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what a weekend

This past weekend I attended a conference for those interested in ordained ministry in the South Central Jurisdiction. It is SO strange to not know anyone at events like that because I know so many people in NCJ (North Central Jurisdiction for those who aren't up on their Metho-speak). Oddly enough though, my small group leader who attends Perkins in Dallas is best friends with a girl that was on staff at Mountain TOP the same year that I was. It is a strange small world.

The picture is of me, being strangled by Jack (the coordinator of the event) and Casey, the other girl who came from New Mexico. Jack is a pastor in Oklahoma City and did a superb job of putting it all together. The event was pretty much all high school and college students, but I got a chance to tell a few people about the US-2 program. Sometimes when people are in that discernment phase they need to hear a little about options outside of the ordination track. I'm all about spreading the US-2 word around the country and getting more people fired up about social justice.

I think the hardest part for me during the weekend was our trip to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. I never really know how I should react in those instances, and in a lot of ways I felt emotionally manipulated by the experience. The museum is really set up to make you go through the destruction, and even experience the occurance though an audio tape that was actually made during the bombing. That to me was slightly overboard. The rest of the museum really focused on the pain, destruction and hurt. I'm thankful there wasn't a part that glorified the execution of Timothy McVeigh, I was certainly expecting there to be one just by how the museum was structured. At the end there was a display on the hope and change that came out of the situation, but it was my understanding that the display wasn't there all the time. If it had not been there, I would have left feeling completely and utterly dejected and sad. I'm aware that it may sound like I lack compassion for what happened, but that is not the case at all. Instead I just feel like through those situations where hope prevailed and the nation learned from tragedy, that the focus shouldn't be on the complete destruction but rather the reconstruction of the compassion of humanity through times of grief.

"We search for the truth, we seek justice. The courts require it. The victims cry for it. God demands it!" -4/19/95

I have completely mixed emotions on this... I just don't know what to think, and similarly, that makes me uncertain about what to think about the whole experience. On one of the monuments it says something about how the experience would unite us against violence... and yet it seems that this statement on this wall, written out of anger and despair, cries for a reaction to the event that has violent undertones. It is a terribly difficult event to remember, but one that I know we should not forget.

So for anyone thinking about going to the memorial, I won't discourage it, but be forewarned. Also, if you're quick to cry, you'll be crying fairly soon into it. I'm not much of a crier, but I have to admit I was choked up through most of it.

The exploration event itself was ok, the worship experiences were great, but I definitely felt I was missing something in missing counterculture. I did not however miss the dry weather. Not having to apply chapstick every 2 minutes was amazing. Oh the little things. I love the high desert, but this dry stuff isn't so much fun.

In work news, we're gearing up for the holidays, and as people are starting to get settled, the attitudes have the tendency to change from thankfulness of being in the program to the desire to leave because they feel like they've gone as far as they can go. Please pray for Saranam, the families, and for all of the events that we're getting ready for.

In my personal life news, I'll be home Nov 22-27 and Dec 22-Jan 2. If you're around I want to see you! (That includes any of you Champaign folk as well!)

Peace out homeslice!

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5 Comments:

You just gave me the 1st compelling reason to come back before new years :-)

By Blogger JP, at 5:05 PM  

Laura,

Good Post! Thanks for sharing this!

John W.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 AM  

for a second there, you really started to sound like George W. Bush.

By Blogger alison, at 3:14 PM  

We visited that sight too. The thing I recall most vividle was the statue across the street of Jesus weeping. That was very moving to me. Hope to see you when you are home.
Kris : )

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:52 PM  

funny enough, let's make the world smaller. i know jack (in your pic) through youth min pictures. i thought he looked familiar but i had to read on to find out.

By Blogger gavin richardson, at 10:00 PM  

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