Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer School

Shoes

OK... first off... sorry for not posting in a while... Been enjoying the we'ans and Olly's company... and am kind of addicted to Facebook and tend to spend more time on that these days. I need to get a balance back.

Anyway... I thought I would try to capture what I got from Summer School... try to capture my feelings... bottle them, if you will.

Before I do... I need to put some context around Summer School:
  1. I'm "first generation" Salvation Army - I chose to worship there in mid 90s (thanks to Olly who is 1,000,000 gen) and feel at home in its theological "box". However, I'm not a bando and am not there for the music or the singing... I am there because I feel at home with the Army's views on women and their positive "out there" attitude to social action.
  2. I have never been to a "Music School".
  3. I don't play a brass instrument.
  4. I do sing.
  5. I appreciate brass band music in the context of worship... just as I appreciate broken, housey beats in the context of clubbing... However, I rarely listen to these types of music out of context.
Olly and I were asked by Janet Robson, the wonderful Divisional Youth Officer for the East of Scotland division and someone Olly and I are proud to call a friend, to be welfare officers for the week... and with some nervousness and trepidation we accepted. We knew some of the staff and were excited about spending a week with Jon G and Yvonne.

This is where the first thing I valued about Summer School comes in - I felt a tremendous sense of ACCEPTANCE. The staff were a great group of people - diverse in their backgrounds, occupations and experience but united in their love of Jesus and their drive for the Salvation Army. I was part of this group from the first minute. I was part of the mix. Maybe everyone had 100% confidence in Janet's judgement... because I didn't have to prove myself. I wasn't the Headphonaught... I didn't have anything to live up to. I was Thomas and I was one of the team. I was accepted... and that was a great feeling for me.

I wasn't sure why I was asked... to be honest. But when I namechecked or complemented for my approach to the Cell Groups and general attitude to Spiritual matters... that's when it clicked. This is where the second value comes in - VALIDATION. Summer School validated my approach to church. When I witnessed lives change as a result of the Spirit through reflective teaching and powerful storytelling... it validated what I hold dear... that God works best when people are real... when they have journeyed together and share true communitas. I was honoured to pray with kids from my Cell... to comfort them and remind them of the hope that comes from God's Grace in this broken world.

The last value I attribute specifically to the Drama group at Summer School was BELONGING - This is a difficult one to describe... I have a wonderful family and a great group of friends that I belong to... and, on the whole, I do feel I belong in my Church... but I'm not a team sports kind of guy... I was the kid on the skateboard... not the boy playing football (Soccer aka real football). Belonging is hard for me... I'm a team player at work... but it stays at work... Not sure if I am making sense?

I started off as the "second adult" in the Drama group with Jon G, my good pal. I didn't have a role other than to keep an eye on the kids. Slowly the kids (15 of them) accepted me... we played basketball and had a laugh... By the end of the week I was part of the group and had a meaningful part in one of the sketches at the Saturday festival. I don't do drama... dahlings! but the kids and Jon G made me feel like this was my thing. Where the belonging comes into it was that this was team thing... we worked together but performed as two units... we shared some great times as a group... I was encouraged as much as I encouraging others... We shared prayers as a collective unit... huddled like the Hoops in Celtic Park. Truly good times!

I hope this makes sense... and isn't a ramble. Summer School was a mountain top experience that has made me reevaluate some of the things in my life. I guess its the whole "lose your life to find it" experience.
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Now playing: Aphex Twin - Polynomial C
via FoxyTunes
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