Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Home from the retreat

Our fall ministers' retreat was restful and inspiring. The program on covenanting was pretty good, though I missed part of it because I fell asleep in my room during a break and didn't participate in the final session. It was pretty pedantic in parts, particularly the evening session on Monday night. That's a rotten time for an hour-long lecture on anything, but it was the only time it could happen. Luckily I didn't fall asleep during that piece.

Our presenter was a colleague from Grand Rapids MI whose wisdom I have read on the ministers' chat many times. I often wade through his remarks with difficulty and occasionally just skip over them because his thinking and writing are so erudite that it can be hard to absorb quickly. That worried me a bit initially, and the Monday night session was difficult, but as we got to know him personally, he lightened up and it was very enjoyable.

Mostly I love our retreats because of the opportunity to schmooz with colleagues. Our fall retreat is limited to ministers in fellowship, meaning ministers who have completed the credentialing process and are either ordained or eligible for ordination. Students are welcome at our winter and spring retreats, but fall is reserved for credentialed ministers. The status of those attending affects the atmosphere of the retreat, as we need to be less conscious of being role models and can let down our hair more freely.

This retreat featured wonderful short worship services most mornings and evenings, plus the presentation by one colleague of his spiritual odyssey, always a rite of passage for the one so chosen. (It was interesting to me that, since I did my odyssey last spring, I felt a different level of appreciation this fall.) And following the odyssey, we had our usual bout of charades, which my team managed to win this time, despite the impossible titles that are always half the fun. I had a relatively easy one---"Burial at Thebes"---which they got with seconds to spare.

Charades tends to bring out our best and our worst---squabbling about rules and how long titles can be (12 words does seem a little extreme! But how are you going to use "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" if they make such a rule?)

Anyhow, I'm home now, have caught up on email, unpacked, gone for groceries, called the furnace guy to come fix the furnace, which conked out for the second time in a week while I was gone, okayed the Order of Service for Sunday. Now all I have to do is finish this belated blog post so that the FS doesn't worry that I am dead in a ditch, sort through all the great covenant materials I got, and get ready to write my sermon tomorrow in between a haircut and a rehearsal for our Saturday night gig.

Here's a great quote, by the way: "The bonds of love keep open the gates of freedom", by 20th century UU minister Napoleon Lovely.

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