I have to say that even though I knew what to expect of intensives this year, it is exactly the same mix of whirling experience. I was part of a large liberal theology class for the last five days,the outcome of which is a paper identifying our five vital questions about putting our theologies into practice in our ministries. Long days of lecture and small group work, interrupted by working lunches/information sessions about UUA and ministry track issues, followed by evenings of shared meals, meetings, and early bedtimes have been exhilarating and exhausting, inspiring and overwhelming.
It's amazing to see how much our class has transformed from 18 months ago when we started this journey though. Most of us have been through Clinical Pastoral Education, a large group of us are in our internships, and we are much further into discerning where this call is taking us. It's a fascinating sociological experiment to observe this year's class, my class, the part-time students, and the students from prior programs. Part of being in ministry is learning the art of being participant/observer of your system, and being totally enveloped by the intensive seminary experience is a great opportunity to practice that skill in a safe environment where you can practice without too much fear of screwing up royally.
When I was so busy during the week, I didn't miss my home life too much, but this weekend, I'll be visiting with my sister, so things will slow down a bit. My roommate brought her daughter to visit our apartment this weekend, so I got to snuggle with her, which filled up my cup a little bit - I am missing snuggles from my own kids! Last year at January term, I realized how much physical contact I get from my kids and husband - when I'm traveling, it's very isolating physically, so it was a real gift for my friend to share her sweet kidlet with me!
I still have plenty to do this weekend - catching up on work, papers to write, reading to do. Tuesday I start Arts & Aesthetics, which I am very much looking forward to. It'll be a different kind of a class then Liberal Theology. The following week I am taking Preaching with Bill Schultz, which I am very much looking forward to.
So that's the update from the trenches. More to come as I process all of the things I've been learning.