My trip away for the Diocesan Clergy Conference reminded me of one thing - I've still got so much to learn. I knew this anyway (one of the things i say when i visit couples preparing to have their children baptised is 'if i ever claim to have everything all sewn up about faith then its time for me to give up as i've obviously misunderstood faith completely') but the sessions that were offered, the conversations I had with my fellow Clergy, the times of worship, and the opportunity to sit and read gave me that chance to refresh my ignorance that reminded me that after 30 or so years on this Christian journey i am still always beginning.
One of my late lamented Theology lecturers, Fr Michael Nevin, put in his Ph.D thesis that no one ever becomes a Christian, there is just the daily possibility of becoming Christian - a reference to his interpretation of St Augustine's theology. That resonates with me as i constantly wonder at the daily offering of God to myself, and that a relationship with Christ, in Christ, for Christ is a dynamic, transformational event. There are days when my faith feels more real to me, more engaging, more challenging, and other days when my faith is simply 'there'. Part of growing as Christian is to recognise that feelings, though important, are not the foundation for our faith, they are part of faith.
So, back to last week. The ride was great fun, and my BMW k1100 lt took the rough with the smooth when it came to my riding. There was a moment on the M25 when a car came a bit closer than I'd like, but as it was in slow moving traffic i had time to avoid any bumps. The roads in France were clear, though windy, and the bike made short work of the miles. I arrived very early, though low on petrol, so i went into the local town and had 'une demi' before meeting up with the other Clergy at the conference house. The staff at the 'Maison D'accueil' were, indeed, very welcoming and the surroundings were not luxurious but were comfortable. I will say more about the content of the week another time, but the mix of worship, biblical studies, speakers and time to chat to my friends and colleagues was as perfect as such an event could offer and the content itself was excellent. Again, keeping up with the idea of not giving folks too much to read in one go i will go into detail later.
Since coming back have pretty much been on the go constantly, in fact have just come back from a visit and am now stopping for lunch before next round! As i said last night, fatigue was pretty overwhelming, and not having the chance for a day off has meant that there is a certain lack of focus in my life (even more than usual) - it will take a day or two to get back on an even keel, i think.
Will keep processing and keep posting over the coming days.