Time was far too short, in that way.
  • What a gift, to fall back into the rhythm of daily worship-- Morning Prayer, Eucharist, Evensong-- in community. I did not get exactly get misty when I heard the bells calling us to chapel, but the sound did settle in my soul in a way that I had not even realized I had been missing. Even some ensuing liturgical critique conversation about style and theology (in which I took part, as there were points at which I had some issues) was happily familiar turf.
  • The keynote speaker was marvelous! Diana Butler Bass has done some serious work. She looks at thriving, vibrant congregations which belie the conventional wisdom that churches in the "moderate to progressive" range of mainline Protestantism (Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians and the like) will inevitably decline, while the "conservative" Evangelical churches are the only ones growing. Her contention is that the "conservative/liberal" spectrum is not actually the significant factor. Instead, the difference is less about the "right" polity than an emphasis on intentional, traditional Christian practice-- on encouragement to spiritual depth and vibrant discipleship, rather than simply striving for bodies in the pews (though the latter seems to follow). I am really enthusiastic about what I've heard and read. If you have not yet looked at any of her material, I would wholeheartedly recommend doing so.


Blogger Emily said...

It was great to see you and we'll have to find time for more lengthy conversation some other time (my one quibble about this incarnation of Bread etc. was the lack of interaction between alums. . .)

October 29, 2006 8:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why, dear! You forgot to mention that two of the men in your life brought you new jewelry! A lovely, sparkly lapel pin! I do say, post a photo why don't you?

October 29, 2006 9:53 PM  

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