Friday, June 23, 2006

The spiritual journey that was really an ego-trip*

It's been a busy month.

First there was New York. My favourite place on earth, but I'll wait to get all eloquent about it until later when there's photos.

Then there were job applications. Hundreds of them. I now have the perfect letter of application, full of wordy little phrases that make me look far better than I actually am, which I edit to suit each job. It's got so good that I don't think the three colleges I'm currently applying to will be able not to give me an interview. Shame I still have to do one of those, really.

Now there's exam marking, which is really quite fun at the moment (really - kids are entertaining, even just on paper). I'm only doing 200 this year, after the fiasco that was last year's 500, which feels a lot more manageable. All the same, I'd better get back to it in a minute.

In between, there has been visiting churches. I decided to give mine a break while I try some others. There's lots that's good about it as a community, but other things that (I think) aren't right about it as an evangelical church. Whether I can get over those issues or will need to go elsewhere, I wait to see. I'm beginning to feel like God has something new for me - but of course, that could just be me being, well, me about it (oh, I'm so deep, my need for of a change of scene every two years isn't a sign of how stuck in the quagmire of consumerist culture I am, no no, it's much more deep and spiritual that that). So, I'm trying every vaguely alternative-sounding church in south (where I live) and north (where The Girl lives) London. This could take a while. Last week I went to a truly original Anglo-Catholic-yet-post-evangelical place where the congregation led the service, the chairs were set out in a big circle with the altar in the middle, there was one violin to accompany the hymns, the readers and pray-ers stood sideways to the people facing the many candles on the altar, children were involved in all aspects of the service and there was some Indian dance in honour of the Trinity. They were amazingly welcoming to me - I stayed for coffee, then for lunch (everyone in the congregation has a go at cooking on different weeks), and met some really interesting people. It was very inclusive, with lots of Indian members as well as many other types of people, and has a fascinating history. I may go back. The week before that I went to a church on the common that had progressive, open-minded teaching but a terrible organ. (It's interesting to find out what I'm actually looking for in a church, which appears not to be what I think I'm looking for.) Next weekend I might even go to a Quaker meeting. The world is my parish, to quote the marvellous Dave Tomlinson. Whose church I must also go to, now that I think of it.

Today, life is good. I wrote (well, edited) a letter of application for a very decent college in just one hour this morning. I haven't done much other work all day, but then it's that time of year. This morning I walked up the road to the station, on my way to the gym, having bought a cuppa from the cafe where they have it ready for me as soon as they see me walking in the door, and the sun was shining, and I thought "I love this city, and I love what I do, and I'm a very happy bunny."

Profound.


*The Poem That Was Really A List, Francesca Beard

3 comments:

Aidan said...

Look forward to reading your thoughts, and seeing your photos, from the wondrous New York.

Have you ever read any of the mystery church reviews on the Ship Of Fools website? Strangely compelling, even with - or especially with - no knowledge whatsoever about the churches being discussed...

I've never been inside Southwark Cathedral for some reason, despite being struck by its outside several times.

A brief glimpse inside Cologne cathedral the other week was very impressive - seemed spare but also grandiose at the same time.
Berlin last week had two of the oddest prominent cathedrals - the "broken tooth" of the war-damaged Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtnis cathedral, and the main Berlin Cathedral which appears more like an old-style town hall than a place of worship. But a lovely open-air orchestra and choir concert on the steps, in the sunshine, couldn't but help the setting and my impressions of it...

Hope all's well, exams and interviews notwithstanding...

lilwatchergirl said...

Hee. I write those Mystery Worshipper reports occasionally. See http://www.shipoffools.com/Mystery/mws_05/reports/1039.html and http://www.shipoffools.com/Mystery/archive/uk_ireland.html . I make my views known on these things. :)

Your German cathedrals sound lovely. An open-air concert? Nice.

Am finding the interview treadmill an extremely depressing thing to be on. I think I shall eat a lot of ice-cream tonight.

Aidan said...

Lovely stuff - I somehow sensed the "other place" answer might turn out to be the heating...!

Jangly guitars - there are never enough...