As a co-mentor was last night. It was mostly housekeeping. Since I've been gone for two years, and it is a mixed group (from different parishes), I know ONE student. But that is ok. Moving as much as I've done has helped me walk into a room cold and mix it up with different people. (I'm just barely an E on the Myers-Briggs.) Besides, I'll get to know them all pretty well in the coming weeks and months. (Five years ago, for example, I met a woman who has become one of my very best friends in EfM.)
One of the best things about last night was the kick off Eucharist. The rector of St. A's in Rapid, Kathy, designed the Eucharist around the theme of call--the readings all dealt with the idea of call, for example, and she used parts of the service for Holy Baptism instead of the normal Rite II. She asked us to consider how what we have learned in EfM so far has helped us live into the idea that all baptized believers are called to ministry. A few people discussed what that meant to them in their jobs, how it made them more compassionate in their daily lives, and how they have internalized the idea that we are all ministers instead of just giving it intellectual assent. THEN we fed each other the Body and Blood of Christ around the baptismal font and dipped our hands into the baptismal waters at the final blessing. We left much more aware of the gravity of call.
I think Kathy brought home the idea that to be in EfM means that we-I-have been called in some way to that. EfM, whether student or mentor, is a huge commitment and to live into that commitment fully one must feel called by God to a deeper way to do one's ministry.
The other (much more experienced) mentor, Marty, also discussed that since the EfM classroom is a safe place, that means that it is not a place to debate each other; listen, yes, clarify, of course, but debate, no. The autobiographies we all do in the first few weeks are great ways to know the framework from which the others in the class approach Holy Scripture and other material. When one knows someone personally, one is much less likely to attack that person in an ad hominem way.
I think if we all took the time to know why someone might hold the position one does, much of our yelling and screaming at each other would lessen. Sure, I can disagree with another's viewpoint, but that doesn't mean I can demean the person for having that viewpoint.
Change of subject: We are discussing a couple of chapters of John Claypool's book Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables today in Bible study. I've read that book before and look forward to viewing its contents through a different lens. I've got to go read the rest of today's assigned reading!