I think it’s 5:15 a.m. but I’m not sure because my electronic devices both inexplicably say 6:49. Barking dogs and a bird with a screech between a rooster and a peacock woke me before the alarm. We arrived around midnight, greeted at the airport by a crowd of friends from Myanmar Institute of Theology plus John Gravley of Central, who had arrived earlier in the day. They unfurled a “Welcome Central Baptist Seminary” banner, grabbed all the luggage, and put us into cars for the 5 minute drive to Myanmar Life Hotel.
It’s a gracious place – rooms are large and furnished with ornately carved wooden chairs, the wooden floor is cool on bare feet and packets of Nescafe instant coffee, heavy on sweetener and powdered cream are arranged on a tray.
Our gracious MIT hosts pick us up at 6:45 this morning for a lecture at the school on Buddhist meditation followed by a visit to a monastery and the golden centerpiece of the city, Shwe Dagone Pagoda. At the end of each day, we’ll gather for theological and other reflection on the day asking, Where did we encounter God? and What am I learning about God’s kingdom and purpose for the world?
I am currently in my second year in Brite Divinity School’s Ph.D. program in Pastoral Theology. The program is enriching and challenging, and is allowing me to explore research questions that have deep implications for me both vocationally and personally. Little did I know at the time of my matriculation, Central’s create program was preparing me for this unique experience. The curriculum of create, and the culture of Central, nurtured my deep interests in theological education, and equipped me for meaningful ministerial engagement. Because of create’s focus on praxis and innovative ministry involvement, I found myself uniquely positioned for various levels of engagement with the Church, communities, and the wider global context.