I recently spent three weeks on the Arizona-Mexico Border. It was an edgy experience in close quarters with a group of other seminarians from Andover Newton. It wasn't always "fun" but it was intense and rewarding. Being in community this way was exactly what I needed and I'm so glad that I made this joureny. And it was nice to have someone else from EDS with me (shout out to Sarah)! Towards the end I was bitchy and a little too forthright. I think I shocked the Borderlinks guide at the end. But at the end I didn't have the reservoir of patience to deal with a bunch of high school students and needed to extract myself. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so honest in naming my limitations. Ten days in intense group time with reflections that went on forever (was I the only person who felt this) but ended with a really nice group worship experience but that was also long.
After the Borderlinks delegation ended, I spent time with the congregations of St. Stephen's and San Esteban in Douglas, AZ and St. John's in Bisbee. At San Esteban, I led a sermon discussion in Spanish (although I might say 'roto') and even led them in my poorly translated Angelus (for non-Anglican insiders that's the Hail Mary). So this experience was spirituality but was not about my personal spirituality since Mary is not central in my spiritual path, except to name that I don't like that her sexual status is her main identifier. I don't think sound scholarship supports that she was in fact a virgin, and I don't believe that God has to defy rules of biology and nature to make him known to us. However, I deeply respect that Mary or the Virgen de Guadelupe is a powerful and real spiritual icon for many Latins. Mary is a very powerful part of the spiritual journey for many and I welcome those for whom she matters greatly into the Episcopal Church with their symbols, customs, and culture. The great thing about Anglicanism is that it's very expanive. When we welcome ourselves to the other, that also means we have to be welcomed by their embrace, that we can respect and honor their spirituality without asking that they conform to the dominant majority. So that's what I have to say about my recent learnings on spirituality and feeling close to the almighty