Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Random acts of theology

So, I continue to think about the encounters of last week. It was a very helpful conference in lots of ways, not least because there was no compulsion to go to anything! I went to all of the Bible Studies, some of the 'worship', and just over half of the keynote speakers! Just over half because there were four - one i missed due to being over tired and one i had to leave because i felt nauseous and flushed.

I'll probably say more about all the different sessions another time (then again, maybe not - i can just keep you all on tenterhooks then - whatever they are) but I had revelation this last week as to how I have changed in these last few years. Three years ago, when we had our last Clergy conference for the Diocese of Ely, I went to everything - mandatory or not. At that time I identified myself as a 'Myers-Briggs E - Extrovert' meaning that my energy came from being with people, and in case of tiredness i would head for the nearest group of people and feel better through that. Now if i were to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator again i suspect i would still have 'E' as my preference, but would be much less weighted that way.

What i really appreciated on this conference was space, the chance to read, the chance to be alone. the opportunity for quiet, the one on one conversations rather than having 'small group discussions'. It is from this that some of my deepest reflections came, often inspired by the talks and studies of the day, but as a result of going over the issues by myself or with others.

To really grasp what a revelation this is you would need to know just how 'E' i was, and that I would be the one who hunted out parties to go to, who would find excuses to be with folk, who would do anything just to have some company - preferably a large group - to recharge my batteries. Now the depth of life seems to be in the quieter moments, with my wife and with Jack and Katherine, with a couple of dinner guests or in a conversation over coffee. This creates both a sadness in me and a sense of having moved on, grown even, less fear of what it means to be me alone, or me in genuine relationship with another person. It means moving on from 'encountering' people to 'engaging' them.

I guess i could see it reflected more in my passions - again back to being with family, playing guitar alone rather than for an audience, reading, writing, riding a motorbike rather than driving, TV rather than movies at the cinema or drama at the theatre.

So the conference allowed me to see something more of who i am, not a loner by any stretch of the imagination, but someone who has found more of his spirituality, more of who he is, in silence and solitude.

I've not really got to grips with the random acts of theology mentioned in the title, that is much more a reflection on the whole conference, so more of that next time.

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