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Sunday, June 17, 2012

The End of a Great Week and a Beginning of a New One!

This week has certainly been one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life. People coming together to discuss theology from all over the world- it does really get much beter than that. This past week we have engaged in conversations about Poverty and Wealth, Disaster and Creation, Christian Ethics and Worship and Spirituality. It has been absolutely amazing. We have class from Monday to Thursday and on Friday we went to a cultural centre where we got to paint local art, make batiks, and plant a rice field. The rice field in particular proved to be such fun. It was a rather muddy experience without much reprieve from the heat. We were able to ride on the back of a make-shift rig attached to 2 water buffalo who drag a grate around in circles to level off. the fields to plant the rice. Awesome! Yesterday we went to visit a community affected by a mudslide. It was fascinating listening to their perspective on what we would define as a disaster. The community is located on the side of the Merapi mountain which is an active volcano that erupted just a few months prior. Much of the mud that came down after a particularly hard rain was the ash that had settled around the mountain. We were greeted and addressed by local church leaders and an Indonesian man doing his PH.D. in local Indonesian culture. What was so interesting about this talk was their perspective of the mudslide. They told us that they believe that prior to an eruption, the mountain is cooking in preparation for a wedding. The wedding occurs when the eruption happens. What was noted from our group was that they did not seem to focus their attention on blaming God or asking God why this happened. They simply went to work to clean up the left-over wedding festivities. We walked around the village and were able to see the effects that mud, stones and water can have. A friend and I decided to go into an abandoned building. On the floor, below a small fill of stiff sand was beautifully colour tile. On the wall were plaques of Islamic prayer. It is hard to describe the feelings standing seeing the beauty in the destruction. What challenged me was my instinct to question God first, even though I had just heard the locals do the exact opposite. I think I will still need some time to reflect on this one a bit further. UP next, another exciting week of theological studies!

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