Friday, October 25, 2013

Flying to Korea: hoping for transformation

I am sitting in my airplane seat as we wait to taxi while the flight crew tries to coral passengers that ran off when a false four hour delay was announced! I am on the same flight with Joanna Hipp from Louisville Seminary and hope to get to know her better during the conference:)

I have been reflecting on my preparation for this global conference for the World Council of Churches and realize how little I have done to be ready to be with this group of global Christian leaders this week. I did not read all of the "Ecumenical Visions" book that I was assigned to present on this week. I did not practice Korean greetings and social language skills. I did not bring small North American gifts to share with people I meet. I did not read all the intro papers of the other students in my small group. I did not spend a lot of time dreaming about what this conference will be for me. I think this is partly a reflection of my busy seminary student life and partly due to my normative USA dominant culture mentality - that people should know about me and I shouldn't have to work hard to really know others. 

I wrote about listening to other voices in my application essay for the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute that I am  attending with the conference. I charish real friendships with people from other contexts that I can learn and grow with through honest dialogue. I believe the WCC is designed to provide space for this type of relationship. My lack of preparation makes me wonder if I can really commit to this type of relationship that requires so much background knowledge and language skill just to communicate with others. 

The language used at the conference will be primarily English, but everyone there will have another more personal way of communicating that can only be expressed to those who have a deeper personal connection. I hope to form deeper connections with some of the people I meet in the next three weeks. I hope to commit to life long friendships that can make me a better follower of Christ in this world. 

The structural violence in the world can be hard to see from the privileged - white middle class Presbyterian Church USA - position I come from. I am blinded by the security of empire. I need other ways of seeing the world. I hope to find other ways of seeing during this conference. I hope the life changing opportunity that I step into when exiting this plane will allow me to further commit to God's will of love and justice through nonviolent action. 

God, please allow the way I am to be enough to continue on this journey. Help my body adjust to the jet lag that stands between me and my new friends. And provide me the strength and wisdom to be transformed by your Holy Spirit in this holy space of worship and devotion to You. 

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