The other day, the Dean of GETI used this phrase to describe what we were experiencing. I’m not sure if the phrase translated well for others, but I certainly think it is an apt metaphor. I hardly know where to begin as far as reflecting on what I have experienced so far. But I will not be too hard on myself for not taking in more or put to much pressure on myself to give neat summaries or astute synthesis yet. I will just appreciate the gifts that are being offered to me right now. My notebook is capturing as much as I can. Synthesis can wait. Sharing deeply about these gifts and their affect on me will come. But right now, these gifts, I need to receive them first. I need to drink deeply from the well, or the fire hose , whatever metaphor works, right? So in the spirit of drinking from the fire hose, I will share some of the “sips” I’ve been experiencing:
- Talking about (rural) African perspectives on pastoral care with my seminar group member from South Africa
- Sharing a love for Henri Nouwen with my new friend who is in seminary here in South Korea
- Hearing about the priests and sisters and other Catholics and various Christians who are involved in nonviolent resistance in Jeju island here in Korea, protesting a U.S. Naval base that is destroying the local village there.
- Listening to lectures on Korea history, realizing that the Cold War is still said to be going on here because of the divided nation of the Korean peninsula (Korea was divided along the 38th parallel at the end of WWII by Russia and the U.S., just days after Korea was freed from Japanese occupation)
- Talking with the only other Catholic woman here, who is from Australia, about what her context is like as the only younger female studying theology at her grad school.
- Totally having a fangirl moment when the official Catholic delegation to the WCC showed up this morning, that is, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). CTU people- Steve Bevans was all cool, like, “Yeah, I know most of these people,” and I was like, “I read about this council and here they are in person! Plus, there aren’t many other Catholics around here usually.” There were several women too. Very happy to see.
- Being blown away and deeply challenged by Professor Namsoom Kang (Brite Divinity School at TCU). She reminded us here that for those of us here at GETI who speak English as our first language, that means that we inherently are the power-holders and others are marginalized. The first step is to be aware. That’s all we’ve got so far.
- Going on a spontaneous walk with my new friends from lunch from Korea, Germany, and Sweden.
- Discussing my American (Catholic) context with my German friend who practically knows more about American politics than I do, I discovered this as we discussed evangelicals, polarization in the Church, and the religious backgrounds of American political leaders.
- Asking “who is defining culture? What interest does it serve?”
- Bonding with my Slovakian group member who considers himself Czechoslovakian because he was born before the split and I consider myself 1/4 Czechoslovakian because my grandma was from the undivided nation as well.
- Visiting a Presbyterian Church here in Seoul. With a German pastor preaching the sermon (who was part of a delegation on their way to the WCC) haha
- Having only 30 minutes to shop/explore at the market for souvenirs and such.
- Discussing with my friend from the UK/USA (Seattle) about her Jesuit school that is uber ecumenical, and her friends’ experiences of being Catholic women in ministry.
These are just a taste for you, a few sips. Multiply this by 10. At least. I’m so thankful for this fire hose of experience and information. I know it will just continue to multiply as we head to Busan tomorrow for the actual start of the WCC on Wednesday!
More later, friends. But for now, pictures!
Thanks for journeying with me, friends!
Much love on the road to Busan,