Thursday, December 08, 2011

Two or Three, Gathered Together

Yesterday we finished our study series based on the DVD The Power of Forgiveness. I obviously have trouble with math because the three-week series took four weeks to complete. This was actually a reflection of the need to stretch out our viewing and discussion because of the depth of the material and the subject itself.

We had two sessions each week, one in the morning and one in the evening. A total of 31 people came to at least one session, although there were never more than 25 on any week. Some folk came to a morning session one week and evening the next. This is a reminder of the complexity of our schedules in this era and I'm grateful that people come as part of the juggling act. I do find that planning becomes more of a challenge -- even knowing whether to go ahead with groups some times. There is a lot of preparation involved even when using a video resource.

In the end it is gratitude I feel once again. There is a dynamic to group discussion which transcends musing on one's own. I watched portions of the DVD several times before our sessions and still saw more and learned more as a result of our discussions. I also experienced a depth of emotion in watching the fascinating stories of forgiveness by doing so with others.

Here is plenty of advance notice: we decided that we would continue our forgiveness discussion during Lent 2012 using another worthwhile DVD Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate Join us!

Any thoughts about being in discussion about issues of faith with others? Are you reluctant to go to a study group because of the unknown? Any comments about The Power of Forgiveness specifically?


johnny said...

I have to admit, I was hesitant about going to these forgiveness sessions. I ended up going to two of them, and would have happily gone to all four if my work schedule would have permitted it. I found the experience both interesting and rewarding, and enjoyed the combination of video and discussion. I really appreciated hearing what others in the group have to say. Each of us has experience and wisdom that is definitely worth sharing.

This is a wonderful, "value-added" component of St. Paul's, and I intend to be involved in the discussions during Lent.

We all spend so much time in our lives working on this, that and the other, but how much time do we spend trying to be emotionally healthy?

I would recommend to other readers that they consider attending the sessions during Lent.

Anonymous said...

I have been a regular at Bible study for a few years. The first time I showed up I did have a moment of terror because the group seemed so cohesive that there could not possibly be a spot for me. At the time the group was made up of a dozen or so wise women, some of whom I had been informed had been meeting for 30 years. This I found a little intimidating, but Jane, a person I had never met before, patted the seat beside her, and the way I remember it I ran like a grateful puppy to sit there. I’m not a fan of groups in general, so just showing up at the door took effort. The problem is that when you are standing in a doorway, you either have to enter or pretend that you have some other pressing engagement you just now remembered and flee. Had Jane not gestured so kindly, and quietly, I can assure you I would have fled to attend to one of my many important and unmistakably neurotic previous engagements, such as rushing home to pick those little woolly balls off all my sweaters or going through the junk drawer to test all the old pens, the very pressing engagements that were slowly killing my soul. Little does Jane know that had she not so quietly welcomed me, had she done anything at all to draw attention to me, like say, wave a banner or produce a drum roll, I would have run. I would have run so hard and so fast that others would have wondered if I was ever in the doorway or not. They would have blinked, and I'd have gone. There would have been nothing left but a blurry streak of light in the hallway. So because of Jane I plunged in, and quietly blended in as if I too had been meeting with the others for years. The discussions we have had over these last few years have been immensely meaningful to me. There is no other place in my life where these discussions could take place. In my personal life, I have been pretty much a lone wolf as far as my faith goes, and although Sunday mornings mark me as a Christian; there is something more that is gained through these more intimate and interactive discussions that deepens my faith in a way no other interaction could. I have been deeply moved by the generosity of spirit that has been extended to me through this experience, and would venture to say that the true meaning of Christian community has been made manifest here.

Laura said...

Lori-Anne is so right...welcoming and wise, and not all women these days.

Forgiveness session was especially enlightening. My mind is still working away on some of the concepts we shared, and new ones that come to mind.

As you said David...forgiveness is something we work on our whole lives.

lionlamb said...

I hope everyone reads these responses!

Lori-Ann, I made sure that Jane saw your lovely affirmation of her hospitality.