I got a good night's sleep, had a good breakfast, and headed in to the library for GOE day two with fear and trembling in my heart. The first question would be in the category labeled "Contemporary Society." That kind of catch-all title could mean any number of different topics, which is why my draft bibliography was for some 40-odd books, grouped under titles like Human Sexuality; Race Issues; Diversity and Enculturation; Feminist/Womanist Issues; Debt Relief and Poverty...you get the picture. I was braced for just about anything.
A pleasant surprise when the question popped up at 9:02 am: it was about the Millenium Development Goals. We could choose one of the goals and write on it. Theological/scriptural references in support of it, what the national church could do about it, what dioceses and parishes could do about it, what were the economic/political/cultural issues raised by it. Sweet! I had written a major final paper on MDG#1 (debt relief and poverty) in the spring for ethics class, so I had a bunch of good material at my fingertips. The challenge was squeezing it into the three page format. I actually ran a little over (we were given the grace to stretch out to 3.5 pages if we really needed to and I was glad for it). So I was pretty jazzed about it. Nice to start the day with what felt like a successful piece of work.
After lunch, we had the question on Liturgy. Episcopal/Anglican eucharistic theology as expressed in the eucharistic prayers - give two examples of how it influences how we live as community, two examples of how it influences how we live as individuals. Seem a little thin to you? It did to me. Remember, we are supposed to write three single-space pages. I pulled out everything I could think of (we weren't allowed to use any resources beyond the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible, and the resources in Enriching Our Worship). I managed to reference Scripture, the Catechism, lex orandi lex credendi, Hooker on Christ's presence, Rowan Williams on the reality of the elements and of Christ's presence in them, specific language from the prayers, some examples of implications in community life, implications in our lives as individuals...and I still couldn't get it all the way to three pages. It wrapped up at 2 and three-quarters, and that'll have to do. Given that I ran over on the first one, I expect I'll be given a bit of grace that the second one was a wee bit short. Ah, well. In any case, I came away from the experience wondering if there was some secret subtext to the question that I hadn't sussed out. Had I been able to reach out for some other contemporary sacramental theologians, I might have been able to do more with it, but if I missed the boat, the worst thing that happens is that I will be assigned some sort of make-up essay.
Tomorrow is our day off, which comes just in time for me to write my sermon for Sunday. I have it sketched out but it still hasn't come together as I had hoped. Maybe the spirit will descend overnight and it will flow. I hope so. I've got a couple of little errands to attend to tomorrow, one meeting, and several phone calls. I should probably review my class notes from Ethics, since that's the topic area for Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon is Theory and Practice of Ministry (no external resources) and heaven only knows what THAT will be. Then I'm preaching at the 5:30 pm Eucharist. Thanks be to God, that sermon is already written.
I think it's time to have a glass of port before I retire to the bath...