Tonight was the first night that I assumed responsibility for the Sunday night senior high Bible Study... And I think it was the largest turn out they've had in a loooong time. I hadn't really prepared anything, because I wasn't sure what they had done in the past, or what the youth were looking for in the Bible study... Did they want something topical? Did they want to do in depth Bible study? Were they interested in something from a curriculum? It was really up in the air, because I wanted it to be something that they were interested in. So I brought a little notepad (in case I needed to write anything down), a pen (ditto), Little Debbie snack cakes, and the Augsburg Fortress catalog, in case they wanted to do something from a curriculum-type-thing.
So we gathered in my office first, and spent a couple of minutes looking at pictures on my computer screen saver that the previous intern had taken. Then we moved to the sanctuary, and the eight kids and I plopped ourselves on the floor up by the altar. I passed the snack cakes around, and then I asked them what they had done at Fire (the name of the Bible study) before. Sadly, they have not had a consistent youth director, and there are still hard feelings surrounding the previous two, and so a lot of things had fallen by the wayside. Fire was one of the things that had unfortunately fallen. The time was changed and publicity about the time change was minimal, so kids had shown up and no youth director had been there, only for the youth director to show up half an hour later and wait for the kids to show up, and they didn't. So kids fell out of the habit of going, and then it just kind of disappeared. So Supervising and I made an effort to publicize that Fire was resuming at its regular time, and I was going to be the temporary leader (although if we continue to have nights like this evening, I'm going to have a hard time giving it up if we get a new youth director).
Anyway, back to the story. One of the youth spoke up and said previously it had been kind of a hodge podge of things. They had gotten together and just kind of shared personal things, they'd gone through some of the less well known Old Testament books, it was really a laid back format, and just gave the kids a time to get together and talk about their lives and God. So I asked if that was something they wanted to continue, something a little less structured, and it seemed like that was the idea.
So they thought we should do "thought provoking questions" and I asked them if Adam and Eve had belly buttons... and we ended up talking about creation and evolution and whether they are mutually exclusive, and whether "seven days" really means "seven days" and if Adam and Eve were literal, and it never says that Adam and Eve were the only two created, they're just the only two mentioned... It was really kind of interesting. Then we talked about fate/destiny, and whether God has a definite plan for our lives and if we kind of just spend our lives journeying down that path, or if things just happen. Then someone brought up homosexuality and the whole group proved surprisingly accepting (in stark contrast to the 8th grade confirmation class I co-teach, which I believe really kind of shows the self differentiation that goes on between junior high and high school, and the high schoolers were able to form their own opinions and not mirror their parents' as much).
We ended up talking for two hours... Not always on topic, but all good discussions. I shared some fun stories from my life, which provided some laughter (the raccoon story was one, although they had already heard it... and my hamster/gerbil story, which they enjoyed... both stories include me imitating the animals, which they heartily enjoyed).
Of course part of the evening was spent with them talking about their lack of a consistent youth director, and how they decided they voted for me to fill the vacant role. Which led to a discussion of how they've decided I can't leave when my year is over. I reminded them that I've only been here almost three months, so they would definitely change their mind when the year was closer to be over... In an aside, this past week I've really bonded with a couple families, and a lot of the youth. And it's only been three months... That's really the one thing I hate about seminary. You build these relationships, and they're only temporary. Now, granted, the friendships I make AT seminary can be lifelong. It isn't a boundary issue to keep in touch once I leave seminary. But with my internship site, it's a totally different story, especially if they continue the internship program after I leave. If I work to continue relationships with people after I leave, then I'm hampering them from forming relationships with my successor, which is a vital part of the internship process. But by the nature of the work I'm doing here, I'm going to make some strong bonds. It's poopy. That's all I have to say. And really that's the nature of the beast, and that's going to be the story of my life in ministry. Oh well...
So, in other news, tomorrow is my day off. YIPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEE! Although Supervising is going on "retreat" for the day, so if any emergencies come up, I'm the man. So I guess it's good that I didn't have any major travel plans. Just a haircut... I need one. I think I'm going SHORT, basically because I'm tired of hair. Bald doesn't sound so bad at this point.
Okay... so that's enough for now. I seem to have processed enough for one night. So I will bid you all adieu, and I will finish drinking my water, and then hit the hay. Sleep in city here I come!!! WOOT WOOT!