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ImageSome days I wish had one of these..

The flu has recently been encroaching on my territory. My students are falling off like mosquitos hitting a zapper, and my dad has recently turned into a sniffling, couch zombie having contracted the flu just two days ago. This morning I woke up and freaked out when I had a bit of scratchiness in my throat – a telling sign of things to come…I hope it doesn’t come. Teachers can’t get sick or they will die.

In other news, I made an attempt to have a life today by doing 2 completely new things: 1) visit a ‘social justicey’ church out in the community where I work at, and 2) went to a bluegrass concert with some buddies. I enjoyed both activities quite a lot, and will probably at least try to give #1 another shot down the line.

The church I went to today was a “covenant” church, a specific brand of evangelical christianity that attracts more ‘socially conscious’ followers than other traditional churches, and the one I went to was no different. I suppose other traditional churches eye the covenant church with a more skeptical eye since covenant churches are perceived as having “watered down” messages, and weak Biblical scholarship – I know I have this preconception of these churches!

And, to be honest, today’s message confirmed my expectations for this type of church, for the pastor took an obscure OT passage from Nehemiah and magically turned it into a seminar on how to “build movements” in our communities. I saw his point, and it certainly seemed relevant, but my inner bible scholar told me that the message was amiss. Call me judgmental, but can we really conclude that the point of Nehemiah’s story was to teach him how to build teams to help him in his task? Coming from a very conservative, traditional church that cherishes serious study of the Bible, I felt put off a bit but in the end consoled myself with the knowledge that people are being reached by this church as well.

Despite the vacuousness of the message, however, it still spoke to me. The pastor told us that if we had any personal burden for our communities, for our personal lives, our goals, etc., then we should seek “early adapters”, or followers/coworkers to help us in our task. He told us to pray for a “team”, just as how Nehemiah found others to help him. Indeed, after a month of teaching in a population whose culture and values still baffle me, I already feel as if my back is to the wall and I’m all alone in my own personal crusade against persisting failure. It was comforting to hear a relevant message.

Besides the message and the service in general, everyone was extraordinarily nice, welcoming, and warm. Along the back wall a table spread of donuts, cookies, and coffee provided enough welcome for visitors – it was enough to bribe this one to come back for another taste.

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