Monday, March 5, 2012

Return to Blogging: Debriefing Lawndale

It's funny. You always think you will blog more than you actually do. People have said, "To blog regularly, sometimes you need to have something to say, and sometimes you just have to say something." Personally, I just want to have something to say.
My plan was to blog a little about my Lawndale through the fall semester, but of course, life got in the way. So I thought I would make my first 2012 blog a debriefing about last semester.

Simply put: Lawndale was a transforming experience. I did enter into a different culture, but I found found brothers and sisters. I wondered if my jokes would work. They much as they work anytime. I wondered if my lectures would resonate. Boy did they. And like most good teaching experiences, I learned more than they did. It was a true intercultural experience. I shared from my culture. They shared from their varied culture. We shared with each other. It was affirming. It was challenging. It was the body of Christ.

What did I learn?

  1. People are People. Everywhere.
  2. People who live just 40 miles away from me, live in a completely different world.
  3. I discovered just how much energy I spend trying to get students to care. I discovered this because my Lawndale class cared so passionately and so deeply about everything we were talking about, I didn't have work very hard. The wanted to soak up any information I could give. The first night we went 15 minutes over as they continued to ask interpretive and clarifying questions. I finally said, "It's 10:15 PM! I have to go home!"
  4. I learned that I have brothers and sisters in Christ in a place I never knew about one year ago.
  5. Coach is shorter than I had pictured after hearing the stories.
  6. Lou Malnati's is the best pizza in Chicago.
  7. I learned how important the story of Job is to the African-American church.
  8. I learned that I have a lot to learn about the body of Christ.

Unfortunately, I still haven't had a chance to worship with them on Sundays. My interim responsibilities haven't allowed me to take a week off. But it won't last forever, and I look forward to worshipping with my new friends. Thank you, with all love, thank you: Phil, J.B., "Donny," Pat, Tyone, Joey, Linda, Jose, and Theresa. Thanks to Northern Seminary for giving me a chance to stretch myself. Thanks be to God for this oasis on the west side.

Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention that I learned: The "Lawndale Miracle" is real.

"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now, my eyes have seen you."

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