Monday, August 4, 2008

Post-weekend thoughts...

- It's amazing how much stress anf work it is to prepare for vacation time and then, when you get back there's always so much work piled up that it takes like a week to get caught up.

- But ...a 9-day vacation is definitely worth the hassle.

- I taught on Thursday about the differences between Catholicism and non-Catholics (or "Cats and non-Cats" as my friend Stephanie says). We agree on some major essentials and we disagree on some even more major things - but in the end, I think there is quite a bit that us non-Cats can learn from our Cat friends.

- I had a great time with Levi Lane working on the yards at my family's investment property in Northeast El Paso. We were there all day working in the sun, sweating like crazy, and drinking tons of water - and it was pretty fun! I never would have been able to do it all on my own, so major props to Levi for working hard with me.

- On Sunday, I went to St. Paul's United Methodist Church for the early service, then to Harvest Christian Center (they're Assembly of God) for the late service. What an experience! The people at both churches were really friendly, but Harvest definitely was more organized and professional than St. Paul's. At St. Paul's, I felt like I was unintentionally welcomed I was welcomed kind of as a second thought - like when someone walked up to me in the middle of the service and gave me a gift bag and quietly said "don't forget to sign the welcome register."

At Harvest though, I was intentionally welcomed 4 or 5 times before I even got to the doors of the worship center. I felt welcomed at St. Paul's, but I was very impressed with the way they handled themselves at Harvest.

- St. Paul's was a very traditional worship service, with liturgical elements such as reciting prayers and blessings, "sharing the peace", and going forward to the altar and kneeling on kneelers to be given communion. I was kind of uncomfortable because I had no idea what to expect but everyone else seemed to know what they were doing ...that made me feel a little left out but it also made me keenly aware of what someone who is a first-time guest at Del Sol Church probably feels like. Well I was wanting to experience a traditional worship service, and that's definitely what I found at St. Paul's.

- At Harvest, it was much like I expected. It was very modern, with fancy lights, drums, electric guitars and basses, and lively music ala Hillsong. They're part of the charismatic Assemblies of God denomination so I wasn't too surprised by flag dancers and people bringing their tambourines, but I was surprised when at one point in the gathering, a lady started loudly yelling out in "tongues" (which is supposedly a Heavenly language from God).

As soon as she finished, I was watching the pastor to see what he would do ...and I was very impressed with how he handled it. He asked if anyone had an "interpretation" of what was spoken and nobody did anything, so then he prayed and was supposedly given an interpretationfrom God - albeit pretty generic. After that, he briefly explained that while they allow public tongues-speaking, they also require an interpretation because Biblically, that is the only acceptable way for tongues to be used in church gatherings.

Besides that, everything was great. There was an incredible message given about being a person of forgiveness, a time of self-examination, and everyone in the church gathering took communion at the same time, as one Body of Christians. It was definitely a very intimate moment.

So now I'm enjoying my time off, but finding it difficult to disconnect from the work of ministry. I'm trying not to think about the things I forgot to do or what needs to be done for the fall kickoff. I'm trying just to rest, relax, and enjoy my time off with God.

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