I know it’s a few days late, so we’ll see how we go with trying to keep up with the events of this week. Monday night was alright, though I will say in advance that as the week went on, we gradually got less and less sleep, which is to be expected. By Tuesday, there hasn’t been enough content to make us scratch our heads in confusion so it’s still a day where new information is settling in but we aren’t quite challenged or shaped by it.
In the morning we went out to McDonald’s in the morning for breakfast, as well as to pick up a friend from the station, who had just arrived at MYC today. I know it’s not fully respectful to go out of the campsite for meals and not eat the camp food; but I think we all sort of agree to some extent that camp food isn’t exactly something that will satisfy us, especially if we need to find sustenance from it for a full five days. Like, for a short camp it’d be okay to eat a little less for a few days, but a week long camp, it’s a bit harder to draw energy for all those days when you aren’t being fed well. With the sheer number of students at MYC this year (in excess of 750 in total), food supplies are a little more limited than usual; although I wouldn’t really know why since they should just be catering for more people. But I think camp staff were concerned that there wasn’t enough food to go around, and so for most of the meals, we’ve been receiving suboptimal portions, causing a lot of people to turn to their beloved cup noodles for satisfying their hunger. On Wednesday night something even more extravagant happens in regards to food, but I’ll get to that in the Wednesday post.
For Bible Study, we were progressing a little slower through the content, causing us to miss out on reflection time because we’d end half an hour later than scheduled. But this is to be expected because everyone has a different on opinion on what they think the main points of the passage is. And I think this is actually a good thing because it allows everyone to have a broad perspective on what everyone thinks about the passage. So it’s a balance between having a lot of different opinions, and having one unanimous interpretation. Sometimes our group will think along the same lines for one part of the passage; but most other times we’d disagree about many things. Still we somehow need to make a group decision and move on. I think our general resolution for disagreements is just to go with the decision that makes more sense at the time, but to come back to it at a later time; which were meant to but we sort of just let it go because it was quite time consuming to think over it. One more thing about Bible Study, I was “fortunate”(?) enough to be in a group with a lot of older students, so I wasn’t really the oldest one in the group, and thus having to subconsciously lead the group. Other 4th years were put in that position, which they said they found challenging, but I’m lucky enough to just go along with the flow of the group.
We divided our faculty into guys and girls for the seminar, and I took half of today’s seminar. To be fair, I was meant to be leading half the content of the seminar, but I ended up taking way more than half the allotted time for the seminar; that, of course, is due to my lack of experience in leading an MYC seminar. It was cool being able to stand up the front and helping my fellow brothers in Christ work through the content of the seminar. Although I was able to help them collate thoughts and ideas, it was hard trying to facilitate group discussion about the harder issues, and restrict it to the time limit. As a result, a fair amount of discussion, and having people work sort of slowly meant each question taking more time than I had allocated. I had of course scheduled my seminar with unfair times, asking groups to get certain questions done within 2-5 minutes, when discussion of that question would really take about 10 minutes. The guys had a few opportunities to troll me, I would hope that it was for the better of my relationship with them, but if it doesn’t end up well then yeah that’s alright, as long as they learn something; they don’t need to remember who I am. It was a nice challenge and experience to lead an in-depth, hard thinking seminar, and it was quite encouraging to see who were the people who spoke up and were able to grasp these concepts quickly.
Tuesday was the day that KFC had a special $10 for 9 pieces of chicken. The second years took advantage of this and had a nice little party in the afternoon, surrounded by pieces of chicken. The rest of us just played Mahjong – which attracted all the true Asians over to play. It is hard to spend free time together as a whole faculty, and over the years we’ve had to segregate ourselves and play in smaller groups, otherwise things just wouldn’t work. We tried to take advantage of the offer of KFC later that night, but sadly KFC was closed at night; we were informed by someone in our grade that it was 24/7. When we got there, only a cat and a guy smoking was in the car park – no chicken. So we retired to our common room and just ate cup noodles in misery.
In the afternoon, I went to a seminar on church denominations. It was a brief overview of the different denominations that exist today and a brief history of how it came to be. Sadly, it wasn’t in depth enough and didn’t really cover the major differences in each denomination (such as which sets of traditions and cultures shape it to be different from other denominations). But it was interesting to see that different denominations aren’t as big as a deal as some of us would make it out to be, although this was something I already knew beforehand. That is, calling yourself a “Catholic” or an “Anglican” doesn’t necessarily mean you adopt each and every “standard” that the denomination stands for. I myself being a part of an Anglican church wouldn’t really identify myself as an Anglican in that I’m not entirely sure of its core set of beliefs and hence for me as a Christian, I really just picked some of them as my core beliefs and perhaps have rejected the rest. I would have made a post regarding denominations a while back, but I had hoped this seminar would’ve provided me with the research to work out what the differences were, so that I could make a more informed post. But since I still don’t have this information, I can only really say still at this point that denominations are that big a deal in that provided the core “Christian” beliefs are there, there are no real differences worth arguing over. The only time something becomes a really significant issue is if a certain tradition is stated to be necessary for salvation (eg: Catholics with purgatory and indulgences), in which case these become differences that divide. I suppose I’ll have to deal with this topic at a later date.
For the second night talk, we learned from 2 Timothy 3:10-17 that all of Scripture (the Bible) is a collection of stories which link together as one whole story about God, with Jesus at the centre. It is understanding this fundamental fact of the Bible that allows us to read the Bible properly and come to make sense of it. In addition the Holy Spirit helps us understand the Bible when some parts seem confusing and don’t seem to make much sense. However, there is more to just reading the Bible and understanding what it has to say. If we truly believe the Bible to be the true word of God then we need to respond to it and change our lives accordingly. And luckily, it is also the Holy Spirit that helps change our hearts so that we can listen and respond to God’s word. But surely this is an encouragement that we need to study the Bible diligently and work hard to make sure we have it for what it has to say, rather than what we want it to say. Again this is a truth that most of us know about, but it was good to see in a slightly different way and understand that we don’t need to brute force the Bible, since the Holy Spirit helps us understand what the truth is.