After five days at college my mind is boggled with so many questions I think my mind might explode. I've found that since I've returned from the tranquil settings of the Peak District my mind is writhing with questions. What is church? Should we tell children about Jesus and what does the Bible say? Are children just a blessing or are they born holy, or even are they born sinful? To name but a few queries. Then there's those cheeky little theologians who HUNDREDS of years ago made statements about children, then everyone had disagreements about each others thoughts. The reaction? Not to talk about if for a few hundred years, then someone else brings up the theology of childhood and the whole cycle begins again. Frustrating - YES! Inspiring - YES!
If I'm honest I was quite scared about going to college. Lots of feelings were plaguing my mind. Believe it or not I get a little apprehensive about new environments. Firstly because I get quite nervous meeting new people, mainly because I am not sure if I'm going to get on with them and those hideous insecurities set in, which I remind myself are stupid. Secondly I am approaching this MA feeling slightly out of my depth. I am not sure that I have the ability to express myself clearly. As you'll probably notice I can often sound quite colloquial and that's basically how I write essays. You can get away with it in classes but writing to this level I am not sure it's totally acceptable. Therefore this means I am actually, somehow, going to have to get my head down and get this assignment written, checked, re-write, check... This is when mum's come in useful.
First of all I'm going to have to secure what I am going to write in this assignment! We had some brilliant lectures this week, some mind boggling lectures and some I'm not sure what happened lectures! We had a few special guests including Mark Griffiths the writer of One generation from extinction. He was motivating, challenging and inspiring. I'd arrived at the week a little fed up to be honest and wondering how God was fitting into life in general and after Marks lecture I felt like not only had my work been challenged but my personal attitude as well. Next up is Bishop Steven Croft whose opening line was "Please don't call me bishop", a refreshing change from bishops who push their status in your faces, another moment at which I was proud to be Anglican ; )! He was positive about the future, enthusiastic about mission - particularly towards young people. When you've got to a point where you're not sure if it is worth telling young people about Jesus because of ethics and other peoples opinions Steven Croft came as another encouraging boost. After reviewing my biblical world view, shaping my visions and getting frustrated with ancient monks who have effected our views of young people and the bible today it was time to have fun!
Now when you live in a small place like Aberystwyth it is very hard to get up to mischief unnoticed so I tried my hand at some antics. Going on exodus' to the 'library' and trying to break world records in phone boxes! We managed a grand total of 9 people in one of those little red boxes. The record seems to be 12 so I guess we were close. There were people on shoulders, people on the floor, all in the name of fun! Unfortunately and ironically on the return to college we did get asked by a local to keep the noise down as there were children sleeping - imagine it 9 youth and children's workers in a peaceful country village being asked by a parent to be quiet!
The most descriptive picture of us all in the box and the box its self!
So, some of this theology stuff might take a while to process but here are some of my initial learnings from the week away. I really admire the college for their rhythm of prayer and the way they encourage it to be part of routine, this is something that I was to take on board more and secondly a challenge to continue to think about why I believe what I believe. I'm sure there'll be more to come!
For now let's just say a good time was had by all...