Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thoughts on Faith

The arrival of the new Sunday school year at church has Edward and I again facilitating an adult class. The class was formulated after the Sunday School class we attended at Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville. The church membership was made up of many academics from colleges and university around Nashville, as well as numerous retired pastors and ordained individuals. The class at Glendale was called the Special Studies class. We read all types of authors in there including Kathleen Norris, Jung, Anne Lamont, Richard Foster and Will Campbell. Our membership was at about 25 people when Edward and I were facilitating.

Since moving to the Gulf Coast its been hard to attend Sunday school. There was always a problem with nursery care or the willingness of each child to stay in the nursery without acting like we were throwing them to the wolves. I admit it was hard to leave Cullen even with people we did not know, even nursery workers in church. Edward or I were always switching off checking on him during service... but later it was not our problem as it was the individual child or sometimes a full revolt of all three. Well really not... Avery loves the nursery and wants everyone to join her. Her excitement has not rubbed off on the others. Even now Cullen thinks he should be with us. While Connor never settles when we leave.

Our Sunday school class shares a wall with the nursery and I can hear Connor crying off and on the whole hour. I kiddingly tell Edward is can not speak after I hear Connor crying "Daddy, daddy." I am sure he hears that deep voice through the wall but the nursery school workers say they can not hear Edward. As parents we have gotten tougher or toughened up when it comes to nursery. Five years of no Sunday school and never getting to sit through a whole service is enough. For a long time we would do service in the cry room which is NOT worshipful. I have told Edward I would rather stay at home then be tortured in the cry room while all the while not feeling like I am getting anything out of the service. But we persevered and now we have arrived to a place where we call ALL fully participate in what the church has to offer. The kids are attending Sunday school and enjoying the time as well. No more crying and upset at even the thought of being left for an hour to do crafts, have a snack and learn about the Bible. I just hope no one reports me for child abuse after reading what I force my children to do.

So back to our Thoughts on Faith class. Now that we have all matured a bit, Edward and I were ready to start back to Sunday school. But the offerings were slim. There was only one class being offered and it was a lectionary class which I had had enough of during seminary. So with a lot of encouragement Edward convinced me to co-facilitate this class with him. We have a core group of about 6 - 8 people. But the nice thing about this class is that we have the opportunity to attract new members with the choice of every new book. We have read three other books beside the one we are reading now. They were Come Thirsty by Max Lucado, Miracles by C.S. Lewis and The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris.

The book we are reading now, Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffery Overstreet, brings in another element to our discussion. Jeffery Overstreet is a Christian film reviewer. We are reading his book AND watching a film a week to discuss on Sunday morning. This past week we watched a film called Don't Come Knocking by a German director named Wenger. I was not real keen on watching this movie. I dislike heavy drama. It does not entertain me much. But I enjoyed the film much more than I would have thought especially after discussing it with Edward once it was over. And my estimation of the film grew even more after sharing thoughts with the class on Sunday morning. We all agreed that had we seen it in the movie theatre we would have soon forgotten it and probably not have recommended it to friends. But by the end of the hour of discussion we were all talking about seeing it again because it was so rich and deep. haha.

I must admit that the book, Through a Screen Darkly, would never had been my choice for the class either but Edward was enthusiastic at a time when I had no energy to suggest anything else. So I find myself reading a book I would never have picked up AND seeing movies I would not have choose to see either. So I guess this is where I admit that my life is richer for it and I am happy for the opportunity to step out of my little box. I know Edward is smirking as he reads this. (Quit it!)

1 comment:

Elysa said...

Stephanie---I'm glad you guys have chosen the path of abuse so y'all can do Sunday School! ;)

Your class sounds like a great one. Too bad we're not in the same church, huh? Of course, having us ultra right wingers in there would make it even MORE "interesting"! LOL!

But seriously, have you seen LADY IN THE WATER by M. Night Shal...something. I love his movies but this one to me has the richest spiritual message. It hit me hard that it was a story about how we all are uniquely gifted and in the body of Christ, we NEED each other. We might not look important to other's, our gifts might seem insignificant, but its only when we work together doing the part that we've been called to will we really accomplish the mission God has for the church.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it and have had A & B watch it, too. They also love it.

Can't wait to see what he comes up with next! Even if I CAN'T ever say his last name right or spell it.