Saturday, May 19, 2007

In Search of Meaning!

I arrived in Indianapolis last week Saturday to begin Field Ed. My first week at work has revealed some of the many tensions that I will have to wrestle with this summer. In any given day, I could go from feeding and dining with people in a state of virtual penury to being in a meeting and dining with pastors from some of the largest congregations (what sociologists term “civil congregations”) in the city of Indianapolis. I could go from singing with seniors (pretending to know “old-timers”), having a deep conversation with seniors about Western propaganda to a meeting with the youth minister on effective ways to reach this generation. I could also find myself in the “neighborhood” in one minute, but in the next, find myself in an area where king-sized mansions forces one to gasp, “Wow! Now that was impressive! Very impressive!” – Quoting from a TV commercial.
The desire to find meaning in the midst of such tensions is the unending task of all human beings (an even more daunting task for a second year divinity school student). The obsession with “meaning” brings to mind many unanswerable questions that will be continually raised this summer. The questions raised are endless, so much so that one despairs of an answer and feels that instead of asking “why,” it would be more beneficial to concentrate on the “what can I do next.”
More and more, I am beginning to accept these questions not simply as ideas or opinions occurring suddenly in the mind, nor as passive reflections, but as a response directed toward God as its satisfying object. As a response, then, such reflections cannot be lifeless; rather, it must seek to do fruitful labor. The hope is that the search to find meaning would not be separable from actually “getting my hands dirty.” Who knows, maybe some (or most) of the answers might come from being out on the field; not in the locker room! Is that why it is called Field Education?

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