Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spiritual Manure: The Important Questions

It's hard to believe it's been a month since I led the retreat Bible study on parables.  My mom sent me the feedback on the retreat, all the aspects of it:  fascinating to read.

The response to my Bible study was very positive; my favorite comment said that she could have continued with me as leader all week.  One comment talked about how meaningful the Sunday session was for her, which of course made me think, Sunday, Sunday, what did we do on Sunday?

Happily, I wrote a blog post that answers this question.  I remember that I planned to talk about lamps and how we're called to be light to the world.  But Saturday night, after doing some preliminary work with that parable, the pastor for the retreat said to me privately, "I hope you don't plan to talk about lamps.  That's part of my interactive sermon tomorrow."

I said, "Thanks for telling me.  We'll do something else."

I'm pleased that I can switch gears.  Is that a benefit that comes from years of teaching or have I always had that talent?  I also think that years of drama club work with improvisation have helped here too.  But again, was I drawn to improvisation because I'm already good at thinking on my feet?

I digress.

I decided to go back to that little tree that wasn't producing fruit.  We discussed for a bit, and then, we did a bit of individual writing, since we hadn't done as much of that as I had planned.  The questions I planned to ask were important, and I wanted people to write, in the hopes that they'd remember.  I set it up as freewriting, that they were to write a set amount of time (4 minutes I think), that they were to keep going without stopping, that if they ran out of things to say that they just repeat a word, that they go wherever the writing took them, without editorializing or editing.

We had talked about being the withered tree.   I asked, "What manure do you need so that you can thrive?"

We talked about the withered tree as the world.  I asked, "How can you be manure to nourish the world?"

We talked about the withered tree as God.  I asked, "How can you be manure for God?  What does God need from you right now, as you are, right now?"

People were writing so fervently, I hesitated to call time.  Then once we'd written on all three questions, we had good conversation.

I thought it was effective.  I'm glad to know that others did too.

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