Ok it's called The Cathedral Center of St. Paul Center and it is a retreat center (too many centers) and it's in Echo Park, Los Angeles. I'm here on a retreat with my first seminary class at SFTS. The purpose of this retreat is basically for us to begin our seminary experience with some honest reflection and sharing, to take some time to think about our stories, how we got to where we are, and what it looks like to experience and/or encounter authentic community. To be honest, I haven't had a very good attitude going into this but it seems that God is using it anyway. Charlene, our professor, has shared some interesting thoughts with us which are still rolling around in my head.
We are split people, most of us. As children we were once one, whole people. We lived completely in the real, right up close to our souls. But as we grow older, two separate people emerge. We begin to live further away from our souls. We are our public selves, the selves into which we put way too much effort so that we can hide behind them, and then we are our private selves, the selves we learn to loath. The problem is that God is not satisfied with just one or the other. He wants all of us. He invites us to be whole people and to be fully known. That is perhaps the heart of ministry--knowing and being known. An authentic encounter with another is when the relationship is not an "I and it" relationship but an unmasked experience of listening and being listened to, not just as a public self but as a whole self.
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