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?
The Nashville cohort just completed our first class with Dr. Molly T. Marshall at Conception Abbey and I am still processing all that transpired in my heart during that time. Being at the Abbey allowed us to share our stories and get to know one another in a way that enabled community to happen. The rhythm of prayer and quietude inspired the kind of contemplation introduced to us in the books we read in preparation for the class. Dr. Marshall’s focused discussion about creativity and spirituality enabled us to consider the road ahead and how we will practice spirituality as a community and as individual ministers in the work we do. I am honored and thrilled to be a part of the CBTS community. It is just the beginning and I am excited about what lies ahead!